The Bedouins of Jordan


Bedouins have lived in the arid, dry land of Jordan since the beginning of their existence. More than a quarter of a million Bedouins traverse the country today, living as either nomadic shepherds or farmers. Those who live as nomadic shepherds, considered by some to be “true” Bedouin, move into the desert during the rainy season and back to the edge of the desert during the hot summers. Many have been known to raid caravans on their travels. In contrast, Bedouins who live as farmers, known as the fellahin, settle on the edge of the desert.

Nomad Bedouins often live in portable, black tents made from woven goat hair, which are divided into two parts: one for entertaining and the other for women, children and storage. Camels are typically used for transportation and sheep and goats are used for monetary gain and as a source of food. Milk, yogurt and butter are the staples of the Bedouin diet, with unleavened bread, dates and meat served only occasionally.

Almost all Bedouins in this nation are Sunni Muslim, making it difficult for Christians to share the gospel message. According to Islamic law, Muslims who declare Jesus Christ as Lord could be put to death, and the Bedouins hold tight to Islamic law as part of their daily life.

Due to the harsh, difficult climate and nomadic lifestyle of the Bedouins, sharing Jesus Christ with them is often challenging. It is thought that only .01% of Bedouins are Christian,and some believe that figure too high.
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(Information compiled from

Laurie Fortunak Nichols is editorial coordinator of Lausanne World Pulse. She also serves as editorial coordinator for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and managing editor and book review editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). She has edited a number of books, including the recent Extending God's Kingdom: Church Planting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, with A. Scott Moreau and Gary R. Corwin.