«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

Islam in Kazakhstan

5017
Islam in Kazakhstan
Islam in Kazakhstan: historical context

The history of our country for many centuries firmly linked to Islam.
Islam has become one of the main sources of the original spirituality and culture of the Kazakh people.
Ancient Turks, Kazakhs ancestors, were directly involved in the development of Islamic civilization and involved in many of its victories.

Dissemination of Muslim ideas on the territory of Central Asia and Kazakhstan land belongs to 7th-8th centuries BC. 
The first inhabitants of the region familiarity with Islam occurred even in 670-ies., when there appeared the first Arab missionaries.
At the beginning of the 8th century Central Asia is the development of missionary activity.
However, the final triumph of Islam occurred in the middle of the 8th century. In 751 the city Atlaha near Taraz the battle between the Arab warlord Ziyad ibn Salikh and the Chinese commander Gao Syanzhi began for many days. At the climax of the battle in the rear of the Chinese rose and went over to the Arab tribes of the Karluk. Chinese troops were completely defeated and left Zhetysu and East Turkestan. Victory had come under the green banner of Islam Arab army marked the beginning of the approval of the Prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islamic culture throughout the Central Asian region.
Spread of Islam in the territory of present-day Kazakhstan has been a process that lasted several centuries. Initially, the new religion spread to the southern regions. By the end of the tenth century Islam had been established among the sedentary population in Zhetysu and Syr Darya. At the beginning of 10th century Islam adopted the founder of the dynasty Karakhanids Satuq and his son Bogra-Khan Haroon Musa in 960 declared Islam the state religion.

History confirms that the Islamization of the region was peaceful.
The Great Silk Road was a fertile place for followers of many faiths, including Christianity (mainly Nestorian and yakovitstvo), Buddhism, Zoroastrianism.
Widely among the Turkic inhabitants of the steppe regions were distributed Tengriism.
The spread of Islam among local people went peacefully and did not lead to harassment and violence. Islam was voluntarily accepted by representatives of different classes and peoples. In literary works, the epic and historical documents have not been documented cases of hostile attitude towards Islam.
Activities of Arab preachers today can serve as a model of dedication people to faith through persuasion and good example.

The ideals of Islam in Central Asia were approved through good deeds. The indigenous population of the region has become an organic and integral part of the Muslim world. Adoption of Islamic values, played a major role in encouraging nations to the humanistic traditions of one of the world’s religions.
At the beginning of the 13th century spread of Islam in Kazakhstan has been slowed by the Mongol conquest, who brought in the Central Asia and Kazakhstan new groups — various Turkic and Mongol tribes, with their traditional religions. Many cities were destroyed, scientific and cultural centers were robbed, mosques and madrassas were destroyed.

Nevertheless, local cultural and spiritual traditions have been tested over time and recreate. Mongol invaders, converted to Islam and moved to the Turkic language. This led to the fact that during the Middle Ages religion of the Prophet Muhammad continued progress in the nomadic steppe, attracting new populations.
Position of Islam firmly established after the adoption of Islam by the Golden Horde under Khan Berke (1255–1266) and subsequent adoption of it by Tudemengu and Uzbeks khans. For example, under the rule of Khan Uzbek (1312–1342) in Saray the capital of Golden Horde 13 mosques were functioned.
Religion has become one of the tools that ensure the unity of society.
The targeted appeals to Islam among the nomads were conducted. Preachers went to the steppes of the Volga region and Central Asia, from different parts of the Muslim world.
Among the missionaries were many representatives of Sufi clerics. Orders of nakshbandyya and yasaviya enjoyed enormous power and influence on the public consciousness. Under the supervision of the Sufi communities were mosques, without their participation did not do public and private ceremony.
Feature of the spread of Islam among the nomadic tribes of Kazakhstan was the fact that the Muslim faith is easily adapted to national traditions and customs of the Kazakh people.
With the formation of the Kazakh nation in the 15th century, the introduction of Islam contributed to the strengthening of the supreme power of the khans and merge different Kazakh tribes into a single ethnic group.

Residents of the Kazakh Khanate followed to hanafit school of Sunni Islam, but in public and private life formed a synthesis of Islam with elements Tengrism and shamanism.
Kazakh statehood since its inception was based on Islamic law.Their commitment to Sharia claimed all Kazakh khans from Kerey and Janibek until recently all Kazakhs Khan Kenesary.
Sharia had a significant impact on the codes steppe state law adopted by Kasym Khan and Yesim Khan.
Significant step towards the introduction of Islam in public life and the practice of law has become a code of laws «Zheti Zhargy» approved by Tauke Khan.
Norms of administrative, criminal and civil law, enshrined in this document, largely relied on the provisions of Sharia. In particular, the laws «Zheti Zhargy» recognized by the state support of the Muslim religion. Proof of this are the following provisions: «blasphemers incrimination seven witnesses must be killed by stone…»; «If anyone will take the Christian faith, all his property will be belong to relative»; «Spiritual wills made in relatives and the mullahs».
Legislative approval was formed in Kazakh Khanate system of society in which the dominant position gained aristocratic class — ak-suyek standing outside the traditional division into zhuzes and childbirth. By elite caste treated Chingizids waged derived from descendants of Genghis Khan and Khwaja, who are considered descendants of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Selection in the «Zheti Zhargy» hodzhas as one of the leading estates indicates high social status of Islam.
Thus, the legal norms even more have been associated with the existing customary law in the desert — adat or adat is a synthesis of the Shari’a. There is no doubt that Islam sanctified many adat norms and traditions that are often difficult to identify a clear boundary between adat and Sharia. This can be traced in the rules «Zheti Zhargy».
In Kazakh society persisted mixing elements of Islam and ancient folk traditions. For example, Islam does not reject the ancient custom of matchmaking children — «Besik kuda».
Accordingly, this custom, when the degree of relationship becomes distant, stakeholders associated with new vows of their children, relatives. Islam showed good intentions and loyalty to this ancient custom, as a bride-price.
Thus, we can say that the strengthening of the position of the Muslim religion in the region occurred on the background of certain positions and conservation agreement with pagan beliefs.
There was a so-called religious syncretism, when adherence to Islamic doctrine was combined with preservation of religious practice in ancient pagan traditions remained noticeable influence of animism, shamanism and ancestor worship. From which it follows that in the desert has spread so-called folk Islam, which included the basics of pre-Islamic beliefs.
Accordingly, although there was a layer of all the recognized representatives of Islam in the face of imams, qadi, mullahs, mudarris and other institutionalized structure of the Muslim clergy were still underdeveloped.
In the 16th-17th centuries. the further spread of Islam in Kazakhstan contributed to intense economic and cultural ties with Central Asian nations Kazakhs and Volga Tatars.
Islam guides were missionaries from Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Khiva and Turkestan.
Islam in modern Kazakhstan
The experience of recent years shows that Islam is characterized by powerful creative potential, contributing to the maintenance and development of spirituality in society.
The peaceful nature of the Prophet Muhammad’s doctrine expressed in the rejection of violence as well as the rejection of racial and national intolerance, has a positive impact on the preservation and strengthening of stability in our country.
«For us, the Kazakhs, Islam is first and foremost a high ideal and the factor that determines our worldview, a kind of symbol, allowing to pay tribute to our ancestors and the rich Islamic culture, which once threatened complete oblivion» — writes the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in his book «The Critical Decade».

Humanistic and respectful ideals of Islam provided social development and the betterment of humanity. Progress and evolution of the world community to provide humanist aspirations set out in classic form in the Holy Quran. Therefore, the success of modern civilization, it is impossible to take into account outside of Islam.
Islam in independent Kazakhstan became an influential social force. Over the years the country has changed significantly the number of Muslim communities. If in 1991 there were only 68 at the beginning of the 2000s their number reached in 1652 and 2012 according to the number of Muslim communities has grown to 2229.
According to the census of 2009 the number of Muslims in Kazakhstan is 70.19%.
New mosques were built across the country. According to the results registrations of groups in 2012, the country had 2,228 Muslim places of worship.

March 22, 2005 in Astana with the participation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the mosque «Nur-Astana». «New Mosque — said at the ceremony, the head of state — will be a true spiritual and religious center of the young capital of Kazakhstan and its building, characterized much grace and beauty, more decorate architectural appearance of the city, giving it a special originality… After reviewing a place of worship guests will get a concrete idea of the city of Astana as the capital of the country, professing Islam — the greatest religion of modern time».

Mosque «Nur-Astana» became part of the Islamic Cultural Center, graced the left bank of the capital. Mosque at the same time can take up to five thousand worshipers. The majestic building is decorated with four tall minarets in the 62-meter and 21 dome covered with gold aluminum. The height of the main dome is equal to 43 meters.
In 2012, by the initiative of the President the country’s largest mosque «Hazrat Sultan was opened».
Cathedral Mosque is one of the most beautiful architectural buildings of the capital and represents the spiritual wealth of the Kazakhstan people. The largest mosque in Central Asia during the Muslim holidays can accommodate up to 10,000 people. «… Today, the Day of our capital, we discover this majestic mosque. It is symbolic that this date coincides with the sacred to all Muslims of Friday afternoon.
I heartily congratulate you on this bright event. Today Kazakhstan different faiths live in peace and harmony. In our country peacefully coexist mosques and Orthodox churches, churches and synagogues — all the result of our interfaith harmony and tolerance. Therefore, the opening of a new mosque „Hazrat Sultan“, which is the largest and most magnificent in the country is a feast for all the people of Kazakhstan.

New religious building, named in honor of the great teachers of Khoja Ahmed Yassawi is a visible symbol of the continuity of the spiritual traditions of our people. Not by chance, we chose to build a mosque is a place — the main area of the country, among other architectural gems of the capital, near the Palace of Peace and Accord. New Mosque „Hazrat Sultan“ is designed to be multifunctional spiritual, cultural and educational center of the Muslims of Kazakhstan. At the heart of every religion is a call to peace-loving and compassionate. Islam, like other religions of the world, is a religion of kindness and peace. I congratulate you on the day and express confidence that the mosque „Hazrat Sultan“ will serve to strengthen the spiritual values of our people»,- said the President.
Mosque’s project is designed in classic Islamic style using traditional Kazakh ornaments and decorative items. The building consists of three floors, the ground floor has a wedding hall and other ancillary facilities. On the second floor is the men’s prayer hall at 4000 people. The third floor includes a prayer hall female per thousand people. The total area of the building is more than 17 thousand square meters. The height of each of the four minarets — 77 meters. Height of the main dome is 51 meters, a diameter of 28 meters.
Location of the new mosque «Hazrat Sultan» next to the Palace of Peace and Accord, the Palace of Independence, a monument «Kazakh Eli» forms a single urban ensemble capital.
In Almaty, the Kazakh-acting Egyptian Islamic University «Nur-Mubarak». Each year in the country there are new madrassas. A growing number of believers, many of whom are young people. More people receive secondary and higher religious education. Increases the number of Kazakhs who make the pilgrimage to Mecca. In 2001, 228 people went to Hajj in 2003 — 360, in 2005 — 900, and in December 2007 went on a long journey is about 4,300 pilgrims.
Since 2006, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Kurban Ait declared a holiday in Kazakhstan.
It should be noted that Kazakhstan for a considerable period was almost completely cut off from other centers of Islam, which increased the importance of contacts with the Muslim countries in the establishment of appropriate spiritual climate. In particular, one such step was the inclusion of Kazakhstan in 1995 to Organization of «Islamic Conference» (OIC). From this period, our country has been actively involved in its multifaceted activities and events, strives to make a positive contribution to the strengthening of the role and importance of the OIC in the modern world.
Therefore, the active participation of Kazakhstan in the OIC and the positive image of the republic in the Muslim community has become one of the reasons for the unanimous support of the Muslim countries of Kazakhstan’s initiative and allowed our country to become chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in 2011.
In the preamble to the Act of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On religious activities and religious associations» highlights the historical role of Islam Sunni Hanafi mazhab in the development of culture and spiritual life of the people of Kazakhstan.
June 19, 2012 Republican, Islamic religious association «Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan» was registered. As its affiliates reregister 2,228 mosques throughout the country.
Statistics show that the largest religious community represented by Islam.
So, if on January 1, 2011, there were 2,811 Muslim religious communities by the end of 2012 the state re-submitted their number in 2,229.
Currently, Kazakhstan can be considered as a kind of political development sample for other Islamic countries.
Successful political reforms and achievements in the field of democratization and political system objectively distinguish our country among other countries of the Muslim community.
In contrast to the significant number of other Muslim countries Kazakhstan is developing towards democratization and the establishment of an open society that allows him to «lead» the process of political modernization.

Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan: history, mission and activities

Currently, the Muslim community of Kazakhstan headed Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan (SAMM). At the head of the Spiritual Administration is its leader — Mufti, so the SAMM also called muftiat. Under the leadership of the process of integration of the Muslim Board of the Islamic clergy and Muslim religious institutions. As an independent organization the SAMM took shape in 1990, even before the proclamation of independence of Kazakhstan. Since 1941, the Islamic community of the republic was part of the Spiritual Administration Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
The first leader of independent Muftiat became Ratbek Haji Nysanbayuly. In 2000, at the Congress of Muslims of the new Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan was elected Absattar Derbisali Haji, who has worked in this position for almost 13 years.

In early 2013, Astana hosted the Seventh Kurultay (Meeting) of Muslims of Kazakhstan, where according to the majority vote of the delegates was elected head of the SAMM Erzhan Mayamerov.
SAMM follows established Sunni Hanafi mazhab.

This legal system in Islam is distinguished by its tolerance. This feature allowed the Hanafi mazhab absorb folk rituals and beliefs of the local population.
Nowadays this tendency has become popular among Kazakhs, Uighurs, Uzbeks and Tatars living in Kazakhstan. Muslims living according to the rules set out in the Sunni Hanafi madhhab peacefully coexist with representatives of other denominations and branches of Islam.
As part of SAMM are departments in charge of Sharia and fatwas, Hajj, Mosque, the examination of religious literature, training, etc.

Currently, in all regions of Kazakhstan are about two and a half thousand Muslim religious communities, most of which is part of the SAMM.
SAMM is now essential structure uniting all Muslims in the country and organizing the activities of mosques and madrassas of our country.
During its existence, the SAMM newly restored and built dozens of mosques.
One of the truly unique historical architecture modern architecture was the construction of the main mosque of the country — Hazrat Sultan, which is today one of the largest mosque in Central Asia.
The mosque was built in the classic Islamic style using traditional Kazakh ornaments.
Located on the right bank of the Yesil mosque adjacent to the Palace of Peace and Accord and monument «Kazakh Eli».
The mosque can accommodate five thousand worshipers and holidays — up to 10 thousand people.
The total area of the mosque is more than 11 hectares, and the area of buildings is 17 700 square meters.
«Hazrat Sultan» has the largest dome in Kazakhstan 51 meters and a width of 28.1 meters.
During the years of independence, the country has established a medium-SAMM professional and primary Islamic schools — madrassas and mektebe, initiated and conducted more than a hundred scientific conferences and forums of national importance.
SAMM is actively address issues of training highly religious workers.
In Uralsk, Shymkent, in Shamalgane in Almaty region, Aktobe and Pavlodar were open madrassas, some of which have already made their first release of graduates.
In conclusion, it should again be stressed that the number of followers today the largest religion in Kazakhstan remains Islam.
For over a thousand years, Kazakhstan is considered part of the Islamic world, and the Sunni Hanafi madhhab — an integral part of the identity of its population.
An introduction to the culture of the Muslim East, gave a powerful impetus to the positive spiritual life, culture and science in our country.