Reviews

Muhammad-Sadiq b. Shah-Ahmad Imanquli (1879-1932) was a prominent poet and Jadid scholar who in the 1920s served as imam and later muhtasib in Kazan’s Ninth Mosque.  Much of his poetic legacy consists of works written during the Soviet era, until his arrest by the Soviet authorities and subsequent death in 1932.  This collection of his works was compiled and edited by the Kazan literary critic Mäsghud Ghainetdin. Imanquli’ poetic corpus is quite varied and very well written. But beyond the pleasure of reading his verses, his poems are also quite interesting sources for Tatar cultural and intellectual history.  Some of his early poems include an elegy to Alexander iii upon the Tsar’s death, and included in this collection is a poem dedicated to the mufti Muhammad-Yar Sultan.  More characteristic are his poems devoted to Jadid themes.  Imanquli was an intense rationalist, and in his poems he is highly critical of Sufism and much of the ‘urf wa ‘adat in Tatar religious practice (see for example Zamana shayekhläre, pp. 39-45, included in an elegy to ‘Alimjan Barudi).  Similarly, Ghainetdin includes autobiographical poems about the poet’s years of study in Bukhara, containing numerous details on his experience as a student, and his instructors there (cf. Üz äkhwälem, pp. 99-103, and Bokharaga, pp. 30-32).  We also find a denunciation of pilgrimage to Bulghar (Bolgarga säyäkhät, pp. 97-99), and several poems on the famine in the Volga region in the early 1920s.  The collection is a rich and evidently untapped source on Islamic life in Tatarstan in the 1920s.

Allen J. Frank, Takoma Park, MD
CER: I-6.3.B-577