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The Ismaili-Sufi Sage of Pamir: Mubarak-i Wakhani and the Esoteric Tradition of the P ...

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The Ismaili-Sufi Sage of Pamir:


The name of Mubārak-i Wakhānī (1839–1903), a Persian (Tajik) mystic poet, musician, astronomer and Ismāīlī religious scholar from Badakhshan, is hardly known in modern academic circles related to Persian and Ismāīlī studies. Despite his importance to Ismāīlī esoteric thought in general and the Ismāīlī tradition of the peoples of the Pamir Mountains in particular, Mubārak has received only scant attention from modern scholars.

One of the major reasons for Mubārak’s relative obscurity is probably the geographic location of his homeland and its socio-economic, political and intellectual environment. As Mubārak’s pen-name (Wakhānī) indicates, he came from the valley of Wakhān—a remote area located between the high mountains of the Pamirs to the north and Hindukush to the south. The valley is divided by the river Panj, the main source of the Amu-Daryā (Oxus), into Tajik and Afghan Wakhān. Although, historically, the Wakhān corridor was one of the trade routes of the famous ‘Silk Road’, it did not have a substantial economic impact on the region.