Moscow Declaration: in discussions about jihad not come to an end – Ahmet Yarlykapov

PRAGUE, June 21, 2012 – Caucasus Times. Yarlykapov Aminovich Ahmed, Ph.D., senior researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, anthropologist, Islamic scholar, interests: the peoples and cultures of Central Asia and the Caucasus, the modern ethno-political and ethno-confessional situation in the Caucasus, Islamic studies (nationalist and Islamist movements and conflicts in the Caucasus today.) Author of 50 publikatsiy.V 1995 graduated with honors from the Faculty of History at Rostov State University. In 1999, he defended at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology PhD thesis on "Islam in the Nogai steppe in the XX century (Historical and ethnographic research)." Detail the modern form of Islam in Central and North-Western Caucasus, and in the Stavropol Territory and Northern Dagestan. He is currently working on a study of modern Islamic movements in the North Caucasus, its relationship with the ethnic factor, as well as ethno-political situation in the region. He teaches at the universities: the Russian State Humanitarian University, Moscow State Linguistic University, Moscow Islamic University.

1) SM: The first in the history of Russia International Islamic theological conference in Moscow (25-26 May 2012) adopted a declaration on the prohibition of radicalism and extremism in the range of their manifestations and condemns the use of self-serving political purposes of the terms "jihad" (diligence on the path of Islam), "takfir" (an accusation of infidelity and out of Islam) and "caliphate" (historical and theological concept of the Islamic state). However, the Islamic Conference did not participate contentious Islamic branches in the North Caucasus – the Salafi (Wahhabi) and sufitskoy. How would you comment on the results and the format of this event?

AY: The dialogue between the Salafis and Sufis initiated now with serious support from the regional authorities in Dagestan. Recently, the exchange of statements and a number of important meetings, which showed serious rapprochement between the feuding still Islamic groups. At the same time, it is to account for the fact that the dialogue that brings to the surface the fact that it was known to the researchers. In particular, for all the tensions with the Salafis (or "Wahhabis" as Dagestani Sufis call them), the Sufis have always recognized them Muslims, and many Sufi leaders have even said that they will always be able to negotiate the Wahhabis. Time to negotiate, seemed timely.

The second thing to take into consideration is that the dialogue is a "political" wing of the Salafi movement. Intransigent leaders in this dialog does not get involved and do not recognize it. His tough stance on contemporary Sufis Dagestan and the North Caucasus, they are not going to change. Sufis themselves, too, can not suddenly give up all that has been done over the years of struggle against Wahhabism in the North Caucasus on their part. It follows inevitably limited capacity of the Salafi-Sufi dialogue. What are its limits – will know soon.

Well, if you say that the Salafi-Sufi dialogue did not take place at the Moscow conference – as the organizers did not set such a goal. The goal was the adoption of the declaration, which would deny the legitimacy of armed jihad in Russia, which was done.

2) SM: How in practice can be applied to the doctrine – "Moscow Theological Declaration" in different institutions of Russian society?

AY: The idea of ​​the conference organizers is clear – attract prominent world authorities in opposition to the ideas of radicalism and extremism. Conference reached this goal, and that is its undoubted achievement. At the same time we should not forget the historical context of the problem. Discussions about eligibility and ineligibility of armed jihad against Russia in the North Caucasus have not 20 years ago. These discussions were violently in the 19 – early 20th century, and even as many residents fought against the forces of the Russian Empire, and nations were moved abroad (Circassians), not all theologians spoke unequivocally of armed jihad. I’m not sure that now have to re-engage in these discussions. Most of the population in the North Caucasus understands that now carry armed jihad and groundless, and pointless. At the same time, in order to level conference held in Moscow were authoritative for Muslims, in one way or another involved in the practical discussion of the armed jihad and its competence in their work should involve not only the official Islamic leaders, but and informal authority. In addition, to be presented opinions of Muslim scholars living on the North Caucasus. In other words, the declaration must be the result of extensive discussions among reputable scholars with a wide participation of representatives of North Caucasian Muslims, both formal and informal.

The situation is complicated by the fact that in Islam there is no institution of the church, there is a recognized religious authority (the analog of the pope or patriarch), a failure to convene councils to address the important issues of the Islamic community. They are all crucial parts of absentee debate and discussion among prominent theologians. These are the realities and need to be kept in mind when assessing the various events. In this regard, it should be understood that the Moscow Theological Declaration is the opinion of those is definitely reputable scholars who have put their signatures under it. Those who advocate armed jihad in the North Caucasus, are based on the opinions of other scholars. Moscow declaration does not put an end to this debate, unfortunately, is the reality.

3) SM: In terms of Islamic anthropology, what future for the Muslim community in the North Caucasus, where Sunnis and Shiites have traditional beliefs for each branch, with consider themselves Muslims and radical Wahhabi, irreconcilable with any Islamic movements. And the future of the new socio-political context. Nskaya Muslims Ummah as a public institution has received substantial competent document to prevent conflicts of Islamic origin in Russia, – the declaration adopted at the international level. In your opinion, how effectively earn Moscow Theological Declaration in the volatile North Caucasus?

AJ: Islam anywhere in the world is not a monolith – it is always necessary to keep in mind. The fact that there is now in the North Caucasus – an Islamic mosaic, in a small area get on the followers of different currents, trends and doctrines. It is normal for a religion that has no church organization. On the one hand it can be understood as a problem, but this was the same and the power of Islam, this is its enormous adaptive capacity.

4) SM: Another Al-Ghazali, a Sufi theologian X1 century attempted in theory and in practice, to eliminate the contradiction between the Salafis and the fundamentalist followers of Sufism. It turns out that no paradigm of the Islamic world did not affect the religious beliefs of any of the parties so far?

AJ: Al-Ghazali’s really guilty of serious upheaval in Islam theologically proving the legitimacy of the Sufi approach to Islam. Since belonging to Sufi Muslims are not questioned, the Salafists issues arise only with respect to certain Sufi practices.

Salafis Sufis coexist with virtually the entire Islamic world – this is the reality. Somewhere is the coexistence of a conflict somewhere disputes are conducted only among scholars and leaders. Coexistence is not only possible, it is also vital to the world of Muslims in countries and territories where there are influential groups like the Salafis and Sufis. Recent experience of Dagestan said that dialogue and agreements are possible.

Well, if you consider the further development of the global Islamic community in the direction of the "mosaic", it seems that different groups of Muslims will have to develop mechanisms for peaceful coexistence.

5 ) SM: Where do you see the mission of Islam, the party of Allah in the current situation? What mistakes and failures of political control vector of Russia’s North Caucasus region from the federal government?

AJ : The Islamic community in the North Caucasus, as well as all of Russian society on the one hand, and as the whole world Islamic community is in deep crisis. In this sense, it should be recognized that what is happening in the Islamic sphere, not always be a model of peace and stability. Many of the problems associated with the global trend of Islam, many local crises, and many are also the problems of growth. Let us not forget that the re-Islamization of the region is in its active phase and is still far from complete. Also unclear, and the effect of these processes reislamizatsionnyh.

Errors federal and regional authorities can list a long time. The main problem was the wrong approach, including inherited from the Soviet era approach that Islam and Muslims were divided into traditional and non-traditional (in Soviet times it was the official and unofficial Islam). Absurdity of this approach is seen in the simple example: in the Soviet years the unofficial (and, hence, the persecuted) was Sufi Islam, and in the post-Soviet period it came to refer to the number of "traditional". Today we see a gradual shift away from this approach. I think it’s moving in the right direction: the state should deal with all the trends and tendencies in Islam, as long as they are working on creative purposes and within the legal framework.


Yarlykapov AA Nogai Steppe: ethnicity and religion today / / Ethnographic Review. 1998. Number 3. – P.89-98.
Yarlykapov AA The problem of Wahhabism in the North Caucasus / Studies in Applied and emergency ethnology. № 134. M., 2000.
Yarlykapov AA Religious beliefs / / Peoples of Dagestan. Moscow: Nauka, 2002. P.66-76.
Yarlykapov AA Islamic education in the North Caucasus in the past and present / / Bulletin of Eurasia. 2003. № 2 (21). – P.5-31.
Yarlykapov AA Muslims of Adygea: experience of ethnographic research / / Religious Studies. Number 1. 2005. P.23-37.
Yarlykapov AA The new Islamic movement in the North Caucasus: A View of the ethnographer / / Races and peoples: modern ethnic and racial issues. No. 31. M., 2006. 205-229.
Yarlykapov AA "Popular Islam" and the Muslim youth in Central and North-Western Caucasus / / Ethnographic Review. 2006. Number 2. P.59-74.
Yarlykapov A. Separatism and Islamic Extremism in the Ethnic Republics of the North Caucasus Russian analytical digest. Number 22, 5 June 2007. pp. 6-11.
Yarlykapov AA Oil and migration Nogai North / / Ethnographic Review. 2008. Number 3. P.78-81.
Yarlykapov AA Islam in Nogai steppe. Moscow: IEA, 2008.

Svetlana Mamii, special correspondent Caucasus Times. Moscow


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