The scale of celebration of 1100th anniversary of adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria determined in Kazan
Eight volumes of Islam in the Russian Federation, the foundation of a new Kazan cathedral mosque, Russian-speaking online madrasah and a signature logo. This is just a part of the themes that were brought up this year at a meeting of the republican organising committee to prepare and celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the official adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. The event took place in the lounge of the Kazan Kremlin. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
From Fair Mosque in Nizhny Novgorod to Ulyanovsk’s Bolgar Outpost
Half an hour before the meeting, a lot of muftis and their deputies crowded the foyer, but cameras also caught Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan, His Grace Kirill who was accompanied by vice head of the Tatarstan President’s apparatus Alexander Terentyev. The guests went to the second floor soon for the midday prayer.
Tatarstan Mufti Hazrat Kamil Samigullin found the Mecca on a huge globe standing there and turned it in a way that the holy city was in front of rugs, which meant he would pray in that direction.
Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov chaired the meeting. Also, Tatarstan State Council’s Chairman Farid Mukhametshin, Vice Director of the Russian Presidential Office for Domestic Politics Anatoly Vylegzhanin and Russia’s Vice Minister of Culture Olga Yarilova were on the panel with the president. Olga Yarilov is the executive secretary of the federal organising committee of the celebration created last year. Russian Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin led it, while Minnikhanov ruling the republican organising committee became his deputy.
“The adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria in 922 as official religion predetermined the formation of a unique Russian civilisation connecting Western and Eastern traditions in many ways,” the Tatarstan president stressed and reminded the audience that it became a tradition to celebrate the adoption of Islam in 1989, thanked Mufti Talgat Tajuddin.”
Minnikhanov said that Holy Bolgar Congress, KazanSummit 2022, Russian Forum of Tatar Religious Clerics, the foundation of a complex of the cathedral mosque in honour of the 1100th anniversary, exhibitions, conferences, round-table talks would become key events. As Yarilova said, the list of key events includes a total of 71 projects, most of which will be in Tatarstan.
As Vice Prime Minister of Tatarstan Vasil Shaykhraziyev added, large projects include the construction of a road to Bolgar and the repair of the local river station, the opening of a new complex of Russian Islamic University in Ufa, work on the Fair Mosque in Nizhny Novgorod, opening of Bulgar Outpost in Ulyanovsk Oblast, the end of the restoration of Muhammadia Mosque, the festival of Russia’s national literature, the issue of Bulgar-era manuscripts, Muslim theologians who wrote before the revolution as well as an eight-volume dictionary Islam in the Russian Federation.
Medrese.tatar to speak Russian
At the beginning of his speech, Hazrat Kamil separately thanked Minnikhanov for persuading the authorities of Saudi Arabia to allow Russian Muslims vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine to enter the country for pilgrimage at a meeting of Russian — Islamic World Strategic Vision Group he chairs in November. Also, he indicated that the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate already started the celebration year with the January Russian Muslim Forum in Bolgar.
Among the events that would take place later, the mufti singled out the creation of a Russian version of an online madrasah, which is already available in Tatar.
“We understood that the content in Tatar would a priori reduce the audience,” Hazrat Kamil said. “But the online platform and mobile app turned out to be in such a high demand that not only citizens of Tatarstan, Russia but also CIS countries, Australia, the USA, even China started to study.”
50,000 people signed up on the website medrese.tatar, of whom 400 finished the courses. Mufti called it an “alternative to radical online platforms.” After that, he said that a Quran with the Kazan Print based on the authentic typographic print of 1803 would be printed in Kazan in 2022.
Also, Khuzur TV, which is directed by the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate, continues shooting a film about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan’s travel, he is an Arab writer who visited Volga Bulgaria in 922. Now crowd episodes are shot. The film is made not only in Tatarstan but also in Mashad (Iran), Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Astrakhan Oblast.
Before the meeting, the Directorate started a project on creating a handwritten Quran by calligraphers. Shaimiyev remembered this at the end of the meeting and noted that the biggest Quran stored in Bulgar was created by calligraphers from the Vatican — the demand is so high for them.
Also, Vice Mufti in Information Policy, Director of Khuzur publishing house, Rishat Khamidullin presented the logo of the whole event. Last February, the Directorate announced a contest, then it decided to make its own variant based on the two best works.
“Our veterans cried and prayed then”
In general almost every attendee of the event delivered a speech prepared beforehand and a presentation. For instance, Mufti of Russia’s Religious Council of Muslims Albir Krganov recalled how he hardly got to the Small Minaret and Rabiga Lake with a group of veterans in 1989:
“Our veterans cried and prayed then. If only we could show them Bolgar now!”
Head of the Russian Muslim Religious Directorate Ravil Gaynutdin (who hadn’t been seen in Kazan after his letter against Kamil Samigullin) was represented by his deputy Damir Mukhetdinov. He stressed that according to his boss’s proposal, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to celebrate the 1100th anniversary and said that his organisation was ready to host events “from Sakhalin to Kaliningrad.”
Mufti of Bashkortostan Hazrat Aynur Birgalin tried to jump on the bandwagon and said from his seat:
“I don’t know, we didn’t have the time to submit applications for the celebration for some reason, perhaps, we missed this moment. I am expressing the readiness of the Muslim Religious Directorate of the republic to additionally submit applications just in case.”
Also, he offered to include a fragment of Ibn Fadlan’s trip to modern-day Bashkortostan in the film about him.
“We probably didn’t manage to consider everything,” the Tatarstan president noted. “We will include the offers to the republican, federal plan. We don’t yet see the full picture.”
In addition, Chairman of the Muslim Religious Directorate of the Asian part of Russia Nafigulla Ashirov addressed the president and asked him to take care of Siberian mosques, particularly in Tomsk where a vodka distiller used to be located in the past.
Only Chairman of the Central Muslim Religious Directorate Talgat Tajuddin’s speech was beyond the time limit. He reminded the audience of his role in the celebration, touched on the events in Kazakhstan but devoted the main part of his speech to today’s problem:
“Radicals raise such questions, for instance, New Year came. It did, that’s it. No, they say: ‘It isn’t our holiday, it is a Christian holiday. Why should we celebrate it? Where are you going?’ Should life be considered? We start every day with a prayer and pray every night, five times. Orthodox Christians do the same.”
Tatarstan State Adviser Mintimer Shaimiyev traditionally looked at the event in a broad context.
“It is a milestone,” the first Tatarstan president noted. “The fact that President Putin made such a decision is huge positive consequences of achieving interfaith harmony. It is very important and very promising.”
“It is necessary to take advantage of this event locally,” Shaimiyev indicated. “Here we will do it, since we started. But the work needs to be done locally. It is impossible to speak the same language when it comes to the location of the mosque, the co-existence of the mosque and the church in some region, it is shameful to raise such issues. The whole Muslim world should join to solve both important and less important problems.”