Reviews

The author of this article analyses the “Sufi mythology” through an exploration of the Sufi circles that were in contact with the Mongol political and military elites.  In the thirteenth century the Sufis perceived the Mongols arriving into the Dar al-Islam as infidels sent by God to a world where the true faith had fallen into escheat.  For some of them (pp. 36-42) the Mongols were driven by Moses’ famous companion (fata) evoked in the Qur’an (xviii: 59-81), and called ‘al-Khadir’ (الغضر) by most commentators of the sacred text of Islam.  This role of a Sufi leading the Mongol conquest appears later, in the fifteenth century, in the Majalis al-‘ushshuq by Gazugahi, who introduced Genghis Khan as a mystical ruler linked with the Yasawiyya (p. 36).  According to the legend, Ahmad Yasawi would have suggested to Genghis Khan to chastise Najm al-Din Kubra and ‘Attar for their disrespect of Sufi secrecy (p. 51).  The author convincingly demonstrates Genghis Khan’s interest in Muslim holy men and in their miracles.  He also sheds light on the presence of a lot of Sufi shaykhs at the Mongol court as soon as in the second decade of the thirteenth century.  In his conclusion, he stills properly stress the difficulty of the historical issue of the relations between Mongol rulers and Sufi masters, blurred by the infiltration of myth into history.

Denise Aigle, EPHE, Paris
CER: I-3.1.B-168