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Second shipment of 20,000 Qurans to Russia, December 1999
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Second shipment of 20,000 Russian Holy Qurans distributed in Russia, December 1999

by Sister Samina

See (faster loading) photographs of the trip and distribution.

By the grace of Almighty Allah twenty thousand copies of the Russian translation of the Holy Quran were shipped and distributed in Russia in the month of Ramadan, December 1999.

I left Columbus, Ohio, on the 11th of December and arrived in Moscow on the 12th. Dr. Alexander Sadetsky and Dr. Tanya Sadetsky were waiting for me at the airport having come on an earlier flight from Quebec, Canada.

From the airport we went to register at the Foreign Guest Hostel of the Russian State University for the Humanities where we were going to stay.

The next day, Monday, was a Public Holiday and all Government offices were closed. Dr. Alexander Sadetsky, Dr. Tanya Sadetsky and I went to the Hilal Foundation for a meeting with Mr. R. Bayazitov, the President of the Foundation. He had especially flown into Moscow for the meeting. The discussions during the meeting centered around the distribution of the Holy Quran and the need for Islamic Literature in Russian. During the meeting, by the grace of Almighty Allah, I was able to persuade Mr Bayazitov to give our jamaat an office and a one bedroom flat in the Hilal Foundation complex for a Mubaligh. From there our Mubaligh could carry out the work of propagating Islam in Russia. Alhamdolillah. In the meeting Mr. Bayazitov also expressed his gratitude thanks to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for supplying such an excellent translation of the Holy Quran. He said that till now they had not received such a valuable contribution which would benefit so many people.

I also met an Egyptian brother, Mr Hafeez Muhammad, who also resided in the same complex. When he learnt that we believed in the Finality of Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib never claimed prophethood, he was very pleased. He said that it was a great injustice to call us non-uslims, and he offered to arrange a meeting for us with the Saudi Embassy so we could explain our views to them.

The next morning at 8:00 accompanied by brother Rustam we went to the Customs Office. We went to fifteen different places to get the proper signatures on the release papers for the Holy Quran shipment. By 5:00 p.m, by the grace of Almighty Allah, the last papers were signed and the shipment was released. Almighty Allah blessed these efforts further, for when the Ministry of Culture learnt that the books were for free distribution, they waived the 20% duty on the shipment, Alhamdolillah. On learning this, my eyes filled with tears, and I thanked Almighty Allah for His grace and mercy shown to our Jamaat.

Winter's darkness had descended when finally with two loaded trucks we pulled out of the custom warehouse. On the way the trucks fell behind us, and we reached the Foundation before and waited for the trucks. Several hours passed but there was no sign of the trucks, and we began to get quite anxious. Finally, brother Rustam, who had been riding in one of the trucks, arrived in a taxi and informed us that the trucks had been stopped at the intersection by the police who became suspicious on seeing the large consignment of the Qurans They wanted to see the shipping and custom clearance documents, but as the documents were not with brother Rustam, he was unable to produce them, and therefore the police refused to let the trucks go. Brother Rustam picked up the necessary documents, rushed back, presented the documents to the police and got the trucks released.

After some time the trucks finally pulled into the Hilal Foundation compound. It was a joyful sight to see the Quran boxes being unloaded and carried into the basement of the building, where soon a mountain of cartons filled a large part of the basement. All praise is due to Almighty Allah Who removed all the obstacles in accomplishing this momentous task.

The Holy Qurans were also loaded onto trucks from the outlying regions which had come to pick up their share of the consignment.

We had several meetings with the Imams of the Hilal Foundation and also met people who had come from other areas of Russia. They all praised the translation and were extremely impressed by the translation and footnotes of Maulana Muhammad Ali, and appreciated very much the hard work and excellent translation of Dr. Alexander Sadetsky.

On Friday I attended the Jumu'a Prayers at the Hilal Foundation. After the Jumu'a Khutba I was asked by the Imam to speak to the congregation of 800 people about the Ahmadiyya Movement and Islam. They listened attentively, and I explained to them that there were two groups of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and that we believed in the Finality of Prophethood. I stressed the fact that Hazrat Mirza Sahib never claimed prophethood and his claim was only of Mujaddid, Promised Messiah and Mahdi.

The Imams and other people expressed their gratitude to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for supplying them with the Holy Quran and other Islamic Literature which was so urgently needed. Many of them had tears in their eyes when they thanked the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman for valuable gift of the Holy Qurans.

They requested that we also send them literature about the Holy Prophet and books on basic Islam. I promised to send them Islam the Religion of Humanity, The Prophet of Islam and Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad which we already had translated into Russian and had stocks of. I assured them that we would also translate other books into Russian.

On Friday night we flew to St. Petersburg. The President of the Hilal Foundation had made arrangements for us to meet the Mufti, Zaffar Hazrat, of St. Petersburg's largest Mosque. We were received at the airport by the Mufti's son and brother Rinat Valier who checked us into a hotel. In the afternoon brother Rinat picked us up from the hotel and took us on a tour of St. Petersburg. In the evening we went for Iftari (breaking of fast in Ramadan) to Mufti Zaffar's residence which was situated next to the Mosque.

The Mufti gave us a tour of the Mosque. This beautiful Mosque patterned after the Mausoleum of the Ameer of Gur in Samarkand was built from 1910-1914 by funds supplied by the Ameer of Fergana. It was capable of holding fifteen thousand people.

During the Soviet era the condition of the Mosque deteriorated badly as no funds were given for its up keep. In the 1970s the Soviets wanted to close the Mosque as they felt that the poor condition of the Mosque posed a danger to the people inside. The Mufti however refused to close the Mosque, and said he would take personal responsibility for any injuries caused in the Mosque. He prayed hard to Almighty Allah, and by Allah's grace and mercy, no accidents occurred, and the Mufti was able to collect funds for the repair of the mosque against all odds.

During the Iftari and afterwards, we had a long discussion on Islam and the need for Islamic literature and education in Russia. I explained to the Mufti the views of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, that we believed in the Finality of Prophethood, and that Hazrat Mirza Sahib never claimed prophethood. Dr. Sadetsky did a marvelous job as interpreter and translated for several hours inspite of being very tired. The Mufti was impressed by the views of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and said that we must advertise the Lahore Ahmadiyya view about prophethood in order to dispel any misunderstanding among people about the Ahmadiyya Movement. He also said that he would issue a certificate stating that the Lahore Ahmadis are Muslims. He said that if we came in June he would arrange for us to hold a conference for a day in the Mosque about the Islam and Ahmadiyya Movement .

I donated forty copies of the Holy Quran and promised 2000 copies for the Mosque of St. Petersburg. Both the Mufti and his wife were in tears when they heard that we would supply them 2000 copies of the Holy Quran for free distribution.

After Iftari, we prayed the Maghrib and Isha prayers in the Mosque. Following the prayers, I gave a short lecture on the Ahmadiyya Movement, again emphasizing our views on the finality of Prophethood. On Sunday night, the Mufti picked us up from the hotel and took us to the airport where we boarded our flight for Moscow.

The next day we met with Taala the Librarian who was in charge of mailing the Holy Qurans to Libraries. She gave us a report of her activities to date and showed us the registered receipts and acknowledgments from all the Libraries to which she had sent the Qurans. The acknowledgments were full of praise for the quality of the translation and said that this was a very valuable addition to their collection of books. We gave her an additional 2500 copies of the Holy Qurans to dispatch to the Libraries in the surrounding newly independent Muslim States.

The distribution of the Holy Quran is the first step in the fulfillment of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's prophecy of the spread of Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement in Russia.

Dr. Tanya Sadetsky was extremely helpful. Among other things she arranged for our stay in the University Hostel and did all the video taping and Photography.

Once again I would like to thank Dr. Alexander Sadetsky and Dr. Tanya Sadetsky for their great help and sacrifice in assisting with the project of distributing the Holy Qurans. May Almighty Allah bless them and reward them for their efforts!

I thank Almighty Allah for giving me this opportunity to work with the Russian Muslims.

This project of supplying the Holy Quran in Russian was started with the encouragement and prayers of our late Hazrat Ameer Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan sahib. May Almighty Allah reward him abundantly.

Also I would like to thank Mr. Bayazitov, the President of the Hilal Foundation and his members for their valuable help, and the President and directors of the U.S.A. Jamaat for their confidence in me to carry out this task.

And last but not least, I would like to thank all those who donated and sacrificed their wealth for this project and Hazrat Ameer Dr. Asghar Hameed sahib, present Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and those who prayed for its success. May Almighty Allah accept their sacrifice and prayers and grant them a great reward!

Our next project will be to supply fifty thousand copies of Russian Holy Quran, Inshallah. Members are asked to pray for this project and take part in this great Jihad by donating generously. Please send your contributions to: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore U.S.A.

See photographs of the trip and distribution.
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