Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab and Persian traders who settled in Sri Lanka sometime between the eighth and fifteenth centuries. Fascinated by the scenic splendor, Muslim merchants arrived in large numbers, and some decided to settle in the island, encouraged by the cordial treatment they received from local rulers. Most lived along the coastal areas in peace and prosperity.
What are their lives like?
The majority of the Sri Lankan Moor population are involved in the gem-trading business. They exclusively control the extraction and sales of gems. A large portion of this population reside in the capital of the country, and others in other major cities. There are also those who have continued to live in the coastal areas since their ancestral days, they are primarily involved in trading and fishing. The Moors typically marry within their people groups. The wedding itself has multiple ceremonies leading up to it, including application of henna and turmeric much like in Hindu wedding ceremonies. At the wedding reception, the men and women are accommodated in separate rooms, as is tradition with most Muslim weddings. Their main languages is Tamil; however the majority speak Sinhalese as well.
What are their beliefs?
The Sri Lankan Moors are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will. In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces. As with most Muslims, the Moors do not believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ, his death or resurrection.
What are their needs?
The Moors can be introduced to the ways of Christ through their daily business activities. The gospel of grace is difficult to fully believe and accept by those who are committed to the law and its requirements. The main language of the Moors is Tamil, and there are many resources available. The complete Bible has been available for many years, as well as the JESUS Film, gospel recordings, the God's Story video, etc. There is a need for workers to take these resources to the Moors of Sri Lanka.
Pray the Lord's Spirit will reveal Christ's truths to the Moors.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will give the Moor people a willingness to accept the eternal blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for a movement that will bless the Moor people with a relationship with Jesus Christ, who offers life to the full.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Moor people.
ReferencesView Sri Lanka Moor in all countries.