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Title: Poetic expression of Pamiri Ismāʻīlism : the life and thought of Mubārak-I Wakhānī, a nineteenth-century mystic poet and religious scholar
Author: Iloliev, Abdulmamad
ISNI:       0000 0000 3864 5155
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis focuses on research conducted in the mountainous Pamir region of Tajikistan concerning the life and thought of Mubärak-i Wakhäni (d. 1903), a mystic poet, scholar, musician and artist. It aims to determine Mubärak's role as a prominent mystic poet from the geographically remote Wakhan region of the Pamirs. It explores the ways in which he contributed to the Persian Sufi poetic heritage as well as enriching the Ismaili tradition of the peoples of Pamir. The specific aim of this dissertation is the study of Mubarak as a window into the understanding of the religious and cultural tradition of the Pamiris throughout history. It is argued that Mubärak's religious poetry is both an expression of his personal religious experience and a reflection of the religious tradition to which he belonged; it is a twodimensional spectrum of self-assertion and communal representation. In order to understand the complex and dynamic nature of his work, this study examines Mubärak in the historical and doctrinal framework of the Pamiri Ismä'Yli tradition. Chapter One presents a brief historical study of the religious development in Pamir from the beginning of the Ismä'ili mission (da'wa), which is strongly connected with the name of Näsir-i Khusraw, the eleventh-century Persian poet-philosopher, until the nineteenth century. Chapter Two presents the first ever biography of the hitherto unstudied poet, Mubärak. This chapter is based on both his personal accounts and oral stories and narratives I collected from Mubärak's relatives who continue to live in his ancestral village. Chapter Three seeks to provide an examination of Mubärak's theosophical discourse; it does so in the light of a consideration of Ismä'i1i esotericism and Sufi mysticism, and argues that these two important strands of Islamic thought are reconciled in a unique and creative way in the works of Mubärak, thus, illuminating the complexity of Islamic thought and practice in the local Pamiri context. Chapter Four discusses Mubärak's treatise, entitled 'the Forty Worlds', in which the key doctrinal principles of the indigenous religious tradition or, as it is referred to in this thesis, 'Pamiri Ismä'ilism', are canonized. This chapter advances a broader argument concerning the impact of cultural and religious diversity on the composition of the Ismä'ili tradition, a dimension of Ismä'ili studies hitherto largely overlooked by historians and Islamic specialists. The original material utilized in the preparation of this thesis is derived from Mubärak's manuscripts which have never before been the focus of sustained research coverage; indeed, their very existence was known only to a very restricted circle of Mubärak's relatives, and some local scholars, who have hitherto been unable either to study or analyze them in any great depth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: JISC Digital Islam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral