Russian writers, travelers, merchants, and ambassadors wrote about Islam in their admiration


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For a long time, both Arabic literature and Islamic literature written in other Asian languages ​​played a major role in the acquaintance of the Arab-Islamic and Russian Orthodox cultures, and Islamic civilization inspired many Russian poets and novelists, and the Russian poet Ivan Bunin (1870-1953) – who was the first Russian writer He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1933 – his tour in Egypt, Syria and Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century, and he wrote the poems “Laylat al-Qadr”, “Migration”, “Imru’ al-Qays”, “The Caravan” and “The Descendants of the Messenger” and others.

The New Straits Times website publishedNew Straits TimesThe Singaporean wrote an article by the Russian historian, orientalist and translator, Dr. Victor Bogadaev, on the Russians’ relationship and admiration for Islam, especially famous travelers, merchants, ambassadors and writers.

trade trips

Bogadayev, a specialist in the history and culture of Southeast Asia, said that in the second half of the 15th century, merchants, travelers and ambassadors of Russia began to spread their impressions of Islam. The merchant Afanasi Nikitin was probably the first Russian to visit India (30 years before the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama), Persia, Ethiopia and Arabia in the 15th century, and his book Adventures Across the Three Seas depicted Muslim lives as he wondered whether Christians should evaluate religions other.

Nikitin wrote how Khan (Prince) Jinnar in India was trying to persuade him to convert to Islam, promising him a reward of 1,000 gold coins, and how he fasted with Muslims even though he was always worried for fear of conflict with his religion.

The other merchant Fedot Kotov in his book Adventures in Persia (1623) described in detail some Islamic festivities, and was not seeking to glorify Islam through his book.

Russian poets

The first to speak of Islam with great respect was the poet Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816), who spent his childhood in the Islamic region of Kazan in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. Nostalgia is reflected in the line of his poem “Even the smoke is sweet and gentle when the smoke of the homeland.”

Other writers touched on the elements of similarity between Christians and Muslims, and among the most prominent of these works is the novel “Verses of the Dove’s Nest” by the classic Russian poet and playwright Pavel Katinin (1792-1853), where he praised the birth of Islam and stated that the spread of religion among the Arabs was beneficial to people.

As the Russian diplomatic poet Alexander Griboyedov (1795-1829), the prince-poet Peter Vyazemsky (1792-1878), and the poet Eugene Muravyev (1794-1866) showed; Great interest in Islam.

Islamic culture inspired the great poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), who said in one of his poems “I am pleased with the beauty of the Qur’an,” and revealed his personal interaction with the Muslims of southern Russia in the poems “Bakhchisaray Fountain” and “The Caucasian Prisoner.” In the poem “Tasit”, the bloody Chechen war and the traditional elements of their culture linked to Islamic elements are depicted.

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The highlight of Pushkin’s Islamic-inspired creativity is the poem “Reflections of the Qur’an” (1824). The philosophy and moral aspects of the Qur’an were of particular interest to Pushkin, and he once said that “many moral principles are presented in the Qur’an in a very convincingly poetic style”.

Pushkin argues with Voltaire, “Paradise does not demand the blood of the defenseless, but love and trust.” The famous writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) used to say that Pushkin had a unique ability to understand the true essence of Eastern civilization.

Referring in particular to the Reflections of the Qur’an, Dostoevsky exclaimed, “Do we not see here a Muslim, a true spirit of the Qur’an, a sword, majesty, and the strength of a strong faith?”

Later Pushkin wrote the poem “The Prophet”, in which he said, “God gave him two eyes to see everything, except that he was not a poet.”

And he put his right hand from which blood drips
wise live tongue
in my deaf hole
He slashed my chest with his sword
And grab the terrified heart
and sheath in his hollow
carbuncle inflames;
I lay like a corpse in the desert
And the voice of the Lord called to me:
Arise, O Prophet, and see
and listen
And do my will
And ignite with words the hearts of men.”

The lives of Muslims were depicted by Russian writers Bestogev Marlinsky (1797-1837) and Polezhev (1805-1838) (Amalat-bey, Harem, Sultan, etc.). The shadow of the eastern Islamic world, with its scenic beauty, became a source of inspiration for the poet Lermontov (1814-1841), and Alexei Tolstoy (1882-1945) raised the problem of human destiny in his memoirs on the Crimea.

Nikolai Nekrasov (1821-1877) created the figure of the oriental beauty in his Turkish wife, while the writer Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) described Islamic architecture as “full of flowers”, and in the essay “Al-Mamun” he spoke fondly of the governor of Baghdad (813-833).

modern literature

The Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyev (1853-1900) had an important opinion on the role of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and Islam in the development of world civilization, saying, “It is certain that Islam will grow and spread more because the spiritual milk of the Qur’an is necessary for the human race.”

The writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), who studied Islamic traditions and the Prophet Muhammad, was also respectful of the Qur’an and Islamic culture in general, and met with the late Egyptian thinker Muhammad Abdu (1849-1905). The main protagonist, in his novel Haji Murad (1910), shows many of the characteristics of the Muslims of the Caucasus Mountains in the era of the resistance of the Dagestan Muslims to European Russians.

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