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  • Историко-источниковедческий анализ государственного регулирования ислама Российской империей в Туркестане (1864−1917) by Ш. В. Мухамедов
  • Sebastian RIMESTAD (bio)
Ш. В. Мухамедов. Историко-источниковедческий анализ государственного регулирования ислама Российской империей в Туркестане (1864−1917). Ташкент, Baktria Press, 2013. 253C. ISBN: 978-9943-4064-1-4.

According to the historian Shukhrat V. Mukhamedov, currently vice director of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, there exist “no summarizing works, devoted to the state regulation of Islam in Turkestan on behalf of the Russian Empire to date” (P. 19). Mukhamedov’s monograph was written in order to fill that gap. The work is exclusively based on archival materials from the Uzbek State Archives and its six main chapters are each devoted to a different corpus of these archival materials. Mukhamedov constructs this exclusive source base as a positive contribution, because of the “obvious fact that Western and Russian researchers, as well as historians from the post-Soviet Central Asian states often interpret key aspects of the historical development of the region differently” (P. 26). Therefore, a strictly source-based analysis would avoid this problem altogether. Whereas it can be debated whether such an approach to history is necessarily more truthful, it goes without saying that leaving secondary sources completely out of the equation diminishes the value of the work for other scholars who would like to engage in productive academic discussion.

Mukhamedov sees it as his task to unravel “not only state politics in this regard [regulation of Islam], but first and foremost their legal basis. We are interested in the personalities of those who acted ‘successfully’ on the basis of this legal framework as well as those who had problems implementing it. We are interested in their biographies, their educational career, the milieu in which they grew up, their nationality, mentality, their attitude to religion in general and Islam in particular, partly their position in the family, the role of their wives, and so on” (P. 9). In order to fulfill this massive task, the book begins with a rather detailed overview of the state of the research, which includes several Russian, Uzbek, and English works on the topic but omits some studies of principal importance in the field: for example, the seminal book by Adeeb Khalid, or the collection Central Asia within the Russian Empire.1 More detrimental, however, is the [End Page 586] fact that after this little section in the introduction, secondary sources are not mentioned again.

From the first chapter, the author seems to expect readers already to be familiar with the details of Central Asian nineteenth-century history and Islamic terminology. This first chapter seems to be based primarily on the Archive Guide to the Uzbekistan State Archive from 1948, providing readers with an overview of all documents related to the regulation of Islam in the Russian General Governorate of Turkestan (1864−1917). Comparisons with the treatment of other Muslim populations in Russia are not useful because this region was not part of Russia proper, but a “conquered territory.” On the other hand, the protectorates of Khiva and Bukhara to the south were still nominally independent, and Muslim authorities stayed in power until 1917. In Turkestan, the long-term first governor-general, Konstantin von Kaufman (1867−1882) officially pursued a policy of “ignoring Islam.” According to Mukhamedov, in a phrase that is repeated several times throughout the book, this “ignoring Islam” actually meant a “policy of direct meddling in the religious life of the Muslims of Central Asia” (P. 40).

The remaining chapters analyze these archival documents, each chapter focusing on one type of document. In this way, the second chapter deals with the general treatment of Islam in the early years after the conquest of Turkestan under von Kaufman. The third chapter covers the transformation of general policy on Islam in the years after 1884. The fourth chapter is devoted to the question of Waqf property (endowments) and the fifth chapter to education. Finally, the sixth chapter analyzes the important documents that did not fit in elsewhere. Such a structure is bound to be full of repetitions and cross-references, which are, however, seldom made. The same information often turns up several times in the course of the book, but it is presented as something new each time. These repetitions could be excused...


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pp. 586-589
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