Introduction / History
The Uzbeks are a mixture of Turkic tribes that have many Mongolian and Iranian traits. The term Uzbek, meaning "master of himself," accurately describes the people. Their love of freedom and sense of restlessness have often caused conflicts with the conquerors who have invaded their homeland, the west central Asian region known as Turkestan, throughout the centuries. The Uzbeks have their own country, Uzbekistan, but they also live in many other countries including Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The traditional Uzbek family unit is based on kinship ties. Marriage of children is most often a contractual arrangement that is sealed with a bride price and the bride then lives with the groom's family. Marriages are celebrated with feasting, competitions, and other rituals. Women continue to do much of the household work and handle many of the less skilled and manual jobs. They are often segregated from the men. The traditional dress of the Uzbeks is very distinctive. But today, most wear Western style clothing, especially those who live in large cities. The most common Uzbek houses are built of mud bricks and often have domed roofs. Another style is an oblong, rectangular hut with rooms leading off a long-covered porch and located inside a walled compound. Uzbek mountain men love to play buzkashi, a wild polo-like game with two teams on horseback. The game, which uses the headless carcass of a goat or calf as the "ball," can be very violent and go on for two or three days. The object of the game is to pick up the "ball" and carry it to a goal that may be as far as two miles away. The other team attempts to stop whoever has the animal with any means necessary, even using whips to attack him. Another popular past time is to hunt wild birds with falcons.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims. Like other Muslims, the Uzbeks believe that there is one God, Allah, whose will was revealed through the prophet Mohammed and then recorded in the Koran. The Uzbeks are not generally Orthodox Muslims. Many traditional beliefs have been mingled with their Islamic practices. Pre-Islamic shamanism (belief that there is an unseen world of many gods, demons, and ancestral spirits) survives in an Islamic form. Today the shaman (priest or medicine man) is a practicing Muslim who combines shamanistic trances with reciting Islamic prayers, fasts, and other Islamic practices.
What Are Their Needs?
The Uzbeks in Pakistan need the assurance of salvation and life to the full that will only come if they put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Pray for workers to go to the Uzbeks in Pakistan. Pray for a spiritual hunger that won't be satisfied by religious systems. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among Uzbeks.
Scripture Prayers for the Uzbek in Pakistan.