Rabari (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

The Rabari (also called the Bhopa) originally lived in Balochistan, a geographical area encompassing parts of Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. In the 12th and 14th centuries, they migrated to the areas in Pakistan and India where they now live. Their histories intertwine with those of the Rajputs and the Charans, two other migrant groups in the region. For this reason, some consider them to be on the same social level as the prestigious Rajputs.

The name Rabari means "outsider," a fitting description of their traditional nomadic lifestyle. The Rabari are known for herding camels and are sometimes associated with the gypsies.

The vast majority of Rabari live in India and practice Hinduism (a much smaller number in India practice Islam). Both Hindu Rabaris and Muslim Rabaris are also in Pakistan, though in much smaller numbers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Rabaris have 133 subgroups and only marry within their people group. They practice both adult and child marriage. Women do not have inheritance rights but participate in important family decisions. Married women can be identified by their dress and by face veiling before older relatives.

Distinctive dress characterizes the Rabaris. Ornaments for young, adult and old males differ with regard to their marital status and number of children. Bride prices tend to be high because of their high status.

For centuries Rabari women have been noted for their fine embroidery. Girls learn embroidery at a young age and collect either the cloth or the money by selling it for their dowry. Rabari women take care of the household work and look after milk cows while the men tend to other livestock.

Over time, the Rabari have mostly left their nomadic lifestyle. Today, most are settled on the outskirts of town, living semi-nomadic or settled lives.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Traditionally, the Rabaris practiced Hinduism. Small numbers of them in both India and Pakistan have converted to Islam. In both India and Pakistan, the Rabaris are considered a frontier people, meaning that the population is less than 0.1% Christian and there is no known gospel movement among them.

Muslim Rabari people follow Sunni Islam. As followers of the Koran, the Rabari understand Jesus to be a great prophet (referred to in the Koran as Isa al-Masih). But they do not believe in him as the only sacrifice for their sins.

In most of the Muslim world, peoples like the Rabari depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine the circumstances of their daily lives. For that reason, they appease the spirits, using charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.

What Are Their Needs?

The Rabari speak Western Punjabi. Scripture resources available in Western Punjabi include the New Testament, the JESUS Film, and various gospel recordings.

There are no known followers of Jesus among the Rabaris. Pakistan limits access from outsiders, and the infamous blasphemy laws provide a significant barrier to gospel witness.

Prayer Points

Ask the Holy Spirit to give Muslim Rabari people teachable and understanding hearts.

Pray for conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment, and for God to reveal to the Rabari their need for a savior.

Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Rabari families into a rich experience of God's blessing.

Ask God to lead believers, especially Pakistani believers, into sustained, focused prayer for the Rabari and to raise up workers from the church in Pakistan for this harvest field.

Pray for the Lord to open the hearts of Rabari family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Ask God to raise up a movement among the Muslim Rabari of Pakistan that will result in multiplying churches and disciples.

Scripture Prayers for the Rabari (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan.






Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Rabari (Muslim traditions)
People Name in Country Rabari (Muslim traditions)
Pronunciation rah-BAH-ree
Alternate Names Bhopa; Mogha; Rahbari; Raika; Vishotar; राबरी (मुस्लिम ट्रेडिशन्स)
Population this Country 9,300
Population all Countries 11,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 17666
ROP3 Code 113108
ROP25 Code 306886
ROP25 Name Rabari
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
Country Pakistan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  Punjab 4,300
  Sindh 3,900
  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 1,100
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Pakistan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Punjabi, Western (3,100 speakers)
Language Code pnb   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 8
Secondary Languages
Marwari (Pakistan)
Hindko, Southern
Primary Language Punjabi, Western (3,100 speakers)
Language Code pnb   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 8
Secondary Languages
  Sindhi 3,100
  Saraiki 1,300
  Marwari (Pakistan) 900
  Urdu 600
  Hindko, Southern 200
  Dhatki 80
  Kacchi 30
People Groups Speaking Punjabi, Western

Primary Language:  Punjabi, Western

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1885-1922)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1819-2021)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings DAVAR Partners recording, New Testament DAVAR Partners International
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Bible General / Other
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Punjabi, Western Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Gospel website in this language General / Other
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
General Zume Resources Zume Project
General Zume Training Zume Project
Mobile App Android Bible app: Punjabi, Western YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Punjabi, Western YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Cartoon Gospel tract General / Other
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Punjabi, Western Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source (Representative photo)
Copyrighted © 2024  Isudas  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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