22 May 2003, 03:48

Beliefs of the Abazins

The Abazins are Moslems-sunnits of hanafit kind. Christianity reached the ancestors of the Abazins through Byzantium and Georgia. Like the other peoples of the North Caucasus, they combined it with the ancient beliefs. Having moved from Abkhazia to the North Caucasus, the Abazins encountered the Moslems, first of all the Nogais and gradually (during the 17-18th centuries) adopted the Islam. In general Islamisation was superficial, widely there continued to exist the pre-monotheistic beliefs and rites common to those of the related Adyg peoples. During the years of the Soviet power there were practically no mosques or educated mullahs left, and the majority of people stopped to discharge the religious obligations of the Moslems. Just the food restrictions were observed (not eating pork, blood etc.).

The religious renaissance that started at the Caucasus in 1990-ies didn?t influence the Abazins too much. The mosques are being built, but they are filled only on holidays. They celebrate widely the holiday of the sacrifice (Curban) and the holiday of breaking the fast (Uraza). On these days and on Fridays they commemorate their dead relatives. They also celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (Mavlid). There appear the educated mullahs that received the Islam education in the Moslem centers of the country.

The religious communities of the Abazins are managed by the Ecclesiastical management of the Moslems of Karachaevo-Cherkesia and the Stavropol Territory.

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