Southern Baloch in Saudi Arabia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Their name, "Baloch," is shrouded in controversy. Some say it means "nomad," while others claim it is an old Persian word meaning "the cock's crest." Their history is just as mysterious. Some have traced their origins to Nimrod, son of Cush (Noah's grandson). But while some things are uncertain, we know that they first moved to the region in the twelfth century. During the Moghul period, this territory became known as "Balochistan."The various Baloch groups speak different languages, each with distinguishing characteristics. Their original homeland reaches from eastern Balochistan to southwestern Punjab, which borders India. This high, dry region was once a very populated country, watered by many flowing rivers. Today, it is a barren area of rocky mountains and dry river valleys mixed with desert land.

It is difficult to make a living in that region, so there is a large Baloch diaspora. The first Baloch migrated to the Arabian Peninsula hundreds of years ago as mercenary soldiers for Omani leaders. Starting in the second half of the 20th century, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states were becoming wealthy on oil. They recruited cheap laborers from Balochistan and other poor regions.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Baloch in Saudi Arabia are police officers, fishermen, cattlemen or farmers. Most do menial, low-paying jobs and live in shantytowns.

Some have children who have never been to Pakistan. In the 2020s, many of these Baloch have become more impoverished, and they are considering returning to Pakistan. One of their economic challenges involves a special tax on dependents. Baloch men in Saudi Arabia often have many children to support and more than one wife. This means the tax will be especially burdensome. Apparently, the Saudi government does not want those who came as cheap laborers to stay long enough to establish roots and support families within Saudi Arabia.

Baloch marriages are arranged between the bride's father and the prospective groom. His family pays a bride price of livestock and cash. Once a woman is married, she passes from the authority of her father to that of her husband. Marriages are monogamous and lifelong, and marrying a non-Baloch is strictly forbidden, though they sometimes make exceptions for the Pathans.

Baluchmayar, or the "Baluchiway," is the honor code by which the Baloch live. These principles include extending hospitality and mercy, dealing with each other honestly, and offering refuge to strangers. Songs and poetry preserve these virtues. Children learn proper behavior by watching their elders and are taunted whenever they misbehave.

Many Baloch cannot read or write and until the 20th century, their language was unwritten. However, they have a long tradition of poetic compositions. The Baloch people give high status to poets and professional minstrels.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Baloch are Sunni Muslims who in theory are part of several "schools." They identify with Sunni Islam, but for specifics, only the religious intellectuals actually adhere to the schools of Sunni Islam. A typical Baloch is likely to be involved with pre-Islamic practices that involve jinns, the evil eye, etc. They believe it is necessary to appease the spirit world for their practical needs, since Allah is so distant.

What Are Their Needs?

The Baloch need to understand that there is only one way to abundant life and eternal salvation: Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Baloch communities in Saudi Arabia.

Pray for the Baloch people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.

Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Baloch people to change their society from within.

Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Baloch in Saudi Arabia.

Scripture Prayers for the Baloch, Southern in Saudi Arabia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Baloch, Southern
People Name in Country Baloch, Southern
Natural Name Southern Baloch
Pronunciation bah-LOACH
Alternate Names Baloch; Baluch; Baluchi, Southern; Southern Baluch
Population this Country 18,000
Population all Countries 1,543,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 15034
ROP3 Code 109469
ROP25 Code 300774
ROP25 Name Baloch
Country Saudi Arabia
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 13  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Saudi Arabia
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 13  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

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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 Balochi, Southern (18,000 speakers)
Language Code bcc   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Balochi, Southern (18,000 speakers)
Language Code bcc   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Balochi, Southern
Photo Source Nasha Ila - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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