MADRASAH OMARIYE IN TBILISI (1849–1919)

Gülnara GOCA MEMMEDLİ

Georgia, being a generally recognized landmark of the Caucasus, attracts Turkey's attention both because of its strategic border neighborhood and because hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and representatives of other Turkic-Muslim communities live in it. Islam is the most widespread religion in the country after Christianity. The Georgian land preserves the centuries-old history of Islamic civilization and the rich heritage of Islamic education, the traditions of madrasahs and mektebs.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the activities of the spiritual madrasah Omariye (for Sunnis) in 1849–1919 in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, as an example of Islamic education in the country.

The main primary sources of research are the materials of the Central Historical Archives at the National Archives of Georgia in Russian, Georgian and Azerbaijani. Important facts obtained using the method of analyzing archival information on this issue were studied, classified and evaluated from a scientific and pedagogical point of view.

Omariye Madrasah was opened in Tbilisi in 1849 in the Juma (Friday) mosque building in the Maydan quarter, and until 1919, it provided Islamic education to the children of the Sunni Muslims. In the madrasah, which was under the general supervision of the governor of the Caucasus and under the control of the mufti of the region, special spiritual and pedagogical classes were also created. Within the framework of the Charter and the curriculum of the madrasah, the children of the Muslims of Transcaucasia were given information about the basics and rules of Islam, the following subjects were taught: History of Islam, Tafsir (interpretation of the Koran and Sunnah), Fiqh (Muslim doctrine regarding the rules of behavior), Kalam (Islamic theology), Hadith (the legend about the statements and activities of the Prophet Muhammad), as well as the Russian language on the required scale.

The article concludes that the close centuries-old contacts of Georgia with the Islamic world, playing the role of a corridor between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, contributed to the integration of religions, civilizations here, as well as the development of Islamic teachings and education. Scientific research of this problem is of great importance in the context of interfaith and intercultural relations.

Key words: History of education, Islam in Georgia, Islamic education, madrasah, mekteb.