Saturday 3 October 2020

Islam in Armenia

Islam in Armenia? This is an interesting question to be asked for a country where Islam arrived as early as the 7th century and where Muslims had significant population once, is now devoid of any significant Muslim community. In fact has Islam has generally been avoided throughout the centuries. During the Arabic invasion, Islam came to the Armenians however, most Armenians never converted to Islam.  During 1988-1991 the overwhelming majority of Muslim population consisting of Azeris and Muslim Kurds fled the country as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh War and the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Since Armenia gained its independence in 1991, the majority of Muslims still living in the country are temporary residents from Iran and other countries. In 2009, the Pew Research Center estimated that 0.03%, or about 1,000 people, were Muslims - out of total population of 2,975,000 inhabitants.

It is said the there were 264 mosques in Armenia at one time. During the rule of Russia, 263 mosques were destroyed. Only the Blue Mosque survived on a plea by Iran to Russian authorities who agreed and the mosque survived. After the capture of Yerevan by Russians as result of the Russo-Persian War, the main mosque in the fortress, built by Turks in 1582, was converted to an Orthodox church. The church was sanctified on December 6, 1827 and named the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God.
Mosquée bleue d'Erevan "The Blue Mosque" - Yerevan, Armenia [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

The Blue Mosque in Yerevan is one of the most popular sights in the Armenian capital city and one that definitely deserves to be visited when traveling to Yerevan. The Blue Mosque had first started construction in 1760 and was finally built sometime from 1764-68 and unveiled to the public shortly after. Once the Soviet Union collapsed,  the Blue Mosque was in need of serious renovations. Although an Iranian funded restoration went underway, yet the mosque has not been restored to its past glory. However, The Blue Mosque in Yerevan is now open to visitors sicne 1999.

In the early 20th century, there were Qur'an (Armenian: Ղուրան, Ghuran) manuscripts translated into Classical Armenian, Grabar. The first printed version of Qur'an translated into Armenian language from Arabic appeared in 1910. In 1912 a translation from a French version was published. Both of them were in the Western Armenian dialect. A new translation of the Qur'an in Eastern Armenian dialect was started with the help of the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy in Yerevan. 

How is the life of Muslims in Armenia? Well I could not really get any insight into it from any source. Perhaps those who are Muslims, are too afraid of disclosing their identity for the fear of losing their nationality as Armenians. For persecution of Muslims in Armenia, Pakistan is the only country in the world which has no diplomatic relations with Armenia.

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To know more about life of Muslims in other non Muslim countries, please visit our page: Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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