Jahanka in Mali

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GoWestAfrica  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
People Name: Jahanka
Country: Mali
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 9,400
World Population: 130,600
Primary Language: Jahanka
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Manding
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Jahanka are descended from the larger Soninke people group. They make up a specialized caste of professional Muslim clerics and teachers dating back to the fifteenth century. Because of their high prestige, they exercise high degree of economic and religious influence among Soninke groups.

The Jahanka live mostly in Senegal and Guinea, with smaller populations in Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Gambia. They primarily speak Jahanka along with Mandinka and French.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Historically, these Muslim clerics have been occupied with teaching and performing religious ceremonies and Islamic worship rituals. They teach the Koran in villages. Families will send their boys to Jahanka villages to attend Islamic schools run by the Jahanka. Because of their desire for religious piety, they sometimes remove themselves from secularized society and live in remote villages.

Over time, many of the Jahanka have transitioned into agriculture, commerce and other professions. They continue to value education and scholarship. They are successful in business. They have become more urbanized through the decades.

The Jahanka reject violence and jihad in favor of peaceful coexistence. They avoid politics and war. When others threaten their villages, they respond by relocating into safer territory. Their villages enjoy the privileges of sanctuary, independence and freedom from military service.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Jahanka are solidly Muslim. They are far more orthodox and committed to Islam than just about any other people group in Africa.

There will be spiritual opposition when the gospel is presented to the Jahanka. People must be prepared for this.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jahanka need a full Bible and Christian radio. They especially need spiritual openness to the one, true Savior.

Prayer Points

Pray for peace and justice in Mali.
Pray for Jahanka elders to open the door for the gospel to go forth.
Pray the Jahanka tribe will increasingly be drawn to Jesus when they see what he can do for their families and communities.
Pray for gospel materials to become easily available to this people group.

Text Source:   Joshua Project