Russian Archpriest Viacheslav Polosin Converts to Islam

Nezavisimaia gazeta--religii, 2 June 1999

Archpriest Viacheslav Polosin, a priest of the Kaluga diocese leave of absence who now heads the administration of the Committee on Relations with Public Associations and Religious Organizations of the State Duma of the Russian federation, has converted to Islam. 

"I decided to bring my social status into line with my convictions," Viacheslav Polosin declared, "and to testify publicly that I consider myself an adherent of the great tradition of the true faith of the prophets of monotheism, beginning with Abraham. And thus I do not consider myself a priest nor a member of any Orthodox church."

At the same time Viacheslav Polosin recited the traditional formula testifying to his acceptance of Islam: "There is no god besides the One God Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger." 

Viacheslav Polosin consider that the final revelation on earth is the Holy Koran sent down to the Prophet Muhammad and he categorically disagrees with those who "for some reason consider that the Arabic text of the Holy Koran is alien to the Russian mentality." 

In his interview with the journal Musulmane, Viacheslav Polosin subjected to sharp criticism the Christian, and especially the Orthodox, tradition. In his opinion, Christianity contains an "assimilation of the Creator God to his creation, man," which is anthropomorphism. 

"For centuries there have existed mediators, fathers and teachers, who while not prophets have spoken in the name of God," Viacheslav Polosin said about the Christian cult of saints, "and this practice has so become the norm in the church that it is difficult for the laity to escape it, and for one in the position of a priest it is impossible." According to Viacheslav Polosin, his wife "completely shares this choice of worldview."

Among Muslims who had influence on this choice the former Orthodox clergyman identified Geidar Jemal and reported that the stories about the Holy Kaaba and the Hadj made a great impression on him. (tr. by PDS)

(posted 3 June 1999) 

Father Viacheslav: From Church To Mosque
by Alexander Soldatov
Moskovskie novosti, 8-14 June 1999

Viacheslav Polosin, a former priest of the Russian Orthodox church and chairman of the Committee of the Supreme Soviet on Freedom of Conscience, recently announced his conversion from Orthodoxy to Islam. This unprecedented event of the adoption of the religion of the Prophet by a prominent Orthodox clergyman was a surprise for many. The former archpriest is suspected of psychological illness or of subtle political calculation. But he himself speaks of his own free, spiritual, philosophical choice.

--As far as I know, this is the second time in your life when you have officially announced a change in your worldview?

--From childhood I believed in God, in my spirit. Later, when I was in the university, I came across Orthodox literature and went to the church and found there something that I had not seen in philosophy classes. I do not regret that; I learned a lot there. I submitted my documents to the ecclesiastical seminary in 1979 and have now, after twenty years, given an interview to the journal "Musulmane;" these are two stages in the development of my life.

Interview with Musulmane

"Several years of intense work have brought me to the conclusion that the Koran does not contain an assimilation of the Creator God to his creation, humanity, which is anthropomorphism, the essence of paganism. There is no basis for the ritual practice of appeasing God like some kind of human ruler. . . . I have decided to bring my social status into conformity with my convictions and to bear public testimony that I consider myself a follower of the great tradition of the correct belief and of the prophets of monotheism, beginning with Abraham, and thus I do not consider myself any longer either a clergyman or a member of any Orthodox church. . . . As regards possible penalties, we all are mortal and all sooner or later will depart from this life, so it is better to depart from it abiding in the Truth and not in spiritual ambivalence or in the delusions of human fantasy. With regard to the practical difficulties, including the Arabic language, I must place my hopes in help and cooperation from my new brethren. My will fully shares this worldview choice."

--How did your clerical path evolve?

--Within the church circles of Moscow I was not "my own person." There also were family circumstances which forced me to request ministry in Central Asia. I served briefly in Frunze and somewhat longer in Dushanbe. There I dealt with Islamic culture and the eastern mentality for the first time, which made a deep impression on my soul. After half a year I was ignominiously deprived of my registration for disobedience to secular authorities, that is, to the commissioner for religious affairs. For three year I was not accepted anywhere and was in complete disgrace. In 1988, when perestroika began, I was offered a half-destroyed church near Obninsk. From there I was elected in 1990 as a member of the soviet of the RSFSR.

The position of the Moscow patriarchate

For the Moscow patriarchate, the announcement by Archpriest Viacheslav Polosin of his conversion to another faith came as a complete surprise. In the Department of External Church Relations his move is explained as instability of character and convictions and a quick "subsequent change" of religious views is predicted. In the patriarchate there is an inclination to let the matter drop, relying on the decision of Fr Viacheslav's ruling bishop, Archbishop Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk.

--Were you suspected of conversion to protestantism?

--American protestants, who in 1991 arrived in Russia in abundance and whom I received, proposed that we begin our meeting with prayer. But I categorically objected, saying that this was a secular institution and that I protected freedom of conscience and thus there must not be any prayer here. I was cordial with protestants, but where this rumor that I wanted to adopt protestantism came from, I don't know.

--For many it is a puzzle what your real position on the new law on freedom of conscience of 1997 is. Some consider you its author and some recall that you have frequently criticized the law itself.

--As long as I am a state employee I cannot discuss the whole truth about this law. I participated in the writing of this law as one of fifteen members of the working group and I had very little influence. Then the law was presented to the duma where work on it went forward. I can consider myself a coauthor of what resulted from this work. But the demonization of the law was necessary to those circles and forces who figured on being able to make a name and money for themselves on the basis of the negative events that arose around the country. Actually the law upheld the principles of a secular state and maintained the situation.

--Was your religious quest provoked by your displeasure with formal Orthodoxy?

--While I was working in the state apparatus I began to see more clearly how various activities within the church or politics affect the life of the people. Some people try to interpret Christianity so as to justify the irresponsibility of the government, giving it an image of divine ordination.

--There are similar examples in the history of the Islamic world: khans, Turkish sultans, palace intrigues of the Sublime Porte.

--In the Koran viewing the government as "God's anointed" is strictly forbidden. It is said that if someone usurps power and a Muslim tolerates this, then he is an accessory to this sin. In the Ottoman empire there was a stagnation of Muslim culture--the cult of the military, violence, slavery. Islam degenerated there. The Revelation itself is a different matter.

--What has been the reaction of your new Muslim brethren to your decision?

--My interview with the journal Musulmane provoked lively interest, so much so that it was necessary to put out another printing.

--What has been the reaction on the part of your leadership in the duma?

--Some naturally will be unhappy, but I don't care to please everyone. I think that nothing will change in my work in the duma. I do not intend to criticize Christianity. When I was within Orthodoxy, I criticized it rather harshly. Now I don't. Islam, as it is presented in the Koran, is the most democratic religion because it contains a prohibition of tyranny; vis-a-vis the Creator is the people, society on earth. There are no mediators of a priestly caste or anointed monarchs in the Koran.

Viacheslav Polosin's office

In the State Duma he occupies one office along with Murad Zaprishiev, a former deputy and now an employee of the staff of the duma Committee for Relations with Public Associations and Religious Organizations. In a prominent place in the office there is the Koran and the walls are decorated with Arabic inscriptions. In this office Polosin and his colleague sometimes perform their prayers, for which they use a special rug. At the same time, Viacheslav Sergeevich opposes making a demonstrative profession of Islam in his secular work and especially in governmental service.

--Do you have plans to return to a more political life?

--For the time being, no. I would prefer to use my profession and knowledge for socially useful activity within the bounds of Islam. I see myself as a public and academic Islamic leader, but not a politician. But what the future will bring, only God knows. In 1990 my election as a deputy also was unexpected.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Viacheslav Sergeevich Polosin was born in 1956. In 1979 he graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of MGU and in 1984 from the Moscow Ecclesiastical Seminary. He was ordained a priest and served in parishes in the dioceses of Central Asia and Kaluga of RPTs. In 1990 he was elevated to the rank of archpriest. In the same year he was elected a people's deputy of RSFSR from Kaluga region and headed the committee of the Supreme Soviet on freedom of conscience. 

While working in the Supreme Soviet, he graduated from the diplomatic academy of the ministry of foreign affairs and defended his dissertation on the subject: "The Russian Orthodox church and the state in USSR, 1971-1991." From 1993 he has been an employee of the staff of the State Duma on relations with public associations and religious organizations. He was a member of the Russian Christian Democratic Movement and a member of the Council of Christian Organizations. In 1991 he went on leave from the Kaluga diocese and since 1995 he has not officiated in liturgies. 

In his interview with the Musulmane journal, he officially called himself a Muslim: "I consider that the Koran is the final Revelation on earth, sent down to the Prophet Muhammed. There is no God but the One God, Allah, and Muhammed is his Messenger." Viacheslav Polosin is the author of many scholarly works on historical,political, religious, and philosophical subjects. In February of this year he defended another dissertation on the subject: "The dialectics of myth and political myth-making." His basic philosophical ideas are presented in his book "Myth, Religion, and the State" (Moscow, 1999).

From the point of view of Islamic theologians, to convert to the religion of the Prophet it is sufficient to recite the famous formula containing the profession of faith in the one God Allah and his prophet Muhammed. In doing so it is not important which language is used for reciting the formula. It is important that the recitation be made before two witnesses who are Muslim and can give written confirmation of the fact of the profession of Islam. The rite of circumcision, which many consider to be analogous to baptism in Christianity, is not obligatory for entrance into the Muslim umma. (tr. by PDS)

by Sergei Chapnin

--Viacheslav Sergeevich, you first announced that you had embraced Islam in an interview in a small journal, "Musulmane." is this related to? Why did you not first announce that you were demitting the Orthodox priesthood?

--I did not want to make a political show or sensation out of my spiritual choice. In Islam it is required that one profess monotheism in the presence of witnesses, and the journal for Muslims which is purely for internal use fully accords with this goal. So I made the announcement in the presence of witnesses, which were all the readers of the journal. And the print run of the journal, 7,000 copies, is not so small in our times; for example, its twice that of the newspaper "NG-religii." And the issue is not the demitting of the priesthood but a complete break from the jurisdiction of a particular church: it would be strange to profess Islam and consider one's self an Orthodox layman.

--The title under which your interview was published is "The straight path." Does that reflect your personal conviction that your path to Islam was really straight?

--The words "straight path" frequently are used in the books of the Old Testament. When the king rode along the stony gorges in the Palestinian hills, his servants cleared his path of stones and straightened it out. When the prophet John the Forerunner called for making straight the way of the Lord, that is, the path for Jesus the Savior, the spiritual Lord and King, John had in view the spiritual straightening out, freeing the soul from pagan superstitions and embracing the truth. In the Holy Koran "straight path" is one of the central terms: it is the path to the Most High without mediators or priests, without faith in the independent miracle working of manufactured objects. After all, even in the New Testament Jesus Christ called for this, saying that his goal was that
all could turn directly to God, to "thou," "Abba, Father." This was connected with Jesus' unconditional prohibition of calling anyone one's father on earth (Mt 23.9). The straight path is direct communion of the soul with God through the only mediator, the Spirit of God, his action and energy. Islam, monotheism, right belief--this is the exposure of all departures from the commands of the preceding prophets, including Jesus, and the affirmation of the social doctrine of monotheism which had earlier been lost.

--It is obvious that your decision will have enormous response in Russia and in the whole Christian world: for the first time in history a Christian cleric consciously and not under the pressure of circumstances embraces Islam.

--Twenty years have passed since I declared myself Orthodox. In 1979 it was not easy to make the decision about entering seminary; such actions were then condemned by society and I faced many obstacles. Strictly speaking, it is impossible to "leave" into Islam. "Islam" in translation means submission to God, entrusting one's whole self to God, or it can be translated as "resignation to God." From the root "sam" comes the world "salyam," or "shalom" or 'peace." To embrace Islam doesn't sound right in Russian. The issue is not an embracing but rather profession of strict monotheism. My faith in God has not changed but only grown stronger, and I have changed my social status.

--Isn't your departure from the church connected with the fact that over the last ten years you have been engaged solely in political activity and you rejected active participation in church life? What kind of spiritual path have you traveled in that time?

--Since 1993 I have been involved in politics only episodically. It is possible to talk about the influence of lawmaking as an element of politics, but this isn't public or independent politics. Thus there's no politics here. Through participation in the state structures I came to see the consequences in practice of decisions that are made. Sometimes they have very great effects in society. Any mistake or miscalculation of the public interests leads to difficult and sometimes tragic consequences and brings about disorder in society. This forced me to think about how religious concepts can be applied to politics and how people use these concepts for their goals that are far from religion, for example, for usurpation of authority. In Islam there are no such concepts that all authority is from God. On the contrary, the power of the people is affirmed and accommodation to tyranny and to the one who usurps the power of the people is considered sin. If we are talking about the decision to profess one's self as a strict monotheist, let's say, within the confines of the Abrahamic tradition, this matured gradually and is connected only with my worldview quests.

--What were the milestones along the way? Were there new spiritual experiences? Were these conversations with people, reading books, or some other events?

--Yes, primarily it was books and people.

--In the interview with the journal Musulmane you mention Geidar Jemal. What kind of influence did he have on you and what role did he play in your conversion?

--His addresses and sermons on the program "Nyne" [Now] produced a strong impression on me. He often spoke about the tradition of Abrahamic monotheism. Geidar Jemal is a respected man who participates in political processes and politics always evokes a multitude of questions. I would wish to distance myself from political activity in the field of Islam for I have not participated in it, but his religious sermons often produced an impression on me. Besides this, my conversations with Murad Zargishiev also played a great role. I studied the history of Christianity and Islam and the theological works of various writers, including the French philosopher Rene Genon who embraced Islam. It was a long process. In the end it was the same as going to graduate school after undergraduate. Islam is for me not a negation of the former path nor a negation of Christianity, including Orthodoxy. It is a transition to some new quality which I view as the next stage for myself.

--Does that mean that your conversion to Islam personally does not mean renunciation of Christ the Savior?

--The way he is described in the New Testament is for me only partially acceptable inasmuch as there are questions about the authenticity of the texts, but I have not renounced Jesus as he is described in the Most Glorious Koran. It is said, first, that he is a prophet; second, a righteous man; third, he was conceived in a miraculous manner. He really saved people and thus is called Messiah in the Koran. The doctrine of the divine essence of Christ arose in the fourth century and was made dogma in the fifth. For several centuries Christians got on well without professing that Messiah was God and there is no basis for considering that they were profoundly mistaken.

--The famous Orthodox theologian of the eighth century John of Damascus spoke of Islam as one of the Christian heresies. Christian consciousness took Islam in the period of its beginning as one of numerous Christian sects.

--Yes, it was considered that way. And really there were many Christian sects at the time in the East, so that even patriarchs were considered as "heretics" as well as whole local churches.

--What is your opinion about this?

--Islam is not an offshoot from Christianity but a second and great reform of Abrahamic monotheism. Abraham believed in the one God and was the first to express this publicly. He announced it and confirmed it for his successors, becoming the "father" of all believers. Subsequently this tradition suffered deviations. It is known that all of the prophets--incidentally many of them also are called "saviors"--criticized the people for their deviation into heathenism. And the greatest prophet, Jesus, also criticized people for heathenism. More than that, he himself spoke of himself in parables as sent by God with a special mission. Before this people said: "Prophets are sinners like us." But God sent a sinless Angel of God--in the bible angels are called "sons of God" (Job 38.7)--who really was a pure prophet but he was not obeyed. They conceived the desire to destroy him. He criticized the dominating shortcomings of the time and spread the Good News of the one God beyond the boundaries of a single people, for all people; this was a great reform of Judaism. Islam is the second reform, cleansing the Christianity of the sixth and seventh centuries from the pagan accretions which has been formed in the period of its acquiring official status and compulsory mass acceptance.

--How do you relate monotheism and the dogma of the Trinity? When you entered seminary and especially when you gave your clerical vows, it was required that you profess faith. What has changed in your understanding of divinity?

--Throughout the course of life a person develops. I was from a nonbelieving family and the soviet environment, at a time when there was a system without religious education. I knew nothing of religion before the age of eighteen. There was only an internal urge and a faith in an unknown God. Twenty years ago I came to the Orthodox church. I accepted Orthodox teaching, perceiving it through a prism of my personal comprehension. In my spirit I always believed in the one God and the teaching about a plurality of persons and hypostases I understood approximately as now I understand the teaching about the plurality of names in the Most Glorious Koran and the Old Testament. There can be many names because a name does not signify the essence but an activity of God in this world. If he clearly saves someone from danger, they say "God is merciful." "Merciful" in this case is his name, but it is not the substance of God and does not pretend to be so. Moreover, in Christian dogmatic manuals it is said that we know nothing about the substance of God. At the same time there is a paradox here: we know nothing about the substance but we distinguish several persons within this substance.

--Aren't you confusing person and action, hypostasis and energy? If there is a plurality of actions and a plurality of names, this does not mean that there is a plurality of persons.

--I am talking about this as I understand it. What the Greeks thought in creating this teaching that was completely new for the church, which, note, was not even mentioned in the creed of A.D. 381, I do not know. Incidentally, Jesus is not directly called God in this creed. Several years ago I specifically began investigating this subject in order to confirm all of this for myself theoretically. In the Holy Koran it is said: "You must not give companions to God." It does not speak of "hypostases," which means that the issue is that believers must not imagine two or more subjects of activity when discussing the Creator. If for the Christian a "hypostasis" is not a different subject but a "name," he is not violating the command of God. In the term "hypostasis of God" there is Greek influence in which there is much sophistry. The fruit of such Greek thought were several doctrinal innovations which appeared many centuries after the New Testament was already well known. For me this is obvious, but it does not mean that I criticize Christianity as a confession, but there already are many conjectures about this. I speak of levels of comprehension. In practice I do not know how a specific babushka believes who comes to the Orthodox church or some elderly Baptist woman. Do they have a concept of a companion of God or is it only an abstraction for her, only a name, or does she not even think about this? Perhaps she has blessed simplicity and God hears and receives her prayers. It is not important where she is, in an Orthodox church, or in a Baptist congregation, or in an Islamic one. Therefore in the Koran Christians and Jews are called brothers and "people of Scripture," that is, heirs of Abraham.

--I get the impression that until now you have been talking as an historian of religion who has come to God not through personal spiritual experience but more through analysis of the historical development of world religions. Does this mean that scholarly investigation for you means more than personal experience? Or are you simply defending yourself?

--No. In all that I have said there is an internal torment. Honestly, even in clerical activity several things disturbed me. For example, an akathist is appointed and you open it up and there, for example, in a prayer to Saint Nicholas it says: "Save us from our sins." Of course, confusion arose here because this even contradicts the teaching of the Orthodox church. What is the point of Jesus' mission when some other person can save people from sin? Of course, without theoretical knowledge, without historical study, there will not be a full picture.

--As an Orthodox priest, albeit in the past, you know well the Orthodox liturgical tradition. Do church music, hymnology, and iconography really confuse you? Is it really easy to renounce all this wealth?

--It is not easy, but this is not a spur of the moment decision and I have not renounced aesthetics and the spiritual beauty. In the beauty of singing the human search for God is expressed and this evokes awe. Over several years I gradually underwent spiritual cleansing. There were both doubts and internal struggle. In Orthodoxy this is called "spiritual growth," and in Islam this inner struggle with thoughts and self-analysis is called the "great jihad." For about the past four years I have continually thought about this and approximately a year ago I finally got it settled. I treat with great care and respect the feelings of other people who experience awe in the face of what you have mentioned, standing in church and everything that is connected with prayer. I do not
criticize this in the least and I do not criticize people. I consider that in any case it is impossible to pull them anywhere, even if I consider that some form of religion is better. Monotheism lies at the base of Christianity and thus, when people turn to God, God the all-seeing and all-powerful, he can hear them just as in Islam. Trying to win them over only brings harm. It is a different matter if a person is dissatisfied and seeks answers to questions. It is possible to talk with such a person and to help him in his movement. I regret that the newspaper "NG-religii" wrote that I have criticized Christianity. This is not true.

--It is no secret that in recent years your relations with the Moscow patriarchate have not been harmonious. Did this play any role in your conversion?

--No. The decision to adopt Islam and to profess monotheism was a deeply internal decision and my interrelationships with the patriarchate had no place here. In 1991 I went on leave on my own initiative and I began wearing secular clothing. If I had continued believing as I had been believing when I entered seminary, I would have continued to serve in a parish. After the dismissal of the Supreme Soviet in 1993 the patriarch offered me the rectorship of a wealthy Moscow church, but I declined. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk suggested in 1994 that I work in OVTsS, but I declined myself and agreed only to be an external consultant for it and I received the appropriate official authorization for his signature. This was a definite move in the direction about which we are now talking. But at the time my decision still had not been formulated and there was only some reservations with regard to concrete liturgical practice. I emphasize that as a priest I served sincerely and did not deceive anyone when I performed the sacraments, rites, and rituals. People who partook in these services should not have any doubts. There were no personal contacts between me and the hierarchy. Metropolitan Kirill I consider the de facto leader of the church and he also is a potential candidate for president of Russia. If the "Regeneration" society nominates him for vice president of Muslims of, say, Tatarstan, his rating will dramatically increase. I wish him and Fr Chaplin well!

--It is impossible to remove your action from the political context. Whether you want it or not you are on the edge of very serious problems. On the one hand, Islam in Russia is divided into several groupings. On the other hand, Russian Islam has no clear figures who really belong to the political elite. Will not the Islamic leaders each try to win you over?

--I don't know; nobody has made any suggestions to me.

--Would you agree with the correction "nobody has made any for the time being"?

--No. In 1990 by God's will I became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. It is an awesome thing, of course, to speak of the will of God himself, but events were filled with coincidences. The unclear position of the synod in those years was like this: Archbishop Platon, with the blessing of the synod, was running for Supreme Soviet, but lower level bishops were not supposed to permit priests to run for seats. One exception was made for Fr Aleksei Zlobin. Then some Kalugans suggested to me that I run. Struggling with doubts, I went to Bishop Ilian and told him that people wanted me to run. He said: "I wanted to run myself for this district, but the synod forbade me to and so I give you my blessing and let them solve the problem." He blessed me. I speak about this in order to show that this was not a human intention on my part. Everything happened as if by itself. I met with voters only three times and the election district was the whole province. Everything worked out.

What the future will be, I do not know. I try to be obedient. The word "Islam" means "obedience, submission to God." If such is God's will, I am obliged to submit to it. If not, I myself will not strive for it. By nature I am a quiet man, peaceful. Scholarship attracts me more and I would return to it. Reading books, writing, involvement in education activity among my own people so that everything will be quiet. Now my desire is not to return to politics, much less to public politics. In today's Russia this would be unpleasant for a nonbelieving person and for the time being nobody has the power to change it. I see myself in the public educational field but being a political pawn in somebody else's hands is not to my liking.

--One more question about your "past" life. In 1991 you became a priest on leave. What have the recent pages of your spiritual life been like? Have you officiated since then; were you assigned to some church?

--No. When I was a deputy and arranged with the patriarch for the leave, I retained the right to officiate in Kaluga diocese. However I did not exercise that right often and since 1995 I have not conducted the liturgy at all.

--And when was the last time you wore vestments?

--Several years ago.

--What will be the fate of Orthodoxy and Islam in Russia? Will there be real cooperation between them?

--My civil position has not changed. Today, as in the time of the Supreme Soviet, I consider that between Christianity and Islam in Russia there should be a social union. Specifically social, confirmed at the governmental level. Before the revolution, both Orthodox and Muslims were present at official ceremonies. Of course, Orthodox ceremonies were governmental, but Muslims were present at them, though they did not participate directly but stood alongside. Muslims had special prayers for the tsar as their earthly patron.

Russia always has been a Eurasian country, widespread and essentially imperial. The empire was integrated, although there were colonial acquisitions and the union of Christians and Muslims was complementary. Moreover the ideology of the state, as a secular program, must be based on values of monotheism, because this is the essence of what is. In the ideology there should be no questions like whether one must kiss icons or not or what processions to make or what kind of vestments to wear. The ideology provides only the most general matters which pertain to every person. This is the moral basis and then the laws are a reflection of the morality. If someone is punished for something, this is a moral judgment. This scale of moral values of society must be based on monotheism, which is common between Christians and Muslims: do not kill, do not steal, do not wish another ill, help the needy, do mercy, etc. The future ideology of Russia, if Russia is destined to survive and again become great, is monotheism and concretely a social union of Islam and Christianity.

--If one speaks of Islam as an ideology, then it is obvious that there are various trends: fundamentalism, "euro-islam," and the like.  Which is more attractive to you?

--What is more attractive is simply monotheism in its pure form in order not to think of God in an unworthy manner. I like it when there are no contradictions and there is logical consistency. The Glorious Koran says outright that the truth is not contradictory. There is the doctrine of the transcendental God, the Creator, the Almighty, the Merciful and all the rest should be in agreement with this. If something contradicts this, that means it must be eliminated.

--How do you perform the prayers?

--Usually, five times a day is required.

--Daily or only on Friday?

--I made my announcement only recently and before this it was necessary not to advertise all of this. Now I will do it as required.

--Do you have a prayer rug?

--I do. In state service it is extremely difficult to perform the prayers, but all rules are constructed flexibly. If by force of circumstances it is necessary to put it off, it can be done after work. Incidentally, it's the same in Christianity. (tr. by PDS)

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