Minangkabau of West Sumatra

13 June 2017 / Day 18

Pray for the Minangkabau of West Sumatra

“Ya Allah, please may this child be a girl!” Having had four boys Dedi and Putri were praying fervently that their fifth child would finally be a girl.

Despite being a strongly Muslim people group, the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, Indonesia, want daughters rather than the sons which are desired in many other Muslim cultures. This is because Islam in West Sumatra is intertwined with a strongly matrilineal society in which the inheritance passes to the oldest daughter. As sons grow up and move away to find their fortune, the daughters remain with their parents and, when they marry, their husband moves into the family home.  Frequently the blood relatives are deemed as more important than the new husband, who is often viewed as a guest in the family home.

Image by Mamasamala via Wikimedia | Creative Commons

While in major cities family ties are weakening, every member of the entire clan still needs to agree for a plot of family land to be sold. These family ties could be a means for the gospel message to be widely shared, but they have also been one of the biggest obstacles to Muslims coming to faith. Fear of being different and fear of being ostracized stops many people from exploring their faith. When Minangkabau do come to follow Jesus they are typically swiftly rejected by their families. If the husband comes to faith, his wife may divorce him. If a single woman comes to faith she will lose her inheritance.

Of the more than 8 million Minangkabau people there are less than a thousand believers. But many of them are Minangkabau women who married Christian men from other people groups and thereby became Christians.

How to Pray

  • Pray that women, who enjoy a prominent role in Minangkabau society, will be good role models.
  • Pray for the heart of the Minangkabau culture as it is pulled in different directions; towards the traditions of the past, towards a more orthodox Arabic form of Islam and towards globalization and the West.
  • Pray for whole families – not just isolated individuals – to experience new life in Jesus.

Learn more

Learn more about the Minangkabau at Joshua Project 

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  1. Ooh, may the Lord Jesus manifest Himself to hundreds of thousands of Manangkabau people so that they come to His saving knowledge. Elieti Msangi, Tanzania.