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Waqf Endowments in Daghestani Village Communities: From the 1917 Revolution to the Collectivization

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Given the lack of reliable first-hand sources, nobody has yet traced the modern history of Islamic charitable endowments in the North Caucasus under early Soviet rule. This article is one of the first attempts to conduct such research in Daghestan. In this republic waqf foundations were legally acknowledged until 23 January 1927, when a decree turned them into national state property that would be divided among their previous holders in cooperatives and kolkhozes. Is it possible to recover the early Soviet history of waqf in the period 1920-1927, when it functioned under the protection of state law, while remaining almost completely exempt from state control and registration? What can be said on competing visions of waqf and its place in the Soviet discourse of mountaineers' survival and modernity? What role did it play in the countryside on the eve of collectivization? To answer these questions the author focuses on village communities which, as he argues, constituted crucial level of post-Revolutionary Islamic endowments. This research introduces a unique waqf register of the 1920s from the village of Dibgashi. It relies on a broad range of Muslim and Soviet sources in the Arabic, Caucasian and Russian languages, including oral histories gathered by the author among contemporary villagers in Mountain Daghestan.

Affiliations: 1: Moscow


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