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Accepted Paper:

On the distribution of religious literature in South Kazakhstan (1970-1980)   
Akram Habibulla (Indiana University Bloomington)


The development of printing in Central Asia led to the decline of manuscript culture in the early 20th century. However, the practice of copying and producing books by hand continued to be one of the effective means of disseminating Islamic religious literature, even during the late Soviet period, particularly in the 1970s. The paper focuses on manuscripts originating from Qarnāq, a small village in South Kazakhstan, and provides their description and analysis. They were copied by Ḥabīb Allāh Qārī (d. 1977), an official imam in the village. They are written in universal notebooks (obshchaia tetrad’) of the Soviet era and bound together in pairs or trios.

The paper centers on three volumes of manuscripts: one housed in the local museum in Qarnāq and two in the author’s private collection. They contain different texts in Arabic and Turkic. The content of the manuscripts shows that Ḥabīb Allāh Qārī translated works of the Kazakh religious leader Saʿd Waqqās al-Ghilmānī (1890-1972) into Uzbek language. Additionally, he copied al-Qurān in Turkic, ḥadīth collections as well as several treatises on Islamic theology and rituals.

The findings of the research shed light on the distribution practices of religious literature during the late Soviet period.

Panel REL01
Identity and Belief in the Late Russian Empire and Soviet Union
  Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -