Islam religion in Kyrgyzstan
According to National Statistics Committee the population of the country is about 5.2 million inhabitants and religion by percentage is following:
Islam 86% (mostly Sunni branch)
Russian Orthodoxy 12%
Other religions 2%
Since being independent country there has been a revival of Islamic practices which are influenced by shamanic tribal customs followed by most of Kyrgyz Muslims. There can be seen regional differences in religion, especially between southern and northern part of the country. Osh province, closing to the Uzbekistan borders and influenced by neighbouring country, is more religious. In the north, religious practise is more heavily mixed with animism (belief that every animate and inanimate object contains a spirit) and shamanist practices. According to the latest statistics there is increase in Muslim population while the non-Muslim populations is decreasing. Russian population living in Kyrgyzstan are mostly either atheist or Russian Orthodox.
How To Become a Devoted Muslim
Islam, the main religion in Kyrgyzstan, is for the whole of humanity and Islam unites together people of different races, nationalities, colour into one brotherhood. To become a Muslim one must pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction.
The Shahadah is the following :
” Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illaallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-ar-rasool ullaah ” (In Arabic)
“I bear witness that there is no God worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” (In English)
There are seven conditions that must be observed before becoming a Muslim.
- Knowledge (Al-ilm)
- Certainty (Al-Yageen)
- Sincerity (Al-Ikhlaas)
- Truthfulness (As-Sidq)
- Love and affection (Al-Mahabbah)
- Submission (Al-Inqiyaad) internally and externally
- Acceptance and conformity (Al-Qubool)
Live As a Muslim
First and the most important is the prayers (fifth per day). One should know how to dress and what to eat. For a Muslim is forbidden to eat both with left hand and pork meat. Left hand can be used just for cleaning oneself after visiting toilet, cleaning with toilet paper and washing front and backside with water. A Muslim is not allowed to flirt, date or have sexual relationships with the opposite sex before marriage. A Muslim should not shake hands or hug a person of the opposite sex other than their mahrems (family relatives). Once one says the Shahadah he/she starts with a blank slate. No matter how bad the person was before, now every sin is forgiven. Men usually let their beard grow as long as possible. Long beard is believed to attract more power from universe.
Visiting the Mosque (Masjid in Arabic)
There are mosques different shapes and sizes all around the world, based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area. What is common to all mosques? Mihrab, a niche in the wall which shows direction to Mecca and the direction of Muslims pray as well. Other common features are minarets. Minarets are tall towers attached to a mosque, where Muslims are called to prayer from. Both entrances and prayer areas for men and women are usually separate. Many mosques have pools and fountains located on the courtyards, supplying water for ablution before prayer. Before entering the mosque one has to purify oneself.
At first, Muslims have to wash both their hands three times, starting with the right one. Secondly, taking the water into the mouth and spitting it out. Next, they take water in the nostrils and blow it out, wash the face, wash both arms up to the elbow, starting with the right arm, all of it three time. Then putting wet hands over their head. Before last purify, they take water to clean their ears with it. Finally, they wash their feet three times, starting with right foot.
Ramadan and Fasting
Also called the month of the Quran. According to Islamic lunar calendar it is the ninth month and can last for 29 or 30 days. Ramadan begins with the sunset and ends with the next dawn.
Muslims wake up before dawn to eat Sahur (pre-dawn meal) and drink amount of liquids to be prepared for fasting. They are not allowed to drink, eat either have sexual activity in the daytime. Benefits of fasting include control over hunger, thirst and sexual urges that test one’s morality and sincerity to the Creator. Complete meal can be eaten after the Maghrib salah (after sunset prayer). After taking a rest Muslims go to the mosque to pray, called ‘Isha salah (night prayer). At the night there is a special night prayer, called Taraweeh.