The Russian-language Islamic discourse is one of various types of religious communication which is implemented in the language sphere of the polyethnic Muslim community.
The communication within the limits of the Islamic discourse can be carried out in different languages: the appeal to Allah can be realised only in the sacred Arabic language, the communication between the representatives of different Muslim communities can be carried out in the national language, mass communication within the boundaries of the country is implemented in Russian, which is the uniting component for all the Muslims of Russia. The texts in Russian, somehow connected with Islam and meant for the general public, are of great interest as their analysis helps set up discoursive aims and tasks, the discoursive situation as well as the peculiarities of Islamic ideology in the Russian Islamic community.
One of the main channels of the Russian muslims' mass communication is the Internet. The Muslim communities and the institution of Islamic clergy which unites them try to use different means of electronic media, they make sites, informative and analytical portals, blogs, social nets, etc. Practically every major Islamic religious administration has its own Russian-language site, for example, www.muslim.ru, www.cdum.ru, www.dumrf.ru, www.oneIslam.ru, www.islam.ru, www.islamtoday.ru, www.islaminfo.ru, www.islamnews.ru, http://www.ummahweb.net, www.ansar.ru, www.islamtv.ru etc. In this type of communication the addressees are either the true believers or those young people who are interested in Islam whoas the sociological service of the American Institute of public opinion «Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life» reports comprise almost a half of Muslim community.
There are many reasons why Muslim communities widely use websites. Firstly, these means of mass communication is getting universally available and can cover the wide audience, which is in line with one of the main aims of the religious discourse that is initiating to the Faith.
Secondly, technical parameters and structurization of the site make it possible not only to contain a great volume of information but also simultaneously realise all kinds of communication characteristic of the religious discourse including phatic, informative, ritual, fascinative etc.
Thirdly, the given resource allows the simultaneous use of written and sounding texts, various kinds of graphs, photographs and videomaterials, which broadens the opportunities of communicators.
Islamic sites are not homogeneous in their content. They can include general information about Islam, holy texts or their fragments and their interpretation; reports, scientific articles, speeches of secular and religious figures on Islam; texts or video-tapes of sermons; news line giving coverage of the events connected with the Islamic world; the information about the Islamic organisation running the site (about its structure, figures and activity); the ritual information (the time of quintuple Mohammedan prayer, the calendar of the Muslim holidays etc.); advertisements (more often on the news sites) etc.
One of such sites is muslim.ru set up by Russia's Muftis Council. The content of the site underpins the integration of Islam in the social life, that is in the intentions and aims of the given discoursive situation are different from that of personal or group communication of Muslims, let alone hypercommunication. Those involved in the communication are, on the one hand, the agents, that is, religious Muslim figures; the mediators of the communication — journalists, administrators, editors of the site, and on the other hand the addressees who are mainly Muslims interested in the activities of the Council, the news in the Islamic world, the policy of the Islamic countries.
In the religious discourse Almighty Allah is an indispensable participant. In the situation under study which presupposes indirect communication (on the site muslim.ru) the invisible presence of God is confirmed by the discoursive formulas, e.g. بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (In the name of Allah, gracious and merciful) which opens the site.
The given type of communication is supported by the religious attribution. The possibility of the visualisation allows to use various images and muslim symbols: the pictures of the crescent which is the symbol of Islam, the usage in graphs of the green colour, the colour of Islam (symbolising the birth of life, nature, freedom, garden of Eden), abstracts from the Koran, written in the Arabic ligature. These graphic means somehow replace the prototype communication. Besides, the format of the site given the opportunity of combining written and oral forms of the discourse, for example, the written address of the mufti or the imam to believers and the video-tape of their sermon in the mosque.
It should be noted that the main aim of the religious communication, that is the initiating to the God and the transfer of the mystic experience, is put in the back-ground. The discussion of the religious basics of Islam goes beyond the framework of the discoursive situation, e.g. The given heading 'The Pillars of Islam' [http://muslim.ru/articles/290/] does not contain theological texts but is informative: «At the XII International Contest Of The Koran Readers»; «The Diary Of A Pilgrim»; «Hadj As Seen By A Russian Citizen»; «The Position Of Islam In The Intimidation Of Peaceful People» etc.
The content of the site and the used language means underline the instituanality of communication and interacting with the values of the political discourse oriented at the legitimisation of power.
Multiple ties with the political discourse can be found on the surface of the formal linguistic component of the analysed type of communication, e.g. The existence of Russian acronyms СМР (Russia's Mufties Council) ДУМРФ (The Spiritual Administration of Russia's Muslims), in combinability of lexical units belonging to different styles: the Chairman of the spiritual administration; the press service of spiritual administration; the liquidation of Primorski Krai Kazyate; the structural reform of the regional Spiritual Administration of Muslims, the image of Islam, the shortage of madrasahs and maktabs and so on, let alone structural and tone and genre characteristics. The communicative speech devices aimed at appeal, upbringing, normalisation are widely used, which is equally typical of the political discourse. Thus, the formal dialogue structure is underlined by the address which is indispensable at the beginning of every sermon: «My dear brothers and sisters! My fellow believers! Dear brothers in faith!» [http://muslim.ru/articles/298/13876/] as well as the questions «Does reading the Koran mean being a terrorist?» and «How should one understand such recommendations and statements in the style of «godless years» from renowned state figures?» [http://muslim.ru/articles/277/13714/]. Some articles are political and only indirectly connected with Islam in their content: «Russia does forsake its people!» «Let’s save the Adygeis of Syria!», «The people of Jemen need peace and dialogue!», «Putin is defending common sense», «Why do they dislike Putin and Russia so much?» [http://muslim.ru/articles/277/13997/] etc.
Let's analyse one of the texts on the site:
«The Chairman of Russia's Mufti's Council and the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the Russian Federation Mufti Sheikh Ravil Jainutdin sent his condolences to the Turkish President and to the Turkish people in connection with human casualties in Ankara as a result of explosions.
Islam equates the killing of one person with the killing of the whole mankind.
Those who committed this terrible murder are inhuman monsters, the punishment of the Almighty. Creator shall overtake anyone who has lifted his hand against a man, who has encroached upon an innocent human life.
Those who have committed this evil deed will not get away from being called to account by the Almighty. Those who committed this crime and those who ordered it must have a deserved penalty. We resolutely denounce any acts of terror and pray to the most High God to take the guiltless souls of those who died and to save those who were wounded and injured.
The Holy Koran says that «Those who seek gain in Evil, they are Companions of the Fire, Therein (in the Gehenna) shall they abide (For ever)»
Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to him we will return.
May the Almighty grant His mercy and pardon to the deceased and award them with a deserved place in the Eternal World. We pray for peace on the Turkish land.»
There are different stylistic devices in the text which are characteristic, on the one hand, of the religious discourse:
high-flown and evaluative vocabulary — spiritual, mercy, to grant, to award, to encroach, evil deed, penalty shall overtake, innocent victims, to denounce, terrible murder, inhuman monster;
religious lexicon (used in the Russian Orthodox Church texts as well) — to pray, the Gehenna, Almighty, Creator, the Eternal World;
arabisms, which mark the Islamic sub-discourse — mufti, sheikh, the Most High Allah, Koran, Islam;
the reference to the Holy text — the citation from the Koran translated into Russian but given without a traditional reference to the ayate (verse) or sura of the Holy Book;
discoursive forms — May the Almighty grant His mercy and pardon to the deceased;
on the other hand, there are language devices typical of the political discourse:
official and business vocabulary — the Chairman of the Council, President, to pay the penalty, acts of terror;
the official names of the states — the Turkish Republic, the Russian Federation;
the names of the political figures — R.T. Erdogan;
the syntactical structures of the political text – «the Chairman of the Council addressed the President», «addressed his condolences to the Turkish people» 'we' inclusive etc.
It's interesting to note that there is a grammar mistake in the text, that is absence of agreement of the preposition with the case form of the noun — в связи с гибели – which makes it possible to assume that Russian is not a native tongue of the author but a second language.
The texts of the site are diverse both in content and language devices but their subject matter is common: state and Islam relations [http://muslim.ru/articles/277/13976/] and their single aim is the consolidation of the Muslim community of Russia.
The site www.oneislam.ru has a different content and discoursive aims. The main objective of the site is to make a choice between Christianity and Islam and, at the same time, the possibility of peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims. The site contains a lot of articles which give arguments in favour of Islam and the continuity of Christian values. The main heading of the site is a translation of the citation from the Koran:
Say ye: «We believe In God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, And the Tribes, and that given To Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference Between one and another of them And we bow to God (in Islam)».
The usage of the translation of the quotation into Russian without Arabisms, which mark the relativity to Islam (God, not Allah; Abraham, not Ibrahim; Jesus not Isa etc.) shows to a certain similarity of some basic Christian and Muslim values and conveys to the addressee the general tone of the communicative situation. Actually there are no Muslim symbols on the site: either the crescent, or the Arabic ligature, or the green colour associated with Islam. The site sections include articles, targeted at an intuitive and/or 'reflective layman' who is by chance involved in the religious communication, or at those who are conscious of their first steps in the area of the religious communication . The target audience of this communicative situation is the Russian speaking Christians who «are questioning» their belief, thus the main aim of the given texts of Islamic discourse is appealative, argumentative, regulative, which can be proved by the analysis of the content component of the texts.
The site incorporates sections and articles corresponding to the aims of the discoursive situation and the basic concepts of Islam and Christianity. The articles include comparative analysis: «Islam is for Russians, too», «Why did Islam supersede Christianity and Judaism?», «The comparative analysis of Torah and Koran», «The Bible and the Koran: comparative analysis», «The woman in Islam and in the world of Judaism and Christianity», etc.; critical analysis: «The contradiction in the Gospel describing the events after Jesus's death», «Merciless distortion of the Biblical text», «Jesus was married as it was proved be the researchers», «Prophet Isa and pious Mariam bear the omen of the Almighty», etc.; arguments for religious accommodation: «The way of Islamic expansion is prophet Mohammad's line towards compromises», «Mohammad introduces his brother Jesus to the mankind», «The Prophet's respect for Christians and Jews», «Christianity is an unalienable part of the Islamic civilisation», «The first Christian and Jews who said that Prophet Mohammad is the truth», etc., persuasive argumentation: «The truth about Prophet Mohammad for Non-Muslims», «Arguments about the authorship of the Koran», «Does the Koran call for the murder of the unfaithful?», «Concoctions around Islam», «Islam is not like this! And what is it like?», «40 answers to the critics of Islam», etc.
Each article of the site can be commented on (the discussion of some articles has as many as 200 comments), which represents a new communicative situation as new participants, who are not always Muslims, get involved in the communication [http://oneislam.ru/?p=5032#comments, 29.06.2015].
The subject matter remains religious but the sub-discourse changes according to the article on the site. The commentaries of the site users sometimes turns into the religious dispute, which, without any doubt, involves different discursive tactics and strategies. The quotations from the Bible and the Koran are used as irrefutable arguments, which on the whole is characteristic of the religious discourse due to its dogmatic nature. The appeal to the intuition and emotions of the addressee is used as a communicative strategy, which makes it easier to form the ideas, values and estimations transmitted by the agent. The use of positive and negative expressive constructions and evaluative nominatives characteristic of the religious discourse is a means of exerting influence and transmitting mystic experience. At that, in the polemical statements of the participants of the communication one can find words typical of the inferior style or even the tabooed expressions, which goes beyond the framework of the discourse and shows its connection with another one, that is of everyday speech.
The value orientation of Islam at the spiritual and physical purity of a believer through performing necessary rituals involves elements of everyday discourse into communication. Thus, on the Muslim sites one can see the advertisements of the halal goods, the watches showing the time of the prayer, electronic pens reading the Koran, etc., or one can read about various everyday problems discussed in the form of a dialogue, e.g. Whether a woman can shape her eyebrows, whether one can be injected with the medicine containing spirit, etc. Thus, the site http://muslimfashion.ru discusses not only the Muslim postulates but also the way the Muslim woman should look, what clothes she should wear and what make-up she should use.
Sites of this kind can use combinations of lexical units belonging to different styles, which stresses the intertextuality. For example, on the site http://muslimfashion.ru there are such word combinations as 1) 'Miss Muslim of the Universe', where one can see the broadening of the phraseological unit Miss Universe meaning the winner of the beauty contest on the international level. This phraseological unit got a new component so that the Western word Miss agrees with the Oriental word Muslim; 2) 'Islamic feminist', that is a Muslim woman advocating the movement for full equality of women in their rights with men, which goes contrary to the main principles of Islam; 3) With humour about hijab – the word combination in which derisive (though with a positive connotation) words go together with those words which express ritual, high-flown and chaste notions.
The inseparable link of the Muslim religion with all aspects of human life, the penetration of Islam into every sphere of human activity are the reason for diversity and multitude of the texts combined in the Islamic discourse. Vividly expressed intertextuality and interdiscoursivity make it different from other religious sub-discourses. At the same time , the role of the Russian language as an extra means of uniting all Muslims, which is caused by extralinguistic social and political reasons , contributes to getting the Muslim and Christian discourses somehow closer.
The existence of a great number of sites, covering the problems of Islam, to a certain extent, makes easier the work of the researcher of the Islamic discourse, though communication in the Internet is not the main form of Muslims' intercourse. It is only a component of 'superdiscourse'. Nevertheless, it gives an opportunity to study such problems as the genre and stylistic diversity of the Islamic discourse, its specific peculiarities as compared with other religious sub-discourses; the patterns of constructing and semantic and syntactical structures of Islamic (and non-Islamic) texts, discursive formulas, the interaction of culturogenic texts in the Russian language variant.
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