Gilaki in Iran

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Iran's Gilan province is a plain that lies between the Elburz Mountains and the Caspian Sea. The moisture brought in by the winds of the Caspian Sea becomes trapped by the mountains, creating a damp, warm climate. This fosters the growth of rich forests in the region. Over the years, the Elburz Mountains have kept the inhabitants of Gilan province relatively protected from invaders. Those groups who have succeeded in invading the province have only ruled from afar. Ultimately, Gilan province was returned to Iran in a peace treaty in 1921.
The Gilaki live in northern Iran along the Caspian Sea. They are primarily located in the Gilan province. Their ancient cultural language (also called Gilaki or Gilani) remains unwritten. Today, the educated Gilaki speak Farsi, the national language of Iran. In 1977, a university was built in Rasht, the largest city of Gilan province.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The basis of the Gilaki economy is agriculture. Farmers usually grow rice, tea, and tobacco. They also raise silkworms. In the 1970s, large investments led to major agricultural improvements. Iran began extensive agricultural businesses, especially for the rice industry. The city of Rasht is located in the center of this agriculturally dominated area. It has become a commercial, distribution, and manufacturing hub for the region, producing silk, soap, and glass. Quality roads link Rasht to the rest of Iran, making distribution of these products possible.
The architecture of the Gilan province is unique, primarily because it is a forested area and wooden building materials are in abundance. Specific to this region, verandahs are commonly built on the sides of the wooden houses.
The inhabitants of Gilan province usually identify their own interests with those of Iran. However, they have often been the source of resistance and reform movements. For example, after World War I, the Gilaki demanded national reform and independence for their own region.

The inhabitants of Gilan Province have often been the source of resistance and reform movements within Iran.
What Are Their Beliefs?

Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic. They affirm human free will, and they differ with the Sunni Muslims in matters of law and ceremony. Unlike the Sunnis, Shias believe that Mohammad's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. Because some of their leaders have faced violent, martyr's death, Shias understand that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis. Only about 15 percent of the world's Muslims are Shia; most of the rest are Sunni.
To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

What Are Their Needs?

The Gilaki people need to be given the chance to hear the life-changing gospel so they can enjoy life to the full.

Prayer Points

Pray for loving gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Gilaki people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing the hearts of these people would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Gilaki people to become fruitful so others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.

Scripture Prayers for the Gilaki, Gilani in Iran.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-11-20
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-11-24
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-10-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-11-10
People Name General Gilaki, Gilani
People Name in Country Gilaki, Gilani
Natural Name Gilaki
Pronunciation gee-LAH-kee
Alternate Names
Population this Country 3,071,000
Population all Countries 3,076,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 61
People ID 11890
ROP3 Code 103369
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 Gilan province: coast south of Caspian and Talish sea   Source:  Ethnologue 2022
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 Gilan province: coast south of Caspian and Talish sea.   Source:  Ethnologue 2022
Map of Gilaki, Gilani in Iran Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Gilaki (3,071,000 speakers)
Language Code glk   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Gilaki (3,071,000 speakers)
Language Code glk   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Gilaki

Primary Language:  Gilaki

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2010-2019)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
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
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Gilaki Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Gilaki films, recordings, text General / Other
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Gilaki YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2023  Mohammad_Nouri - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more