Introduction / History The ancestors of the Moroccan Arabs originated in the Arabian Desert. From there, they gradually migrated into northern Africa. Over the centuries, the Arabs have become somewhat intermingled with the Berbers, and this has influenced their way of life. Nevertheless, the two groups have remained distinct.
Socially, there are two contrasting groups of Moroccan Arabs: those living in the cities and those in the rural areas. Among the rural Arabs, several classes have formed, which include nobles (alleged descendants of Mohammed), large landowners, peasants, and tenant farmers. Moroccan Arabs live mainly in the north and west portions of Morocco. However, they prefer living in the more fertile regions near the Mediterranean Sea. Moroccan Arabs make up less than half of the country's population.
What are their lives like? Most Moroccan Arabs are rural peasants. Therefore, farming has become their way of life. Because the Arabs are fond of grains, they produce and consume large amounts of barley, wheat, and cereals. In areas where water is plentiful, they grow other staples such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and peas. They also grow grapes, olives, oranges, peaches, and pears.
Most of the rural peasants raise chickens, goats, and sheep. This supplemental food source provides milk, eggs, butter, and meat. Although they do very little hunting and fishing, trade with other tribes has flourished.
Whether in towns or villages, the women and men have distinct jobs. In the villages, men work the fields, herd the animals, and provide protection, while the women do housework and care for the children. Village women have a few agricultural tasks as well: milking the cows, goats, and sheep, and making butter. In the cities, women never work outside their homes. Traditional roles exist, but are being influenced by western culture.
Life for Moroccan Arabs centers on important ceremonies, such as birth, marriage, and death. A boy also celebrates his first haircut and circumcision. The most elaborate of all ceremonies is the wedding. To preserve their people, Moroccan Arabs only marry those inside their own group.
What are their beliefs? Virtually all Moroccan Arabs in this region are Muslim. They adhere to the Koran and observe the five basic "pillars" of Islam, which include affirming that there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet; praying five times a day while facing Mecca; giving alms generously; fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year; and trying to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca.
What are their needs? Few Moroccan Arabs in this region are Christian. Pray they will be faithful to the Scriptures and eager to share their faith.
Prayer Points * Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies currently focusing on Moroccan Arabs.
* Ask God to give Moroccan Arab believers boldness to share the love of Christ with their friends and families.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Moroccan Arabs toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will call forth teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for Moroccan Arabs.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local Christian fellowships among the Moroccan Arabs of Morocco.