The author of a book about the Prophet Muhammad: why blood is shed under the banner of Islam.

The author of a book about the Prophet Muhammad: why blood is shed under the banner of Islam.

In Moscow, at the annual International Book Fair, a book by the well-known Russian-Azerbaijani writer, culturologist, Islamic scholar Chingiz Huseynov Muhammad has just been presented in the Life of Remarkable People series.

The book in the ZhZL series is far from the first work of Huseynov on the study of Islam and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Suffice it to mention the book of the Surah of the Qur’an published under his editorship, arranged as they were sent down to the Prophet, and the so-called Qur’anic story of Muhammad – the novel Do not let water spill out of an overturned jug.

In the preface to the book, the author substantiates the appeal to the topic by the fact that he, a Muslim, has lived and worked most of his life in Christian, Orthodox Russia, and now he lives in Israel, the country of Jewish civilization. And although he ended up in Israel for family reasons, this turn of fate seems to him to be very important. All of Chingiz Huseynov’s reflections on Islam are closely related to the problem of his blood relationship with two other monotheistic religions.

Why is this combination of three religions, three cultures so important? It was with this question that, on the eve of the book’s publication, we began our conversation with Chingiz Huseynov.

Chingiz Huseynov: I must say that even in Baku I lived, as it were, in these three worlds at the same time. Russians, Azerbaijanis and Jews lived in our yard. Almost from the moment I was born, I was bilingual: at home they spoke Azerbaijani, and at school and in the rest of my life – in Russian.

My grandmother was a Shiite believer and from childhood she inspired me with a sense of justice, the measure and criterion of which was God.

Well, speaking about the importance for me of three world religions and three cultures, I have designated three places of residence of my life. I say about myself that I am a free writer in the Moscow-Jerusalem-Baku triangle.

And this is important, because in my youth, of course, I did not think about different religions and differences between them. In Baku, I did not see these disagreements, I studied at a Russian school, and I had friends, Armenians, Jews, Russians.

Only when I came to study in Moscow in 1949, I felt for the first time that there are different nations and that I am Azerbaijani. In the dormitory of Moscow State University, where I lived, there were even fights – the front-line soldiers with open hostility towards the Germans who studied with us. It was there in Moscow that I suddenly heard the word anti-Semitism for the first time and understood what it was.

During the years of the thaw, the Bible first came into my hands. After all, sacred books – the Bible, the Koran, not to mention the Torah – were very difficult to find in Soviet times. Gradually getting to know them, I realized that I was dealing with the phenomena not so much of religion as of culture.

These are literary texts that are only adapted to religion.

The Koran in Russian was first published in Soviet times either in 1954 or 1955, but it was impossible to buy it. He entered only libraries or scientific institutions. But I was lucky and I managed to get it – they sold it according to the lists of official institutions.

Both of these books – the Bible and the Koran – shocked me. Although, of course, I was in no hurry to speak out about this then, during the reign of atheism. My own atheism was fake, forced.

It is curious that at birth I was given the name Ali-Islam. But that was 1929, everyone around began to reproach my father for being backward, and I was renamed. But, apparently, it was written to my family to understand all this, and not only in the context of Islam, but precisely in connection with Christianity and Judaism.

Photo by Chingiz Guseinov.

Chingiz Huseynov devoted his entire life to searching for relationships between the three main world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

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