Introduction / History The Jat people are a historical Indo-Aryan tribal group native to the Punjab region. We do not know when the Jat people established themselves in the Indian desert. By the 4th century they had spread to the Punjab. The Jats rose to prominence following the 1669 Jat uprising against Mughal rule, and they ruled various princely states throughout the 18th century. After 1858, under the British Raj, the Jats were known for their service in the Indian Army, being categorized as a "martial race" by the British, specifically in the Jat Regiment, the Punjab Regiment and the Sikh Regiment.
Jat people have a history of being brave and ready fighters. They are fiercely independent in character and value their self-respect more than anything, which is why they offered heavy resistance against any foreign force. The Jat lifestyle was designed to foster a martial spirit. Whenever they lost their kingdoms, Jat people retired to the countryside and became landed barons and the landlords with their swords girded round their waists. They would draw the sword out of the scabbard at the command of their panchayat (village leader) to fight off invaders.
Originally Jats were Hindu. As time went on, some converted to Sikhism or Islam. Though most Jats who migrated to Canada were from the Hindu or Sikh communities, a large number are Muslim.
Jats were among India's agricultural experts. They were instrumental in averting famine by implementing agricultural improvements during the Green Revolution in the 1960s.
What are their lives like? Jats were willing to fill in agricultural roles that Canadians would not take. Others became truck drivers. Still others are able to enter the lucrative tech, business or finance industries.
Traditionally, Jat Muslims have married others from their own community. With a drastically different cultural environment, Jats are in the process of modifying this. Who is a legitimate marriage partner? Does one marry for love, or do you have an arranged marriage with someone from India? Would a Muslim Jat dare to marry a Hindu Jat? Most likely they would not, but the Hindus are the ones who control Jat cultural associations and marriage sites in Canada. Muslims must either join the Hindus for cultural events or form their own organizations.
In India, Muslim Jats had a joint family system where large, extended families lived under the same roof. This was already starting to change in India, but the changes became even faster for those living in Canada. Muslim Jat family members become less dependent upon one another. Some, however, live within close proximity of one another.
What are their beliefs? They are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke 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.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
What are their needs? Muslim Jats in Canada are prosperous, but they are in the process of navigating major cultural changes. Who are they as a community? Where do they place their identity?
Prayer Points Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Jat Muslim families in Canada.
Pray for Muslim Jat people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Muslim Jat community to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Jat disciples to make more disciples.