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|Christian Adherents:||1.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Horn of Africa Peoples|
The Somali share a common language, adhere to a single faith, and share a cultural heritage that is an integral part of their nomadic lifestyle. Their name is derived from the words, "so maal," which literally mean, "Go milk a beast for yourself!" To the Somali, this is actually a rough expression of hospitality.
The Somali first appeared in the Horn of Africa around 1200 and began expanding westward and southward about 150 years later. They converted to Islam around 1550, under the influence of Arab traders that had settled along the coast of present-day Somalia. By 1650, they had moved into Ethiopia. Today several million Somalis live scattered across eight countries in the northeastern portion of Africa, commonly called the "Horn of Africa," and in the Middle East. A small number live in Sudan.
No matter where they live, Somali society is based on the nuclear family, consisting of a husband, wife, and children. A typical family owns a herd of sheep or goats, which the women and girls care for, and a few burden camels. Some may also own a herd of milking camels. The more camels a man has, the greater his prestige. The men and boys enjoy taking care of the prized camels.
The Somali consider themselves warriors. Sometimes the men leave the women in charge of the herds, so that they might train to become more effective fighters. They are a very individualistic people, sharply divided by clans. Fights often occur between the clans, resulting in many deaths.
There are four major Somali clan groups. The two largest are the Somaal and the Sab. The Somaal are primarily nomadic shepherds. The Sab usually settle in communities and live as farmers or craftsmen.
The nomads live in portable huts made of wooden branches covered with grass mats. The wife has her own hut, and the huts of related families are arranged in a circle with cattle pens in the middle. Making the home is the woman's responsibility. The huts are easily collapsible so that they can be loaded on pack animals and moved along with the herds. There is usually very little rainfall each year, so often a Somali's life is dictated by his ability to find water. The nomad's diet used to consist only of milk and milk products. Now it includes maize meal, rice, meat, and wild fruits. The more settled Somali farmers live in permanent, round huts that are six to nine feet high. They have a more varied diet, which includes maize, sorghum, cowpeas, beans, rice, eggs, poultry, bananas, dates, mangoes, and tea.
Having an abundant supply of food is a status symbol among the clans. Each family periodically holds banquets for their relatives and friends. A family's prestige is determined by the frequency of its feasts, the number of people invited, and the quality and quantity of food served. Somali's enjoy telling stories and learning history through their poetry. Many times they will chant folk tales on walks in the evening. Most Somali wear brightly colored cloths draped over their bodies like togas. Some men also wear a kilt-like skirt.
The Somali people in Sudan are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, common people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well they live on a daily basis. For that reason, some Muslims appease spirits using charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces. More orthodox Muslims consider these practices heretical and un-Islamic.
The Somali people in Sudan need to be given the chance to hear the life-changing gospel so they can enjoy life to the full.
Pray for loving gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Somali people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing the hearts of these people would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Somali people to become fruitful so others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.