Sunday 4 December 2022 \


Jadidies and Wahhabies - religious disputes in Dagestan in early 20th century

Some pages from Hafiz Haji hand-written manuscript

Hafiz-Hajji from Ukhli (Dagestan) on wahhabites and jadids

By Sh. Sh. Shikhaliyev, Institute for History, Archeology and Etnography of the Scientific Center of Dagestan, Russian Academy of Sciences, Makhachkala

The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate on the example of a peculiar source the religious disputes taking place in Dagestan in the beginning of the 20th century.

The source is an essay written in Arabic around the 1940s by a Dagestani theologist Abd al-Hafiz-Hajji al-Ukhli Omarov (1914-2000) from the village of Ukhli (Okhli) in Dagestan. The work is written with blue in a thick notebook. The whole essay is written on 26 sheets. The work is titled “al-Jawab al-sahih li-l-akh al-muslih” (“The Reliable Answers for a Righteous Brother”).

Before we start discussing the work itself, let me tell about the author.

Hafiz-Hajji Omarov is a son of a renowned Dagestani alim Umar from the Ukhli village. He received his primary religious education from his father. In 1921-1917 Hafiz-Hajji was attending an Islamic school in his native village. After the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the North Caucasus (further SBMNC) was established in 1944 he held different offices within this organization, including that of the chairman of the audit commision. 1957 he performed hajj to Mekka. During the 3rd session of the SBMNC in 1975 he was unanoniously elected as mufti and held this office until the next session in 1978 (1).  

Although the essay itself is not dated, some indirect evidence shows that it was written by the end of the 1940s (2). The manuscript contains besides the essay some reviews of it by Dagestani theologians holding offices in the Islamic Board. The manuscript is probably a copy because the essay itself and the reviews are written by the same hand.

The essay is dedicated to the criticism of the wahhabites and the jadids who “misguide Muslims” according to the author.  The work is written in the form of an instruction given by the author to his “brother in Islam Sakhratulla al-Ansalti (3)”.

The author uses a polemical form to indicate his position. He critisizes wahhabites and jadids from the point of view of his own commitment to taqlid and the Asharite theological school (4), which he assumes to be the only right one.

The essay can be divided into several parts.

In the first one, the author explains the reasons that induced him to write this work. Here he writes that in the Muslim world there are many different streams but the most harmful ones are that of the wahhabites and the jadids. Further the author briefly writes about the origin of the wahhabism and the role of its founder Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi.

The second chapter is dedicated to the jadidism, which the author holds for more dangerous than the wahhabism. In the same chapter the author tells about the Muslim reformers of the end of XIX-beginning of XX centuries: Jamaluddin Afghani, Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida in a very negative light. 

The third part is about those Dagestani Muslims who “sow the seed of delusion in our [the author’s] Dagestani land” and who were “more harmful and dangerous spreaders of infidelity and delusion” than the above mentioned Afghani, Abduh and Rida.  Among the Dagestani jadids, the author names a renowned encyclopedist Ali Kayayev, his own nephew Muhammad al-Umari al-Ukhli, Muhammad Abdurashid from Arakani village and Abu Muhammad Mas’ud from Mogokh village. 

In the next chapter Hafiz-Hajji makes a summary of the previous material and warns Sakhratulla from Ansalt and thus all Muslims about the threat of jadidism in Dagestan. Here he also shares his thoughts about the negative role of the wahhabites and jadids in Islam: “They are misguided and misguide the others, spreading impermissible innovations, discord and confusion among the true followers of Islam” (5). He cites the opinion of some Dagestani scolars who critisized the ideas of Ali Kayayev and his followers. Further he continues: “Surprisingly, these teachings have a considerable number of followers in many Muslim countries. Verily, shaytan inhaled into their hearts delusion... They help each other move away from the true religion. Some of them say they belong to a mazhab, but infact they do not belong to any” (6). In the end of this chapter the author addresses all Muslims and calls them to follow the way of Allah and His Prophet and beware of those who sow the seed of delusion and infidelity.

Finally the fifth part of the essay contains the reviews given by some Dagestani theologians. Some of them had been holding offices in the SBMNC for a long time. All reviews are positive. Some reviewers additionally wrote their own considerations regarding the activities of the Dagestani jadids. The reviews are indeed of a certain interest because their authors knew personally the Dagestani jadids mentioned in the work. They mentioned some new facts about the jadids presenting them in a negative light and praised the positive role of Hafiz-Hajji’s essay in preserving the true Islam. Among the reviewers are: Shamsuddin Abdulaev from Qadar village (Buynaksk district of Republic of Dagestan)(7), Tatam Karabudagov from Khalimbekaul village (Buynaksk District of Republic of Dagestan)(8), Abdurahman, son of Abdusalam from Chirkei village (Buynaksk district of Republic of Dagestan)(9), Surkhai from Ukhli village (Levashinski District of the Republic of Dagestan).

Below we cite a passage from our translation of Hafiz-Hajji’s work:

The reliable answers for a righteous brother

written by Abd al-Hafiz al-Ukhli for his brother Sakhratulla al-Ansalti

Praise to Allah who guided us on the right way to Islam. For without His guidence we would never have followed the right way. Allah made us followers of the Imams (10) of the right way. There is no power and strength except with Allah! Blessed and greeted be the Prophet of Allah (11), sent with the true religion to all people, blessed be his family and his companions who protected him from the low-minded foes.

I, a humble seeker [of knowledge] Abd al-Hafiz al-Ukhli, beg my Lord to save me from delusion. Our chaste brother Sakhratulla al-Ansalti, may Allah reward him in this life and the hereafter, asked me about the wicked people who appeared among us in these days. He asked: Are they from the misguided followers of wahhabism or of another wicked teaching? Or do they belong to the pious Islamic Umma?

I am no expert to judge on this. But I was inspired to write this work by my religious furvor when I saw how these people disparage the dignity of the great imams (12) of the highest rang. I felt myselft insulted by their disrespect [for the great imams].

When I saw how some of them diminish the great dignity of holy people I acted according to the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said: “If an [impermissible-transl.] novelty [e.g. bid’a-transl.] appears and [the scholar] remains silent, may Allah curse him, the angels and all human beings”... I trust in Allah the Allmighty that he makes me the one who gives the right response to them and refutes the teaching of these wicked people... So I wrote this short essay as edification for my rightious country-man and all dear brothers in Islam. I called it: “Reliable answers for a righteous brother”.

My humble hope is that I will not be forgtotten in my brothers’ prayers. Oh Allah, make this work a stronghold for all believers and ruin to all sowers of discord. Amen.

Beware, my beloved brother, that there are many dangerous sects in Islam. However I want to inform you of two misleading teachings who disunite Umma and sow discord among the Muslims.

The first one is that of the wahhabites. Wahhabism was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi, belonging to the mazhab of Taymiyya al-Hanbali al-Harati. This mazhab is none of the four main mazhabs.

A famous scholar Ahmad Zain Dakhlan says in his book “Khulasat al-Kalam” that Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi had critisized the mazhabs arguing that they are of no use and the four Imams are misguided and misguide others; sometimes he conceals his true opinion saying that the Imams are right and he followed the alims who adhered to one of the mazhabs.  Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi was saying that there is only one Sharia - the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet, but they (alims and imams) divide it into four mazhabs. I personally follow only the Quran and the Sunna. Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab was talking about his adherence to the mazhab of Imam Ahmad [e.g. hanbali-transl.], may God be pleased with him, but it was a lie. Many of his contemporaries, the followers of the Hanbali mazhab, argued with him and refuted his teaching in their works. Even his brother Sulayman bin Abd al-Wahhab wrote an essay critisizing the views of Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab. Once Sulayman bin Abd al-Wahhab asked his brother: “How many pillars of Islam are there?”  He answered: “Five”. Sulayman said: “But you made it six. The sixth pillar is to be your follower. He who does not follow you is not a Muslim.” If anyone wants to know the truth about him he should read books about Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab and find out the truth about this man.

The other teaching is the jadidism. It is also called al-hizb al-jadid. It has been founded by the most dangerous sower of discord Jalaluddin al-Afghani. This is the most harmful teaching for the followers of the true Islam and much more dangerous and confusing than the first one(13).

A renowned scientist sheikh Yusuf al-Nabhani(14) used to say when Jalaluddin al-Afghani tried to spread religious discord in Afghanistan he was banished by the ruler of Afghanistan... In 1286 AH Jalaluddin al-Afghani left for Egypt. He lived in al-Azhar University and studied there propagating his evil ideas.

Another big sower of discord is Muhammad Abduh. He dedicated his life to serving the shaytan and conducting matters contradicting with the true religion.

Yusuf al-Nabhani wrote about him:

  • He who used to misguide is misguiding.
  • He who used to tempt tempts.
  • Cursed are they and those who follow
  • And blessed is the one
  • Who fights against them.

The blessed Yusuf was telling that when the Egyptian government banished Muhammad Abduh he left for Syria and stayed there for several years spreading his wicked teaching among some ignorant and naive people in Islamic schools. He moved from town to town leaving everywhere his wicked legacy. Among the alims and the righteous of Egypt he defamed himself as a wicked man who has no fear of God. They protested against his embarassing acts which are not worthy of an alim and a Muslim.

Additionally Muhammad Abduh met other misguided Muslims, apostates, infidels, and Non-Muslims: Druses, Christians and heretics.  Thus he also got followers in Egypt...

Neither he nor his followers recognized the dignity of the distinguished alims - on the contrary, they called the rightious stupid and senile and ignored their dignity. The people from his environment were flattering him and made him believe he was a pearl of his era. At the same time they observed how he was missing prayers, not observing fasting and other pillars of Islam; additionally, he was drinking wine, living with a non-Muslim concubine and committing other major sins. He managed to convince them with the devil’s help to favor sins and heresies and to reprehend the rightious. That is why you shall not find anyone among his followers who would hold for obligatory to observe the daily prayers, who would be diligent in his worship of Allah and who would resist his sinful nafs. His followers call people to ijtihad(15). According to him, those Muslims, who do not propagate ijtihad are foolish simpletons. His followers admire wicked people and those who go astray, who do not follow Sharia and publicly express their approval of sinfulness, immorality and infidelity. They are strongly convinced that they are the rightious ones and the rest of Umma who follow the four mazhabs have gone astray...

The third big sower of discord is sheikh Rashid Rida al-Kalmuni, who exceeded the both previous ones, al-Afghani and Abduh, in spreading this wicked teaching.

Yusuf al-Nabhani said about him:

“With regard to Rashid, the publisher of al-Manar, verily, he is the least reasonable among them and the most dangerous.

He was the editor of al-Manar publishing house founded by Muhammad Abduh. This typography has been founded in order to spread infidelity, delusion and heresies among the Muslims. There they published many heretical essays and especially in a journal called al-Manar.

Yusuf al-Nabhani used to tell: “When I met Rashid Rida al-Qalmuni I discussed with him the activities of his sheikh Muhammad Abduh. I told him: “You see him as a role model for our religion and you invite people to follow him, but this is ridiculous. He does not observe his religious obligations which is wrong. Muslims know that he used to miss prayers without reason. Once a Muslim brother called us to go to the mountains of Lebanon and I was accompanying him. We were on our way from the time of the midday prayer until the beginning of the evening prayer. During this time, he has neither performed the midday prayer nor the afternoon prayer although he had no reason to miss them. I performed two prayers and he - none. When I asked him why he missed the prayers he replied that his teaching allows him to combine both prayers together. I was surprised by such response since according to the imams, to combine the midday and the afternoon prayers as well as the evening and the night prayer is allowed if one is travelling or sick. None of the imams ever suggested that the midday and the afternoon prayers can be combined with the evening and the night prayers. Once I said to Rashid Rida: “ If you could say that Muhammad Abduh is a philosopher of Islam of Ibn Sina’s or al-Farabi’s scope we would have agreed with you, even if this were wrong, because then it would neither harm us nor our religion. But no Muslim will accept that you call him an iman whereas he is such a wicked man who ignors even the basic tenets of Islam(16)!

Sheikh Rashid Rida replied: “We do not say he the one like Ibn Sina. We say he is the one like Imam al-Ghazali”. May Allah forgive him his mistakes and arrogance…

Every follower of this wicked teaching assumes himself a greater alim than Imam al-Ghazali and calls to the absolute ijtihad. Imam al-Ghazali has never admitted permissibility of the absolute ijtihad, on the contrary he clearly denied that absolute ijtihad might be used in his era. Fakhruddin al-Razi(17) had a similar opinion on the issue, as well as many other renowned imams. But look at these clueless ignorants! Each of them assumes that he reached the rang of the four Imams! This delusion grows bigger and bigger in their wicked souls... They claim to foster piety in our religion.

This is what I know about the Egyptians discussed above who befoul the world and mislead all servants of Allah...

I hope you are sattisfied with this and we don’t need to continue talking any longer about them...

Now I will tell about those who sow the seeds of confusion and immorality in Dagestan. They are even worse sinners and spreaders of discord and delusion than those Egyptians.

The first one is Ali bin Abd al-Hamid al-Ghumuki. He used to travel in the Egypt land during his studies. He also met Rashid Rida and was excited by his teaching. Rashid Rida sent him to Dagestan to spread his heretical teaching. Ali al-Ghumuki said that Allah had advised to follow only one Sharia and he is surprised by those who divide it into four [mazhabs]. He called to the absolute ijtihad wondering: “What do the alims of today know? They have no idea about the Holy Book of Allah neither about the Sunna of his Prophet. The have not extradicted anything new [from Quran and Sunna]...”

A prominent scholar of his time Najmuddin al-Hotsi al-Dagistani al-Jabali (18) has derided al-Ghumuki in his poem:

  • Leave Ahadith for those who understand this science,
  • The jungles are not for donkeys but for lions

An alim named Abdulla bin Shuayb afandi al-Bagini said: “Once we were visiting a small mosque in Makhachkala. I have not seen a person more wicked and shameless than him. Although he ignored his basic religious obligations and was calling to ijtihad. Ali al-Ghumuki was shaving his beard and moustache and wearing garments of infidels (al-kuffar), so the others were making mock of him... In the times of the old Russian governoment in [Temir-khan] Shura he published the newspaper “Jaridat Dagistan” in the Arabic language where he propagated his disgusting innovations. He has written an essay called “Islamic Sharia” which in fact should be called “Heretical Sharia”.

The second wicked Dagestani who dared to spread his confusing ideas in our motherland was my dear brother and the joy of my heart Muhammad al-Umari al-Ukhli (19).

You will never find a person who knew better than me how low he was fallen.

I have seen his sins and his virtues and his sins had overcome his virtues. He had more knowledge of bare facts than reason. Muhammad al-Umari al-Ukhli began his studies under the patronage of our pious alims. In the heyday of youth, as a student, he was known for his sharp wit and the broad scope of his knowledge. But unfortunately he met Ali al-Ghumuki. He had been contiminated with the seed of delusion and this seed grew into a tree of immorality. For he came back with the mission to spread this heresy in our land, among his naive students and started advertising his skillfulness and knowledge of ijtihad. But in fact he hardly acquired even an avarage knowledge of the Shafii mazhab, let alone the other mazhabs. His true nature can be expressed by the words of Yusuf Nabhani about the imam of heretics Muhammad Abduh:

  • There are myriads of clueless fools,
  • But a monkey who believes to be a raving beauty is the worst one.

Once I told him: “You know that two great imams Fakhruddin al-Razi and al-Ghazali followed the Shafii mazhab and possessed solid knowledge in the legal and rational sciences (an-naqliyya wa-l-aqliyya). You haven’t even reached the rang of their students so how can you claim to have the high rang to be capable of ijtihad?!

He had very bad relations with the scholars of the law and the great Sufis. He ordered us to burn their wise books saying that we didn’t need them anymore: ”It is enough for us to learn only the Arabic language, in order to understand the word of Allah and the Sunna of his Prophet. This is all we need,” - he was saying. Once in the days of our youth I happenned to meet him alone in an Islamic school. He took the book “Nuzhat al-Majalis” by sheikh Abdurrahman al-Sughuri al-Shafii and threw it into fire. I wanted to stop him with all my heart but I couldn’t due to my fear of him...

His knowledge in Sharia has not exceeded that of a pious old woman... Once when Muhammad al-Umari came to me I was looking through the chapter dedicated to praying while on travel of the Book “Tuhfat” by Ibn Hajar. Some passages of this book were not clear for me and I asked him to explain them for me. He took the book, read it for more than an hour and could not come with any reply because he had no idea about fiqh...

Sometimes he was saying: “I live only according to the Quran and Sunna”, and sometimes he issued fatwas (legal opinions) without using even these essential sources. He brought a man and a woman together without nikah and divorced them without talaq. His position regarding this issue was contradicting the opinion of the fuqaha (Muslim jurist) who wrote: “If you pronounce talaq [the formula of repudiation] three times at a spot the divorce is valid”. That is, he was taking his decisions considering even numeral talaqs pronounced at the same spot for only one talaq formula [which does not validate the divorce]...

According to Muhammad al-Umari’s opinion the ayas about the Great Flood in the Quran were not true.  He argued that the ayah revealed about the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) is wrong because the natural sciences deny the possibility of such a long life [as the one of Noah]. Look at what he said in his poem:

  • Verily, in firdaus those like us shall eternity spent,
  • Those not with us in the fire of hell shall repent.

Truly, the scarcity of his mind is showing the fact that he reprimanded me for my respect for the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, for he said: “A Prophet has no virtue of his own except that he has been sent a revelation by God”.

Once I told him: “I see that you miss prayers and other religious obligations. Are you sure that prayers can be ignored?” He replied: “Allah may keep you away from such ideas... Really, fasting, prayers, zakat and hajj are compulsory. This is also my opinion regarding all the other religious obligations. But I miss prayers due to my fear of prosecution by the government... I hope that Allah will forgive my sins, failures and negligence”. I said: “I’ve never heard that the Soviet Government forbids to perform one’s religious obligations. It does not punish anybody for following one’s religious norms without the excessive necessity. If it were otherwise we would not have a single pious Muslim in our society. All this is a delusion and your fantasy, which has nothing to do with reality...”

The third spreader of these evil heresies is this wicked man Muhammad Abdurrashid al-Harakani. He was neither of kind nature nor of great intelligence... But he was so full of all evil traits that there is not enough space here to describe his wickedness.

During his studies he met Muhammad al-Umari. al-Umari inspired him with his evil thoughts and iblis took over control over his mind... The two men became bound together through the sinews of their delusion. Despite his ignorance he was calling to ijtihad. Al-Harakani used to visit Muhammad al-Umari, when we were al-Umari’s students. We have seen al-Harakani’s arrognance. He was talking in a manner as if he were a mujtahid, in fact he did not even know Arabic grammar: Muhammad al-Umari said when he was correcting Harakani’s poems: “I am afraid that our Sufis or even students may happen to run across this [so they will make a mock out of him]”.  Calling to ijtihad he nevertheless has never learned a single sura, nor read a single page with Ahadith, he had no idea about fiqh.

The fourth spreader of heresy in Dagestan is Abu Masud al-Muhuhi. I haven’t known him as well as the first three ones. I heard he studied poetry with a famous alim Nadjm ad-Din al-Hotsi al-Awari and achieved a certain success. Afterwards he studied Sharia and worked as qadi in some villages. Unfortunately he met these three wicked men who said: “Are you satisfied with your dwelling as a captive in the dungeon of taqlid whereas you could elevate yourself to a higher rang by performing ijtihad!” He agreed with this and began spreading this heresies in Dagestan. His naive followers and he himself believed that he reached the high rang of the great imams-mujtahids. He wrote an essay “Burning barriers on the way to ijtihad”...

Beware, dear brother, that all the above-mentioned imams are heretics of the jadidism teaching. Each of them had disciples who spread wickedness and delusion, hiding under the guise of [pious] Muslims.

Oh brother, beware of such ignorant heretics, do not trust them even if they appear in great numbers... They are ignorant in what they teach: they insist that to be fluent in Arabic is enough to understand the Quran and Sunna; they say that to issue legal recommendations according to Sharia it is enough to go by the Quran and Sunna; they do not give the due importance to studying grammar and rhetoric, not to mention fiqh. [their attribute is] - disrespect to the Book of Allah the Almighty, as they do not even perform the ritual ablution before reading it. Strangely, they say they follow only Quran and Sunna but they ignore the basic religious obligations prescribed there like the prayer and the fast. Additionaly in their schools they foster such terrible behavior which would horrify any pious Muslim. They slander the names of the holy people and pious sheikhs with filthy words. They deride zikr and the other religious practices of Sufi sheikhs. They do not show the due respect to the great experts of Sharia and fiqh. They claim to be equals of those great scholars. They boast with their scarce knowledge of the Arabic comparing it with the deep knowledge of the distinguished imams. They do not care that even such distinguished and wise alims like Fakhruddin ar-Razi and imam al-Ghazali who have greatly benefited the whole Muslim world have not assumed themeselves of the same rang of the imams-founders of the mazhabs and followed the mazhab of imam ash-Shafii... Look at these two great scholars and at our ignorant countrymen!

It surprising that they have followers in many Muslim countries. The devil has inhaled this delusion into their hearts! They are connected through a network and help their followers to lose the true religion. They claim to be followers of a mazhab whereas they are not. They are like a flock without a sheepherd. They miss prayers and other religous obligations and drown in the abyss of their wickedness and sins.

Oh brothers, hold on fast to Allah and stay together! Follow the people of Sunna and the way shown by the four Imams! That group of people [that I told about] is lead by shaytan to destroy the Umma. People like them can be found in every Muslim community. They are hiding behind the guise of Muslims, and many alims all around become attracted to their speeches... In the future you will see the wickedness of their teaching.

Praise to Allah for warning us about the danger of following these wicked people. Blessed and greeted be the Prophet of Allah, his family and his companions.

This is written by me, a humble seeker of knowledge, Abd al-Hafiz al-Ukhli.

Thus, the text gives us a clue about the polemic essays of the Dagestani alims, their response to the renewal movements of the beginning of the 20th century which spread in the Muslim Orient, as well as in the Volga region and Crimea and finally in the Northern Caucasus. It was during that period that in Dagestan appeared alims who brought with them the ideas of the renewal of the existing system of the Islamic education in Dagestan and Islam in general. The paper “Jaridat Dagistan” and the journal “Bayan al-haqaiq”, both in Arabic, which were officially published in Dagestan in the pre-Soviet as well as in the early Soviet periods often featured lots of articles of such polemic kind. It is quite natural, new ideas were sharply critisized by the local Sufi establishment.

When speaking about jadidism one should mention some peculiaritues of its development in Dagestan. The thing is that, many of the Islamic spiritual leaders of the new stream, particulary Abu Sufyan Akayev, Muhammad Mirza Mavraev, Jamaluddin Karabudakhkentskiy, Muhammad-qadi Dibirov, Hassan Alqadari, Saifulla-qadi Bashlarov etc., have raised the question of reforms in the Islamic education and to add to its curriculum secular subjects. Some of them even published textbooks and religious literature in the local languages. At the same time these same scholars were followers of taqlid, e.g. of the mazhabs.

Although one could read in the papers their (Abu Sufyan Akaev’s in particular) critical articles about some Sufi sheikhs, but this was not criticism of Sufism in general, it refered more to the activities of some fake sheikhs. A similar critic one could hear from the sheikhs. In particular, Saifulla-qadi Bashlarov, a sheikh of the Naqshbandi and of the Shazili tariqat, instructed his murid [disciple]: “Beware, oh brother, there are many murids in our time. Those who claim to be sheikhs are even more numerous. Do not interact with the majority of the sheikhs of our era and their murids... I have travelled in many countries and seen many slaves [of Allah] and have not seen anybody more wicked and more distant from Allah then those who claimed to be great Sufis.

They assume that the nature of their soul is perfect and show it. At the same time, they do not believe in Allah, in His Prophet and in the Last Day. They do not abide by Sharia. I have seen plenty of such in Dagestan. They claimed to be sheikhs not following a righious sheikh. Some of them claim that they got a permission [to teach murids] from a soul of a sheikh or even in their dream. This is nothing but their imagination... They have no other care than the worldly pleasure... Protect your sight from looking at [such] sheikhs, their murids and avoid being in their company. For I swear by Allah - it will be an obvious mistake [to do this]. To meet shaytan is less dangerous then to meet them...(20).

In particular among these sheikhs the author mentions the activities of the above-mentioned jadids: Ali Kayayev, Muhammad Ohlinskiy, Abdurashid Arakanskiy and Masud from Mogokh. Interestingly the position of the above-mentioned persons in the questions of educations is not described in the essay. Some of them - Ali Kayayev and Masud from Mogokh, have expressed their opinions regarding taqleed, ijtihad, reforms of the Islamic education, some issues of Sharia etc., which were different with the majority of alims in Dagestan.

To sum up the article, one should take a notice of some peculiarities: The essay of a polemic genre itself is nothing new in the religious literature of Dagestan. The author shows himself clearly as a follower of taqlid, Ashari kalam and Sufism; criticizes sharply the representatives of jadidism in Dagestan, although his critic does not concern the reform of the Islamic education. At the same time, his pro-Sufi position fundamentally contradicts the Soviet anti-Sufi politics. Taking to account that the author wrote his essay when he was working in SBMNC, which conducted anti-Sufi politics, he nevertheless expressed his pro-Sufi position. In either case it seems right to say, that the essay has not been dictated by the SBMNC officials whose activities were coordinated by the strict Soviet anti-Sufi politics.


Author : Sh. Sh. Shikhaliyev,

Institute for History, Archeology and Etnography of the Scientific Center of Dagestan, Russian Academy of Sciences, Makhachkala


1) Сулаев И.Х. «Общественно полезная деятельность Духовного управления мусульман Северного Кавказа хорошо известна уполномоченному совета…» [Sulayev I.Kh. “Community services of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of North Caucasus are well know to the commissioner of the council...”]. Documents of the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the Central State Archive on the relations of the state institutions and Islam in the 2nd half of the 20th century // Отечественные архивы [National archives]  M.[Moscow], 2006, No 2., p. 86

2)  Фонд уполномоченного по делам религиозных культов СМ ДАССР / ЦГА РД. [Fond of the commissioner for the religious affairs of the Council of the Ministers of the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic / Central State Archive of the Republic of Dagestan] [for reference in the archives:] Ф. р-1234, оп. 4, folder 7, sheet 127.

3) Мирзоев Сахратулла [Mirzoyev Sakhratulla] (1892-?) - qadi of the Botlikh Society from 1945, had primary secular and high religious education; in 1920-1930 worked as imam in a moscue of the Botlikhski district.

4) al-Ashariya - the name of one of the main schools of speculative theology (kalam). For more information see: Ибрагим Т.К., Сагадеев А.С. ал-Ашарийа // Ислам [Ibragim T.K., Sagadeyev A.S. al-Ashariya // Islam] Энциклопедический словарь [Encyclopedic dictionary] M. [Moscow], 1991 p. 32-33

5) Abd al-Hafiz al-Uhli. al-Jawab as-sahih li-l-akh al-muslih. Sheet 14.

6) ibid

7) During a long time period he was working in SBMNC, for a certain time as the deputy chariman of SBMNC (he died 1983 or 1984).

8) He was a member of SBMNC in 1947. According to his review in the end of the discussed essay, he was a qadi in SBMNC (died in 1970s).

9) He was a deputy mufti in SBMNC in the 1950s. Died in the end of 1950s-beginning of 1960s. 

10) The author means the founders of the four main Islamic schools of Law - mazhabs: Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Shafii and Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with them.

11) Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

12) e.g. the four imams - founders of the main Sunni mazhabs.

13) e.g. wahhabism

14) Yusuf al-Nabhani (1265-1350 AH / 1848-’49 - 1932 AC), a Lebanese scholar, one of the opponents of Ibn Taymiyya. He graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo.  For a long time worked in Mekka and Medina; he wrote more than 50 books.

15) Ijtihad - the right to make one’s own decision on important religious and social issues, based on the sources of the Islamic Law (Quran, Sunna, qiyas (analogy), ijma (common opinion of established Muslim scholars etc.)

16) Imam - here, probably, a founder of a religious teaching.

Fakhruddin al-Razi (544-606 AH / 1150-1210 AC) - a renowned scholar in Islam, author of many essays, including “Mafatih al-ghayb”.

18)  Renowned Islamic scholar and statesman Najmuddin Gotsinskiy (died in 1925).

19) Muhammad Umari al-Ukhli was a nephew of Hafiz-Hajji, although he was older than the latter. Hafiz-Hajji was his student for some time.

20) Saifulla al-Nitsubkri “Maktubat Khalid Saifulla ila fuqara’ ahl Allah” Damascus, 1998. p. 20-21


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