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Tausug, Sulu in Malaysia

Tausug, Sulu

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Tausug, Sulu in Malaysia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
219,000 Tausug Islam 0.01 % 0.01 % No   

Tausug, Sulu in Malaysia

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Introduction / History
The Tausug, meaning 'people of the sea current', are also known as Suluks or Sulu in Sabah. Originally from the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines, they migrated to Sabah in the 18th century and have now become established Sabahans. The Tausug people can be found mainly in coastal area communities in eastern Sabah.

In the past, the Tausug made their living as pirates but now rely on agriculture, fishing, and livestock raising to sustain their lives. They are distinct from the Bajau as they speak their own language, also called Tausug, and by aspects of their own culture.

What are their lives like?
The main means of livelihood among the Tausug people are farming and fishing. Some farmers still use swidden agriculture, by which fields are cleared by slashing down the trees and brush, letting them dry, and then burning them. The soil, fertililized by the ash, is then planted with rice. Their main crops include dry and wet rice, coconut, coffee, yams, cassava, corn, and various kinds of fruit. Fishing is done from motorized boats in offshore waters using fishnets, hook and line, or bamboo traps. They also raise livestock, including water buffaloes, cattle, goats, chickens, geese, and ducks.

On special occasions and weddings, they perform their traditional dance called daling-daling (a dance in which dancers wear curved metallic nails on the finger tips) and sing Sulu pantun 'Sulu poems' accompanied by a musical instrument called gabbang 'bamboo xylophone'.

The typical Tausug house is built in a rectangular shape; the walls are constructed with timber or bamboo beams and enclosed with coconut or nipa palm leaves. It has a thatched roof and sits on stilts six to eight feet above the ground. The house is surrounded by a series of raised porches leading to a separate kitchen. Usually, a wall is built around it for protection.

What are their beliefs?
Sunni Islam is the majority religion of the Tausug. As the children grow, they have tutors that give them religious instruction from the Qu'ran (Islamic Holy Book). Despite the influence of Islam, they retain some of their animistic beliefs and practices associated with the spiritual world. They believe in environmental spirits that may cause either good fortune or sickness.

Their view of life after death mixes Islamic beliefs with non-orthodox beliefs in spirits. They believe that a person has four souls which leave his body when he dies. The body of the deceased goes to hell, where the punishment of his sins will be revealed according to his wrongdoings while he was living.

What are their needs?
Many of the Tausug people are living below poverty level. More efficient farming methods and more innovative fishing techniques will help raise the standard of living among the people. There is also a need for improved health care. Pray that God will send helpers to the Tausug to help meet their spiritual needs and be a channel of blessing. A translation has been completed in the Tausug language. Pray that God would give the Tausug access to it and give them receptive hearts.

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Country: Malaysia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:40 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Sabah: coastal areas of Semporna, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Beluran, and Kudat districts. Coastal areas of Kota Kinabalu, Papar, and Labuan. Possibly also Sebatik Island.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Tausug, Sulu
People Name General: Tausug
Alternate People Names:
Joloano SuluJoloanon
Moro JoloanoSulu
SulukTaw sug
ROP3 Code: 109891
Joshua Project People ID: 15295
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 219,000
Population all Countries: 1,543,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
People Cluster: Filipino, Muslim
People Name General: Tausug
Ethnic Code: MSY44x
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tausug (219,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tsg    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.01 %(Evangelical: 0.01 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam100.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1918-2005
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tausug
Text / Printed MatterBible: The New Testament in Tausug
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Tausug, Sulu in Malaysia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Filipino, Muslim     Asia, Southeast    
      Tausug Malaysia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tausug, Sulu in Malaysia          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Tausug  
    All Religions                              

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