ISLAM IN POLYCONFESSIONAL DAGHESTAN
Asiat Buttaeva, Ph.D. (Philos.), Assistant Professor, State Institute of National Economy (Makhachkala, Russia)
The Republic of Daghestan is the largest of the North Caucasian republics in terms of territory (50.3 thousand sq km) and population size (2.1 million). It borders on five states in the south of Russia: Azerbaijan and Georgia on land and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran across the Caspian. It has administrative borders with the Stavropol Territory, Kalmykia, and Chechnia. The incredible confessional and ethnic diversity of Daghestan is also a result of its very specific history and no less specific geographic location.
There are 2,451 religious units in the republic: 2,396 of them are Muslim; 50 Christian; and 5 Judaic. The Christian communities are Orthodox (19 in all), Old Believer (1), Armenian (2), and Protestant (28, 6 of which are Seventh Day Adventists; 5 are Pentecostals; 5 are Baptists of the Union of the Evangelical Baptist Christians of Russia; 5 are Baptists of the Council of the Churches of the Evangelical Christian Baptists of Russia; 1 is Good Tidings Evangelicals; and 6 are Jehovah’s Witnesses). The majority of the republic’s population are Muslims; the structural diversity of Islam, the predominant religion, is present in all spheres of social life.
Standard Islam, which has accumulated all types of knowledge about the Muslim religion and is dealing with all sorts of questions related to the sphere of religious consciousness at the level of religious reflection, has acquired a very specific regional form. It is a result of its interconnection with a spiritual substructure of national cultures and is based on the polyethnic nature of the Caucasian Muslims and the fact that they belong to different Islamic schools intimately intertwined with local traditions and customs.
In the past, Soviet ideology, which promoted the idea of the world as a global society with its members devoid of national identity, allowed the government to coordinate and harmonize, to a certain extent, the interests of the Soviet ethnicities. The death of the Soviet Union buried the ideology of interethnic relations stemming from the principles of multisided fraternal cooperation and mutual assistance (the ideology of communist internationalism). Today, the post-Soviet polyethnic society has no regulator of any sort; this has become especially obvious in the Muslim regions, in the North Caucasian republics where Islam has become much more active than before. Islam’s unifying and regulatory role is easily explained by the fact that it does not divide people into ethnic groups.
Indeed, after losing their old ideals and finding themselves in a hostile and incomprehensible environment people are looking for a way out of their disagreement with the world and religion provides them with all answers. They can either live in peace with the world around them or oppose it: this reveals the axiological value of the object rather than its properties. At all times, people have turned to religion in search of answers to the questions about the meaning of……………..