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An artistic depiction of the Circassian Hammer-cross, a symbol of Habze.
An artistic depiction of the Circassian Hammer-cross, a symbol of Habze.

Adyghe Habze or Circassian Habze (Adyghe: Адыгэ Хабзэ /adəɣa xaːbza/), alternatively spelled Khabze, Khabza, or Xabze, also called Habzism,[1] is[2][unreliable source?] the philosophy and worldview of the Adyghe people (called Circassians in English), a nation 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.[citation needed]

The belief system takes its name from the Circassian epic Nart Saga,[citation needed] originally orally transmitted, which has heavily contributed to the shaping of Circassian 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 Circassian 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]

On 11 May 2018, a book about Habze (with focus on the code of conduct, code of honour, and traditions of the Circassian people) entitled الاديغة هابزة-العادات الشركسية or Адыгэ хабзэ (in Circassian) was released. It was written by Circassian language expert Zarema Madin Gutchetl and translated by Nancy Hatkh.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Об этикете адыгов (Адыга Хабзэ) (Rus, Eng subs)
  • ✪ Заметки о Черкесии №1 - Черкесы и Черкесия (Rus, Eng subs)


Hello! On air Circassian Notes and we have a guest today Aslan Beshto is a specialist in the history and culture of the Circassians and today we'll talk about the topic you asked. Let's talk about the norms of the Adyghe Habs, what they are like, how they were observed earlier and observed today. Good day to all! I would like to start with a little background. The Adyga Habze complex is one of the main ethnic markers of the Circassians of the world. It was created, modernized and changed With the development of the Circassians themselves for millennia. Many people say that the history of the Circassians is shrouded in mystery, in my opinion there are two main indisputable sources that allow it to be revealed. These are the Adyga Habs and Adygabs, the Circassian language. Having these two components available, one can fully uncover the history of the Circassians. Returning to the complex - the Adygea Habse is a huge ethnic marker, which includes the cultural-moral and spiritual practice of the Circassians. In my opinion, the problem with the Adyghe Habse today is connected with an interesting fact. Adyga Habs is the rule for creating an ideal person that meets the requirements of the times and the society that created the rules. These norms are not compatible with the state system, Because any state is in fact a complex of violence in various spheres, the Adyga habze educates a person who does not need a state and is self-sufficient in essence. When the Adygea Habse flourished in full measure - the statehood of Circassia fell cyclically and vice versa, when the foundations of the Adyghe Habs were weakening statehood. This cyclicity is traced from the time of Sindica, continues in the time of the Christian principalities in Circassia, combined with the emergence of an independent Kabarda in the Middle Ages and today we have the Renaissance of Adyga Habze, since the state power and its violence have acquired the greatest power. If we talk about the highest point or the highest critical mass of the Adygea habze, then this is an amazing moment in which the final product is the Shuzaua figure. If you translate it literally, it sounds like a lone knight. The translation does not fully convey the essence of this word, because in the sense it is even the Human Universe. Absolutely self-sufficient, a full-fledged person who is responsible both for himself and for the whole society. He does not consult with anyone, but turns to his inner self, he tries to make peace in accordance with the Adygea habze. Shusaua in a greater degree arose from the midst of knights-warriors-wards and history brought the names of several of them, the brothers Zhanokov or Boraberd. They can be listed for a long time, but each of them put the performance of the Adygea habze above other conditions, than introduced his name into the history of the Circassians. In addition, the Circassian Habseh includes spiritual practice. From the old spiritual practice of the Circassians, we did not get very many sources. With the exception of observations and travelers who fell into Circassia and understood the Adyghe Habs in their own way, it is distorted. The story is true, last year, in the summer, through acquaintances I found a document in the archives of the Russian Orthodox Church. It dates back to 1561 and is called - the Chin of renunciation of the Cherkasy faith. This document was found by Olga Chumichova, senior staff member of the Institute for Eastern Christian Studies. In co-authorship with Tatyana Oparina, they found 11 exact manuscripts on the exact date and the original text of the rank. It was first published in 1624 in a trebnik published by Patriarch Filaret. I think this is an amazing find that will sufficiently give us a shedding light on the spiritual practice of the Adygea habze. Can you notice, for those of the viewers who are unfamiliar with the topic, some basic concepts of the Adyga Habs, for example, how the attitude towards the visitor, the woman, the rules of behavior, the basis of it? The basic postulates of the Adygea habze, which were binding for the entire society, are honor - nimes, humanity - tsohua, education - asanara, veneration of elders, courage. In the complex, these parts of the Adygea habze were mandatory for execution. What is surprising in this moment is that the higher the rank or position of a person in society, the more self-restraints and high limits of performance of the Adyga habze the person set for himself. There was such a proverb - aristocratic habze this is a very steep climb, which must be overcome. The most demanding of themselves in the part of the Adyghe Habsé were the upper strata of society. This led to the deification of the guest, the very first, any, the poorest Circassian family had in its homestead a separate room for the reception of guests. The whole family had to serve the guest and create comfortable conditions for him as long as he lived with them. The owner answered his life for the safety of the guest. If he did not save the guest, he was expelled from the community. As far as I understand, if a person is an enemy, does he still have guest rights? I will give an example, in a quarrel were two princely families - the Kanokovs, besleneys and Atazhukins. The quarrel arose because Kanokov senior decided to marry his son to one of Atazhukin's daughters. Magomed, a senior from Atazhukin, considered this unworthy for Atazhukins and when the wedding cortege drove up to Kanokov, he attacked him and took away the bride. It came to mutual threats, blood feud began. Clans flock feud. After a while Atazhukins in a small company drove through the lands of the Kanokovs. The shepherds saw. One of the elements of the Adygea habze - not to speak directly, to force to do things. The shepherds returned to the prince's estate and prompted the prince to be told. We witnessed how Atazhukins drow back the daughter-in-law from the Kanokovs, now, apparently, they are going for their wives. Kanokov could not stand the insult of his servants, took two sons and rode across Atazhukins. Atazhukin from afar killed the eldest son of Mysostov, Misostov himself, and only 13-year-old younger son remained alive. When Atazhukin pointed a loaded gun at him and saw that he was still a boy. He lowered his gun. His entourage cried out - the Serene, he will kill you now, that you delay and threw up the gun. Magomed Atazhukin laid his hand on the barrel of his partner's gun and said The princes do not mix blood and milk and the boy threw Atazhukin with a shot. The Kanokovs' estate was closer, they were all taken there, put corpses in the guesthouse and gave a sign to the princess that a misfortune had happened. The princess ran into the room to mourn for her husband and child. She saw that her family members lay in the back of the room, and Atazhukin's body was near the threshold and she said - even if he's blood feud and dead, but he's still a guest, put him in a place of honor. She forced the prince's body to move to the place of honor and mourned all the dead there. This is an amazing moment that fully reveals the whole essence of the Circassian attitude to the guest and traditions, rituals. From some depth it goes, it's hard for us to hear, understand from the inside. This is one of the vivid examples. There are Wark-habze - where there is a serious difference or is it just a more complicated version of Adyga habze? There are separate provisions that are not necessary for the commoner. For example, a commoner has the right to ignore the war, he can not afford this. Wark life - hiking, war, battle, hunting. If you died gray and old, then this is bad. Yes, by the way, this also relates proverb, or rather the case. One of the prince's sons married a Nogai khan's wife, then the girls were married very young. Nurse, Nogay khan's wife, old Noghai woman, together with her went to the groom's house, like a slave. In the morning she cleaned the girl's bed and saw a white-bearded old man in the yard, who was in charge of affairs. She asked - who is this? She was answered - this is our prince. She clasped her hands, sat down and said - for the first time I saw a white-bearded Circassian prince. Princes died early, it was believed that to live to gray hair is not an honor. It was not necessary to die, on the contrary, there was such a hero Kurguko Atazhukin who won the Kanjali battle. He lived many years, up to 67 years, at 64 years he won that battle. This is not a requirement, but rather a working recommendation for the prince. The princes consider themselves to be the descendants of Inal. Inalids were considered to be even more equal than those of the neighboring nations - the kings and princes of Russia, the Nogai khans, the Kumyk shamkhals, the Avar khans, Georgian kings, princes and Crimean khans. Lowered below the grade - a child from such a marriage was considered a tume - unequal. Often I was amazed - when you delve into chronicles that this or that prince died childless, there are a lot of them. You understand that a lot of children were born, but not all princes were given by birth princesses of equal descent. Born of the prince, he considered himself high in position and claimed his place, crowding the legitimate princes. There were skirmishes, quarrels, scandals. Proceeding from Adyghe Habs, the princes preferred childlessness, if they did not find equal in position. A vivid example of such a tume is the legendary hero Andemirkhan. He was an opponent of the great prince of Kabarda Beslan Obulic, son of Dzhanhot. Although Tume, but he is a popular favorite about whom many songs, stories, parables are composed. And despite the fact that Beslan Obulic was one of the brightest representatives of the Kabardinian princes and essentially made a class revolution in Circassia, divided society into classes, when compared with Andemirkhan, ethnographic material for Andemirkhan is many times richer and more extensive than in Beslan. Folk favorites more revered. His song is one of the most beautiful and beloved among the people till now. That is the question. The norms of the Adygea habze and the norms of Islam - it is often said that much is similar because of what Islam was more understandable to the Adygs. As far as these norms are combined and Adygea Habseh is converted to Islam, are they mixed? I would not dwell here only on Islam, because any global ideology, someone calls it religion, somebody is a communist ideology. Any of them pursues not only political goals, but also often moral goals. Considering that in normal people moral values coincide in many respects, the components of these global religions coincided with the Adyghe Khabze. One has to understand one thing - in order that religious dogmas are fulfilled, people are promised paradise and threatened with hell, and the Circassians did it without threats and promises in a natural way. When, as a result of dynastic marriages, natural historical events or the aggression of neighboring ideologies, Islam became the main religion, it met the resistance of society and its ideologists found the golden mean. They announced that they corresponded to the norms of Islam, everything that does not contradict Islam from the Adyge habze is part of Islam. Therefore, the same component remained, but the sign changed. The Circassian form of Islam was very different from the one that was prevalent in Arabia and did not encounter contradictions here and there, because the two ideologies supplemented each other and a little pressed each other in the familiar framework could fit in the mind of a person in a certain historical period. Unfortunately, recently there have been preachers or confessors, Who announced that this consciousness can not withstand more than two ideologies, so one of them, naturally Adyghe Habs, should leave. For this, they adopt any methods, and the habze is defended through their adherents. Today, I can confidently say that the Habseh does not apply aggressively to those who profess Islam, on the contrary, many Muslims largely adhere to its norms, but this is traditionally called Islam in their minds and upbringing. And let it be so. It does not matter what ideology is called, the main thing is to serve a good cause. On this good note, let's conclude. The topic is extensive, so I propose after the review to leave comments about what else you would like to hear on the topic, perhaps not only about the Adyga habze. We will discuss and collect the questions in order to meet again in time and walk through them. Thank you Aslan for the interview. Thank you! Not the first and not the last time we will meet, we will develop the topic. And thank you, to communication, all while!



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


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][unreliable source?]

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][unreliable source?] 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][unreliable source?]

See also


  1. ^ «Хабзисты». Кто они?
  2. ^ a b c d e 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 •
  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. ^ What is Khabze?


  • Т. М. Катанчиев. Адыгэ кхабзэ как кабардинское обыхное право. Эль-Фа, 2001
  • University of Michigan (1999). Reference Library of Arab America: Countries & ethnic groups, Kuwait to United Arab Emirates. Gale. pp. 570–571. ISBN 978-0-7876-4178-8.
  • Bullough, Oliver (4 March 2010). Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys among the defiant people of the Caucasus. Penguin Books. pp. 35–. ISBN 978-0-14-195622-0.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 January 2019, at 07:15
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