Religion

 

Most of the Adygeans are Sunni Muslims.

Before monotheistic religion, the Circassians were polytheistic and adhered to their ancient indigenous beliefs, worshiping multiple deities, or gods and goddesses. Between the 2nd century and the 4th century,Christianity reached and spread throughout the Caucasus and was first introduced between the 4th century and the 6th century under Greek Byzantine influence and later through the Georgians between the 10th century and the 13th century. During that period, Circassians began to accept Christianity as their national religion, but did not fully adopt Christianity as elements of their ancient indigenous pagan beliefs still survived.

Islam penetrated the northeastern region of the Caucasus, principally Dagestan, as early as the 7th century, but was first introduced to the Circassians between the 16th century and in the middle of the 19th century under the influence of the Crimean Tatars and the Ottoman Turks. It was only after the Russian conquest of the Caucasus when Circassians as well as other peoples of the Caucasus were forced out of their ancestral homeland and settled in different regions of the Ottoman Empire did they begin to fully accept and adopt Islam as their national religion.

The Naqshbandi tariqa of Sufi Islam was also introduced to the Circassians in the late 18th century under the influence of Sheikh Mansur who was the first to preach the Naqshbandi tariqa in the northeastern region of the Caucasus and later through Imam Shamil in the middle of the 19th century.

Today, the majority of Circassians are predominately Sunni Muslim and adhere to the Hanafi school of thought, or law, the largest and oldest school of Islamic law in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam.