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History of Islam in russia

14.01.2009 12:05

The Russian Federation covers a great territory stretching from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia. The history of its development from an unstable conglomeration of small Slavic principalities into great Eurasian power is closely connected to one of the largest Medieval states — the Mongol Empire. The Golden Horde, a part of the great empire of Genghis Khan, had covered the same territory as the Soviet Union did several centuries later. With the subsequent disintegration of the Golden Horde in the 15th century Moscow principality developed into a powerful state integrating all 10 of the Tatar successor states of the great empire of the Golden Horde.

The Russian Federation covers a great territory stretching from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia. The history of its development from an unstable conglomeration of small Slavic principalities into great Eurasian power is closely connected to one of the largest Medieval states — the Mongol Empire. The Golden Horde, a part of the great empire of Genghis Khan, had covered the same territory as the Soviet Union did several centuries later. With the subsequent disintegration of the Golden Horde in the 15th century Moscow principality developed into a powerful state integrating all 10 of the Tatar successor states of the great empire of the Golden Horde.

The first Muslims on the today Russia’s territory were Da¬ghestani people converted to Islam during the life of the third caliph of the Arab caliphate Usman. It happened in the region of Derbent that being the most northern point of the Sasanid Empire along with the Persian state was included into the Caliphate (in 653 A. D.). Derbent thus was the starting point for proliferation of Islam in the South of Daghestan.

The next stage of proliferation of Islam concerns the Khazar Kaganate, a large state spread from the Volga river to the Black sea (the middle of the 7th century – 965). Islam was one of the official religions of the Kaganate along with Judaism professed by ruling clique and in the Kaganate capital Itil there were Muslim residential areas with mosques and madrasah.

Islam entered the most territories of contemporary Russia amicably. It started with the official legation of the Abbasid caliphate in the Volga Bulgaria (the north of the Volga region) upon their invitation. In 922 in the presence of the Arab envoys the ruler of the Volga Bulgaria declared the acceptance of Islam.

Bulgars and their descendants — Tatars — were the ones to bring Islam through the centuries despite the persecution. At first Bulgars were attacked by the Mongols who invaded and destroyed the Volga state at the beginning of the 13th century. However the collective influence of Muslim nations including the Volga Bulgars, Khorezmi and some others in the Western part of the Mongol Empire later made the Mongol khans become the followers of Islam. In the early 14th century during the reign of one of the most powerful Golden Horde rulers Ozbek Khan Islam was declared official religion of this country. However all across the northern part of Eurasia it remained fairly tolerable to Orthodoxy. In fact Russian princes were free to constitute an Orthodox eparchy in the Golden Horde capital — the town of Saray (1263). Ever since the archbishop of this eparchy (now carrying a different name) is still the second significant person in Russian Orthodox Church.

In the 15th century the Golden Horde disintegrated into several independent states. Taking advantage of the confrontation between closely¬related Tatar sovereigns Moscow rulers launched a new political project called “The Third Rome” meaning that Constantinople overthrown by the Turks and Osmans succeeded the role of “the centre of the Universe” to Moscow. Using the conflicts between the Tatar Khanates to its merit Moscow one by one integrated the Kazan Khanate (in 1552), the Crimean Khanate (in 1556), the Nogay Khanate (the middle of 17th century), the Kasimov Khanate (in 1682) and finally in the midd