Introduction / History Kuwait is a desert nation on the northeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. With the discovery of oil in the twentieth century, Kuwait's traditional Arab culture advanced rapidly. Unlike most Arabs, the Kuwaiti Arab now enjoy a modern, industrialized society. However, at times, the old Arab ways and values conflict with the changes demanded by modern, urban life.
Arab culture originated in the area occupied by Kuwaiti Arabs. The people once lived as tribal nomads or as town dwellers influenced by the nomads. The prophet Mohammed lived in the area, and it was there that he developed a new religion, Islam. As the Arabs emerged from the deserts and oases, they took their faith with them. Today, nearly all Arabs are Muslim.
The Kuwaiti Arabs are the most numerous group in the country. Over half of them live in the capital city, which provides protection from the harsh desert climate. The language they speak is called Arabiya.
What are their lives like? Before the discovery of oil, Kuwait's economy was based on trade and a few crops. Since the development of the oil industry, many Kuwaiti Arabs are now bureaucrats, clerical technicians, industrialists, and other professionals. The oil economy has brought new communication systems, water systems, and roads. The reformed educational system has led to one of the highest literacy rates in the region. Health care, affordable housing, and other social services have given the people comfortable lives.
Many Kuwaiti men now have the opportunity to study abroad. Since these men often marry foreign women, the number of unmarried Kuwaiti women has increased. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives. Getting married in Kuwait is financially rewarding, as the government provides a "marriage loan" to men marrying for the first time. When the couple has children, the government pays them monthly for every child, with no limit to the number of children.
A Kuwaiti Arab woman's first role is as wife and mother; however, unlike many other Arab women, she has opportunity for progress. Kuwaiti Arab women have access to higher education, and many have become teachers, business women, and professionals. This freedom has resulted in higher income for the family and the ability to hire others to perform the more traditional tasks of the Arab women.
Kuwait is an Islamic society, and Kuwaiti Arabs identify with Islam more than with family or country. Islam dominates their lives, and above all else, they are Muslim. The Kuwaiti government has attempted to link the state identity to Islam through public devotion, by state funding of mosques and other Muslim institutions, and by participating in Islamic conferences.
The family, however, remains important as the basis of Kuwaiti Arab society. Just as in other Arab nations, family honor is very important. Each member of the family has a defined role, according to Arab tradition. The family provides security in times of economic hardship and in old age. Health, welfare, and the happiness of family, friends, and strangers are important to Kuwaiti Arabs.
What are their beliefs? The majority of Kuwaiti Arabs are Muslim and follow the teachings of the Muslim holy book, the Koran. The Koran forbids lying, stealing, adultery, and murder. It teaches Muslims to honor their parents, show kindness, protect the orphan and widow, and give to the poor. Muslims believe that life on earth is a period of testing and preparation for the life to come; thus, death is not feared but viewed as the gateway to eternal life. They believe that after death, all men will give an account for their actions, being judged by their works and by their knowledge of the Koran.
What are their needs? Kuwaiti Arabs have few material or physical needs when compared to Arabs in other countries. However, like most Arabs everywhere, Kuwaiti Arabs are so devoted to Islam that they have shut the door on Christianity. Only sustained, fervent intercession can soften their hearts to the Gospel.
Prayer Points * Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of Kuwait's leaders to the preaching of the Gospel.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to show Kuwaiti Arabs the emptiness of riches and the true wealth of the Gospel.
* Pray that Jesus will supernaturally reveal Himself as Lord to Kuwaiti Arabs.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among Kuwaiti Arabs who will boldly proclaim the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray that strong fellowships of believers will be raised up among Kuwaiti Arabs. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.