The “Iman Nury - Light of Faith” exhibition tells the story of Islam in Russia

04 July 2022


The exhibition “Iman Nury - Light of Faith” is being held in the public places of the Kazan Kremlin. The exhibition marks the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria and the Year of Intangible Heritage of the Peoples of Russia.

At the opening ceremony, Ilnur Nizamiyev, Director of the Kazan Museum-Reserve, said that the exhibition concept reflected the five pillars of Islam: Shahada (evidence that there is no deity but Allah, and Muhammad His Prophet and Messenger), namaz (five times prayer), fasting in the month of Ramadan, zakyat (annual alms-giving) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Collections of handwritten and printed Qurans from the XVIII-XIX centuries are exhibited in the halls. The copies were provided by the Scientific Library of Kazan University and the Kazan Museum Complex.

The Quran was first lithographed in Russia by order of Empress Catherine the Great in 1787. The typeface for this edition of the Quran was created in accordance with the drawings of Usman Ismagilov, an outstanding calligrapher, a Tatar scholar and a mullah.

The Quran printing was transferred from St. Petersburg to Kazan under Paul I, where an Asiatic printing house was set up. In August 1803, the first Kazan edition of the Quran was published in one thousand and a half copies and began to be distributed in the eastern regions of Russia, Europe and Muslim countries.




The hall with the Qurans is decorated with a large (taller than a man) model of the Kaaba, the Holy Mosque located in the city of Mecca. There are shamails and a fragment of kiswah (a coverlet from the real Kaaba) inside it. Among the displayed shamails, a curious exhibit became a chromolithograph “Venerable Mecca. Light-flooded Medina” (1897) from the Imperial University of Kazan, which schematically depicted the two most important shrines of Islam and the objects of pilgrimage.

Visitors to the exhibition in this hall can see a stand telling the story of how the Volga Bulgars officially adopted Islam 1100 years ago.

In the next room the coins of the Karatun hoard of the early Bulgar, Golden Horde and Juchid periods are displayed.

The coins of the Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod princedoms of the XIV century are of particular interest. The front side of the coins shows the seals of Grand Dukes Dmitry (of Moscow) and Boris (of Nizhniy Novgorod) and the reverse side shows Arabic script.

The third room of the exhibition features museum exhibits reflecting the life and livelihood of Russian Muslims.

In one of the showcases visitors can see manuscripts of the famous Tatar scholars and enlighteners – “Interpretation of the Quran” (1857) by Ghabdennasyr Kursawi, “The Key to the Quran” (1886) by Gabdelkayum Nasyri and “Tazkirat al-munib bigadami tazkiyati ahle as-salib” (1879) by Shigabutdin Marjani.

Many Russian Muslims started their journey in religion with their first book, “Giybadat Islamiyya”, and learned Arabic writing and reading from the Mughalim Sani textbook by Ahmad-Hadi Maqsudi. The exhibition features printed copies of these textbooks (1899) from the N.I. Lobachevsky Scientific Library (Kazan Federal University).

National costumes, jewelry, prayer rugs from the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan and the gravestone of Sheikh Abu-Bekr Mamuka bin Berkay (1291/1292) brought from the Bulgarian State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve, are also exhibited in the hall. The gravestone was found in the foundation of the Assumption Church in the city of Bolgar.

The exhibition, which will run until 20 August, was organized with the support and participation of the Kazan Kremlin Museum-Reserve, the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Bulgarian Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve, the Museum Complex of Kazan, the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Scientific Library named after N.I. Lobachevsky (Kazan Federal University), the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Miraskhane Centre of Written and Musical Heritage of the G. Ibrahimov Institute of Language, Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan. The project of the exposition was developed under the guidance of the A.Kh. Khalikov Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan.



GSV "Russia - Islamic world"