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The vast majority of the non-Tajik population of Tajikistan is composed of peoples who were also historically Sunni Muslims (Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, and Turkmen).
[Source: CIA World Factbook, Library of Congress] In some places conservative Islam is relatively strong, but overall the Tajiks are not as religious as the Uzbeks but not as casual as the Kyrgyz. Since claiming independence the Central Asia nations have revived religions long suppressed by the Soviet Union.
Almost 62% of the world's Muslim population live in the Asia/Pacific region, compared with only 20% in the Middle East and North Africa (the historical cradle of Islam).
More than 300m Muslims – one-fifth of the total – live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion.For some Tajiks, Islam is more important as an intrinsic part of their cultural heritage than as a religion in the usual sense, and some Tajiks are not religious at all.[Source: Library of Congress] Tajikistan has traditionally not has had as many madrassahs, mosques and educated Muslim clerics as Uzbekistan.The ancestors of Tajik people worshiped nature and natural phenomenon, especially eagles and hawks, which still have special meaning to Tajiks and are regarded as animal totems worshiped by the ancestors of Tajik people.Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: “Shamans in Tajikistan, called parikhon and folbin, are omnipresent; almost every mahalla in a village or city can boast at least one man or woman who is believed to have a special relationship with spirits and can thus: a) diagnose and cure illnesses; b) impose or lift a curse; c) interpret omens and forecast the future; and d) find missing objects and people.This is a smaller proportion of Shias than in some previous estimates and the report cautions that many countries do not collect sectarian data in their censuses.