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Afghanistan's Islam

From Conversion to the Taliban

Nile Green (Editor)


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This book provides the first overview of the history and development of Islam in Afghanistan. Written by leading international experts, chapters cover every era from the conversion of Afghanistan through the medieval period to the present day. Based on primary sources in Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Uzbek, and Urdu, its depth of coverage is unrivalled in providing a developmental picture of Afghanistan’s Islam, including such issues as the rise of Sufism, women’s religiosity, state religious policies, and transnational Islamism. Looking beyond the unifying rhetoric of theology, the book reveals the disparate and contested forms of Afghanistan’s Islam.

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction. Afghanistan’s Islam: A History and Its Scholarship Nile Green

Part one. from conversions to institutions (ca. 700–1500)
1. The Beginnings of Islam in Afghanistan: Conquest, Acculturation, and Islamization Arezou Azad
2. Women and Religious Patronage in the Timurid Empire Nushin Arbabzadah
3. The Rise of the Khwajagan-Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order in Timurid Herat Jürgen Paul

Part two. the infrastructure of religious ideas (ca. 1500–1850)
4. Earning a Living: Promoting Islamic Culture in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries R.D. McChesney
5. Transporting Knowledge in the Durrani Empire: Two Manuals of Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi Sufi Practice Waleed Ziad

Part three. new states, new discourses (ca. 1850–1979)
6. Islam, Shari‘a, and State Building under ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan Amin Tarzi
7. Competing Views of Pashtun Tribalism, Islam, and Society in the Indo-Afghan Borderlands Sana Haroon
8. Nationalism, Not Islam: The “Awaken Youth” Party and Pashtun Nationalism Faridullah Bezhan

Part four. holy warriors and (im)pious women (1979–2014)
9. Glossy Global Leadership: Unpacking the Multilingual Religious Thought of the Jihad Simon Wolfgang Fuchs
10. Female Sainthood between Politics and Legend: The Emergence of Bibi Nushin of Shibirghan Ingeborg Baldauf
11. When Muslims Become Feminists: Khana-yi Aman, Islam, and Pashtunwali Sonia Ahsan

Afterword Alessandro Monsutti

Glossary of Islamic Terms
List of Contributors
Nile Green is Professor of South Asian and Islamic History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Sufism: A Global History and Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam.
“Islam in Afghanistan has long been viewed as static and uniform, but this fine collection demonstrates that it has been far more contested and dynamic over the centuries than either Afghans or outside observers have realized. This book opens a door to that history to reveal a religious tradition that has constantly adapted itself to changing intellectual currents, local cultural beliefs, and political upheavals.”—Thomas Barfield, Boston University
“A pathbreaking book that challenges us to think in new and more sophisticated ways about Islam in Afghanistan, in the past as well as in the present. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to go beyond stereotyped images of a monolithic and timeless Islam in Afghanistan and in other Muslim societies.”—Robert D. Crews, Stanford University

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