Introduction / History
Did you know that there are Arabs living in India? Most Arab peoples live in the Middle East and across North Africa. Smaller groups of Arabs live in other areas of the world including India. Arab merchants have been visiting India on trade journeys for over 500 years. Some Arab traders decided to marry local women and make India their permanent home. Arab officers often served in the armies of Indian empires. A larger concentration of Indian Arabs lives in the west India state of Maharashtra. The primary family language of Indian Arabs is the Iraqi dialect of Arabic. An Iraqi Arabic New Testament was completed in 2006. Indian Arabs also speak the local languages where they live. Many educated Arabs speak English which helps them in their businesses.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Arabs of the Diaspora (those scattered throughout the world) are a diverse group. Some are wealthy upper class business owners. Others are lower middle class shop keepers or work in restaurants and in the trades. All of them take pride in their Arabic language and traditional culture. Indian Arabs want their children to marry within their group. Indian Arab parents would prefer to bring in an Arab young person from Iraq or Iran than have their child marry an Indian young person. If the Arab parents can afford it, they have their child attend Arabic language study on Saturday or Sunday. In the Indian Arab family, the father is the head of the house. Women and mothers are gaining more independence and status as they attend universities and work outside the home. Sons often follow in the business of their father. A father and mother with many children, especially sons, are considered blessed by Allah or God. Most parents encourage their children to go to college and obtain professional degrees. Life revolves around going to mosque on Fridays with other Muslims.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Arabs of India practice Islam. Muslims try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain paradise when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Muslims pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. 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. There are very few if any Christians in this people group.
What Are Their Needs?
Indian Muslims need to understand the Isa or Jesus is much more than a human prophet. Muslims must see that their sins can only be forgiven by God through Jesus Christ.
* Scripture Prayers for the Arab in India.
Ask the Lord to call Muslim background believers in India to reach out and share the love of Christ with the Arab Indians. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Arabs of India towards Christ so that they will be more receptive to the gospel. Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap and pray for the Indian Arabs. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Arabs in India in this decade.