Introduction / History
The Dar Hamid are a confederation of about nineteen tribes and some smaller sub-groups that share a common culture and are led by a single nazir (chief). One of these nineteen tribes is the Yazeed. Although each tribe has different origins, most of their ancestors came from Arabia. So Arabic is the language of many, including the Yazeed.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Dar Hamid dar (territory) is located in northern Sudan. Like other nomadic Arab tribes, the Dar Hamid wander the desert with their herds, searching for vegetation that grows after the rare desert thunderstorms. They have a complex system of migration in which different parts of the family move to different places during certain times of the year.
The Yazeed raise all types of livestock, which they trade for grain and other essentials such as salt, tea, sugar, cloth, dates, seasoning, and metal goods. Camels are the most important of their animals. They provide milk, a main diet staple for the nomads, occasional meat, material for tents, and transportation across the desert.
Because the Yazeed are a nomadic people, they live in camps. Their homes are tents made with camel hair roofs and cotton sides. Many of the tents are decorated inside with leather and wool ornaments. The basic item of furniture is a double bed made of palm ribs bound with strips of leather. The bed rests on pegs a foot above the ground. Their lifestyle dictates that even the tent's decorative ornaments have a practical value. By tradition, Arabs are very hospitable and always provide for their guests.
What Are Their Beliefs?
While the Yazeed men move across the desert with their camel herds, the women and children stay home. The women tend the gardens, and the small boys work in the fields, herding house camels and preventing goats and sheep from entering the cultivated land. Dar Hamid children are sent to herd animals almost as soon as they can walk. They have been described as shy and reserved, even with each other.
Because life in the desert is very dangerous, all of Yazeed men wear sheathed daggers on their left arms. Most carry swords and all carry either shotguns or rifles. They must sleep lightly at night to protect themselves and their tribes from bandits.
Their main diet consists of tea mixed with camel's milk. If one of them has the good fortune of killing an animal in the desert, they will also have meat to eat. Each man carries a canvas sheet that has many purposes. They can use the canvas as a ground sheet, a tent, a trough for watering animals, or a sling for carrying heavy items such as loads of hay.
Before the 1960s, the accessibility of water limited the number of livestock. The government drilled new wells, enabling the livestock to flourish and the herds to increase. Unfortunately, the pasture lands could no longer sustain the large number of animals. Diminishing rainfall has destroyed the pastures. Many of the herdsmen have lost their livestock and have been forced to move from their homes.
Traditionally, the Yazeed have been Sunni Muslims. However, most are not religious and know very little about the Islamic religion. One of the five "pillars" of Islam is that a Muslim must pray five times a day. Some pray only when they feel like it, while others never pray at all. Water is scarce, so Muslim cleansing rituals are cut short or ignored completely. They sometimes use sand instead of water.
What Are Their Needs?
Since very few of the Yazeed can read or write, many consider the written word a source of magical power. Fakirs (holy men) make charms and sell them to the tribesmen for cash or livestock.
Clear identification of the various groups in Sudan is difficult since their cultures, and lifestyles often overlap. However, most remain proud of their tribal and ethnic identities. There is a desperate need for compassionate missionaries who will embrace their culture and endure the harsh nomadic lifestyle. There is also a need for teachers and water purification experts.
Pray for African believers to have hearts that are ready and willing to take the name of Jesus to Muslims throughout their region.
Pray for the Yazeed people to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Yazeed that will spread joy, peace and salvation to other peoples in Sudan.
Scripture Prayers for the Yazeed in Sudan.