Fatwas of Akhun Gumar Karash: Muftiyat and Legal Clashes in the Inner Kazakh horde at the beginning of the 20th century


Pavel Shablei

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24848//islmlg.07.2.01

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Abstract


The paper examines the peculiarities of the legal culture of Inner Kazakh Horde Muslims at the beginning of the 20th century. The key problem is the question of criteria for legality of fatwas. Despite the fact that the control over the issue of fatwas was the prerogative of the Mufti of the Orenburg Mohammedan Spiritual Assembly (OMDS = Muftiyat), in the regions of the Russian Empire there was a great variety in the implementation of such legal practice. In a number of cases, the ulema spread their own fatwas, ignoring the influence of the Muftiyat. One of these stories occurred in the Talovsky part of the Inner Horde, when the local ahun (ahund) Gumar Karash issued five fatwas. Part of the Kazakh society, including ukaznoy mullahs, took such actions as a challenge to their own authority. Pursuing personal interests, influential Kazakhs appealed to the UMDS with a request to check whether the legal opinions of Karash correspond to the Sharia. The position of the OMDS was determined by qadi Ginayatullah Kapkaev. According to his decision, one of the fatwas of the Kazakh Ahun did not conform to the doctrinal principles of the Hanafi madhhab. Analyzing this story, I come to the conclusion that, on the one hand, the indication of the illegality of fatwas was an instrument of power and manipulation among local Kazakhs; on the other hand, the clashes between the akhun and the OMDS indicate the existence of different approaches to understanding of the legal situation. In other words, disagreements arose on the basis of how to measure the doctrinal requirements of Hanafism with regional characteristics. Being unable to challenge the credibility of the legal sources of Karash, the OMDS accused Kazakh ahun of departing from the maturidic aqida and of mutazili propaganda. The paper is mainly based on archival materials. In addition, Arabic sources published in Muslim periodicals and books in Kazakh and Tatar of the early twentieth century are used.


Keywords


Orenburg Mohammedan Spiritual Assembly; Gumar Karash; fatwa, rivayat, badal hajj, chitan, fidiyya, Id al Fitra, zaqat

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24848//islmlg.07.2.01