Investigating the Role of Sufis and Sayyids (Sadat) in Spreading Islam in Central Asia during the First Four Centuries of Islam

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

Several factors, including conquests, trade, and the migration of various groups, influenced the Central Asian Turks’ conversion to Islam. Before the Muslims conquered Central Asia, which began in 652 AD/32 AH with the surrender of Māhūy Marzbān to Abd Allah ibn Amir, the governor of Basra, worshiping the ancestors’ spirits and the spirit of the sky and natural manifestations had been prevalent among the Turks. Of course, some tribes of Turks were also Buddhist, Nestorian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian. Therefore, they were familiar with monotheistic religions; however, gradually and due to factors after the initial resistance against the Muslim army, Islam became the religion of the majority of Turks. Groups such as Sufis, hermits, and Sayyids (Sadat) also played a role in this important matter. Considering the significance of the institutionalization of Islam among the Turks, the present study seeks to answer the question of whether it is possible to assign a stronger role to Sadat than the Sufis in the Islamization of the Turks. As findings demonstrate, the main reason for Sadat’s migration to Central Asia was its distance from the capital of the caliphate. Since Sadat considered the caliphs usurpers of the government, they were always angry with the caliphs. Thus, they were forced to migrate in order to maintain security, and while being close to the Turkic tribes, they joined with them and even participated in protecting frontiers. In addition, by engaging in various occupations such as trade and industry, they gradually became a part of the Turkic community. The Sadat elders’ cultural activities, mostly done through teaching Islamic thoughts and reciting news and biographies (Sunnat) of the Prophet Muhammad and the elders of Islam, were very effective in a more complete understanding of Islam. The Sufis, mainly migrating from Khorasan due to the pressure of critics of Sufism to find safe areas to promote their ideas, went to those regions. Their teachings were devoid of reproach and torment, so they were more attractive to some people. As a result, because Sadat was present in the region by holding classes and solving Sharia problems, mentioning hadiths and writing books, it can be said that they played a more effective role in the institutionalization of Islam among the Turks than the Sufis.

Journal of Historical Researches, Volume:15 Issue: 3, 2023
111 to 126  
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