NFIE Research:

Dr. Buehler at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge has been selected to compile a Master Index of Maktubat Imam Rabbani Ahmed Sirhindi (rehmatullah alaihe ).

CLICK HERE to read the Introduction and Acknowledgements of
the Master Index of Maktubat Imam Rabbani Ahmed Sirhindi (rehmatullah alaihe ).

Most readers already know about Shaykh Ahmed Sirhindi ( d. 1624), the renewer of Islam for the second millenium who was greatlyconcerned about the survival of the minority Indian Muslim community. He argued that the Muslim community must be circumscribedby carefully defined rules of orthodoxy and orthopraxy and the central government should support this endeavor. As a result, his ideas contributed to the political re-shaping of Islam in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. Arguably, Pakistan is the twentieth-century politicaloutcome of a religious crystallization process initiated 350 years previously.

If we do not know about Shaykh Sirhindi's work, it is not because of dearth of worthwhile material in Persian. Of all the
seventeenth-century charismatic leaders of India, Shaykh Sirhindi was the most prolific. Much material in his seven epistles and collection of 536 letters expresses a deliberate scheme to define the boundaries of the Indian Muslim community. 

To date, no one has yet studied Shaykh Sirhindi's role in formulating a Muslim orthodoxy and identity. In addition , the 651 collected Persian and Arabic letters of Shaykh Sirhindi's son and principal successor, Khwaja Muhammad Ma'sum ( d. 1668 ), are an almost a virtually untouched source. Both of these published sets of collected letters describe, both in theology terms and in orthopraxical details, how Shaykh Sirhindi and his successors proceeded to define Muslim identity in the Indian environment.

There is a pressing need to make Shaykh Sirhindi's corpus accessible to an English-speaking audience. Scholars have worked on Shaykh Sirhindi but none have really done his work justice because of one serious problem: there are no scholarly indexes to make the whole corpus of his thought accessible to a large audience. The first stage of Dr. Buehler's research involves compilation of a scholarly index { hereafter Master Index } which would include, Qur' anic and Hadith citations, names, places, technical vocabulary, and topics discussed.
First stage of research will take six to nine months and a sum of $18,000 is provided by the Naqshbandia Foundation for Islamic
Education to support Dr. Buehler's work.

The second stage of Dr. Buehler's research entails, a selected translation and commentary on one crucial unstudied subject: the relationship of credal dogma ( 'aqa' id ) and Sufism (tasawwuf) and how this crystallized the disparate Indian Muslim community into the well defined institution that has survived into the twentieth century.

One can expect that the Master Index will spur many scholarly studies of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi which will be of great benefit to all, particularly those whose homeland is South Asia. 

Dr. Arther Buehler is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Louisian State University, Baton Rouge. He did his Ph.D in religion at Harvard in 1993. The title of his thesis was "Charisma and Examplar: Naqshbandi Spiritual Authority in the Punjab ( 1857-1947 ). Dr. Buehler is also author of Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Sufi Shaykh. In this book, he looks specifically at the role of Jama'at Ali Shah (d. 1951) to explain current Naqshbandi practices. For more information about this book go to the University of South Carolina Press homepage at: http://www.scarolina.edu/uscpress/3201.html

Please give generous tax deductible donation for this project to: 

Naqshbandia Foundation for Islamic Education
P.O. Box 2978
Gilbert, AZ 85299 

Contact Dr. Ahmed Mirza 480-792-0449. Fax # 480-792-9766.

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