Introduction / History
The Gurani are an Iranian ethnic group that consists of a number of sub-groups, including the Bajelani and the Hawrami. They live in the northern regions of Iran and Iraq in an area commonly known as Kurdistan, or "land of the Kurds. " For this reason, they are often categorized as Kurds. Most likely their original homeland was somewhere near the Caspian Sea. At some point, they were largely assimilated by the expansion of the Kurds; however, their native language, Gorani, remained intact. The Kurds have occupied Kurdistan since as early as 2400 BC. Many claim to be descendants of the Medes, a nomadic people of the Media Empire, which flourished between 900 and 500 BC. Most of Kurdistan was conquered by Arabs in the seventh century. At that time, its inhabitants converted to Islam. Although the Kurdish population perceives Kurdistan as a nation-state, it is not recognized as a self-governing political entity by the countries in this region. The region is primarily mountainous, and the rugged terrain has greatly influenced the lifestyles of those who live there. Because of their inaccessible terrain in Iran, the Guarani have often enjoyed more independence than peoples who live below.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Although the Gurani speakers are mainly farmers, they have been renowned for their military qualities. In the last century, they provided a standing regiment of between 1,000 and 2,000 men for the Persian army. However, those subjected to Kurdish tribal lordship have completely surrendered their identity. Farming and raising livestock are the chief occupations in Kurdistan. The principal crops are cereals—mainly wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Other crops include cotton, olives, rice, sugar beets, and tobacco. During the summer months, the Gurani, like many other Kurds, take their sheep, goats, donkeys, and mules to higher mountain pastures; winter grazing occurs in the lower plains. The mountainous soils are generally poor, and vegetation is sparse and seasonal.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Gurani are virtually all Muslims. Some belong to the Shia branch of Islam, while others are Sunni (orthodox) Muslims. Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic; however, the Sunnis are staid and simple. The Shia affirm human free will, while the Sunnis are deterministic. The Shia and Sunnis also differ in matters of law and ceremony. However, the fundamental beliefs of both groups are based on the Koran, a book believed to be the revelation of Allah to Mohammed. Affirming that "Allah is the only god and that Mohammed is his prophet," praying five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving alms to the poor, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca are the five basic "pillars" of Islam.
What Are Their Needs?
The Hawrami Gurani, both those in Iraq and Iran, need the chance to hear and respond to the life-changing gospel. They have Bible portions, Global Recording Network materials and the JESUS Film in their language, but they remain committed to Islam.
PRAY the hearts of the Hawrami Gurani would be stirred to hunger after God, to drink of living water. Pray for family-based movements to Christ to soon transform Hawrami Gurani society, blessing them spiritually and economically. Pray for the Lord to move in the hearts of believers to give up their own rights and sacrifice their lives to see the Hawrami Gurani people blessed by the work of Jesus Christ, the only Savior.
Scripture Prayers for the Gurani, Hawrami in Iran.