Introduction / History
Islam arrived in the area now known as Pakistan in 711 AD when a Muslim Arab army conquered the northwestern part of the Indus Valley from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. Technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Arab and Muslim world to the Islamic Sultanate in South Asia and settled permanently.
Where Are they Located?
The descendants of these Arabs usually go by the title of Shaikh and are also known in Pakistan as Muslim Khatri. The Shaikhs of Pakistan, however, claim pre-Islamic ancestry. Shaikh is also a term that is usually attributed to the leaders or elders of Arabian social groups.
One prominent subgroup of the Shaikhs are the Qureshi. Quereshi is a family name that dates back to Arabia at the time of Mohammed. They claim to be the descendants of the Quraish, an important tribe in what is now Saudi Arabia. Initially this tribe opposed Mohammed and even persecuted Muslims, but by the time of Mohammed’s death, they had converted to Islam. Once again, we see an example of how tribes and people groups make group decisions regarding important spiritual matters.
The Muslim Quereshi Shaikh people live mainly in India but also in Pakistan and Nepal. In Pakistan they are mostly in Sindh and Punjab Provinces.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Shaikhs are not bound by one particular profession, though many of them are either merchants or butchers. In Muslim Pakistan, the Qureshi name brings high status.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Quereshi Shaikhs are entirely Muslim. They believe that Allah is the absolute high God and Mohammed is his prophet. Muslims fast from sun up to sun down during the month of Ramadan, then feast after the sun goes down. They give alms to the poor. Those who are devout pray five times a day facing Mecca and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Those who have gone on the pilgrimage have higher status when the return to Pakistan.
What Are Their Needs?
The Quereshi Shaikh community needs to have the humility to accept that they cannot be forgiven of their sins because of their ancestry. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; therefore, we all need a Savior.
* Scripture Prayers for the Shaikh Qureshi in Pakistan.
* Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Quereshi Shaikhs in Pakistan.
* Pray for the Quereshi Shaikh community to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
* Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Quereshi Shaikhs to change their society from within.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers new Qureshi disciples to make more disciples.
* Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Quereshi Shaikh communities.