Prayer Profile
The Fulani of Sudan

[IMAGE] The Fulani are a large people group that immigrated from North Africa or the Middle East to West and Central Africa centuries ago. They are nomadic herdsmen (Bororo) who continually travel with their herds in search of better grazing land. The Fulani are lighter skinned and have straighter hair and noses, and thinner lips than other African groups, which suggests that they are of Caucasian origin. They speak a Niger-Congo language called Fulfulde Adamawa.

Long ago, the Fulani Muslims desired to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy places in Sudan. Eventually, the Sudan Road became the major pilgrimage route between West Africa and the holy places. Today, nearly 127,000 Fulani live in western Sudan.

The region of Sudan occupied by the Fulani contains vast grasslands where hippopotamuses, lions, and zebras roam. The Fulani lifestyle resembles that of the Fulani in other parts of Africa, since the traditions of a "true" Fulani never change.

What are their lives like?
Among the Fulani, cattle are a man's most prized possession, as well as a means of survival. A man's wealth is determined by the number of cattle he owns. Every young man desires advanced training in cattle herding.

Throughout the year, the Fulani nomads travel from place to place in search of new and better grazing lands for their herds. Each member of the family has specific duties. The men's responsibilities include herding the cattle, tending to political affairs, treating illnesses, and making plans for traveling. The young men and boys help their fathers tend to the herds. The women's duties include milking the cows, preparing butter and cheese, making the clothes and blankets, and preparing the daily meals. Milk is the staple food of the Fulani. Their daily diet usually includes milk (or milk products) and a millet-based porridge.

The Fulani nomads are known as independent and having a strong code of moral ethics. When a Fulani boy reaches the age of 12, he enters sukaabe, or "young adulthood." At that time he is taught the rules of respect, courtesy, and justice.

A sharo is a Fulani custom that tests manhood. Young men who desire the same woman for a wife will have a "caning match" as a way of eliminating the less persistent suitor. The two must beat each other over the chest with their walking sticks, showing no signs of pain. The Sudan Fulani men usually have up to four wives, who are picked, among other things, by the amount of cattle they own.

The nomadic Fulani love to sing and dance. They feel very strongly about morality, and constantly strive to be generous, honest, and reserved. The Fulani also have a strong concept of beauty, and believe it to be a distinguishing feature between them and other African groups. Fulani infants receive decorative scars on their faces, near their lips, as signs of status and beauty. The children will receive more scarring on their foreheads and noses when they are about five years old. Adults decorate themselves by wearing leg and arm bracelets, as well as many large earrings looped through their ears.

What are their beliefs?
The Fulani of Sudan are virtually all Muslim, strictly adhering to the moral codes of Islam. The genuinely godly among them strive to attain sanctity and, in turn, supernatural powers.

To the Fulani, children are the future. They do not believe in an afterlife, so children are the only means by which they can live on from generation to generation. They believe that through their sons, their names and features will remain. If a Fulani dies with no children, it is as if he dies twice.

What are their needs?
Some Christian resources are available in the Fulfulde Adamawa language; however, there are currently no missions agencies targeting the Fulani of Sudan. Missionaries are needed to live among the Fulani and show them the love of Jesus in practical ways. Much prayer is also needed to break the Islamic stronghold that is over their lives.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that missions organizations and churches will accept the challenge of adopting and reaching the Fulani.
  • Pray that the small number of Fulani believers will rise to the challenge of taking the Gospel to their people.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Sudan through worship and intercession.
  • Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Fulani who will boldly declare the Gospel.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio among the Fulani.
  • Ask the Lord to begin revealing Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Fulani bound for many generations.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Fulani by the year 2000.

See also the following related groups:
the Adawama Fulani of Cameroon;
the Bagirmi Fula of Chad and the Central African Republic;
the Bauchi Fulani of Nigeria; the Benin/Togo Fulani of Togo; the Bororo Fulani of Cameroon;
the Fula of Benin and Burkina Faso;
the Fula Jalon of Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone;
the Fula Kita of Mali;
the Fula Macina of Mali and Maruitania;
the Fula Toro of Senegal;
the Fula Kunda of Guinea Bissau, and Senegal;
The Fulani of Chad, and Gambia;
the Gurma Fulani of Burkina Faso; the Krio Fula of Sierra Leone;
the Sokoto Fulani of Niger and Nigeria;
the Liptako Fula of Burkina Faso; the Toroobe Fulani of Nigeria; and the Western Fulani of Niger.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Fulani
  • Country: Sudan
  • Their language: Fulfulde Adamawa
  • Population: (1990) 111,000
    (1995) 126,900
    (2000) 144,800
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Malikite) 99.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 13
  • Scriptures in their own language: Bible
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 35,500 (28%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 3,800 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 31,700 (25%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 91,400 (72%)
  • Country: Sudan
  • Population: (1990) 24,585,400
    (1995) 28,098,500
    (2000) 32,078,700
  • Major peoples in size order: Sudanese Arab 13%
    Gaaliin 6.6%
    Guhayna 3.1%
    Beja 3%
  • Major religions: Muslim 69.3%
    Christian 19.6%
    Ethnic religionist 9%
  • Number of denominations: 20

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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