Reviews

Postulating the necessity of research on the social structure of Sufi communities taking into account the latter’s ritual practice, G. Khizrieva introduces the wird-type Sufi community (principally, the network of the disciples of a common master) as a historical alternative to the traditional clan (tukhum, tayp) system among the so-called Vainakh peoples of the Northern Caucasus (the Chechens and Ingush). On the basis of a personal fieldwork implemented in 1999-2004 among Chechen and Ingush populations in Kazakhstan, the author reconstructs the rebirth of the wirds during the Soviet period, after their destruction in the 1920s-30s, notably through polarisation around venerated shaykhs, and through restoration of the dhikr after massive deportation to Kazakhstan in the mid-1940s. According to the author’s central hypothesis, the deported peoples were among the first ones who, in the post-WWII Soviet Union, turned their back on official ideology and begun to produce an Islamic revival of sorts. Returning to their native places in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many of them launched the practice of massive pilgrimages to holy graves, notably on the pretext of Soviet spring festivals (maevki). The author mentions in passing the participation of many secretaries of Regional Committees of the Communist Party in collective prayer. The last paragraphs of the article are devoted to the evolution of the typology of graves in Ingushia through the twentieth century, and to the permanence of the organisation of necropolises according to the wird principle since the early-nineteenth century Caucasian War.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-4.3.C-389