Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Muslim Military Clergy of the Russian Empire at the End of the XVIIIth - Beginning of the XXth Century

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

The Muslim Military Clergy of the Russian Empire at the End of the XVIIIth - Beginning of the XXth Century

Article excerpt


The urgency of the problem under investigation is primarily concerned with the significance of historical experience of interaction between a Muslim clergy and a military department of the Russian Empire for over a century and a half period of time. The article focuses on exploring the status and functioning of the institution of a Muslim clergy of the Russian Empire at the end of the eighteenth - beginning of the twentieth centuries. The leading technique to the study of this problem is based on a comprehensive overview of scientific literature and other sources of information. The authors observed the establishment and development of the regulatory framework for a Muslim military clergy. The structure, functions and powers of Muslim clerics in the military department are reviewed. The interaction of a Muslim clergy with certain troops and the military department in general is analyzed.

Keywords: the Russian Empire, Islam, Muslims, a military clergy

1. Introduction

The government policy toward religious minorities in the Russian Empire were noted for its complexity and heterogeneity. Accordingly, the same politics was implemented by the state institutions toward the ministers of the cult of religions that were recognized as tolerant in the empire (Zagidullin, 2006). One of the perspectives of these relations is the history of the interaction between the military department of Russia and the non-Orthodox clergy. This cooperation of a Muslim clergy and a military department became possible during the reign of Catherine II, mainly owing to the policy of the religious tolerance and the establishment of religious government control over Muslims (Azamatov, 1999).

The analysis of the fulfillment of religious needs of soldiers of different faiths is of particular importance in the context of the multi-confessional Russian Empire (Arapov, 2004).

Firstly, Muslim population of Russia had a dissimilar position toward the doing of military service: from the beginning of the eighteenth century Volga Tatars carried regular military service on equal bases with the common population of the country, Tatars and Bashkirs of the Ural and Siberian regions were involved in irregular forces, Crimean Tatars also provided a regiment from their midst, for many peoples of the Caucasus military service was of a voluntary nature, moreover, Central Asian Muslims were released from military service (Ishakov 2004). Consequently, the intensity of attracting Muslim clergy to perform the required rituals was varied depending on the regional component and the number of Muslims. All that makes it possible to identify the priorities for the religious policy of the autocracy in relation toward military men, and to explain the ways and methods of its implementation in a particular region.

Secondly, the soldiers' duty in the regular army and the navy, in the irregular forces and Cossack troops, in the establishments and institutions of the military department suggested various possibilities for the performance of religious needs of a Muslim military clergy (Nasyirov, 2005). The study of this issue makes it possible to reveal each of the general laws and concrete historical peculiarities of specific forms of Islamic worship in Tsarist Russia.

2. Methodological Framework

2.1 The Objectives of the Study

It was fundamental to reveal the following issues in the research: to observe the regulatory and legal framework for a Muslim clergy in the military department; to examine the forms of activity and the social role of a Muslim clergy in the armed forces, divisions, establishments and institutions of a military department.

2.2 Theoretical and Methodological Basis of the Research

The methodological foundation of the research was based on a comprehensive approach of viewing different sources of information. In addition, a method of historicism and scientific objectivity was also implemented. The principle of historicism involves the study of the development of cooperation of a Muslim clergy and a military department in a certain historical period that was characterized by definite socio-economic, political, ideological and cultural conditions. …

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