Islam government and the tsarist police for their own

Islam throughout Russian and spanish history

For hundreds of years, Russia has been one of the most
diverse countries of the western world, where Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully side by
side. Unlike other western
countries where Muslims are minorities, Muslims in Russia  are
more than 15% of the Russian population. Muslims in Russia have played a huge role in founding what
is known nowadays as the Russian civilization.

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During the fifteenth century, muslims fell under the ruling of the
Tsar Orthodox Christians. Throughout that time, muslims suffered and were treated unfairly. They were forced to convert to
Christianity and the ones who refused to follow such orders were looked upon as
peasants or laborers for the admiralty (Crews, 37). More than 400 mosques were destroyed
by churchmen and the government forbade the construction of mosques in villages
where Orthodox Christians lived.

The state of muslims changed
when Catherine the Great conquered the Crimea and the Caucasus. The coming of Catherine the Great
into power also played an important role on the pilgrimage and study of Islam. She was firm believer that the
Russian empire can benefit from the Religious authority, therefore, she reshaped the horizons of its
muslim subjects where muslims gained more recognition by the state and were not
only allowed to travel to learn more and gain knowledge about Islam, but they were also allowed to build
their own mosques and madrasas on Russian soil (Crews, 32). In order to gain their their loyalty, Catherine’s government advocated
Islamic laws such as those related to marriage and public morality. In order to reach stability, both, Muslims and the state came to the
conclusion that they would need to live in peace among each other and unionize. Therefore, the government politicized islam and
used it to run the empire while Muslims used the government and the tsarist police
for their own desires (crews, 34).

Fayz Khan, also known as Fayd KhÁn al-Kabuli, was one of the main reasons behind
the establishment and spread of Islam in Russia. During the eighteenth century, muslims travelled to Kabul from
Russian regions such as Volga and Kama River valley where they got the chance
to attend Islamic learning centers. “Through Fayz khan, they earned induction into the brotherhood that linked them to Shaykh
Sirhindi and the wider Islamic networks of the subcontinent” (Crews, 32). These scholars would then proceed to
travel back to Russia and spread their knowledge about what they have learned
about  the Islamic religion (Crews, 32).

To Russia, Islam has always been looked upon as
a threat. This is why Russia is always
exerting efforts in order to coexist with Muslims peacefully for the state’s
own political goals. The
Russian government believes that in order to maintain the state’s stability, they have to direct how Islam and
islamic traditions are interpreted. Russia also fears the rise of
Saudi-influenced radicals in the region, therefore the Russian Federation  forbids certain sects such as the Salafis and
all kind of Wahhabis (Crews). Islam in Russia is practiced like in many other Muslim countries, where Russian muslims nominate a
cleric to the head of the Muslim community in Russia who does not only act as a
religious leader but also acts as a political leader (Crews). Islamic architecture in Russia is
also found to be a lot similar to the Islamic architecture in major Muslim countries. Mosques in Russia have domes and
minarets and the interior is decorated with floral mosaics and  islamic inscriptions.

Simillar to the Islam in
Russia, a lot of muslims are found
in Spain, specifically in Iberia. As the Christian muslims conquered and
spread into Iberia, they ran into the problem on how to deal with the natives
that lived there for centuries, where the majority of them were found to be Muslims. The vast majority of the Muslim army
was made up of north Africans and arabs that invaded Al-Andalus during the
eighth century (Catlos, 497). During this period, the Christians focused on conquering as much territoitory of the Andalus
as possible, and in doing so they
expelled and enslaved a lot of the indigenous Muslims. “In areas, however, where the economy depended on craft
production, and labor-intensive agriculture –
and, particularly, on complex systems
of irrigation – there was a strong impetus to ensure that the Muslim
populations remained in place”(Catlos, 498). In order to maintain stability and
ensure that the Muslims wouldn’t turn against them, they made sure to stay on
good terms with the Muslim residents. Therefore, when it came to
taking over Muslim lands, the Christians
tended to negotiate with the Muslims rather than using force. “In exchange for loyalty and taxes, local Muslim
leaders would maintain their authority, whereas the inhabitants would be
guaranteed the right to follow their faith and laws, and would live under the security
of Christian princes” (Catlos, 498). By following these rules, with time Muslims developed a political authority
giving him the name sultan. The sultan has a religious and political
authority over the Muslim community he is in charge of. The transition of Islamic leadership to Christian
leadership was smooth and to a certain extent Muslims showed many degrees of
continuity. During the conquest, it was the Christians that had to adjust while
Muslims functioned and practiced Islam the same way they did previously
(Catlos, 499). There were also a lot of changes throughout
the transition period where the Christian government demanded Muslims to be
relocated and displaced out of walled towns.

Islamic beliefs are the same
throughout the Islamic community worldwide, where all Muslims believe that there exists only one god and that
Mohamed is the last prophet. Islam however is
practiced differently depending on the history of the area and how Muslims
conquered that location. Islam in Russia
for example is found to be more politicized more than in other countries.