Introduction / History
While the origins of the Azerbaijani, (also known as the Azeri), are unclear, we do know that they have been subjected to numerous invasions throughout their history. They were first conquered by the Persians in the sixth century B.C. Islam was introduced into the area during the seventh century A.D. and has been practiced there ever since. By the eleventh century, Persian influence was overpowered by Turkic influence. Eventually, during the thirteenth century, this region of Asia fell under the dominion of Genghis Khan. These numerous invasions, combined with the tribal nature of the people, caused the Azeris to spread throughout Central Asia. Significant Azeri communities can be found in Russia, Ukraine, Iran, and Iraq. There is a very small number of Azerbaijanis in Pakistan as well.
What Are Their Lives Like?
There are so few Azeris who live in Pakistan that there is very little about how they live in that country. As a general rule, Azerbaijanis and Pakistanis get along well on a personal basis, especially since the governments of both countries are on very good terms. However, Shia Muslims are sometimes persecuted in Pakistan, and it is common to hear of someone lobbing a grenade or a bomb into Shia mosques during worship. This could easily victimize Azerbaijani Shias in Pakistan.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Azeris are primarily Shia Muslims, but there are a number of Sunni Muslims as well. Islam among the Azeris is a reflection of the historical ties that exist between Azerbaijan and Iran. Until the twentieth century, most Azeri identified themselves as Muslims rather than Azerbaijani or Turks. They believe that being a "spiritual community of Islam" was much more important than being a nation.
What Are Their Needs?
The Azeris in Pakistan need to find their way to the only Savior, the one who paid for their sins on the cross and rose from the grave to have victory over death and Satan.
* Scripture Prayers for the Azeri in Pakistan.
Pray for Holy Spirit driven Christ bearers to go to the Azeris in Pakistan. Ask the Lord to raise up a strong church planting movement among the Azerbaijanis in Pakistan. Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Azeris that will lead them to the cross and the empty tomb.