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Afghanistan's IslamFrom Conversion to the Taliban$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294134

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294134.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Transporting Knowledge in the Durrani Empire

Transporting Knowledge in the Durrani Empire

Two Manuals of Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi Practice

Chapter:
(p.105) 5 Transporting Knowledge in the Durrani Empire
Source:
Afghanistan's Islam
Author(s):

Waleed Ziad

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520294134.003.0006

Until the upheavals caused by the Soviet invasion, the leaders of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi order formed Afghanistan’s religious establishment. How this came about, however, has never been previously ascertained. This chapter examines how Muslim religious knowledge was first transmitted to Afghanistan from India through the lens of Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi manuals composed in Kabul and Peshawar at the turn of the nineteenth century. The chapter argues that these texts represent a new “handbook” genre, merging mystical theology and praxis. Before the advent of a regional print culture, they served as easily replicable tools enabling the efficient transfer of complex knowledge systems in the form of a regularized curriculum to diverse cultural environments beyond the Afghan Durrani Empire. Drawing from the field of readership studies, the chapter shows how these texts helped foster a uniform yet flexible cosmological and methodological system, which facilitated the exchange of human capital and texts across a vast territory, and absorbed a host of localized practices and institutions.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Islam, History, Early modern, Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi, Sufism, Sufi manuals, Persian, Peshawar, Kabul

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