"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.