Introduction / History
It is believed that Lord Vishwakarma created two groups of people, and those who could work in wood were called the Badhi. This term is derived from the Hindi word barhai, meaning "carpenter." Though the Hindu community known as the Badhi claim a descent from Lord Vishwakarma, the divine architect, there is another group of Badhi. The community of Muslim carpenters, part of the Saifi in the Muslim caste-system, are also called Badhi. Though the Hindi tradition states descent from deity, the Muslim tradition claims descent from early Muslim settlers in northern India. More likely, they are Muslim converts from the Badhi caste.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Though most Muslim Badhai live in India, there are smaller numbers of them in Nepal and Pakistan.
Traditionally, the Badhi were a caste of carpenters and wood workers, making furniture and agricultural implements. Many present-day Badhi have moved into farming or agricultural labor. Though the settlements where they live may be populated by multiple castes or religions, the Muslim Badhi occupy their own quarters. Every settlement has its own panchayat, a caste council for settling disputes and maintaining order. There is very little interaction between the Badhi and other Muslim groups, despite close proximity. Even intermarriage with other groups is almost non-existent. The exception to this rule are those belonging to the Muslim Saifi caste, which encompasses carpenters and blacksmiths. Neighboring non-Muslim groups are even less tolerated, and the Badhi remain socially distant with them.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Badhi 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.
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 Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, common 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 they live on a daily basis. For that reason, some Muslims appease spirits using charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces. More orthodox Muslims consider these practices heretical and un-Islamic.
The Badhi people need to be given the chance to hear the life-changing gospel so they can enjoy life to the full.
Pray for loving gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Badhi people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing the hearts of these people would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Badhi people to become fruitful so others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.
Scripture Prayers for the Shershabdia (Muslim traditions) in India.