Bajelani in Iraq

Bajelani
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Lena Ha - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Bajelani
Country: Iraq
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 72,000
World Population: 72,000
Primary Language: Bajelani
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.15 %
Evangelicals: 0.03 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Kurd
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Gurani are an Iranian ethnic group that consists of a number of sub-groups, including the Bajelani and the Hawrami. The Bajelani live in the northern regions of Iran and Iraq in an area commonly known as Kurdistan, or "land of the Kurds." For this reason, they are often categorized as Kurds. Most likely their original homeland was somewhere near the Caspian Sea. The early 1600s brought about the founding of the Bajelani tribe. They were founded by Abdal Bey, an Ottoman military commander, and they helped him defeat the Persians in the Ottoman-Safavid War, 1623-39. They went on to help Sultan Murad IV to conquer Baghdad in 1638. In the 19th century, they provided a standing regiment of between 1,000 and 2,000 men, this time for the Persian army. By this time they had completely surrendered their identity, and became one of the Kurdish tribes. The Kurds have occupied Kurdistan since as early as 2400 B.C. Many claim to be descendants of the Medes, a nomadic people of the Media Empire, which flourished between 900 and 500 B.C. Most of Kurdistan was conquered by Arabs in the seventh century. At that time, its inhabitants converted to Islam. Although the Kurdish population perceives Kurdistan as a nation-state, it is not recognized as a self-governing political entity by the surrounding nations. The region is primarily mountainous, and the rugged terrain has greatly influenced the lifestyles of those who live there.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today the Bajelani are mainly farmers. Farming and raising livestock are the chief occupations in Kurdistan. The principal crops are cereals--mainly wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Other crops include cotton, olives, rice, sugar beets, and tobacco. During the summer months, the Bajelani take their sheep, goats, donkeys, and mules to higher mountain pastures; winter grazing occurs in the lower plains. The mountainous soils are generally poor, and vegetation is sparse and seasonal.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bajelani are virtually all Muslims. Some belong to the Shia branch of Islam, while others are Sunni (orthodox) Muslims. Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic; however, the Sunnis are staid and simple. The Shia affirm human free will, while the Sunnis are deterministic. The Shia and Sunnis also differ in matters of law and ceremony. However, the fundamental beliefs of both groups are based on the Koran, a book they believe is the revelation of Allah to Mohammed. Affirming that "Allah is the only god and that Mohammed is his prophet," praying five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, giving alms to the poor, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca are the five basic "pillars" of Islam.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bajelani people need the chance to respond to the one who offers life to the full (Jn. 10:10).

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide an abundant harvest for the Bajelani Kurds as a demonstration of his goodness and power. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Bajelani people into the loving arms of Jesus Christ. Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Bajelani people. Pray for the Lord to send out loving ambassadors to the Bajelani people this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project