04 April 2003, 12:22


Khasan-effendi ibn Abdallah ibn Kurbanali (Kurban-Ali) al-Alkadari ad-Dagistani (1834-1910), eminent Dagestani historian, jurist, poet, and educator.

Born in the village of Balakhuni (now Untsukulsky County of the Republic of Dagestan). His father was Abdallah-effendi (died in 1862), a hajji, follower of Muhammad al-Yaragi (Muhammad of Yaragi), a famous tutor (ustad) of the order (tarik) of Nakshbandiya-Khalidiya in Dagestan, ideological mastermind of the national liberation movement of the Northeast Caucasus highlanders in 1820-1850s. His mother was Hafsa (Hafsat), Muhammad al-Yaragi's daughter. In 1834-1838, al-Alkadari stayed in the village of Sogratl (now Gunibsky County), located in the territory of Shamil's imamate, where his parents and Muhammad al-Yaragi took cover from the czarist authorities' prosecution. Due to al-Yaragi's death, al-Alkadari's father returned to the village of Alkadar together with his family, where he opened a madrasah and became its head for 25 years. At the madrasah, they taught the Koran, tafsir, Arabic, logic, Muslim law, public speaking, discussion theory, metrics, and mathematics.

Al-Alkadari studied all these subjects; besides, he took lessons of Persian language from his co-student Abdallah from Agdash. Al-Alkadari studied in Alkadari madrasah until 1848, when he set off to travel to the village of Yukhari-Yarag of Kyurin khanate (now Magaramkentsky County), where he was educated by Ismail-effendi, Muhammad al-Yaragi's son, for a year. In 1855 (or 1856), al-Alkadari studied philosophy, astronomy, and medicine for eight months in Mirzaali madrasah in the village of Akhty of Samursky County (now the center of Akhtynsky County).

In December 1856, Yusuf-khan of Kyurin invited al-Alkadari to his residence, the village of Yukhari-Yarag, where he was Registry chief and taught the khan's children. In 1861(1862)-1865, was a filing clerk of Divan in the village of Kasumkent of Kyurin County (now the center of Suleyman-Stalsky County). Starting 1966 and for twelve years, al-Alkadari was a vicegerent (naib) of Southern Tabasaran with the residence in the city of Nizhny Yarak (now Ashaga-Yarak of Khivsky County) starting as sub-ensign (1876), then as sub-ancient (1870), and ancient (1874). In the fall of 1877, was arrested for sympathies to the anti-colonial uprising in 1877 and not reporting to the czarist authorities about the preparation for the action. After spending over seven months in the jail of Derbent, al-Alkadari was liberated and returned to Alkadar, where he continued teaching. In March 1879 he was rearrested and exiled to the city of Spassk, Tambov Province, where he arrived in July. His wife and children arrived there a year later. In May 1883, al-Alkadari was transferred, at his own request, to Astrakhan, and returned together with his family to Alkadar in June of the same year due to Alexander the Third's amnesty. He lived there to his dying day, almost never leaving.

In the village of Alkadar, al-Alkadari restarted the work of the madrasah founded by his father and engaged in science and literature. Al-Alkadari's madrasah was one of the first laic schools in Dagestan, where mathematics, physics, astronomy, history, and geography were taught. The school enjoyed much popularity, and representatives of different nationalities of Dagestan and Azerbaijan studied there.

Al-Alkadari left a rich scientific, poetic, and epistolary legacy. Al-Alkadari's most significant historical piece is Asari Dagistan ("Historic Information on Dagestan"). It was concluded in 1890, set up in boards in 1894 (or 1895), but only published in 1903 with the permission of censorship authorities. The author used handwritten and published materials in many languages: Arabic, Persian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Russian, as well as plenty of ethnographic and linguistic data. Asari Dagistan is an extensive work dedicated to the history of Dagestan for one and a half thousand years (from 5th century to 1870s). For the first time, the history was presented on an all-Dagestan scale as a part of the Caucasus history and in interaction with the history of Russia and Middle-East countries, raising the issue of centuries-long cultural legacy of the Dagestani peoples.

The Djirab al-Mamnun book (Mamnum, Arabic for grateful, was al-Alkadari's pen name) is a systematization of abundant correspondence of many years that the scientist kept up with the representatives of Dagestani Muslim intelligentsia, answers to multiple questions on current issues of Dagestani life - land, succession, and family law, purchase and sale, vakf, rituals, shariat and common law regulations, relations of different religions, ethics and morale issues, etc. In general, this is an important legal and ethic dogmatic tractate.

Divan al-Mamnun is a poetry collection that reflects many events of Dagestan's political life in the 19th century and preserves lyrics belonging to many Dagestani authors of the 19th century.

In Asari Dagistan, al-Alkadari names 13 of his compositions; four of them have not been discovered yet, and the others were later included unabridged in the Djirab al-Mamnun book. Among them are Djahd al-arib fi djavab al-arib - the answer to the 25 questions received from Gazanfar-effendi from the Siberian exile and concerning Muslim law and ethics issues, Talkhis al-matlub fi mushkilat mulla Ayub - answers to the questions on logic and logic classification of science, al-Kavl al-djami fi mushkilat Muhammad-Ali al-Tchukhi - answer to the questions of land property forms, inheritance, and "practical" astronomy, Kashf al-fattah fi sharkh an-nikakh - on the practice of marriage and divorce, and others.

Al-Alkadari boldly expresses his sociopolitical, philosophical, and ethical views in his books and multiples letters and notes. He regarded historic process as a chain of interconnected and mutually conditioned events; he was one of the first to view positively Dagestan's joining to Russia; he was informed of many achievements the science had made; he considered the efflorescence of science and education the main prerequisite for social progress. Al-Alkadari appealed for the unity of nations, peace, reconciliation, religious tolerance, and equality, highly valued ethic and moral qualities of the Dagestani, and denounced violence, social injustice, obsolete feudalism norms, and religious bigotry. Al-Alkadari's views were widely influenced by his cooperation with the first Azerbaijani democratic newspaper Ekintchi ("Ploughman") and with its editor, an eminent democrat educator Gasan-bek Zardabi, and later by his acquaintance with the achievements of science and education in Russia.

Al-Alkadari's handwritten legacy is enormous; it is concentrated in IIAE DNC of the Russian Academy of Sciences (manuscripts of Asari Dagistan, Djirab al-Mamnun, diary of 1906, about 15 letters, 50 order letters during his service as a naib of the Southern Tabasaran, and many texts in copies), in Institute of Manuscripts and Institute of Literature of the Azerbaijani Republic Academy of Sciences (manuscripts and copies), in Zakatalsky Museum of Local Studies (Divan al-Mamnun in a copy of 1879 made in exile by his follower, Batruk Muhammad of Katekh, and Makamy al-Khariri, also copied in 1879 by the same follower, with multiple notes by al-Alkadari on the margin of the manuscript made during lecturing on this book), in numerous private collections (manuscript diary or, rather, family chronicles that al-Alkadari kept in 1856-1909, a copy of manuscript list of books comprising al-Alkadari's personal collection, a large number of manuscripts and copies of materials dealing with scientific, pedagogic, and administrative work, considerable private correspondence). The manuscript of Divan al-Mamnun was discovered in 1999.

Al-Alkadari's talent legacy is not well researched. Only one of his considerable compositions, Asari Dagistan, has been translated into Russian. The manuscript legacy is not yet systematized and completely discovered.


Kitab asari Dagistan ta'lif al-'allama Mirza Khasan-afandi.

Al-Khadjj-'Abdallah-afandi al-Alkadari ad-Dagistani. St. Petersburg, 1312 [1894/95]

Al-'Urda al-makhdiya li-r-ravda an-nadiya li-l-fadilayn ad-Dagistaniyayn. Sakhib al-asl... 'Abd al-Latif-afandi al-Khuzi... va-l-muhammas... Mirza Khasan-afandi al-Alkadari. Petrovsk [no year dated, authorized by censorship in 1905]

Djirab al-Mamnun ta'lif... Khasan-afandi ad-Dagistani al-Alkadari. Tu-bi'a bi-l-matba'a al-islamiya. Temir-Khan-Shura, 1912.

Divan al-Mamnun. At-Tabaka al-ula. Temir-Khan-Shura, 1913.

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