Gujar (Muslim traditions) in Afghanistan

Gujar (Muslim traditions)
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Matt Brandon  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Gujar (Muslim traditions)
Country: Afghanistan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 20,000
World Population: 5,752,000
Primary Language: Gujari
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.03 %
Evangelicals: 0.03 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Gujar are comprised of three very closely related people groups that are collectively known as the "Gujar Rajasthani." As various Muslim groups began invading India and Pakistan in the eleventh century, the Gujar Hindus converted to Islam. When this happened, their resentful Hindu neighbors began to rise up and take control of the area. The Gujar were forced to leave the region and search for good pastures elsewhere. Their wanderings took them into Pakistan and Afghanistan, where thousands have remained until this day.

They are located in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several states in northeastern India (Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan). In addition, the Gujarat state of western India is named after the historic Gujar peoples.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Some Gujar in India are seasonal nomads or semi-nomadic. Others live and work in towns. The few who live in forests are not integrated into Indian society.

They are a simple, inoffensive people with a hospitable nature. Today, most of the Gujar living in India live as law-abiding shepherds and farmers. Unfortunately, they are still belittled by those of higher castes (social classes), and often labeled as thieves and vagrants. The middlemen who take their agricultural products to the city markets and sell them as their own often cheat Gujar nomads who live in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Gujar are divided into hundreds of clans. Their societies are patrilineal, so they pass inheritances down through the males. The parents usually arrange marriages, and the groom's family must provide a bride price of either cash or livestock. They may marry outside their clans, and young couples live near the groom's parents. Most live in extended families under a community council.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Centuries past, they were all Hindus. A Muslim invasion in the 11th century forced many to convert to Islam. Those in Afghanistan are all Sunni Muslim. They believe in the tenets of Islam and seek to obey the teachings of the Koran, as given by Mohammed. Few are familiar with more than a surface level Muslim theology. For this reason, they depend on amulets and the intercession of Muslim saints for their daily needs. Allah is too distant to help them.

What Are Their Needs?

The governments of the countries where they live can be hostile to any form of proselytizing. Government restrictions apply. Since they are close by, there are more problems from family members than from the government.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will send culturally sensitive missionaries who will show them the way to the cross.

Pray for a Christ-ward movement to flourish among this people group in the 2020s.

Pray for the Gujar people in Afghanistan to be blessed with peace, joy and spiritual prosperity as they follow Jesus Christ.

Pray for their leaders to have dreams and visions that will open their hearts to Jesus Christ and his ambassadors.

Text Source:   Joshua Project