Ayam of Kuwait, are Kuwaiti citizens of Iranian origin, who migrated to Kuwait over the past 300 years. Historically, Persian ports provided most of Kuwait's economic needs. Marafi Behbahani was one of the first merchants to settle in Kuwait in the 18th century.

According to estimates, the majority of the Shia Kuwaiti citizens, who constitute 30%–40% of Kuwait's population,[1][2] are of Iranian origin.[3][4]


  1. "Kuwait - International Religious Freedom Report". U.S Department of State. The remaining 30 to 35 percent of Muslim citizens (approximately 300,000 to 350,000) are Shi'a (...)"
  2. "Kuwait - International Religious Freedom Report". U.S Department of State. "Most of the remaining 30 percent of citizens are Shi'a Muslims."
  3. Longva 2000, p. 190.
  4. Leonard 1999, p. 164.


  • Longva, Anh Nga (2000). Nils A. Butenschon, Uri Davis, Manuel Hassassian (ed.). Citizenship and the State in the Middle East: Approaches and Applications. Syracuse University Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-8156-2829-3. Most sources put the percentage of the Shi'is in Kuwait at around 30. The majority are ethnic Persians who have settled in Kuwait in the past hundred years; with few exceptions, they used to work as sailors, pearl divers, and laborers before 1961.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)
  • Leonard, Binder, ed. (1999). Ethnic conflict and international politics in the Middle East. University Press of Florida. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4039-8141-7. Unlike the Shi'a of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, the Kuwaiti Shi'a mostly are of Persian descent.