Chingiz Guseynov: "I profess an Abrahamic religion..."

27 February 2013 - 3:37pm

Author: Interview by Petr Lyukimson, Israel, exclusively to VK


Continuation. See "Chingiz Guseynov on Akram Aylisli's novel"

VK publishes the second part of the interview by Chingiz Huseynov, in which the writer speaks of his attitude to religion, arguing that he appreciates all three religions based on the belief in one God. Guseynov calls Judaism, Christianity and Islam the three branches of the great faith that make up world civilization.

- What inspired you in the last few years to get interested in the image of the Prophet Muhammad?

- You know, my grandmother was a very religious Muslim; she fervently prayed and tried to keep all the commandments of Islam. The names of all of my brothers started with "Ali": Ali Akbar, Ali Ikram, and I myself was named Ali Islam, but the name was replaced under pressure from neighbors to Chingiz. On the one hand, from my childhood I was familiar with Islam, but on the other hand, like many people of my generation, I have long been far from religion. But I was personally insulted by a few things that happened in the late 1980-1990's. The first time was when Aitmatov put Christianity above Islam, the second - when the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict started, and there were voices that "barbarian Muslims" were destroying "progressive Christians." And then I decided to apply to the image of Muhammad. I began to write - and stopped. I stopped in order to arrange the verses of the Koran not in the order in which they appear in the canonical Koran but chronologically. I did this in order to see how the phenomenon of prophecy developed over time. Of course I did not change the text, but in the end I got a different book, a completely different concept.

- In what way?

- It became clear that the basic meaning of the Koran is that it was given to us to confirm, not to refute, not to abolish the truth Scriptures, the Torah and the Gospel. That is, the Koran does not conflict with the books of Judaism and Christianity. Moreover, all the books are given by the Almighty, or are addressed to all who believe in Him, the One! This is the greatest idea!

- But there is nothing new, this is common knowledge!

- Not at all. Many modern Islamic scholars believe that the Koran overrides the other Scriptures, is the only true one, last, final, and the books used by Jews and Christians are fraudulent. Meanwhile, when the Koran is called "the last holy book", the point is the time when it was given. Who knows - maybe He will send us a new prophet, and give us a new book? But this is only the beginning.

Then there is the very important question, the answer to which defines all the subsequent replies: "Which language can be considered as the language of the Koran?" From the text it is clear that this is thelanguage of Allah, but that does not mean that it was the Arabic language. God only chose an Arab to be His prophet, and the prophet is different from ordinary people because he can hear and recognize the "signs of God." Muhammad thus acts as a kind of translator of the "language of God", "signs of God" to the Arabic language clear to him and his fellow tribesmen. And this view is a big difference. The Koran, for example, refers to all believers in the one God as Muslims. But this only means that all believers in God are called Muslims in Arabic, and not the fact that all true believers should be Muslims - in other languages they may be called differently. I called this "linguistic trap". But it is - just one of many moments I discovered through the study of the Koran, the special theme for the special conversation.

- Chingiz Gasanovich, sorry for the direct question: Do you consider yourself a Muslim?

- I profess the Abrahamic religion. All three religions are based on a belief in God, which was revealed to Abraham - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all three branches of this great faith that constitute human civilization, are close to me, not rejecting, by the way, Buddhism. The difference between them is only rituals. Rituals are called the very essence, and people forget about their entire human nature, their ethical core.

- Islamic scholars have criticized you for such edition of the Koran...

- I was criticized, but not in substance. And, in fact, they could not find my fault here. Again, I have not changed a word in the Koran. The only thing that I have done, except for setting up the verses in chronological order, is finding and isolating two verses, which previously had been hidden: "Musa" ("Moses") and "Jesus" ("Jesus"). I proceeded from the fact that if there are verses named after the protagonists of the Holy Books, such as "Ibrahim" or "Nuh-Noah," how can there not be verses on two central subjects, Moses and Jesus? And many years later, I read in the work by one of the medieval Arab philosophers that in the original version of the Quran there were verses "Musa" and "Jesus." That is, acting on a hunch, I was right. The problem, then, is that in the modern Islamic and, above all, in the Arab world, there is a strong distortion of the ideas of the Koran, even tampering in favor of political and other largely secondary interests. But, so to speak, the pure Islam, if it is based on an unbiased interpretation of the Koran, is definitely a humanistic religion, promoting all the same human values. We must condemn the crimes that sometimes Muslims commit in the name of Islam, distorting the Koran, but you cannot blame Islam as a religion, which often occurs in recent years.


Moreover, one should distinguish the prophet Muhammad, through whom the Koran was given, from Mohammed-man who expresses his ideas and his vision of the world in the Hadith. Unfortunately, during the reign of Caliph Omar the Hadith was virtually elevated to the rank of the Koran, and it was the greatest mistake. As a result, the system of Islamic Sharia law was built in a small degree on the basis of the Koran and more basing on the sayings and deeds of Muhammad-man: his prophecy is in the fact that God told him to repeat His words that "there is no compulsion in faith" that monotheistic religions "must compete with one another in doing good ..." that is all that is included in the text of the Koran. And outside of the Koran there is no Islam. This is its essence: it is sent to all those who believe in one God.

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