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Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus

ISBN

Publisher

Imprint

Year Published

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9780674248816
Harvard University Press
N/A
2021
360
Paperback
2204

350.00

Sufis created the most extensive Muslim revivalist network in Asia before the twentieth century, generating a vibrant Persianate literary, intellectual, and spiritual culture while tying together a politically fractured world.

About the Author

Waleed Ziad is Assistant Professor and Ali Jarrahi Fellow in Persian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Formerly a Research Fellow at the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School, Ziad has conducted fieldwork in over 120 towns across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan.

Description

Sufis created the most extensive Muslim revivalist network in Asia before the twentieth century, generating a vibrant Persianate literary, intellectual, and spiritual culture while tying together a politically fractured world.

In a pathbreaking work combining social history, religious studies, and anthropology, Waleed Ziad examines the development across Asia of Muslim revivalist networks from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. At the center of the story are the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufis, who inspired major reformist movements and articulated effective social responses to the fracturing of Muslim political power amid European colonialism. In a time of political upheaval, the Mujaddidis fused Persian, Arabic, Turkic, and Indic literary traditions, mystical virtuosity, popular religious practices, and urban scholasticism in a unified yet flexible expression of Islam. The Mujaddidi “Hidden Caliphate,” as it was known, brought cohesion to diverse Muslim communities from Delhi through Peshawar to the steppes of Central Asia. And the legacy of Mujaddidi Sufis continues to shape the Muslim world, as their institutional structures, pedagogies, and critiques have worked their way into leading social movements from Turkey to Indonesia, and among the Muslims of China.

By shifting attention away from court politics, colonial actors, and the standard narrative of the “Great Game,” Ziad offers a new vision of Islamic sovereignty. At the same time, he demonstrates the pivotal place of the Afghan Empire in sustaining this vast inter-Asian web of scholastic and economic exchange. Based on extensive fieldwork across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan at madrasas, Sufi monasteries, private libraries, and archives, Hidden Caliphate reveals the long-term influence of Mujaddidi reform and revival in the eastern Muslim world, bringing together seemingly disparate social, political, and intellectual currents from the Indian Ocean to Siberia.

Praise for the book

“Hidden Caliphate announces the arrival of a major new scholar. By focusing on the more recent past of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Ziad recenters the study of the Sufi tradition, which all too often has been relegated to the realm of metaphysics and poetry. He brings a contested period to light with encyclopedic insight. I heartily recommend this book.”―Omid Safi, author of The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam: Negotiating Ideology and Religious Inquiry “A major achievement. In this innovative, well-written book Ziad shows us a region knit together by the networks of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufis. He is the first to set out their massive influence across Central Asia, Afghanistan, and northwest South Asia, and in the process reveals how limited was the understanding of the colonial powers in the Great Game.”―Francis Robinson, author of The Mughal Emperors: And the Islamic Dynasties of India, Iran and Central Asia, 1206–1925 “Equipped with an impressive array of primary sources, Ziad skillfully dismantles restrictive notions of region and sovereignty and casts aside binaries such as that of Sufis and ulama. He then offers us a breathtaking view of a Persian cosmopolis held together by vibrant networks of Naqshbandi Sufis in the politically turbulent eighteenth century. This hugely important book should be read across a range of disciplines.”―Supriya Gandhi, author of The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukoh in Mughal India “A pioneering study of the Mujaddidi Sufi networks that spanned the eastern Islamic world, from Siberia to India, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Grounded in a prodigious range of sources, Hidden Caliphate shows how the order’s doctrinal, ritual, and institutional dimensions offered intellectual and social cohesion for Muslims across this vast region before and after the advent of colonial domination.”―Devin DeWeese, author of Studies on Sufism in Central Asia “Refreshingly original, Hidden Caliphate shows how the Mujaddidi Sufis combined high textual tradition with ecstatic Sufism and local rituals and thus built a seminal authority to unite diverse communities across Central Asia, Afghanistan, and South Asia. Ziad brings a vital new perspective on a region long understood only through the narrow lens of European imperial histories.”―Muzaffar Alam, author of The Mughals and the Sufis: Islam and Political Imagination in India, 1500–1750 “A brilliant transregional study of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi scholastic–religious networks (the batini khilafat) in Khurasan, Hindustan, and Transoxiana that significantly advances the field of Persianate studies. Ziad traces sacred networks of cultural and economic exchange as well as the leadership structure that helped maintain a degree of stability during a time of political decentralization. A must-read for all interested in Sufism, the Persianate sphere in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the history of the Afghan empire.”―Jo-Ann Gross, Professor of History, Emeritus, The College of New Jersey

Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus

Sufis created the most extensive Muslim revivalist network in Asia before the twentieth century, generating a vibrant Persianate literary, intellectual, and spiritual culture while tying together a politically fractured world.

About the Author

Waleed Ziad is Assistant Professor and Ali Jarrahi Fellow in Persian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Formerly a Research Fellow at the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School, Ziad has conducted fieldwork in over 120 towns across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan.

Description

Praise for the book

“Hidden Caliphate announces the arrival of a major new scholar. By focusing on the more recent past of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Ziad recenters the study of the Sufi tradition, which all too often has been relegated to the realm of metaphysics and poetry. He brings a contested period to light with encyclopedic insight. I heartily recommend this book.”―Omid Safi, author of The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam: Negotiating Ideology and Religious Inquiry “A major achievement. In this innovative, well-written book Ziad shows us a region knit together by the networks of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufis. He is the first to set out their massive influence across Central Asia, Afghanistan, and northwest South Asia, and in the process reveals how limited was the understanding of the colonial powers in the Great Game.”―Francis Robinson, author of The Mughal Emperors: And the Islamic Dynasties of India, Iran and Central Asia, 1206–1925 “Equipped with an impressive array of primary sources, Ziad skillfully dismantles restrictive notions of region and sovereignty and casts aside binaries such as that of Sufis and ulama. He then offers us a breathtaking view of a Persian cosmopolis held together by vibrant networks of Naqshbandi Sufis in the politically turbulent eighteenth century. This hugely important book should be read across a range of disciplines.”―Supriya Gandhi, author of The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukoh in Mughal India “A pioneering study of the Mujaddidi Sufi networks that spanned the eastern Islamic world, from Siberia to India, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Grounded in a prodigious range of sources, Hidden Caliphate shows how the order’s doctrinal, ritual, and institutional dimensions offered intellectual and social cohesion for Muslims across this vast region before and after the advent of colonial domination.”―Devin DeWeese, author of Studies on Sufism in Central Asia “Refreshingly original, Hidden Caliphate shows how the Mujaddidi Sufis combined high textual tradition with ecstatic Sufism and local rituals and thus built a seminal authority to unite diverse communities across Central Asia, Afghanistan, and South Asia. Ziad brings a vital new perspective on a region long understood only through the narrow lens of European imperial histories.”―Muzaffar Alam, author of The Mughals and the Sufis: Islam and Political Imagination in India, 1500–1750 “A brilliant transregional study of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi scholastic–religious networks (the batini khilafat) in Khurasan, Hindustan, and Transoxiana that significantly advances the field of Persianate studies. Ziad traces sacred networks of cultural and economic exchange as well as the leadership structure that helped maintain a degree of stability during a time of political decentralization. A must-read for all interested in Sufism, the Persianate sphere in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the history of the Afghan empire.”―Jo-Ann Gross, Professor of History, Emeritus, The College of New Jersey
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