Northern Uzbek in Tajikistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Uzbeks are descended from a mixture of mostly Turkic tribes that include some Mongolian and Iranian traits. The name Uzbek may mean "master of himself." Their love of freedom and a general restlessness often caused conflict with the waves of invaders who conquered the country over the centuries.

The first conqueror of this region, was Alexander the Great, whose army swept through central Asia in the fourth century. Arabs and Turks, followed by Genghis Khan and the Mongols, overran all of central Asia from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries. Not long after Tamerlane's conquest came the last and perhaps finest period of culture and learning to the Uzbek. Tamerlane's influence was followed by a long period of decline in the 1500s. By the time the Russians subdued the country between 1860 and the 1880s, Tajikistan had disintegrated into several warring principalities.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The majority of Uzbeks in Tajikistan live in the Laninabad region, the Gissar Valley, southern Tajikistan, around Shrtuz and Kolkhozabad, and the Kurgan Tube. Although most still follow traditional farming and nomadic shepherd lifestyles, many who migrated to the city have become merchants or skilled craftsmen. They are especially talented bazaar artisans, working with silver, gold, leather, and wood. They also make elaborate carpets.

Uzbek dwellers in urban areas generally prefer European style clothing, but traditional dress is still common. This includes a long turban cloth (sometimes as long as three meters or more); a slipover, long-tailed cotton shirt; baggy trousers with a wide waist and held with a drawstring; a colorful waistcoat or vest; and boots of various types. Village women wear a chadar (head shawl) made of white or colorful red and white cotton floral prints; baggy trousers with calf length shirts, or high yoked dresses with full skirts reaching almost to the ankles.

The traditional 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 most common 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. Most nomadic groups who follow the seasonal migration of their herds live in the distinctive central Asian yurt (a circular, portable tent). Today, crowded modern housing, especially in urban areas, prevents generations from living together and discourages large families. These factors, along with increased educational opportunities mean more Uzbek are finding work away from their home areas.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of the Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims. The others are Shi'ite Muslims or belong to various Sufi Muslim orders. The numerous holy places of pilgrimage in Tajikistan play a less significant role in the revival of Islam than in other central Asia areas where tribal structures are still strong.

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 Jesus film and Christian broadcasts are available in Uzbeki. The New Testament has been translated into their native language.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Uzbek, Northern in Tajikistan.

* Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Uzbeks.
* Pray that the Lord will raise up long term workers to join the few who have already responded.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film and Christian broadcasts among the Uzbeks.
* Ask the Lord to create a hunger in the hearts of the Uzbeks to know Jesus Christ.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Uzbek Muslims towards Christians.
* Pray for God to raise up strong local churches among the Uzbeks.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-04
Uzbek profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Uzbek, Northern
People Name in Country Uzbek, Northern
Natural Name Northern Uzbek
Pronunciation OOZ-bek
Population this Country 1,148,000
Population all Countries 31,315,000
Total Countries 19
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 23
Alternate Names Northern Uzbek; Ouzbek; Ozbek; Usbaki; Uzbeki; Wuzibieke; उज़्बेक, नॉर्दर्न
People ID 14039
ROP3 Code 107469
Country Tajikistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 33  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sughd and Khatlon regions; Regions of Republican Subordination.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Tajikistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 33  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sughd and Khatlon regions; Regions of Republican Subordination..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Uzbek, Northern
Language Code uzn   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
Russian Tajik
Primary Language Uzbek, Northern
Language Code uzn   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
People Groups Speaking Uzbek, Northern

Primary Language:  Uzbek, Northern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1891-1992)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1992-2010)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text 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 Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Uzbek, Northern
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video More Than Dreams-Mohammed
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Film / Video The Tomb of Daniel
General Got Questions Ministry
General Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Oʻzbekcha (Ўзбекча) - Uzbek
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.13 %)
0.14 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.87 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source Fulvio Spada  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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