Gilaki, Gilani in Azerbaijan

Gilaki, Gilani
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Mohammad_Nouri - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Gilaki, Gilani
Country: Azerbaijan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 4,800
World Population: 3,097,800
Primary Language: Gilaki
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Persian
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Gilaki language and culture is closely related to the Mazandarani, another ethnic group from Iran's northern Gilan province. Their ancient cultural language (also called Gilaki or Gilani) remains unwritten. They might speak their heart language at home, but among the general public the Gilaki people speak Azeri or Farsi, the national languages of Iran and Azerbaijan.
They are primarily located in Iran's northern Gilan province, although a small number live in nearby Azerbaijan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The basis of the Gilaki economy is agriculture. Gilaki farmers usually grow rice, tea, and tobacco. Those who live in Azerbaijan must deal with being a small minority.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic. They affirm human free will, and they differ with the Sunni Muslims in matters of law and ceremony. Unlike the Sunnis, Shias believe that Mohammad's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. Because some of their leaders have faced violent, martyr's death, Shias understand that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis. Only about 15 percent of the world's Muslims are Shia; most of the rest are Sunni.
To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

What Are Their Needs?

The Gilaki people need to be given the chance to hear the life-changing gospel so they can enjoy life to the full.

Prayer Points

Pray for loving gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Gilaki people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing the hearts of these people would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Gilaki people to become fruitful so others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project