Introduction / History
The Muslim Rangrez are a group of people who live in northern India. Their traditional occupation was that of dyeing and printing clothes. The word Rangrez means one who pours on color or dyes in Persian. The Muslim Rangrez are thought to be converts to Islam from the Hindu Rangrez. Many believe they came from Central Asia. Some Muslim Rangrez migrated to Pakistan or Bangladesh during the 1947 Partition. The Rangrez are considered a Backward Caste and have become eligible for special places in public employment and university admission.
Many Rangrez are leaving their original career of dyeing and printing fabric. Cheap, chemical dyes have replaced the natural dyes used by the Rangrez, which tend to fade after washing. Rich colors play an important part in Indian rituals like weddings. Many Rangrez have begun to engage in the business of selling fabric and clothing and holidays. Other Rangrez have become involved in trade and other small businesses. Most Rangrez do not own land.
The vast majority of the Muslim Rangrez speaks Urdu as their primary language. Some also speak other local Indian languages.
Where are they located?
Most Rangrez live in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Smaller groups live in other parts of central and north India.
What are their lives like?
The Rangrez are endogamous. They tend to marry within their caste. Some marry their own cousins while others will not marry anyone in their gotra or clan. Families arrange the marriages within the consent of the young people. Muslim priests officiate at significant rituals like birth, weddings and funerals. Sons inherit their father’s property. The Rangrez bury their dead.
Most Rangrez live in multi-caste, multi-religion villages. They will live by themselves in a part of the village. Many young people are moving to the cities for better economic and educational opportunities.
Caste councils promote the interests of the Rangrez and decide legal disputes within the community.
What are their beliefs?
The Rangrez people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They attempt to obey the teachings of the Qur’an and the prophet Muhammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage or Hadj to Mecca once in his or her lifetime.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslim are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
What are their needs?
The Muslim Rangrez need to hear the life-changing gospel of Jesus in a way they can understand. They must see that only Christ can wash away their sins. The Rangrez also need help in learning new job skills necessary to succeed in modern Indian society.
* Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring whole Rangrez families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings.
* Pray the members of the caste councils would become Christians and lead their families to Christ.
* Pray that Indian Christians would reach out and share the gospel with the Muslim Rangrez.
ReferencesView Rangrez (Muslim traditions) in all countries.