Kazakh in Azerbaijan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Traditionally the Kazaks were semi nomadic, equestrian tribal people who roamed the Ural Mountains and the regions of northern and Central Asia of Eurasia. As several of the clans formed a federation for mutual protection, they took on an ethnic identity of their own. Kazakh ethnic identity accelerated during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Since then, Kazakhs have preserved their culture in part by keeping a tradition of oral history.During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the annexation of Central Asia by Russia and the Soviet Union respectively resulted in many Kazakhs fleeing the steppes to Europe and Asia, with many becoming citizens of other countries in later years. One of these countries was Azerbaijan, and a small number of ethnic Kazakhs still live there.Since 1991, the government of Kazakhstan, as part of their nation building strategy, has actively supported the return migration of “oralman,” (the Kazakh word for those in diaspora), by offering incentives to lure them into settling in Kazakhstan. As a result, one million ethnic Kazakhs have repatriated to their ancestral homeland.

What Are Their Lives Like?

As nomads and herders roaming the steppes in the early times, tribalism formed the basis of their society and tribes consisted of family members and family elders. Arranged marriages and inter-tribal marriages helped them maintain peace and gave them a sense of security. In the modern world, one can see tribalism slowly fading in business or government and everyday life. Nonetheless, ethnic Kazakhs, when they meet one another, still tend to enquire the tribe they belong to.As the Kazakhs dispersed during the Soviet annexation, over time the diaspora Kazakhs embraced the language and traditions of the land they emigrated to. For example, most of them in Azerbaijan speak the local language as well as Kazakh.As expats, many of these former nomads were forced to move to cities and live in houses or small apartments, taking up low paid jobs. Due to poor living conditions, many were pushed to the brink of poverty. However, rapid industrialization and in some cases, jobs in the oil industry, have raised their standard of living in Azerbaijan.No matter where they live, the Kazakhs enjoy their traditional cuisine. Besbarmak is a traditional Kazakh food, made with lamb. Rice and bread are common staples. The Kazakhs enjoy eating apples, grapes, melons, and tomatoes and drinking fermented horse milk. Those who practice Islam do not drink alcohol, but they have tea with almost every meal.Kazakhs extend great hospitality and are open to external influences. It is considered an offence to decline an invitation to dine at their homes. Their social occasions are marked with lavish feasts and singing in groups. Dombra and Kobyz, two of the traditional musical instruments, are popular among Kazakhs.Western style dress is common among Kazakh men and women living in cities like Baku, Azerbaijan. However, rural Kazakhs often wear loose, colorless shirts with baggy trousers that are tied at the waist like the ones they wore in the steppes.The structure of the Kazakh family is patriarchal, or male-dominated, but this is gradually changing. Such changes have caused a breakdown in the traditional Kazakh family. However, Kazakhs still retain an extremely hierarchical view and people of age and high position are given great respect and honor.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims and the second largest Muslim group of Central Asia. Those who live in Azerbaijan are a religious minority since that is primarily a Shia Muslim country.Islam was first introduced to the Kazakhs in the early eighth century. Their Islamic practices are combined with traditional folk religions such as shamanism, animism and ancestor worship. Many Kazakhs continue to consult shamans (priests who communicate with the spirits). They also practice traditional rituals before and after marriage, at birth and at death. Many of them wear protection beads and talisman to ward off the evil spirits and the evil eye.Since 1818 missionary efforts by various Christian organizations has borne fruit among the Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. Today, the entire Bible, in modern translation, is available. There was a great push to reach Kazakhs in Kazakhstan in the 1990s, but not so much for the Kazakhs in Azerbaijan.

What Are Their Needs?

Even though the Kazakh church is young and growing, there is a great need for Christian workers to build and pastor local churches, especially in places where they are a minority like Azerbaijan. Perhaps Kazakh believers from Kazakhstan can reach those in Azerbaijan for Christ.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Kazakh in Azerbaijan.

Pray for Kazakh missionaries to willingly preach the gospel to Kazakhs in Azerbaijan. Ask the Lord to guide and strengthen them as they carry out the mission.Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of Kazakhs so that they will be receptive to the gospel.Pray that Christian businessmen will have open doors to share the gospel with all Muslim communities in Azerbaijan.Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches that will plant other churches in Azerbaijan.Pray for Open Doors as they strive to meet the needs of Central Asian believers when they are imprisoned, excluded from families and communities, and deprived of livelihood and employment because of their faith.Ask the Lord for help to expand the literature and Bible distribution, Christian training, socio-economic projects, and prayer support carried out by Open Doors.

Profile Source:   JoshuaProject  

The Kazakhs of Central Asia
Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-09-10
Kazakhs profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Kazakh
People Name in Country Kazakh
Pronunciation KAH-zahk
Population this Country 2,300
Population all Countries 15,888,000
Total Countries 25
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Gazaqi; Hazake; Kazax; Qazaq; Qazaqi; कॅज़ॅक
People ID 12599
ROP3 Code 104791
Country Azerbaijan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Azerbaijan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Kazakh (2,300 speakers)
Language Code kaz   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Western Kazakh
Dialect Code 11758   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kazakh (2,300 speakers)
Language Code kaz   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Western Kazakh
Dialect Code 11758   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kazakh

Primary Language:  Kazakh

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1818-1989)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1820-2008)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1820-2011)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jans Testimony
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kazakh
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.09 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
70.00 %
29.90 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
30.0 %
50.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
20.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source Petar Milošević - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Video Source Asia Harvest
Profile Source JoshuaProject  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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