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Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval India by Richard M.

Eaton Review by: Gerhard Bwering Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 100, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1980), pp. 39-40 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/601394 . Accessed: 01/09/2013 03:13
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Reviews of Books


impossible al-muzbarah." Taking it as they read it, almuzbarah is yet a better term, albeit grammatically defective, than al-mazbir because as an adjective the term should refer to the feminine al-hakarah. The editors apparently used the masculine form al-mazbir to refer to nisf. However, the correct reading of the word in the photocopy of the document in plate IV (Leeds Arab. MS. 300, Hearings Nos. 5, 6), 1. 5 is al-mazbarah, which has the letter r written above b, on the same level as the last letter h. Also, the same phrase, wanisf al-hakirah al-mazbar ild al-mushtarT,means, as it stands in the document, that half of the aforementioned hdkarah (other than the half then bought by Shaykh Hasan) belongs to Shaykh Hasan. The editors consider the phrase as referring to the same half bought by Shaykh Hasan, implying that the other half belonged to other persons. The word salah, as in document No. 4, should read halah. In Document No. 5 (p. 38, 1. 1) and Document No. 6 (p. 39, 1. 2), the word faqr, in the introductory phrase laddfaqr 'afw~i rabbihi Mahmad (the Deputy-Judge), should read faqTr. In the photocopies of both documents (plate IV), the two dots for the letter T are visible (in Doc. No. 4, they appear above the letter n in dana [the second word in 1. 2], and in Doc. No. 5, they appear above the alif in al-qifl [the third word in 1. 3]). The reviewer, while acknowledging the effort made by the editors and the need to bring the law court registers to the attention of scholars, wishes to stress the important but difficult task of reading through these documents accurately. This requires a good knowledge of classical and colloquial Arabic as well as patience in deciphering the handwriting.

* For a description of these registers, see the articles by Andre Raymond and Abdul-Karim Rafeq, on the law court registers of Cairo and Damascus respectively, in Les Arabes par leurs Archives (XVIE-XX' Siecles), edited by J. Berque and D. Chevallier, CNRS, Paris, 1975; A-K. Rafeq, "Les Registres des tribuneaux de Damas comme source pour l'histoire de la Syrie," Bulletin dEtudes Orientales, Damas, XXVI (1973); J. Mandaville, "The Ottoman Court Records of Syria and Jordan," JA OS, Vol. 86 (1966).

Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval India. By RICHARD M. EATON. Pp. xxxii + 358. Princeton: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS. 1978. $25.00. The study, a revised doctoral dissertation, seeks to identify the social roles played by the Sufis in the region of Bijapur (India) from the 14th to the 17th centuries. It is chiefly based

on two Persian sources, a Sufi hagiography of the 19th century, Zubairi's Rauzat al-auliya' (extant in MS only), and Firishta's well-known history of Muslim India. To a limited degree the study also takes into account popular Sufi literature in Dakhni and state documents (mainlyfarmans) of the Bijapur government. The merit of the study appears to be its focus on Sufi developments in the Deccan, which have hitherto been somewhat neglected in comparison to the history of Sufism in Northern India. Eaton divides the social roles played by the Sufis in the area of Bijapur into five types and assigns to each type a historical period during which its most characteristic occurrence was predominant: namely, Sufi warriors in the Muslim armies (1275-1350), Sufi reformers of Islamic orthodoxy (1575-1650), Sufi literati compiling mystical and popular tracts (1500-1700), Sufi country squires accepting government land grants (1650-1700), and dervishes adhering to extravagant doctrines and practices (1650-1725). These social roles are seen against the background of the relationship of the Sufis to the Muslim religious establishment ('ulama'), the court, and the non-Muslim population. To some degree other categories are also noted with regard to these Sufis, such as their affiliation by class (Deccani or foreigner) or by order (Chishti, Qadiri or Shattari), and their classification by place of residence (urban or rural) or literary language (Persian or Dakhni). The author appears to set up a rough historical sequence of these types and tends to see the Sufis as 'products of their social environment" (287). In so doing he identifies certain crucial moments of typological transition, e.g., the replacement of the Muslim frontier by the urban culture of the Bahmani capitals (Gulbarga and Bidar), the transformation of Bijapur from a provincial outpost to a regional center of Shici Islam under the 'Adil Shahis, the shift from Shi'i Islam to Sunni orthodoxy after 1583, and the aggravation of Muslim-Hindu tensions in the second half of the 17th century. Also, the author appears to base his study on the tenuous three-phase theory of the institutional evolution of Sufism that has been advocated by J. S. Trimingham (The Sufi Orders in Islam, Oxford 1971. p. 103). The strength of the study lies in its inquiry into 17th century developments of Sufism and the discussion centered on the dargah as the basic Sufi institution in Bijapur. A drawback of the study is its neglect of almost two centuries (1350-1550) in the typology of "Sufi roles," and its disregard for the mystical range of ideas of major Sufis in the Deccan, like Gisudaraz (d. 1422) and others. It is this reviewer's conviction that a mere socio-historical approach, even if carried out as diligently as in the present study, will not do full justice to Sufism in India as long as it fails to comprehend the intellectual history of Islamic mystics on the basis of the literary tradition of the Sufi sources. The statistical

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Journal of the American Oriental Society 100.1 (1980)

results of the study and the thorough documentation throughout the book provide the reader with a wealth of sociohistorical detail about the Sufis of Bijapur but do not offer him a deeper understanding of their ideas and practices.

The Wandering Thoughts of a Dying Man: The Life and Times of Haji Abdul Majid bin Zainuddin. Edited with Introduction and Notes by WILLIAM R. ROFF. Pp. xvi + 169. Kuala Lumpur: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. 1978. $19.95. The basic contours of modern Malayan history were set in the first quarter of this century. Partly under British colonial sponsorship and partly in reaction to its cramping paternalism, a new Malay political and cultural identity was then created. Three major influences together shaped that identity, which now dominates Malaysian life: English education, permitting the anglicization of the old Malay ruling elite and also its meritocratic replenishment; a Malay linguistic renaissance, soon the instrument of a growing vernacular school system and of a lively journalism and popular literature; and Islam, which helped catalyse a Malay rejection of political subordination. Most significant, eventually, was how that period was perceived by Malays themselves, especially those most acutely exposed to its unprecedented strains and also opportunities. Hence the singular importance of this memoir, rambling and fragmentary though it is. Always engagingly, often quite poignantly, yet frequently both comically and revealingly, it provides an insider's view of peninsular Malay society as it was taking shape under British tutelage. Haji Abdul Majid (1887-1943) was a peculiarly marginal insider. Not a person of exalted rank or power (but one, in fact, denied great advancement as much by his own temperament as by his modest origins), he nevertheless knew many and saw much as he moved through the palaces and government offices, the schools and mosques, the cultural associations and social clubs of the Malay states. But he was more than an observer. In prominent if hardly dominant positions he was actively involved in all three streams (Ernlish, Malay, and Islamic) of the political and cultural movement for Malay renewal: as a teacher at the exclusive English school, Malay College Kuala Kangsar; as an administrator in the vernacular school system; as an author of pioneering textbooks for both English and Malay schools, and of more general if still usually didactic works; as a journalist and editor; as a member of officials' and writers' associations and of reformist religious coteries; and, finally, as officer in charge of Malay pilgrims, whom he accompanied yearly to

Mecca (while also collecting political intelligence) from 1924-39. What emerges most clearly from this artless memoir (which, although recorded in 1941, covers the years only until 1923) is its author's own flawed but endearing character. Devout and enthusiastic, solemn and pedantic, naive and prudish, he was evidently too cantankerous and impatiently willful to win the preferment he yearned for, and that his abilities also merited. Nevertheless, presented here with William Roff's affectionate yet judicious introduction and copious but always unobtrusively helpful annotations, Haji Abdul Majid's recollections offer a richly peopled view of the society that formed him, and whose future he in turn helped form.



Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History. Edited by THOMAS NAFF AND ROGER OWEN. Pp. xii + 450. Carbondale, Indiana: SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY PRESS. 1977. $12.50. The eighteenth century has long been a neglected period in Islamic history, falling between the splendid achievements of the classical age and the impact of the west in the nineteenth century. In recent years attempts have been made to correct this, and Studies in Eighteenth Century Islamic History, the papers of a conference held at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, is such an attempt. Like almost all collections, it is uneven, and at times the case for the importance of the eighteenth century is overstated, but it presents interesting and useful information and analysis. The book is divided into three sections: the first deals with political topics, the second with economics and the third with aspects of Islamic culture. Within these sections, the papers vary in emphasis and methodology and give a good cross-section of the kinds of work currently being done. An essay endeavoring to integrate the papers introduces each part. Written by Thomas Naff, Roger Owen and Albert Hourani, these essays are lucid and extremely helpful in providing background and tying together the various papers. It is clear at the outset that the question of "decline" is largely a matter of definition. From the viewpoint of political power, both internally and vis-a-vis Europe, it is hard to deny that the Ottoman and Persian states were less able to impose their power than they had been. By other standards, however, particularly in the realm of economic and social history, the "decline" is less clear-cut. As these papers demonstrate, there were geographic areas as well as social groups whose position improved during the eighteenth century, and it is useful to examine them.

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