Prayer Profile
The Jamshidi of Afghanistan

[IMAGE] The Jamshidi are a small minority tribe located in Afghanistan. They belong to a larger cluster of eight tribes, the Char Aimaq, who are scattered throughout western Afghanistan and northern Iran. The Jamshidi, like other Aimaq tribes, speak a form of Persian called Farsi, with some Turkic (Aimaq) vocabulary.

Over the years, the Char Aimaq tribes have been moved, split, and combined by various governments. The Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi are dependent on their herds to supply meat, milk, fat, and cheese. The animal skins are also used for making tents. While farming, the Jamshidi 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.

Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi is based on family and clan.

The Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi. The carpets, along with livestock and cash, are also used as marriage payments.

What are their beliefs?
The Jamshidi are virtually all Sunni (orthodox) Muslims of the Hanafite branch. They believe Hanafi 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, which are re-told in the Koran. They also trace their own spiritual lineage back 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 Jamshidi have made them hard to reach with the Gospel. At the present time, there is no Christian witness available to the Jamshidi. Prayer is the first step toward seeing them reached with the Light of the Gospel.

Prayer Points

  • 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 Jamshidi (Aimaq) language.
  • Pray that Christian medical teams will have opportunities to work among the Jamshidi and share God's love with them in practical ways.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Jamshidi 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 Jamshidi.
  • 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 Jamshidi by the year 2000.

See also the following Aimaq Groups:
The Firozkohi of Afghanistan; The Jamshidi of Iran; The Taimani of Afghanistan;
The Teymur of Iran; The Teymur of Afghanistan; and
The Aimaq Hazara of Afghanistan.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Jamshidi
  • Country: Afghanistan
  • Their language: Jamshidi
  • Population: (1990) 60,200
    (1995) 80,600
    (2000) 106,700
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Hanafite) 100%
  • Christians: 0%
  • Church members: 0
  • 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: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 3,200 (4%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 0 (0%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 3,200 (4%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 77,400 (96%)
  • Country: Afghanistan
  • Population: (1990) 15,044,500
    (1995) 20,140,500
    (2000) 26,673,600
  • Major peoples in size order: Pathan 48.5%
    Afghani Tajik (17.9%
    Hazara 8.1%
    Southern Uzbek (8%)
    Persian (3.3%)
  • Major religions: Muslims 99.4%
    Hindus 0.4%
    Christians 0.1%
  • Number of denominations: 9

© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center

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