On February 19, 2020, an extended meeting of the Presidium of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia (SAMR) took place in Moscow.
Among the attendees of SAMR Presidium’s extended meeting were the leaders of centralized religious Muslim organizations of the regions of the Russian Federation, representatives of public authorities, prominent scientists, experts, and theologists, as well as religious and public figures. The meeting gathered together the delegations from Moscow and St Petersburg, and Kemerovo, Omsk, Tomsk, Penza, Irkutsk, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk, Rostov, Astrakhan, Murmansk, Vladimir, and Moscow regions, the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Stavropol Territory, Republic of Dagestan, Republic of Mordovia, Republic of Tatarstan, Republic of Bashkortostan, Chuvash Republic, and Chechen Republic.
The meeting discussed the outcomes of SAMR’s efforts in 2019 and its operation plans for 2020, as well as the issues of joint activity on harmonizing the relations between religions and between nations, preservation of Muslim historic legacy, respecting Muslims’ rights in Russia, as well as the methods to combat extremist ideology.
The event’s key goal was summarizing the Russian and international experience in the spheres discussed with the development of practical recommendations for public authorities and social and religious institutions. The participants paid particular attention to project “Development strategy for Islam and Russian Muslim organizations up to 2035” and expert report “Issues of respecting Muslims’ rights in Russia” (more detailed in the next day’s materials).
All the muftis who spoke at the meeting underlined the necessity to revive spirituality and establish international peace and concord in Russian society and, accordingly, the necessity to unite Russian ummah.
The participants of this “madjlis” accepted the following address intended for Russian muftis:
to Sheikh-ul-Islam Talgat Hazrat Tadzhuddin, Chairperson of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia;
to Mufti Ravil Hazrat Gainutdin, Chairperson of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia and the Council of Muftis of Russia;
to Mufti Ismail Hazrat Berdiev, Chairperson of the Coordination Center for Muslims of the North Caucasus;
to Mufti Sheikh Akhmad Effendi Abdulaev, Chairperson of the Muslim Spiritual Authority of the Republic of Dagestan;
to Mufti Salakh Haji Mezhiev, Chairperson of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Chechen Republic;
to Emirali Hazrat Ablaev, Chairperson of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea and Sevastopol; and
to Mufti Kamil Hazrat Samigullin, Chairperson of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan.
In the name of Allah, the Graceful, the Almighty!
Dear brothers, respected muftis.
As we know, a Muslim’s life has for its goal pleasing Allah, earning mercy on the Doomsday, and being admitted to the Paradise, which is “as vast as the heavens and the earth”, (Surah “al-Hadid”, Ayat 21), and true Muslims will be “abiding therein forever” (Surah “Yunus”, Ayat 26). The path to the Paradise, which Allah describes as a difficult one, is paved, to a great extent, by mutual help of Muslims, their ability to sacrifice, and love each other. To be a true believer, love for the sake of Allah is required, and, as the Prophet (may Allah bless and greet him) says, true faith is what required to be admitted to the Paradise: “I swear by Him, in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter the Paradise until you have true faith, and you will not have true faith until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, will foster love amongst you? Spread as-salamu alaikum amongst you.” (“Sahih Muslim”).
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless and greet Him) said: “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever” (imams al-Buhari, Muslim). In a khadis with a reliable isnad, imam Malik Mu’az bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) says:
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: يقول الله عز وجل: وَجَبَتْ محبَّتي للمُتَحَابِّينَ فيَّ والمُتجالِسينَ فيَّ والمُتزاورينَ فيَّ والمتباذلينَ فيَّ (أخرجه الإمام مالك)
“I have heard the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings be upon him) saying: “Indeed, Allah the Almighty said: “My love is a right upon those who love each other for my sake”. Meaning that people who love each other for the sake of Allah will be loved by Him. “My love is a right upon those who sit together for my sake”, “My love is a right upon those who visit each other for my sake”, “My love is a right upon those who donate to each other, and give to each other, for my sake”, says this Holy khadis.
All of us, religious people of influence, have this duty to call the society to consolidate and promote projects that are aimed at spiritual and moral education, preservation of the country’s nations, and improvement of life quality for our fellow citizens, summarize the constructive experience, prevent the emergence of radical, destructive, and quasi-religious ideas, combat the ideas of islamophobia and aggressive secularization, and protect religion against attacks of ignorance. The modern stage of our country’s development challenges us with reaching the spiritual unity. The mission of faith is creative in nature, and its goal is uniting peoples and nations, and it must not become the cause for hatred or hostility, not mentioning death and destruction!
With deep respect for you, and with an aching heart for the current discord and disunity within the contemporary Muslim community, we propose uniting in spirituality and holding a meeting in order to implement the goals defined by Islam. Muslims’ duty to unite was established in sharia and prescribed by Allah, the Almighty, in Quran and Prophet’s Sunnah (may the peace and blessings be upon him). “And cooperate with one another in virtuous conduct and conscience, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and hostility!” (Surah “al-Ma’idah”, Ayat 2).
“As for those who divided their religion and became sects — you have nothing to do with them. Their case rests with Allah; then He will inform them of what they used to do”. (Surah “al-An’am”, Ayat 159).
We, leaders of Muslim spiritual authorities and local Muslim organizations of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, for the Lord’s gratification, address you, with sincere respect and kindly believing in you as responsible religious leaders, calling you to start a real dialogue on the spiritual unity, and we are asking you to hear us.
With sincere respect for our fellow believers, the entire community, and our multinational and multiconfessional country, we consider it necessary to offer you the following suggestion: that a meeting should be initiated to gather the leaders of major Russian Muslim organizations in the nearest future, in order to work out joint solutions to overcome misunderstanding and separation within our community.
Let us get the stones of dissent off from our backs and sit together to make it work, let us look at each other with a different eye and find the inner strength to fight the instigations of the devil and unite to strengthen our faith. Let us unite according to the Holy Quran and Prophet’s Sunnah, and the principle of ash-Shura: “and conduct their affairs by mutual consultation” (Surah “ash-Shura”, Ayat 38), without building excessive rigid hierarchies.
Being guided by the example of the followers of honored Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings be upon him), we are calling ourselves and you to gather together, with pure-heart intention and relying upon the Lord’s Mercy to show us the right path to the unity which would be based on equality, mutual respect, and awareness of our responsibility to the Lord and the ummah. We are calling you to gather as brothers, with an open heart and good intentions, without cunning intermediaries, since it had been said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the most false of tales. Do not seek out faults, do not spy on each other, do not contend with each other, do not envy each other, and do not hate each other. Rather, be servants of Allah as brothers.” (“Sahih al-Bukhari”, No. 1543, “Sahih Muslim”, No.2563).
We all are Muslims and we all have common Motherland, common interests, common values, and common aspirations. We have one Lord, one Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings be upon him), one Book, and one qiblah! Muslims’ aspirations are more successful and benefits are reached more efficiently where we act as one, in unity and solidarity. “Did not out Prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon him) say to us: “Do not envy each other. Indeed, envy is the razor. It shaves away not hair, but the religion.” (“at-Tirmidhi”, No. 2510).
We all have to clearly understand that when authentic religious, human, and ethical values are being compromised, thousands of our fellow believers are suffering from doubt witnessing undermining Islam’s fundamentals and demonizing the image of Islam. While our brothers and sisters, and particularly younger ones, want to hear a clear and understandable yet sincere address and guidance. The young Muslims’ generation are waiting for us to give them spiritual advice and good example. Everyone is tired of fitnah, ghibah, buhtans, and disagreement in the religious community where the authority of an imam and mentor is being devaluated.
Dear brothers! Allah did give us the formula for Muslims’ success in the Holy Quran: “And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute, lest you falter and lose your courage. And be steadfast. Allah is with the steadfast”. (Surah “al-Anfal”, Ayat 46). Owing to true love for the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings be upon him), a community of believers had been created unseen in the entire history of humanity. This unique solidarity was described as follows: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other”. (“Sahih al-Bukhari”, “Sahih Muslim”). Let us behave accordingly and enforce each other for the benefit of the entire Muslim community in Russia.
We deeply believe that nothing is in our way to establish a friendly dialogue, it all depends on us and our willingness to succeed in doing so. We are not separated by fundamental doctrinal disagreements and practice a common approach to religious beliefs. Only the forms of religious clothing and geography vary. Please try to understand and agree that the society, especially the youth, are looking at us, evaluating us, our deeds and our behavior. And our fellow believers are keen at it, feeling the truth unmistakably. Often they simply do not get why there are several parishes belonging to different Muslim organizations within a settlement. So, the question is, what are we channeling in this situation? Just think about that: given the rise of hi-tech and the attempts to dilute religion as a phenomenon (which we are witnessing in many countries), we are risking the live and effective connection with jamaat. In that case, the young Muslim generation will simply turn away from the traditional well-established system of religious institutes to marginalize! Muslims of Russia, during their more than a millennial history, had had numerous hardships, losses, family separations, desecrations, and humiliations. Our predecessors sacrificed their lives to preserve the luminary of the faith, created the sustainable Muslim system of a religious life and hoped to have successors, the Muslims who would follow their courage and fortitude.
Being aware of the complicated contemporary situation in Russia and the world, and assessing all challenges and threats to sustainable development of Russia and our ummah, we deem it necessary and justified to address directly our dear and honored brothers and wise elder believers: Sheikh-ul-Islam Talgat Hazrat Tadzhuddin, a wise teacher and mentor of many imams and muftis; Ravil Hazrat Gainutdin, an honored elder brother in Islam; experienced Ismail Hazrat Berdiev; respected leader of the major national Muslim community, Sheikh of Naqshbandi and Shadhili tariqas, Akhmad Effendi Abdulaev; respected mufti of the Islamic world, Salakh Haji Mezhiev; recognized leader of fellow believers in Crimea, Emirali Hazrat Ablaev; and young and talented Kamil Hazrat Samigullin, Mufti of Tatarstan.
Dear hazrats! We strongly ask you for a joint prayer and blessing for setting up a permanent Advisory Council, consisting of the religious figures who represent our Centralized Religious Organizations, in order to develop a mutually acceptable model and format of our interaction, as well as to arrange the meeting of leaders of major CROs from Muslim structures of Russia.
Since their inception, the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia and all our structures have been open for a dialogue and cooperation to ensure peace and constructive activities, and to strengthen our unity and solidarity ensuring prosperity of Russia and our ummah.
Relying upon the Grace of the Creator of the Universe and the healing heart of the Lord the Almighty,
leaders of centralized and local religious organizations:
Albir Krganov, SAMR, SAM of Moscow and CRO “Moscow Muslim Spiritual Authority”
Zulkarnay Shakirzyanov, SAM of Siberia (Omsk Muslim Spiritual Authority)
Ravil Pancheev, SAM of St Petersburg and the North-West Region of Russia
Daud Mukhutdinov, Mukhtasibat Assembly of Muslims of Moscow Region
Mansur Khaibullov , SAM of the Chuvash Republic
Nurulla Tursunbaev, SAM of Tomsk Region
Tagir Samatov, SAM of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Yugra
Tagir Bikchantaev, SAM of Kemerovo Region
Abubyakar Yunkin, RSAM of Penza Region
Abdulkuddus Asharin, SAM of Sverdlovsk Region (Central Muslim Spiritual Authority)
Mokhamad Bata Kifakh, CSAM of Volgograd Region (Volgograd Muslim Spiritual Authority)
Farit Mingaleev, CROM “Baikal Muslim Spiritual Authority”
Vafa Yarullin, Muslim Spiritual Authority of Vladimir Region
Sibgatulla Saydullin, Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Urals (Ural Muslim Spiritual Authority)
Salim Shakirzyanov, SAM of Novosibirsk Region
Fagim Shafiev, SAM of the Republic of Mordovia
Nazymbek Ilyazov, Mufti (Astrakhan Region)