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The Bulghar Region as a “Land of Ignorance”: Anti-Colonial Discourse in Khvārazmian Connectivity

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Hagiographic sources from nineteenth-century Inner Russia and Khvārazm indicate the existence of a cluster of Muslims opposed to the state-supported Islamic institutions of the Russian Empire. Many Muslim scholars of the period did not accord the Volga-Ural region the status of an ‘abode of Islam,’ as they considered it to be a ‘land of ignorance.’ This paper examines the significance attached by Muslims of Inner Russia to the pious rhetoric of resettlement from a ‘land of ignorance’ to the ‘abode of Islam’. I argue that the opposition to the already well-established imperial structures in the Volga-Urals resulted in the formation of a powerful migrant community near Urgench, Khvārazm, that used the Naqshbandiya-Mojaddediya Sufi networks as a stable bridge to home.

Affiliations: 1: European University at St Petersburg/Universiteit van Amsterdam alf_b@list.ru

10.1163/18747167-12341300
/content/journals/10.1163/18747167-12341300
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2016-10-28
2018-09-21

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