Mutahallims   

During recent decades, the interest to religion greatly increased in Daghestan.  In Soviet times people were restricted in getting knowledge about Islam because of official promotion of atheism but after the collapse of the USSR the ban on religious education was lifted. Educational facilities were established everywhere –both elementary schools (madrasas and maktabs) and universities. Being established at mosques or Islamic universities madrasas are religious schools where every person of any age can receive education. Not only religious subjects — reading and interpretation of the Koran, performing prayers, hadiths (collections of Islamic legends) — but secular disciplines are studied there as well. Education in such schools is always separate- for men and women. Students of these schools are called mutahallims and young girls are usually called mutahallimkas.

      There are several types of female madrasas in Daghestan.  Some of them work as evening studies for grown-ups. Other ones organize lessons for children on weekends and summer vacations. Special madrasas accept girls after they have finished  secular schools. Spiritual and moral development of women is of great importance in religious schools. A woman should be modest and obedient at the behest of the Most High.

       As it follows from Islam, the strive for knowledge is one of duties of every believer. My photo essay is dedicated to Muslim women of  Daghestan, to their pursuit of data on the religion and their desire to share the information with others.