This project aims to study holistically what once was the library of ʿAlī ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥamīd al-Ghumūqī (1878-1943), known in Russian sources as Ali Kaiaev, a key figure in the intellectual history of the North Caucasus across the late Tsarist and Soviet period. This body of manuscript sources includes more than 500 codices and 1200 single records in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Kumyk, and Lak. While most of the surviving manuscript collections from the North Caucasus reflect the local madrasa curriculum, al-Ghumūqī’s library stands out for its specific thematic range. Including works on Islamic jurisprudence, polemical tracts against Sufism, together with studies on Daghestani history, folklore, and lexicography, al-Ghumūqī’s collection sheds light on the readings, the scholarly network, and the intellectual sensibilities of a Muslim polymath from Daghestan exposed to Islamic reformist trends undergoing in the Middle East and in the Russian Empire and deeply engaged with Western philosophy. The proposed project sets out to produce a full catalogue of said collection as well as a monograph, which will contextualize the oeuvre of al-Ghumūqī in the history of Islamic knowledge production in Daghestan after the Russian invasion in the 18th century and situate it at the conjuncture of manifestations of Islamic reformism as well as policies of nation building in the Caucasus. By doing so, this project seeks to achieve several distinct, though interdependent objectives: (i) to fully appreciate the stature and versatility of al-Ghumūqī as a scholar and carefully situate his legacy in the Islamic intellectual landscape of 20th-century Daghestan; (ii) to bring into greater relief the trans-regional character of Islamic reformism in the North Caucasus and its connection to scholarly networks in the Middle East; (iii) to take full stock of the political changes and institutional environments which informed his writings on the cusp between the collapse of the tsarist empire and the formation of the USSR. Dr. Paolo Sartori will serve as principal investigator of the project and Dr. Shamil Shikhaliev will be employed as researcher at the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


Dr. Paolo Sartori



Dr. Shamil Shikhaliev



01/2024 – 12/2027



FWF – der Wissenschaftsfonds
P 37154-G