Introduction / History
The Muslim Theba are a small group of nomadic pastoralists who live in the Kutch region of the west Indian state of Gujarat. They breed and sell cattle as their primary occupation. The Theba people claim to be descendants of Rajputs or sons of rulers. The Indian government has recently put pressure on nomadic groups such as the Theba to settle down in one place. A permanent residence will allow for their children to be educated and make it easier to tax and control the community. Some Theba have built homes and now work as agricultural laborers and shopkeepers. Illiteracy is a major problem for the Theba people.
The main language of the Theba is Kacchi or Kutch. Audio recordings and the JESUS Film are available in Kacchi.
Where are they located?
The Muslim Theba people live in western India and Pakistan.
What are their lives like?
The lifestyle of the Theba is changing. They are no longer allowed to drive their cattle across the plains and deserts of western Indian looking for water and grass. The Indian government has granted tracts of land to the Theba to raise their cattle and grow crops. Some men work in stone quarries. Some Theba have migrated to South Africa, the United Kingdom and Turkey looking for a better life.
The Theba are part of the larger Samma community. The Theba will marry within the Samma group. They often marry their cousins. A man may have up to four wives if he can support them. The children of the Theba have recently begun to attend school. Some are now college graduate and are entering the professions.
The main foods of the Theba are rice, wheat, vegetables and dairy products. As Muslims, they will not eat pork.
What are their beliefs?
The Theba 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 one 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.
What are their needs?
The Theba need access to modern medicine. If they are going to improve their status in Indian society, their children will need at least a secondary education. The Theba need to learn new job skills. Most of all, they need to hear and respond to the message of Isa or Jesus. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.
Pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done among the Theba people.
Pray for a movement of Theba households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Theba 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 Theba people.
ReferencesView Theba in all countries.