The name Swahili literally means "coast," and is the name given to several people groups that share a common culture (Uswahili), language (Kiswahili), and religion (Islam). Thousands of years ago, groups of hunters inhabited the East African coast and intermarried with the shepherds there. By the second century, people from northern Congo came to the area and intermarried with them. Subsequent groups of people migrating from other areas such as the Persian Gulf also joined these coastal people, adopting parts of their culture and language. Later, Indonesian, Hindi, and Portuguese traders settled on the coast. Soon, they too began adopting Swahili traits and became a part of the larger group. The Swahili language has many different dialects. A number of its words were borrowed from Arabic, the second language for many Swahili. As you could imagine from the mix of people who have joined under the "Swahili" umbrella, this language is very complicated. Though they are called "Swahili" by others, they prefer to be named according to their local settlements. Since that time, groups of Swahili have migrated to different parts of the coast, forming their own dialects and cultural variations. They are most likely to be living up and down the East African coast, and their highest populations are in Somalia and Tanzania. Many live in the countries of southern Africa. Some have scattered far and wide to places like Libya, some European nations, Saudi Arabia.
During the turbulent years Libya has faced since 2011, those who can have left for safer places. Some, no doubt, have participated in the ongoing fighting.
The Swahili identify with Islam, and to them it is a way of life. Nearly all of the Swahili profess to be Muslims; however, many of their traditional pre-Islamic beliefs and practices still exist. For example, they believe in many spirits, both good and evil. They also believe in the supernatural power of witches and sorcerers. The Swahili often have folk explanations for natural occurrences. For example, some believe that a cow is supporting the earth and that earthquakes are caused when the cow moves its horns. They believe that thunder is the sound of God speaking with the angels and that lightning occurs when God is pleased. To the Swahili, lightning is a good sign because it means that God will send plentiful rain and food that year.
Like other people in Libya, the Swahili need safety. They also need their physical and spiritual needs to be met.
Pray for God's mercy on a people who live in a war-torn land. Pray for the Lord to give Swahili people the humility to come as beggars to the only one who can save them. Pray for the Lord to send his children as long-term ambassadors to the Swahili people in Libya. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Swahili people.
Scripture Prayers for the Swahili in Libya.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|People Name General||Swahili|
|People Name in Country||Swahili|
|Population this Country||2,400|
|Population all Countries||1,131,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||Yes|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Alternate Names||African Black; Arab-Swahili; Bantu; Baraawe; Barwaani; Black African; Central Swahili; Coastal; Coastal Swahili; Mrima; Shirazi; Siddi; Swahili Shamba; Urban; Zanzibari|
|Region||Africa, North and Middle East|
|Persecution Rank||4 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
Primary Language: Swahili
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1879-1989)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching|
|Audio Recordings||Love letter to you from scripture|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament|
|Audio Recordings||Oral Bible Stories|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio|
|Film / Video||God's Love Story|
|Film / Video||God's Story video|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Swahili|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels|
|Film / Video||Magdalena video|
|Film / Video||My Last Day video, anime|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children|
|Film / Video||The Hope Video|
|Film / Video||Walk with Jesus video|
|General||Biblical answers to your questions|
|General||Four Spiritual Laws|
|General||Gospel resources links|
|General||Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.00 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|