Nubian, Arabized in Egypt

Joshua Project has identified the Nubian, Arabized only in Egypt






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The name Nubian was given to the original inhabitants of Nubia, a thin settlement along the Nile River in southern Egypt. Most of that region was submerged by the flooding of the Aswan High Dam in 1964, and thousands of Nubian were relocated to an area in Komombo called New Nubia.

For many years, foreign conquerors and traders passed through Nubia, sometimes settling and intermarrying with the Nubians. The Arabs, who invaded much of North Africa in the seventh and eleventh centuries, displaced some Nubian groups and absorbed others. As a result, nearly 390,000 Nubians are now "Arabized," influenced by the Arab culture, language, and religion. Though they share the same origin as their Nubian neighbors, most Arabized Nubians have adopted the lifestyle of the Egyptian Arabs, and today, some people consider them an Arab group. These Arabized Nubians live east of Komombo in Aswan and speak an Arabic dialect called Masri.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The land in which the Arabized Nubians live is low-lying, fertile, and suitable for cultivation because of its proximity to the Nile River. Millet, wheat, barley, beans, dates, and watermelons are raised for both household consumption and some trade. One of the basic staples of the diet is dura, a thin, coarse bread eaten by the Bedouin Arabs. Pieces of the bread are piled on top of one another and eaten with vegetables and sauces. Although most of the Arabized Nubians are farmers, many have found jobs in the cities as teachers, government workers, seamstresses, and retailers.

Most Arabized Nubians are peasants who live in villages in rural areas. Their houses are simple, round dwellings with grass-thatched roofs. Just as the original Arabs lived a nomadic life, some Arabized Nubians also seasonally migrate with their herds. These live in temporary camps, with dome-shaped shelters made of branches covered with grass. Arabized Nubians dress in a fashion similar to other Arabs. Long-sleeved cotton tunics, or djellabas, are worn with sandals and cotton turbans or caps.

Family honor is important to Arabized Nubians. Each member of a family has a defined role, according to Arab tradition. The Arabized Nubians find shelter in the family during times of economic hardship and in old age. Children are a great asset to the village, as they provide the work force and security for the future. When young people leave to work in the towns or cities, the family's socio-economic system is often weakened.

The birth of children, especially boys, is cause for celebration among the Arabized Nubian. The first word a baby hears is the word "Allah" whispered in its ear. Boys and girls are raised together during early childhood, yet receive different treatment. Boys are given much affection and are pampered by their mothers, while girls, though shown some affection, are not pampered. The father is a stern disciplinarian to both boys and girls. Boys help their fathers and older brothers in the fields and are taught to obey and respect older males. Girls help their mothers cook and help care for the younger children.

Life for Arabized Nubians center around important ceremonies, such as birth, marriage, death, and the first haircut and circumcision for boys. The most elaborate of all ceremonies is the marriage ceremony. Most men have more than one wife, but under Islamic law, they cannot have more than four.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Arabized Nubians are totally Muslim, following the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, as written in the Koran. To the Muslim, Islam provides hope for a better life after death. The mosque is the center of worship, where mostly men go to pray. If the women go to the mosque, they must pray in the back of the building.

What Are Their Needs?

The great majority of Arabized Nubians have not had an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Prayer is the key to breaking the stronghold of Islam over their lives.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to send laborers into Egypt to minister the love of Jesus to Arabized Nubians.
* Pray that evangelical literature in the Masri language will be made available to Arabized Nubians.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Arabized Nubians to the Gospel message.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among Arabized Nubians who will profess Jesus as Lord.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among Arabized Nubians.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-12-29
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-12-29
People Name General Nubian, Arabized
People Name in Country Nubian, Arabized
Population in Egypt 460,000
World Population 460,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Nubian
People Name General Nubian, Arabized
Ethnic Code NAB62m
People ID 14054
Country Egypt
Region Middle East and North Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 23  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Arabic, Egyptian Spoken (460,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Arabic, Egyptian Spoken 460,000
For Primary Language: Arabic, Egyptian Spoken

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1905-1991)
New Testament Yes   (1932)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Arabic Bibles Online Audio Recordings
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Egyptian Arabic Music Video Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Arabic, Egyptian Spoken Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture (Talking Bibles) Audio Recordings
Oral Bible Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
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: Elijah Zarwan   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.