Hawa Abdi Center For Displaced Somalis

Pray for Khoja of East Africa

The Shia branch of Islam that we have been praying for has other sects. One of these is the Khoja Ithna Asharis. Ithna Ashari means “twelver” a term that refers to the belief that twelve male descendants from the family of Muhammad are divinely appointed religious and political leaders. Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al Mahdi is the twelfth, the final imam, a Messianic figure, who is expected to return one day with Isa (Jesus) to bring peace and justice to the world.

The Khoja Ithna Asharis community numbers about 125 000 people worldwide. They originate from the Kutch district in Gujarat, India, but have spread to form communities in most continents west of South Asia.

Most of the Khoja in East Africa arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally, they were Ismailis, but a dispute in the Ismaili community in 1866 over the first rightful Aga Khan caused some Ismailis to leave that sect, either wilfully or forcefully. A prosperous Indian trader and leader in the Khoja Ismaili community in Zanzibar named Dew Jamal was one of those who converted to the Ithna Asheri faith and later built that community’s first mosque in East Africa.

Today, Mombasa is the seat of the Supreme Council of the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheris of Africa, representing about 17,000 people. They have been energetic evangelists, working to spread their faith through the Caribbean and into Latin America.

See also  Pray for Somalia

How to Pray

  • Pray for the Khoja to encounter Jesus and understand Him through His own words in Scripture.(John 1:1-14)
  • Pray for movements to faith in Jesus among the Khoja community, for thousands of them to be baptised and discipled. (Matthew 28:19)
  • Pray for the many believers in East Africa to be enthusiastic witnesses, sharing their faith in Christ with the Khoja in a meaningful way. (1 Peter 3:15)
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