Kabardian in Turkey

Map Source:  People Group location: Joshua Project. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kabardian
Country: Turkey
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,194,000
World Population: 2,015,400
Primary Language: Kabardian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
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 Kabarians are the largest subgroup of the Circassian peoples. Kabardian people were dangerously close to extermination as they were victims of the century-long Russo-Circassian wars that ended in 1864. Ninety percent of their population were killed or expelled from their ancient Russian homeland. Many survivors of the wars left Russia and settled in the Ottoman Empire in what is now eastern Turkey. The Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1922) was one of the longest lasting empires in history. In 1922 Turkey became a secular parliamentary republic with Kemal Ataturk as its first leader. Turkey is one of most prosperous and stable predominantly Muslim countries in the world. The New Testament and the JESUS Film are available in the Kadarbian language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Kabardians believe in hospitality. They have a saying, "A guest is a messenger from God." Or, "The guest of a Kabardian is as safe as if protected by a fortress." Have you ever seen men dance on their toes? Not on the ball of the foot, but on the "knuckles" of the toes! Kabardians have a tradition of doing such dance moves. Men and women dress in floor-length or calf-length garments. The most unusual feature (for their dance costumes) is the sleeves—they reach down to the dancer’s knees. The performers circle their arms, waving their sleeves like scarves. The dancer’s back is held completely straight, and the men add a few inches to their frame by pacing majestically across the stage. Most Kabadians make their living by agriculture and raising animals. They cultivate wheat, maize and different types of fruit. The breed and sell horses, cattle, sheep and goats. Educated Kabardians work as teachers, administrators and in finance. The Kabardians tend to marry within their group. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the norm. Sons inherit property that includes herds and land owned by their father. Village elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Kabardians claim to be Sunni Muslims. Their brand of Islam is influenced by pre-Islamic folk religion and a belief in natural spirits. They perform rituals and say prayers to appease these spirits. Sunni Muslims try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. 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. A sizable minority of the Kabardians are Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christians in areas outside of Turkey.

What Are Their Needs?

Kabardians are plagued by an encroaching attraction to radicalism among their youth. Attacks and counterattacks between rebels and military/police claim innocent lives and exacerbate instability and bitterness in the region. Most Kabardians have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray for peace and stability in the regions where the Kabardians live. Pray that Kabardian believers would reach out to the Turkish Muslim Kabardians. Ask the Lord to send workers to the Turkish Kabardians. Pray that every Kabardian would have the opportunity to hear the gospel.

Text Source:   Joshua Project