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the way of the Pashtuns | by Adi ALGhanem
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the way of the Pashtuns

The countless graces of Paradise come through Pashtu to the Pashtuns.

—"Ghani Khan"


Pashtun culture is based on Pashtunwali, which is an ancient way of life.

it is a non-written ethical code and traditional lifestyle which the indigenous Pashtun people from Afghanistan and Pakistan follow

Its meaning may also be interpreted as "the way of the Pashtuns" or "the code of life". Pashtunwali dates back to ancient pre-Islamic times but is still widely in use, its usage or practice does not contravene basic Islamic principles.


Main principles:


1.Melmastia (hospitality) - Showing hospitality and profound respect to all visitors, regardless of distinctions of race, religion, national affiliation as well as economic status and doing so without any hope of remuneration or favour. Pashtuns will go to great extents to show their hospitality.


2.Nanawatai (asylum) - Derived from the verb meaning to go in, this is used for protection given to a person who requests protection against his/her enemies. The people are protected at all costs, in many cases even people running from the law must be given refuge until the situation is clarified. It can also be used when the vanquished party is prepared to go in to the house of the victors and ask for their forgiveness. (It is a peculiar form of "chivalrous" surrender, in which an enemy seeks "sanctuary" at his enemy's house). A more famous example of this code is of Navy Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Marcus Luttrell, the sole surviving member of a US Navy SEAL team that was ambushed by Taliban fighters. PO1 Luttrell evaded the enemy for days before stumbling upon members of the Sabray tribe who realized the wounded SEAL needed assistance. He was taken to the village and protected by the tribal chief, who even sent word to nearby US forces of PO1 Luttrell's location.


3.Badal (justice) - To seek justice or take revenge against the wrongdoer. This applies to injustices committed yesterday or 1000 years ago if the wrongdoer still exists. Justice in Pashtun lore needs elaborating: even a mere taunt (or "Paighor") is regarded as an insult - which can only usually be redressed by shedding of the taunter's blood (and if he isn't available, then his next closest male relation). This in turn leads to a blood feud that can last generations and involve whole tribes with the loss of hundreds of lives. Normally blood feuds in this all male dominated setup are then settled in a number of ways.


4.Tureh (bravery) - A Pashtun must defend his land/property, family and women from incursions wherever he or she might reside. A Pashtun should always stand brave against tyranny and he should always be able to defend his property, family, women and the honour of his name. Death can follow if anyone mistreats these traits.


5.Sabat (loyalty) - Loyalty must be paid to one's family, friends, and tribe members. Loyalty is a must and a Pashtun can never become disloyal as this would be utterly shameful towards themselves and their families.


6.Imandari (righteousness) - A Pashtun must always strive towards thinking good thoughts, speaking good words and doing other good deeds. Pashtuns must behave respectfully towards all creations including people, animals and the environment around them. Pollution of the environment or its destruction is against the Pashtunwali.


7.Isteqamat - Trust in God (known as "Allah" in Arabic and "Khudai-ta-Allah" in Pashto). The notion of trusting in the one Creator generally comports to Islamic idea of belief in only one God (tawheed).


8.Ghayrat (self honour or dignity) - Pashtuns must maintain their human dignity. Honour has great importance in Pashtun society and most other codes of life are aimed towards the preservation of one's honour or pride. They must respect themselves and others in order to be able to do so, especially those they do not know. Respect begins at home, among family members and relatives.


9.Namus (Honor of women) - A Pashtun must defend the honor of Pashtun women at all costs and must protect them from vocal and physical harm.


Source: Wikipedia

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Taken on November 2, 2011