- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
124

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
124
a fanatical anti-Russian religious movement, and
brought the tribes together in a united resistance.
The strength of Islam had been greatly weakened
through the split into two sects : the Sunnites, to
which the Turks belonged, and the Shiites, whose
doctrines the Persians had adopted. The new
doctrine, which soon won the upper hand in the
mountain valleys of Daghestan, had for one of its
objects the uniting once more of these two sects,
and the strengthening of Islam to wage a war of
extermination against the unbelievers.
In the a-ul (village) of Yaragh in south Daghestan
there was living at the beginning of last century a
highly respected, kindly old judge called Mullah-
Mohammed. He was a mild, peace-loving, wise
man of good deeds, and in the course of long
nights he had searched the Koran and holy books,
which he expounded to the people. He was loved
and venerated by all, and they came in crowds to
hear him. And so one day Allah’s message came to
open his eyes, and the peaceful man saw to his
horror what a dreadful sin it was to submit to the
unbelievers instead of wiping them off the face of
the earth. By day and by night he brooded, and
then in 1824 ne stood out before the people, that
was gathered together in great numbers, and spoke
of the greatest thing of all—the faith of their
fathers; and in his hearers was lit, as it were, a
flaming fire. He showed that according to the word
of the Prophet no Mussulman must be subject to
an unbeliever, and how all acts of penance, puri
fications, and offerings are of no avail so long as a

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