Rif Berber in Algeria


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Northern Shilha of Algeria and Morocco, better known as the "Rif Berbers," are numerous tribes of tough and hardened people eking out an existence on the harsh, uninviting slopes of the Rif Mountains. The land, located in the northwestern portion of Africa, is a combination of deserts, mountains, and rolling fields. It is bordered by two rivers and 145 miles of coastline. The word "rif" is an Arabic word meaning "the edge of cultivated area." The Rif Berbers are actually made up of 19 tribes: five in the west along the Mediterranean coast, seven in the center, five in the east, and two in the southeastern desert area.The Rif Berbers live mainly in Morocco, but also in Algeria. Others have migrated to France and the Netherlands where they are migrant workers.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Despite the rugged environment, these people remain bound by strong family traditions. Their farming is done mostly by hand, providing a meager crop at best. Influenced by a Mediterranean climate, the winters are mild and the summers are hot and dry. Along the coast it is humid in the summer months.In contrast to the Southern and Central Shilha, raising livestock plays only a secondary role in the lives of the Northern Shilha (AKA, Rif Berbers). They grow some sorgums (grain) for feed, but the fig and olive trees that cover the mountain slopes make up their principal resources. Incomes are supplemented through job opportunities in major cities of Europe. In fact, such jobs lure up to one-third of the male population for most of the year.In rural communities the effects of modernization are scarce, despite government projects to aid farm production. The Rifs often reject these efforts as being an intrusion upon their culture and traditions.Rif houses are usually built of stone and have flat roofs. Some of the poorer people live in wood huts plastered with mud. Houses are often placed on ridges or other such locations, at least 300 meters from the nearest neighbor. This proves to be strategic in times of defense.Rif women wear colorful long dresses and head scarves. The men wear the traditional djellaba cloak, which is made of wool or cotton with wide sleeves and a hood. They also wear turbans, which are distinctive and unique to each particular tribe. Younger men often wear western style clothing.Rif Berbers follow a traditional Muslim, male-dominated family structure. When the man dies, each son sets up his own household, and the cycle continues. Education is strictly a male privilege, but it does not have a high priority. If a family has many sons, they may send their third and fourth sons to an Islamic school.Overpopulation and poverty are big problems among the Rifs. Too many children, insufficient crops, and increasing migration of the young men to the European cities are all major concerns that will undoubtedly change the lives of the Rif Berbers in the years to come.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Although they accepted Islam as a new religion, Rif Berbers also maintained their pre-Islamic cultural and ritual traditions. The acceptance of Islam and the adoption of Arabic ways never completely erased Berber culture. Although they are nominally Sunni Muslims, most Rif people have little knowledge of the practices of the Koran and other dimensions of Orthodox Islam. For example, Berber men often use verses from the Koran as part of their protective amulets.The concept of baraka, or holiness, is highly developed in North Africa. The Rif Berbers believe that many people are endowed with baraka, of which the holiest are the shurifa, or the direct descendants of Mohammed. They also have great respect for marabouts, Muslim holy men who teach and are usually scholars in the Koran.


What Are Their Needs?

Rif Berbers need the chance to put their identity in Jesus Christ and enjoy his blessings in this life and in the life to come. Someone needs to go to them with the life-changing gospel.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Berber, Rif in Algeria.

Pray for Rif Berbers to put their faith and hope in Christ, paving the way for a Disciple Making Movement.Pray for a spiritual hunger among Rif Berbers that will lead them to the cross and the empty grave.Pray for workers to go to the Rif and find persons of people who will welcome them into their communities with the gospel of peace.


Profile Source:   JoshuaProject  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-12-15
Riffians profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Berber, Rif
People Name in Country Berber, Rif
Natural Name Rif Berber
Pronunciation reef BURR-burr
Population this Country 3,300
Population all Countries 1,883,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Beraber; Berber; Imazighen; Jebala; Northern Shilha; Northern Shilih; Rif; Rif Berber; Riff; Riffan Berber; Riffi; Riffi Berber; Riffian; Ruafa; Shilha, Northern; Shleuh; Tarifit
People ID 10803
ROP3 Code 101275
Country Algeria
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 24  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Oran, Tlemcen provinces.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Algeria
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 24  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Oran, Tlemcen provinces..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Tarifit (3,300 speakers)
Language Code rif   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tarifit (3,300 speakers)
Language Code rif   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tarifit

Primary Language:  Tarifit

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1885-2018)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2020-2009)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings Awar n Tudart, NT text and audio, Riffi Berber
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Portions
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tarifit
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed Matter Rifi Berber Bible
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.02 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
99.98 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
60.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
10.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source David Dennis - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source JoshuaProject  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


Avatar

Welcome. I’m a virtual assistant and will try to answer questions about Joshua Project, unreached people groups, the Great Commission and more. How can I help you?

For further help try our FAQ, Definitions or Contact Us pages.