By Agnes Nilufer Kefeli
within the 19th century, the Russian Empire's center Volga area (today's Tatarstan) was once the location of a chronic fight among Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, each one of which sought to solidify its impression one of the frontier’s mixture of Turkic, Finno-Ugric, and Slavic peoples. The fast catalyst of the occasions that Agnes Nilufer Kefeli chronicles in Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia was once the collective flip to Islam via some of the region’s Krashens, the Muslim and animist Tatars who switched over to Russian Orthodoxy among the 16th and eighteenth centuries.
the normal view holds that the apostates had particularly been Muslim all alongside or that their conversions have been pressured by means of the nation or undertaken voluntarily as an issue of comfort. In Kefeli’s view, this argument greatly oversimplifies the complexity of a area the place many participated within the non secular cultures of either Islam and Orthodox Christianity and the place a colourful Krashen group has survived to the current. through studying Russian, Eurasian, and significant Asian ethnographic, administrative, literary, and missionary assets, Kefeli indicates how conventional schooling, with Sufi mystical elements, helped to Islamize Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples within the Kama-Volga geographical region and set the degree for the improvement of modernist Islam in Russia.
Of specific curiosity is Kefeli’s emphasis at the function that Tatar ladies (both Krashen and Muslim) performed as holders and transmitters of Sufi wisdom. this present day, she notes, intellectuals and mullahs in Tatarstan search to restore either Sufi and modernist traditions to counteract new expressions of Islam and advertise a in simple terms Tatar Islam conscious of its specificity in a post-Christian and secular environment.
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Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia: Conversion, Apostasy, and Literacy by Agnes Nilufer Kefeli