ISSN: 1694-7673 (Print) E-ISSN: 1694-7975 (Online)

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Abstract


Religious Life in Kyrgyzstan: A Socio-Cultural And Theological Overview
As a Turkish community living in Central Asia, the religious life of the Kyrgyz can be examined according to a variety of variables on the axis of religion and the position of religion in the social structure. Because the religious life of the Kyrgyz community has the experiences with the religious thoughts, beliefs, rituals and social practices of the Turks. It can be said that the Kyrgyz have a religious-social life practice based on similar characteristics with other Turkish communities because they have lived side by side with them living in the same region. However, this does not mean that their religious life and religious-social structures have completely overlapped with other communities. As a matter of fact, it is possible to distinguish certain structures in question from one another. In this framework, it is claimed that the Kyrgyz people accepted Islam more recently than other communities, possibly resulting in the fact that they did not learn Islam well or applied it well. Likewise, the anti-religious policies applied in the Soviet period are the main axis of the breaks in the triangle of religion-society and values in Kyrgyzstan today. It is also emphasized that the time and space relationship is a decisive variable on the nature of the relationship that the Kyrgyz set up with Islam. For example, the fact that they had to live in mountainous regions, making livelihoods with livestock and their continuing nomadic lifestyle are the antagonistic of Kyrgyz people to the Islamic perception. Because, from the view point of Islam that encourages settled life, the nomadic lifestyle affects negatively the nations’ character of being a culture and civilization constructer by coming together around the fundamental root values. In this framework, the purpose of our proceeding is to reveal, on the basis of socio-cultural and historical knowledge and documents, a general framework of the religious life of the Kyrgyz community, where conflicting information is contained in various sources. In our proceeding, it is planned to discuss the religious life of the Kyrgyz in three chapters, pre-Islamic, post-Islamic and present.

Keywords
Kyrgyzstan, Religious, Sociology, Rituals and Social Practices, Religious and Social Life.


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