Divehi in Sri Lanka

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

For centuries, there has been trade between the Divehi people of the Maldive Islands and nearby Sri Lanka. During that time, there have been people from each of the two countries settling in the other one.

Though Sri Lanka is primarily Hindu (Tamil) and Buddhist (Sinhalese), there is a sizable Muslim minority, including the Divehi people.

Where Are they Located?

Most Divehi people live in the stunningly beautiful Maldive Islands, but there is a sizable diaspora. Some live in Sri Lanka or India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

There is a fairly new youth center for Maldivians in Sri Lanka. It gives them access to games like foosball, billiards and ping pong. Youths will also be given an academic course on Islam, and taught life skills.

On the Maldive Islands, divorce is a plague on their families. Some men have had 10 wives, and family life is loosely structured. Children live with their mothers, and fathers sometimes support them. Marriages are not arranged, and they do not have much of a wedding ceremony. Most likely this situation also applies to Maldivians living in Sri Lanka.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Maldivian Divehi speakers are noted for being staunch, dogmatic Muslims. However, their loyalties are not to orthodox Islam, but to quirky forms of folk Islam. This means that they blend their Islam with various animistic beliefs. They have a tremendous fear of the "evil eye," curses caused by a fixed gaze, and evil spirits.

What Are Their Needs?

Believers can show these people, who almost all suffer the ill effects of divorce, what a Christian marriage can be like.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Divehi in Sri Lanka.

* Maldivians have an exceptionally high divorce rate that leaves their families weak and their people without true love. Pray for them to seek and find biblical answers to this problem.
* Maldivians need to be liberated from the bondage to rituals that will not provide them with anything.
* Pray for a disciple making movement among Divehi speakers in Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands.



Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-09-10
People Name General Divehi
People Name in Country Divehi
World Population 3,100
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Mahl; Maldivian; Malki; डिवेः, मालदीवियन
People ID 17427
ROP3 Code 112829
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 2
Largest States
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 2
  Western 1,800
  Eastern 200
Website South Asia Peoples

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Ethnologue Language Map

Primary Language Maldivian (1,900 speakers)
Language Code div   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Maldivian (1,900 speakers)
Language Code div   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Maldivian

Primary Language:  Maldivian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2004)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Maldivian
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
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 %
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Sri Lanka census data.  Current values may differ.