Talgat Tadzhuddin: ''Any language is needed, while the mother tongue is compulsory''
How Prophet Muhammad’s birthday was celebrated in Bolgar: Tadzhuddin’s beating with stick, language dilemma and Samigullina’s answers to Salafi opponents
Mawlid (Prophet Muhammad's birthday) was celebrated at the Bolgarian Islamic Academy on Wednesday. The celebration took place during the discussion of the Tatar language's problem in Kazan, which couldn't help but affect the people who gathered in Bolgar and their speeches. Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin didn't stop surprising with his extravagant behaviour that affected Realnoe Vremya's reporter a bit. Our journalist reports the details.
''I ask to understand it''
Mawlid took place at the Bolgarian Islamic Academy (Tatarstan's Spass District) on Wednesday. Muftis, heads of regional centres of the republic, public activists, foreign religious leaders, teachers and students of Islamic universities – about 300 people – were guests of the celebration of Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Head of the administration of Spass District Kamil Nugayev had to answer why the first persons were absent.
''A session of the State Council and meeting on the issue of the mother tongue learning at our schools takes places on this day. This is why all managers of our republic are in Kazan. I ask to understand it. They asked to deliver their congratulations,'' the municipal functionary told during his speech.
Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, head of the Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorate Ravil Gainutdinov that had been promised to come by the organisers was absent. Neither of his deputies (Damir Mukhetdinov and Rushan Abbyasov) who had already visited Tatarstan was there. He sent his representative – Director of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Union of Muftis of Russia Ali Khasanov.
''Sheikh Ravil Gainutdinov has a very intense schedule. It's the end of the year, there are many events,'' Hazrat Ali justified his boss in a talk with Realnoe Vremya's reporter.
He did not confirm the presuppositions that Gainutdinov was suspended from the Bolgarian Islamic Academy. President of the academy Kamil Iskhakov wasn't noticed at the meeting as well. But rector Rafik Mukhametshin was sitting in a kind of presidium.
Language problem on the agenda
This time Chief Mufti, Chairman of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate Talgat Tadzhuddin who came to the big event accompanied by his retinue didn't fail. Our journalist decided to know the opinion of the guest from Ufa about the compulsory teaching of national languages.
''Any language is needed,'' the Sheikh al-Islām answered. ''If it weren't necessary, Most High wouldn't give it. The mother tongue is compulsory for learning. And, first of all, parents should teach it.''
We need to remind that last year the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Tatarstan obliged to hold Friday sermons in the mother tongue only to support the Tatar language, which caused an unclear outcry in the ummah and even criticism of Moscow Mufti Ildar Alyautdinov.
However, mosques of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia don't have such obligation. According to Tadzhuddin, khutbahs are performed in the mother tongue in the majority of his mosques: in Tatar and Bashkir in Bashkiria. However, Pushkin and Tolstoy's language are a priority because many visitors are migrants from near border countries. In addition, the youth not always speak the mother tongue. Imams have to give sermons in Russian because the most important thing for them is to deliver God's words, Prophet Muhammad's words to them. The mufti added that Most High sent his own messenger to every nation who told the truth in an understandable language.
As for voluntary learning national languages at schools, the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate noted that he was just a religious activist and couldn't solve such problems instead of the country.
''It happens so in every country. We need to consider the problem from a religious perspective. Actually, we can't make somebody do something. It goes without saying that you must know the language on your territory: Tatar in Tatarstan, Bashkir in Bashkiria and Russian – across Russia,'' he said.
By the way, in a talk with our journalist, Ali Khasanov also supported him. The majority of visitors of Moscow and Moscow Oblast mosques isn't Tatar, but Muslim priests deliver part of the sermons in Tukay and Djalil's language.
''We try to speak the mother tongue more in events, at meetings with Tatars and urge others to it. All meetings were in Tatar until recently, now the situation is changing. There are problems, but we try to solve them by saving the national component. We need to be active and speak the mother tongue in the family,'' the Moscow imam said.
Blow from the chief mufti
Realnoe Vremya's reporter asked Tadzhuddin another question. These days the chief mufti congratulated the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of the Republic of Bashkortostan on its 100 th jubilee, which was surprising a bit. He told earlier that the Bashkir regional centre separated from his ''metropolis'' twice – in 1917 and 1992. And the Sheikh al-Islām offered different schemes to unite numerous Russian muftiates (none was fulfilled in the end). Head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of the Republic of Bashkortostan Nurmukhamet Nigmatullin stated his ''eparchy'' was an heir of the Bashkir muftiate that has its history from spiritual management, which was created a century ago. Did the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia finally agree with the Bashkir mufti?
''After they separated (Editor's Note: in 1917), the presidium of the Bashkir spiritual directorate and presidium of the Central spiritual directorate were shot dead. What happened? When there is a happy event, we need to congratulate. When there is misfortune or problem, we need to sympathise and express condolences. We need to learn. A division can't favour. And we also recognise the reality. Now this division continues until now, unfortunately. For instance, in Chuvashia, Khanty-Mansi. Due to separations in Syria, now people need to correct the situation with planes, military forces. Is it what we wait for? We need to stay together, especially Muslims. The base of the faith on the Earth is to confirm God's law among all people. The keynote of Prophet Muhammad's message is to strengthen peace and agreement between people. We need to not only recognise but also love each other. We need to try to eliminate breaks, oppositions. It's impossible to be glad about breaks and they shouldn't be approved,'' the chief mufti stated.
''Does it mean that you offer to unite the Tatarstan and Bashkir muftiates together with the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Russia?'' the representative of our online newspaper asked a clarifying question.
''What a wise guy!'' Talgat Tadzhuddin was dramatic and pushed his stick to the area next to Realnoe Vremya's correspondent's stomach. ''I won't answer your such stupid questions! I'm not offering anything! I say the opinion of Islam, sharia and Prophet's Sunnah, how it should be, where the model is. There must be no dirty plays and betrayals. Think yourself what I'm offering and what you understand here. What a strategist!'' The reaction of the Ufa guest caused a small shock and laughter of the audience. Later rector of the Russian Islamic University of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate Artur Suleimanov, who came to the event together with Tadzhuddin, asked our correspondent not to ask his boss such painful questions.
First at the academy
However, nobody cancelled very Mawlid. The attitude to this event is quite unclear in the Islamic world (such gatherings are especially criticised in the Salafi environment). ''Why has the Tatarstan Muslim Spiritual Directorate been celebrating it on a large scale for several years already?'' our journalist asked Tatarstan Mufti Kamil Samigullin.
''The attitude to all processes is unclear,'' Hazrat Kamil replied. ''There will always be somebody who will express an opinion and be against. Prophet pointed out this day with special respect. He fasted every Monday. He was born on this day. Sahabahs (Editor's Note: Prophet's supporters) expressed their love for Prophet every day.''
Moreover, the head of the Tatarstan Muslim Spiritual Directorate paid attention that nowadays more young people pay attention to religions. In his opinion, the reason is simple – religious information is in the public domain.
''Now everything has changed. We see old and young people at mosques, and the generation between them, unfortunately, has been lost for us. They were educated in other conditions and look at things in another way,'' Samigullin complained.
Hafiz Quran from Turkey İshak Danış opened the event by reciting Quran. Chief Imam of Kul Sharif mosque Ilfar Khasanov was the presenter. The event was accompanied by official speeches and religious songs. The organisers were very careful about music, not to cause additional debates among the believers. Religious songs and nasheeds were performed without musical instruments and female voices.
Professor and Prophet Mohamed's descendant Sheikh Abdurazzaq al-Sa'di noted it was the first celebration of the birthday of Allah's messenger at the Bolgarian Academy.
''Our fraternity with Tatarstan began the era of the Sahabahs who came to Bolgar and Derbent, spread the religion and peace over the territory. The fraternity saved by our ancestors continues. Thank you for accepting our students to the academy,'' Deputy Mufti of Dagestan Akhmad Kakhayev delivered a speech.
At the end of Mawlid, Kamil Samigullin awarded winner of the Quran recitation contest Azat Khadiyev money prize who, in turn, recited part from the holy writing. And head judge of Tatarstan Jalil Fazlyev said prayers.