Shahari, Jibbali in Saudi Arabia

Shahari, Jibbali
Photo Source:  LeafWriter - Pixabay  Creative Commons  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Shahari, Jibbali
Country: Saudi Arabia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 42,000
World Population: 89,000
Primary Language: Shehri
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Arab, Arabian
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Speakers of the Shehri language reside in Dhofar (or Zufar) governate in extreme southwest Oman, on the border with Yemen. It is a somewhat mountainous area, and has Salalah as its regional capital city. Historically, this area was the largest producer of frankincense in the world. In antiquity, Dhofar boasted one of Arabia's oldest and most cosmopolitan cultures. The region was only brought under the control of the sultans of Muscat in the mid-nineteenth century.

Dhofar is the home area of several tribal peoples speaking a variety of South Arabian languages, and the Shehri, or Jibbali, language is one of those. The people are said to be increasingly bilingual in Dhofari Arabic, and the Shehari language is marked as threatened by the Ethnologue.

The Shehri language is spoken by the Qara, Shahra, Barahama, Bait Ash-Shaik, and (some) Batahira, tribes. These tribes are usually nomadic or semi-nomadic. As they travel, Saudi Arabia, which borders Oman, is one of their destinations.

Where Are they Located?

The Jibbali Shahari tribe can be found in Oman, Yemen or Saudi Arabia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Though romanticized in the West, the life of a nomad in the Arabian Peninsula is very harsh. Water is hard to find, and this is one of the hottest places on the planet.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Shaharis and associated tribes are Sunni Muslim, but retain a few traditional, animistic beliefs. There are no followers of Christ among these tribes as far as we know.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jibbali Shahari people in Saudi Arabia need access to the gospel. They are highly unlikely to have Internet access to download materials, and there are layers of pressure to remain loyal to the Sunni Islamic religious system.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the youth of these tribes to be able to make needed adjustments to the rapidly changing world in Saudi Arabia.
* Please pray for gospel radio broadcasts to become available in Dhofari Arabic.
* Pray the Lord will give a growing desire to know and follow Jesus Christ to this people group.
* Pray that God will do a miracle so believers can reach this highly inaccessible people group.
* Pray for a Disciple-Making movement to flourish in Saudi Arabia.

Text Source:   Keith Carey