Photo Source: Przemek Polakiewicz - Flickr Creative Commons
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission
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The Laki people have a connection to the warlike Zand Dynasty of the eighteenth century which ruled part of southwest Iran. This group goes by Lak or by Laki. They have roughly 41 subtribes.
Unofficially called "Lakestan," the primary land of the Laki people is spread over a larger area of the Zagros Mountains, occupying a large portion of the northern Luristan Province, and regions of Kermanshah and Ilam provinces.
Possibly related to the Kurds because of linguistic similarities, there has been much debate over their ethnic origins and identity. Laki has become one of the main Kurdish languages in Iran. Several tribes speak Laki including the Jalilavand and the Osmanvand. Yet the Lak people identify with the Lur people, not the Kurds.
The Lak were once a nomadic people, relying mostly on their herds of sheep and goats, with limited agricultural activity. However, like many of the nomadic groups in Iran, most have left their nomadic ways. Those who live in the cities engage in all economic activities; some even have their own economic niches.
The Lak have a reputation for being warlike, though they have few if any physical altercations today.
The Laki people blend Iran's Shia Islam with their traditional mystical religion called Ahl-E-Haqq. This sect believes in transmigration of the soul (reincarnation), which is anathema to true Islam. They believe that everyone must go through 1,001 incarnations before they receive rewards for their actions. Everyone is destined either for Paradise or destruction. Ahl-e ?aqq rites include animal sacrifices.
Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic. They affirm human free will, and they differ with the Sunni Muslims in matters of law and ceremony. Unlike the Sunnis, Shias believe that Mohammad's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. Because some of their leaders have faced violent, martyr's death, Shias understand that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis.
All the Laki subtribes need a gospel witness. They have very few if any chances during their lifetimes to seek and find the Lord of lords.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will raise up faithful prayer teams to pray for the Lak people until the blessing of knowing Jesus spreads rapidly from family to family.
Pray for the Lak people to have the spiritual discernment and hunger to seek out Jesus.
Pray for Iranian followers of Christ to live among the Lak people and disciple them in his ways.