Brahui in Iran

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Brahui
Country: Iran
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 25,000
World Population: 688,300
Primary Language: Brahui
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Brahui
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The exact origin of the term "Brahui" is unknown, but it is probably a derivative of the name "Abraham," distinguishing the Muslim Brahui from their Hindu Jat neighbors. Brahui often move back and forth across these borders in search of adequate pastures and water for their flocks.

The Brahui speak a language of the same name, though many are bilingual, also speaking Balochi. Several other people groups speak Brahui as a secondary language, most notably the closely related Baloch, the Jat and the Sayyid.

Historians differ as to the history of the Brahui. More recently, the Brahui rose to power in the 1600s when they overthrew a dynasty of Hindu kings and established the Khanate of Kalat. Under Nasir Khan, the confederacy reached its peak in the 1700s. Today, the province and city of Kalat in Pakistan divide the Brahui between northern and southern tribes.

The Brahui people live mainly in Pakistan, but they also have a sizable number in Iran. There are also Brahui communities in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Over the last 150 years, the Brahui have largely shed their nomadic lifestyles and settled in large towns; today, only around 20% of the Brahui remain nomadic or semi-nomadic.

The nomadic Brahui migrate between the highlands and lowlands in search of proper temperatures, rainfall and pasture for their flocks. Their lives revolve around the movement between various wells, which can be as much as 45 miles apart. Because winters in the highlands are icy, the Brahui live in the plains during the colder months. They return to the hills only after the lambs are born in February or March.

The Brahui in Iran organize themselves into groups of cooperating households called khalks. Each khalk combines its herds into one flock under the care of a professional resident shepherd. The resident shepherd controls up to 500 sheep. This procedure allows the men and their adult sons to work on local village farms for wheat. Having one resident shepherd also enables the men to take their herds to market for sale and to exchange information with other Brahui about the locations of various camps and flocks.

The Brahui in Iran marry within their extended families. Fathers prefer their sons to marry a cousin on the father's side, although occasionally families will consider the wishes of the couple. Men may take multiple wives, but the expenses incurred limit this practice. Divorce is rare among the Brahui. The ideal family comprises married sons who live with their parents. After the father's death, brothers continue to live together with a united family estate under the leadership of the eldest son.

The tribe is the basic political unit of the Brahui. Tribes base their membership primarily on political allegiance and secondarily on patrilineal descent (common male ancestors). The Brahui recognize 27 tribes, eight of which are considered "nuclear" tribes and nineteen "peripheral." Tribal leadership is informal and is based on relationships among leaders at various levels.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Brahui practice Sunni Islam, often mixed with beliefs in evil spirits. They believe Islam offers guidance for the afterlife, but their daily lives require the help of the spirit world.

What Are Their Needs?

The Brahui in Iran have the New Testament in their language, as well as the JESUS Film and some gospel recordings. They need much intercession, additional evangelical materials, and more laborers. The nomadic Brahui need laborers who are willing and able to adapt to their harsh nomadic lifestyle. The Brahui need teachers and educational materials to improve their literacy and educational levels and create more economic opportunities.

Prayer Points

Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.

Ask the Lord to send laborers with servant's hearts and adaptability to work among the Brahui in Iran.

Thank God for the availability of the New Testament and the JESUS Film in the Brahui language. Pray that God's Word will bear much fruit among the Brahui in Iran.

Ask the Holy Spirit to empower Brahui followers of Christ to live for Jesus and make disciples who will make other disciples.

Pray that God will raise up a movement of strong, multiplying local churches among the Brahui.

Text Source:   Joshua Project