Hazara in Iran

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Hazara Khawari (Berberi) are a people of Mongolian descent who immigrated from Afghanistan to Iran in the nineteenth century. The name "Hazara" originally referred to a fighting unit of 1,000 men. Today, it simply means "mountain tribe," and is used in reference to the mountain settlements of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

Of the estimated three plus million Hazara in the world, the vast majority live in Afghanistan. Approximately 125,000 live in Pakistan; and the remainder are scattered throughout the various places and cities of the Middle East. The Hazara Berberi live primarily in the Iranian province of Khorasan, south of Mashhad. Others live in Shahr-e-Ray, south of Tehran.

The Hazara Berberi traditionally lived as nomadic shepherds. Today, however, many have turned to farming as a means of survival.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Hazara Khawari (Berberi) nomads originally immigrated to Iran in search of better pastures for their flocks. They also hoped to escape the consequences of a failed revolt against the Afghan government. In times past, the Hazara Khawari (Berberi) were primarily sheep and goat herders. The second generation had to rely on farming as a supplement to their shepherding. Their main crops are wheat, barley, beans, and milk, which are the staples of their diet.

Today, most have moved to the cities, mainly Mashhad and few to Tehran. The third generation had the opportunity to study, so today there is a social layer of educated person among the other layers of the people in Iran, mainly in Mashhad. There are engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and many others who running medium to large-scale factories and farms.

During the Iran-Iraq war, many Hazara from northeastern Iran fought in the war and showed their braveness on the battlefield. Many of them were killed. Approximately half of the numbers of causalities from Mashhad were Hazara, in spite of the fact that their population makes up only one tenth of Mashhad.

Unfortunately there is race discrimination in Iran regarding minorities, and the Hazara are not immune this problem. During the war Hazara were popular, but after the war only during the Presidency of Mr. Khatami were the Hazareh awarded, involved in Parliament and other government positions.

There had been huge intermarriage between the Hazara and other people in Northeastern Iran.

The common language of the Hazara Berberi is Hazaragi, a language that has been passed down for many generations. It is sometimes referred to as Afghan-Persian and it appears to be related to Dari, a language also spoken in the Middle East.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Hazara Berberi are virtually all Muslim, divided into two sects of the Shi'ite order. The dominant sect is the Ithna Ashari, also known as "Twelvers." The second group is known as the Ismailis, or "Seveners." The vast majority of the Berberi are Ithna Asharis, and the remainder are Ismailis. Strong negative feelings exist between the two groups.

The Hazara Berberi believe that the way to God is only found in the teachings of their holy book, the Koran. The Muslim religion is a religion of works-based specifically on the five basic teachings or "pillars." In order to attain heaven, one must adhere to these teachings. Muslims believe that there is only one god: Allah. They must pray five times a day, give alms to the poor, fast during the month of Ramadan, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once their lifetime.

What Are Their Needs?

The Hazara Berberi are considered one of the least evangelized ethnic groups in the Middle East. Unfortunately, they have been somewhat forgotten by Christian missionaries ever since their identification as a separate ethnic group.

There are only a few known Hazara Berberi Christians. Until 1990, there were no known Scripture translations in their native language, Hazaragi.

Prayer Points

Pray that the doors of Iran will soon open to missionaries.
Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Iran and share Christ with Hazara Berberi.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will protect and encourage the small number of believers.
Pray that God will raise up intercessors to stand in the gap for the Hazara Berberi.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give missions agency strategies for reaching these precious Muslims with the Gospel.
Pray for the effective use of the Jesus film in Hazaragi.
Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Hazara Berberi.

Scripture Prayers for the Hazara in Iran.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

People Name General Hazara
People Name in Country Hazara
Pronunciation huh-ZAH-ruh
Alternate Names Afghan Persian; Behsud; Berberi; Dai Kundi; Dai Miradad; Dai Zangi; Ghazni Hazaras; Jaguri; Khawari; Polada; Teymur; Urusgani; Yekaulang; हज़ारा
Population this Country 419,000
Population all Countries 4,554,000
Total Countries 9
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 8
People ID 12076
ROP3 Code 103743
ROP25 Code 303007
ROP25 Name Hazara
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Khorasan, north of Mashhad   Source: 
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Khorasan, north of Mashhad.   Source: 
Map of Hazara in Iran Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.05 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.95 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Hazaragi (419,000 speakers)
Language Code haz   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Hazaragi (419,000 speakers)
Language Code haz   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Hazaragi

Primary Language:  Hazaragi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2008-2015)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hazaragi Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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