Maldivian in Malaysia

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People Name: Maldivian
Country: Malaysia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,700
World Population: 483,700
Primary Language: Maldivian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Maldivian republic is divided into 19 administrative atolls, each of which is governed by an atoll chief and his assistants. Each inhabited island also has its own chief. No one is allowed to leave or come onto the island without the chief's knowledge. Few have settled in other countries, but there are some in Malaysia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Maldivians sometimes leave the country as political exiles. Others are students looking for a better education. A smaller number go to Malaysia or work.
Wherever they live the divorce rate among the Maldivian is the highest among United Nations countries. In 1974, there were 85 divorces for every 100 marriages. It is not hard to meet someone who has had 10 or more spouses. Families are often loosely structured. The children live with their mothers and get support from their fathers. Marriages are not arranged and have very little ceremony.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Islam is the official religion of Maldives, and virtually all the Maldivians are Muslims. No one may legally marry a non-Muslim, and all children are given Arab names. Ironically, however, the Islamic religion is only a ritualistic tradition that most people follow. Children are taught to pronounce Arabic so that they can recite the words of the Koran; however, they do not know the meanings of most of the words. Most of the people do not understand the diversity and depth of Muslim philosophy. They blindly go through the rituals that are supposed to bring them salvation. For example, when fasting, they will not only abstain from food, but also drink. They may even try not to swallow their own saliva.
To satisfy their spiritual hunger, many Maldivians consult fanditas ("learned people") who conduct rituals for healing, solving problems, and becoming successful. The fanditas make their occupations valid by using Islamic terms and chanting Arabic-sounding chants.
The Maldivians fear the "evil eye" (curses caused by a fixed gaze) and of evil spirits. They also fear jinnis, which according to Muslim legend are spirits capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people. Most houses keep a lamp burning all night and have no windows to keep out the jinnis.

What Are Their Needs?

Many Maldivians follow folk beliefs and live each day in fear. They need to know that peace and security can only be found through Christ. Currently, there are few Christian resources available in their Divehi language. There is a need for faithful prayer efforts to reach Maldivians with the good news.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Malaysia and share Christ with the Maldivians.
Pray that the Lord will save key Maldivian leaders who will boldly declare the gospel to their own people.
Ask the Lord to deliver those who are tormented by fear and restore those who have been broken by divorce.
Pray for Christians in Malaysia to reach out to the Maldivians in their midst.
Ask the Lord to raise up Maldivian disciples who will disciple others.

Text Source:   Joshua Project