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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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Female Sainthood between Politics and Legend

Female Sainthood between Politics and Legend

The Emergence of Bibi Nushin of Shibirghan

(p.207) 10 Female Sainthood between Politics and Legend
Afghanistan's Islam

Ingeborg Baldauf

University of California Press

In the spring of 1996 a young girl from the Uzbek-majority city of Shibirghan was killed in mysterious circumstances. Strange phenomena soon started to occur next to Bibi Nushin’s burial place, suggesting that the deceased was of exceptional spiritual rank. Within a few weeks her burial place had been turned into a major pilgrimage site, attracting the sick, needy, deprived and persecuted from near and far. From 1996 to 2006, Shibirghan therefore witnessed a phenomenon that many local people interpreted as the emergence of a new Muslim saint for troubled times. However, at the same time, the spiritual rank of Bibi Nushin was heavily contested for political as well as religious reasons, not least through the influence of local warlords and strongmen. This chapter examines these developments in relation to regional varieties of Islam and women’s religiosity in the brutal contexts of a warlord society.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Islam, Women, Anthropology, Shrines, Martyrdom, Jihad, Warlord, Uzbek, Turkic

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