Adyghe Habze

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Adyghe Habze or Circassian Habze (Adyghe: Адыгэ Хабзэ /adəɣa xaːbza/), alternatively spelled Khabze, Khabza, or Xabze, also called Habzism,[1] is[2] the philosophy and worldview of the Adyghe people (called Circassians in English), an ethnic group of North Pontic stock native to historical Circassia (modern-day Russia's European federal subjects of Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, and Stavropol Krai). The native philosophy was influenced by Hellenic religion and philosophy.

The belief system takes its name from the Circassian epic Nart Saga, originally orally transmitted, which has heavily contributed to the shaping of Adyghe values over the centuries, although historically Christianised and Islamised, the period of the Soviet Union contributed to a severe weakening of religions in the area, especially among the Circassians. During this time and after the fall of the Soviet regime, the revival of Habzist worldview was supported by Adyghe intellectuals, as part of a rise in nationalism and cultural identity in the 1990s[3] and, more recently as a thwarting force against Wahhabism and other Islamic fundamentalism.[4]

The movement has developed a following especially in Karachay-Cherkessia (12%) and Kabardino-Balkaria (3%), according to 2012 statistics.[5] Practitioners and advocates have faced radical Islamist persecution.

On 29 December 2010, a prominent Kabard-Circassian ethnographer and Habze advocate, Arsen Tsipinov,[6] was murdered by Islamist radical non-Circassians who had accused him of mushrik (idolatrous disbelief in Islamic monotheism) and months earlier threatened him and others they accused as idolaters and munafiqun ("hypocrites" who are said are outwardly Muslims but secretly unsympathetic to the cause of Islam) to stop "reviving" and diffusing the rituals of the original Circassian pre-Islamic faith.[7][8]

Etymology[edit]

"Habze" (Хабзэ) is an Abkhazian compound made up from хы "khy", meaning "vast" or "universe", and бзэ "bze", meaning "speech", "word", "language".[9] Thus, its meaning is roughly "language of the universe" or "word of the cosmos", comparable to the concept of Dharma.

Beliefs[edit]

An important element is the belief in the soul (psa) of the ancestors, who have the ability to observe and evaluate the affairs of their offsprings,[2] the concept of physical pain or pleasure in the Hereafter (Hedryhe) is absent: the soul is granted spiritual satisfaction or remorse for one's chosen path in life in front of himself and his ancestors.[2]

Therefore, the goal of man's earthly existence is the perfection of the soul, which corresponds to the maintenance of honour (nape), manifestation of compassion (guschlegu), gratuitous help (psape), which, along with valour, and bravery of a warrior, enables the human soul to join the soul of the ancestors with a clear conscience (nape huzhkle).[2] The souls of the ancestors require commemoration: funeral feasts are arranged (hedeus) and sacrifice or memorial meal preparations (zheryme) are practiced and distributed for the remembrance of the dead souls.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ «Хабзисты». Кто они?
  2. ^ a b c d e Khabze.info. Khabze: the religious system of Circassians.
  3. ^ Paul Golbe. Window on Eurasia: Circassians Caught Between Two Globalizing "Mill Stones", Russian Commentator Says. On Windows on Eurasia, January 2013.
  4. ^ Авраам Шмулевич. Хабзэ против Ислама. Промежуточный манифест.
  5. ^ Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia • sreda.org
  6. ^ Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst Archived July 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. Vol. 3, No. 4. 21-03-2011. p.4
  7. ^ North Caucasus Insurgency Admits Killing Circassian Ethnographer. Caucasus Report, 2010. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
  8. ^ Valery Dzutsev. High-profile Murders in Kabardino-Balkaria Underscore the Government’s Inability to Control Situation in the Republic. Eurasia Daily Monitor, volume 8, issue 1, 2011. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
  9. ^ Khabze.info. What is Khabze?

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]