Aimaq in Turkmenistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Aimaq is a generic term for "tribal people," and their roots probably trace back to Mongol invaders in the 1200s. Once nomadic peoples, the 20 or so Aimaq peoples were forced by cycles of severe drought and war into semi-nomadic lives, traveling seasonally to graze decimated herds and/or subsisting as sedentary farmers and carpet weavers in mud-brick villages. Though the Aimaq peoples have their own languages, few seem to speak it anymore. Most speak the trade language of the country where they live. Most are in either Afghanistan or Iran, but there are smaller Aimaq populations in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Food and dress are likely similar to nearby people groups. The staple food, eaten at every meal, is thick, whole wheat bread baked in mud ovens. Rice, chickpeas, potatoes, and summer garden vegetables accompany chicken, eggs or lamb (for guests or celebrations). Dugh, a beverage made with yogurt, salt, pepper and water, is also part of their diet. Women enhance drab lives by wearing brightly colored clothes sewn with glittering sequins over white or colored tumbons (pants). Outside their homes, women modestly wear the chadder namoz, a dark head-to-toe covering, and many still don a burka when in Herat. Men are seen in turbans or round caps with rough-textured cloaks draped around their shoulders. Based on clan and extended family, the Aimaq are led by men and trace ancestors through male lines. Even so, Aimaq women exercise unusual privileges compared to other rural Afghan people groups in that they meet with the men and freely voice opinions, even with strangers present. Marriage is the most important life event celebrated among the Aimaq and is celebrated with much dancing to rhythms beaten on flat drums. By tradition, a union is arranged in early childhood. Marriage takes place when a girl is 13 or 14, usually to a blood relative slightly older, 16-20, or as a second wife to a much older man in his 40s. Uniquely among the Taimani and Firozhoki, girls marry at age 18 and may reject a father's choice of husband. Traditionally, a bride moves immediately into the home of her husband's family following the wedding rites. There are unusual instances, however, of a groom moving into his future in-law's compound for two or more years of service before the marriage ceremony is performed. Aimaq tribal customs remain stronger than any form of nationalism, due in part to long-enjoyed independence and geographical distance from central governments. Tribal law vested in village leaders usually prevails over government authority and even some Islamic rules.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Though they are Sunni Muslims, the Aimaq peoples include pre-Islamic beliefs that would put them in the folk Islamic category. They depend on Allah for eternal salvation, but the spirit world for their daily needs. Almost none of them depend on Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior.

What Are Their Needs?

The Aimaq peoples need abundant rain so their livestock and their crops can flourish.

Prayer Points

Pray for abundant rain in the Aimaq homelands so their crops and livestock can thrive. Pray for workers to go to the Aimaq peoples in Tajistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will allow Aimaq people to accept the lovingkindness of Christ. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among each Aimaq people this decade.

Scripture Prayers for the Aimaq in Turkmenistan.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Aimaq
People Name in Country Aimaq
Pronunciation EYE-mahk
Alternate Names Char Aimaq
Population this Country 269,000
Population all Countries 2,257,000
Total Countries 5
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 5
People ID 21454
ROP3 Code 118270
Country Turkmenistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Turkmenistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Aimaq (269,000 speakers)
Language Code aiq   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Aimaq (269,000 speakers)
Language Code aiq   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Aimaq

Primary Language:  Aimaq

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Photo Source Tomas Balkus - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.