Introduction / History
From an ecological standpoint, there are places that are a blending of two communities which we call an ecotone. For example, a desert gradually morphs into a chaparral community when the land becomes less dry and different plant life emerges. Likewise, there are places in North Africa that are predominantly Arab, and further south, the culture and the people are sub-Saharan African, but blended with that of the Arabs. Sudan is an excellent example of this. There are many sub-Saharan tribes in Sudan that we describe as "Arabized." They look like sub-Saharan Africans and retain a certain degree of their original culture, yet they began adopting the traditions and practices associated with Arabic Islamic culture.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The process of Arabization accelerated when Sudanese Arabs filled the power vacuum left by the Egyptians and the British colonialists at the time of independent in 1956. Arab Muslims achieved greater influence through conquest and an Arabic language-based education system. The Arabized tribes of Sudan include the Dilling people.
For the Arabized Dilling people, agriculture is the basis of the economy. Sorghum and millet are their staple crops, along with watermelons, gourds, okra, sesame, and cotton. They also raise cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and dogs. They make cheese and butter from the milk of both the cows and goats.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most of the Arabized tribes live in permanent settlements or villages. Their houses are simple round huts with thatched roofs. Those who are nomadic live in temporary camps due to their constant migrating tendencies. They usually live in dome-shaped shelters made of branches covered with grass. In the cities, where the few merchants and businessmen live, the houses are generally rectangular in shape and have tin roofs.
Most of the Arabized African tribes live much like the Arabs of other regions. Their lives revolve 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. Polygamy (having more than one wife) is a common practice among the Arabized tribes in Sudan. However, according to Islamic law, a man cannot have more than four wives. After marriage, the newlywed couple generally lives with or near the husband's parents. However, in some groups, the young couple will live with the wife's family until after the birth of the first child.
One of the things that is unique about the Sudanese Arabs is they don't have any Christian tradition like Arabs do further east and north. As they "Arabized" the tribes in Sudan, they made a point of spreading Islam along with their Arabic culture. For this reason, the Arabized tribes in this region are almost entirely Muslim, and very staunchly so. They believe in the "Five Pillars of Islam," but also retain a pragmatic approach to spiritual matters that leads them to use charms and amulets for their daily needs.
What Are Their Needs?
There are often outbreaks of violence in Sudan, and the women and children are usually victims of human trafficking, rape, and murder.
Pray for the Lord to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the Arabized Dilling people in Sudan.
Pray for workers, filled with the love of the Holy Spirit, to go to the Arabized Dilling people.
Pray for the Arabized Dilling people to crave pure spiritual milk and find it in the Word of God.
Pray for a Holy Spirit directed movement to Christ among the Arabized Dilling people.
Scripture Prayers for the Dilling, Arabized in Sudan.