Sudanese Arab in Libya

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Sudan obtained its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Unfortunately, since that time Sudan has experienced a series of civil wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansings, genocides, droughts, famines, and wars with surrounding African countries. As a result, many Sudanese Arabs have left their homeland in search of a better life. Starting in the eighth century over a period of one thousand years, the inhabitants of northern and central Sudan gradually became Muslims. This Arabization of the population took place by military conquest and trade. The various ethno-linguistic groups of Sudan adopted Arabic as their first language and converted to Islam. These peoples make up the Sudanese Arabs of today. To escape the violence and economic disruptions in their land some Sudanese Arabs moved to the neighboring country of Libya. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been going through its own series of civil wars, chaos and violence. Libya has loss of 90% of its oil revenues. In late 2020 a peace treaty was signed to end the civil war. It will take years of peace and foreign investment for Libya to regain its pre-2011 prosperity.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Up until 2011 Libya was a relatively peaceful and prosperous North African state under the dictatorship of Gaddafi. Gaddafi tried in some measure to use the nation's oil exports to help the citizens of the country. Sudanese Arabs were able to practice agriculture and animal husbandry, their traditional occupations. Some Sudanese were able to find jobs in the oil industry. Others owned shops, restaurants and small businesses.
All that has changed since 2011. Some Sudanese have tried to leave Libya and flee to the West or back to Sudan. Some Sudanese have stayed in Libya and are hoping for the violence and civil war to end. Many Sudanese Arabs have lost their lives and livelihoods in the Libyan civil war. Many more were displaced from their homes and farms. Some are still in refugee camps waiting for the opportunity to return to their farms and businesses. Many refugee camps lack access to clean water, food and schools.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Nearly all Sudanese Arabs are Muslims, mostly Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Their brand of Islam is often mixed with folk religion and the belief in natural spirits. As Muslims, the Sudanese try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis 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.

What Are Their Needs?

All Libyans, including the Sudanese living in the country, need a just and lasting peace. The Sudanese in refugee camps need regular supplies of clean water and food. They need schools to teach their children valuable skills for the future. Teams of believers can help meet those needs and gain an entrance for sharing the good news about Isa or Jesus. Most Sudanese Arabs have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray for peace in both Libya and Sudan. Pray that God will raise up workers to go to refugee camps in Libya.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will complete the work begun in the hearts of the Sudanese Arab believers through adequate discipleship.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint Christian TV and radio broadcasts as they are aired among the Sudanese Arabs.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Sudanese Arabs for the glory of His name.

Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Sudanese in Libya.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Arab, Sudanese
People Name in Country Arab, Sudanese
Natural Name Sudanese Arab
Pronunciation SOO-dun-eez
Alternate Names Arabic, Sudanese Spoken; Sudanese; Sudanese Arab
Population this Country 298,000
Population all Countries 18,313,000
Total Countries 19
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 6
People ID 15104
ROP3 Code 109571
Country Libya
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Libya
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.05 %)
0.20 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.80 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Arabic, Sudanese Spoken (298,000 speakers)
Language Code apd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Arabic, Sudanese Spoken (298,000 speakers)
Language Code apd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Arabic, Sudanese Spoken
Photo Source David Haberlah - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more