The Nubian People

Location: Historically Nubia extended from Dongola, in northern Sudan, up the Nile to Aswan in southern Egypt. Today Nubians are concentrated in three cities: Kom Ombo in Southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa and Khashm el-Girba in Sudan.

History: Nubians have a proud and rich heritage. They existed long before the pharaohs, and were once a Christian people. In 580 AD, Christianity became the official religion of Nubia.

Eight years after the death of Mohammed in 632 AD, Arab conquerors carried Islam into Egypt. Over the next two years, Muslim Arabs invaded Nubia. After conquering the Nubian city of Dongola, the Arab general made a treaty with the Nubian king. This treaty re-established trade along the Nile routes, and allowed Nubia to remain Christian for the next six centuries. Terms of this treaty required the Nubians to send 400 slaves per year to the Arabs, while the Arabs returned horses, cloth, and other goods.
Nile Boat
Nubia gave way to Islam in the 16th Century as the last Christian church was closed. As it is illegal for Muslims to enslave a fellow Muslim, conversion freed the Nubians from the bond of slavery.

The Aswan Dam was built in stages beginning in 1902. Completion of the High Dam in the 1960s formed Lake Nasser, and flooded the Nubian homelands. Nubians in Egypt were relocated to the Kom Ombo area, north of Aswan. Nubians in Sudan were moved to Khashm el-Girba. Some Nubians remained in the Wadi Halfa area in far northern Sudan.

Identity: Nubians are a non-Arab Muslim people who once lived in the historic region of Nubia. Nubians have dark skin and are visibly distinct from their Egyptian neighbors. Today, Nubians belong to two major societies, the Kenuzi and the Fedidja.

Language: The Kenuzi speak Kenuzi-Dongolawi while the Fedidja speak Fedidja-Mahas. There is also a group within the Nubians who have become Arabicized to the point that their first language is now Arabic. Most of the men today are bilingual, speaking their Nubian language and Arabic. The women are less likely to speak Arabic, especially at home.

Religion: The Nubians are 100% Sunni Muslim. Islam is the only religion legally permitted.


How can we pray?

  • Pray for the miraculous opening of Sudan and Egypt to Christian workers.
  • Pray that as God opens these fields, many workers will respond to God’s call to go to the Nubians.
  • Pray for the Nubians to remember their Christian heritage and desire once again for it to be their own.
  • Pray for the poets, musicians, authors, and other cultural leaders to be saved and lead their people to Christ.
  • Pray that God will send signs, miracles, dreams and visions to the Nubians revealing His Son as the only way to abundant and eternal life!