Muslim Life in Ukraine
There are some 1 million Muslims living in Ukraine
Mufti Said Ismagilov could be seen reading the 81st Surah of the Quran. Though this holy book of Islam is translated into over 100 languages, only its original is considered blessed.
“The Quran represents the direct words of God. The translation of the Quran is the words of a person who conveyed the meaning of the original in his own words. The difference between the words of God and the words of a man is like a difference between God and a man,” Head of Kyiv’s Islamic Cultural Centre’s Department for the Study of Islam and Eastern Culture Tarik Sarkhan said.
To convert to Islam, a person does not have to go to a mosque. He just pronounces the Testimony of Faith or Shahada, confirming that there is no God but Allah.
“Perhaps, all Christians recognize the doctrine of the Trinity. They say that Jesus Christ is either one of the Trinity or the Son of God. Muslims do not share these views. We believe that God is absolutely one. There is no Trinity. There is no and cannot be a Son of God,” Sheik Said Ismagilov said.
As daily prayers are performed in Arabic, a newly-minted Muslim should know this language – at least a little.
“If a person, who does not yet know Arabic at the proper level or makes some mistakes tries to pray and reads the Quran, – it is dear to Allah. Because the new Muslim does two things – he reads and studies at the same time,” Sarkhan said.”Muslims pray five times a day. This is the minimum, which makes a Muslim a Muslim.”
One more pillar of Islam is Zakat, or almsgiving. By following this pillar, rich Muslims usually spend about 2.5 percent of their income on helping others. However, it’s not just about money.
“The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said that even a date from a palm tree can be a donation. It is not just about money or things, it also about help,” Ismagilov said.”In Eid Qurban, Muslims with high incomes are obliged to sacrifice an animal and give its meat to the poor.”
In Ukraine these rules are followed by 2 percent of the population, that is 1 million Muslims. Notably, the first Islam believers appeared in Ukraine back in the 8th or 9th century – before Kyivan Rus was converted to Christianity.