Our misfortune is rooted in ummah
By Uzeir Hajibekov
We present an excerpt from Uzeir Hajibekov ’s article «Ordan-Burdan» («From Here and There»), written 105 years ago, in 1907, published in the Progress newspaper on August 19, 1909.
The article is written in the form of a dialogue between Uzeir Hajibekov and a young man, a Muslim1.
Young man: I am astonished that in the same «ishkola»2 with the same teacher, the Russians and Armenians, as you fairly noted, become true people, while our Muslims, graduating from the same «ishkola» maintain their old habits and remain ignoramuses. Is this because our blood is spoiled? What’s wrong?...
Uzeir Hajibekov: Neither our blood nor our flesh is spoiled!
Young man: What’s wrong then?
Uzeir Hajibekov: Listen, my friend, an Armenian and Russian child does not go to ishkola until the age of seven, he is brought up at home. A Muslim child does not go to ishkola until the age of seven, eight and nine, and stays at home. Now let us take a look at what they do at home. An Armenian and Russian child is brought up by a knowledgeable and educated mother at home. She puts the child to bed at the right time, lets him take a walk in the open air at the right time, and entertains the child's leisure with toys useful to his spirit, morality and physical health. This child does not hear a single bad or harmful word. What does he hear? Music which is marvelous for soul and health, stories, poems and legends written specially for children by renowned pedagogues, right and instructive speeches of their parents, and talks of cultured and educated guests at their homes. What do they see? Paintings hang on the walls of their homes, pleasing one's eyes, pictures of flowers, magazines and books with beautiful illustrations on the tables, and cleanness and order surrounding them on all sides, etc. Their mothers often take them to watch «cinematograph», and explain the meaning of the stills and pictures to them.
And what about our children? Allah forbid! All they hear is dirty swearing and foul language, intrigues and profane words, all they see is bad acts by their elders, everywhere they are surrounded by dirtiness, places where they play are covered with dust and soil, and their toys are…they smother cats, beat dogs, pour oil on mice and burn them. So, even before our children go to ishkola, "their house is already ruined," that is, they are deprived of upbringing from the very start and therefore, we have a sad result.
This is where our misfortune lies – in the ummah3. So, neither our blood nor our bones are spoiled.
August 19, 1909. Uzeir Hajibekov