Chapter

Debate between a Teacher from Bukhara and a European

Abdurrauf Fitrat

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Debate between a Teacher from Bukhara and a European

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Abdurrauf Fitrat (Bukhara, 18861938) was the most prominent modernist figure in Russian Central Asia. The son of a prosperous merchant, Fitrat received a traditional Islamic education in Bukhara before being sent to Istanbul by a Bukharan benevolent society in 1909. The four hectic years Fitrat spent in Istanbul were formative of his worldview. He returned to Bukhara in 1914 and became involved in cultural and educational activities. In 1917, when the Russian revolution opened up possibilities for political action, Fitrat emerged as one of the main leaders of the Young Bukharans, as the reformist intellectuals began to style themselves. When the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic was proclaimed in 1920, Fitrat served as the chief economic advisor and minister of education. Fitrat's political stance of Bukharan nationalism proved unpalatable to the Soviet regime in Moscow, and he was ousted from public office in 1923. He spent the rest of his life as a scholar of the Turkic cultural heritage of Central Asia, publishing numerous works on the language, literature, and music of Central Asia. Fitrat was arrested in 1937 during the Great Purge and executed the following year. The Debate between a Teacher from Bukhara and a European (published in Istanbul in Persian, 1911), excerpted here, was the most popular work of Muslim reformism in Central Asia before 1917, for the new-method schools defended by Fitrat here lay at the center of the reformist agenda in Central Asia.1

Chapter.  7245 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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