"Our Religious Mentor": Musa Bigeev and the Tatars in Finland
The influence of progressive Muslim theologian Musa Jarullah Bigeev (1875–1949) on the Tatar
community in Finland during the first half of the twentieth century is the focus of this article. Bigeev
was very popular among the Tatar bourgeoisie in Russia and the diaspora abroad. Already at an
early stage of his career he became widely known as the “Muslim Luther”. We briefly describe the
scientific biography of this theologian, his relations with the Tatars in Finland and personal memories
from visiting the country. The main part of the study presents an analysis of the perception
of his ideas by a few important community leaders in Finland, Weli-Ahmed Hakim, Zinnetullah
Ahsen Böre and Habibur-Rahman Shakir, as reflected in their correspondence and publications.
This article also provides examples of Bigeev’s recommendations to the community on various
issues of their ethno-confessional life, transmitted through letters to its leaders. The recommendations
include a range of aspects from the establishment of an organization and development of the
community’s education system to questions of religious practice and personal spiritual growth.
His ideas contributed to the adaptation of the Tatars to Finnish society and simultaneously to the
preservation of Tatar culture, language and identity.