Jambi Malay of Indonesia

Population: 800,000
Primary Location: Eastern Sumatra, Indonesia
Languages: Jambi, Bahasa Indonesia


Who are the Jambi  Malay?

Jambi Malay MapMost Jambi Malay live in the sparsely-inhabited Jambi Province of eastern Sumatra, Indonesia.


More than half of the Jambi are farmers, supplementing their income by fishing in the rivers near their villages. Most Jambi are poor. Although some Jambi pursue higher education, the number is minimal. Many Jambi have little formal education at all.


Jambi Village

The Jambi love batik. In Jambi villages, talented women use wax to create intricate designs on fabric, applying colorful dyes made from plants and berries. Many women wear batik sarongs on a daily basis and use the fabric to tie their babies to them as they go about their daily tasks. Exceptionally beautiful fabric is reserved for weddings.

While the Jambi retain much of their traditional culture, they are open to outside influences. Shopping malls, Pizza Hut and jeans are increasingly common, especially in cities.


The Jambi Malay are known for their strong commitment to Islam. Every Jambi village and nearly every Jambi neighborhood has a building for worship and the teaching of Islam, complete with at least one Islamic teacher. The Jambi Malay are proud that their villages are 100% Muslim.

Yet the Jambi retain many traditional spiritual practices. Just as each village or neighborhood has an elected Islamic leader, there is usually also a dukun, a traditional healer. The dukun intercedes on behalf of his patient with pleas to Allah or to the spirits for healing. Religious leaders also provide mothers with amulets to protect their young children from evil spirits.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for God to send followers of Jesus to serve the Jambi people.

  • Pray that followers of Jesus from other Indonesian ethnic groups would reach out to the Jambi Malay, despite the persecution they may face in doing so.

  • Pray that God's love will penetrate the barriers that prevent the Jambi from considering and accepting the Good News.

  • Pray for the Jambi Malay who follow Jesus, that they would boldly share the Good News with their own people group. Pray that they would meet together, worshiping God in a way suited to their own unique culture. Pray for a movement to follow Jesus to begin among the Jambi Malay.

Read the full profile

Jambi Malay of Indonesia

Learn more about the Jambi

(External links)

Joshua Project People Profile
Jambi History
Jambi Travel Blog
Jambi Province
Jambi Language