Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 1 / Trend K. Zarbaliyeva /
Administrative penalties will be given to religious figures who have not been certified with the Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office if they are caught participating in religious ceremonies.
"A list of certified religious figures will be given to the district executive authorities," Haji Miraziz Seyidzade, a department head at the Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office, told Trend.
"People who have not passed certification will not be eligible to participate in religious ceremonies. Administrative penalties will be enforced."
The Caucasus Muslims Clerical Office has already started the certification procedures, which, among other goals, aim to check the knowledge of Azerbaijan's religious figures.
A number of religious figures have already undergone testing and received certification in the Lankaran, Jalilabad, Astara, Masalli and Bilasuvar regions. The remaining individuals were given additional time to prepare for the examination over the next 3-5 months, Seyidzade said.
He added that the certification is carried out in three categories - mulla, akhund and imam). The basic requirement is to have a knowledge of the Koran.
All of the mullahs must know prayers for the deceased and the rules of funeral ceremonies. The akhunds and imams must know the rules of wedding ceremonies, talag (divorce), and the rules of dividing inheritance and resolving family problems according to Sharia law.
"We want full transparency in the clergy," he said. "We want religious leaders who have a deep religious knowledge. Purity and holiness must be observed."
Seyidzade stressed that some mullahs have forgotten Koranic law. They have been given time to refresh their knowledge, he said.
"Former drivers, accountants and other professionals want to become a mullah to make money after learning only one surah. They will be removed from this activity during our appraisal," Seyidzade said.
He underscored that the certification procedures will also involve Baku Islamic University graduates in this activity, as they have knowledge and experience in these affairs.
Although earlier the certification process was temporarily suspended due to the start of the Hajj, the procedures will continue next year, Seyidzade said.