Islam and Globalisation. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. 25th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI) Naples, September 8 – 12, 2010
This article concerns the Islamic community in contemporary Russia and the dynamic identities of Muslim migrants there. The focus of this study is the religious and wider social practices of those Muslim migrants who are considered leaders of local micro-communities, enjoy respect within their religious community, and have steadfast religious authority within their circles. These practices are considered in their local religious and migrant contexts through the prism of such concepts as religious individualism, everyday lived Islam, and tactical religion. The author shows multiple ties that emerge between the region’s Muslims, specifically between unofficial local leaders, and other believers who need this authority to elaborate their everyday Muslim practices in the context of migration and the authority crisis in Russian Islam. This study emphasizes the importance of the everyday in the formation of individual religiosity and shows how a local Muslim environment builds up around certain key figures outside the mosque.
The article analyses the interaction of Islamic and progressist (modern European) discourses – the so called cultural bilingualism – in A. Baiazitov’s vision of history. This is compared with Sh. Mardzhani’s approaches to Islamic history, described by other scholars (A. Frank, M. Kemper, et al.). The question of Baiazitov’s authorship is also discussed. A representative of the official Russian metropolis Muslim clergy (the akhun of a Tatar Muslim “parish” in St. Petersburg), Baiazitov was active in publishing books and articles in Russian in the central Russian press to contest the topoi common in the public, scholarly, and missionary visions of Islam and mixed up in the imperial frame of mass Orientalism. In particular, E. Renan’s and his partisans’ notorious ideas of the Islamic alienness to science and progress were debated (Baiazitov’s “Objection” to Renan, 1883, was especially famous). The article shows that just to notice such views of Islam and consider them necessary to be retorted to, demanded that the author should share the progressist presumptions of history, which underlay those views. Hence the progressist discourse was indeed interiorized and present in Baiazitov’s works (as well as in the essays of his alter ego, Murza Alim, and contrary to Mardzhani who ignored those debates). Yet along with the appropriated progressist ideas, in particular the imagined backwardness of the ‘Muslim world’, Baiazitov also reproduced the structuring of history characteristic of the Islamic discourse proper, namely, the generalized Islamic reformist scheme that explained the decline of Islam by distortions introduced to the initial Islam by its later alien inheritors (Mongols and Turks); abandoning the errors, Islam would get back to the way of progress. The Islamic discourse also determined Baiazitov’s understanding of science and knowledge and the very methods of argumentation (referring to hadiths, etc.). Revealing Baiazitov’s sources and analyzing his ways of working on them – the works of both European Orientalists and modern Islamic reformists (particularly, the Indian Aligarh movement) and Islamic “classics” – the article exposes Baiazitov’s universalist strive to unite different traditions in the “multilingual” cultural situation to whose challenge he responded. The necessity to “explain” Islam in the space of mass Orientalism, where he addressed and belonged to, demanded a kind of “translatory effort”, yet the “translation” was not all-inclusive. Together with the very force of the discursive practices he used, all that engendered the cultural bilingualism in his historical narrative. The accent on the origins of Islam (comparable with Mardzani’s historical vision), i.e. the representation of the history of the ‘Islamic world’ as a whole, reflected Baiazitov’s own forming identity of a representative of the Islamic community in general. There’s hardly a direct Mardzhani’s influence on Baiazitov’s views, yet in some respects they gave analogous responses to the challenge of the imperial modernity, though from quite different discursive spaces.
The prevailing in Russian legal science view understands Islamic law as synonymous with Sharia which is a system of prepositions of Quran and Sunna that is the mode of life of Prophet Muhammad fixed in so called hadiths (sayings) of his fellows. Being reduced to Sharia Islamic law is approached to as complex of different social norms in which legal rules are not separated in principle from religious commands. However, an in-depth analysis enables us to conclude that on the basis of normative part of Sharia Islamic law as a legal phenomenon emerged. It was Fiqh that played a key role in this process. The Islamic thought understands Fiqh as a science dealing with Sharia rules of human behavior together with these norms themselves. Within such prescriptions there are such rules which meet juridical criteria and therefore may be recognized as norms of Islamic law in scientific meaning of the term. Fiqh was not limited by elaboration of particular and separate norms of legal character but it succeeded in formulation of detailed system of its general principles. They are the main argument for the benefit of existing of Islamic law as legal phenomenon in proper sense. The modern Islamic thought puts forward different classifications of the general principles of Fiqh. The most appropriate one is that which distinguishes a few groups of such principles devoted to concrete themes. Each of these groups has its core including a key independent principle. Most of these principles are a concentrated manifestation of legal nature of Islamic law. Their emergence is the remarkable contribution of Fiqh understood as a legal doctrine in the development of Islamic Law as well as in the world legal culture. These principles are legal by their contents and do not bear direct religious features on themselves. They determine legal nature of Islamic law which is a juridical phenomenon because of the mentioned principles and not for being based on religious revelation. That is the principles of Fiqh which let Islamic law to cooperate with other legal cultures on the basis of many joint juridical characteristics shared by them.
Arabs, like all nomadic peoples, assigned a cruical role to the issues of war, fair fight, and personal generosity. Wars and battles were part of the sign-symbolic system in the space of the ancient Arabic culture, which was dominated by the will for to defence. Accordingly, weapons were involved in this system, being part of several cultural spheres: the sphere of primary production and livelihood, humanitarian sphere, and as well, as an integral part of war, of the socionormative culture.
It is to be considered that it is in the Arab culture where Islam was born, and in the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet such things as war and weapons also found a place, which underlines the deep connection of religious culture and the weaponry complex in the worldview of the early medieval Arabs.
The renowned Sufi martyr Husayn Mansur Hallaj had a profound influence on the subsequent Sufi tradition. Despite the persecution of his followers organized by the authorities, which began immediately after his execution, Hallaj’s teachings widespread to all the parts of the Caliphate. The city of Shiraz was one of the centers where the Sufi martyr’s followers had fled. Hallaj’s apology is one if the central themes in the works of Ruzbihan Baqli, a Sufi, who had an enormous influence on the Persian Sufi tradition. In turn, the term iltibās, which is mentioned in Hallaj’s works, plays one of the most important roles in Ruzbihan’s heritage. But despite the importance of this concept, it is almost entirely left out of view of researchers. There are large differences even in the issue of this term’s translation (“equivocacy”, “amphibolie”, “clothing with Divinity”). It is also interesting that this concept has actually become “exclusive” for Ruzbihan. This paper also presents examples of using the term iltibās as in Hallaj’s Kitāb al-Tāwasīn, and in the works of Ruzbihan Baqli, both Arabic and Persian. In addition, the hypothesis for translation and interpretation of this term, which were proposed by the scholars (L. Massignon, H. Corbin, C.W. Ernst) will be examined.