Brahui in Iran

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

While a majority of the Brahui live in Pakistan, a small group has settled in southeastern Iran along the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders. Brahui often move back and forth across these borders in search of adequate pastures and water for their flocks. In some cases, some tribes relocate in other regions where they live for a few years and then move on again.

The Brahui rose to power in the 1600s when they overthrew a dynasty of Hindu kings. Under Nasir Khan, the confederacy reached its peak in the 1700s. Today, the Brahui are made up of a group of 29 tribes. Eight of those tribes form what is believed to be the original Brahui nucleus.

Brahui can be distinguished from their Pushtun and Baluchi neighbors by their Dravidian language, called Brahuidi. Linguists have not been able to discover their link with other speakers of Dravidian languages who live 1000 miles away in southern India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Like their Afghan cousins, most Brahui of Iran are nomadic shepherds who travel between the highlands and lowlands in search of proper temperatures, rainfall, and pasture for their flocks. Their lives revolve around the movement between various wells which can be as much as 45 miles apart.

Because winters in the highlands are cold and icy, the Brahui reside in the plains during the colder months. They return to the hills only after the lambs are born in February or March.

Brahui have the reputation of being fierce tribes of strong desert men who submit to no law except the law of retaliation. From childhood, their resistance grows as they withstand the extremes of their harsh environment.

Brahui have organized themselves into groups of cooperating households called khalks. Each khalk combines its herds into one flock under the care of a professional resident shepherd. The resident shepherd controls up to 500 sheep. This procedure benefits the Brahui economically because it allows the men and their adult sons to work on local village farms in exchange for wheat. Having one resident shepherd also enables the men to take their herds to market for sale and to exchange information with other Brahui about the locations of various camps and flocks.

Through the use of khalks, Brahui have become expert shepherds. They have learned the optimum number of sheep that can be grazed together. They also have discovered that sheep are not happy in very small groups and that they spread and wander under such conditions. When the herds increase to more than 500 animals, leaders "multiply" the group, shifting the tents to form a new khalk.

Marriages are arranged within families. Fathers prefer their sons to marry a cousin on the father's side, although, occasionally, families will consider the wishes of the couple. Men may take multiple wives, but the expenses incurred tend to limit this practice. Divorce is rare among the Brahui. The ideal family consists of married sons who live with their parents. After the father's death, brothers continue to live together with a united family estate under the leadership of the eldest son.

The tribe is the basic political unit of the Brahui. Tribes base their membership on patrilineal descent (common male ancestors) and political allegiance.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Brahui are Sunni Muslims. Deeply rooted in their faith, they adhere to the five essential duties of Islam: praying, fasting, giving to the poor, affirming that "Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his prophet", and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

What Are Their Needs?

They need much intercession, additional evangelical materials, and added laborers who will work with them and be willing to adapt to their harsh nomadic lifestyle.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Brahui in Iran.

* Ask God to raise prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to send laborers with servants' hearts to the Brahui to work among them.
* Pray that the Jesus film will be used wisely and that God will bring much fruit as the film is shown to the Brahui.
* Pray that Brahui who have heard the Gospel will respond to Jesus and will share His love with others.
* Pray that Brahui Christians will be able to live for Jesus, despite the tremendous difficulties they face daily.
* Pray that strong local churches will be raised among the Brahui.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-11-01
People Name General Brahui
People Name in Country Brahui
Pronunciation brah-WEE
Population this Country 24,000
Population all Countries 2,623,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 3  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Birahui; Brahudi; Kalat; Kur Galli; ब्रहुई
People ID 10959
ROP3 Code 101653
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 8  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Sistan va Baluchestan Province, including Zahedan.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 8  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Sistan va Baluchestan Province, including Zahedan..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Brahui
Language Code brh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Brahui
Language Code brh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Brahui

Primary Language:  Brahui

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1905-1978)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1998)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Brahui
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
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
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source Akhtar Hassan  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


Welcome. I’m a virtual assistant and will try to answer questions about Joshua Project, unreached people groups, the Great Commission and more. How can I help you?

For further help try our FAQ, Definitions or Contact Us pages.