Introduction / History
If you were to purchase any sort of saddle or leather shoes in the area of northern India and Nepal, chances are good that it was put together by a Mochi. The name "Mochi" comes from the Sanskrit mochika and the Hindi word Mojna which mean "to fold." While the Chamars would do the initial slaughtering and preparation of the cattle hide, the Mochis are the ones who typically do the finishing work on the leather items. In Hindu cultures, people are given low status for doing menial or unpleasant work, especially anything having to do with dead animals. This attitude spills over to the Muslim peoples. For this reason, the Chamars have very low status. The Mochis are somewhat more respected than the Chamars. There has been a long running competition between the two groups for superiority. However, in some areas the two groups are indistinguishable.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Educational standards are low for the Mochis in Bangladesh. Their customs allow for polygamy, but they do not widely practice it. Sons usually marry at around age 17, while daughters marry sooner. Mochis usually marry off their daughters early.
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 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?
The Mochi people, be they Hindu or Muslim, need to look to Jesus Christ for their sense of worth. He gives all people dignity because we are created in his image.
* Scripture Prayers for the Mallik (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan.
Pray for the Lord to provide all that the Muslim Mochis need as a testimony of his power and goodness. Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Mochi people that will only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. Pray that the Church will begin connecting with Mochi Muslims. Pray for a harvest of souls among the Mochi Muslims in Bangladesh leading entire families to worship Christ.