Talysh in Kazakhstan

Photo Source:  Withheld by request 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Talysh
Country: Kazakhstan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 800
World Population: 755,400
Primary Language: Talysh
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: Talysh
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Talysh people in Kazakhstan originally came from Iran. Most of them live either in Iran or Azerbaijan, but a smaller number live in Russia or Kazakhstan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The lifestyles of Talysh groups vary greatly due to the differences in their environments. However, regardless of the region in which they live, the majority of Talysh are farmers. Not all Talysh are farmers. Some have become skilled craftsmen. Their primary handicrafts include silk, rugs and felt. Some work with tin, make shoes or design jewelry. Talysh people live in various styles of houses, depending on the region in which they are located. Those in the mountainous areas typically live in flat-roofed homes built of uncut stone. Those in the coastal zone live in clay houses that have roofs made of reeds or sedge (grass-like plants with solid stems). The homes usually have high doors reaching to the ceiling, since there is no opening in the roof to allow smoke from the cooking fires to escape. The traditional Talysh homes have no furniture. However, today, a growing number of homes have adopted Western-style furnishings. Talysh women once wore traditional Muslim clothing, which consisted of veils over their faces and long robes that completely covered their bodies. Today, many Talysh women have abandoned the customary outfit and wear Western-style clothing. Today they face the same dilemma as many other Central Asian peoples as they attempt to decide whether to follow the Islamic traditions of the past, or Westernized cultures of the present.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Talysh people are virtually all Muslim, primarily of the Shia branch. They consider Jesus to be a prophet, a teacher, and a good man, but not God's Son. Since Islam is a religion of works, they believe that after death they will be judged by their good deeds and by their knowledge of the Koran. Like other Muslims, they observe the five "pillars" of Islam, which include affirming that Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his prophet, praying five times a day, giving alms generously, fasting, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

What Are Their Needs?

The Talysh have been followers of Islam for many years. Most have not had an opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. Portions of the Bible, and the JESUS Film exist in their Talysh language. Willing laborers are needed to effectively reach these groups with the light of the gospel. Most importantly, they need people who will begin to faithfully intercede for them, tearing down the strongholds that are keeping them in spiritual bondage. Only then will their hearts be prepared to receive the gospel as it is presented to them.

Prayer Points

Pray that true churches in Kazakhstan will take the blessings of Christ to Talysh people resulting in their finding peace and hope in the lord Jesus. Pray that Bible portions and the JESUS Film produced in their Talysh language will be brought to them and presented in a way they can understand an and accept. Pray that their governing and family leaders will understand and accept the truth of God's Word and teach it to their people.

Text Source:   Joshua Project