Iranun, Sabah in Malaysia

Iranun, Sabah
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Sharif Putra - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Iranun, Sabah
Country: Malaysia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 33,000
World Population: 33,000
Primary Language: Iranun
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Filipino, Muslim
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

In the 16th century, there was a sea-based kingdom called Uranen. The people who came from this kingdom we now call the Iranun. They were led by a sultan (Islamic political leader), and the kingdom exerted power in Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines and what is now Brunei and Malaysia's state of Sabah.

Today we associate the Iranun people with Mindanao Island, but some are also in Malaysia. Since the economy of Malaysia is stronger than that of the Philippines, some Iranun people have migrated to Malaysia to earn a living. We call these people the Sabah Iranun.

Where Are they Located?

There are Iranun people in the southern Philippines and also in Sabah, Malaysia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Iranun are engaged in fishing, while the rest raise food crops along with their neighbors. Their socio-political organization is governed by traditional and customary laws. They have their own headman. The headman acts as a mediator of dispute and as a facilitator of discussions and meetings.

Those who live in Malaysia probably have low-paying jobs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Iranun are Muslim and common like all Muslim groups, they believe in the five pillars of Islam. The Iranun observe these pillars but they are relatively more relaxed about them. The Iranun also believe in spirits and are in constant fear of them. Thus, there are many animistic rituals that they also observe in addition to Islam.

The Iranun people have resisted every effort to introduce Christianity to them. Their attitude towards Christianity is still marked by indifference. Efforts to reach them in the Philippines have not yielded much in the way of results. There are probably no efforts at all to reach the Sabah Iranun people in Malaysia.

What Are Their Needs?

The Iranun people need adequate work in Mindanao so they do not have to leave their families to be gainfully employed.

Prayer Points

Pray for protection, wisdom, strength, and encouragement for those ministering to the Iranun.
Pray that God will provide opportunities for the gospel to be shared with the Iranun people in Malaysia as well as the Philippines.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of the Iranun people and turn their hearts to the King of kings.
Pray for a disciple making movement among the Iranun in both the Philippines and Malaysia.

Text Source:   Keith Carey