A pioneering collection of articles on Persian historical documents, whether Iranian or Central Asian, hardly accessible to Western scholars until a recent past, this volume was first intended to be the proceedings of a workshop of Persian archival sources held on December 4, 1999 at the Institute of Oriental Cultures, University of Tokyo, by the Islamic Area Studies Project 1. The first article deals with the formal aspects of documents: Isogai Ken’ichi (“A Commentary on the Closing formula Found in Central Asian Waqf Documents,” 3-12) points out that the discussions on Islamic jurisprudence are fully reflected in the closing formulas of Central Asian waqf deeds. The records of nominal lawsuits against the founders of waqfs, inserted into the closing formulas of the endorsements (sijill) of the deeds, are indispensable to protect waqfs from usurpation. Recalling that Abu Hanifa, contrary to his two disciples Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani, had denied the binding force of waqf, jurists assumed that the issue must be resolved by individual qadis. For this reason Central Asian waqf deeds drawn up before the sixteenth century were usually accompanied by a separate sijill, that is, a document recording the judgement of a qadi. The article describes these separate sijills and shows the process of transition from a separate sijill to a formula incorporated into the text of a waqf deed. This process of transition, which most likely took place sometime in the sixteenth century, appears to have run parallel with the contemporary teaching of the Hanafi school. From the discussion described in the Hidaya one understands that the origin of controversy over the binding force (luzum) of waqf is to be attributed to disagreement about the ownership of a waqif. The question of whether the ownership of a waqif leaves him or not is represented by the term khuruj (lit. ‘to leave’). According to Ibn al-Humam, a fifteenth-century commentator on the Hidaya, Muslim jurists usually considered these two elements (luzum and khuruj) to be inseparably related, waqf acquiring no binding force until the ownership of a waqif leave him (kharaja). The author shows how Hanafi jurists managed to solve this theoretical difficulty regarding the issue of khuruj as one open to ijtihad and handing the decision over to individual qadis. Bakhtiyar Babajanov (“About a Scroll of Documents Justifying Yasavi Rituals,” 53-72, ill.) introduces a scroll of judicial documents preserved in the Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies in Tashkent, that justify both types of dhikr, silent and loud, of the Mujaddidiyya and Qadiriyya mystical paths, with special attention to the dhikr-i jahr and the sama‘—especially to the dhikr-i arra [dhikr of the saw]—according to Hanafi jurisprudence (but also to the Shafi‘i rite, to legends on the prophet al-Khidr, and to references to the Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq), with a surprising consistence over a relatively long period of time from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The documents gathered by the author testify of the vivacity of the debates and of the strength of the Mujaddidi influence in the aftermath of the Emir of Bukhara Shah Murad’s late eighteenth-century religious reforms.
Other contributions: Werner Christoph, “Formal Aspects of Qajar Deeds of Sale,” 13-49, ill. (offers a comparative study of the long-term development of Iranian deeds and their deviation from Central Asian deeds; formal developments are associated to social and religious change, for instance in the case of the moving of the endorsement’s position from the bottom to the top of documents after the reign of Shah ‘Abbas i); Sefatgol Mansur, “Majmu‘ah’ha: Important and Unknown Sources of the historiography of Iran under the Last Safavids—The Case of the Majmu‘ah-i Mirza Mu‘ina,” 73-83, tab. (introduces collections [majmu‘as] including documents as well as literary works, that constitute important sources not only for the history of the later Safavid period, but also on the preservation of documents over centuries through partial copying); Iwatake Akio “The Waqf of a Timurid Amir—The Example of Chaqmaq Shami in Yazd,” 87-105, tab. (analyses the waqf deeds of a Timurid amir coming to Yazd from Mamluk Syria; the document reveals how the amir and his wife sought profit at the same level as vernacular urban notables, and became assimilated to the local urban society); Kondo Nobuaki, “The Waqf of Ustad ‘Abbas—Rewriting Deeds in Qajar Tehran,” 106-28, maps, fig. (examines the case of a deed rewritten twice after the founder’s death; the author clarifies some aspects of social relations and judicial customs under the Qajar, and their differences with their Ottoman counterparts); Rajabzadeh Hashem, “Irrigation Examined through Documents of Qajar Iran,” 131-46, map, fig., ill. (introduces unpublished documents on irrigation in nineteenth-century Iran); Yamaguchi Akihiko, “Urban-Rural Relations in Early Eighteenth-Century Iran—A Case Study of Settlement Patterns in the Province of Hamadan,” 147-85, tab., maps (discusses urban-rural relations in eighteenth-century Hamadan, based on the Ottoman tahrîr defterleri). Edited with an exceptional care (except a limited number of misprints [for instance istisan instead of istihsan p. 67]), enriched with numerous high-quality photographic reproductions, maps, figures and tables, the volume proposes at the same time a set of important documental discoveries, and a genuinely innovative contribution to the methodology of the utilisation of archive documents for the social and cultural history of pre-modern Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies.
Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris