Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia

By Adeeb Khalid | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Islam in Central Asia

In 1805, Eltüzer Khan, the reigning khan of Khwarazm, the oasis principality at the mouth of the Amu Darya, commissioned a history of his dynasty that would “place our august genealogy on a throne in the divan [chancery] of words and to set the names of our glorious ancestors into the seal of history.” The resulting work was undertaken by a court historian by the name of Sher Muhammad Mirab Munis, and continued after his death by his nephew Muhammad Riza Agahi, who carried its account down to 1828. The work bore the appropriately grandiose title of Firdavs ul-iqbâl (The Paradise of Felicity) and gave an appropriately grandiose account of the achievements of the dynasty. The hefty text contains an enormous amount of information about the history of Central Asia, but perhaps more important is what it tells us about the mental universe of its author and intended audience and about the literary tradition from which it emerged. Like all traditional Muslim histories, it begins with an account of the origin of the community whose history it recounts. In this case, an account of Creation is followed by a short first chapter recounting the Muslim version of the descent of Adam to earth, his reconciliation with Eve, and the Flood. After the Flood, Noah had three sons, who later propagated the human race. The eldest was Japheth, from whose eight sons sprang all the peoples who inhabited Inner Asia (Turânzamin). The eldest of the eight was Turk, the eponymous ancestor of the Turks. The Turks lived peacefully under the sons of Turk, a series of model rulers, until corruption set in during the reign of

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Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Islam in Central Asia 19
  • Chapter 2 - Empire and the Challenge of Modernity 34
  • Chapter 3 - The Soviet Assault on Islam 50
  • Chapter 4 - Islam as National Heritage 84
  • Chapter 5 - The Revival of Islam 116
  • Chapter 6 - Islam in Opposition 140
  • Chapter 7 - The Politics of Antiterrorism 168
  • Conclusion - Andijan and beyond 192
  • Afterword 204
  • Glossary 211
  • Notes 213
  • Select Bibliography 235
  • Index 243
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