The Aimaq Hazara of Afghanistan
The Aimaq-Hazara are a minority tribe located in the central mountains of Afghanistan. They belong to a larger cluster of eight tribes, the Char Aimaq, who are scattered throughout Afghanistan and northern Iran. All of these tribes speak a language called Aimaq, which is a part of the Persian language family, but includes some Turkic vocabulary.
Over the years, the Char Aimaq tribes have been moved, split, and combined by various governments. The Aimaq-Hazara are a semi-nomadic tribe that roams freely on journeys across the rugged mountain ranges. They inhabit an area that is known for its world famous trade routes. Interaction with various people groups has produced a mixed heritage among the Char Aimaq. Most of them have pronounced Mongoloid features and claim to have descended from the soldiers of Genghis Kahn. The Char Aimaq appear to have been active in defending against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as in the subsequent civil war.
What are their lives like?
At one time, the Aimaq-Hazara were a completely nomadic people. Today, however, they are semi-nomadic, traveling only during certain seasons. Due to problems with drought and erosion in the 1950's and 1960's, many of the Aimaq-Hazara nomads became farmers. They raise wheat, grapes, rice, barley, oats, melons, and vegetables with primitive hoes and wooden plows. Nevertheless, agriculture is still considered only a secondary activity in their culture, and a man's wealth is determined by the size of his herds.
The Aimaq-Hazara are dependent on their herds to supply meat, milk, fat, and cheese. The animal skins are also used for making tents. While farming, the Aimaq-Hazara stay in towns and live in brick huts. Their flocks remain in the valleys and eat gathered grain. During the spring and summer months, they wander through the mountains, living in tents.
The Aimaq-Hazara society is both patriarchal (male-dominated) and patrilineal (tracing ancestral descent through the males). The nuclear family is the most important unit of society. It usually consists of a man, his parents, his wife or wives, and their children. Once a young girl marries, she is considered part of her husband's immediate family. Ethnic identity among the Aimaq-Hazara is based on family and clan.
The Aimaq-Hazara women may help watch the flocks, but their primary occupation is weaving carpet. Each tribe or town has its own unique pattern, which is passed down from mother to daughter. The women use portable looms to make these fine, wool carpets. When food sources are low, the money earned from the carpet sales may be the only means of survival for the Aimaq-Hazara. The carpets, along with livestock and cash, are also used as marriage payments.
What are their beliefs?
The Aimaq-Hazara are devout Muslims. Most of them belong to the Hanafi branch because they believe it to be the purest form of Islam. Their strong Islamic beliefs often ridicule the "corrupted monotheism" of Christianity. However, many Muslims are familiar with the Old Testament stories that are re-told in the Koran. They also trace their own spiritual lineage to Abraham.
What are their needs?
During and after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. and other countries sent military aid to Afghanistan's "freedom fighters." Today, because the country struggles with political wars and human rights abuses, this aid has been cut off. The entire country was terribly affected by the war against the Soviets. Whole villages were destroyed and food supplies were threatened. Today, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Few have safe drinking water, and fighting is still going on in some areas.
The remote location and wide dispersion of the Aimaq-Hazara have made them hard to reach with the Gospel. At the present time, there is no Christian witness available to the Aimaq-Hazara.
- Pray that God will begin mending the lives of these war-torn people.
- Ask the Lord to raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible into the Aimaq-Hazara language.
- Pray that Christian humanitarian aid workers and medical teams will have opportunities to work among the Aimaq-Hazara and share God's love with them in practical ways.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Aimaq-Hazara bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams that will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
- Pray that Christian broadcasts will soon be made available to the Aimaq-Hazara.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Aimaq-Hazara.
See also the following Aimaq Groups:
The Firozkohi of Afghanistan;
The Jamshidi of Iran;
The Jamshidi of Afghanistan;
The Taimani of Afghanistan;
The Teymur of Iran; and
The Teymur of Afghanistan.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Aimaq Hazara
- Country: Afghanistan
- Their language: Hazara Aimaq
- Largest religion:
- Christians: None
- Church members: None
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: None
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 7,000 (5%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 134,000 (95%)
- Country: Afghanistan
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 9
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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