Отчет главы Духовного управления мусульман Средней Азии ишана Бабахана "Моя поездка в Мекку в 1945 году" Report by Mufti Ishan Babakhan Abdulmajidkhanov, Head of the Muslim Religious Directorate of Central Asia and Kazakhstan "My trip to Mecca in 1945"




 For informational purposes


Mufti Ishan Babakhan Abdulmajidkhanov

Head, Muslim Religious Directorate of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

My trip to Mecca in 1945.

Last month, Dhu’l-Hijjah, I was honored for the second time in my life to make a blessed hajj. I traveled to the holy places together with many venerable Muslims who live in various cities of Central Asia.

As a result of the difficulties during the days when the world war unleashed by the enemies of peace, Germany and Japan, ended just recently, a lack of sufficient funds among certain believers who expressed a desire to go to Mecca prevented the Religious Directorate from satisfying all the petitions that it received for assistance in traveling to Mecca in 1945. It was decided that in addition to me, my son Ziauddin Babakhanov, the kazi of Uzbekistan, would go from Tashkent; mullah Salikh Babakalanov, the kazi of Tadzhikistan, from Stalinabad; Basherkhon Iskhaki, a member of the Religious Directorate for Tadzhikistan, from Leningrad; Muhammad Sharif Tuganbaev, the kazi of Kazakhstan, from Alma-Ata; Ali Khodzha Yusuf Akhmedov, a sheikh at the mausoleum of Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, from Bairam; and the Muslim Ali Mukhamed Badreddin from the town of Chalkar in Kazakhstan.

We spent the days before our departure in prayer and fasting and in thoughts about our upcoming journey to the shrine of Allah the Powerful, Glorious One. By 15 October all of the travelers were at the last assembly in Tashkent. Just before the departure on 23 October, a joint prayer was held at the Tilla-Sheikh Mosque in Tashkent.



More than 2,000 Muslims gathered to say a prayer for us to have a good trip and to see us off.

Despite the late hour of the train’s departure, a great many Muslims saw us off at the train station. All of us pilgrims were provided with places in the first-class sleeping cars. The 3,000-kilometer trip from Tashkent to the first stop in our journey, the city of Moscow, was, thanks to the comforts that were provided to us, easy and pleasant. We all watched with interest through as the landscapes changed outside the window of the carriage. Our train crossed the sun-scorched sandy deserts of Central Asia, which were then supplanted by the limitless expanses of the Volga steppe, which in turn gave way to the wonderful, evergreen, coniferous forests of the central part of the USSR.

In our journey to the holy place we chose the route via Moscow, even though it is longer than if we had traveled directly south, because each of us wanted to visit the capital of our homeland, the city where the great Stalin lives and works, the true friend of Muslims who rescued us from the horrors that would have awaited us if, God forbid, the Fascists had managed to accomplish their diabolical plans.

Personally, I was already visiting Moscow for the second time, and yet I was very excited as we approached that remarkable city, which year after year becomes more and more beautiful. If I was overcome with such feelings, it is easy to imagine the emotions of my traveling companions who were going to see Moscow for the first time.

We arrived in Moscow at the Kazansky Rail Terminal, one of the numerous rail terminals in that giant city: on the platform, a large group of Muslims who reside in Moscow had gathered to wait for us, headed by Khalilulrakhmon Nasretdinov, the imam of the Moscow Mosque.



The esteemed imam invited us to visit him at home. He received us very cordially and warmly.

Moscow made a huge impression on us. The Moscow Mosque, which is on 4th Meshchanskaia Ulitsa and accommodates more than 1,000 worshippers, is beautiful. My traveling companions and I visited the mosque several times. One of the days of our stay in Moscow fell on a Friday, and that day we had a meeting at the mosque with Moscow Muslims.

I had an opportunity in Moscow to meet with Mufti Abdurakhman Rasulov, the head of the Muslim Religious Directorate of the RSFSR, who was there at the time but whose permanent residence is in Ufa, the capital of the Bashkir Republic. I spoke with him in detail about matters concerning the life of Muslims in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

My companions and I spent the hours between prayers, and when we had no work, looking around Moscow. We visited the Moscow metro, one of the greatest construction achievements of our age, built during the years of Stalin’s five-year plans and expanded during the war. We also visited the Lenin Museum, where one of the world’s richest collections of ancient manuscripts has been assembled and is carefully stored.

In Moscow we joined a large group of pilgrims who were also headed for Mecca from various republics of the Soviet Union. Before our departure from Moscow, I. Poliansky, the chairman of the Council for Affairs of Religious Cults under the USSR Council of People’s Commissars, gave a luncheon in our honor. Besides the members of the Council and the pilgrims, the most venerable Moscow Muslims were invited to the luncheon.



For the part of our trip from Moscow, our visit to which none of us will forget, we pilgrims were provided with a special, comfortable multiseat airplane. A few hours later, we landed in Baku, the capital of Azerbaidzhan SSR. In Baku, we were also met by a large group of Muslims, headed by Ali Zade, the Sheikh-ul-Islam of Azerbaidzhan, and Abdurakhim Akhun, the kazi of Azerbaidzhan.

We spent two days in Baku, and then got back in the plane provided to us and flew to Tehran, the capital of Iran. This was the first city outside our homeland where we made a stop. We did not encounter any difficulties, however, since representatives of our homeland took care of us on foreign soil as well.  We were met already at the airport by an employee of the Soviet Embassy in the country. He informed us that rooms had been booked in advance for us at the Park Hotel, one of the best hotels in Tehran, which was in the very center of the city on Shah Reza Street. We were also met at the airport by Maleiry, the Sheikh-ul-Islam of Iran.

In Tehran, where we spent a day and a half, a large group of foreign journalists came to see me and literally showered me, as the head of the Muslim Religious Directorate of Central Asia and Kazakhstan, with the most diverse questions.

The questions that the journalists posed to me show that people abroad have a very poor, at times even prejudiced conception of the true conditions of the life of Muslims in the Soviet Union. In certain questions one could sense the echoes of all kinds of gossip and mendacious fabrications that our enemies spread about the USSR.

I had to respond in detail to the questions and explain that Muslims in the Soviet Union enjoy



complete freedom in performing religious rituals, and used the example of the famous old Muslim monuments of Central Asia to show the concern that the Soviet government displays over the preservation and maintenance of the monuments of old Muslim architecture. I pointed out that just for the restoration of the world-famous, ancient mosques of Samarkand, where such world-famous monuments of Muslim architecture as the Ulugbek madrassa, the Tilla-kar madrassa, the mausoleum of Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Shah-i-zenda and others are concentrated and, due to a lack of measures to preserve them had fallen into decay under tsarism, the Soviet government had allocated several million rubles.

The best proof of the freedom that Muslims in the Soviet Union have in performing their religious rituals is the very fact of our journey to Mecca and the assistance that we have received from government organizations of the USSR in our implementation of this sacred project.

The day after arriving in Tehran, we were already flying on to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. The airport in Baghdad is situated far from the city and therefore we did not go to the capital itself, but immediately continued our trip.

Our next stop was Cairo, where we spent two days. In Cairo we abandoned our usual attire and dressed in the ihram clothing of pilgrims. Despite the late time of year, the weather was warm and mild. The closer we got to the holy places, the more Muslims we saw flowing from all the world’s countries and, like us, making the blessed hajj.



From Cairo we headed for Jiddah, again by plane. Here we were already close to the lands where the blessed feet of the prophet once trod – may Allah bless and preserve him.

In Jiddah we got into a car, which in an hour and a half delivered us to holy Mecca – our destination. We arrived in Mecca late at night, before the dawn heralding the day of 14 November. We immediately performed the Tawaf, and then, after drinking water from the Zamzam Well, also performed the Sa’y of Safa and Marwa. I was tired, I am already 87 years old, but I did not feel tired when performing these sacred rituals.

We spent 12 days in Mecca. Every day my companions and I participated in the rituals prescribed for pilgrims. On the designated day we participated in the walk to Mount Arafat and the rituals associated with it, thereby experiencing what every Muslim strives for. We were also in the Mina Valley.

Last month, Dhu’l-Hijjah, according to local newspapers, 200,000 pilgrims from all of the world’s countries visited Mecca. But it was explained to us that the consequences of the war were still being felt, since during the years preceding it many more Muslims made hajj.

After performing everything that the Quran prescribes for a devout Muslim in Mecca making hajj, my companions and I traveled to Medina, where we paid homage to the grave of the prophet, may Allah bless him.

What else can I relate to you. From Medina we departed on our return trip by the same route that we took to Arabia. On the return trip we also felt the assistance everywhere of our Soviet representatives abroad, and then, when we set foot back on the lands of our beloved homeland, the local Soviet authorities took care of us.



It has now been several weeks already since my companions and I returned to the homeland, have been home and returned to our work after a rest. We were away for more than two months. During this time our country, under the leadership of its great leader, Stalin, has embarked, after the wartime five-year plan, on bringing about the recovery and development of the national economy, whose implementation will provide a new blossoming of the living standards of the fraternal peoples of the Soviet Union. All my thoughts and prayers are directed toward promoting the implementation of these great initiatives.