‘History of Islam in Russia’ to be printed in English in London

A 600-page volume isn’t yet sold in Russia

The book History of Islam in Russia — a work of 22 authors including editor, Rector of Russian Islamic University Rafik Mukhametshin — was presented at Russian Islamic University. According to him, the work on the 600-page volume took just two years, it won’t be on sale but be distributed among educational institutions and libraries. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

For educational institutions and libraries

The book written in Russia was printed within the events dedicated to the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria peoples, with the support of the Tatarstan Ministry of Culture and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic Culture, Science and Education. At a press conference at Russian Islamic University in May, it was said that it was planned to be presented by the end of the year but journalists were shown the first copes only now, some haven’t yet reached the republic.

The book has 1,000 copies, it won’t be sold but distributed among educational institutions and libraries. However, Science publishing house is meant to print it for sale. In answer to the question if an electronic version would be published, Hazrat Rafik had a look at who held the rights again, made sure it was Russian Islamic University and noted it was possible.

The book has five parts. The first talks about the spread of Islam on the territory of Russia including parts about Volga Bulgaria, the Golden Horde, post-Horde khanates, Central Russia and the Caucasus in the 16-20th centuries. However, Mukhasmetshin clarified that the information was given “without politicking.” Denis Maslyuzhenko from Kurgan State University and Ilya Zaytsev from Moscow State University are among the authors of this part of the book.

The second part is dedicated to education, Jadidism and reforms, theology and Sufism. Yevgeny Khamidov from Kazan Federal University and senior research of the Integrated Research Institute Vakhit Akayev worked here among others.

At the same time, Mukhametshin anyway expressed his opinion about the still popular topic of the opposition between Jadidism and Qadimisn, supporters of educational reforms and conservatives.

“You know my stance. A mullah must be a Qadimisn. While Jadidists are the intelligentsia,” the rector concluded.

On music, shamails and radicals

The third part is about religious directors and councils, waqfa, the construction of mosques and Sharia in the Russian Empire. Professor of the Institute of International Relations Aydar Khabutdinov and Director of the Institute of History Radik Salikhov in particular wrote it.

The organisers had some issues when choosing the authors of the fourth part devoted to contemporary Russia (about law, Muslim institutions and organisations, radicalism, peaceful coexistence). It is noteworthy that at the press conference Mukhametshin separately gave the floor to head of the Department of Religious Disciplines Said Shagaviyev who wrote the chapter about “unofficial Islam” reviewing the history of different sects and Islamic movements.

Finally, the fifth part is about religious culture — books, the press, music, shamails. However, Mukhametshin specified that this topic isn’t fully observed in the book. Some of its authors are Rezeda Safiullina-Ibragimova, a journalist, docent of Russian Islamic University and Kazan Federal University, and Rustem Shamsutov, candidate for art studies who wrote a thesis on The Art of Tatar Shamail at the Turn of the 19-20th centuries.

Arabs in shock

The book is due to be printed in Arabic in spring. For the UAE, this book is a part of the project of research on the spread of Islamic in non-Arabic countries — China, Indonesia, Malaysia. The book is also scheduled to be printed in English in London. According to Mukhametshin, the book amazed Arabs because of key points in it.

The volume was printed on good coated paper. According to the rector, its prime cost is about 2,000 rubles. He doubted that the book in the Tatar language would be in demand considering the effort that will have to be put to translate and print it, though there were found some people in the audience who wanted to read such a book.

Nevertheless, Mukhametshin says that the work on the book took little time, just two years, mainly thanks to the authors’ professionalism — they had to work on some younger authors’ texts, but in general the editor proudly claimed they gathered the best specialists. Almost all of them are historians, it is not a theological book but an attempt to provide unbiased historical data.

Radif Kashapov

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