Socotran in United Arab Emirates

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Socotran live on the island of Socotra, which is located in shark-infested waters between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Socotra's name is traced back to Sanskrit (an ancient Indic language), meaning "island abode of bliss," and is mentioned in various legends. The inhabitants of Socotra differ from mainland Arabs, and are believed to be a mixture of Greek, Portuguese, African, and Arabs. Their language is a version of the ancient Himyarite language, which was spoken in pre-Islamic Arabia for many centuries. Socotra was long ruled by the Mahra sultans of southeastern Yemen. Their rule was interrupted by Portuguese occupation between 1507 and 1511. In 1834, the British tried, but failed, to purchase the island. However, in the 1880s, the sultan accepted British protection for the sultanate. The sultanate finally came to an end in 1967, when Socotra became part of Yemen.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Life is hard for those who live on Socotra Island. Those with resources are able to move to places with a stronger economy like the UAE where they can work in the oil fields, etc.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Today, the Socotran are almost completely Muslim. Approximately half belong to the Shia Zaydis sect, which is quite fanatical and rigid in its form. Most of the Zaydis are warriors and perceive all wars to be a manifestation of Jihad (a Muslim holy war or crusade against non Muslims). They take their name from Zayd, who first established a state south of the Caspian Sea, and died in 864 AD. Zaydis reject all forms of Sufism (a mystic sect of Islam). The remaining Socotran are either Sunni Muslim or (to a minor extent) Ismailis. Though their beliefs are based mainly in Islam they have, until recent years, been very low key on that. Influences from the mainland, which is more fundamental, have changed the way people practice their beliefs.

What Are Their Needs?

The Socotran people need to find ways to earn a better living. As things stand, they have few if any choices. Those who have family members affected by the civil war in Yemen have to deal with much stress in a place where they can do little or nothing about it.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the UAE to minister life to the Socotran. Pray that gospel radio broadcasts will be made available in the Socotran language. Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil through worship and intercession. Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing church planting movement for the glory of His name.

Scripture Prayers for the Socotran in United Arab Emirates.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Socotran
People Name in Country Socotran
Pronunciation suh-KOH-trin
Alternate Names Sokotri
Population this Country 15,000
Population all Countries 143,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14971
ROP3 Code 109372
ROP25 Code 307605
ROP25 Name Socotran

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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Soqotri (15,000 speakers)
Language Code sqt   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Soqotri (15,000 speakers)
Language Code sqt   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Soqotri

Primary Language:  Soqotri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1902-1905)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source Rod Waddington - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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