Reviews

The Arabic book culture of Dagestan has a long and rich tradition and for this reason each new description and characterisation of a single (private or mosque’s) collections of manuscripts and lithographs or other printed matter bears significant scientific information.  This being valid not only for Dagestan, but also for the whole Northern Caucasus.  After all, thanks to the close spiritual contacts between its varied religious centres, and between its scholars of Islam and Arabic language.  This is true of N. Tahirova’s given publication, which continues the research begun by this author in 1989 on “Shamil’s Library” and its fate.  The present paper is devoted to the part of the book collection of the Imam now preserved in Princeton University.  The list of the titles included in the present catalogue illustrates the wide range of interests of this prominent religious and political leader: it covers a large number of works famous by both Dagestani authors (Hasan al-Kudali, Abu Bakr al-Aymaki, Sa‘id al-Harakani, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Tsughuri, Muhammad Tahir al-Qarakhi and others) and by classical Arabic-language authors (e.g. Ibn Hisham, al-Zamakhshari, al-Nawawi, Taj al-Din al-Ghayti, al-Ghazali, al-Suhrawardi, Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Busiri).  The Princeton collection contains treatises on Arabic grammar, Islamic law, rhetoric, logic, tafsir, hadith, ethics, dogma, eschatology, Sufism, biographies and poetry.  N. Tahirova briefly describes each category, concentrating her attention on those she considers the most remarkable ones.  The fruits of her investigation allows the author to conclude that two collections—that of Princeton University and the list published by the pristav (Police Inspector) A. I. Runovskii (who was in charge of Shamil during his house arrest in Kaluga)—“are distinct, mutually complementary pars of a single collection (p.  331).”

Julietta Meskhidze, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology, St Petersburg
CER: I-1.1.B-18