SAMARKAND, May 19 — Malaysia is ready to assist Uzbekistan in its efforts to establish itself as a centre for Islamic studies, particularly in the field of Hadith, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

He said Uzbekistan is one of the Central Asian countries with high potential and a special historical significance due to its role as a centre for Hadith scholars, Imam Bukhari and Imam Tirmidhi among them, which will draw interest from the global Muslim community.

“When President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev aims to transform Uzbekistan into a hub for Hadith studies and training, it will naturally draw on our expertise.

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“... therefore, I have asked the Minister of Religious Affairs (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Religious Affairs, Datuk Dr. Mohd Na’im Mokhtar) and the Director-General of Jakim (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) to explore how we can leverage their strengths while they also gain experience from Malaysia,” he told Malaysian media at the end of his visit to Uzbekistan today.

During his visit to several places related to Islamic history in the country, including the Imam Bukhari Mausoleum, he witnessed the significant contributions in Hadith studies and noted the current efforts of the Uzbekistan government following long periods of Russian Tsarist and Soviet Union control.

“After a long time, they are now free to reconnect with their own glorious history,” Anwar said.

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Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union from 1924 until it declared independence on August 31, 1991.

Anwar also said that Uzbekistan shares similar views on peace and various issues affecting the Muslim world.

“(Malaysia and Uzbekistan also) discussed issues concerning Afghanistan and Gaza. Their approach aligns with ours, and they strongly support Malaysia’s stance in advocating for the interests of Muslims as well as for peace and justice,” he said.

Uzbekistan was the final destination of Anwar’s official visit to three Central Asian countries, after Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Anwar arrived in Tashkent on Friday to begin his three-day visit to Uzbekistan. On the first day in the Uzbek capital, Anwar, who arrived from Kazakhstan, paid a courtesy call on President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and held a meeting with him.

On the second day, the prime minister and his delegation visited the Imam Hazrati Complex in Tashkent, where the world-famous Quran manuscript of Caliph Uthman Affan (Mashaf Uthmani) — the oldest in the world — is kept and displayed.

The Hazrati Imam Complex is the religious heart of Tashkent with several well-restored mosques, madrasah museums and other pilgrimage sites.

It is an architectural monument dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. The complex has a very rich library of oriental manuscripts as well as the world-famous Quran of Caliph Uthman Affan.

On the second day, Anwar went to Samarkand, about 300 kilometres from Tashkent, starting by visiting the Imam Bukhari Complex built around the tomb of Imam Bukhari (Imam Bukhari Mausoleum), a famous hadith expert.

He then visited the Samarkand Silk Road Complex which, among other things, houses the Eternal City, which accurately recreates the spirit of the ancient city as described in ancient books.

Anwar and the Malaysian delegation were also taken to the Shah-i-Zinda Complex which, among other things, houses the tomb of Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, who was also one of the earliest preachers to bring Islamic teachings to Uzbekistan.

He also visited the tomb of Amir Temur, the great ruler of the Timurid Empire who initiated the construction of a strong and centralised state and promoted science and culture, and then to Registan Square which houses the Ulugbek Madrasah, one of the world’s leading mosques and once the largest scientific study centre in Samarkand.

On the final day in Uzbekistan on Sunday (today), the prime minister departed for Bukhara where he visited the Naqshbandi Sufi Complex, which includes the tomb of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, the founder of the Naqshbandi order, who died in 1389.

Later, he also visited the Ark of Bukhara, a massive fortress that was initially built and occupied around the 5th century AD and the Kalon Minaret Complex. — Bernama