Iranun in Malaysia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Ilanunu are a small Filipino Muslim group of sea-based people who are very closely related, culturally and linguistically, to the Maranao and especially to the Maguindanao. Sometimes the Ilanun are numbered among the Maranao, particularly those living along the coast of Lanao del Sur and sometimes they are numbered among the Maguindanao. Historically, the Ilanun, the Maranao and the Maguindanao have been considered separate ethnic groups, though they are descended from common ethnic origins.

Most of the Ilanun are engaged in fishing, while the rest raise food crops along with Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors. Their socio-political organization is governed by traditional and customary laws. They have their own datus and headman. The headman acts as a mediator of dispute and as a facilitator of discussions and meetings.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Ilanun are Muslim and common to all Muslim groups is the performance of the five pillars of Islam. The Ilanun observe these pillars but they are relatively more relaxed about them. The Ilanun also believe in spirits and are in constant fear of them. Thus, there are many animistic rituals that they also observe in addition to Islam.

The Ilanun have resisted every effort to introduce Christianity to them. Their attitude towards Christianity is still marked by indifference. There has been one group trying to reach the Ilanun for a long time but with very minimal results.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the Filipino Christian community, especially in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Mguindanao, to see the need to love, reach out and evangelize the Ilanun.
* Pray for protection, wisdom, strength and encouragement for those ministering to the Ilanun.
* Pray that God will provide opportunities for the Gospel to be shared with this people.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of the Ilanaun and turn them from indifference towards Christianity.
* Pray for one new missionary team to live and minister among the Ilanun.
* Pray that the centuries of misunderstanding and mistrust between Filipino Christians and Filipino Muslims be removed.

Profile Source:   Asia Missions (AMNET)  

People Name General Iranun
People Name in Country Iranun
Population in Malaysia 17,000
World Population 273,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Ilanun, Illanun Maranao
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Filipino, Muslim
People Name General Iranun
Ethnic Code MSY44x
People ID 12209
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Lahad Datu and Kota Belud districts, 17 villages; also reportedly in Kudat and Marudu.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Iranun (17,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Iranun 17,000
For Primary Language: Iranun

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
97.00 %
3.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Asia Missions (AMNET)  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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