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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Batin, Activism, and the Maktab-e Tawhid: Uncovering Persianate Sufi Thought in the Constitutional Decade of Afghanistan (1963-1973)
by Cochran, Rachel Alexandra, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2015, 150; 10305876
Abstract (Summary)

The historiography of twentieth century Afghanistan has concentrated primarily on the conflict of the post-1979 years and the acute crises of the decades that followed the Soviet invasion, among them the Mujahideen resistance and the rise of the Taliban. The concentration of research on these post-1979 years has given rise to a narrative about the rise of religio-political groups in the mid-twentieth century and their role in the violent politics of the later decades, one which identifies the ‘Islamist’ ideology produced during this period, as well as deepening divisions along tribal, religious sectarian, and ethnic-regional lines as the most powerful organizing forces of their time. However, this dominant historiographical approach contradicts the strong current of Persianate Sufi thought in the writings of Mawlana ‘Attaullah Mohammad Faizani, a prominent religious figure and the founder of a political movement during this era, and it fails to consider his multi-ethnic, cross-sectarian religio-political movement as part of its historiographical analysis. This thesis problematizes the dominant historiographical approach, specifically the way in which it has viewed the Constitutional Decade of 1963-1973, as well as the framework with which it has understood Islam and religio-political movements during this period. Through an analysis of select writings of Faizani, this thesis situates his religious thought in the context of Persianate Sufi intellectual tradition, and in demonstrating Faizani’s firm grounding in the major elements of Persianate Sufi thought and practice, contributes to the deconstruction of a metanarrative about twentieth century Afghanistan, rife with colonial tropes, which has obscured the country’s abiding connection with the intellectual heritage of the Persianate world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rahnema, Ali
School: The American University of Paris (France)
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies
Keywords: Constitutional Decade, Maktab-e Tawhid, Persianate Sufi thought
Publication Number: 10305876
ISBN: 978-1-369-49440-2
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