Legal status of Muslim clergy in the Tobolsk province at the end of 18th beginning of the 20th century

Mavlyutova G.Sh. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


              page 175183


The establishment of the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly at the end of the 18th century marked a new stage in the relationship between the state and the Islamic community in the Russian Empire. The state took ano-ther step towards the implementation of such a key principle in its confessional policy, as the state control over all religious institutions in the country. During the period under study, the government regulated the procedure for the occupation of Muslim religious positions by having delegated the right of conducting clergy exams to the Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly. However, in the first third of the 19th century, a part of the Muslim clergy in the Tobolsk province fulfilled their duties without passing such exams, acting on the basis of the customary law norms. In later periods, only single cases of the violation of the official procedure for the occupation of Muslim clergy positions were recorded. During the 19th early 20th centuries, the government tightened the requirements for candidates for the positions of Muslim clerics and the procedure for their appointment by introducing restrictions in terms of age, education, knowledge of the Russian language, etc. The involvement of Islamic institutions in the system of administrative management in the Russian Empire was also carried out by delegating some state functions, such as civil registration, notary service and court procedures, to the Islamic clergy. At the same time, Islamic spiritual officials who served in the parishes did not receive any state allowance and were not exempted from paying their duties. They were allowed to get a tax benefit at the initiative of their communities; however, parishioners were frequently unable to take on the maintenance of their clergy due to a poor economic situation in the Tobolsk province. The Muslim clergy in the Tobolsk province, similar to all Muslims, were exempted from military service. This provision gave them equal rights with other members of the parish, although distinguishing them from their colleagues in the Orenburg district. For the latter, exemption from the state military service was a privilege. In the case of committing offenses, the Muslim clergy were subject to penalties and were to face Islamic or secular trial. In 1850, they received exemption from corporal punishment. By the nature of their professional activities, the Muslim clergy in the Tobolsk province constituted a specific social group endowed with certain privileges from the state.

Key words: Islam, Tobolsk province, Muslim clergy, Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly, legal status, Tatars, Bokharan.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-43-4-175-183




G.Sh. Mavlyutova

Tyumen State University, Volodarsky st., 6, Tyumen, 625003, Russian Federation