Amanat is a matter of honor. How was the fate of the “Russian” son of Imam Shamil

On 26 May the film «Amanat», which tells the tragic love story of Jamaluddin, the son of Imam Shamil, and  Russian noblewoman Elizabeth, granddaughter of President of the Imperial Academy of Arts and Secretary of State of the Russian Empire Alexei Olenin.

This story is very real. In 1839 g. during the siege and assault of the fortified mountain village of Akhulgo, the nine-year-old son of Imam Shamil, at the demand of the Russian General Pavel Grabbewas handed over to the Russian side as a hostage. About what like and the title of the movie — the word «amanat» most often translated exclusively in the meaning of “hostage”. Another thing is that in the Islamic tradition this Arabic word means, first of all, not a person or an object, but a rather broad concept. In a purely theological sense, “amanat” is everything that the Almighty created and that he entrusted, entrusted to people. In relationships the same between people under "amanat" understand something that can be translated as “a matter of faith, trust and honor”.

By and large, this includes family, and love, service, attitude towards oath, and honest observance of contracts… Well and in fact, of course and the fate of Jamaluddin and Elizaveta Olenina, in everything named was woven into a rather cunning knot. Trust, honor and loyalty were constantly tested in this story. And it's not to say that everything always went smoothly.

“Mr. Highlander”

It manifests itself right at the very beginning of the story. Imam Shamil, locked up by Russian troops in that very village of Akhulgo, entered into negotiations solely under the influence of force. A series of assaults, huge losses, murmuring of those close — all this forced Shamil to accept the terms of surrender, the most important of which were three. First — enter into & nbsp; citizenship of the Russian Empire. Second — bring a promise not to take up arms against their new lawful sovereign. Third — give the Russians a confirmation of the purity of their intentions to the eldest son. The practice for the peoples who profess Islam is quite ordinary, so there is no “mockery of the father and & nbsp; son” there was no side of the imperial army. Rather opposite — respect for local customs.

This is indirectly evidenced by the diary entries of Lieutenant-General Pavel Grabbe: “Shamil’s son of nine years old, a lively boy, manages without timidity as at home.” By all accounts, he was in prepared for the role of a hostage. In including education — getting into amanats was a kind of “professional risk”; Imam's son.

The first photograph of Imam Shamil, taken in early September 1859 by Count I. G. Nostits in Chiryurt. Source: Public Domain

So, between the Russian Emperor Nicholas I and Shamil, a “matter of honor” took place. How were the conditions observed?

From the side of Nicholas — exemplary. The emperor declared to Jamaluddin: "You will be mine, and I — yours! And & nbsp; assigned him first to & nbsp; Moscow, to & nbsp; the Alexandrinsky Orphan's Institute, which later became the famous Alexander Military School. But there was no Muslim priest there, and therefore the boy was transferred to Alexander Cadet Corps for Orphans in Tsarskoye Selo. From which follows a fair conclusion — no one forced Jamaluddin to change his faith. He was even allowed to dress not according to the uniform of the corps, but to wear his own national costume. B 1841  he is completely transferred to the First Cadet Corps — Nikolai's favorite educational institution, where his sons were brought up. By the way, the official name of the hostage is: «His Excellency Mr. Highlander Jamaluddin Shamil».

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Assault on the village of Akhulgo. Hood F. A. Roubaud, 1888

Revenge for revenge?

What about his father, Imam Shamil? Unfortunately, he acted against honor. In principle, it can be understood. Sometime in 1837  Russian Emperor Nicholas I, being in the Caucasus, offered him a good agreement. Shamil will lay down his arms, and in return he will receive this: “The Emperor will magnify Shamil, show him honor and” make all Dagestan Muslims manager of affairs. This offer was arrogantly rejected. The Turks, interested in continuing the war in the Caucasus, then also promised Shamil the title of “King of the Transcaucasian” and officially proclaimed him “Generalissimo of the Circassian Army”. Now, having been defeated by the Russians in 1839 and lost his first-born child, he began to take revenge. Military operations against Russia, contrary to the treaty of honor, already in & nbsp; 1840 & nbsp; were reopened.

Did it affect the fate of Jamaluddin? Partly. He writes touching letters to his father: “My precious parent Shamil! I perform all the rites of the Mohammedan faith as I did at home, for by order of the Most Gracious Sovereign Emperor, the mullah of our faith teaches us. Since since I separated from you, I wrote to you with the permission of the Administration twice, and have not received any news from you, and and therefore I ask you, my dear parent, not to  oblivion…» However, these emails are not getting through. The reason is simple. Since the imam does not  comply with the terms of the agreement of honor, then the emperor considers himself entitled to respond adequately — letters from "Mr. Highlander" are accepted, but they are not sent to the addressee, but settle in the archive of the Separate Gendarme Corps.

However, in everything else, Jamaluddin does not experience any constraints. He is an excellent student, in addition to Russian he is learning French and German, in his own words he has become very fond of dancing and gymnastics», and also loves the exact sciences — “finds some strange pleasure in solving mathematical problems” … And, finally, in & nbsp; 1849 & nbsp; leaves the  corps in the rank of cornet. To serve, he is sent to the  Vladimir 13th Lancers Regiment, which is based in Torzhok, Tver Province.

There also, in Torzhok, the Olenev family lives — the doors of their houses were always open for the youth of the capital. B 1849  among these same youth, the most notable was, of course, “Mr. Highlander.” After the tremendous success of Mikhail Lermontov's novel “A Hero of Our Time” everything connected with the Caucasus was extremely romanticized. It is not surprising that the granddaughter of the President of the Academy of Arts and the daughter of the hero of the war of 1812, Pyotr Olenin, Elizabeth drew attention to Jamaluddin.

Portrait of E. M. Olenina, 1791 Artist Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825)

Incomplete happiness

In general, the plot of the novel took place. Which also had political overtones. Young people, having explained themselves, opened their feelings. Elizabeth — father. Jamaluddin — to the emperor, who was to him, in his own words, “instead of his father.” Pyotr Olenin didn't mind. Emperor — especially. According to the laws of the Russian Empire, a Muslim could not marry an Orthodox woman without first breaking with the faith of the fathers and not being baptized. Nicholas I knew this very well, and welcomed the marriage, even expressing a desire to become the godfather of “Mr. determined. According to the nephew of Elizabeth Olenina, to the writer Pyotr Olenin-Volgar, the son of Shamil said to his betrothed bride: «Your God — my God! My soul — your soul. Your faith is better than mine already because she knows the Blessed Virgin, the Divine Mother, and my faith doesn know her…»

The engagement lasted nearly five years. B 1854  Imam Shamil struck the Russian Emperor under the knees. The Crimean War was on. In June-July 1854  the British-French fleet blocked Russian ships in the bay of Sevastopol. In the same days, Shamil invades Georgia, where his murids sow death and destruction. And also capture the most valuable prisoners — Anna Chavchavadze and Varvara Orbeliani. Both of them, not only are the granddaughters of the last Georgian king, but also the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress.

Actually, this is where the story of Elizabeth and Jamaluddin ends. If you believe the story of Olenin-Volgar, “Mr. Highlander”, having learned that they were going to exchange him for Georgian princesses, seemed to try to escape, but he was caught and taken in custody to the Caucasus, not even allowing him to see the & nbsp; farewell to bride-in-law.

The exchange took place. True, it did not bring joy to anyone. Nicholas I in March 1855  died. Shamil's hopes that his firstborn would continue his father's work did not come true. He, although he formally remained a Muslim, became “too Russian”. By the same token, he remained faithful to his Russian bride. The father, like the emperor, intercepted his letters to Elizabeth, and then completely forced his son to marriage, marrying him to a Chechen woman. But the happy marriage was — Jamaluddin died of anguish and tuberculosis in 1858 g. So Shamil finally lost his son. He himself next year will become an honorary prisoner of the next Russian emperor, Alexander II. And in 1866 , already living in Kaluga, he will take an oath of allegiance to Russia. It is quite possible that at that moment Shamil regretted the chance he missed almost 30 years ago to end the matter peacefully, as Nicholas I suggested. But time has passed. And too often during these years that same “deed of honor” by which the imam and emperor were bound was violated. The retribution for this turned out to be cruel.

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