Arabized Zaghawa in Sudan

The Arabized Zaghawa have only been reported in Sudan
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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 so 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.
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 Zaghawa, a populous and powerful people.
Since the independence of Sudan, Chad and Niger, the governments have greatly reduced the power of Zaghawa chiefs who rivaled their power. One of the ways to do this is by diluting their culture with that of the dominant Arabs. Also, Islam has weakened their traditional clan system.

What Are Their Lives Like?

These are trying times for the Zaghawa people. They are concerned about their economic welfare, their political independence, and their national heritage in Sudan. Arabized or not, their economy is based on animal husbandry, farming, gathering, and trading. They raise and sell cattle, sheep, camels, and other animals. They consume the milk of cattle, sheep and camels either hot or cold, sour or fresh, pure or mixed with water or tea, as a porridge mixed with millet, or as butter. They might drink the milk of a donkey as a remedy for coughing. They use animal skins to make clothing and leather items, and they eat the meat. Arabized Zaghawa grow tubers (starchy root vegetables) and millet in their fields and vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and okra in small gardens surrounding the homes. The women are responsible for cultivating these small vegetable gardens. They also gather wild grasses, seeds, berries, and other fruits. Small groups of women set out for journeys that last about a month, taking with them all that is necessary for their gathering expedition. They sleep under shelters built from branches and bundles of grass. After the gathering is complete, they store the various grains in earthen jars. In addition to the products gathered by the women, the Zaghawa may also gather honey, certain leaves, and locusts for food.
Many Zaghawa are merchants, traveling southward and eastward to find food supplements and manufactured goods that they lack in their own region. They trade cattle, sheep, wild grasses, and the gum of the Acacia Senegal tree for sugar, tea, oil, blankets, dried dates, soap, and aspirin.
Some of the Zaghawa work as blacksmiths, as these craftsmen are collectively called. Their craft involves making metal tools, weapons, jewelry. These skilled artisans also make pottery and carve wooden stools and musical instruments. A few of the blacksmiths also tan hides, make various leather items, weave cotton and hunt. Among the Zaghawa, blacksmiths are considered to be the lowest caste.
Most Zaghawa villages contain mosques for prayer. There is also a "men's tree," where the men gather to discuss the affairs of the village. Inside the villages you might see girls grinding grain and making porridge while the boys help with the herds or the harvest. From the time a child is very young he is taught the way of life that his caste will offer them.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Since the introduction of Islam to their region in the 1600s, most Zaghawa have gradually converted to Islam. Those who are more Arabized are even more dedicated to Islam. However, some continue to practice their ethnic religion. They have a strong belief in the "evil eye." This is a curse caused by an intent gaze of an envious person. To avoid such curses, they cover babies' faces in public, wear magic charms, and construct their houses in a certain fashion.

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. They need the Lord's protection!

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the Arabized Zaghawa people in Sudan.
Pray for workers, filled with the love of the Holy Spirit, to go to the Arabized Zaghawa people.
Pray for the Arabized Zaghawa 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 Zaghawa people.

Scripture Prayers for the Zaghawa, Arabized in Sudan.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Zaghawa, Arabized
People Name in Country Zaghawa, Arabized
Natural Name Arabized Zaghawa
Alternate Names
Population this Country 164,000
Population all Countries 164,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
People ID 10394
ROP3 Code 100447
ROP25 Code 300449
ROP25 Name Arabized Zaghawa
Country Sudan
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 8  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Primarily north   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country Sudan
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 8  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Primarily north.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
0.00 %
95.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Arabic, Sudanese (164,000 speakers)
Language Code apd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Arabic, Sudanese (164,000 speakers)
Language Code apd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Arabic, Sudanese

Primary Language:  Arabic, Sudanese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1927-1964)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1978-2022)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Arabic Bible Online Arabic Bible Outreach Ministry
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Arabic, Sudanese Spoken Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Arabic, Sudanese Spoken YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App Download audio Bible app from Google Play Store Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Arabic, Sudanese Spoken YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Photo Source Zaghawa Bour - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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