Haji Shahin Hasanli, a leading Azerbaijani theologian and imam, died early Thursday morning, reportedly of a heart attack.
News of Hasanli’s death was first shared on his Facebook page.
Hasanli was one of the most influential religious figures in the country. Serving as an imam at the Mashadi Dadash mosque in Baku, he was also an authorised representative of the Caucasus Muslims Board.
The theologian’s funeral took place at Mashadi Dadash mosque later on Thursday.
Haji Shahin Hasanli was born in Baku in 1974. He graduated from Azerbaijan State Technical University in 1994, and went on to complete a master’s degree in history at Baku State University.
Hasanli received his religious education independently, beginning in 1992. He became the imam of Mashadi Dadash mosque in 2001.
Hasanli was active in public life, and had a great influence across Azerbaijani society.
He was noted for his support for the families of soldiers killed in combat, most evident in his involvement in commemorative events and funerals, and his role in motivating Azerbaijani soldiers during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Hasanli also actively worked to promote ‘national values’, Islamic morality, and patriotism amongst young people.
Earlier this year, Hasanli’s comments regarding Azerbaijan–Iran relations attracted attention.
Hasanli condemned the attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran, claiming that Iran was responsible for the incident, and described the head of security killed in the attack as a ‘martyr’.
Many notable Azerbaijani public figures and politicians attended the funeral, and members of both the ruling party and opposition parties shared their condolences on social media.