Prayer Profile
The Tajik of Tajikistan
[IMAGE] The five million Tajik are one of the major groups of Central Asia. Their homeland, Tajikistan, is the mountainous center of Asia, surrounded by the Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan includes the Pamir Mountains, which reach altitudes of nearly 25,000 feet. Most of the people live in the parallel valleys below.

The Tajik have repeatedly been invaded and conquered throughout their history. The armies of Alexander the Great, the Arabs in the seventh century, Genghis Khan, the Turks, the British, and the Russian empire have all had a profound impact on these people. In fact, the numerous invasions have been the major factor in the dispersion of the Tajik to other locations.

The term "Tajik" comes from the word taj, which means "crown." This name was probably first used by the seventh century Arabs to differentiate the Persian (Tajiki) speakers from the Turkic speakers.

What Are Their Lives Like?
Most of the Tajik are mountain farmers and shepherds. Seasonal grasses create suitable pastures for raising sheep, goats, cattle, a few camels, and some horses. They also practice a remarkable system of terraced, mountainside irrigation so that wheat and barley can be grown at the higher, dry altitudes.

More and more of the Tajik have moved to the cities over the past fifty years. Most families farm during the summer period, then return to the cities for the remainder of the year. This has resulted in an unstable work force throughout the region. A majority of the urban Tajik live in governmental housing. The rural Tajik live instead in village communities located on non-farmable, rocky land. There they build low, square or rectangular houses out of unbaked mud. Pressed mud bricks made with stone are used for the foundations. Flat roofs are made of tightly packed earth and twigs, and are supported by mat covered beams.

Women wear colorful national costumes with printed cottons and silks accented by flowered head scarves. They rarely wear veils; however, they do wear chaddors, which are multi-purpose shawls. The men wear shirts and trousers, sometimes with quilted robes and belts. They also wear embroidered skull caps, and some wear turbans or fur hats during the cold winter months. The upper class and city dwellers tend to wear European style clothing.

Green tea is served with most meals. Bread is a staple food, and the Tajik bake bread out of anything that can be ground into flour, including a variety of peas and mulberries. They also eat starchy foods, rice, grapes, dried fruits, chicken, lamb, and vegetable dishes.

Tajik society is patriarchal, meaning that the authority belongs to the oldest males of the extended family. Villages and communities are ruled by a majlis, or council, made up of the male leaders of prominent families. All inheritances are passed down through the males. After marriage, a young bride lives with her new husband's family. Traditionally, marriages were arranged. Today, however, most Tajik choose their own mates.

Tajikistan is the poorest of the Central Asian nations. However, now that it is an independent republic, there is strong potential for new trade relations with Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Islamic countries.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Tajik are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafite branch, although some Shi'ites exist. About 10% of the people are classified as non-religious. This has probably been a result of Russian atheistic pressure.

Tajikistan is surrounded by ethnic and religious tensions. Much of this tension exists between the conservative Wahhabi sect of Islam and the Sufi sect of Islam.

What Are Their Needs?
Some evangelistic materials, such as the Jesus film and the Bible, are already available in Tajiki. However, the people have remained closed to the Gospel. Today, there are only 364 known Tajik believers in Tajikistan and no missions agencies are currently working among them.

Prayer Points

  • Ask God to raise up long-term missionaries who will go to Tajikistan and share Christ with the Tajik.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will give vision for outreach and a genuine burden for the Tajik to believers in this region.
  • Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will open the hearts of Tajikistan's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via television and radio to the Tajik.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Tajik bound.
  • Pray that God will call out prayer teams to begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Tajik by the year 2000.

See Also the following Tajik groups:
the Afghani Tajik of Pakistan and Afghanistan; the Chinese Tajik;
the Tajik of Kazakstan; Kyrgyzstan; Iran; Russia; China; and Uzbekistan.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Tajik
  • Country: Tajikistan
  • Their language: Tajiki (Galcha)
  • Population: (1990) 3,154,700
    (1995) 3,640,300
    (2000) 4,160,300
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Hanafite) 80%
    Muslim (Shia) 10%
    Nonreligious 9.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 364
  • Scriptures in their own language: Bible
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 6
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 1,310,900 (36%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 109,600 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 1,201,300 (33%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 2,329,400 (64%)
  • Country: Tajikistan
  • Population: (1990) 5,287,200
    (1995) 6,101,000
    (2000) 6,972,600
  • Major peoples in size order: Tajik 59.6%
    Northern Uzbek 23.5%
    Russian 7.6%
    Tatar 1.4%
    Kyrgyz 1.2%
  • Major religions: Muslim 88.1%
    Nonreligious 5.9%
    Atheist 3.4%
  • Number of denominations: 14

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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