By Agnes Nilufer Kefeli
Within the 19th century, the Russian Empire's center Volga sector (today's Tatarstan) used to be the location of a chronic fight among Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, each one of which sought to solidify its impression one of the frontier's mixture of Turkic, Finno-Ugric, and Slavic peoples. The rapid catalyst of the occasions that Agnes Nilufer Kefeli chronicles in turning into Muslim in Imperial Russia was once the collective flip to Islam by means of a number of the region's Krashens, the Muslim and animist Tatars who switched over to Russian Orthodoxy among the 16th and eighteenth centuries.
The conventional view holds that the apostates had rather been Muslim all alongside or that their conversions were compelled via the nation or undertaken voluntarily as an issue of comfort. In Kefeli’s view, this argument enormously oversimplifies the complexity of a area the place many participated within the spiritual cultures of either Islam and Orthodox Christianity and the place a colourful Krashen group has survived to the current. by way of reading Russian, Eurasian, and primary Asian ethnographic, administrative, literary, and missionary assets, Kefeli indicates how conventional schooling, with Sufi mystical elements, helped to Islamize Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples within the Kama-Volga geographical region and set the level for the improvement of modernist Islam in Russia.
Of specific curiosity is Kefeli’s emphasis at the function that Tatar girls (both Krashen and Muslim) performed as holders and transmitters of Sufi wisdom. this day, she notes, intellectuals and mullahs in Tatarstan search to restore either Sufi and modernist traditions to counteract new expressions of Islam and advertise a in basic terms Tatar Islam conscious of its specificity in a post-Christian and secular environment.
"This is a wonderful ebook for students and complex scholars attracted to Imperial Russia'sChristian-versus-Islamic fight between peoples (primarily Tatars, but in addition others, similar to the Chuvash, Maris, and Udmurts) in its center Volga zone. The book's subtitle shows its major concentration, that's according to fieldwork and vast archival and different examine (indicated in copious footnotes and bibliography). The position of literacy, schooling, girls, Tatar modernists, and the response of the Russian executive and Orthodox Church additionally obtain designated consciousness. Kefeli (Arizona kingdom Univ.) demonstrates that the apostasy of tens of hundreds of thousands of Kräshens (Tatar Christians) and others used to be even more advanced than formerly acknowledged."―W.G. Moss, selection (March 2015)
"Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia is critical for displaying how small and politically unorganized groups comparable to the Krashens confronted and created offerings of their communal affiliations and the way they eventually have been in a position to make assorted offerings in line with particular situations. Agnes Nilufer Kefeli's thorough and inventive use of resources is striking. She uses Russian legitimate assets from the kingdom records of Tatarstan and somewhere else, yet she additionally consults a wide variety of nonarchival Islamic resources, together with Tatar-language Arabic-script well known literature. This makes the e-book hugely unique and critical to either Russian heritage and Islamic studies."―Allen Frank, writer of Muslim non secular associations in Imperial Russia
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Additional resources for Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia: Conversion, Apostasy, and Literacy
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