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Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center
|People Name:||Berber, Figig|
|Primary Language:||Tamazight, Central Atlas|
|Christian Adherents:||0.02 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Arab World|
The Figig are one of many groups of Berbers. The Berbers are a North African people group who were conquered by Muslim invaders in the seventh century. The name Berber, which is derived from the Latin word "barbarian," was given to them by the Romans in the third century A.D. Today, the term 'Berber' refers to any native speaker of one of the Berber languages. Most Berbers refer to themselves as the Imazighen, which means "men of noble origin." Arab Muslims conquered the Berber homeland between 670 and 700 A.D. However, their influence was limited and the Figig and other Berber tribes have managed to sustain and preserve their own language, culture, customs, and social organization. To this day, the various Berber tribes in North Africa straddle their own and the dominant Arabic cultures. Berbers are generally bilingual, speaking both their Berber dialect and Arabic. As a general rule, the men speak Algerian Arabic while the women, who are more secluded, speak only their language called Figig. Figig Berbers once lived in Morocco, but now they live only in neighboring Algeria.
Since the Sahara Desert is a harsh environment, most of the Saharan tribes occupy a number of oases. While there are many similarities between the various Berber groups, their particular lifestyles and quality of life vary according to the region in which they live. Berber dress is very similar to that of the Arabian community. The men wear the traditional djellaba cloak, which is made of cotton with wide sleeves and a hood. They also wear cotton turbans or caps. For the Berber, life revolves around important ceremonies such as births, marriages and deaths. Many rites of passage are important parts of their culture as well, such as the first haircut and circumcision for boys. The most elaborate of all is the marriage ceremony. Like other Berbers, the Figig live in a society that is male-dominated. The line of descent is traced through the fathers and all inheritances are passed down through the males.
Although they accepted Islam as a new religion, the Figig Berbers also maintained their pre-Islamic cultural and ritual traditions. The acceptance of Islam and the adoption of Arabic ways never completely erased Berber culture. Although they are nominally Sunni Muslims, most Figig people have little knowledge of the practices of the Koran and other dimensions of Orthodox Islam. For example, Berber men often use verses from the Koran as part of their protective amulets. The concept of baraka, or holiness, is highly developed in North Africa. The Figig Berbers believe that many people are endowed with baraka, of which the holiest are the shurifa, or the direct descendants of Mohammed. They also have great respect for marabouts, Muslim holy men who teach and are usually scholars in the Koran.
Figig Berbers need the chance to put their identity in Jesus Christ and enjoy his blessings in this life and in the life to come. Someone needs to go to them with the life-changing gospel.
Pray for Figig Berbers to put their faith and hope in Christ, paving the way for a Disciple Making Movement. Pray for a spiritual hunger among Figig Berbers that will lead them to the cross and the empty grave. Pray for workers to go to the Figig and find persons of people who will welcome them into their communities with the gospel of peace.