Chapter

Foundational Legends, Shrines, and Ismāʿīlī Identity in Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan

Jo-Ann Gross

in Muslims and Others in Sacred Space

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199925049
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980468 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199925049.003.0007

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Foundational Legends, Shrines, and Ismāʿīlī Identity in Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan

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The history of rural shrines in Central Eurasia remains largely unstudied, despite the pivotal role they play as charters of Islamic identity and expressions of local Muslim piety. This paper seeks to draw attention to the oral and written traditions of rural shrines in the Pamir through an examination of Ismāʿīlī shrines in Gorno-Badakhshan,Tajikistan. Using a combination of oral narratives, genealogies, and historical literature, the chapter discusses how local foundational legends and networks of shrines intersect in ways that express Ismāʿīlī religious legitimacy and communal identity and map a sacred Islamic history that links local and distant cultural geographies and regional and universal traditions.

Keywords: Ismāʿīlīsm; Central Eurasia; Muslim piety; Pamir; Tajikistan; foundational legends; religious legitimacy; communal identity

Chapter.  11747 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Islam

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