Pray for the Rahanwyn of Somalia

When Somali immigrants in the USA meet, one of the first things they want to know is, “what tribe are you from?” Clan and tribal associations in Somalia are important, and complex, with marriages – often polygamous – creating new associations and loyalties.

The Rahanweyn (also known as the Digil-Mirifle for their two main groups) are an important and influential clan in Somalia. They are composed of many sub-clans, and have a distinct language, Maay. In Somalia, they are known as a minority clan, but the term ‘minority’ refers here to any clan that does not belong to one of four “noble” clan families – clans that are considered to have descended from a common Somali ancestor.

Nevertheless, the Rahanweyn have fought against colonial invasion, formed a political party which was among the first to call for federalism in Somalia and advocate on behalf of their people’s interests, and in the early 1990s, they established a militant group (the Rahanweyn Resistance Army) to defend their autonomy.

The Rahanweyn are also devotedly Sunni Muslim. Somalia embraced Islam from around the 15th century, but family and clan identities are still more important than the claims of Islam. Sufi mystical orders and practices used to be common among the Rahanweyn, but fundamentalism has been steadily growing in recent decades, with fundamentalist groups bringing financial aid to impoverished communities, but also recruiting for terrorist groups like Al-Shabab.

How to Pray

  • With a population just under 2 million, the Rahanweyn are one of the largest unreached, unengaged Muslim people groups in the world. The diaspora population may be key to reaching this community, with immigrant populations in other nations who have access to the Gospel and maintain connections to their homeland. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
  • Pray for peace and prosperity in Somalia – survival is the only concern of people who are surrounded by famine and war. (Psalm 106:4-5)
  • Pray for God to move miraculously to see the Rahanweyn reached with His love. (Mark 16:20)

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