In the Middle Ages the empire of the Tatars was one of the largest in the world. Initially, these were scattered tribes, incapable of even self-organization. But the introduction of a single religion made it possible to unite different leaders and create a powerful state, which the whole Europe was afraid of. What kind of religion the Tatars profess, not everyone knows.
Who are Tatars?
A large and colorful people living from central Europe to the Far East of Russia are called Tatars. The origin of this ethnos still causes controversy in the circles of scientists. Some believe that the Tatars are the descendants of the Mongols who assimilated with the less numerous peoples of Siberia. Others argue that the main distinguishing feature of this ethnos is the Turkic language. But there are also such facts, disagreements on which do not exist. What kind of religion did the Tatars have, the Russian people knew since the thirteenth century.
Impressed by the wonders of Arab countries, Khan Uzbek forcibly introduced Islam. Such an act consolidated the nation, but not in the way that the ruler would have liked. Many Tatars did not accept a new faith. Initially, discontent was not manifested at the global level, but a series of unsuccessful battles, a weakening of the state and a low economic level of development led to the fact that many tribes began to migrate to Russia.
Origins of religion
One of them, Almysh, asked Baghdad to organize the construction of mosques and send preachers. His request was fulfilled. Nevertheless, pagan roots in some places made themselves known, Allah was called by the name of another god - Tengri.
Animism (that is, belief in the existence of spirits and souls) was still close to the population. It was clearly traced in shamanic rituals. And Tengri was the main heavenly deity, the creator of plants and the conqueror of thunder.
But it was Islam that became a significant step in raising to the highest level of civilization. In 1241, the state was captured by the Mongols and became part of the Golden Horde. Genghis Khan was the first to call the population of Buryatia and the Turkic-speaking troops just one word - "Tatars". The religion of Islam was then a stranger to the Mongols, and the already mentioned Uzbek forcibly made Muslims out of Christians.
Followers of the Prophet
The founder of this religion was Muhammad. This simple man lived in the city of Mecca and for a long time worked as a merchant. The man received visions, and in 615 decided to preach publicly. Together with the fans there were also pursuers. After his death, Islam split into two lines. This was due to the fact that the disciples could not determine who would become the successor of the prophet.
The smaller part became supporters of the Shiite Islam, and more than 90% - the Sunni. To what religion are Tatars today? According to their beliefs, they are Sunni Muslims.
According to theory, Mohammed was the harbinger of the word of God. Unlike Christianity, the prophet was not the son of God. The name Allah is translated as "one god", and his earthly house is a mosque. It is worth noting that the Tatars, who were accustomed to lead a nomadic life, were not inclined to build. Only thanks to the adoption of Islam, cities appeared on their lands. They were designed by architects from Arab countries.
A mixture of styles
Tatars lived at the turn of different cultures. East, Europe, Russia, Islam, Christianity, polytheism - all this influenced the architectural style. Especially bright are the mosques. Since the religion of the Mongol-Tatars is Islam, the khans actively built religious buildings. But initially they had nothing to do with openwork mosques in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
God's houses became locks. This was a compulsory necessity, because the Horde was constantly at war. Subsequently, on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, almost all centers of Islamic culture were defeated, to which the tsarist troops were able to reach. Tatars living in Russia were forced to adopt Orthodoxy.
Despite the persecution and obstacles, some of the monuments were rebuilt and began to operate again. Especially in the capital of the modern Republic of Tatarstan. By the way, not only those Tatars, whose religion is Islam, have put their hand to this.
The first building, which was laid down as a symbol of two confessions (Orthodoxy and Islam) in one city, was the restoration of the place of worship of al-Mardjani. Another Muslim prayer structure in Kazan - Apanaevskaya - is not inferior in its splendor. The beginning of construction started in 1768. What is noteworthy, the project was approved by Catherine II herself, and funds were allocated by the Islamic community.
On the territory of modern Russia there are other, no less significant monuments of Islam. Unfortunately, in their primordial form they were very few, but the Islamic community continues to work actively to restore its heritage.
Faith in Christ
According to many researchers, to date almost 20% of the Turkic tribes of Russia are Orthodox in several generations. And their numbers are slowly growing. Since in mixed marriages of Orthodox Christians and Muslims the child is usually baptized.
It is believed that some separate groups of Tatars began to profess Christianity in the tenth century. They had to change their views under the pressure of the Golden Horde and the khans, who brutally dealt with anyone who spoke in defense of Orthodoxy. It is noteworthy that the religion of the Crimean Tatars was originally Christian. The local population refused to accept Islam. The result of this behavior was the destruction of all Orthodox churches.
Tatars of Siberia
The basic ethnic group of Western and Southern Siberia is the Turkic race. In general, it is different from other members of the tribe. But genetically the closest relatives are Bashkirs, Kazakhs and Sartis. The religion of the Siberian Tatars is a mixture of Islam and rituals. So, much attention is paid to the name at birth, marriage, funerals.
Practice the funeral rites, the celebration of the Eastern New Year and the incantation of animals. Together with this, Siberian Tatars adhere to Ramadan, celebrate Kurban and so on.
The region of residence of this group of Turkic tribes is far removed from Moscow. At the time of the power of the Golden Horde, the main goal of the wars was enrichment, so Siberia did not cause the khans any interest. The situation did not change too much when the Russian tsars finally defeated the Mongolian hordes and put an end to the empire of Genghis Khan.
Thus, the local population was in a certain isolation. It had the ability to develop on its own. The main teachers and preachers, as before, were shamans. Siberian Tatars, whose religion is a unique symbiosis of classical Sunni Islam and ancient shamanism, are of greatest interest to ethnographers. This group of tribes was practically not assimilated and was able to preserve the true history of its ethnos.