Kuwait Before Islam
Before the spread of Islam in the seventh century, Eastern Arabia and the Gulf region was truly at the crossroads of religious belief. The population consisted of nomadic tribes that were Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian or pagan, influenced by the variety of religious beliefs found in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia. The prominence of these faiths, however, dwindled when the majority of the Arab tribes embraced Islam by force. By the late seventeenth century, the Bani Khalid tribe had gained control over Eastern Arabia, and in building the first city that lies in present day Kuwait,
began to establish the permanence that Islam has maintained in the area until today.
Islam is the state religion; although the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, the Government places some limits on this right. The Constitution also provides that the State protect the freedom to practice religion in accordance with established customs, “provided that it does not conflict with public policy or morals.” The Constitution states that Shari’a (Islamic law) is “a main source of legislation.”
Christians and other religious minorities enjoy an unusual amount of religious freedom. Kuwait truly exemplifies the words of its constitution, which states that “freedom of belief is absolute,” and that “the State protects the freedom of practicing religion in accordance with established customs, provided that it does not conflict with public policy or morals.” The Christian community’s history in Kuwait began in the early 1900′s with a number of humanitarian projects conducted by missionaries from the Reformed Church of America. Most notable among them was the establishment of a hospital (“the American Hospital” is still fondly remembered by older Kuwaitis).
First Church In Kuwait
In 1931, the first church in Kuwait was built on a parcel of land granted to the hospital, where the National Evangelical Church stands today. Also many Bookshops were selling the bible and many Kuwaiti Families were buying it. Suddenly, without known reasons, the Government stops selling the bible in 1951 at the street corners and the book stores.
The oil boom had attracted many foreigners to Kuwait, thereby expanding the Christian community, and two more churches were constructed, one of them Roman Catholic. Today, the state authorities officially recognize three principal churches: the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait (Protestant), the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Orthodox Church. Smaller churches generally ally themselves with one of these larger “umbrella” churches.
Kuwaiti Christians Families
There are some 350 Kuwaiti Christians by birth today, most of whom belong to 12 large families ,A landmark occurrence for Kuwait’s Evangelical community was the ordination of a Kuwaiti citizen as priest and pastor of National Evangelical Church on January 8, 1999. Emmanuel Benjamin Gharib, born in Kuwait in 1950 and educated in Egypt, is the first Gulf Arab to become head of any Protestant church. “We all feel proud of being Kuwaitis,” he declared. “We were among those who stayed here during the Iraqi occupation.” Gharib told the Kuwaiti press that he planned to initiate Muslim-Christian dialogues in order “to show love for our home which has nearly 200 Christian citizens.” The Evangelical Church embraces more than 40 Evangelical denominations and is frequented by a diverse community of about 16,000 worshippers throughout the week.
Churches in Kuwait
Most of the Christian faithful come from the expatriate population in the State of Kuwait. The number of Christians presently in Kuwait after 55 years since its modest beginnings is roughly 400,000.:
-The Catholic Vicariate is largely made up of Asians from India, the Philipines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Arab Christians from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Syria which make up roughly 75,000 members (Maronite Christians also worship at the Catholic cathedral in Kuwait city).
-The Anglican (Episcopalian) Church, has around 115 members (several thousand other Christians use the Anglican Church for worship services).
-The National Evangelical Church (Protestant), with 3 main congregations (Arabic, English, and Malayalee) has around 16,000 members (several other Christian denominations also worship at the National Evangelical Church Compound).
-The Greek Orthodox Church (referred to locally as the “Roman Orthodox” Church), has 3,500 members
-The Armenian Orthodox Church, has 4,000 members.
-The Coptic Orthodox Church, has 60,000 members.
-The Greek Catholic (Eastern Rite) Church membership totals are unavailable
There are other Christian denominations in the country, with tens of thousands of members. These denominations include Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Marthoma, and the Indian Orthodox Syrian Church
1- Christian Book Stores
Pray that the Holy Spirit to reveal the reasons for closing those book stores in Kuwait at 1951. Pray that the Lord will open the door again and allow opening a new book stores, that sells the Bible in Kuwait Major Malls not only inside the Churches.
2- Kuwaiti Nationality:
in 1981 the Islamic Party managed to make a law that gives the Kuwaiti Nationality only for Muslims. pray that this law will be Cancelled and Christian believers can get the Kuwaiti Nationality.
3- Immigrations Laws /Sponsors
By law, you could not stay in Kuwait without a Kuwaiti sponsor, who controls you in the country and able to cancel your residency at any time he wants. We believe that this is a slavery spirit which controls the expatriates. Pray for breaking this spirit and changing the immigrations laws .
4- Religious freedom
Pray for new laws that gives people the freedom to choose their religion
5- Christian Families in Kuwait
Pray for Salvation to those Kuwaitis, not only to be believers but also Ambassadors for the Lord and Claims Kuwait for Jesus.
6- Pastor Emmanuel Gharib
Pray for Pastor Emmanuel to be a channel of blessings to the other Kuwaitis Christian and non-Christians .Pray for Grace & Favour for him to ask for new laws that support Christians & Religion freedom in Kuwait.
7- Christians expatriates Believers
Due to the minority of Christians in Islamic country like Kuwait, and the Sponsoring issue , the Christian could not witness their Faith Freely. Pray for new mentality for Christian believers that enable them to witness in their works and among their Muslim friends. Break the spirit of FEAR over their hearts
8- New churches buildings
Pray for the Government to give Lands to build new Churches.
9- Pastors of the churches
Pray for Unity among the pastors of Churches in Kuwait, to have one heart to pray for the Peace to this nation