Mandaean in Iran

People Name: Mandaean
Country: Iran
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 23,000
World Population: 80,100
Primary Language: Neo-Mandaic
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Assyrian / Aramaic
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Mandaean are perhaps the remnant of the Essen community (who wrote the dead sea scrolls) after it was destroyed in 70 AD. They fled eastward and took up residence along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where their communities flourished. Several hundred years ago, their customs were recorded in their holy book, "Kenz irRabba" [the great treasure], which reads from both covers to the middle [you start at one cover and read to the middle, and then you turn it over and start from the other cover and read to the middle].

Most are located in Iraq along the banks of the major rivers but lived mostly among the Marsh Arabs for centuries. The second largest group of Mandaeans live in Iran. They have communities in Sweden, Australia, Canada and the USA (especially in Worchester, MA).

What Are Their Lives Like?

Being a small community, they cannot defend themselves against those who live by the “might makes right” ethic. They are not recognized as a separate community by the Iranian government. They must go by non-Mandaean names to keep their identity a secret.

Though the Mandaeans in Iran often have a good education and skills as gold smiths, they are often denied the opportunity to thrive. For that reason, many are leaving Iran.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Those who can build their worship centers on the banks of rivers and canals and divert part of the flow to come through their building into a pool and flow out the other end back to the river. This helps them perform multiple baptisms in "living water" [i.e. flowing water]. Baptism is the most important part of their religion, besides observing the festive calendar.

They have a large and small Eid [i.e. holiday] like their Muslim neighbors, one in the spring and another in the summer. They have elaborate death rituals including giving a new name to the deceased to assist them entering the "world of light." Angels also play a large role in the spiritual lives of the Mandaeans.

What Are Their Needs?

They need safety in Iran, a land where they are a religious minority. They also need more job opportunities.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to raise up his ambassadors to the Mandaean people in Iran.
Pray for the Lord to give them spiritual openness to the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
Pray for Mandaean people in Iran to raise up disciples who will make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project