President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Speech at the meeting with the representatives of communities of the country

04.07.2013 15:08, Dushanbe city

Dear fellow-citizens!

Distinguished audience!

On July 9th, the holy month of Ramadan comes, the month of beneficence and charity, goodness and virtue, abundance and welfare, and mercy and forgiveness.

I in this connection from the bottom of my heart congratulate all the glorious people of Tajikistan and each of you, and in this blessed month of the year I wish you good health, happiness, patience and tolerance, steadfastness and godliness.      

The purpose of our today’s meeting with intellectuals, governors of regions, cities and districts, social-sector executive bodies of state authorities of regions, cities and districts, town and village jamoats (local communities), communities’ committees, and the clerics of religious organizations and associations operating in our country first of all, is the better possible organization of works towards the protection of national and state interests, cultural and religious values ​​to further strengthen the current stable situation and prevent any ambitions to destabilize the religious and the political atmosphere within the country.

As the most majority of the people in our country are Muslims, and given the very sensitive and intricate situation of the modern world, with all due respect to the sacred religion of Islam and its supreme values, I wish to draw your attention to some important issues of our public policy on freedom of conscience and national traditions.

Of course, it is a matter of pride and joy that just ​​thanks to our national independence we have achieved the real worship of national and religious values, particularly the values ​​of the holy religion of Islam and the revival of the best historical and cultural values.

It means that state independence created certain conditions for a comprehension and the reinforcement of national and religious identity, freedom and national pride.

In turn, the revival and protection of national values ​​as the most important spiritual factor has contributed to the strengthening of state independence.

It is therefore, our society today takes an enormous interest to its own history, culture, customs and national traditions.

Due interest to the historical, cultural and religious traditions of the one or the other nation may not be a random phenomenon.

With regard to this issue, we, as supporters of the dialogue of civilizations and friendly relations of variety of cultures, reiterate that each culture has unique value, and it must be respected and protected. It is the right and the duty of every nation to develop its own culture.

National culture of the Tajik people was formed during the period of 1400 years in a conjunction with our religious values and our secular state refers to this period of history as an integral part of the history of the national culture.

Our Islamic culture, as a part of the national culture, has many valuable and vital aspects, proper and reasonable use of which may be used for the construction of a just society, the protection and promotion of international peace and security and the political stability of the country.

Over the past years, the state and the Government of Tajikistan has taken a series of measures aimed at development of Islamic culture in the society.

It is the state independence has given us an opportunity to revive our own national and religious values, to recognize and guarantee individual rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of conscience as the highest value.

State sovereignty, along with the nation-state building, the revival of the national culture, peace, stability and national unity, had also contributed to the revival of religious values ​​and the historic aspirations of the nation.

With a view to honoring the special role of the Hanafi mazhab of Islam (hanafis – followers of hanafi persuasion in Islam) in the development of national culture and the spiritual life of the Tajik people, solemn commemoration of the 1310 anniversary of the founder of this mazhab Imam A’zam and declaration of the year 2009 as a year of celebration of this great personality of the Islamic world, conduct of the International Symposium “Imam A’zam and the Modern World”, celebration of historical dates, dedicated to the great religious and cultural thinkers and clerics of our nation, such as Mir Sayeed Ali Hamadoni, Mavlono Jaloluddini Rumi and etc. are among such important initiatives.

In addition, celebration of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr) and Kurban (Eid ul-Adha) as national holidays, the proclamation of Dushanbe as the capital of Islamic culture, establishment of the Center of Islamic Studies under the President of the country, awarding a state status to the Islamic Institute of Tajikistan and a number of other measures at the government level are a clear indication of a worship of our religious and faith culture.

A series of cultural, historical and religious events as an effective factor of nation-building, enabled us - ancient nation with a rich political, religious, literary, and moral culture - meet the diverse needs of modern society, and spiritually nurture the formation of national consciousness and self-identity of the people of Tajikistan.

State sovereignty has brought in conditions that, along with a revival of spiritual and religious values, ​​to significantly protect and secure religious rights and freedoms of citizens in the democratic state and civil society, and establish free space for religious views and thought in the country.

On the instruction of the head of state, for the first time the Holy Quran was published in three stages in the Tajik language and more than 200.000 copies of that were distributed free of charge to people.

Tens of millions of somoni have been allocated from the public budget and the Reserve Fund of the President of the country to the publication of scientific, ethical, and religious books of Islamic culture, as a result of which hundreds of valuable historical works, which for centuries have remained forgotten, including “Saheh” by Imam Bukhari, “Musnad” by Imam A’zam, “Revival of Religious Science” and “Kimiyoi saodat” (“Alchemy of Happiness”) by Imam Ghazzoli and other invaluable works have been published and made available to the Muslims of the country.

However, all this is not enough. Consequently, the Committee for Religious Affairs, the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, the Council of Ullema of the Islamic Center of Tajikistan are obliged to maximize the preparation and publication of the works of our great ancestors, including the valuable heritage of Imam A’zam, Imam Bukhari and other well-known clerics and personalities.

The number of mosques from 17 during the Soviet time has increased to more than 4 million, the number of pilgrims in the country increased from 30 to 200 thousand people, and Tajikistan ranks first among the countries of Central Asia on the number of mosques per capita.

Today, even number of mosques per each person in a certain region of Tajikistan exceeds the same indicators in the capitals of Islamic states.

For example, 1600 persons accounted for one mosque in Rudaki district or other districts of Khatlon region, while the capitals of some Islamic states have one mosque for 2000 to 5000 people. For the time being, the biggest mosque is to be built in the capital of our country with extensive use of our national architectural art worth more than 350 million somoni.

Moreover, today, all the necessary conditions are created for Ismailia followers to perform religious rites in the country. Dushanbe Ismaili Center operates in the capital – Dushanbe city and 83 caliphs of Ismailia course of Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomus Region freely worship in accordance with the requirements of acting legislation.

In the past, it was almost impossible to take any steps in these directions. This demonstrates the benefit of independence and dignity, respect and implementation of the principle of tolerance of Hanafi mazhab.

Of course, the increase in the number of mosques and religious organizations and associations is a clear demonstration of freedom of religion and the favorable conditions for the development of religious culture and morality.

At the same time, excessive deviation, construction of mosques and prayer without the need for the sake of self-promotion in every street and alley, and mahallas (local communities’ offices) may increase the likelihood of unnecessary debate and controversy among Muslims to break the unity and stability of society, which is contrary to the substance, spirit and the uniting mission of Islam and other religions.

It is instructive to recall the precept of the Holy Qur’an on the event at the Ziror mosque at the time of the Prophet of Allah, and prevent a repeat of such provocations in the history of Muslim ummah.

The Holy Qur'an orders: And [there are] those [hypocrites] who took for themselves a mosque for causing harm and disbelief and discord among the believers and as a station for whoever had fought against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will surely swear: “We intended only what is good”. And Allah testifies that indeed they are liars.

Historical mission of the Islam religion is the unity and stability of society, not incitement to discord among Muslims.

In this sense, it is said in the Holy Qur’an: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided”. Or highlights in other chapter: “O mankind! Indeed, We have created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another”.

The call for unity and consolidation has been repeatedly emphasized in other scriptures, that understanding of its content in current circumstances is of paramount importance for the followers of all religions.

The reality shows that national independence has given a powerful impetus to the improvement of an atmosphere of religious freedom. But it is time to analyze what religious freedom and worship of this religion have given to the state independence, national self-knowledge and stability of the country.

Unfortunately, comparison and capturing the current state of development of a climate of religious belief is alarming.

Extremism, fanaticism, superstition, sowing the seeds of religious and sectarian enmity, hatred and discord, religious suicide actions and sacrifices and the abuse of Islam for the promotion of personal and group political interests and other negative actions that are now becoming a dangerous trend, forcing us to take decisive steps and actions in this direction.

As I have said it earlier, at a time when there was no any center of religious studies in Tajikistan and only two people annually were allowed to graduate from Bukhara madrassa, when the number of pilgrims and mosques could be counted on the fingers, unity and mutual understanding, respect for parents and elders, tolerance, education of the child in the spirit of love of science and other good deeds was much more higher.

However, today superstition, extremism and fanaticism are growing and even the most dangerous phenomenon of terrorism is recorded while there are 4 thousand mosques, 6 madrassas, one gymnasium and the Islamic Institute operate in the country, with more than 7.000 graduates of domestic and foreign religious schools and 200 thousand pilgrims live in the country.

According to reports, today, more than 80 families of our nationals are living in Waziristan province of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. You know very well the purpose for which people go there.

Moreover, some people who made pilgrimage commit offense and violate law, including extortion in various rituals and customs.

For example, only in 2012 and during the 5 months of this year, 50 pilgrims have committed crime.

We with the great expectations and bright hope have opened several madrassas and religious schools, that may our children have proper religious education, however dozens of them have committed crimes and acts of terrorism, parents sent their children abroad to study in Islamic countries, but brought the bodies of some young people from abroad, and some others of them charged on and prosecuted in foreign countries, as well as in Tajikistan for terrorist and extremist acts.

In connection with these cases, I want to remind one point: those are engaged in such heinous acts and abuse civil society system, should realize, that the government, along with the provision of the rights and freedoms is also required to monitor and ensure observance of the law.

Along with this, it should be noted that the religious culture in our country is not restricted to only Islamic culture. Today there are other religions and courses in Tajikistan and we respect the religious beliefs and cultural values ​​of their followers.

Since, tolerance being a factor of the existence of civil society, the principle of our religious culture and the basis of the teachings of the founder of the Hanafi mazhab Imam A’zam is considered to be a proper ground for broad cooperation and inclusive dialogue among different religions and faiths.

Modern Tajikistan based on the Constitution and the constitutional norms of the secular state, as well as on the experience of tolerance of the Hanafi mazhab, has ensured respect for the right of existence of other religious views and opinions on measurements of universal values ​​of freedom of belief.

Despite the fact that the followers of non-Islam religions are just over 1% of the population, there 75 non-Islamic religious associations have been registered in Tajikistan so far to meet the needs of the faith of their followers.

Today this indicator is much higher than in many developed countries all over the world. Tajikistan as a democratic and secular state and as a part of the law will further respect the followers of other religions. At the same time, it should be emphasized that they (non-Muslims) as full citizens of the country, along with the freedom of religion, are entrusted to carry a patriotic responsibility to comply with the laws that protect peace and stability, security and the national unity.

History suggests that the true Islamic civilization at all times of its development and enlargement has always been tolerant, constantly manifested its good and friendly relations and cooperation with other cultures and civilizations.

According to scientists of Islamic studies, it is constructive mutual-understanding, tolerance, relations of friendship, co-existence and interaction with other Islamic cultures for a long time represented the culture of Islam as a creative and progressive world civilization.

Alongside with this, the experience of many developed countries of the world proves one point: that the secular system creates conditions for a national culture along with religious values linked with the needs of society and people develop and allows people to freely worship traditions and rituals to satisfy their religious needs.

This process ultimately contributes to an expansion of world and would raise the spiritual level of the people.

Today, all the conditions are created for our Muslim nations to freely fulfill all devotional duties and practices. Nobody prevents them to go to the mosque and pray, keep the fast (in Ramadan) and make pilgrimage. That is, they are given the maximum freedom.

The people of Tajikistan after gaining an independence, based on the national culture and human values, has chosen the path of building a sovereign, democratic, legal and secular state, approved a reasonable relationship and fruitful co-operation of the secular state and religion, the legal basis of which is incorporated in the Constitution.

Beyond doubt, the proper definition of a stance of religion in the national culture and consciousness would remarkably contribute to strengthening political independence and the pillars of the state and to become one of the most important factors in strengthening national unity, stability, peace and security of society.

We therefore always perceive religious values ​​as a key part of the national culture and relate to their development as an effective tool of moral education.

It is a source of pride that the ancient Tajik people along with other Muslim nations, made a worthy and notable contribution to the development of Islamic culture and civilization.

As you know, over 60% of adherents of sunna and Jamaat are the followers of Imam A’zam mazhab, who is the founder of the great school of Fiqh.

Khoja Muhammad Ismail Bukhari is known as the founder of Science of Hadith in the Islamic world, as his work “Saheh by Imam Bukhari” is considered the second most important book after the Holy Qur’an.

The noble sons of the Tajik nation like Muhammad Jariri Tabari, Zamakhshari, Moturudi, Qozi Abulais, Abuhafsi Kabir, Omar Khayyam, Shaikhurrais Abuali ibn Sino, Mavlono Jaloluddinin Rumi, Najmuddini Kubro and Bahovaddini Naqshband made a great contribution to the development of Islamic science, culture and civilization.

The world famous heritage of our well-known scientists is a valuable part of our wealthy national culture.

We therefore while implementing the policy of our independent state, along with other elements of national culture, give continued attention to the development of religious culture as well.

As, we, with our own distinct national and cultural appearance, want to attain our merit place in the world community and be its worthy part. We indeed have notable achievements in this direction and the fact that Tajikistan's international initiatives are widely supported by the international community, reflects our firm stance on the global stage.

However, unfortunately some groups and circles, incorrectly realizing this policy of our state, desire to restrict the rich and multi-faceted past and present culture of our people in the framework of religious values, or as completely oppose its religious values, which is absolutely not true.

These values ​​in no way and case can oppose each other, on the contrary they should be developed in accordance with the call of the times and national interests.

It should not be forgotten that the Tajiks have proven more than five thousand years of history, they had even been a bearer of a high culture and the ancient tradition of public administration before the rise of Islam.

Although Tajik state for centuries was exposed to invasions and the pressure of strangers many times, but our ancestors precisely because of their language and an invaluable culture were able to hold the traditions of statehood or revive these traditions.

It is not for nothing that the European scientists included the pre-Islamic culture of the Tajik nation into the major cultures, which it had a profound influence on the formation and development of the cultures of other peoples and played a decent role in the promotion of Islamic culture.

Though our forefathers after the acceptance of Islam religion have joined the Islamic cultural environment, however, by means of their centuries-old language, culture and traditions have preserved a national mentality and via regeneration and protection of their language and national traditions they could create such states as Saffarids, Tohirids, then - the central state of Samanids and later the state of Ghurians.

Contemporary national state can exist on the basis of the protection and development of national values ​​and national self-acknowledgement.

In a period of rapid globalization, we will be able to fully guarantee the safety of the state and society, national unity, peaceful life and firmness of the pillars of national statehood only if we continuously strive to improve the political culture and national self-knowledge, to seek to ensure that religious values serve development and the overall progress of our state and add new colorful paints into our spiritual life.

We should on regular basis inspire younger generations, who are the successors of the great and historic mission of statehood to stand aside from fanaticism, prejudice, religious extremism and narrow-mindedness.

We are also obliged to strengthen a sense of national pride and patriotism of our own children so that they can duly respect the rich and the multidimensional cultural values ​​of the nation.

We upon this matter must also learn the best and positive experiences of civilized countries.

For example, most European nations prior to IV century AD, that is, before the reign of the Christian religion were following the Aryan-European polytheism.

Likewise, the Greeks and Byzantines had a rich scientific and philosophical culture and advanced civilization that among the Christian religion was the main basis of the Renaissance in Europe.

We today witness that the Europeans do not deny their pre-Christian culture, and do not seek to oppose the two stages of cultural development and evolution.

Before the era of the spread of Islam religion the ancestors of the Tajik people had an ancient culture, civilization, religion, traditions and literature. Therefore, we now do not have to cross out the golden pages of multi-millennial history of our people because of religious bigotry or ignorance and should not deny the historical past of the people.

According to observations, some deny or underestimate the great moral and ethical national values, which still play a decisive role in the formation and development of folk culture and do want to put them in front of religious values.

On the threshold of Navruz Day some people of groups claimed that this holiday is alien to our culture. Authors of such rumors should not forget that, on the contrary, Navruz is indeed one of the national and truly folk festivals of our people and has nothing to do to any religion and mazhabs.

Such a selfish and short-sighted attitude to national values which are historically centuries-old and important factor of self-consciousness of the people beyond doubt weakens the foundations of a culture of national state governance.

We should not forget who our nation was, and what it has made through its multi-millennial history. For, forgetting the glorious history of the nation, ultimately, leads to the disappearance of a spirit of the nation.

Prominent political scientists knowingly said: “In order to eliminate the nation, you have to tear it away from its historical roots, including those of its language and culture”.

I always emphasize that disappearance of a language and the culture of the people leads to an extinction of state itself. History is littered with such examples.

In this regard, attitude to the history of culture, to the history of religious consciousness of the nation, national and religious customs and traditions is also part of the public policy in the field of religion and must be objectively considered in the framework of science and secular principles.

I have repeatedly stated in my speeches from the lofty rostrums of influential international and regional organizations, that we honor the sacred religion of Islam, as one of the major moral, ethical and spiritual sources, since Islam has become one of the important pillars of world outlook, philosophy, spirituality and morality in our society.

From this point of view, we have to protect the holy religion of Islam from splitters and conjunction with extremism, demonstrate its true spiritual and moral essence, nature and the tolerance to the people, in particular to our young generation, and apply Islamic values ​​in the moral and ethical education of our children.

Unity of all people in the country, its formation and development an integrated national identity is a core basis of our modern state governance and an important factor for Tajikistan’s progress.

Everyone knows that an overwhelming majority of the population of Tajikistan on religious faith is Muslims or link its cultural mentality with Islam.

We therefore cannot be indifferent with regard to issues associated with religion, freedom of conscience and beliefs, as well as the formation and development of the religious mentality of the people.

Especially at a time when we eyewitness an increasing politicization of Islam and ignition of the flames of historical and religious conflict in some Islamic countries, which threaten to expand throughout the Islamic world, we should cherish the purity of our faith and strengthen our political vigilance.

Our people should remember well what tragic and dire consequences for society may external intervention have in these processes. Therefore, the people should always be on the alert and vigilant.

Sacred religion of Islam encourages people to unity and consolidation, and condemns division and discord, considering them the fruit of hatred and malice, weakness and dependence of Muslims on others.

The Almighty Allah in the Holy Qur'an condemns the instigators, instructs His Messenger and the Muslim Ummah keep away from such dissenters.

Upon this matter, the Holy Qur’an says: “Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects – you, are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do”.

It is also said in Hadith of the Prophet of Allah: “You ought to be united and avoid a division”.

Honoring national and religious values ​​is one of the primary guidelines of the public policy of Tajikistan. Along with this, we have to constantly improve a strategy of relationship between state and religion in the interests of the people of the country, rights and freedoms of people and most of all, to the cause of national security and sovereignty within the bounds of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, not all people correctly understand the wisdom and the essence of this truth. Some people and certain groups abusing democratic rights and freedoms want to justify their political ambitions by means of the power of religion.

They also claiming to protect the rights and interests of the Muslims, defending religious purity and identity are sowing the seeds of division and discord among the citizens of the country, having a negative impact on the minds of young people, jeopardizing social stability and national security, they even want to change the course of social development.

They act not only against the requirements of the law of the state and public morality, but are not aware of Qur’anic and divine teachings that “discord (fitna) is worse than murder”.

These people interpret the tolerant policy of the state and the education of the national spirit by respecting the historic heritage and traditions of our people as reverence for ancestors and contempt for Islam.

Regrettably, some naive and gullible people fall victim to deceptive words of ill-wishers and enemies. The Holy Qur'an warns believers not to trust such immoral and hypocritical people.

As the Almighty Allah tells in verse 6 Surah Al-Hujurat: “O you who have believed! If there comes to you a disobedient one with news, investigate and verify the correctness of the message, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become regretful over what you have done”.

I state with full responsibility that the Government of Tajikistan is respectful of all religions, but for the sake of security, peace and stability of the society will strongly suppress the manifestations of any kind of division and discord.

We should be well aware that a democratic and secular state recognizes and guarantees religious and personal rights and freedoms, however these rights and freedoms not exempt anyone from responsibility before the law and the state independence, the history of the nation and other interests of the people and the state of Tajikistan.

Neither right, nor freedom can go beyond the national shrines, which recognized by the Constitution and international legal acts.

This provision is set forth in the national legislation of most civilized countries and Tajikistan as a member of the international community and independent nation cannot stand off from this reality.

Fortunately, the vast majority of our population supports this policy, for it is well aware that it serves the interests of the nation and the state.

The Constitution of Tajikistan, recognizing the need for the principle of the separation of religious institutions from the state, considers its implementation as an important prerequisite of constitutional rights of individuals to freedom of conscience aimed at the prevention of interference of personal or group self-serving political interests in the issues of freedom of belief.

Artificial politicization of Islam throughout history has repeatedly been fraught with tragic consequences for Muslims and Islamic civilization. We know from history that the abuse of the religion of Islam for political ends and career became the cause of violent religious clashes and bloodshed.

Some people interpret the separation of religious associations from the state as a contradiction between the principle of secularism and religion, explaining the true essence of the issue for people to believe that the Government is pushing religion away from public life, which is absolutely wrong.

Although, state refers to religion as one of the essential foundations of national culture, not only displaces it from the public life of its citizens, but also maintains and nurtures a close interaction with religious organizations and associations in the fields of culture, ethical and social areas and this is one of the main features of our model of a secular state.

Sacred religion of Islam, along with development and enhancement of the cultural and spiritual system has had a significant impact on the attitudes of many peoples and nations.

But we should not forget that the moral and ethical values ​​of Islam in the historical period of its existence have been threatened for many times under the influence of political factors.

However religious scholars and thinkers have always sought to instruct people on the right path and the actual perception of moderate Islam.

In this regard, our scientists and religious leaders have to using their intellectual capacity to ensure the security and stability of our country, to contribute to addressing current challenges, as in his time, the founder of our school of thought Imam A’zam and his disciples urged people to virtue, tolerance and stability.

Therefore I remind you that an implementation of serious researches about the place and the role of Islam in modern society are not solely a scientific issue, but have important practical significance.

Despite the fact that, this agenda at first glance seems simple, in reality it is a very intricate, complicated and sensitive. And, as we see, there still has not been done anything noticeable in this direction.

Therefore, the Centre for Islamic Studies, relevant Institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Departments of Sociology of universities of the country and all scientists should broaden the scope of research in this field and to present scientific and analytical works to people.

I want to re-emphasize that the question of gaining extremist features of some religious sects and movements today has become a serious problem of the Islamic world, an impact of which we feel in our own country.

During the five months of this year, 32 cases of extremism and terrorism are recorded in the country.

It is regrettable, that today the Islamic world is experiencing tribal, sectarian and ideological conflicts.

Geopolitical confrontation on the one hand, tribal and sectarian differences - on the other hand, have gained different religious colors in the form of political struggle.

Based on these confrontations, religious and political parties and movements are intensified in the Islamic world as a means of promotion of geopolitical and power-seeking interests of states.

I repeatedly said and I reiterate that extremism and terrorism have no religion, and nationality, mazhab, and associating Islam with these shameful phenomena is wrong. Fight against extremism, terrorism, and crime should not in any way be viewed as a struggle against religion.

It is important not to allow the use of Islam in such impure purposes, criminals and extremists must be brought to justice for crime they commit.

In this context, we have to remember the famous couplet, which says:

Islam is essentially blameless,

All the vices are in behavior of Muslims.

The major threats which undermine modern society are fanaticism, extremism, terrorism and artificial politicization of Islam for the sake of selfish ends of certain groups.

Protection of Islam from these negative effects is not only the duty of the government, but also is the main responsibility of religious communities, the Islamic Center of Tajikistan, the Council of Ullemas (Council of Religious Scholars) and every scholar of Islamic Sciences. Since, no one has the right to abuse our belief, religious creed and use Islam in their personal and political struggle.

Fanaticism and extremism in any form and manifestations are a great danger to every nation, state, religion and beliefs of the people. Nowadays it has become a common that nations associate extremism, fanaticism and terrorism mainly with unemployment, poverty and misery.

Of course, we do understand that poverty and unemployment contribute to the manifestation of extremism and terrorism in the world, but it should be noted that external intervention using low literacy and culture, lack of secular and religious knowledge, ignorance, and indifference towards the supreme national and religious values ​​in the modern world has become one of the major factors of occurrence and escalation of extremism.

Unfortunately, officials of the government agencies and religious principals and those who have religious knowledge not always seriously address this issue and even sometimes show inaction or an absolute indifference to these deficiencies.

Our society is an integral part of the global community, and we feel an influence of the latter-day extremist movements on the minds of some of our uninformed young people via the Internet and other media sources.

Some young people by following these extremist ideas, based on their narrow views even announced the national values ​​a blasphemy and heresy.

The experience of developed countries shows clearly that development of modern science and technology is the foundation and most important term for social and political progress and improves the level and quality of life of the people.

Therefore, we need to pay special attention to the economic and technological progress of our country, to the development of science and education and personnel training and the maximum introduction of state-of-the-art technologies and equipment.

In this regard, it should be emphasized that religious institutions, along with religious education, have to also be engaged in the study of foreign languages, in the development of information technology and training of wide range of other professions.

I in this connection wish to draw your attention to another critical issue of society.

In the Muslim culture of the peoples of Central Asia, intelligent, pious and educated man is known as “Mullah” (religious cleric). However today, anyone who wears religious clothes, regardless of level of his literacy and piety, is known as “Mullah”.

As the point of clothing of religious leaders is concerned, I want to emphasize one point. I think the time has come to Imam Khatib of mosques, who bear a huge responsibility in the religious and moral education of the people to be an example and a model for behavior, appearance, and of course, in terms of education, knowledge, ethics and spirituality in society.

Today it has become a usual, that some of our mullahs, once reach this status commit such acts, which are considered an offense and a crime, defaming the name and status of a religious man and a Muslim.

For example, a crime was recently committed in Bokhtar district of Khatlon region by Abdurahmonov Jabbor known as “Mullo Jabbor” that he (Mullo Jabbor) misled the 7 young people, saying that he enchants law enforcement officers, and allegedly no one will know about the deeds committed by criminals.

As a result of several criminal offenses committed by this young astray people, who led by the mullah, have stolen a property of citizens in the amount of nearly 2 million somoni and perpetrators of the crime awarded Mullah in the amount of 200 thousand somoni as a reward.

A few years ago, 34 years-old Sobir Giyoev, resident of Vose’ district who is known as “Mullo Sobir” got married to a woman, and the years later marries to her under-age 12 years-old daughter who was 27 years younger than him, thus committing crime. An inquiry is now in progress on this crime. His wedding ritual (nikah) with under-age girl was conducted by imam-khatib of a mosque of Navobod village of Vose’ district Khujamov Qurbonnazar.    

Another case of committing shameful crimes by Haji in Rudaki district is that he fraudulently attracted underage in his home to drinking of alcohol, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, committed a gang rape of a Tajik woman. Chaste woman was disgraced as a result of this heinous act.

In February 2013, Ardaboev Sobir known as "Shaikh Sabir" (an active member of the IRPT) was detained in Rushan district, who together with a man convicted two times in the past, ferried 20 kg of drugs from Afghanistan to Tajikistan.

Another example, Ahrorov Mirghiyos - resident of Istaravshan - presented himself as a folk healer and during the fraudulent “treatment” committed lewd acts with respect to the sick woman, for which he was imprisoned under the Criminal Code.

Or, another resident of Istaravshan - Sultonov Dilshod also introduced himself as a religious doctor and made lewd acts with respect to the sick woman, who was 20 years younger than him. As a result of this act he was fined 18.000 somoni.

Citizen Ashurov Musayam - a resident of Rasht district was engaged in illegal underage training in unsanitary conditions in his apartment building in Dushanbe, chastised his student for academic failure by burning him with iron.

Or, Pardaev Sherali, resident of Yovon district a man convicted first for drug trafficking and drug-addiction, and second time for fraud, after being released from prison has become a Mullah in Vahdat and Faizabad district and introducing himself as a healer of many diseases, including treatment of blindness, impotence and etc. engaged in fortune-telling and witchcraft, and misappropriated a huge amount of people’s money, although he himself suffers of drug-addiction. 

In connection with the abovementioned matters, Committee on Religious Affairs and Islamic Centre of Tajikistan are obliged to pay serious attention to the purity of moral and spiritual aspect of religious leaders and at the same time to develop and adopt a model clothes for khatibs of mosques with an embodiment of the elements of national culture by the end of the year, and to establish skill-improvement and qualification courses for khatibs by involving religious scientists and scholars within the country and abroad.

Mullah in any case, if he is literate and pious, should not use religion for material gain and make religion a craft of his own life.

The Holy Qur'an clearly says that a model of true devotion to every Muslim, especially for leaders of mosques is the execution of the mission and religious precepts, the prayer in the name of Allah and the reward for it is also in the hands of the Creator.

The Almighty Allah in Surah Hud, verse 29 says: “And O my people! I do not ask you for it any wealth. My reward is not but from Allah. And I am not one to drive away those who have believed. Indeed, they will meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly”.

In Islam, to earn a living through honest work is the tradition of the prophets and the supreme example of following the great glory of piety.

Islam considers honest labor as the supreme principle and value. Most importantly, Islam associates honor, dignity and human generosity with labor, and encourages humanity to seeking a decent profession. The gift of God is associated with the desire of God's servants.

In Islam, one need to have a profession; only work provides a person's life, eliminates begging, makes people independent of each other and at the same time increases their collective strength, ability and might.

All the prophets and great religious leaders had any profession and craft, and lived off the honest labor. Prophet David during a meeting with a shoemaker said, “Oh, man! Work and eat, since God loves those who works and eats”. A great prophet, the messenger of Allah at the beginning was a shepherd, and then engaged in trade, and Imam A’zam was also a trader.

We know from the lives of these outstanding individuals, that they at the expense of their honest earnings and fair incomes have helped thousands of people in need.

The fact that Mavlono Yaqub Charkhi engaged in farming and Imam Ghazzoli taught at madrassas - each of them is the great school of hard work, purity and honesty in our days. Therefore, religious leaders must, along with getting religious knowledge, learn a certain craft to ensure a decent living.

Distinguished attendees!

Along with giving attention to the education of professions and crafts from the point of view of Islam, we should not forget that the Imam Khatibs of mosques in our country in the same row with different sectors of society play an important role in the spiritual and religious education of the people of Tajikistan.

The experience of Muslim countries historically recognizes and provides for their government's financial support.

In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and the Committee on Religious Affairs in cooperation with other relevant agencies are entrusted with a task to set formal wage for Imam Khatibs of mosques of the country from January 2014.

Imam Khatibs and religious scholars, above all, must themselves be an exemplary, regularly upgrade the level of their own knowledge, and advocate progress and development, be the initiators of the good and constructive actions for the prosperity of the motherland. For, as it is today, that is, in the era of space science and technology progress, we observe from the life in some Islamic countries, no nation can develop and improve the life of the people without studying the science and technology.

On the contrary, religious and spiritual people in each of their conversation and instruction need to encourage young people to observe good human morals, study science and knowledge, attain modern professions and crafts, learn foreign languages, enhance the sense of patriotism and promote an overall progress and prosperity of the country. It is part of their religious mission and is the human duty of religious clerics.

For, if our young people will as much is educated and enlightened, skilled and knowledgeable, our motherland will become prosperous and the state becomes powerful in future.

Likewise, it should be recalled, that Almighty Allah requires every Muslim, man and woman, to study science.

One of those close associates to the great prophet says: “The desire for science - is the worship, the repetition of science - is a prayer, teaching science to those need education – is a charity, to devote oneself to science – is closeness to God. Way to study science - is the way to heaven ... “.

Imam Ghazzoli in his book “Revival of the Religious Sciences” wrote: “What distinguishes a manind from animals - it is a science”.

In the beginning of the new century of the third millennium the world changes and humanity every day makes new discoveries, invents unmanned planes and cars, however we are focusing on what how turban should look like, how coat should be worn, as if there are no any other problems in the world.

We should not forget our past history, that smattering and ostentation have impeded the Muslim Ummah from progress, and prosperity, and made Muslim-inhabited countries vassals of other developed nations. Though, educated and trained Muslim has to be guided by an essence of divine teachings on studies, education, knowledge, protection of borders, and promotion of the homeland’s progress by means of inventions and discoveries.

We have to also recall that Islamic civilization has brought up dozens of great and outstanding scientists in mathematics, natural sciences, physics, astronomy and etc.

Moreover, we should not forget that the very first ayat the Almighty Allah has commanded to His messenger commences with the word “read”, “read in the name of your Lord who created the universe”.

In this regard, I recall and emphasize thoughts that I have suggested earlier, that the remnants of fanaticism, extremism and obscurantism are ignorance, and they only bring misery to the people of Tajikistan and nothing more.

The main reason for these negative factors is the illiteracy and remoteness from science. Therefore, referring to all religious leaders, scholars and Islamic clerics, I reiterate that do not interfere with the school-studies and science-learning of young boys and girls.

Furthermore, do not forget one important point: when the nation is illiterate, the society will be dominated by the darkness and the people will be in a state of ignorance. In this regard, do not forget the statement of the Prophet of Islam, who said: “Whoever is on the way and is looking for science, God prepares the way for him to Paradise”.

I therefore emphasize once again: do not impede the aspirations of young people for knowledge, do not break their fate for bright, enlightened future. If our young people do not acquire science and profession, who will run the state then and who will govern the development in future? Who will build the roads and power plants? Who will build factories? Who will make discoveries and inventions? Who will manage and promote education, health care, culture, industry, agriculture, and the whole state and public life?

I in this regard, would like to recall that, after the collective construction of mosques we should now build schools, hospitals, clinics, tunnels, roads and industrial enterprises, that is, we have to further our country’s development and improve the living standard of the people.

I seizing this opportunity, would like to draw your attention to one of the most important ethical issues an implementation of which is recognized by sacred religion of Islam and the other world religions and from the obligatory religious and humanity prescriptions of their followers. 

It is a matter of charity and support for those in need. Islam in line with its five pillars recognizes paying Zakat, and Sadaqah (charity) and Fitr (alms) of Ramadan to orphans and indigent people as one of its principals and third pillar.

The propertied Muslim must annually donate to the needy a certain part of his property as a sadaqah. However, payment of sadaqah and zakat for the poor is not obligatory.

The ayat 18 of Sura(h) al-Hadid with regard to preaching charity says: “Verily, those who give Sadaqat (i.e Zakat and alms), men and women, and lend Allah a goodly loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and theirs shall be an honorable good reward (i.e. Paradise)”.

However, in order to regulate sadaqah and donations, particularly to deliver donations of Muslims to indeed needy people, religious clerics, ullemas and employees of the country's mosques should be involved in learning and benefiting from the experience of other Islamic countries, to seek Shariah-compliant ways and means to guide people on the path of good deeds.

In this regard, it should be emphasized that the support of the needy, especially orphans being a religious duty, guardianship over orphans is honorable and good deed. Allah through his Prophet, to such trustees says: “Whoever custody of his/her own and another orphan, he and I, as well as these two, can be in paradise”.

The ayat 60 of At-Tawba sura(h) of the Holy Q’uran says, that sadaqah is only for the poor and the needy and for those employed for it and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. 

Prophetic hadiths have identified sadaqah for the poor, needy, orphans and the disabled.

Today there are 102,000 young orphans, 3,800 orphan children (has neither father nor mother) and 200,000 low-income families live in the country, that they all belong to the group, to whom giving sadaqah is defined by the Holy Qur’an.

I think it is right time that religious communities in cities and regions have to take drastic measures to revitalize the proper promotion of giving sadaqah (charity) and donations, and through generous and noble people take orphans, the disabled and low-income families under their guardianship.

With the view of promoting the right and purposeful use of sadaqah from religious points of view, Islamic Centre of Tajikistan, grand and regional mosques have to be attached to orphans, to the needy and poor families.

Special bank accounts have been opened in the name of orphans in all cities and regions. In this connection, it is necessary to ensure that charity and other financial donations and material aids are transferred to their bank accounts.  

Governors of regions, chairmen of cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, standing committees, the Committee on Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education, as well as khatibs of mosques and religious ulemas are obliged to jointly establish coherent cooperation and streamline financial support.

I would also like to recall that the agitation, propaganda and explanation of the population, especially young people and adolescents on healthy lifestyle, prevention of crime and violation of law, preclude of the people from dangerous ways, especially from drug abuse and other acts detrimental to the gene pool of the nation are also civil and professional duty of religious scholars and clerics.

Pilgrimage to Hajj is one of the main pillars of the holy religion of Islam. It should be noted that thanks to our national independence there has been provided all conditions for the worship of religious obligations, including pilgrimage to Hajj that more than six thousand citizens of our country annually visit the holy shrines of Islam. 

Along with this, it should be highlighted, that some people made the Hajj ritual as a mean of ostentation and smattering and without any reason commit Hajj more than five-six and even more times.

Judge yourself, what is the logic and what kind of substances does their action have? I think that if wealthy people instead of ostentation and smattering will help the orphans, disabled, indigent families and needy people or provide villages and streets with water, and build schools or classrooms or improve the roads, they will gain more blessings. Our great and outstanding ancestors said in this regard as follows: 

Win a heart, that it is like visiting the Hajj,

Since winning a heart, is better than thousand Kaaba.

Tajikistan respects the Hajj ritual as one of the five pillars of Islam and pays a special attention to this aspect, but it is necessary to observe its requirements and substances which were defined through the Shariat regulations. And [due] to Allah form the people is a pilgrimage to the Hajj – for whoever is able to find thereto a way, as it is said in ayat 97 of Ali-Imran Sura(h).

Unfortunately, we know many cases that despite their poor, and improper living conditions and their needy relatives, our citizens visit Hajj not once or twice, but many times.

Even, sick people for whom pilgrimage to Hajj is not necessary try by any means and ways commit this ritual.

Therefore, the Committee on Religious Affairs, Islamic Centre and scholars and religious leaders need to carry out explanatory activities in this direction to raise awareness of the people.

Distinguished audience,

Six years ago, in order to streamline some of the folk customs and traditions, to protect the material interests of citizens, increase the culture awareness in the organization of events and ceremonies, and to reduce poverty for the first time national law - the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On regulation of traditions, celebrations and ceremonies in the Republic of Tajikistan” was adopted in the country.

While time as the chief justice has proved that the adoption of such a fundamental law was timely and necessary initiative, contributed to addressing existing deficiencies and the elimination of difficulties people facing with, and protected the interests of the people of the country whilst the planet experiences globalization, continued harsh financial and economic crises, global warming, droughts and water scarcity, systematic increase in food prices and etc.

The correctness of our initiative was proved as some time after the adoption of the law, it became the subject of imitation and repetition in some countries.

We, as a social state aim to seek ways to address the challenges of the people, took advantage of the free atmosphere of civil society, and supporting the legislative right of the people in a democratic country, adopted such a law, which by essence is indeed national.

Historical experience shows that the attraction and fascination for pomp, self-promotion of individuals and groups have repeatedly laid a heavy burden on the shoulders of civilizations and states.

Therefore, religious, and literary and moral sources of civilized and progressive people, promoting savings and thrift for a better education of mankind, condemn profligacy and ostentation. All the heavenly books - the Holy Qur’an, the Gospels, the Torah and the Bible teach thrift and instruct humanity to a peaceful and orderly life.

It is said in the Holy Qur’an in ayat 185 of Sura(h) al-Baqarah: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship”, that means the Almighty Allah created you not to have a life of full of intricate and hardships.   

Great personalities and outstanding figures of our science and literature Rudaki, Firdausi, Ghazzoli, Sanoi, Attori, Saadi and Hafiz, Nosiri Khusrav and Mavlono Rumi, considering waste, excessive boasting, and pride for the material wealth as the negative acts, called modesty, good deeds, virtue and donations to those in need as the best humankind and faith acts.

As some time ago I have explicitly mentioned in my statement in Sughd region, according to the UN database, one out of every seven inhabitant in the world suffers hunger every day, and about 20 thousand children under the age of five die from lack of food or hunger daily. Now more than 1 billion of the world's population regularly suffers from hunger.

The Tajik government has chosen this path, based on past experience and taking into account the realities of life, that is, to eliminate abuse among the population and to ensure the present and future peaceful life in the country.

The national legislation of the country, first of all, has created favorable conditions for the conduct of rituals and ceremonials. Within a short span of time, marriage increased by 2 times, thousands of young men and women who because of lack of material conditions could not tie the nuptial knot, got marries and have built families.

Marriage which in 2005 and 2006 was reaching 50 thousand every year, this indicator in 2008 reached 107 thousand, and in the subsequent year exceeded 100,000.

Implementation of the law has also created favorable conditions for the accumulation of funds in the Banks throughout the country.

During the 6 years of an implementation of the law, monetary accumulation of people in banks increased by 20 times, people seized a tradition of taking loans from banks for weddings, the number of private vehicles over this period of time has increased manifold, and the use of information and mobile services increased by two times.

Citizens got the opportunity to improve living conditions, build houses, and decorate and well arrange their homes, and most of all, to invest in the education of their children.

In connection with the process of an implementation of the law, I want to emphasize one point. Compliance with national law mostly depends on the activities of religious leaders and scholars of the country. For, most of the funeral rites which are held in the form of remnants and waste, cannot take place without the participation of the clergy of the country.

The Holy Qur'an, counting the “spenders brothers of Satan”, forbids wasteful or unnecessary spending. Therefore, the governors of regions, chairmen of cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, and local committees, the Committee on Religious Affairs, the Standing Commissions on regulation of traditions, celebrations and ceremonies, Islamic Centre of Tajikistan, the Council of Ulema, the Imam Khatibs of mosques and religious scholars, as well as Attorney General's Office and law enforcement agencies need to systematically take measures to foster a culture of savings and frugality among the citizens and to take decisive actions against the perpetrators.

Distinguished audience!

At the beginning of the new century, the world community, along with many financial, economic and environmental challenges faced serious threats, including the continued growth of extremism, terrorism and transnational organized crime.

As you are aware from the media in recent years, Islamic countries in many cases, are mentioned as a cause of many challenges and threats.

In such circumstances, we must always be ready to protect the public from the adverse effects of any kind of threatening elements, to defend peace and stability, promote national unity, political stability and strengthen the security of the state and the people.

I am confident, that in such a sensitive situation, the sacred religion of Islam with its supreme values, as a unifying force of the nation and society, will serve, including in educating people in the spirit of tolerance, promote stability and peace. It will play an effective role in the upbringing of the young generation in the spirit of self-knowledge, national identity and patriotism.

At the same time, in the ever growing complexity of the situation in the region and the world at large, mission of the religious leaders consists of building on the national traditions of their ancestors and the teachings of the sacred religion of Islam and instruct society on the right path towards unity, mutual understanding, protection of the safety and stability of society, prosperity and development, and to notably contribute to the realization of lofty objectives of our independent state, its sustainable socio-economic development, improvement and progress of our beloved homeland, and not to be indifferent with regard to peace and stability in the society, development of the state and the nation.

The primary task of every leader and person concerned, active members of society in the country, especially governors of regions, cities and districts, heads of village and rural jamoats, local committees, parents, teachers and educators, scholars, writers and intellectuals in general, as well as religious leaders and every honest man is to systematically promote the supreme values ​​of our national and religious culture - the good and virtue, justice and honesty, nobility and generosity, support for orphans and the needy - among the population, not least among the young people.

All we have to, first of all, by being examples of patriotism, instructing the population to prosperity and progress of the motherland, to prevent the worship of strange and betrayal of national and state interests of Tajikistan, constantly feeling the sanctity of national and state interests be always vigilant and love our homeland.

We should not forget that the Almighty Allah has laid happiness of every people to him/her and the prosperity of each country on its people.

Every nation that is trained, knows, strive and work hard, will certainly develop and prosper, for the Holy Qur’an says: “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves”.

So, we need to change and improve our own nature referring to self-knowledge and patriotism.

I am convinced, that duly understanding these issues, all of you, dear those present, and all the glorious people of Tajikistan will further perform your sacred duty to strengthen national unity, reinforce the power of the state and facilitate the progress of society, and shall direct all your aspirations and efforts for the prosperity of Tajikistan.

In conclusion, I wish all the glorious people of Tajikistan good health and every success, and pray to the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth to forever protect the security and stability of our country, lasting peace and genuine the well-being of our society, the welfare of every citizen of our beloved homeland.

May the Almighty teach and guide all of us to the right path, preserve our country from disaster and grant an abundance of wealth to our region.

May the people of this country live in peace and harmony, may the Almighty Allah protect the young people and bestow His blessing on the life of our nation!

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