September 15, 2016

Offering of Love on the Virtue of Invocation for the Most Honorable of Mankind

Tuḥfat al-Ḥabībiyah, published in 1938 in Peshawar, is a Pushto book about the various Islamic durood (complimentary ritual phrases), which are invoked during prayer times, and other ritual practices in praise of the Prophet Muhammad. It reviews a number of Islamic theological traditions and hadiths that discuss the benefits of invoking the verse sallū ʻalyhi wasallimū taslīmá (Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation; Qurʼan 33:56), which is interpreted as a reference to Muhammad. These salutations are called “Salawat.” The contents include an Arabic preface (pages 3‒6), a Pushto acknowledgement section (pages 6‒7), and six chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the meaning, context, and six descriptions of verse 56 in chapter 33 of the Qur’an. Chapter 2 is about the benefits and obligations of Muslims chanting Salawat when they read or mention the name of Muhammad. Chapter 3 talks about the meaning and context of the chant Jalla Jalaluh to praise Allah. Chapter 4 discusses the value of offering Salawat on Fridays, and during the five daily Islamic prayers. Chapter 5 addresses the time and benefits of offering Salawat right before and after the five daily prayers. Chapter 6 (the longest chapter) discusses the invocation of Salawat and its other benefits, as narrated specifically in 40 hadiths (sayings of Muhammad). The author, Muhammad Amin Mahajir Pishawari, seems to have produced the book for Haji Fazl Ahad, a local bookseller and a patron. The book has an illustrated cover, and a list of contents. Many mystical and ritualistic Persian poems, such as several by Jami (on pages 7, 14, and 74) appear throughout the book in support of a particular point being made by the author. This Pushto Tuḥfat al-Ḥabībiyah should not be confused with the Persian Tuḥfat al-Ḥabīb (Gift to Habib), a history dating from the beginning of the 20th century written by the Afghan court historian, Fayz Muhammad Katib Hazarah.

Ornaments of Mountain Tajiks in Darvaz (Mountainous Bukhara)

Ornament gornykh tadzhikov Darvaza (Ornaments of the mountain Tajiks in Darvaz) is a work by a Russian traveler and scholar on the material culture of the region of Darvaz, also known as mountainous Bukhara (in present-day Tajikistan). The work focuses on two sets of objects, embroidery and stockings. The book begins with an overview of the area and its population. Northern Darvaz is located on the western side of the Pamir Plateau and on the right bank of the Panj River (parts of which form a border between present-day Afghanistan and Tajikistan). The author describes the land as beautiful, peaceful, and lush. The population of Darvaz is mixed, owing to invasions over the centuries and its proximity to the route connecting India and Central Asia. The author defines five types of people based on their physical features and notes that the people of the region are mostly Sunni Muslims, but not particularly religious. The book contains five color and 15 black-and-white plates. The section on embroidery discusses how silk embroidery is applied to decorate curtains and women’s clothing, often showing birds and a tree. Curtains are not commonly used in everyday life but kept as family heritage, mostly by well-to-do families. The author explains that the mountain people all wear stockings; they put on two or three pairs at the same time all year around before slipping into muki (very soft leather boots), which they tie with a string at the top.

Pushto Grammar

Qavaʼid-i Pushtū (Pushto grammar) is a linguistic work, produced by Pushto Tolanah (Pushto Academy), an Afghan governmental literary organization that was founded in 1938 in Kabul to promote Pushto language, literature, and history. This particular manual was written in Persian by Muhammad Aʻzam Ayazi, a member of Pushto Tolanah, and published in 1939 for both Pushtun and non-Pushtun readers interested in learning the Pushto language. The manual is 224 pages long and is organized into a detailed table of contents, acknowledgements, and 14 sections, each of which is divided into numerous chapters. Section 1 (pages 1‒10) is a detailed description of the Pushto alphabet. Section 2 (pages 10‒35) is devoted to discussion of the morphology of the language. Section 3 (pages 36‒51) discusses Pushto adjectives, their various types and usage. Section 4 (pages 51‒67) deals with pronouns, their use, and agreement in the language. Section 5 (the longest section, pages 67‒146) is about verbs, their various forms, usage, and conditions. Section 6 (pages 146‒55) deals with adverbs in Pushto. Section 7 (the shortest section, pages 155‒58) discusses prepositions. Section 8 (pages 158‒61) deals with verb phrases. Section 9 (pages 161‒64) discusses vowels. Section 10 (pages 164‒73) deals with compound words. Section 11 (pages 173‒79) discusses syllabification. Section 12 (pages 179‒81) deals with punctuation marks. Section 13 (wrongly headed “section 14,” pages 182‒212) deals with sentence formation. Section 14 (pages 213‒22) has a list of Pushto infinitives alongside their Persian meanings. The concluding pages list corrections to the text.

Collection of Tajik Literature

Numūnah-ʼi Adabīyāt-i Tājīk (Collection of Tajik literature) is a compendium of poetic works by medieval, early modern, and modern Tajik poets. It was compiled and edited by Sadriddin Aini (1878‒1954), who is considered a national poet in Tajikistan and was by far the most literary of the Tajik nationalists. The work was published in Moscow by the Central Press of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1926, just two years after the creation of the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Each work in the compendium is well known and available in other collections and volumes published in the Persian-speaking world; collectively these works represent the Persian literary tradition in the Persian-speaking regions of Central Asia. The compendium includes a biographical entry on Aini by the Iranian nationalist political activist Abolqosim Lohuti, a preface, and three main sections. The first section includes representative works by 80 medieval and early modern Persian poets, including Rudaki, Daqiqi, Farabi, Alisher Navoii (or Nawa’i), and others. The second section discusses the poetic works of 132 Persian-speaking poets from the late-18th and 19th centuries. Section three deals with what Aini calls the “new Tajik literature” produced between 1905 and 1925. These later poems deal with the discourse on modernization, known in Central Asian studies as Jadidism, and the social and political developments that took place in the region as a consequence of the Bolshevik Revolution. Three pictures of Aini appear in the book. Each section begins with a short preface and ends with a list of contents. Aini provides a biographical entry about each poet’s life and career. Publication of the compendium was a state-sponsored project carried out during a crucial period of history when many of the countries that today are independent nation-states in Central Asia were established as parts of the Soviet Union under a policy of “national delimitation.”

Anīs for Children, Volume 7, Issue 46, January 29, 1976

Kamkayāno anīs (Anīs for children) is a magazine for young readers in Afghanistan. Its parent publication, the newspaper Anīs (first published on May 6, 1927), was named after its first director, Muhyi al-Din Anis (died 1938 or 1939), one of the founders of journalism in Afghanistan. Anīs is also the word for “companion” in Arabic and Persian, so the title Kamkayāno anīs can be seen to contain a play on words denoting “the children’s companion.” Kamkayāno anīs began in the late 1960s. It was first published under a different title (though with the same meaning), Kūchnayāno anīs, under the direction of Tahir Paknahad. The magazine changed its name to Kamkayāno anīs in the early 1970s. At this time, it was a weekly publication that included articles, cartoons, stories, jokes, puzzles, and readers’ correspondence. A fair amount of the content was in the form of contributions by its young readers. The major part of the journal is in Persian, while each issue contained several items in Pushto as well. The early editorship of Kamkayāno anīs included such well-known journalistic figures as Shukriya Ra‘d (who also served as editor of the journal Zhvandūn). Articles published in the 1970s included occasional references to American culture and society, as can be seen, for example, in essays on farming practices in the United States and on children’s television programs. The magazine ceased publishing shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979. It was resurrected in 1990 under the editorship of Muhammad Mahdi Bashir.

Anīs for Children, Volume 7, Issue 48, February 12, 1976

Kamkayāno anīs (Anīs for children) is a magazine for young readers in Afghanistan. Its parent publication, the newspaper Anīs (first published on May 6, 1927), was named after its first director, Muhyi al-Din Anis (died 1938 or 1939), one of the founders of journalism in Afghanistan. Anīs is also the word for “companion” in Arabic and Persian, so the title Kamkayāno anīs can be seen to contain a play on words denoting “the children’s companion.” Kamkayāno anīs began in the late 1960s. It was first published under a different title (though with the same meaning), Kūchnayāno anīs, under the direction of Tahir Paknahad. The magazine changed its name to Kamkayāno anīs in the early 1970s. At this time, it was a weekly publication that included articles, cartoons, stories, jokes, puzzles, and readers’ correspondence. A fair amount of the content was in the form of contributions by its young readers. The major part of the journal is in Persian, while each issue contained several items in Pushto as well. The early editorship of Kamkayāno anīs included such well-known journalistic figures as Shukriya Ra‘d (who also served as editor of the journal Zhvandūn). Articles published in the 1970s included occasional references to American culture and society, as can be seen, for example, in essays on farming practices in the United States and on children’s television programs. The magazine ceased publishing shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979. It was resurrected in 1990 under the editorship of Muhammad Mahdi Bashir.