Sayyid Shakulovs: Muslim lifestyle but without hypocrisy and dogmatism

Sayyidah Sara Shakulova — the first Tatar female mathematician, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad — turned 135 years this year. A Sorbonne graduate was one of the first Tatar women to get a higher education in Russia before the revolution and literally repeated Sofia Kovalyovskaya’s journey. Senior researcher of the Department of Written Sources of the Tatarstan National Museum Ramziya Abzallina continues to talk about the life of Sayyidah Sara Shakulova in detail in the Marjani Institute’s popular science channel Tatar World.

“Not to have her hair cut and not learn to drink wine”

Sayyidah Sara Shakulova and her parents understood their destiny in education. When she was 7 years old, her mother sent her accompanied by her nanny to the Tatar village Tatar Day (10 km far from Kasimov) to learn the mother tongue and Sharia basics. During the next two years, she learnt the Quran in Bolotsy village with a young female teacher. When Sara went to Paris, her mother had just two parting words: not to have her hair cut and not learn to drink wine.

“Despite the constant communication with Russian and sometimes European intelligentsia, the spirit of Orthodox Muslim family reigned here. It was a Muslim lifestyle but without hypocrisy and dogmatism,” one of the Shakulova sisters recalls in a book of A. Belyayev.

The collection of S. Shakulova has well-preserved maths, physics, chemistry and other textbooks in Russian and French she studied with as well as books on applied maths and the Tatar language for school Sara Shakulova wrote herself. The books for the national school are especially interesting, for instance, the programme Mother Tongue in Tatar School, a grammer book for 6-8 year-olds Game and Labour, Practical Calculations Guide.

Life dedicated to teach the people

Sara Shakulov worked in popular education all her life: she taught maths in the Zaraysky Real College in the Ryazan Governorate (1915-2916), Kazan Urban Female Commercial College (1916-1919), Tatar Aitova School and L. Khusainova Female School. In 1919-1923, she worked as vice people’s commissar for education and head of the Main Office for Professional Technical Education of the Bashkir ASSR.

In 1923, on the invitation of the People’s Commissariat for Education, S. Shakulova moved to Moscow where she worked as inspector of schools where education is provided in other non-Russian languages, at the same time she taught maths in schools and higher educational institutions. From 1925, she was the director of the N. Narimanov Tatar School No. 1 in Moscow. Sara Shakulova advocated a fully-fledged education for representatives of national minorities all her life.

S. Shakulova died in Moscow in 1964.

Photos of exhibits No. 17196, 17216 from S. Shakulova’s collection in the Tatarstan National Museum have been in the publication.

Ramziya Abzalina, senior researcher of the Department of Written Sources of the Tatarstan National Museum

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