HIS VIRTUE SHEIKH-UL-ISLAM ALLAHSHUKUR PASHAZADEH
The 12th Sheikh-ul-Islam of the Caucasus Muslims Board, Allahshukur Hummat oglu Pashazadeh is world-famous religious leader and public figure, and one of highly influential personalities at the international community, especially in the Islamic world. Allahshukur Pashazadeh, in his religious, scientific and socio-political capacity to addressing global challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries, is the supreme Muslim religious leader for the entire Caucasus region.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Hummat oglu Pashazadeh was born on August 26, 1949 in the village of Jil, Lankaran region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. While studying secondary school, he also obtained religious knowlegde from local clergy. In 1968-1970 Allahshukur Pashazadeh studied at Mir-Arab Madrassah in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, then in 1971 entered and in 1975 successfully graduated the Faculty of Theology of the Tashkent Islamic Institute named after Imam al-Bukhari with a complete religious education.
In 1975 upon completing his higher education Allahshukur Pashazadeh returned to Azerbaijan to working as a Responsible Secretary to the Caucasus Muslims Board, and in 1978 he was elected as imam of Teze Pir Mosque and Deputy Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board. Since 1980, he is the Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Board and the Chair of the Council of Kadhies (Judges) under the Caucasus Muslims Board.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s activity as a scientific, religious, and political figure should be evaluated through that actual historical features and the sequence of facts. Thus, this is a great chronicle, when young Sheikh-ul-Islam elected as the Head of the Religious Instution during the atheistic regime of the Soviet state brought the flag-raising mission of the Muslim world to the period of Azerbaijan's independence.
First of all, it should be noted that since the Sheikh-ul-Islam’s earliest times function coincided with the collapse of the Soviet regime, Allahshukur Pashazadeh was a true witness and active participant in various political events. As he involved to negotiations with Afghan spiritual leaders during the Soviet Army's invasion of Afghanistan, His Virtue was recognized with his valuable contribution to peacemaking process. At His Virtue’s initiative and with the support of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the international Islamic conference "Muslims in the Struggle For Peace" was held in Baku in 1986, attended by more than 600 delegates from 60 countries. Highly regarding for His Virtue’s organizational ability, Sheikh-ul-Islam was elected as the Head and Co-chair of the International Forum "For a Nuclear-Free World, for the Salvation of Mankind" held in in 1987 in Moscow.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh has also value added to his capacity a noble mission of the Ambassador of Peace to address the annexation of Azerbaijani lands, the forced migration of millions of Azerbaijani refugees, the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas as a consequence of the Armenian agression against Azerbaijan since 1988. His Virtue has been active in promoting the truth of Azerbaijan since then, discussing the Karabakh problem at high-level meetings with well-known religious and public figures, and advocating for peace and tranquility in the region. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh has repeatedly held meetings with Russian, Georgian, Armenian religious leaders and heads of international religious organizations for a peaceful solution to the Karabakh problem, and invited Armenian leaders to constructive dialogue on the Karabakh conflict. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh, who does his best to prevent the conflict from becoming a religious position, has had numerous meetings in Rostov, Moscow, Baku, and Yerevan, with the assistance of the World Council of Churches, mediated by the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1995 His Virture has been able to capture the highlights in favour of Azerbaijan’s justice position in a trilateral “Moscow Declaration” that was signed in Moscow by all Russian Patriarch Alexi II, Catholicos of Armenia Garegin I and Sheikh-ul-Islam Pashazadeh to release war prisoners, wounded and dead bodies in the conflict area. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh addressed appeals to world leaders, parliaments and international organizations on the liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories as a result of ongoing Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan to issue its political assessment and grant the status of genocide for the Armenian’s severe humanity crime, such as massacres in Khojaly and Aghdaban (Kalbajar).
The 1990 bloody January chronicles with those historical moments as the invasion of the Soviet army in Baku, the massacre of civilians, the devastation of the local government should be portrayed as a culmination stage in the biography of Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh to remember a fact being a phenomenal historical feature to leading the masses and rescuing the country from chaos and blacksmiths despite the pressures and the threats. As the first manifestation of independence in Azerbaijani history against Soviet imperial policy should be considered the clear and aggressive accusation addressed to the murderer of Azerbaijanis, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the USSR leadership by the National Leader Heydar Aliyev and from Azerbaijan Sheikh-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazadeh, as well as appeals addressed to the UN Secretary General Perez de Kuelyara and the heads of all states and religions.
The scope of Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s activities are beyond the borders of Azerbaijan; elected in 1992 as Chairman of the Supreme Religious Council of the Caucasus due the most influential religious figure in the Caucasus, Allahshukur Pashazadeh has taken steps to prevent radical extremist forces from spreading religious hatred in Chechnya and Ingushetia. He supports the rights of the peoples of the region at the highest level in all the institutions and organizations in which he acts as the supreme religious leader of the Caucasus Muslims. In 1999 His Virtue addressed to Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation, to strongly condem the calling of the entire nation as terrorists, extremists, and criminals, the criticizing the policy of killing Chechen people.
While addressing the principle of Muslim solidarity, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh raised his protest against the massacres in the Middle East and the Muslim world to protecting that areas known as the cradle of civilization with the sacred sites and international historical monuments. As his sacred duty to achieve peace and tranquility in the world, His Virtue strongly condemned the US military's intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, military conflicts in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, the crimes committed by ISID terrorist group, as well as the provocations the destructive ideological tendencies of repressive ideologies.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh consistently demonstrates goodness and promotes the idea of interfaith dialogue and cooperation, tolerance and multicultural relations between nations and states to advocating friendship and cooperation in this regard. He initiated and organized many international events and scientific conferences in Baku. In 1998 at Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s initiative an international conference on "Contemporary and religious and spiritual values" was held in Baku. The conference emphasized the work done after gaining independence in field of the state's care for religion to revive religious and spiritual values in Azerbaijan. Allahshukur Pashazadeh was also the Chair of the international conferences on "Grace of God, the Savior of the People" in 2003, "Globalization and Islam" in 2004, "Islam in a Globalized World", in 2006, "The Tolerance Model - Azerbaijan" in 2013, "CIS Countries for Peace and Sustainable Development," in 2014, and "Strengthening Religious Tolerance: (Azerbaijani Model, Challenges of the OSCE Region and Beyond) in 2015.
As Co-Chair of the Interfaith Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Allahshukur Pashazadeh called the International Forum on “Cooperation for Peace in the Caucasus” in 2002 in Tbilisi, International Religious Peace Forum in 2004 in Moscow,the Moscow Summit of World Religious Leaders in 2006, Baku Summit of World Religious Leaders in 2010.
The Chairman of the Supreme Religious Council of the Caucasus Peoples Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh along with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexi II initiated to establish the UN Advisory Religions Council. Allahshukur Pashazadeh represents Muslim clerics, as a result of the decision to form the UNESCO High-Level Advisory Group with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders. In July 2009 he was elected a Member of a High-level Advisory Group Since 2006 as His Virtue has great authority and respect in the Christian world at the suggestion of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches Allahshukur Pashazadeh is also a Member of the Commission on Catholic-Orthodox Interreligious Relations.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh has a particular interest to the scientific activity. In 1992 His Virtue defended his doctoral thesis and received a doctorate in the field of history, and since 1999 he is Professor at the Faculty of Theology at Baku State University. He is the author of monographs, scientific works and numerous articles titled "History of Islam in the Caucasus", "Ummah and Prejudice in Islam", "History of Interpretation and Translation of the Qur'an", "Divine Rule and Study of the Quran", "Martyrdom in Islam", "National Relations and Religion" "The Nature of the Quran."
Aiming at the bright future of mankind, Professor Dr. Allahshukur Pashazadeh is one of those people who focuses in his scientific works on the unity of theological sciences with their practical application. Under his insistence, established in 1989 and closed for many years the Baku Islamic Madrassah, since 1991 been operating as a Baku Islamic University. While advocating the religious education of Islam, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh initiated to establish the Scientific Council of the Caucasus Muslims under the auspices of the prominent scientific and religious figures. Referring to the importance of religious education in the era of globalization in 2015 together with the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh called for an international conference on "Islamic Enlightenment and Modernity”.
In 2016, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev declared the Year of Multiculturalism, then 2017 - the Year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan. In this context, a number of international events dedicated to the improvement of the interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue was held in Azerbaijan, as well as in the other countries - Finland, Sweden, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Russia and Uzbekistan.
In 2018, the Baku International Centre for Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation (BCIC) was established to conduct its activities under the Caucasus Muslims Board. The idea of creating of BCIC was put and approved by the participants of the Conference "2017 - the Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue", held in Baku on December 21, 2017 within the framework of the year of Islamic Solidarity.
On the initiative of His Virtue, who was elected the Secretary General of the BCIC, a number of the Joint International Conferences, particularly, “Contribution of the Interreligious Dialogue to Peace and Concord” (Madrid, 5-9 November, 2018), "Improving the Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational dialogue to cooperation" (Berlin, 21-22 November, 2018) and "From the Interfaith, Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to human solidarity" (Vienna, June 19-20, 2019) were held during the very first period of BCIC`s activity.
Thanks to his scientific contributions to the field of propagation and promotion of Islamic knowledge, Allahshukur Pashazadeh in 1986 is a Corresponding Member of the Jordanian Royal Academy of Islamic Culture and in 2001 a Member of the International Fiqh Academy, since its year of establishment from 2008 Co-Founder of the International Fiqh Organization.
Sheikh of All Caucasus Allahshukur Pashazadeh is a Member of the World Islamic Congress, the World Peace Council, the Eurasian Islamic Council, the International Call for Conscience Foundation, as well as KAICIID International Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue Center and a number of other international organizations. In 2007, His Virtue was awarded with commemorative medals of the International Association of Peace Funds, as well as the World Federation of Veterans, and the International Veterans Foundation for the People's Memory for his outstanding efforts in the field of peace and tolerance worldwide.
The Government of Azerbaijan highly appreciated Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s services to the people of Azerbaijan. His Virtue was awarded with the high honors of Azerbaijan, such as the Order of Glory, the Independence, the Honorary Diploma of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and, this year, the highest honor of the Azerbaijani State, “Heydar Aliyev” Order on occassion of his 70th anniversary birthdate and the 40th anniversary of his activity as the Sheikh-ul-Islam of Caucasus. The global major powers and religious organizations highly appreciated the Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s diversified contributions with the many highest awards.
Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh is a Member of the Pardon Commission under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, His Virtue is also the author of many projects aimed at preserving and restoring the cultural and spiritual intangible herritage values, religious and historical monuments, and developing new forms of customs and traditions of the Azerbaijani people. Just due to the Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh’s efforts the religious freedom and worship, as well as the hundreds of our religious monuments have been restored. His Virtue has succeeded in making the day of Ashura in the month of Muharram from the symbolic bloodshed to a more important community event. In many mosques and shrines in Azerbaijan, the Muslims, showing their respect for the saints take part in blood donations in honor of Imam Hussein (pbuh) and are happy to provide real help to the sick. Thus, the organization and implementation of free blood donations to meet the needs of people suffering from hereditary diseases, especially children with thalassemia, is connected with the name of Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh.
Closely involved in addressing the fate of the Azerbaijani people today, not only in the Muslim world, but also in the global social and political processes Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh does not spare his efforts on this light path. Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh, as a wise traveler on the Hidayat Road, always leads ahead millions of believers.
PhD, Deputy Chair of CMB