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The Sufi Saint of Jam


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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Saint: 1. Biography and Hagiography; 2 Saintdom and Patronage; Part II. The Successors: 3: Ilkhanid/Kartid Eras to the Timurid Age; 4: Safavid/Mughal Eras to the Islamic Republic; Part III. The Shrine: 5. Setting, Architecture and Administration; 6. Agro- and Hydro-Management; 7. Public Service in the Catchment Area; 8. Sacred Topography and Islamic Learning; Part IV. The Sufis: 9. Doctrines and Practices; Conclusion.

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Explores the emergence, florescence, decay, and rejuvenation of the Sunni saint cult and shrine-complex of Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad-i Jam over nine-hundred years.

About the Author

Shivan Mahendrarajah is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Iranian Studies, School of History, University of St Andrews. He is the co-editor of Afghanistan: The Journal of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies. He has traveled extensively in the Islamic world, and returns often to Afghanistan and Iran. Shivan was educated at Columbia University and the University of Cambridge; and studied Arabic at Damascus University and Persian at the University of Tehran.


'An innovative contribution to the history of a 900 year-old Sunni shrine in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The longevity of Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad-i Jam's shrine rests on his descendants who venerate his memory and protect his legacy, despite the divisions between Sunnis and Shiites. Today, the shrine is part of Iran's rich cultural heritage and the center of Friday prayers for Turbat-i Jam's Sunnis and for the Hawza-yi 'ilmiyya Ahmadiyya. This fascinating book not only displays an intimate knowledge of textual sources, but is also reflective of the author's experience visiting major shrines in Iran. Highly recommended.' Denise Aigle, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR Orient & Mediterranee, Paris
'An exhaustive, thoroughly researched and entirely original study of a little-known but significant Sufi lineage in North Eastern Iran. Mahendrarajah has not only examined all the textual sources detailing its complex history, but also visited the town of Jam, where this Sufi group of Sunni orientation remains active without hindrance. Warmly recommended.' Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley
'This rich and enlightening book presents a multi-faceted portrait of a Sufi order, a family, and a shrine over ten centuries, up to the present. Mahendrarajah has mastered social and political history, architectural analysis and doctrinal developments; his work should interest all scholars of Iran and its culture.' Beatrice F. Manz, Tufts University

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