Introduction / History
The Shenva people claim that their ancestor was the result of a union between a Rajput man and a tribal woman. Another legend tells us that they are descended from Hindu Rajputs who fled to the forests to escape from Muslim invaders in Gujarat. They have Scheduled Caste status, which is fairly low. Most Shenvas are Hindus, but a small number of them converted to Islam in the past, making them a divided community.
Where are they located?
The Shenva people live in Gujarat. Muslims among them are in the southern part of that state.
What are their lives like?
The Shenva, also known as Rawat, are a Scheduled Caste in the state of Gujarat, which entitles them to certain government benefits. This community consists of several clans that do not intermarry with one another. They are mainly agricultural laborers and have their own land and homes. Others manufacture brooms and mats.
What are their beliefs?
Muslim Shenva 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 Muslim Shenva 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 Shenva 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 families of Shenva believers loving and serving others to grow reproducing churches.
* Pray for a chain reaction of Shenva families reaching families that results in thousands of new believers who share their faith with others.
* Pray for grace and truth expanding into the entire Shenva society as all believers learn to love others.
* Pray that churches and believers will bless their entire people group in such a way that God’s love will change the Shenva people like yeast changes dough.
Text source: Keith Carey