Malay in Cambodia

Malay
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Faiz Zaki - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Malay
Country: Cambodia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 18,000
World Population: 17,557,300
Primary Language: Malay
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Malay
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

While the Malay are spread throughout southeastern Asia including Cambodia, the majority are located in the country of Malaysia. There, they make up about 1/3 of the population, sharing the country with Chinese and Indian minorities. In addition to sea trade, some Malay may have been transported as slaves in the 1700s; others were political exiles. The dispersal of the Malay was in progress by the fifth century A. D. when the Malay began to dominate local trade in Southeast Asia and long-distance trade between northwestern India and southern China. Their domination of sea trade continued until the 1500s and even into the European colonial period.

Where Are they Located?

The most numerous Malay minorities live in Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, and Thailand. There are smaller communities in Madagascar, Taiwan, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the southern Philippines, and Cambodia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Malay in Cambodia are closely associated with the Muslim Cham people who often take on Malay names. Intermarriage between the two Muslim groups is common in Cambodia. The Malay have influenced the Cham to become more orthodox Muslims. In general, courtesy is a very important aspect of Malay society. Most of their groups are loosely structured, their commitments are not strong, and loyalty to a group is not as important as being courteous. The "pure Malay" is considered to be kind towards women, children and animals; introspective, polite, slow to speak, passive, and indolent. Of course, there are many variations of what a "true Malay" is, depending on the countries in which they now live. Cleanliness is typically a feature of most Malay homes. As Muslims, they generally do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Most Malay families consist of a husband, his wife, and their children. In Malay society, marriage is expected of every person. According to Islamic law, a man may have as many as four wives. However, most marriages are monogamous (having only one wife). Although many marriages are arranged, the consent of both parties is required. There are no descent or kinship groups among the Malay.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Islam was brought to Malaysia by Arabic and Indian traders many centuries ago, and the Malay people have come to embrace and ardently follow the Islamic faith. The Malaysian Constitution states that to be Malay is to be Muslim. All Malay people are considered Islamic though levels of devotion to the religion are varied. Even those who half-heartedly follow Islam participate in the fasting month, and the Malay people of affluence will go on the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once if not many times during their lifetime. The Malay have early roots in Hinduism and traces of this can still be seen in certain aspects of their culture such as weddings. For instance, the bride and groom sit upon a platform for hours for the guests to admire like they do in Hindu weddings. A more important divergence from Islam is the use of the bomoh, a witchdoctor. Although Islam forbids the use of such a person many Malay will seek the services of a bomoh when they are experiencing a difficult situation or when they believe they need some magic.

What Are Their Needs?

Although tools such as the Bible, evangelistic literature, the JESUS Film, and Christian broadcasts are available in the Malay language, few have accepted Jesus as Savior. The Malay living in Cambodia have freedom of religion. Christ followers must seize the opportunity to share Christ with the Malay. There is a need for increased intercession and missionary efforts to see the Malay reached with the gospel. Perhaps Christian teachers and businessmen will have the most opportunities to share the love of Jesus with them.

Prayer Points

*Pray for spiritual hunger among Malay Muslims in Cambodia that will lead them to seek and find the eternal blessings of Jesus Christ.*Pray for believers who are filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit to go to them and share Christ until He is exalted among Malay Muslim families.*Pray for a movement to Christ among Malay Muslims this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project