The Buddhist family of the Barmakids ruled Balkh for a long time. When in the middle of the 7th century this territory became a part of the Umayyad state, then the whole family accepted Islam. After 750, during the Abbasid era, the Barmakids gained fame as wise rulers. They transferred to the Abbasid caliphs, who were not familiar with the organization of the bureaucratic system of a huge state, the centuries-old management experience they had accumulated during the Persian Empire. The Barmakids played an important role in the formation of the empire until the end of the 8th century. A widely known name is Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaqa. He was assigned as an adviser and tutor to the young Harun al-Raschid, who would be the caliph during the golden years of the Abbasid rule. In many respects, thanks to Yahe ibn Khalid ar-Barmakids under Harun ar-Rashid, the caliphate lived in peace with its neighbors, its economy developed, scientists were patronized, and an infrastructure rivaling that of ancient Rome was created. Thus, the Barmakid family left such a mark in the history of the Muslim world that its influence on political life was traced throughout the centuries.
Khan Berke (- 1266)
In the middle of the 13th century Berke Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, was a significant figure for the Mongols. Like all his people, he practiced shamanism – a type of paganism. Berke commanded one of the units of the Mongolian army, which marched in 1236 under the leadership of Batu on a western campaign – to the Caucasus, Western Europe and the Kipchak steppe. On his way back to Mongolia, he stopped in Bukhara to get answers to his questions about Islam. He was receptive to faith and became a Muslim. Thus, Berke Khan is the first Muslim ruler of Mongolia. After learning of his conversion to Islam, many of his soldiers did the same. This led to the fact that the Mongol army, which had conquered many Muslim territories, including Baghdad, retreated. When in 1258 the news about the conquest of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan spread, Berke Khan gave his word to take revenge: “He (Hulagu) captured Muslim cities and became the cause of the caliph’s murder. With the help of Allah, I call to take revenge on him for the spilled blood of Muslims. Having entered into an alliance with the Mamluks, Berke Khan stopped Hulaga and saved the territories of Egypt, Syria and Hejaz from destruction and enslavement.
Zaganos Pasha (-1461)
Zaganos Pasha was Greek or Albanian by origin. As a child, he was sent to the Janissaries. Like other janissaries, along with receiving a religious education, he studied the basics of management and military affairs. Later, he was appointed tutor and adviser to the young Shahzadeh, who later became Sultan Mehmet II. When his pupil ascended the throne, Zaganos Pasha became his vizier. It was with him that the sultan consulted on all issues of state administration, in particular, regarding the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. His legacy is the mosques, springs and public baths that still adorn Balikesir and Edirne today.
Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745)
Ibrahim Muteferrika was born in 1674 in the Hungarian city of Koložvar. He was a Unitarian, but was captured by the Turks and ended up in Istanbul. Here he converted to Islam and made a career at the palace, receiving the privileged position of muteferrik. Since Ibrahim Muteferrika knew different languages, he acted as a diplomat, joining embassies in different countries. In Turkey, he is also known as the founder of the first printing house. He published many atlases, dictionaries and religious books. Along with this, Ibrahim Mutefarrika is the author of works on history, theology, sociology and astronomy.
Malcolm X (1925-1965)
Malcolm X’s childhood and youth were difficult. In 1946, he even went to prison, where he spent 8 years. Before the prison, he was fascinated by the ideas of the organization “Nation of Islam”, which were far from traditional Islam. In particular, the superiority of the black race is proclaimed, and the white is accused of all kinds of sins. By the mid-1950s, Malcolm X became the leader of this organization and one of the most famous fighters for black rights in America. But by the end of that decade, the ideology of the “Nation of Islam” ceased to satisfy him. After leaving this movement, he began to study traditional Islam, performed the Hajj in 1964, traveled to Muslim countries and Africa. After that, returning to his homeland, Malcolm X began to spread Islam among African Americans. His speeches, in which he, in particular, criticized the “Nation of Islam”, became the reason for the hostile attitude towards him from his former associates. After all, under his influence, some of the members of the named organization left it and adopted traditional Islam. In 1965, Malcolm X died at the hands of assassins from the “Nation of Islam”. Although he was a supporter of traditional Islam for only a small part of his life, he left a legacy in this field worthy of attention. He became a symbol for Muslims in America and remained in the memory of all mankind as a fighter for human rights.
Alexander Russell Webb
By the end of the 19th century in America, mass media began to turn into an effective tool of influence on society. One of the journalists who played a role in this processand, being Alexander Russell Webb. Disillusioned with Christianity and being a well-read cultured person, he engaged in spiritual searches and began to study other religions. He was especially interested in Islam. In 1887, R. Webb was appointed consular representative of the United States in the Philippines. This gave him the opportunity to learn about Islam directly from Filipino Muslims. Although the first representatives of Islam who introduced him to this religion were followers of the Ahmadiyya movement, which is not orthodox, Webb later discovered the true Islam for himself. He traveled around the Muslim world to study Islamic sciences and met the ulema. In 1893, after resigning from his post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander returned to America. Here he wrote several books devoted to Islam, began to publish a newspaper promoting this religion. Until the beginning of the XX century. this outstanding figure continued to be the most prominent voice of Islam in America. Even Sultan Abdulhamid II gave him the title of honorary consul of the Ottoman Empire. Alexander Webb died in 1916 and was buried in Rutherford, New Jersey. (Article: lostislamichistory.com, translated by Gulsar Akhmetzyanov, islam-portal.ru)