Staunton, May 21 – Many people are amused that Muslims in the Middle Volga are celebrating for the third time the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam there. The community did so in 1989, again in 1999, and now, Rustam Batyr says. But the current celebration must promote the end of what he calls “religious mankurtism” among Muslims.
The first celebration at the end of Soviet times was of necessity too small, as was the second. But now the Muslim community has the opportunity to commemorate this event in an appropriate way and highlight the importance of local traditions within Islam, the Kazan Muslim commentator says (business-gazeta.ru/article/550756).
Such a stress is necessary, he says, because “unfortunately, among Muslims and especially among the young one often observes a phenomenon which can be designated as religious mankurtism. This is when Muslims despite the native tradition of Islam and national customs but elevate ot the skies alien adats, above all Arabic ones.”
Indeed, Batyr says, “one sometimes has the feeling that some Tatars consider themselves defective as far as religion is concerned and thus in need of foreign guardianship. Many young people who have accepted Islam in isolation from national traditions no longer see the deep wisdom I thiese traditions.
As a result, many are “increasingly degenerating into thoughtless epigones of someone else’s experience, down to the most minute of details,” he says. This must be stopped because it is contrary to the teachings of the Prophet who compared religion to a bird, one of whose wings is in this world and the other in the next.
Extending that analogy to Islam as a whole, the faithful must recognize that these two wings are what all Muslims share and what the Muslims of a particular time and place share. Neither wing can do without the other; because a bird with only one wing can’t fly, Batyr continues.
The current celebration of the 1100th anniversary gives the Muslims of the Middle Volga a chance to recognize that truth and to defend their own traditions against Arabic and Turkish missionaries who continue to try to insist otherwise.