Nogai in Russia

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Vladimir Zhoga - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Withheld by request Copyrighted © 2022 Used with permission
People Name: Nogai
Country: Russia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 94,000
World Population: 96,000
Primary Language: Nogai
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.02 %
Evangelicals: 0.02 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Caucasus
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Golden Horde was the western wing of the great Mongol Empire. The Golden Horde ruled much of European and central Russia from 1227 to 1502. The Nogai people are descendants of the Golden Horde who live in southern Russia. This area includes northern Dagestan, northern Chechnya, and Stavropol, and Astrakhan. The name Nogai is derived from Nogai Khan, a general of the Golden Horde, who was a great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. The Mongol Empire, under Genghis Khan and his sons, swept into power across a wide swath of western Asia and eastern Europe (reaching all the way to Hungary) in the early 13th Century.

Eventually defeated by the Lithuanians and Russians in the late 15th Century, the remnants of the Golden Horde continued to live in large numbers in southern Russia in the Volga region, in the steppe lands north of the Caucasus and in southern Ukraine and Crimea. The Nogai, one of the surviving sub-groups of the Golden Horde, are of combined Mongol-Turkic descent. The Nogai speak their own distinct Nogai language. The Nogai also speak fluent Russian so they can communicate with their neighbors and participate in Russian society.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional occupations of the Nogai were nomadic animal husbandry and warfare. The Nogai roamed the land with their sheep, horses, cattle, goats, yaks, and camels in search of water and green pastures. This once-nomadic people now primarily live in small villages and work in agriculture, and with livestock. The Nogai grow wheat, oats, and barley along with vegetables in the short summers.

A distinctive Nogai cuisine, preserving many of their Mongol roots, survives—embodied vividly by Nogai Tea, a hot tea prepared by boiling milk and tea together, along with butter, salt, and pepper. In southern Russia Nogai patriarchal traditions are mixed with contemporary Russian, Central Asian, and Muslim world influences.

Ancient customs are still practiced and revered among the Nogai. There is a great need for God’s love to infuse Nogai culture and Dagestan as a whole. Some Nogai young people are moving to Russian cities looking for a better life. Nogai holidays feature sports that involve riding and racing horses. Archery, wrestling and falconry are also activities enjoyed by the Nogai.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Nogai are almost all Sunni Muslims. Their brand of Islam is also influenced by folk religion. Most Nogai believe that to be a Nogai is to be a Muslim. Sunni Muslims believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. Muslims believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.

What Are Their Needs?

The Nogai need to understand that Jesus Christ is not just for white Europeans. Most Nogai have not heard a clear presentation of the good news. Jesus alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray for many Nogai to come to great joy in the overflowing of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

Ask the Lord for true friends of the Nogai to become carriers of grace into the Nogai world.

Pray for men and women of peace in each Nogai community to be keys in welcoming the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into Nogai lives.

Pray the Lord would create desire in the Nogai to read their New Testament and investigate the claims of Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project