Reviews

The result of a wide interregional cooperation between research centres of European Russia, this set of 400 articles, intended for a wide Russian-speaking audience, is devoted to the development of Islamic learned culture, of its communities, institutions, newspapers and journals, writings of all sorts, activists and writers, as well as to a large selection of individual mosques and madrasas in the Volga-Ural region. As all encyclopaedic publications of the 2000s meant for a wide public, numerous notices are devoted to key notions of Islam (very short articles on adhan, ‘aqida, hijab, mihrab, etc.), as well to movements that have emerged in European Russia since the late twentieth century (as different as the Ahmadiyya and Euro-Islam). Besides innumerable biographies of great figures of the history of Islam as a whole and in Russia in particular, wider historical articles give room to the different periods and aspects of the history of Islam on the present territory of Russia (articles on Islam in the Khazar Empire; on Islam in the Ulus of Jöchi; on the Qur’an in Russia, etc.). To be noticed also: several articles on the history of academic studies on Islam in Russia, and some biographies of their leading representatives. Interestingly, the geographical framework of the dictionary has not been limited to European Russia, but extended to countries which have played a role in the development of Islam in the Volga-Ural region (with articles on Taftazani and the study of his works in modern Tatar and Bashkir madrasas; on seventeenth-century Chaghatay poet Sufi Allah-Yar and his readings in early twentieth-century Russia; on Muhammad ‘Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and their impacts on Islamic reform in Russia; on Muhammad Iqbal and his reinterpretations in present-day Muslim Russia . . .). In all, this encyclopaedia provides Russia’s readership with one of the first and most achieved compact dictionaries of Islam. Offering elementary explanations on key notions of Islamic culture and dogma, it also strongly insists on the contribution of the Volga-Ural region to the emergence of an original modern culture of Islam within Russia. From this viewpoint, it must be compared with those numerous encyclopaedic dictionaries produced during the past decades for the defence and illustration of Russia’s Islam against influences from abroad generally denounced as alien by substantial part Russia’s civil authorities and Muslim religious personnel.

The Redaction
CER: II-1.3.C-61