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The article summarizes the research of various Islamic traditions coexisting within a single community, carried out from 2006 to 2010 in the village of Srednyaya Elyuzan in Penza Oblast. The research has allowed us to determine which factors drive the development of both the local Islamic tradition and a new, globalized version of Islam. The complex and diverse history of Islam’s development in Russia, as well as the controversial religious transformations that have been occurring over the past 20 years of the post-Soviet era, have created (and are continuing to create) a highly unique religious landscape. Applying the analysis of this phenomenon in Russia is complicated – not only because the variations of Islam differ greatly depending on the region, but also because the process of “reviving” Islam in post-Soviet realia has been challenging and multi-layered. Social plurality has led to the emergence of two new iterations of revived Islam: “old”, or traditional Islam, and “new” Islam. The Soviet period greatly uprooted the religious lifestyle in rural communities, barring religion from influencing secular institutions and structures. Nevertheless, Muslim norms, values, and practices were sustained and passed along in the family circles. Each of the two versions of Islam has its own propagators: the first version is spread by older imams, who studied in Central Asian madrasas back in the Soviet days, or are self-taught. The second version is spread by young imams, who have graduated from Russian madrasas and the Islamic universities of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The prolonged duration of our research has allowed us to observe the dynamics of “old” Islam coexisting with the “new” Islam in rural communities. Apparently, the two versions, which used to be opposed to one another, are gradually growing closer: the “young” imams are turning away from an Orthodox approach to Islamic norms, in favor of the heritage of Tatar theology; whereas the “old” imams are beginning to realize that they have shared interests and to discover Islam’s social mission. The evolution of rural Islam is very strongly impacted by the role of family, both in terms of passing religious practices from generation to generation, and in terms of the post-Soviet revival of Islam. The article also touches upon the different types of tradition that we have singled out, each with its own social roots: the “inert tradition”, the “constant tradition”, and the “outer tradition”.
Islam, Islamic globalization, tradition, innovation.
1. Gofman A. B. Ot kakogo nasledstva my otkazyvayemsya? Sotsiokul’turnyye traditsii i innovatsii v Rossii na rubezhe XX–XXI vekov [What inheritance do we renounce? Sociocultural traditions and innovations in Russia at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries]. Traditsii i innovatsii v sovremennoy Rossii. Sotsiologicheskiy analiz vzaimodeystviya i dinamiki. Moscow, Rossiyskaya politicheskaya entsiklopediya (ROSPEN), 2008 (in Russ.).