This notice on the famous Central Asian Sufi saint Zangi Ata or Zangi Baba (d. 1259 CE) stresses first the latter’s venerable Arabic and holy origins, being a descendant of Arslan Bab, the master of Ahmad Yasawi.  Becoming himself the disciple of Yasawi’s famous khalifa Hakim Ata, whose widow he married after his death—according to a cross transmission scheme that remains largely diffused in Central Asia till our days—, Zangi Ata was long attached by oral tradition to the Qadiriyya mystical path, because of his practice of the “dhikr of the saw”, though he was in reality a member of the Naqshbandiyya-Jahriyya.  Initially built on Timur’s orders, the actual ensemble around his mausoleum, 16 km from Tashkent, dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; it is one of the finest architectural works in Central Asia and one of the oldest pilgrimage places in the region.  The history of the pilgrimage is traced through nineteenth and early-twentieth-century European sources, and through the author’s personal observations since the end of the Soviet period (with evocation of healing sessions by bakhshis).

The Redaction
CER: I-5.3.D-497