Siddi (Muslim traditions) in India

Siddi (Muslim traditions)
Photo Source:  Sagar Mek 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Siddi (Muslim traditions)
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 16,000
World Population: 16,000
Primary Language: Gujarati
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 Siddi people group is located mainly in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Some also live at Goa and Bihar. Their origin is African -- specifically Nigerian -- but around 400 years ago they were traded as slaves by a Muslim king and they served as sailors. Their main spoken language is Gujarati. The Siddi are mostly located in the Saurashtra Region of the state of Gujarat. Their village names are Sirvan and Janmbur. In these two villages there are around 5,000 Siddi. Both villages lie within the area of the Gir Forest National Park.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Siddi are a neglected community. Although they speak the Guajarati language, due to their different appearance they have been discriminated against. Most of the men work on farms and in the forest. Women also work on the farms and also collect firewood. Children often quit school early for two reasons:to help their parents earn a living and the nearest middle school is 12 km away. Most live semi-nomadic lives. Their houses are made of mud and cow dung. The Siddi often lack access to modern medicine, electricity and clean water. Many of them suffer from skin diseases. Unfortunately, many of the men have alcohol abuse issues.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are officially Muslims, but they actually follow folk beliefs more than Islam. They do not know much about Islam and even the larger Islamic community does not regard them as true Muslims. The Siddi believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such a rocks, trees, rivers and mountains. These evil spirits must be appeased or they can bring disaster upon the Siddi. The Siddi have not been open to the efforts of Christian missionaries.

What Are Their Needs?

The Siddi need good, local schools for their children. They need access to clean water, electricity and modern medicine. Most of all they need to understand that Jesus or Isa is not merely a human prophet. As the Son of God and the Savior of the world, He alone can forgive their sins and grant them abundant life.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will send more workers to help the Siddi with their spiritual and physical needs. Pray that God will open doors for missionaries to come to live with the Siddi. Pray for God-honoring methods for Siddi men to overcome their alcoholism. Ask the Lord is begin a disciple making movement among the Siddi in this decade.

Text Source:   Keith Carey