Sheikh Mohammadi tribe

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Sheikh Mohammadi or Sheikhan (Pashto:"شيخ محمدى "شيخان) various tribal communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan identify as Sheikhan. In 2001 over half a dozen Pashtun tribes and sub-tribes were formally registered as Sheikhan. [1]

Pashto Indo-Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan

Pashto, sometimes spelled Pukhto, is the language of the Pashtuns. It is known in Persian literature as Afghāni (افغانی) and in Hindustani literature as Paṭhānī. Speakers of the language are called Pashtuns/Pakhtuns/Pathans and sometimes Afghans. It is an Eastern Iranian language, belonging to the Indo-European family. Pashto is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan, and it is the second-largest regional language of Pakistan, mainly spoken in the west and northwest of the country. In Pakistan, it is the majority language of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern districts of Balochistan. Along with Dari Persian, Pashto is the main language among the Pashtun diaspora around the world. The total number of Pashto-speakers is estimated to be 45–60 million people worldwide.

However, two distinct communities specifically identify as Sheikh Mohammadi. One of these communities claims direct lineage to Sheikh Mohammad Rohani. This community is also known as Sadat. [2] Members of this community speak Pashto and primarily reside in the Bannu region of Pakistan, Zermat, and the Arghestan river basin in southern Afghanistan. Most members of this community are sedentary agriculturalists. [3] [4] [5]

Sheikh Mohammad Rohani(1220-1305 AD)(Pashto:شيخ محمد روحانى) also known as Shah Mohammad Rohani and Rohani Ba Ba was a Sufi cleric born around 1220 AD. The cleric, whose shrine in southern Afghanistan attracts thousands of Sufi visitors every year, is said to have migrated to current day Afghanistan in the later parts of the 13th century AD during the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. He was a disciple of the renowned Sheikh Rukn-e-Alam.

Bannu City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Banū or Bannu is a city located in Bannu District in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Founded by Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes in 1848 during the British colonial era, Bannu was once a British military base used for action against the Pashtun border tribes of the Tochi Valley and Waziristan. Bannu’s residents are primarily members of the Banuchi tribe and speak a dialect of Pashto that is similar to the distinct Wazir dialect.

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South and Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, whilst the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.

Another group of people that identifies as Sheikh Mohammadi is mostly a community of peddlers with residence in eastern Afghanistan and the vicinity of Peshawar city in Pakistan. Members of this community speak Adurgari and are widely distinguished by their peripatetic lifestyle. According to local ethnographers ancestors of the Fermuli tribe and Adurgar tribe were guided to Islam by Sheikh Mohammad Rohani. [6] After conversion to Islam the Adurgar adopted ‘Sheikh Mohammadi’ as their communal identity. [7]

In 1976 a Danish anthropologist, Asta Olesen, suggested that the Sheikh Mohammadis were originally a "spiritual fraternity" constituted by "unrelated disciples of the pious Shaykh Ruhani Baba." [8] According to Olesen, "it appears that there exist no kinship connections between the various Shaykh Mohammadi communities, and in most cases no genealogical connection between them and Shaykh Ruhani Baba. There is nothing unusual in an ethnic group or community being joined by outsiders, but the scale at which this has occurred among the Shaykh Mohammadi seems extraordinary." [9] A plausible reason for outsiders claiming Sheikh Mohammadi identity was to benefit from tax exemptions. [10] Historically the descendants of Sheikh Mohammad Rohani have been exempt from state taxes. Some have also enjoyed state patronage under the Durrani rulers in Afghanistan.


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References

  1. Bandawal, Hasan Gul. "The Dictionary of Pashtoon Tribes and Branches", Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan - International Center for Pashto Studies, 2001, P. 282
  2. Khan, Muhammad Hayat. "Afghanistan and Its Inhabitants", Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1981 (Original publication in 1874), p. 295
  3. Khan, Mohammad Hayat. Hayat-i-Afghani, Danish Khparandoya Tolana, 2007, P. 455
  4. KakaKhail, Said Bahadur Shah Zafar. Pashtana, University Book Agency, 1964, P. 1088
  5. MianKhail, Mohammad Omar Rawand. Da Pashtano Qabilo Shajaray Aw Maini, P. 273-274
  6. Neametullah. "History of the Afghans", Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1829, p. 57
  7. Marwat, Mohammad Sadiq. Zmong Qabail, (Publishers unknown), 1995, P.113-116
  8. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 132
  9. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 144
  10. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 142