Reviews

This short but well-documented paper examines the question of the munajat as a literary genre and as a specific prayer distinct from ritual prayers (salat) and orisons (du‘a), with different aims when they are performed either by a Sufi (searching for spiritual guidance) or by a shaman (trying to heal a sick person with the aid of a helper spirit).  After a panoramic survey of the history of munajat as a plastic genre in the Sufi (mainly Naqshbandi) tradition on both sides of the Tian Shan Mountains, the author tackles its utilisation in the practice of ‘shamans’ in Transoxiana (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and northern Kazakhstan).  He assesses in particular the differences in the lists of deities respectively addressed in munajat by Sufis and ‘shamans’—the latter’s repertoire being characterised by the presence of jinns and demons (though some are well attested in Sufi texts. . .).  A first, recurrent unresolved question is the author’s identification of Central Asian healers as ‘shamans’, in the lineage of Soviet ethnography, even when these alleged shamans’ activity is developed—for instance in northern Tajikistan—in the strict framework of the Islamic tradition.  A second one is the enigmatic Tajik term gyoish transcribed from O. A. Sukhareva (note 24 p. 56), a word [گویایش] commonly used in the Khujand and Ura-Teppa region in the nineteenth century as synonymous to munajat (cf. Afdanil Erkinov, Praying for and against the Tsar: Prayers and Sermons in Russian-Dominated Khiva and Tsarist Turkestan, Berlin: Klaus Schwarz [ANOR: 16], 2004: 4—and my review of this essay in supra 291).

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-6.3.A-567