Karakalpak Religion and Folk Beliefs

The overwhelming majority of Karakalpaks are Sunni Muslims belonging to the Hanafite school of religious law. However only a tiny minority regularly attend a mosque, the latter being few and far between throughout the delta. Nevertheless beliefs are deeply held and traditions regarding birth, circumcision, marriage and death are firmly adhered to.

Karakalpaks maintain a mature, private, quiet and tolerant attitude to their Islamic faith. Parents and the old are respected and ancestors are venerated, their photographs hung in pride of place in most homes.

Many Karakalpaks also maintain more primitive beliefs and suspicions, a relic of pre-Islamic shamanist traditions. These express themselves most vividly through the use of various forms of amuletic protection against the evil eye.

No'kis cathedral mosque
The new cathedral mosque in No'kis.

Qipchaq mazar
A local cemetery or mazar at Qıpshaq, not far from Qanlıko'l.

Mizdharkhan mazar
The vast mazar at Mizdahkan, between Xojeli and the Turkmen border.

Ram's skull amulet
A ram's skull provides amuletic protection to a house in a suburb of No'kis.

Amuletic skull
Protection from the evil eye.

The skull of a sheep protects a farmer's field from harm, Kegeyli rayon 2005.

The skull of a cow protects a goat herder's field from harm, Qazayaqlı awıl 2005.

Visit our sister site www.qaraqalpaq.com, which uses the correct transliteration, Qaraqalpaq, rather than the Russian transliteration, Karakalpak.

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