Belbali in Algeria

Belbali
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
International Mission Board-SBC  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Belbali
Country: Algeria
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,800
World Population: 3,800
Primary Language: Korandje
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Songhai
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Korandje is spoken by people called Belbalis from the villages of Kwara, Ifrenyu and Yami in the oasis of Tabelbala in southwestern Algeria. Significant numbers are also in the town of Tindouf. Belbalis only form a slight majority in this oasis town. More than a third of the inhabitants come from elsewhere, mainly Arab ex-nomads settled over the past century.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The isolation and poverty of Tabelbala oasis plus a lack of strong tribal connections contribute to a very low prospect of survival of the Korandje language. All Belbali men and most women speak the local form of Arabic which is far different from standard Arabic as to be mutually unintelligible. Korandje speakers claim to speak only Arabic to their children hoping they will master this trade language and have a brighter future.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Belbali people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship. 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. Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will. In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Belbali people to have adequate schools and hospitals. Pray for Belbali people to put their identity and hope in Jesus Christ, King of kings. Pray for spiritual hunger and discernment among Belbali people. Pray for Belbali disciples who will make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project