Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
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|Arab World, general
In the 700s and 800s, Arabs were fanning out over a large part of North Africa and Central Asia to conquer and to spread the Islamic religion. Through the next couple hundred years, more Arabs settled in what are now the Central Asian countries. Sometimes they came as nomads, other times they came as soldiers. As time went on, they became isolated from the Arab World and their language was changing. Up until the early 20th century when the USSR took over the region, Uzbeki Arab speakers raised crops and livestock, while remaining true to Islam through religious education. These people who straddle the Arabic and Turkic worlds still live in Central Asian countries like Tajikistan.
The Uzbeki Arabs live much as they do in other parts of Central Asia.
The Uzbeki Arabs in Tajikistan are Sunni Muslims who believe that the One, 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. 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. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
Uzbeki Arab speakers in Tajikistan need to put their identity in the person of Jesus Christ rather than in their ethnic or linguistic identity.
Pray that the Uzbeki Arabs will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings. Pray for workers who are driving by the love and boldness of the Holy Spirit to go to them. Pray that Uzbeki Arab leaders will have dreams and visions of Christ that will open them to Jesus. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among them to begin this decade.