chapter  3
Bridging the gap between pre-Soviet and post-Soviet Sufism in Ferghana valley (Uzbekistan): The Naqshbandi order between tradition and innovation
ByTHIERRY ZARCONE
Pages 14

Sufism has both elite and popular manifestations. The former is generally urban and represented by educated shaykhs belonging to well known and historical Sufi lineages/brotherhoods (tariqa) in contemporary Central Asia. These shaykhs are generally teachers in clandestine madrasas. Popular Sufism, established in rural areas, is widespread and usually controlled by uneducated shaykhs and other religious figures. Popular Sufism can be labelled ‘Ishanism’ when it is under the supervision of uneducated but charismatic hereditary shaykhs/ishan responsible for the tomb (mazar) of a saint and for the ceremonies performed there. Ishanism, situated between elite and popular Sufism, is closest to elite Sufism because it is a development of Sufi lineages (note that representatives of elite Sufism are also called ishan).1 Although predominant outside the cities, Ishanism is present in the urban society now because of large-scale immigration by rural immigrants.