Дата публикации: 14 сентября 2023
Автор(ы): M. M. GUSEV
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) Asia and Africa Today, No. 3,31 March 2013 Pages 74-75
Номер публикации: №1694641864

M. M. GUSEV, (c)


In the summer of 2012, Kompas, Indonesia's largest publishing house, published a monograph entitled "Islam in Russia", written by Aji Surya, Cultural adviser at the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow. The very fact of the book's publication is a convincing evidence of the considerable interest shown in Indonesia in the events taking place in the Muslim community in Russia.

The author points out that, despite the huge distances separating our countries, the Muslims of both countries have a lot in common: they have a special reverence for the teachings of Maskhab and its preacher Shafi'i, prayers are also very similar in content and method of reading. Unlike Islamic communities in a number of other countries, the dates of funeral services for the deceased coincide: on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 40th, 100th and 1000th days after death. When Russian clergymen come to Indonesia, their sermons do not contradict the prevailing norms and do not cause an undesirable reaction from believers.

For Russians, the book is of considerable interest as a kind of" outside view " of what is happening in the Russian Ummah. Aji Surya expresses the opinion that the Russian Muslim community is still in the process of formation after the collapse of the USSR and has not developed a general concept for the further development of Islam in a huge multinational and multi-religious country. This is easily explained if we recall the decades-long persecution of religion, and especially Islam, in the Soviet Union. What is worth, for example, is the fact that the number of active mosques in comparison with the tsarist period has decreased from about 10 thousand to... 100. This could not but lead to a significant lag behind other ummahs in what we call Islamic education and upbringing, differences in the interpretation of the most important canons of Islam, and, as a result, the emergence of various communities that differ in their approaches to Islam - in fact, sects, in some cases quite numerous. Among the international community of Muslims, there is even a phrase - "Russian interpretation of the Islamic faith", reflecting some differences in the approach of Russian Muslims to one of the world's greatest creeds.

However, any claim to a monopoly in the understanding and interpretation of Islam, as well as its use for pragmatic purposes in Russia and other countries, is absolutely fruitless. They lead to the rejection of the bearers of such aspirations from the true adherents of this religion, who are the absolute majority in Islam. In addition, the current state of the world community and major world religions urgently requires the activation of intra-confessional and inter-confessional dialogue. The lack of such dialogue, as well as unity in the approach to the fundamental canons of Islam, leads to unpredictable consequences, and you can give any number of concrete examples in this regard.

The study of Aji Surya is also interesting because it comes from a bearer of a different everyday and everyday practice, a different vision and understanding of Islam in Russia, its past, present and future. This ensures that the research is more objective and not subject to the existing approaches, concepts and theories that are somehow related to Islam. Citizens of our country - both scholars of Islam and simply adherents of this religion-are thus given the opportunity to compare different points of view on Islam and draw independent and undoubtedly useful conclusions from this.

The author has been living in Russia for a relatively long time, has made a number of trips around the country, and has met and continues to meet with many people involved in this issue. He undoubtedly developed his own point of view on the situation and development of Islam in Russia, and in some cases it does not coincide with most of the existing concepts in our country. Perhaps these pages will be the most interesting for our readers, and most importantly - the most useful for solving the problems faced by the Russian Ummah.

It should also be noted that, while covering various acute issues of modern Russian reality, the author retains the same benevolence and unquestionable sincerity in his desire to be at least something useful to Russian Muslims.

Assessing the future prospects of relations between the umms of Indonesia and Russia, the author does not hide the possible difficulties that may occur along this path. They may also arise from the significant disparity of the Muslim communities of the two countries.

It is known that Indonesia is the largest country in the Muslim world. With a population of 240 million, more than 210 million people practice Islam. The number of the Russian Ummah is much smaller - 23 million, and this is only 15% of the country's population. At the same time, Indonesians cannot ignore the huge weight of our state in the international arena. And, based on this, they strive to maintain the most favorable relations between our countries, using the following methods:

page 74

This is also the "Islamic factor" as an indispensable part of these relations.

Russia also takes into account the significant role of Indonesia in the international Muslim arena, as well as the fact that this country is a conductor of the ideas of tolerance, tolerance and a balanced approach to solving the most acute problems of our time. Both of our countries are representatives of the so-called "peripheral Islam", which is relatively young compared to traditional (and noticeably more conservative) Islam in the Arab countries.

Both in Russia and Indonesia, Islam is moderate, tolerant, and not burdened with strict Sharia law requirements. At the same time, we should not turn a blind eye to the fact that in our countries there are manifestations of a radical interpretation of Islam, including the presence of supporters and perpetrators of terrorist acts. There are also territories where extremist forces are trying to alienate them and turn them into independent theocratic states. For Indonesia, this problem is the province of Aceh, for Russia - some areas of the North Caucasus. Both countries have made some progress in combating these negative trends. However, the methods used to combat extremism are completely different, and any "exchange of experience" is hardly possible here. Nevertheless, a comparative analysis of these methods enriches the practice of combating extremism on an international scale.

A significant part of Aji Surya's work is a kind of historical essay about the penetration of Islam into Russia, a story about the situation of Muslims in imperial Russia, as well as in the USSR, when a significant part of believers were persecuted and repressed. This section also covers the development of Islam in the post-Soviet period. Here the author adheres to an objectivist, purely informational approach, allowing readers to independently draw conclusions about what is happening in our country.

There is a chapter specifically devoted to the development of relations between the Muslims of the two countries in the long term. However, until the early 1990s, there was virtually nothing to tell about this. Even during the period of close rapprochement between our states under President Sukarno, the USSR continued to strictly regulate religious activities, and contacts "along the Muslim line" were out of the question. Now the "bridge" actually has to be" built " anew... And the book of Aji Surya is a significant contribution to the foundation of this "bridge". Moreover, the author does not hide the fact that this is one of the main goals of his work.

The difficulties facing the builders of the "bridge", both on one side and on the other, are great and diverse - the religious cultures of our countries are too different. Unlike Indonesian Muslims, their Russian co-religionists do not always compromise with their opponents and do not want to listen to other opinions. In Indonesia, Islam is a powerful unifying force (although even there there are often disagreements between adherents of different currents and views). In Russia, however, it has not yet been possible to unite adherents of Islam around a large-scale common idea, and there is no end in sight to the disagreements between supporters of different trends in Islam... Aji Surya sees the reasons for this situation in the actual seventy-year "failure" in the history of Islam in Russia and in the difficult restoration of its role and authority in our time.

One of the ways to solve this problem, according to the author, is to expand the scale of "classical" education of clergy. Indonesia is an ideal place for this, as religious Islamic education has a huge tradition in this country. "Our Islam," says Aji Surya, " is peaceful, tolerant, and develops in harmony with other faiths." It is noteworthy that, in addition to a large amount of purely religious knowledge, graduates of higher spiritual educational institutions in this country also receive specialties in engineers, economists, builders, etc.

According to the author of the book, the actions of the elite of Russian Muslims are often traced not so much to the search for truth in the interpretation of the faith and the desire to introduce new zealots and supporters to one of the world's leading religions, but exclusively personal ambitions. However, he admits that something similar is happening among Indonesian Muslims, many of whom are involved in disputes between various parties and associations that adhere to their own goals and programs, including those that are far from the moral tenets of Islam. Although this, of course, should not serve as an obstacle to establishing contacts between the Muslims of our countries.

All this gives reason to give a high rating to the book "Islam in Russia" and its author Aji Surya. He brilliantly accomplished his goal: without keeping silent about the problems and vulnerabilities in the Russian Muslim community, to find and highlight all the positive things that are happening in it, as well as to outline "common ground" and ways of cooperation between the Muslims of our two countries.

The book is richly illustrated with photographs of mosques erected in different parts of Russia, and contains stories about the architectural and aesthetic advantages of these beautiful structures. There is also a photo essay about Derbent, the city where Islam first appeared in Russia. Indonesian readers will surely be greatly impressed by the cover of the Koran reproduced in the book in Russian , which is evidence and confirmation of the deep interest of the Russian public in the Islamic faith.

To some extent, the new work of the publicist and diplomat can be considered a continuation of his previous book about our country, which is called-and this is deeply symbolic - "From Russia with Love".

The author of the review expresses the hope that its publication in the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" will help to publish a new book by Aji Surya in Russian as soon as possible.

M. M. GUSEV, Candidate of Historical Sciences

Опубликовано на Порталусе 14 сентября 2023 года

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