April 27, 2020
Abu Ali grew up as a traditional Muslim in a Nubian village south of Aswan, Egypt. As he got older he began to explore Sufism—a mystical form of Islam in which Muslims pursue deeper understanding of divine love and truth through direct personal experience with God.
Abu Ali spent hours in daily meditation, longing for a vision of God. However, disillusionment with Sufism, along with exposure to the gospel, eventually led him to Jesus.
One of the oldest known civilizations, by the sixth century AD the Nubians had established three kingdoms in the Nile Valley; all three embraced Christianity, making it one of the earliest African churches. The spread of Islam in the 13th century gradually led to its demise, and today there are few Nubian Christians.
Of the two million Nubian people, 99 percent follow Sunni Islam. However, many, like Abu Ali, are attracted to Sufism, as they try to experience God more deeply. Some Sufi concepts make them more receptive to the gospel.
High unemployment, partly caused by the building of the Aswan High Dam (completed in 1970 and inaugurated the following year), sent thousands of Nubian men to the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia as laborers, to provide for their families back home. Many have come under the influence of conservative Wahhabi Islam there. This influence has led to changes in their religious practice, behavior and dress which they take back to their homeland, also creating more resistance to Christianity.
IDEAS FOR PRAYER
PRAY Acts 22:14–15 for the Nubians, that they will return to their ancestral faith and establish new churches.
PRAY FOR those Nubians under the influence of Sufism and Wahhabism—that they will have true encounters with Jesus.
PRAY FOR wisdom for the growing number of Christian workers engaged in ministry among the Nubians.
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