Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde

Baba Tükles and Conversion to Islam in Historical and Epic Tradition

By (author) Devin DeWeese

Paperback - £41.95

Publication date:

27 October 1994

Length of book:

656 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271010731

This book is the first substantial study of Islamization in any part of Inner Asia from any perspective and the first to emphasize conversion narratives as important sources for understanding the dynamics of Islamization. Challenging the prevailing notions of the nature of Islam in Inner Asia, it explores how conversion to Islam was woven together with indigenous Inner Asian religious values and thereby incorporated as a central and defining element in popular discourse about communal origins and identity. The book traces the many echoes of a single conversion narrative through six centuries, the previously unknown recounting of the dramatic "contest" in which the khan Özbek adopted Islam at the behest of a Sufi saint named Baba Tükles.

DeWeese provides the English-language translation of this and another text as well as translations and analyses of a wide range of passages from historical sources and epic and folkloric materials. Not only does this study deepen our understanding of the peoples of Central Asia, involved in so much turmoil today, but it also provides a model for other scholars to emulate in looking at the process of Islamization and communal religious conversion in general as it occurred elsewhere in the world.

“This is a whale of a book, not only because of its size. Its geographical and chronological scope are vast, and it combines great philological skill with considerable conceptual sophistication. . . . This is a profound and important book whose arguments and conclusions are on the whole convincing. This is truly a groundbreaking study and as such can be recommended to a wide audience.”

International Journal of Middle East Studies