Gaaliin in Sudan

Photo Source:  Sudan 101 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Gaaliin
Country: Sudan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,945,000
World Population: 3,945,000
Primary Language: Arabic, Sudanese
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 4.10 %
Evangelicals: 0.80 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Sudan
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Gaaliin are the direct descendants of the prophet Mohammed, the messenger of the Islamic faith. It seems more likely, however, that their original ancestors are the Nubians and that the Gaaliin gradually adopted the Arab culture.
This group of two million people live in small villages and cities along the banks of the Nile River. The area is very hot and dry, with an average yearly rainfall of about three inches. In the summer, which lasts from April through November, daytime temperatures can reach as high as 120 or 130 degrees fahrenheit.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Gaaliin are easily recognized by their facial scars, many of which are in the form of a T or H. The scars are a sign of tribal pride and are even more common on the women than on the men, for they are considered a sign of beauty. The Gaaliin are a very close tribe and quickly identify with each other, coming to another's aid in the event of trouble or during times of celebration.
Some Gaaliin still farm and raise livestock along the banks of the Nile River, but today they more commonly consist of the bulk of the Sudanese urban population, forming a large part of the merchant class. Although many have moved to cities, such as the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, they still maintain their tribal identity and solidarity. In some cities they live in quarters inhabited solely by Gaaliin, and they oppose marriages to people outside their tribe. Famous for maintaining ties with their homeland, they keep in contact with their original home and return for frequent visits, especially for marriages, funerals and Muslim festivals.
The Gaaliin men practice polygamy, although, as declared by Muslim law, they never have more than four wives at one time. The man has complete authority over his wife (or wives) and children, and he arranges and controls the marriages of his sons and daughters.
The Gaaliin are famous for their ties with their homeland. One important factor in these ties is the practice of polygyny. However, as declared by Muslim law, Gaaliin men never have more than four wives at one time. The man may take one wife with him during travels, while the others remain at home with the children.
Gaaliin consider it a symbol of prestige to have many children. A Gaaliin hopes for many sons and for many daughters to increase his number of sons-in-law. The man has complete control over his wife (or wives) and arranges and controls the marriages of his children.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Like so many other Sudanese people groups, the Gaaliin follow the Islamic faith, and are generally very committed Sunni Muslims. Only a small percentage of the Gaaliin have been exposed to the Gospel in a positive way. This has mainly been accomplished through penetrations by Sudanese believers into the Gaaliin areas. Churches comprised of Southern Sudanese members and evangelistic outreaches led by national Christian groups have helped reach the Gaaliin. They are a people who are critical in reaching the whole of Sudan, for they are the pulse of the cities and a key stone in breaking through the Islamic grip that holds the nation of Sudan.

What Are Their Needs?

The Gaaliin people need to see living Christianity in action. They live in a part of Sudan where Islam goes unchallenged.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of the Gaaliin so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to Christ followers focusing on the Gaaliin people.
Pray for Gaaliin elders to have dreams of the savior that will open their hearts to him.
Pray for Gaaliin disciples to make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project