The Letters of Khwāja ʾUbayd Allāh Aḥrār and his Associates


This English edition of the correspondence of Khwāja 'Ubayd Allāh Aḥrār, the fifteenth-century Central Asian Naqshbandī Sufi shaykh, and his associates provides surprising new insights into the sociopolitical and economic history of premodern Central Asia and the influential roles of Sufi leaders of the time. It contains the extraordinary collection of autograph letters from the Majmū'a-yi murāsalāt, a unique manuscript housed at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with petitions to the Timurid court at Herat.
The letters cover such topics as internecine conflict, peacemaking, taxation, property and endowments, trade, migration, Islamic piety and law, material support of shaykhs and students, and relief from oppression. Three introductory chapters discuss the Central Asian Naqshbandīya, Khwāja 'Ubayd Allāh Aḥrār, the social, historical, economic and political significance of the letters, and the manuscript and its authors. With the Persian transcription and a complete facsimile of the manuscript letters reproduced at the end of the work.

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Jo-Ann Gross, Ph.D. (1983) in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, New York University, is Professor of History at the College of New Jersey. She is the editor of Muslims in Central Asia: Expressions of Identity and Change (Duke University Press, 1992) and the author of numerous articles on the social and economic history of the Naqshbandīya and Khwāja ʿUba Allāh Aḥār.
Asom Urunbaev, is Dr. at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He is the author of Pis'ma-avtografy Abdarrakhmana Dzhami (The Autograph Letters of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī, Tashkent, 1984), the translator (into Russian and Uzbek) and editor of several editions of Persian texts, and the author of numerous articles on the history of Central Asia.
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