Hajam in Sri Lanka

Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Hajam
Country: Sri Lanka
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,100
World Population: 5,340,100
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Hajams or Hajjams are also known as the Nai Muslims or Turuk Navid. There is a long-standing tradition of the Hajam being hair-cutters, barbers and manicurists.

Where Are they Located?

The Hajams are found in nearly every part of India and most of Pakistan. In Nepal they can be found in almost any part of the Terai region. A small number live in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Hajam remains a respected caste of hair-cutters (hajamat). In some areas the Hajams are the owners of barber shops and salons. In the Muslim community they can often be an active part of the community as hair-trimming for major family events like weddings and funerals can involve them. Even minor ritual surgeries like circumcision can be conducted by some Hajam. In some communities they can also be match-makers, and some women assist with childbirth. Though they are Sunni Muslims, married women will often be distinguished by a nose-stud and the "bindi" dot on the forehead. They are not vegetarian and will eat beef with their rice, wheat or maize.

Hajam comedians known as shongs appear when a child is born, just before a circumcision, and at weddings. Wearing colorful costumes, singing and dancing, they often act drunk and ask for money during their comedy acts. They are a popular part of the Hajam people group's culture. While the antics of the shongs are entertaining, they also perform the more serious task of teaching Islamic beliefs through rituals and ceremonies, according to a March 3, 2007 article in Star Insight. In what might be compared to America's Halloween, the Hajams have found a way to celebrate, laugh, and, in the case of the jesters themselves, make money within the strict confines of Islam.

What Are Their Beliefs?

This is a Muslim people group. Like other Muslims in South Asia, their form of Islam is affected by the ancient Hindu practices that they see around them. They might pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan each year, and even go on the pilgrimage to Mecca, but on a daily basis they often depend on various spirit beings.

What Are Their Needs?

There is little to no ministry among the Hajams although they are a fairly large Muslim group in Sri Lanka. Even though their community can be slow to adopt new medicine and technology this group remains a strategic people to reach with the gospel as they have far-reaching connection into the Muslim community socially.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Hajam people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Hajam families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for Hajam families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to seek forgiveness, and to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Hajam family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Text Source:   Keith Carey