2,500 years ago the Greek historian, Herodotus, notes that Greek seafarers encountered a tribe named the Abaza along the eastern shores of the Black Sea. The descendants of the Abaza later migrated northeastward into the Caucasus Mountains and became fiercely Muslim over the past 1000 years. Many died in the Caucasus Wars with the Russian Empire in the middle of the 19th Century.
Abaza towns include Kara-Pago, Kubina, Psikh, El 'burgan, Inzhich-Chukun, Koi-dan, Abaza-Khabl ', Malo-Abazinka, Tapanta, Krasnovostochni, Novokuvinski, Starokuvinski, Abazakt and Ap-sua.
A war-like people, the Abaza have known little grace. Their ancient language is fascinating—it functions with 63 consonant sounds and only two vowels! For an outsider, it's definitely a mouthful of intense sounds.
The Abaza people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
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.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
There are few known believers among the Abaza. Pray for these courageous ones, who are carriers of the desperately-needed grace of Jesus for their people. When one understands in one's own heart language that "God in Christ has forgiven me..." it's so much more possible to "be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven me." The Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness...—can start to grow and spread throughout the culture.
Pray for a fledgling effort--which is barely underway--to begin translating portions of the New Testament into the difficult Abaza language.
Pray for the few followers of Jesus among the Abaza to embody the forgiveness and kindness of Jesus to all whom they meet.
Scripture Prayers for the Abaza in Russia.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|Other PDF Profile|
|People Name General||Abaza|
|People Name in Country||Abaza|
|Alternate Names||Abazinian; Apswa|
|Population this Country||42,000|
|Population all Countries||72,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||Yes|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Region||Europe, Eastern and Eurasia|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||Not ranked|
|Location in Country||Karachayevo-Cherkesiya and Stavropol’skiy Kray. Source: Ethnologue 2016|
Primary Language: Abaza
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|FCBH NT (www.bible.is)||Online|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name||Source|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels||Bible Media Group/LUMO|
|General||Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video||Faith Comes by Hearing|
|Text / Printed Matter||IBT, Russia - resources||Institute for Bible Translation - Russia|