Invite to Islam and let your words work (Interview with Ali Polosin)
Polosin Ali Vyacheslav is an eminent representative of the Muslim community in Russia.
He was born in Moscow in 1956. In 1978 he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University, in 1984 from Moscow Ecclesiastical Seminary, and in 1993 from the MFA Diplomatic academy of the Russian Federation. He was a Russian Orthodox priest after1983 (after 1991 he was out of staff). He is a Candidate of Political Sciences. Ali Vyacheslav Polosin defended his PhD dissertation topic ‘The Russian Orthodox Church and the State in the USSR, 1971-1991. International Legal and Political Aspects.’ in 1993 in the MFA Diplomatic academy of the Russian Federation.
From 1990 to 1993 he was people’s deputy of Russia, Chairman of the Liberty of Conscience Committee of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation; he was a co-author of the law on the Freedom of Religion adopted in 1990. Before 1999 he was Chairman of the Council of Christian Organizations, a Russian public organization. He also headed the Committee on relationships with public associations and religious organizations of State Duma.
In May, 1999, he announced his decision to become Muslim.
– You are one of the most prominent specialists calling to Islam the increasingly atheistic population of our country. What for do you think an atheist needs Islam, and why does he come into it?
– ‘What for’ is not quite correct. If a person feels an inner need to understand oneself, if they realize their self-insufficiency and conclude that there should be, besides them, something Self-sufficient, which dominates every thing relative, then they come to the concept of the One Creator. Actually the word ‘atheist’ is vague, it means only that by now the person hasn’t found the truth in the familiar religions, and they absolutized their skepticism.
But tomorrow everything can change. The absence of Allah is not a fact either, it’s also just a person’s belief or opinion. There can’t be rational proof of His existence, because the Creator wanted to test our faith. If there was rational proof, everyone would come to the idea of Allah mathematically and declare themselves believers. Yet they wouldn’t have humbled their pride, worshiping not Him, but their Nafs (ego). It would be sheer hypocrisy.
– A follow-up on the previous question - how and why is atheism harmful for a modern person in all aspects of his life?
– Atheism is skepticism, agnosticism, disbelief in the knowable world. Unbelieving in the existence of Self-sufficient Judge above breeds permissiveness either of the Raskolnikov type from ‘Crime and Punishment’, or the hedonist type of all sorts, for whom pleasure ‘here and now’ is the only value in life gained at any cost.
– What are the ways to fight this phenomenon, and how to promote spirituality in the modern world?
– All modern legal ways without violating the principle of human free will.
– Our time is that of globalization ... Do you think it is useful for Islam and its propagation?
– If you use it wisely, it can be useful.
– There is a problem with Christian organizations appealing to ethnic Muslims. What should we do in this case?
– Let your words work. For this purpose I wrote ‘The Gospel through the eyes of a Moslem’ and ‘Encyclopedia of Islamic Apologetics’.
– I’d also like to ask you about the cultural aspect of the conversion to Islam among traditionally non-Islamic peoples. Does that in your opinion involve crushing their traditional culture and traditions? After the baptism of Russia, for example, the previous culture was smitten – it’s a well-known fact. What will happen in case of Islamisation?
– Islam is tolerant of national cultures, which is reflected in the existence within every Muslim nation of their own Adat, custom. Islam has never called for rooting this out, except, perhaps, pseudo-Islam Wahhabi sect, successors of Kharijites.
Therefore, after many nations were converted to Islam, we didn’t see anything like Russia during the reforms of Prince Vladimir. Unfortunately, after several centuries of stagnation Muslim nations decided to freeze their status as ‘Islamic’ and accept the Shariah and Sunna has Arab national Adat. Therefore, representatives of other nations, for example, a Russian convert to Islam, are forced into other peoples’ Adat to get assimilated among them. Nothing is more unnatural and anti-Islamic!
It was recently reported that the native Vikings in Norway, converts to Islam, manage to reconcile their folk traditions with Islam, which makes them different from immigrant Arabs. The latter, probably, as it is in Russia, tell them: “You split the Ummah”. And Norwegian Muslims give them a Nordic composed reply: ”If you have come to Norway, you are our guests here. So live here by our Adat, and if we come to your country, we'll live by yours!”
Russian Muslims should develop their own Adat. After all, the families of Russian Muslims have children, their number is growing. They are becoming ‘ethnic Russian Muslims’, and they have to live expressing the laws of Islam in their Adat language.
– What do you think about the prospects of Islam for solving global modern problems – such as the decline of family, demographic indicators drop, homosexuality, drug addiction, etc.?
– This may happen after the united worldwide Muslim elite appears, which, as a single entity, will be able to formulate principles for resolving these problems. However, separate countries can form their local elites, not nose-led by theologians who play to the ‘street’.
– Then here’s a question to continue the topic. If the elites do not follow the theologians, who should lead the elite, define their goals? And what about the Islamic teachings, where to take them, if not from theologians?
– In religion, unlike science, the true knowledge of Allah is communicated only by word of mouth - from a teacher who has spiritual authority among believers, to his disciple, from the latter to his disciple, etc. Thus were conveyed the sayings and the deeds of the Prophet (PBUH). If at least one link person was a heretic, the chain collapsed, the knowledge was considered unreliable. No one had the right to cancel this principle, even after the publication of written collections by Muhaddises. The true knowledge of Hadith passed from Abu Hanifa to his disciple, etc.
Anyone who doesn’t have Silsilah (the chain of succession) is an imposter, and therefore can’t by definition have any knowledge from Allah, regarded as accurate. They have only facts. The principle of parliamentary majority (‘Ijma’) introduced in the Middle Ages by Neokharijites to establish the meaning of Hadith is by definition non-religious and based on the sin of letter-worship, when the lifeless letters of Hadith are elevated to Allah’s sharik (companion).
The teachers who have Silsilah should be the foundation of the Muslim elite. Actually, they already are, but the majority go to the wrought-up demagogues in the street or to the ‘scientists’, who determine the Truth of Allah by 50% + 1 vote.
– Do you think there are such teachers now? Clearly such were the four imams - the founders of madh'habs, as well as some other teachers of the past. But can you cite a currant example?
– Yes, there are, and they have their Silsilah. If the communication chain of the true knowledge from the Prophet (PBUH) to Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others managed to survive during 2-3 centuries, why are you so pessimistic about the preservation of the chain in the future?
– How to identify and search for these chains of true knowledge, in such a historically controversial country as Russia?
– It is easy. There is plenty of written evidence, including the Soviet period.
– What’s your attitude to such Islamic phenomenon as Sufism? Do you consider it’s possible that future Muslim elite will be based on it? What can you say about the widespread criticism of Sufism, mainly by the ‘Salafites’?
– Sufism, or more exactly Tariqa, is just the second floor of Islam, where the first one is the Shariah. Without the first floor there can’t be the second. But whoever wants a deeper insight into the religion, desires to live by it, must, in addition to fard (religious duty), obtain more accurate knowledge of Allah, the way the Prophet (PBUH) worded it. Thus, the real Tariqa is the living Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) in action.
The development of the elite is under way. For example, a Scotsman Ian Dallas accepted Islam, became a Sufi named Abdalqadir as-Sufi, created the Murabitun society, which actively promotes the establishment of Muslim identity across the globe. Turkish Prime Minister, on his visit to Spain, chose to meet there Murabitun as the representatives of the local Muslim community. The Shaykh initiated the “gold dinar” idea, already picked up and implemented in Malaysia.
The ‘Salafites’ who reject the living Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and left paper-written Hadith at the mercy of the parliamentary majority and just guess-based interpretation, do not like the Tariqa people, because in their presence they feel deprived of the reliable knowledge.
– What can you say about the so called Wahhabis or Salafites–very popular trends in Islam today? In your opinion, do they play a positive or negative role in the development of the Ummah? And what are their major mistakes, if any?
– I’m not authorized by the Shariah Court to judge whole communities and individuals, and therefore talk only on the published ideas, not people. ‘Salafi’ ideas stem from conjecturing the meaning of Hadith and even the Ayaat of Qur'an, and further adopting these conjectures by parliamentary majority. I think these ideas are non-religious.
I think, it is a renewed pagan practice – to grant a ‘democratically elected’ Emir the power beyond the authority of the righteous caliphs and the Prophet (PBUH), allowing, for example, like Catholics, to ‘excommunicate Muslims from Islam’ (use Takfir against them). These emirs are no different from the magi priests, who present themselves as mediators between Allah and man.
There are no mediators like these in Tariqa, because everyone is entirely free to join or leave the Shaykh. So no one can say that the person who left ceased to be a Muslim or violated any Islam Fard. This is the fundamental difference.
–And finally, the last question. Many members of traditionally non-Muslim nations are held back from accepting Islam for the fear of negativity from their environment, especially the family. How to explain your right choice to your dearest ones?
– As gently as you can, trying to avoid any confrontation. Point out that the adoption of Islam makes you love your family more. Almost all of us went through this.
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