Muftis of Russia: a tangled hierarchy
If the Catholic and Orthodox churches are characterized by a strict power vertical with a clear definition of the seniority of the clergy in relation to each other, then in Islam the situation is much more complicated. There is no single chapter, such as the Pope of Rome in Catholicism, separate parishes are autonomous, therefore the resolution of controversial issues and the development of a common strategy occur through negotiations and compromises between individual mufties of Russia. During Soviet times, they were united into one structure, but then centrifugal forces caused the formation of several focal points of Russian Muslims at once, the relations between which are far from ideal.
The first among equals
To a person who is far from understanding church relations, it seems that there is a single spiritual leader of Russian Muslims who regularly appears in front of camera lenses and congratulates the entire Islamic community on major religious holidays.
However, Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, who heads the Council of Muftis of Russia, is in fact not an absolute authority among Russian Muslims. The organization, founded by him in 1996, unites only 15% of the Islamic communities in the country.
The muftis of Russia act more independently and do not look back at the highest authorities. The very essence of SMR provides for the possibility of separate structures leaving it without special consequences.It is a mistake to assume that the chairman is a kind of analogue of Patriarch Kirill and to exaggerate his influence on the representatives of the second largest number of followers of religion in the country.
What is SMR?
The Council of Muftis of Russia is a large coordination organization uniting Muslim clerics from different regions of the country. It unites almost 1500 primary religious communities of Muslims operating from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. This structure is headed by Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, who is also the chairman of the Muslim Religious Board of the European part of Russia.
In the era of formation, each chairman of a separate Spiritual Administration of Muslims,he joined the structure of the organization, he automatically became the co-chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, but today the final number of high officials in the hierarchy was determined. Now there are only four co-chairs, they are the mufti of Bashkortostan, the mufti of the Asian part of Russia, the mufti of the Saratov region and the mufti of North Ossetia.
IDA unites mainly muftis of regions where Muslims are not the predominant population, the only exception is Bashkortostan.
SMR and society
The training of clergymen is carried out in Islamic universities, supervised by the Council of Muftis of Russia. The largest of them is considered the Moscow Islamic University. In addition to it, there is the Russian Islamic University in Kazan and the Nizhny Novgorod Islamic Institute. You can also get secondary education in the spiritual sphere thanks to specialized educational institutions in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Saratov.
A public organization called the Union of Muslim Women of Russia, headed by Naila Ziganshina, operates within the framework of the SID.
Contact with the flock
The word of Muslim pastors to the masses of the faithful is spread byproduction of printed publications under the authority of SMR. These include publishing houses "Medina" and "Islamic Book." On the Internet there is a radio channel Miradio.
Until recently, the CID had the opportunity to appeal to his flock through a short transfer of "Muslims", going out on the second federal channel. However, its format was quite specific, it was primarily focused on the Tatar population, touched on issues that were uninteresting to most Russian Muslims."Muslims" practically did not look at the North Caucasus, where the bulk of the Islamic population of Russia is concentrated, and Russian-speaking Muslims in the CIS countries. The logical outcome was the closure of a not too successful project.
Tension of spiritual leaders
The PR managers of the Council of Muftis of Russia conduct a rather aggressive information policy on their official websites and in third-party media. The result of this is a misconception about the true framework of power of Ravil Gaynutdin. Even the leaders of DAESH (an organization prohibited by law in the territory of the Russian Federation), who declared Russia to be the number one enemy, consider the Chairman of the RMC to be the country's chief mufti.
However, the supreme mufti of Russia Talgat Tadzhutdin, the leader of the Central Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia, completely disagrees with the irreconcilable militants and with the ideologists of Ravil Gainutdin. Also, the independent and influential muftis of the republics of the North Caucasus are among dubious respects to the sheikh, among whom the representative of the Chechen Republic is particularly notable, where the positions of religion are particularly strong.
The split began in the early nineties, when regional organizations of Muslims in the European part of Russia, headed by Ravil Gainutdin, announced their withdrawal from the CDUM. Since then, the sluggish conflict between high-ranking clergymen continues, and the question of Russia's main muftis remains open.