KHABZE. THE RELIGIOUS SYSTEM OF CIRCASSIANS
The religious system of Circassians is a part of the Habze – a philosophical and ethical doctrine that regulates all aspects of human life, shapes the relationship of man to man, to the surrounding world, to the Higher Mind-and it is inseparable from it. In essence, it represents monotheism with a coherent system of worshiping One God – T'ha.
According to Circassian cosmogonic texts, the World began with an initial intervention - the construction of Net (Khy). After that objects in the World formed naturally, developing by internal Laws.
T'ha (T'hashxue) is the creator of the Laws of the Universe, which represent His expression. T'ha gave man an opportunity to understand the laws, bringing him closer to God. T'ha does not interfere in everyday life, presenting man with freedom of choice. T'ha does not take any shape, He is Omnipresent, "His spirit is scattered throughout space”.
In Circassian hymns T'ha (T'hashxue) is referred to as "the One everyone asks, but who doesn’t ask back”, "the multiplier of the non-existent”, "on whom everyone places their hope, but who doesn’t place hope on anyone”, "from whom the gifts come”, "His amazing work”, "the One who permits heaven and earth to move”.
Reverence and veneration to T'ha, as well as requests to Him are expressed through rites and rituals-T'haleu (a request to T'ha), Hohu (hymns-prayers). The conduction of T'haleu does not allow the use of man-made structures (leryschle).
Therefore, the ceremonies take place in special locations, often in picturesque groves-T'halauple, T'haschag mez. In addition to their main titles, there is also metaphoric names-chiyzihamybzh (a grove, in which nothing is cut).
The location where T'haleu is celebrated is marked with a symbol in the form of the letter "T”. The elders in the family, community, and village conduct the ceremonies.
An important element of the Circassian religious system is the belief in the Soul (Psa) of the ancestors, who have the ability to observe and evaluate the affairs of their descendants. The concept of physical pain or pleasure in the Hereafter (Hedryhe) is absent-there is a spiritual satisfaction or remorse of the Soul for one’s chosen path in life in front of himself and his ancestors.
Every person should know the names of their ancestors to the seventh generation inclusive (counting from the father).
Therefore, the goal of man’s earthly existence is the Perfection of the Soul-maintenance of honor (Nape), demonstration of compassion (Guschlegu), gratuitous assistance (Psape), which, along with valor, and courage of a warrior, enables the human soul to join the souls of the ancestors with a clear conscience (Nape Huzhkle).
The souls of the ancestors require commemoration, whereby funeral feasts are arranged (Hedeus); sacrifice or memorial meal preparations (Zheryme) are practiced and distributed for the remembrance of the dead souls.