Photo Source: Alfonso Castellanos - Wikimedia Creative Commons
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|Christian Adherents:||2.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Sub-Saharan Peoples|
The name jula means "itinerant trader," and the Jula (AKA, Dyula) people are still well respected for their trading abilities. The trading posts established by the Jula for hundreds of years eventually morphed into market villages and cities. They have left their mark on West African history and economy. The Jula are the descendants of the Malinke (Mandingo), inheritors of the ancient Mali Empire. Between the Arab world to the north and the black African nations to the south, Mali has always been the cultural crossroads of western Africa. The result is a cultural mix that the Jula contribute to through their music, dance, and beautiful jewelry. By the time the Mali Empire was at its peak in the 1300s, the Jula had made Mali their trade base for West Africa. They traded gold, millet, slaves, cola nuts, and anything else of value. Later, the Maninka rulers of Mali began spreading Islam throughout the African plains, and the Jula became strong converts.
Today most live along the trade routes of West Africa. Jula clans have settled in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali. A smaller number have migrated to Western nations such as Canada and the United States.
Jula society is hierarchical, and caste based. They live in clans, and the clan is the most important aspect of their lives. The people are fiercely loyal to their clans, proudly defending them. The father is the head of the family, and they pass down inheritances from fathers to their sons. Older males possess the most power and influence. All this is being challenged among those who have migrated to North America. Most likely, the Jula mix socially with other African immigrants. Their personal contacts probably include other Africans and anyone who is Sunni Muslim they meet at the mosques. African immigrants to North America tend to be from the wealthy communities. Most like these West African traders are involved in high-level commerce in Canada and the United States.
The Jula are Sunni Muslim. Most of the others hold traditional animistic beliefs (believe that non-living objects have spirits). West African Islam does, however, generally retain local traditions and is more tolerant of diversity than elsewhere. The Jula people's traditional animistic beliefs get challenged as they interface with Muslims from various parts of the world. As one generation gives way to the next, it will be difficult to maintain traditional religion, especially in a Western setting. The Jula people hold Muslim scholars in high esteem. They are responsible for educating the people in the teachings of the Koran. The teachings of the Koran share several similarities with Christianity: the belief in one all-powerful God, the existence of protecting angels, and they even have a belief in the second coming of Jesus, though it puts Mohammed in the primary position. There is much to build upon, but the Jula people need to understand they are sinners in need a Savior.
The complete Bible has been translated into the Jula language. There are many Christian believers in the United States who can take Bibles and other resources to these Muslims who are separated from the abundant life offered by Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Lord to bless the Jula people economically and spiritually as a testimony of his goodness and power. Pray for good fruit to come from efforts to take Christ to the Jula people. Pray for spiritual openness among the Jula people in the United States. Pray for a movement to Christ among the Jula people this decade.