Introduction / History
The name Bafinda, or Bafand, is derived from the Persian word baften, meaning cotton dresser. The traditional occupation of the Bafinda was growing cotton and making it into fabric and clothes.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The primary language of the Bafinda is Dogri. The New Testament and the JESUS Film are available in Dogri. Many of the Bafinda men are also able to speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. There are few if any believers among the Bafinda of India.
Many of the Muslim Bafinda left India for Pakistan during the 1947 Partition. A smaller Muslim group decided to stay in India in Kashmir and Jammu. Today the Bafinda people live in northern Pakistan and India.
With the introduction of large cotton farms and clothes factories, the Bafinda have had to go into other jobs to make a living. The Bafinda largely shifted to carpet weaving. Now they are engaged in many vocations including agriculture, animal husbandry, construction, trade, and other businesses.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Bafinda generally marry only within their own community. Families and young people arrange marriages. The Bafinda try to follow the Islamic laws in their villages. Elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders. The Bafinda tend to have large families as children, especially boys, are seen as the blessing of Allah. A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them.
The Bafinda people are Sunni Muslims. They believe in the supreme God, Allah. They believe that God 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.
What Are Their Needs?
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.
Jammu and Kashmir, the home of the Bafinda people, is an area of conflict between Muslims and Hindus. The Barfinda people need peace in their homeland as well as access to modern medicine in their villages. Most of all, the Barfinda need to know about God’s Son, Isa or Jesus. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Pray for a just peace in the region where the Bafinda live.
Pray for workers to go to the Bafinda people in Pakistan and India.
Pray for Bafinda elders to have a hunger for God’s word.
Pray for a chain reaction of believing Bafinda families reaching others that result in thousands of new disciples of Christ.
Scripture Prayers for the Bafinda in India.