Introduction / History The Malay people of Peninsular Malaysia make up the majority of the Malay peoples in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. In Malaysia, people are classified as Malay by the federal constitution if they speak their national language, Bahasa Malaysia, practice Malay customs, and are followers of Islam. The Malay of Peninsular Malaysia find much pride in their cultural heritage and place great emphasis on family and community dependence. Their cultural heritage and family units are tested when they move to European countries like Ireland where they are a small minority.
Where are they located? The Malays in Ireland are most likely to live in urban centers like Dublin and Cork.
What are their lives like? It is difficult for Malays Ireland to maintain a pure culture because there are so few of them. They use English as a trade language rather than Malay, and they might not even have their own cultural center. They do, however, manage to retain their Islamic religion and cultural events.
What are their beliefs? The Malay have early roots in Hinduism, and you can find traces of this in certain aspects of their culture such as weddings. For instance, the bride and groom will paint their hands with henna and will sit upon a platform for hours for the guests to admire. Today they are solidly Sunni Muslim.
Islam was brought to Malaysia by Arabic and Indian traders many centuries ago, and the Malay people have come to embrace and ardently follow the Islamic faith. All Malay people are considered Islamic though levels of devotion to the religion are varied. Even those who half-heartedly follow Islam participate in the fasting month, and the Malay people of affluence will go on the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once if not many times during their lifetime.
What are their needs? While the Malay place great emphasis on family, it is ironic that one of their greatest needs lies in the breakdown of the family unit. Divorce and youth issues are challenges facing the Malay family both in Malaysia and in Ireland.
Prayer Points Pray for workers to go to the Malay people in Ireland, and for their hearts to be ready to receive their Savior.
Pray for networks of believing Malay families and fellowships that will throw the doors open for others to follow Jesus.
Pray for the Lord to bless the families among the Malay people with His presence and mercy.
Pray for believers among this people group to disciple others who will disciple others.
Pray for Bible believing fellowships and churches among the Malay people.