History of Islam in Sheki-Zagatala, Azerbaijan

The history of Islam in Sheki-Zagatala, Azerbaijan, dates back to the 7th century when Arab armies conquered the region and introduced Islam to the local population. Over the centuries, Islam became the dominant religion in Azerbaijan, and Sheki-Zagatala became an important center of Islamic culture and learning.

During the medieval period, Sheki-Zagatala was ruled by various dynasties, including the Shirvanshahs, who were known for their patronage of Islamic art and architecture. The region became a center of Islamic scholarship, and several renowned scholars and theologians, such as Sadraddin Shirvani, were born or lived in Sheki-Zagatala.

In the 16th century, the Safavid dynasty of Iran introduced Shia Islam to Azerbaijan, and Shia Islam became the dominant form of Islam in the country. Sheki-Zagatala became an important center of Shia scholarship and learning, and several famous Shia scholars, such as Mulla Ahmad Naraqi, lived and worked in the region.

During the Soviet era, Azerbaijan was a secular state, and the practice of religion was discouraged. Many mosques and Islamic institutions were closed, and the Islamic community was heavily persecuted. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan became an independent country, and Islam once again became an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Today, Azerbaijan is a predominantly Muslim country, with around 96% of the population being Muslims. Sheki-Zagatala is home to several beautiful mosques, including the Juma Mosque in Sheki, the Taza Pir Mosque in Zagatala, and the Chiraggala Mosque in Balakan. The region also hosts several Islamic festivals and celebrations, such as Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

In conclusion, the history of Islam in Sheki-Zagatala is a long and rich one, spanning over centuries. The religion has played an integral role in the region’s cultural heritage, and the numerous mosques and palaces are a testament to its importance. Today, Islam remains an important part of Sheki-Zagatala’s identity and way of life.

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