Introduction / History
Nubian people consist of seven non-Arab Muslim tribes which originated in the Nubian region, an area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Dongola in northern Sudan. For centuries, this territory was a crossroads between Egypt and the African tribal kingdoms.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Between 1500 and 1800, the Ottoman Empire encroached upon the Nubian region. As a result, many Nubian people migrated to remote areas along the Nile. Distinct groups evolved and were named according to their locations. For example, those who settled near the Wadi Kenuz became known as the Kenuzi while those who settled in Dongola became known as the Dongolawi.
In the 1960s, many Nubian villages flooded because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam. About 100,000 Nubians were forced to resettle in "New Nubia," 20 miles north of Aswan. Others relocated to Uganda and Kenya. Most Nubian groups speak their own dialect of the Nubian language. For example, the Fedicca-Mohas Nubians speak Nobiin. However, many also speak Egyptian Arabic which is the language of media and trade. Although their languages are different, each group is identical in social, economic, and cultural organization.
Nubian economy is based on agriculture. During the winter months, they grow wheat, barley, millet, beans, peas, and watermelons. Mangoes, citrus fruits and palm dates are also part of the Nubian diet. A thin, coarse bread called dura is one of their basic staple foods. Pieces of the bread are usually piled on top and eaten with vegetables and sauces or date jelly.
In old Nubia, men migrated to the big cities to find work, while the women farmed the land, cared for the animals, and did household chores. Today, since the land is located far from their dwellings, men do most of the field work while the women work at the home. Some women have also found employment as schoolteachers, public service workers and seamstresses. Some of the men now own grocery stores or drive cabs.
The typical Nubian house is very spacious, with several large rooms to accommodate extended family members and guests. An open courtyard graces the center of the home. The front of the house is colorfully painted with geometric patterns. Most of the paintings and decorations on the homes have religious connotations. The colorful designs are a distinctive and admired feature of Nubian culture.
The literacy rate among Nubians is high. Primary and secondary schools have been set up in New Nubia, and there are teacher-training facilities in the area. In addition to education, radio and television are other ways of socialization.
Nubians have held lengthy religious and agricultural ceremonies for centuries. However, since relocation, the ceremonies have been shortened and are now limited to the villages. During these ceremonies, the Fedicca-Mohas Nubians express themselves through singing, dancing and beating drums.
Though the Nubians were mostly Christians in the sixth century, they are now almost all Muslims. Most of them do not have many Christian resources nor mission agencies working among them.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Fedicca-Mohas Nubians were converted to Christianity during the sixth century. They remained so until the gradual process of Islamization began taking place from the fourteenth until the seventeenth centuries. Today, the Nubians are almost all Muslims. However, their traditional animistic beliefs (belief that non-living objects have spirits) are still mingled with their Islamic practices.
What Are Their Needs?
The traditional beliefs of the Nubians were centered on the spirit of the Nile River. They believe the Nile has life-sustaining power and it holds the power of life and death within it. The people believe that the river is endowed with angels, sheiks (religious leaders), and other powerful beings. The sheiks are sought daily for their advice in the areas of health, fertility and marriage.
These people depend upon good works to pay the penalty for their sins. They depend upon the spirit world for their daily needs because they regard Allah as too distant. They believe that Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well they live in their daily lives. Consequently, they must appease these spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them control spiritual forces.
Intense prayer, increased evangelism efforts and additional Christian resources are necessary to reach these tribes for Christ.
Pray that the Lord will raise up laborers who are willing to invest long term service as disciple makers and church planters to the Fedicca-Mohas Nubian people of Egypt. Ask the Lord to save key leaders among Nubian people who will boldly declare the gospel and open the doors for evangelism among their people.
Ask God to send medical teams and humanitarian aid workers to minister to the Fedicca-Mohas Nubian people.
Pray for a church planting movement.
Scripture Prayers for the Nubian, Fedicca-Mohas in Egypt.