Balangingih Sama in Malaysia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Balangingih, a major Muslim Sama group, is also known as the Northern Sama.
The Sama peoples were originally in the islands and coastal areas separating southwestern Mindanao from the northeastern islands of Sulu. They probably first dispersed in the first millennium A.D. because of expanding Chinese trade. This southward migration sped up in the fifteenth century with the founding of a Sulu sultanate and increased maritime trade. From bases, particularly on Balangingih Island, Sama slave traders carried out annual raids on coastal settlements from Luzon to the central Moluccas.
Today the Northern Sama are dispersed throughout the greater Sulu Archipelago, which extends from Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines towards Borneo. They are mainly in the Philippines though some live in Malaysia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Sama are a highly fragmented people without overall political unity. Some have assimilated into the Malaysian culture, attending schools and working in small businesses within local cities as vendors. Individual Sama groups, such as the Northern Sama, identify themselves by dialect and geographic location.
Fishing, boat building and iron working are primarily male occupations, while weaving mats and marketing pottery are jobs for women. Both men and women engage in collecting and selling valuables from the sea such as sea cucumbers. Some are farmers. The Northern Sama grow rice, cassava, corn, ginger, sugar cane, bananas and other tropical fruits.
Balangingih Sama settlements comprise densely clustered houses along well-protected stretches of shoreline. In some places, they build their homes directly over the sea, but in other places, they locate them along the beachfront. If over the water, planks or narrow bridges connect them. Built on stilts one to three meters above the ground or high-water mark, houses usually have one rectangular room with an attached kitchen.
They group their households into larger units called tumpuks (clusters), which are located near one another and are related by close kinship ties. Within the village, one household head is acknowledged as the tumpuk spokesman. In some instances, the tumpuks coincide with the parishes, whose members belong to a single mosque.
The Balangingih are known for their traditional dances, songs, percussion and xylophone music, dyed mats and food covers, and wood carvings. Wood carvings for graves are especially ornate.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Balangingih Sama are an Islamic people group, following the Sunni traditions while mixing them with elements of animism. They believe that the spirits of the dead remain near their graves, requiring expressions of continued concern from the living. They have reported that some of these graves are the source of miracle working power.
The Sama peoples believe that during a particular month, Allah permits the souls of the dead to return to this world. To honor them, the living offer special prayers and clean the graves.

What Are Their Needs?

The Balangingih Sama people need to put their faith in the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, rather than in the spirits of saints.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Balangingih Sama people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Balangingih Sama families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for Balangingih Sama families to be drawn by the Holy Spirit to to understand the adequacy of Christ's work on the cross.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Balangingih Sama family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Scripture Prayers for the Sama, Balangingih in Malaysia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Sama, Balangingih
People Name in Country Sama, Balangingih
Natural Name Balangingih Sama
Alternate Names Ba; Bajau; Balangingi; Bangingi; Bangingi Sama; Northern Sinama; Sama; Sama, Northern; Sibuku; Sinama
Population this Country 5,700
Population all Countries 113,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14031
ROP3 Code 107461
ROP25 Code 306168
ROP25 Name Northern Sinama (Bangingi)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sabah: Coastal areas of Lahad Datu, Semporna, and Tawau districts; Some settlements in Kota Belud district.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sabah: Coastal areas of Lahad Datu, Semporna, and Tawau districts; Some settlements in Kota Belud district..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
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 %
Primary Language Sama, Balangingih
Language Code sse   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Sama, Balangingih
Language Code sse   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Sama, Balangingih

Primary Language:  Sama, Balangingih

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1979-2009)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2008-2022)
Bible-Complete No
FCBH 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 Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories One Story
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Sama, Balangingih 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 Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Sama, Balangingih Literacy & Evangelism International
Photo Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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