Introduction / History
The legend about the origin of the Pasi community is that one day a man was going to kill a number of cows. Parashuram, a Hindu saint, was at that time practicing austerities in the jungle. Hearing the cries of the sacred animals he rushed to their assistance, but the cow killer was aided by his friends. So Parashuram made five men out of kusha grass and brought them to life by letting drops of his perspiration fall upon them. Hence arose the name Pasi, from the Hindi pasina (sweat).
They have always had low status; in fact during colonial days the British labeled them a “criminal” community, and they expected the Pasi to be thieves and looters.
Most of the Pasi people remained Hindu after the invasion of Muslims hundreds of years ago, but some converted to Islam, forming a separate community. These Muslims, no doubt, would not be drawn to that Hindu legend, or herd pigs like some of their Hindu relatives.
Where are they located?
Though Hindu Pasis are all over India, the Muslims live in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
What are their lives like?
Today the Muslim Pasi perform all kinds of jobs. Some make plates, others tap palm trees and gather date sugar. Others are farmers or rickshaw drivers. They can be weavers, stone carvers, or goldsmiths.
What are their beliefs?
Muslim Pasi people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. 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, 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.
In most of the Muslim world, peoples like the Pasi 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 how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
What are their needs?
The Pasi people, be they Hindu or Muslim, need to put their faith in Jesus Christ, the only one who can bless them with abundant life and eternal salvation from sin and death.
* Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Muslim Pasi communities.
* Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Pasi people.
* Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Pasi people to change their society from within.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Pasi disciples to make more disciples.
Text source: Keith Carey