Introduction / History
The Agariya people derive their name from the prominent city of Agra in northern India. According to their legends, they were a landed Hindu community at one time, probably related to the Agri caste. A local Muslim governor demanded women from their community. They refused and faced imprisonment. Firsad, the grandson of a Sufi Muslim saint, helped them escape so out of gratitude many converted to Islam.
Where are they located?
Most of the Muslim Agariya people live in India's states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. They are most likely to be found in Gujarat. A smaller number live in Pakistan.
What are their lives like?
There are at least 11 prominent clans among the Agariya Muslim community. All of them intermarry with one another.
Today, the Agarias work with metal. They manufacture agricultural tools such as axes, ploughshares, and sickles. Many have also turned to agricultural pursuits and raising livestock. Others specialize in making toys such as wooden masks for children. Their children begin working at an early age. Some Agaria people have been prey to money-lenders and have not been able to afford amenities such as electricity.
What are their beliefs?
There are still Hindus among them, but some Agariya people are Sunni Muslim. They believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoken through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims 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 Agariya people in India and Pakistan need access to safe drinking water and reliable electricity. They also need access to gospel materials, whether they live in Gujarat, India or over the border in Pakistan.
* Pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done among the Muslim Agariya people.
* Pray for a movement of Agariya households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
* Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Agariya people to the arms of Jesus.
* Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Agariya people.
Text source: Keith Carey