Dagestan: Russian Hegemony and Islamic Resistance in the by Robert Bruce Ware, Enver Kisriev

By Robert Bruce Ware, Enver Kisriev

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Additional resources for Dagestan: Russian Hegemony and Islamic Resistance in the North Caucasus

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Because of the traditionally parochial nature of highland life, the region was fragmented into a mosaic of village-states, which had to be conquered one at a time. As was the case in their resistance to all preceding empires, the decentralized nature of North Caucasian life, itself a product of the mountains, helped the local peoples to resist imperial conquest. The difficulties that Yermolov faced as a result of the region’s traditional sociopolitical fragmentation were especially significant in the case of the Chechens, who lacked any overarching political structure.

This doctrine was propounded by Mullah Magomed from the Yaragi djamaat of southern Dagestan after he became the highest Sheikh-Murshid of the Naqshbandi brotherhood. Magomed Yaragsky’s early statements were exclusively moral admonitions and appeals. The erosion of traditional Dagestani norms and values led him to preach a strong spiritual response. Gradually, the sheikh developed a doctrine that evoked the spiritual aspirations and social demands of the djamaat population. At the basis of his teaching was the concept of the freedom of a Muslim from subordination to anyone.

I used the fruit of your fields, and was enriching myself at your expense, but a sheik should not take even a tenth of your property, and a judge should take only what Allah promised him for his service. I did not observe these Commandments, and now my conscience accuses me. I wish to redeem my guilt, and beg for forgiveness from Allah and you, and return everything that I previously took from you. Come here: all my possessions should become yours! 20 The sacrifices and insights of the Sheikh of Yaragi showed the way (tariqah) for those who sought to become true Muslims, the way that was known as gazavat.

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