Mappila in Sri Lanka

Mappila
Photo Source:  Kerala Tourism  Creative Commons  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Mappila
Country: Sri Lanka
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 11,000
World Population: 8,720,000
Primary Language: Malayalam
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: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The term mappilla is a combination of two words: maha, which means great and pilla, which is an endearing term that means child.

The Mappila people migrated from the Kerala coast. They came as Hindus, but later converted to Islam because of the work of an Arab Muslim missionary. These Muslim communities resulted from the unions of Arab sailors and merchants with local women.

Where Are they Located?

Most of the Muslim Mappila people live in India’s Laccadive Islands, but a smaller number live in nearby Sri Lanka.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Mappila people are one of the minority Muslim peoples on Sri Lanka, an island dominated by Buddhism and Hinduism.

Monogamy (one husband, one wife) prevails among the Mappila, in spite of the fact that Islam allows a man to have as many as four wives. They prefer cross cousin marriages, and marriages usually take place shortly after puberty. The man has true authority over his wife only if he stays with her until after all of her male relatives have died. He is then able to manage her property. A man has little authority over his children. Divorce is easy and common; over half of their marriages end in divorce.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Laccadive Mappila belong to the Shafite School of the Sunni branch of Islam. Their religion has the typical characteristics of Islamic beliefs and practices, in addition to certain local features that have developed according to their particular way of life. Every child has to read the Koran completely in Arabic at least once, but the meaning is not explained to them. Priesthood is inherited through the females.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bible, the JESUS Film, and some Christian broadcasts are available in their Malayalam language; however, very few of the islanders have responded to the gospel. Prayer is the key to reaching them for Christ.

Prayer Points

* Pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done among the Muslim Mappila people.
* Pray for a movement of Mappila households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
* Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Mappila people to the arms of Jesus.
* Pray for workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to the Mappila people.

Text Source:   Keith Carey