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Religions Islam
Languages Urdu and Hindi
Populated states Uttar Pradesh India and Sindh Pakistan
Subdivisions none

The Qidwai or Kidwai (Urdu: قدوای‎) are a community of Muslims in Pakistan and India and is often considered the premier subdivision of Sheikhs due to their Bani Isra'il lineage as opposed to Bani Ismail of the rest of the Muslims . They are mostly settled in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are also settled in the city of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, also they are settled in areas of the Middle East.[1] The Qidwai, together with the Milki, Malik and Chaudhary are one of the four sub-group of a community who collectively form the Mian Muslim. The Mian Muslim were once a community of substantial landowners in the Awadh region.[2]

History and origin[edit]

The Qidwai or Kidwai are a community of Shaikhs in Pakistan and India. They are mostly settled in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are also settled in the city of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The Qidwa claim descent from Qazi Qidwa, a son of the Sultans of Rum. In what is now modern Turkey. There are differing traditions as to the ethnic origin of the Qazi. Some sources claim he was a descendent of Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam. While other sources claim that he was a Sayyid by lineage. Qazi Qidwa fell out the Sultan, his brother, and migrated to India, with wife and son. There he became a close associate of the famous Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti. The saint is said to have sent him to the Awadh region to spread Islam, where he is said to have won over fifty villages to Islam.

The Qidwai were native Muslims of Uttar Pradesh. Sufi saints are claimed to have gone to the Awadh region to spread Islam, where he is said to have won over fifty villages to Islam. These fifty villages were later awarded to him, and the region became known as Qidwara.[1] According to another tradition, Qazi Qidwa is said have defeated a local ruler in the Awadh region by the name of Raja Jagdeopur. This Raja was said to have belonged to the aboriginal Bhar community. The original settlement of the tribe was Juggaur in Lucknow district, from where they spread to Barabanki District. The taluqdar families have historically intermarried with the Awadhi Bhatti, a neighbouring Muslim Rajput community, with whom they share many cultural traits.[3]

Present circumstances[edit]

The abolishment of the zamindar system by the newly independent India in 1947 had a major impact on the Qidwai community. The larger estates were broken, and land given to the farmers who worked on their lands. This led to some emigration of the Qidwais to Pakistan.[4] The Qidwais are still found mainly in the districts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Barabanki in Awadh Sultanpur region of Uttar Pradesh. In Pakistan Qidwais are mostly settled in Karachi and employed at governmental departments. Some of renowned Qidwais and their affiliations:

1. Former governor of Bombay, India Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, the Governor of Bombay.He carried out The Zamindari Abolition along with G.B.Pant.2. An Indian chemist and politician Mr. Akhlaq Ur Rehman Kidwai, He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award. 3. An an Indian theoretical linguist. She is a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. 4. Pakistan's Longest-Serving Strategic Nuclear Weapons Head General Khalid Qidwai 5. Chairman Sindh Matric Board Mr. Wasiullah Qidwai 6. Mohsina Kidwai, member Indian National Congress, parliamentarian, and 3rd Chief Minister of Haryana 7. Naina Lal Kidwai (Padma Shri), Banker, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC India [Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Caste and Social Stratification Among Muslims (Manohar, 1978), edited by Imtiaz Ahmed, p. 212.
  2. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh (Manohar Publications), Volume XLII Part One, edited by A Hasan & J C Das pp. 968-972.
  3. ^ Barabanki: A Gazetteer (Government of India Press, 1904), Volume XLVIII, by H. R Neville, p. 100.
  4. ^ Caste and Social Stratification among Muslims (Manohar, 1978), edited by Imtiaz Ahmed, pp. 209-215.