Value Influence Of Islam On Secular Education Of Russia And Dagestan


Education and religion have a common cultural basis in intersecting values, historically developing, mutually enriching and complementary to each other. At the same time, we are talking not only about the general sphere of their content – morality, but also about a wide range of cultural values – customs, traditions, all kinds of aesthetic, ethical, legal and other norms. We understand secular education as not just a secularized education under the jurisdiction of the state, but mainly the absence of religious doctrine in the science-based content of the educational process. The article considers the influence of Islamic values on it in the history of Russia and Dagestan. Despite the ambiguity of the Quran’s ayah and hadith, Islam reinterprets not only moral virtues – piety, modesty, generosity, freedom, truthfulness, friendship, justice, etc. But it gives a new meaning to such spiritual and cognitive abilities of a person as willpower, observation, insight, imagination, intuition and emotional-ecstatic confidence. Today they are considered as components of value rationality in science and education.

Keywords: Dagestansecular educationreligious education


Many scientists write today about the need to preserve and actively engage the cultural potential of the nation in public life. There is a special hope for the education’s means, which should indicate the active role of the state, involving civil society institutions for the implementation of the progressive movement of humanitarian values (Gaiazov, 2017). The religious component in the system of these values is important, its influence on modern education and on the upbringing and learning of people through it.

Problem Statement

Statement of the problem on the influence of religion on modern education. Based on the etymology, which appears as an expression form of the concept essence of education, the researchers note that

a man by nature is primarily a person, spiritually and morally changeable, and therefore, unlike other creatures, can acquire a different image: both a person and the beast. Education referred to the image creation, a certain orderliness, the organization of something that had not previously had the proper form, that was deformed (Morozov, Vodenko, & Sharkov, 2015, p. 109).

Thus, the perceived education highlights the raising of the personality to a decent spiritual and moral level. Only then it involves the solution of the technological problem of the pedagogical process — the acquisition of competent knowledge and skills for practical activities.

Research Questions

Analysis of achievements in the sphere of influence of religion on education. The history of interrelations of education and religion passed through a stage of their fundamental connection. In ancient Greek culture, education is permeated by faith in numerous gods. In Europe, this stage preceded the Renaissance, one and a half thousand years functioning in the Christian religion. In Russia, the secularization of education began in the 18th century, and from the beginning of the 19th century in the Dagestan there were state secular schools, functioning along with religious schools. This policy was due to the accession of Dagestan to Russia, in which the experience of European secular education had already been accumulated. It is clear that the Russian Empire sought to create a single educational space in which Dagestan gained much more than it lost. Therefore, we cannot agree with the opinion that some researchers qualify the "decisive steps of the Soviet government" in the field of education as the elimination of "the cultural heritage accumulated over centuries, rooted in the Arabic-speaking culture of the Islamic world". Moreover, we cannot agree that "the Soviet government, so zealously destroyed the prevailing educational environment of Dagestan, no less vigorously undertook the formation of a new space, based on the Russian language and Russian culture" (Ramazanov & Magomedov, 2017, p. 141). The goal of Russia's educational policy was dictated by the emerging geopolitical situation in the region. As well as, it was dictated by Dagestan's conclusion to world culture through Russian and advanced European culture, and there was no reason to see malice in this policy.

Purpose of the Study

The influence of religion, Islam in Dagestan and the North Caucasus region on secular education in the new conditions of globalization and information society has changed qualitatively. In this article, the main goal is to understand these changes. We understand secular education as not just a secularized education under the jurisdiction of the state, non-church organizational and legal form of the institution, but mainly the absence of religious doctrine in the science-based content of the educational process. The theoretical, methodological and ideological content of secular education is based on science. Being the main way of accumulating and assimilating the next generation of cultural values (customs, traditions, aesthetic, ethical, legal and other norms), education before its separation from the church, and then, having acquired a secular character, genetically carried general religious traces, including Islamic cults. And it also experienced their daily impact on mastering the essence of these values. Purpose of the study is a consideration of particular secular values influenced by Islam.

Research Methods

But even in a secular society, secular education in its ideological and educational functions is based on values and moral norms of religious origin. The 20th century, with its call for the revival of religion and national culture in its last quarter and on the threshold of the 21st century, exposed the value deficit of extremely liberal secular education in the West. Whether secular education can be effective without religion is an unanswered question. Its study implies the development of this work’s ideas, perhaps they should form the basis of the methodology for considering the issue.


Presentation of the main research material. The historical digression shows that Islam (as well as other world religions) brought value meanings beyond the borders of tribes, clans and ethnic groups, uniting them into wider historical communities. Thus, researchers note traces of common cultural values among the peoples of the Caucasus since the time of pagan cults. The famous Dagestan historian Gasanov (2012) writes that "numerous facts point to the proximity of the godless and Promethean motives of the Caucasian peoples, generated by clashes of different religious dogmas" (p. 115).

The cultural-forming function of Islam in Dagestan was realized mainly through education. But as the Muslim religion contributes to the formation of true morality, it is born inside the human being. The true morality follows on from meditation, but never from blind faith in a certain teaching and implements a conscious influence on the acquisition of secular knowledge of scientific content? Ibragim (2007) draws attention to the ambiguity of many statements of the Quran and hadith, in which it is important to understand the true attitude to knowledge and science. "Symbols and metaphors reflect the fact that the Quranic revelations have two planes or aspects (external (literal) and internal), oriented to the general public and the enlightened elite". He calls for a serious assessment of the real and sincere attitude of Islam to the study and knowledge of nature and society by people. "In many passages, the Quran encourages people to reflect on the harmony and beauty prevailing in the world. As if a refrain in the Scripture are expressions such as "meditate", "edify", "delve into", "do they really not understand", "for people who understand", etc." (p. 143).

In our opinion, this call of the Quran is quite convincingly implemented by the methodological guidelines of the mystical branch of Muslim dogma – Sufism, traditional for the peoples of the North Caucasus Islam. According to Sufism, knowledge begins with Sharia (knowledge of the Quran’s basics, the history and morality of Islam, prayers, learning the Arabic language, etc.). The next stage is tariqa, it involves individual diligence aimed at moral self-improvement at the same time. In Hakikat, as a result of trials, exhausting doubts and inner despair, the Sufi gains a special "iman" faith and true confidence. Tariqas, including the North Caucasus, developed and cultivated a real system of Sufi way of self-improvement and knowledge with its own methods of learning. These include the method of psychotechnics, methods of physical, ascetic, spiritual and religious exercises and practices (solitude, fasts of different duration, quiet and loud zikr, joy), as well as its ritual of receiving and initiation, the regulation of lifestyle and behavior (Bilalov, 2012, 2016). But those who do not know the essence of Islamic attitudes to knowledge and education are not able to assess the true requirement of this dogma to knowledge. "In the first stage, Muslims who diligently observe Sharia letters usually become in their blind faith either very fanatical or very depressed people. Knowledge of Sharia, Quran, Hadith or other dogmas of Islam and teaching" (Vildanov, 2016, p. 157).

Analyzing the treatise of the scientist and Islamic theologian Abu al-Faraj ad-Derbendi "Basil of truths and garden of delicacy", the famous researcher of Sufism Akaev (2011) draws attention to the most basic function of medieval education and science (in the view of the Muslim theologian): "gained knowledge but did not act on it", "little benefit from those who have not studied, and from those who do not seek to be gentle and patient". Ad-Derbendi endows the "people of truth" with moral foundations, etiquette, courtesy, willpower, sincerity in deeds, justice, abstinence from vices and piety. Moreover, he endows the people with modesty, humility, freedom, generosity and magnanimity, observation, compassion, silence, truthfulness and sincerity, fellowship, friendship, chivalry, resistance to carnal whims and many other virtues. The Dagestan theologian in these reasonings realizes the religious function of Sufism on reinterpretation, reexamination of historical-ethnic meanings of many human virtues.

Special emphasis in Islam is placed on the interpretation of the most important virtue for a person – justice. "When you judge people, decisions must be made with justice" (Quran, 1999). Kafarov (2016) notes the beneficial influence on the moral behavior of the ancestors of Dagestanis of the Islamic comprehension universal human ethical principle "in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" – golden rule of morality. "According to Kant, the source of genuine justice is a categorical imperative, in the formula of which the idea of human equality and inherent worth of the human person was expressed" (Ramazanova, 2013, p. 307).

The Islamic interpretation of justice, which is the most important social and moral regulator and guideline in the people’s life and the most detailed developed in the Quran, turned out to be very significant for the emerging ethnic groups of Dagestan (Kafarov, 2016). The Sharia requirement to "judge fairly" encompasses material relations, retribution for the dead, attitude to faith, etc. In this regard, we can assume that such views are consistent with the modern scientific interpretations of the concept of justice. According to which "justice as a concept and a phenomenon should be considered through the prism of the all spheres’ unity of social life (material (economic), social, political, legal and spiritual)" (Ismailov, 2014, p. 111).

Sufi doctrines give new meaning to such spiritual and cognitive abilities of a person as willpower, observation, insight, imagination, intuition, emotional-ecstatic confidence. Today they are considered in science and education as components of value rationality. Kafarov (2016) draws attention to the surge of education in medieval Dagestan due to the "renaissance" of the Arab-Muslim culture in general, and Islam, in particular, which is associated with the book’s cult in the region. "The deep educational traditions of the peoples of Dagestan can serve as a factor of moral rehabilitation of education in the conditions of increasing demand for knowledge in modern society" (p. 212).

Another important lesson for modern secular education is the traditional form of dialogue between Murid and Murshid for Sufi education, which widely uses mediative practices, non-verbal types of communication, polysemantics of the text, etc. (Kirillov, 2014). There is something to borrow from this communication. Russian education essentially lost trusting and respectful relations between teacher and student. "The important principle of communication between the tutor and tutee, lecturer and student, teacher and pupil is the deep mutual respect, the spirit of mutual attraction" (Avdulov, 2012, p. 70), which we emphasize, is accumulated in Islamic religious education.

Secular education does not remain in debt in recognizing the religion’s values nowadays. Paying tribute to the fundamental principles of religion, favorable to the natural science and humanitarian knowledge of non-religious origin, it makes significant compromises on implementation of modular courses "Spiritual and moral culture of the peoples of Russia" (in primary and secondary schools) in the educational process of state educational institutions in recent decades. Theological specialties are being opened in a number of universities, on the basis of the secular approach the history of religions is studied in the form of special courses, diploma and final qualifying works, etc. To some extent, it can be argued that secular education follows the religion’s dogmas. "One of the moral imperatives enshrined in Hadith is the principle that religious and secular knowledge should contribute to the purification of the soul, the improvement of the personality and benefit in improving people's lives" (Kushakov, 2001, p. 208). This seems to be positively perceived by modern Muslims. Thus, according to sociological studies of the famous Dagestan sociologist Abdulagatov (2012) "In Islamic educational institutions of Dagestan, where knowledge is mainly given on the basis of the Sufism’s positions, the traditional opposition to Salafism, believing youth are more inclined to recognize peaceful coexistence of religious and secular" (p.62).

Today in Dagestan and other Muslim regions of Russia, not only believers, but also government officials are inclined to take the spiritual education of young people into the control of Islam. There are several reasons for this misconception. The spiritual leader of the followers of Tibetan Buddhism, Nobel Laureate Dalai Lama XIV draws attention to one reason:

And since ethical and human values have been and still remain in the conduct of religion, it turned out that this aspect of education was included in religious education. This worked well until the influence of religion began to diminish. The need remained, but not satisfied. (Tenzin, 2005, p. 157)

World-famous Buddhist monk offers unexpected recommendations for a religious leader: "in order to awaken young people’s consciousness to the importance of basic human values, it is better not to present him with social problems purely as ethical matter or religious matter" (Tenzin, 2005, p. 184). Keligov (2019) draws attention to the inconsistency of religion.

Along with the rich spiritual potential, which affirms in the minds and souls of people the ideas and values of unity, mercy, compassion, love, etc., it contains ideas and values incompatible with humanistic norms and commandments (intolerance to gentiles or non-believers in God, aggressiveness, cruelty, immorality, fanaticism. (p. 98)

This should be remembered in modern Dagestan education. Because "a growing wave of violence in the world often fuels conflicts between ethnic, religious, linguistic and other groups. It also leads to the growth of xenophobia and aggressive nationalism, religious manifestations of fanaticism and fundamentalism" (Zalibekova, 2018, p. 113).


What are our conclusions? Education and religion form the culture’s core, they interact in its structure not only in the sphere of a moral-value-worldview core, but in a wider aspect of the person’s spiritual formation. One of the ways to realize the cultural conditionality of education is its function as vehicle for religious ideas and spiritual education of the young generation. The history of interrelations of education and religion passed through a stage of their fundamental connection, when education and upbringing were carried out within the framework of religion. We find a significant enrichment not only of moral virtues, but also of spiritual and cognitive abilities of person in Sufi philosophy. It is a philosophy of traditional Islam for Dagestan, although there are difficulties in understanding even the faithful Muslims of the true role of Islam in human cognition.


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