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Afghanistan's IslamFrom Conversion to the Taliban$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294134

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294134.001.0001

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The Rise of the Khwajagan-Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order in Timurid Herat

The Rise of the Khwajagan-Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order in Timurid Herat

(p.71) 3 The Rise of the Khwajagan-Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order in Timurid Herat
Afghanistan's Islam

Jürgen Paul

University of California Press

This chapter addresses the question why and how the Khwajagan-Naqshbandi order became the paramount Sufi group in Timurid Herat, so paving the way for the central Naqshbandi role in Afghan society down to the twentieth century. At the beginning of the fifteenth century they came to Herat as outsiders from the Bukhara region with the odds against them. The major factors in their rise to prominence seem to have been their Shari’a-mindedness, their flexibility in ritual practice and mystical training, and their intellectual appeal, particularly for the Timurid ruling elite. Another important factor was the sliding towards Naqshbandi tenets of local shrine shaykhs such as the wealthy Sufi descendants of Ahmad-i Jam. Political support became instrumental in the 1450s when the newly established group around Khwaja Ahrar in Samarqand exercised a notable influence. Since the impact of the Naqshbandiyya on Afghan Islam can hardly be overestimated, this chapter shows its early history before the later chapter by Waleed Ziad turns to its second phase when it won the support of the Afghan Durrani Empire in the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Islam, History, Timurid, Sufism, Naqshbandiyya, Khwajagan-Naqshbandi, Khwaja Ubaydullah Ahrar, Sharia, Bukhara, Heart

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