Prayer Profile
The Mwali of the Comoros Islands

[IMAGE] The Mwali Comorian live on the islands of Moheli and Anjouan in the Islamic Republic of the Comoros, located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and the African nation of Mozambique. The Comoros chain consists of four main islands along with several smaller ones. The island of Moheli, which is also known as Mwali, is one of the smallest islands of the Comoros, and only 5% of the country's population lives there.

The Mwali Comorian are a blend of settlers from the past: Iranian traders, mainland Africans, Arabs, and Malagasy. Because of poor economic conditions, the islands receive monetary and technical support from other countries.

In 1975, all the islands of the Comoros, with the exception of Mayotte, declared their independence from France, who had ruled them since 1947. The islands then became known as the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros.

What Are Their Lives Like?
Moheli is largely plateau that averages 1000 feet in elevation. The valleys are fertile and the hillsides are covered with thick forests. Many of the Mwali Comorian work as farmers or fishermen, while a few breed cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys. A large number work in industries that produce vanilla and perfume.

The islands of Moheli and Anjouan are very poor and undeveloped. The basic diet of the Mwali Comorian consists of rice, potatoes, corn, fish, coconuts, and bananas. Other crops that are grown are sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and pineapples.

Although many of the young people now wear Western style clothing, traditional clothing is still common among the adults. In town, a Comorian man will typically wear a white cotton garment and a knee-length shirt, sometimes with a white jacket and white skull cap. When he goes out of town, he wears a long cloth sarong (colorful skirt). Most women wear long, colorful cotton dresses, with bright shawls as face coverings.

Polygamy (the practice of having more than one spouse) is an acceptable practice among the Mwali Comorian. Children are expected to help with the farming, fishing, and caring of the animals. For recreation, the Mwali Comorian enjoy dancing, singing, and playing instruments, especially horns and drums.

About 25% of the Mwali Comorian are literate and speak either Swahili, French, and/or Arabic as a second language. Their language is a dialect of Swahili and a part of the Niger-Congo linguistic family. French and Arabic are the official languages of the islands.

What Are Their Beliefs?
The majority of the Mwali Comorian are Shafiite Muslim, yet mosque attendance is very low. Mixed with their Islamic practices is a strong involvement in occultism and spirit possession.

Traditionally, the Mwali Comorian have been very resistant to any kind of religious change; however, they are gradually becoming more receptive.

What Are Their Needs?
The physical needs of the Mwali Comorian are numerous. Major problems on the Comoros islands include poverty, disease, and hunger. A struggling economy results in very high unemployment. In addition, there is a shortage of hospitals and doctors, and many people suffer from illnesses and chronic malnutrition. Because of a poor water supply, good hygiene is lacking. Such problems contribute to a high death rate, especially among young children.

The spiritual needs of the Mwali Comorian are even greater than their physical needs. Though there is freedom of religion on the islands, evangelism is not well received by these Shafiite Muslims. Their commitment to Islam, along with their involvement in occult practices, has made the Mwali Comorian difficult to reach.

Only portions of the Bible have been translated into their Swahili dialect. Their Islamic mentality has made it difficult to reach these people. Consequently, there are very few known believers.

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Mwali Comorian.
  • Ask the Lord to speed the completion of the translation of the Bible into their language.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Mwali Comorian through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will give the small number of Mwali Comorian believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Mwali Comorian bound.
  • Ask God to raise up an army of intercessors for the Mwali Comorian.
  • Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, evangelical literature, and the Jesus film will be made available to the Mwali Comorian.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Mwali Comorian church for the glory of His name!

See also the following related groups:
the Comorian of Mayotte; the Ngazija Comorian of Comoros; the Nzwani Comorian of Comoros; and the Ngazija Comorian of Madagascar.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Mwali
  • Country: Comoros
  • Their language: Mwali (Swahili)
  • Population: (1990) 20,000
    (1995) 23,500
    (2000) 27,600
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Shafite) 99.9%
  • Christians: 0%
  • Church members: 0
  • Scriptures in their own language: Portions
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 5,900 (25%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 700 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 5,200 (22%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 17,600 (75%)
  • Country: Comoros
  • Population: (1990) 445,100
    (1995) 522,200
    (2000) 612,100
  • Major peoples in size order: Comorian (Ngazija) 49%
    Comorian (Nzwani) 43.7%
    Comorian (Mwali) 4.5%
    Makua 1.6%
  • Major religions: Muslim 98.1%
    Christian 1.2%
  • Number of denominations: 6

© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center

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