Books Features

New Medieval Books: Tajikistan’s National Epics

Tajikistan’s National Epics: Muqanna’s Rebellion, and the Tajik People’s Hero Temur Malik

By Sadriddin Ayni, translated by Abdusalom Mamadnazarov

ISBN: 978-1-032-48608-6

Here are translations of two works by a Tajik historian – the first deals with Al-Muqanna, an 8th-century military leader who rebelled against the Abbasid Caliphate, and the other is on Temur Malik, who fought against the Mongols in the 13th century. Both are important figures in medieval Central Asian history.


These two historical monographs by Sadriddin Ayni offer benefits beyond their insight into two crucial, tragic periods in Central Asian history. He shows his artistry as a teacher, in making historical events vivid for the reader. He demonstrates critical analysis of the sources he had available. He also uses creativity in interpolating—filling in the gaps—to present a meaningful argument from often corrupted, fragmentary sources. The first story, of Muqanna’s resistance to Arab, Islamic domination, begins by describing the wealth and cultural advancement of Khurasan, Khorazm, and Mavarannahr. The initial defeat of the Persian Empire (Sasanid State) and the Zoroastrian religious leaders greatly undermined the organizational and military capacity of the people to resist Arab exploitation. However, several very significant subsequent revolts demonstrated and sustained the separate character of the region and the distinctive identity of the people. Muqanna’s rebellion shows that the Islamic conquest required a very difficult, protracted struggle.


Who is this book for?

Medieval historians should aim to learn different perspectives about the Middle Ages, and here we have a book that translates a couple of studies by a 20th-century Tajik historian. If you are interested in Central Asian history, or are researching either the 8th or 13th centuries, this will likely be a very useful read.

You can read more about one of the figures in this book: Al-Muqanna‘: The Veiled Prophet of Transoxiana


The author:

Sadriddin Ayni (1878–1954) was a Tajik intellectual and writer. He is regarded as one of Tajikistan’s most important figures.

You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website

You can also buy this book from | |