Sheikh Mohammadi tribe

Sheikh Mohammadi or Sheikhan (Pashtu:"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]

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. Members of this community speak Pashtu and primarily reside in the Bannu region of Pakistan, Urgon, and the Arghestan river basin in southern Afghanistan. Most members of this community are sedentary agriculturalists.[2][3][4]

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, Sheikh Mohammad Rohani converted to Islam a local community known as ‘Adurgar.’ After conversion to Islam the Adurgar adopted ‘Sheikh Mohammadi’ as their communal identity.[5]

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."[6] 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."[7] A plausible reason for outsiders claiming Sheikh Mohammadi identity was to benefit from tax exemptions.[8] 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.

See Sheikh Mohammad Rohani for details.


  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, Mohammad Hayat. Hayat-i-Afghani, Danish Khparandoya Tolana, 2007, P. 455
  3. KakaKhail, Said Bahadur Shah Zafar. Pashtana, University Book Agency, 1964, P. 1088
  4. MianKhail, Mohammad Omar Rawand. Da Pashtano Qabilo Shajaray Aw Maini, P. 273-274
  5. Marwat, Mohammad Sadiq. Zmong Qabail, (Publishers unknown), 1995, P.113-116
  6. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 132
  7. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 144
  8. Olesen, Asta> "Afghan Craftsmen", Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1994, P. 142
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