Mahra in Kuwait

Map Source:  People Group location: Ethnologue / Worldpop Grid. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Mahra
Country: Kuwait
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 27,000
World Population: 248,900
Primary Language: Mehri
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.02 %
Evangelicals: 0.02 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Arab, Arabian
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Most scholars consider Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula to be the original Arabs. The Arabian culture was developed by tribes of nomads and villagers who lived in the Arabian Desert. It was from there that Arab migrations began, leading to the expansion of the Arab world.

Today the Mahra are one of the smaller groups of Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula, composing a very small percentage of the total population. They speak an Arabic dialect called Mahri or Harsusi. Some would consider them Bedouins rather than Arabs.

Where Are they Located?

Most Mahra live in the far southeastern edge of Saudi Arabia near the borders of Yemen and Oman, though a smaller number live in Kuwait where a nomadic lifestyle is not as realistic as it is in Saudi Arabia or Oman.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Social life is extremely important to the Mahra. They share a daily coffee time while sitting on the floor and planning the next day's activities. The typical daily diet consists of wheat bread and porridge, with an occasional addition of boiled meat or chicken.

The Mahra are an endogamous tribe, which means that they only marry within a small social circle. They are also generally monogamous (one wife, one husband). In the past, marriages were arranged, but, increasingly, individual choice is becoming acceptable. Children are seen as the family's greatest asset. They receive inheritances patrilineally (inherited by the next male family member). In this system, boys inherit more than girls. The value of girls is seen in their ability to have children and bond families through marriage.

Despite the teachings of Islam, traditions that uphold different social classes still persist. The manner of dress has become one of the distinguishing factors of class among the Mahra people.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Being Sunni Muslims, the Mahra follow the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. They believe that the only way to God is through following the teachings of their holy book, the Koran. Their Muslim religion is a religion of works based on these five "pillars" of faith: (1) A Muslim must affirm that "there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet." (2) Five times a day he must pray while facing Mecca. (3) He must give an obligatory percentage (very similar to tithes) on an annual basis. (4) He must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. (5) He must try to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life.

What Are Their Needs?

The Mahra people in Kuwait are practically all Sunni Muslim. A profession of faith in Jesus may cost a Mahra his family, his honor, his job, and sometimes his life. Evangelization will be challenging due to the nature of the Arabs' lifestyle and belief system.

Prayer Points

Ask the Holy Spirit to thrust out people who are willing to go and share the love of Christ with the Mahra people in Kuwait.
Ask God to raise up an army of intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Mahra people in the Arabian Peninsula.
Pray for a strong Disciple-Making movement to flourish among the Mahra people throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

Text Source:   Keith Carey