The Kashmiris live in Kashmir, a breathtaking region that is located in the western Himalayan Mountains of northwestern India and northeastern Pakistan. Unfortunately, this is a highly disputed area. It has been a battleground between India, Pakistan, and China since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, so all three countries control part of Kashmir, and sporadic fighting continues among the three. More than ninety percent of Kashmir is mountainous. Most of the region is under snow and glaciers all year due to its extreme elevation.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most of the Kashmiris are farmers or livestock herders. They suffer from natural disasters like earthquakes and avalanches.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Kashmiri people 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 that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, people 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. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
What Are Their Needs?
Kashmiris need peace so their economy can thrive. There have been times when their cool mountain homeland has drawn tourists and tourist cash. This would greatly help them economically.
There are no known followers of Christ among Kashmiris in Pakistan. Pray for the few believers among Kashmiris in India to reach out to them. Pray for a just and lasting peace in Kashmir.
Pray the the ordeals they have faced will give Kashmiris a desire to cling to the Lord Almighty.
Pray for workers to go to the Kashmiris and begin a disciple-making movement.
Pray for Kashmiri society to be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit.
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