The interplay of Qadimism and Jadidism in twentieth-century Dagestan: a longitudinal view on the teaching of Arabic language and Islam

Michael Kemper , Shamil Shikhaliev

Vostok/Oriens '2018, №6

DOI: 10.31857/S086919080002871-5

The paper analyzes the interplay of Jadidism and "Qadimism" in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, focusing on the question of educational methods – the usul-i jadid (“new method”) – since the early 20th century. While in the Tatar lands of Russia, Jadidism began as a new way in the teaching of one’s native Tatar language, in the multi-ethnic context of Dagestan the issue of pedagogy was important also for the transmission of Arabic. The authors argue that all through the Soviet era, “Qadimism” (as the traditional teaching system) continued to exist in Dagestan alongside jadidi approaches; and this coexistence led to a mixed method of teaching of Arabic and Islamic disciplines in the new Islamic schools that mushroomed in the early 1990s. This paper thus has several innovative aspects: 1) it provides a comparative approach to the study of Jadidism, emphasizing the particularities that set Daghestani Jadidism apart from the well-studied Tatar Jadid movement in the Volga-Urals; 2) it studies Jadidism in constant interaction with its competitor "Qadimism", not as its antipode; and 3) it uses a longitudinal approach that covers the whole of the 20th century. Finally, this paper explores new ways by analyzing the personal educational experience of one of its co-authors, who went through the mixed "Qadim"/Jadid/Soviet system in the 1980s and early 1990s. These case studies challenge the widespread assumption that Jadidism was overall an undoubted success story, and that “Qadimism” was bound to disappear after the establishment of Soviet power and even more so after its dissolution.

Keywords: Jadidism, Qadimism, Islamic education, Dagestan, Arabic

Pages: С. 105–123

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