Bisharin Beja in Sudan

The Bisharin Beja have only been reported in Sudan
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Beja are a nomadic people group with a million and a half members who live in the northeastern portion of the African nation of Sudan. Eastern Sudan has been the homeland of the Beja since the days of the pharaohs 4,000 years ago. Despite historical contacts with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, it was the Muslims who finally had a real and lasting impression on the Beja. Although the Beja had partially accepted Christianity in 500 A.D., their conversion was only skin deep and beginning in 640 A.D., when Arabs first invaded Sudan, the Beja began to gradually adopt the Islamic faith. The Arabs did not conquer Sudan, and although many Beja tribes still do not speak Arabic, Islam left a lasting impact on their lifestyle, customs and religious practices.
There are a number of Beja subgroups. Sometimes they are subdivided by clan, other times by language. The Bisharin Beja speak Bedawiyet.


What Are Their Lives Like?

In general, the Bisharin Beja have always rejected authority and they greatly value their nomadic freedom. For the most part they have not changed their lifestyle or practices in the last 1,500 years. Most Bisharin Beja are nomadic herders of camels and goats, although some have adopted sedentary lifestyles in the towns and cities of eastern Sudan. They divide into five distinct clans, and from these clans exist smaller groups of one to ten extended families. The sparse distribution of grazing due to little rainfall isolates the families from one another even more. With no settled homes, they live in tents made from woven palm matting and exist mainly on a diet of milk and grain, supplemented occasionally by meat and sugar.
The Bisharin Beja like to sing and play musical instruments, in particular the rababa, which is similar to a guitar. Since they are renowned camel herders, camels are the most popular subject matter for songs, but many songs also describe the beauty of women or speak about a longing for a special place, such as a village, mountain or good grazing lands.
Coffee is very important to the Bisharin Beja. Drinking coffee involves relaxing with friends and talking. Their crown of fuzzy hair (tiffa) has characterized the Beja for centuries. Long greased ringlets hang down from the head, which has a fluffed crown of looser hair on top. The Beja often marry cousins. Polygyny is unusual, but sometimes practiced by wealthy men. In this patrilineal society, the birth of a baby boy is greeted with a trill of exaltation or with chanting, while a newborn girl is greeted with silence.
The Bisharin Beja are a hospitable people, always showing kindness to other clans; however, they are not necessarily friendly to foreigners.
Bisharin Beja prefer cross-cousin marriages. After a marriage contract has been made, a large gift of livestock, clothing, and other goods is given to the bride's family. The goal of young couples is to have many male children and to acquire a great number of female camels. Only the wealthiest Beja have more than one wife.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Throughout their history, Beja groups have practiced a number of different religions, including ancestor and demon worship, devotion to Egyptian gods, Jacobite Christianity and now Islam. Although they are Muslims, Islam is not deep rooted or well understood by the Bisharin Beja. Sharia, or Muslim religious law, is of some importance for settled Beja but matters little to the nomads. Salif, customary Beja law, is more important than either Sharia or modern Sudan code law. Salif emphasizes the mandate of hospitality and provides for rates and modes of compensation for all manner of physical injury, ranging from one blow through murder. They do not make the required pilgrimage to Mecca, and many concerned with the traditional belief of do not say the regular required prayers. The Bisharin Beja continue to be highly afraid of jinn, or bad spirits, which they believe exist everywhere and cause sickness and accidents.


Prayer Points

Pray for many opportunities for the Bisharin Beja people to hear the gospel and respond to it.
Pray for the Lord to speak to many Bisharin Beja elders through dreams and visions.
Pray for many Bisharin Beja to have the spiritual hunger it will take to embrace Jesus Christ no matter what the cost.
May there soon be Bisharin Beja disciples making more disciples.


Scripture Prayers for the Beja, Bisharin in Sudan.


References

Ancient Historical Society


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Beja People Video

Source:  Discover the Beja People      Download

People Name General Beja, Bisharin
People Name in Country Beja, Bisharin
Natural Name Bisharin Beja
Alternate Names Beja; Bisharin
Population this Country 42,000
Population all Countries 42,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 10877
ROP3 Code 101491
ROP25 Code 301035
ROP25 Name Beja, Bisharin
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 Al Bahr al Ahmar state; Kassala, Nahr an Nil, and Al Qadarif states, southeast River Nile.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
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 Al Bahr al Ahmar state; Kassala, Nahr an Nil, and Al Qadarif states, southeast River Nile..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
100.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Bedawiyet
Language Code bej   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Bisharin
Dialect Code 7909   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Arabic, Sudanese
Primary Language Bedawiyet
Language Code bej   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Bisharin
Dialect Code 7909   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Arabic, Sudanese
People Groups Speaking Bedawiyet

Primary Language:  Bedawiyet

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2008-2010)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Beja peoples video General / Other
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Bedawiyet Jesus Film Project
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Nikswieweg - EverybodyWiki  Creative Commons 
Map Source Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Video Source Discover the Beja People
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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