Mandaean in United Kingdom

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People Name: Mandaean
Country: United Kingdom
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,100
World Population: 71,900
Primary Language: Mandaic
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Assyrian / Aramaic
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Mandaeans or Sabeans are a Gnostic, monotheistic people whose origins lie in the ancient Middle East. There are an estimated 70,000 Mandaeans alive today in the world. They consider John the Baptist as their great and final teacher. Some scholars believe that the Mandaeans are the remnants of the Essenes, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, who fled the Roman Conquest of Palestine in 70 AD. Up until the middle of the 20th century, almost all Mandaeans lived in Iraq or Iran. In the 1950s they were forced to speak Arabic or Farsi not their own language of Mandic. During the last 1500 years the Mandaeans were at times accepted by Muslims or severely persecuted by Muslims.

Where Are they Located?

In 1990 about 60,000 Mandaeans lived in Iraq. Due to persecution by Muslims extremists, the number now is under 5000. The Iraqi Mandaeans fled to Iran, Sweden, the USA, Australia, and the UK.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional occupation of the Mandaeans in the Middle East was that of gold smith. Since they had access to gold, they were seen as wealthy and were subject to kidnappings for ransom. The Mandaeans in the west have gone into other types of business. They own businesses and work in banking, finance and the professions. Mandaean parents strongly encourage their children to earn a college education. The Mandaean religion is "closed." No one is allowed to convert and the Mandaean young person can only marry within the group. As Mandaeans settle in western society, time will reveal whether they can continue the customs and practices of their Middle Eastern ancestors. Their language of Mandic is now primarily a liturgical language not a spoken language. The Mandaeans are pacifists but were forced into military service by Iraq and Iran.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Mandaeans practice an ancient dualistic religion. They worship a god of light and fear a god of darkness. They believe that servants of the dark god created the physical world. The physical world is evil while the spiritual world is good. Angels play a big part in their religion. The Mandaeans like to build their worship centers on the banks of rivers and canals. They divert part of the flow to come through their building as a pool. This helps them perform multiple baptisms in "living water." Baptism is the most important ceremony in their religion, besides observing their festive calendar. They have a two main holidays like their Muslim neighbors, one in the spring and another in the summer. They have elaborate death rituals including giving a new name to the deceased to assist them entering the "world of light." The Mandaeans have a holy book called the Kenz irRabba or "the great treasure." It contains the prayers, hymns, rituals, and practices of their faith.

What Are Their Needs?

The Mandaeans need help in integrating themselves into western society. They need help learning English and new job skills. They children need help in adapting to western schools. Most of all the Mandeans need to understand that only Jesus can forgive their sins and give them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray the Mandaeans understand that the true role of John the Baptist was to point people to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Pray that the Lord moves believers in the UK to make friends with the Mandaeans to help them with their physical, social and spiritual needs. Pray that Mandaeans leaders understand that they can follow Jesus Christ and not lose their cultural heritage.

Text Source:   Joshua Project