Introduction / History
Sudan obtained its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Unfortunately, since that time Sudan has experienced a series of civil wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansings, genocides, droughts, famines, and wars with surrounding African countries. As a result, many Sudanese Arabs have left their homeland in search of a better life.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Starting in the eighth century over a period of one thousand years, the inhabitants of northern and central Sudan gradually became Muslims. This Arabization of the population took place by military conquest and trade. The various ethno-linguistic groups of Sudan adopted Arabic as their first language and converted to Islam. These peoples make up the Sudanese Arabs of today. The process of Arabization is continuing today with many sub-Saharan African tribes.
To escape the violence and economic disruptions in their land some Sudanese Arabs moved to Yemen. Tragically, Yemen has been undergoing its own civil war since 2014. The Sunni governmental forces backed by Saudi Arabia are fighting Houthi Shias backed by Iran.
The New Testament, JESUS Film, and radio programs are available in Sudanese Arabic.
Up until 2014 many Sudanese Arabs in Yemen lived a decent, middle-class lifestyle. They worked in agriculture, construction, tourism, trade, and manufacturing. Yemen was a very poor country before the civil war. Much of the land and limited water resources of Yemen are used to grow the stimulant drug khat or qat, not food.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Since the start of the Yemeni civil war, the Sudanese Arabs lives have been disrupted. Many have been killed, injured and displaced. Some have left Yemen and have returned to Sudan or attempted to get to the West. As Sunnis, most Sudanese in Yemen have supported the Sunni Yemeni government or tried to stay neutral.
The majority of the Sudanese Arabs are Sunni Muslims. Their Islam is influenced by a belief in natural spirits or animism. These spirits must be appeased, or they can bring disaster. Sunnis try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. Men attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols.
What Are Their Needs?
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
All the people living in Yemen including the Sudanese Arabs need a peaceful settlement of the civil war. Many of the Sudanese Arabs in Yemen have never hear a clear presentation of the good news of Jesus Christ. At the present time, many Sudanese Arabs need food, clean water and schools for their children. Teams of believers can go to Yemen and the refugee camps and attempt to meet those needs.
Ask God to bring just and lasting peace to Yemen.
Ask the Lord to call out prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
Pray that God will raise up long term workers to go to Yemen and join those who have already responded.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint Christian radio and TV broadcasts as they are aired among the Sudanese Arabs.
Ask the Lord to raise up a church planting movement among the Sudanese Arabs for the glory of His name.
Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Sudanese in Yemen.