Jan 13 2022
Who are your favorite characters in history of Islam?
I love Ahlulbayt very much. Some other wonderful characters have also impressed me such as Imam Sayyid Musa al-Sadr, Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and Ibrahim Zakzaky.
Imam Musa al-Sadr had a charismatic character and not only Lebanese Muslims but also Lebanese Christians adored him. He made special efforts for Lebanon’s progress and Shiism promotion in Lebanon and his attractive lectures and statements in support of Lebanese Christians were so impressive. He stated “any bullet fired on Deir El Ahmar, Al Qaa and Shelifa (Lebanon’s Christian areas), it is as it has been fired to my house, my children and my heart. Whoever makes effort to put an end to the war in Lebanon it is as he has quenched the fire from my house and my pulpit “.
I believe that Imam Musa al-Sadr was one of the best role models for Shias. He was a scholar with high manners and a brilliant politician who implemented not only religious solutions but also political ones to resolve Lebanon’s crisis.
I also love Imam Khomeini and am proud of him. As one of my friends says, Imam Khomeini reached a goal that even some prophets didn’t manage to reach. This sentence is not kufr (the denial of the truth). It is the truth. Imam Khomeini showed the power of Tavakkul (relying upon God) to the world.
Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was a grand scholar too. One of his books titled “our economy” is attractive to me. By reading this book I figured out that Shias ideology in economics is the best and the rightest. I really wish that someday we can implement the economic ideas explained in this book in real world. But unfortunately, only the first volume of this book is translated into Russian. There is also another book titled “our philosophy” by Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr which proves the existence of God and I have heard that even Christians use the arguments advanced in this book to prove God’s existence. I hope I can learn Arabic to be able to read it.
Another impressive figure is Ibrahim Zakzaky who managed to invite 20 million Muslims to Shiism in Nigeria but unfortunately, he and many persons similar to him are too oppressed in our world. One of my biggest wishes is visiting him even for once to know what he did to reach this achievement.
In history of Islam I like two figures: Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and Zayd ibn Ali who both fought the oppression and were martyred.
What other Islamic books have you read?
The first one is Quran. I have also read ‘Nahj al-Balagha (a collection of Imam Ali’s lectures and quotes) ’, ‘knowing Shiism’ by Ayatollah Makarem, ‘Islamic morals’, ‘Al-Kāfī’, ‘ Tawhid’, ‘Ghaibah’, ‘Knowing Islamic sciences: philosophy – kalam’, ‘Irfaan’, ‘Stories of the Prophets’, ‘The ideologies: principles of Islam’ by Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi. ‘Our economy’ volume 1, ‘Money in Islamic economy’, ‘Islamic insurance’, ‘Prophet of Islam’s character’.
What was your family and friends’ reaction after your conversion to Islam?
At first my family didn’t accept my decision and I talked with them over and over again. Gradually we started putting up with each other.
After my conversion, my friendship with some of my friends was over and now I’m in touch with a few others via internet. Some of my friends thought I had been brainwashed or deceived which was so strange to me for they knew how much I did researches on various religions and how much I studied. In university my classmates asked me why I embraced Islam and after I explained to them they didn’t ask anything else. The reason of their silence is that Russian youths are not that interested in religion.
How the growth of Islam in Russia is and what opinion do Russians have towards Islam?
The spread of pure Shia Islam in Russia is too weak and Muslims living in Russia are mostly from Azerbaijan and The Republic of Dagestan who are limited in number.
There is an institution in Moscow named “Islamic culture research foundation” which translates the Islamic books from Farsi to Russian with the cooperation of Sadra publication. There is also the Agency of Al-Mustafa International University which I have no knowledge of its activities exactly.
In my city Saint Petersburg, there used to be three Hussainiyas, but two of them were closed for various reasons and only one is remained. Even this remained Hussainiya works in Azeri language which is a serious problem for Russian youths who don’t understand Azeri. That’s why the population of Russian Shias is too low. For example, in my city Saint Petersburg there are 10 Shias approximately or maybe more and of course some of them are Russian girls who married Azeri men.
The other problem is that Azerbaijan was a part of Soviet Union before and religion used to collapse there. Of course, currently religion is growing more but people must do researches themselves and invitation to pure Islam is not satisfactory.
There are several groups working on the internet to preach Islam but some of them proselytize deviant thoughts such as secular Islam and other deviance. There are also some websites and good Iranian ones like Ayatollah Makarem’s website which is so useful and I appreciate him for that. But in general, good websites are limited.
In Russia there has been the invitation to Islam for so long which was mostly done by Wahhabis who share their beliefs and books on the net. The other problem is that most Sunni clerics living in Russia have been educated in Saudi Arabia and have Wahhabi ideology. Shias are limited in number in Russia nevertheless Shia clerics make a special effort. In Russia there are Shia families whose children are so talented and interested but their parents are not that religious. They tell their children to go to the mosque and find the answer of their religious questions there. When the children attend the mosque they face various sects with different beliefs and become confused. Recently a new cult named Ibn Sa’aba has emerged whose followers insult prophet’s companions, commit self-harm in mourning ceremonies and worship Ali as their God. Sunnis see the wrong behaviors of this cult and consider it as Shia whereas they are not Shia. Once someone asked me on the net “who Shias are? I’m told not to talk to Shias for they are liars and may bewilder me.” There was also another guy misinformed about Shiism. He came to our mosque, did research himself and became Shia.
In general, when someone attends our mosque and shows his incentive to learn about Islam and Shia, our cleric recommends him to study and find the truth himself.
The other distressing issue is introducing Islam by impolite and rude people who have forgotten the behavior of Prophet Muhammad and don’t pay attention to the moral aspects of Islam. When someone introduces himself as a Muslim, people focus on his wrong works and bad temper and attribute it to Islam. Isis members do the same and people don’t realize that real Islam is not like this.
Have you done anything to invite to Islam so far? And if yes what experiences and recommendations you have?
Yes, I am a member in a group working to introduce and prove ‘Wilayat al-Faqih’ (The Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, also called the Governance of the Jurist) and translating the hadiths (narrations) and video clips into Farsi and English.
I myself used to have debates with Christians, Wahhabis and Sunnis but gradually I understood that such debates were pointless for each party of the debate tries to persuade the other one and doesn’t pay attention to his arguments and reasons. For instance, once I talked to a Wahhabi and before starting the debate, I told him that I couldn’t speak Arabic. So, he used my weak point as an excuse to reject my reasons and whenever I sent him the evidence, he said the translation was not correct. Even I took an example from his own website but he refused to accept it and just intended to deceive me. I also had a debate with a Sufi whom I told I couldn’t speak Arabic (of course I knew the Arabic alphabet). He insisted on saying that the word “Shia” was not expressed in Quran and since I knew the Arabic letters, I showed him the verse in which the word Shia was mentioned: (37:83) and (28:15). He didn’t accept it and left the chat room angrily.
In my opinion when somebody asks us about Islam and Shiism and really looks for the truth, he can finally achieve it but the one who only intends to win in a debate won’t reach the truth anymore.
I have learned from several hadiths that our own studying and making progress is more important than the pointless debates and I believe that good-tempered, politeness and political unity recommended by Prophet Muhammad and Ahlulbayt are so considerable. We must attend the congregational prayer and be kind to the people to let them be acquainted with our beliefs and attitudes. We must also study hard and do our best to learn our religious issues for we need to learn and increase our knowledge in every step in our life and do each work in the best manner we can. This is how people can realize that for example Muslims are the best in chemistry, politics and soccer and they are honest and good-tempered.
All Muslims should take action to make Islam associated with progress and development and I believe this is the best way to proselytize Islam.
Alhamdulillah. May God bless you and keep you strong and firm on this true path.
Thank you very much for your attention.