The Brahui of Iran
While a majority of the 2.3 million Brahui live in Pakistan, some 15,000 have settled in southeastern Iran along the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders. Brahui often move back and forth across these borders in search of adequate pastures and water for their flocks. In some cases, some tribes relocate in other regions where they live for a few years and then move on again.
The Brahui rose to power in the 1600's when they overthrew a dynasty of Hindu kings. Under Nasir Khan, the confederacy reached its peak in the 1700's. Today, the Brahui are made up of a group of 29 tribes. Eight of those tribes form what is believed to be the original Brahui nucleus.
Brahui can be distinguished from their Pushtun and Baluchi neighbors by their Dravidian language, called Brahuidi. Linguists have not been able to discover their link with other speakers of Dravidian languages who live 1000 miles away in southern India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Like their Afghan cousins, most Brahui of Iran are nomadic shepherds who travel between the highlands and lowlands in search of proper temperatures, rainfall, and pasture for their flocks. Their lives revolve around the movement between various wells which can be as much as 45 miles apart.
Because winters in the highlands are cold and icy, the Brahui reside in the plains during the colder months. They return to the hills only after the lambs are born in February or March.
Brahui have the reputation of being fierce tribes of strong desert men who submit to no law except the law of retaliation. From childhood, their resistance grows as they withstand the extremes of their harsh environment.
Brahui have organized themselves into groups of cooperating households called khalks. Each khalk combines its herds into one flock under the care of a professional resident shepherd. The resident shepherd controls up to 500 sheep. This procedure benefits the Brahui economically because it allows the men and their adult sons to work on local village farms in exchange for wheat. Having one resident shepherd also enables the men to take their herds to market for sale and to exchange information with other Brahui about the locations of various camps and flocks.
Through the use of khalks, Brahui have become expert shepherds. They have learned the optimum number of sheep that can be grazed together. They also have discovered that sheep are not happy in very small groups, that they spread and wander under such conditions. When the herds increase to more than 500 animals, leaders "multiply" the group, shifting the tents to form a new khalk.
Marriages are arranged within families. Fathers prefer their sons to marry a cousin on the father's side, although, occasionally, families will consider the wishes of the couple. Men may take multiple wives, but the expenses incurred tend to limit this practice. Divorce is rare among the Brahui. The ideal family consists of married sons who live with their parents. After the father's death, brothers continue to live together with a united family estate under the leadership of the eldest son.
The tribe is the basic political unit of the Brahui. Tribes base their membership on patrilineal descent (common male ancestors) and political allegiance.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Brahui are Sunni Muslims. Deeply rooted in their faith, they adhere to the five essential duties of Islam: praying, fasting, giving to the poor, affirming that "Allah is the only god and that Mohammed is his prophet," and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
What Are Their Needs?
There is one missions agency currently targeting the Brahui of Iran; however, very few Christian resources are available to them in their language. They need much intercession, additional evangelical materials, and added laborers who will work with them and be willing adapt to their harsh nomadic lifestyle.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask the Lord to send laborers with servants' hearts to the Brahui to work among them.
- Pray that the Jesus film will be used wisely and that God will bring much fruit as the film is shown to the Brahui.
- Pray that Brahui who have heard the Gospel will respond to Jesus and will share His love with others.
- Pray that the entire Bible will be translated into Brahuidi.
- Pray that Brahui Christians will be able to live for Jesus, despite the tremendous difficulties they face daily.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Brahui bound.
- Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Brahui by the year 2000.
See also the following related groups:
the Brahui of
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Brahui
- Country: Iran
- Their language: Brahuidi
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 30
- Scriptures in their own language: Portions
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 2,800 (19%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 12,400 (81%)
- Country: Iran
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 26
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
This profile may be copied and distributed without obtaining permission
as long as it is not altered, bound, published
or used for profit purposes.