Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The Tamil Muslims are largely defined by their language, Tamil. They are drawn from various subgroups, especially the Syed, Sheikh, Labbai, Maraikkayar, and Rawuthar. The original of this community can be traced back to trading routes between South Asia and Middle East. Traders spread their routes through commercial interest in Indian and Sri Lanka. These merchants married local Tamil and Sinhalese women and are now mostly settled in the southern parts of Sri Lanka.
What are their lives like?
Tamil Muslims in Sri Lanka are mainly businessmen and industrial workers. Some are in white-collar jobs, and others are engaged in embroidery work. Their relationships with other Tamil caste groups and the Hindu communities are cordial. Some members of the community are descendants of Tamil women and Arab traders. The Easter bombing in Sri Lanka in the year 2019, led to a lot of hatred towards the general Muslim population of the country. There were multiple riots and disagreements which led to a lot of disrespect and mistrust towards these people. However, with time, the Muslim population is slowly getting back to being involved with other groups of people outside of their caste groups.
What are their beliefs?
They 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 Tamil Muslims do not believe in Jesus Christ, his death or resurrection.
What are their needs?
They need to understand that they are part of sinful humanity, in desperate need of the only savior.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will give the Tamil Muslim people a willingness to accept the eternal blessings of Jesus Christ.
Pray for a movement that will bless the Tamil Muslim people with a relationship with Jesus Christ, who offers life to the full.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Tamil Muslim people.
Ask God to raise up Tamil Muslims who are more desirous to know the truth than to stay on the broad road.
ReferencesView Tamil (Muslim traditions) in all countries.