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who are the hazaras?
who are the hazaras?

who are the hazaras?



The Hazaras are one of several ethnic groups inhabiting 7 million mostly in central Afghanistan. The area is known as Hazarajat or originally Hazaristan. The Hazaras are Muslim and Shi'a in majority, but we also have Sunni's. We speak our own version of Farsi known as the "Hazaragi" dialect. The Hazaras are the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. However, as a consequence of the discriminatory and segregationist policies of ruling Afghan/Pashtun governments, they remain politically, economically and socially the most underdeveloped group in Afghanistan society

The Hazaras are mostly Shi’as Muslims, and inhabit the heart of Afghanistan, surrounded by Sunni Muslims. A second theory suggests that the Hazaras adopted Shi’ism at the time of Shah Abbas Safavid (1589-1629). This theory was first proposed by Vambery in 1895, who maintained: “Shah Abbas forced them [the Hazaras] to accept Shi’ism” (1864:132). Hazara Shi’ism, like that of Persia, is Isna-Ashari (Twelver). This theory of their conversion to Shi’ism at the time of Shah Abbas is confirmed by the Hazara themselves. “the Hazaras were already Shi’as at the time of Shah Abbas; two to three thousand Hazara soldiers, under the command of Din Mohammad Khan Uzbek, fought against Shah Abbas’s army” (1916:567-9).

A third theory maintains that the Hazaras adopted Shi’ism as soon as they converted to Islam. After Ghazan-Khan his son, Abu Said, continued his father’s tradition (Rashid, 1959:984-985,997). Thus, according to this theory, Shi’ism was first established and encouraged in Afghanistan by Ghazan Khan and his son Abu Said.

It could be argued that the theories of Schurmann and Temirkhanov are both correct, i.e., it is possible that some Hazaras were converted to Shi’ism by Ghazan Khan and Abu Sa’id, a fact which need not contradict the theory holding Shah Abbas responsible for further encouraging Shi’ism amongst the Hazaras. Thus, it can be maintained that Shi’ism amongst the Hazaras began at the time of Ghazan Khan, but that it was not until the Safavid period when Shi’ism became the official religion of Iran that the process was completed. The original Shi’as in Iran and Afghanistan were the descendants of Ali, known as Sadat-e Alavi. The conversion of the Hazaras to Shi’ism did not take place at one particular period; it is not possible to maintain that the Hazaras converted to Shi’ism at one particular moment in history. Most Hazaras are Shi’as, although some, such as the Sheikh Ali and Firozkohi Hazaras, have remained Sunni. Shi’ism itself is divided into smaller sects. One of the most internationally respected and famous scholars, a founder of the Islamic Renaissance in Afghanistan, Sayyed Jamaluddin Afghani (1901), referred to the Shi’as Hazaras as ghali. Copyright: Askar Musawi, "The Hazarahs of Afghanistan".