Visiting God and King: Rustam Minnikhanov was introduced to the top league through the door of Kaaba

What does the visit of the President of Tatarstan to the Muslim ‘’Holy of Holies’’ mean?

Yesterday, President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov posted a video on Instagram where he and members of his entourage performed the Umrah (small Hajj) and visited the ''Holy of Holies'' of Islam — the Kaaba. Only a few have the opportunity to be inside of this place. According to the experts of Realnoe Vremya, the entry permit to the main Shrine of Muslims is a ticket to the highest political Islamic circles. Why has Mr Minnikhanov received such an honour, who of the Russians also had the opportunity to be inside the Kaaba — read in the article of Realnoe Vremya.

Who of Russians has been inside?

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov had the honour to be inside the Kaaba. The head of the Republic visited the main Muslim Shrine within the framework of the working visit to Saudi Arabia. The head of the region was accompanied by Chairman of MSB RT, mufti of the Republic Kamil Samigullin, former mayor of Kazan and head of the Council of founders of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy Kamil Iskhakov and other officials of the region. According to the saying of Prophet Muhammad, a pilgrim performing Hajj, and performing Umrah, belongs to the category of the guests of Allah.

The President posted their photos and videos from the Umrah (small Hajj) on social networks. As you can see, he performed namaz on the territory of the Great Mosque of Mecca, he was inside the Kaaba and when coming out of it together with his entourage, he kissed the Black Stone (al-Ḥajar al-Aswad), which is believed to be sent from heaven.

It is worth noting that not everyone can be inside the Kaaba. Few Russians had such opportunity: the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov with his mother and retinue, the head of Ingushetia Yunus-bek Yevkurov, and Chief Mufti of Russia, the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin. As the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya found out, Rishat Islamov, a school teacher of the Bashkir language, and the same time working as Imam in a mosque in the village of Buraevo (Bashkiria), also had the opportunity to be inside.

The significance for the believer, merits to the Ummah

As an Islamic theologian Farid Salman told Realnoe Vremya, the Saudi King also has the title of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (of the Kaaba in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina). He gives the permission to enter inside a cube-shaped temple. However, there are the formal custodians of the keys of the Kaaba — the members of the Bani Shaiba. But by the will of the monarch, a family member of the key keepers opens the mosque and let the important guests of the King in.

''If you watched videos on YouTube, you could see the interior of the Kaaba,'' says Farid khazrat. ''Not all scientists were honoured to pray there. It is the admittance to the ''Holy of Holies''. It is quite plain and simple inside. This means that we worship not Kaaba itself but the Lord of the Kaaba. Given that not every mere mortal can enter there, the admittance is a very big recognition for the great achievements. The president of our Republic has enough merits to the Ummah. He is the head of Group of strategic vision ''Russia — Islamic world''. He has done a lot for the development of Islam, not only in the Republic but also in the whole Tatar world. On the part of the King, it is a very big appreciation and recognition of the merits to Islam and the Muslim Ummah.''

According to him, the attendance inside the Kaaba should strengthen a person's faith and compels them to rethink the world and their actions. Photo: Roman Khasaev

According to him, the attendance inside the Kaaba should strengthen a person's faith and makes them rethink the world and their actions. According to Islamic theologians, prayers in the area of the Grand Mosque are accepted quickly, and inside it — just instantly.

''I can tell for myself. In 1996, a prayer uttered to himself on the territory of the Grand Mosque was fulfilled literally in front of my eyes. The Kaaba has such power,'' the priest emphasised.

The admittance inside the Kaaba shows how important Minnikhanov is in front of the Ummah, according to Vice Chairman of MSB RT, Imam of the Kazan mosque Yardem, Ildar Bayazitov.

''It is a great blessing to visit the Holy places. Every believer strives for it. But it is a rare opportunity to be inside the Kaaba. Only the guests of honour are allowed there, highlighted by the Ummah. We are very proud that our President has been inside. We, the Muslims and the Tatars of the whole world, rejoice in this event,'' said Ildar khazrat.

Hello from Putin

Rustam Minnikhanov is the head of Group of strategic vision ''Russia — Islamic world'', created on the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, it is the head of the Republic of Tatarstan, not occupying diplomatic positions, who is the representative of the Kremlin to the Islamic world. Besides, in Tatarstan, the Bolgarian Islamic Academy is being under construction, which will prepare the Muslim elite of the country. All of this was noted during the interviews of the President with the top leaders of the Kingdom.

During the meeting, Tatarstan President presented the international forum KazanSummit to the King . Photo:

Interestingly, at the meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Rustam Minnikhanov sent regards from Vladimir Putin and invited him to visit Tatarstan. During the meeting, Tatarstan President presented the international forum KazanSummit to the King. ''I would be grateful to Your Majesty for the sending of the business mission led by Minister of Trade and Investment of Saudi Arabia, Mr Majed al-Kassabi, to KazanSummit 2017, which is to be held on 18-20 May,'' the press service cites the President.

Besides, Rustam Minnikhanov reminded that Tatarstan and the Kingdom are bound by ties of spiritual and religious relationship. Today, the Tatars are the second largest nation in Russia and the ''Northern part of the Muslim world''. He stressed that the diplomat, who first handed over to King Abdulaziz, the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 1926 a note of recognition at the time by the Soviet government of the newly formed state, was Tatar, Russian Consul in Hejaz Karim Khakimov. The President of the Republic invited the monarch to Tatarstan.

In Jeddah, Minnikhanov met with Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Youssef bin al-Ottaimeen. The head of the region noted that with the support of the OIC Kazan holds the international economic summit ''Russia — the Islamic world: KazanSummit'' annually.

By Timur Rakhmatullin