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Shabakism is the name given to the beliefs and practices of the Shabaks in the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. Most Shabaks regard themselves as Shia, but some identify as Sunnis.[1][clarification needed][better source needed] Despite this, their actual faith and rituals differ from Islam, and have characteristics that make them distinct from neighboring Muslim populations. Nevertheless, the Shabak people also go on pilgrimages to Shia holy cities such as Najaf and Karbala, and follow many Shiite teachings.[2]

Shabakism combines elements of Sufism with the uniquely Shabak interpretation of "divine reality." According to Shabaks, this divine reality supersedes the literal, or Shar'ia, interpretation of the Quran. Shabaks comprehend divine reality through the mediation of the "Pir" or spiritual guide, who also performs Shabak rituals.[3] The structure of these mediatory relationships closely resembles that of the Yarsan.[4]

The primary Shabak religious text is the Buyruk or Kitab al-Managib (Book of Exemplary Acts) and is written in Turkoman.[4] Shabaks also consider the poetry of Ismail I to be revealed by God, and they recite Ismail's poetry during religious meetings.[3]


  1. ^ al-Lami, Mina (21 July 2014). "Iraq: The minorities of Nineveh" – via
  2. ^ Imranali Panjwani (2012). The Shi'a of Samarra: The Heritage and Politics of a Community in Iraq. p. 167. ISBN 9781848857797. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b A. Vinogradov, Ethnicity, Cultural Discontinuity and Power Brokers in Northern Iraq: The Case of the Shabak, American Ethnologist, pp. 214-215, American Anthropological Association, 1974
  4. ^ a b Dr. Michiel Leezenberg. "The Shabak and the Kakais". Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2014.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)