Adyghe in Iraq

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Withheld by request
People Name: Adyghe
Country: Iraq
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 44,000
World Population: 715,100
Primary Language: Adyghe
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.02 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Caucasus
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Adyghe culture has at its core the values of respect, hospitality and reverence for elders. Their identity and code of conduct comes from an ancient system of rules, etiquette, and ethos known as Khabzeh. According to Khabzeh, a host is expected to give his life to protect his guests. In return guests are expected to be gracious and behave in a way that honors the host.

Much insight into Adyghe culture and customs can be gathered from Adyghe folk dances. These dances tell stories about everyday life such as courtship, preparing for war, the harvest, and displaying of strength. The stories preserve Adyghe ancient history, and they are predecessors to Greek mythology, containing ancient stories of gods from southern Russia. The Khabzeh came from these Epics.

Adyghes are one of the remaining tribes of a large people group known as Circassians. They lived in the North Caucasus region of southern Russia for more than a thousand years until they were conquered by ethnic Russians during the Caucasus War (1817-1864). Due to the war, in the late 19th Century at least 1 million Circassians (Adyghes and Kabardians) were deported or fled to areas in the Ottoman Empire including Turkey and the Middle East. Although the Adyghe people still regard the North Caucasus as their sacred home, 90 percent of them live outside the region, especially Turkey and the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Ninety eight percent of all Adyghes claim to be Sunni Muslim. There are approximately 100 Adyghe Christians in the world and there is one indigenous church of about 40 members located in southern Russia. The rest are dispersed among Russian Orthodox and Evangelical churches.

The entire New Testament and 12 books so far in the Old Testament have been translated into the Adyghe language. Adyghes in southern Russia also have access to the Central Asian Russian Scriptures (CARS) which uses language familiar to Muslims.

In Adyghe history, most Adyghe were nominal Christians from the 10th to the 17th Centuries. In the past two decades there has been a resurgence in Adyghe self-awareness and ethnic identity. The Bible in authentic Adyghe can potentially make more inroads into Adyghe culture.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Pray that Adyghe believers, renewed with fresh winds of the Holy Spirit, will display the noble qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—which will stir many Adyghe to the fulfillment of their ancient noble customs through the indwelling grace of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for God to break the stronghold of spiritual apathy that holds the Adyghe people in darkness.

Pray for God to speak to Adyghes in dreams and visions revealing his plan of salvation.

Pray for a movement of House Church Planting among the Adyghes in the North Caucasus.

Pray for translators to complete the whole Bible in Adyghe soon.

Pray for men and women of peace (Lk 10:6) in each Adyghe town/village, to be keys to welcoming the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into each community in the years ahead.

What Are Their Needs?

Text Source:   Joshua Project