Introduction / History
When one thinks of the Arabs peoples, one sees them living in the Middle East and North Africa. However, there is an Arab Diaspora. Thousands of Arabs live in nations all over the world including the West African county of Ghana. Arabs came to Ghana during the 19th century as merchants and traders. Some have come in the 20th century to work in Ghana's oil industry. Ghana became a British colony in the late 19th century. It became an independent nation in 1957. Although Ghana has had its share of military coups and political turmoil, Ghana has had a relatively stable society compared to many of her African neighbors. English is the official language of Ghana. Eleven regional Bantu languages are also given official status. Education is in English. French is taught in secondary schools due to the fact that Ghana is surrounded by mostly French speaking countries. The primary language of the Arabs of Ghana is Arabic. They also speak English and often French as well as local languages.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Arabs in Ghana are a diverse group. Many are shop and restaurant owners while other work in tourism and the mining industry. Most Arabs live in urban area. Some wealthier Arabs work as managers and administrators in the petroleum business. Their ability to speak Arabic aids them in working with Middle Eastern oil businesses. Arab parents encourage their children to marry within their group. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. Sons inherit property. Sons often follow their fathers in business. Parent desire their children, especially sons, to obtain college educations. Young people may attend Arabic language schools on weekends to retain their family heritage.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The majority of the Arabs of Ghana are Sunni Muslims, the largest branch of Islam. Sunnis strive to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain paradise when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. A tiny fraction of Arabs in Ghana claims to be followers of Christ.
What Are Their Needs?
The Arabs of Ghana need to see that Isa or Jesus is more than a human prophet. Only through Christ can their sins be forgiven.
Pray that God leads believers in Christ to reach out and build redemptive relationships with Ghanese Arabs. Pray that the small number of Arab Christ followers in Ghana would find thriving churches and grow in their faith. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Ghanese Arabs in this decade. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to the Muslim peoples in Ghana.
Scripture Prayers for the Arab in Ghana.