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The Jadids were Muslim modernist reformers within the Russian Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century. They normally referred to themselves by the Turkic terms Taraqqiparvarlar ('progressives'), Ziyalilar ('intellectuals'), or simply Yäşlär/Yoshlar ('youth').[1] Jadids maintained that Muslims in the Russian Empire had entered a period of decay that could only be rectified by the acquisition of a new kind of knowledge and modernist, European-modeled cultural reform. Although there were substantial ideological differences within the movement, Jadids were marked by their widespread use of print media in promoting their messages and advocacy of the usul ul-jadid or "new method" of teaching in the maktabs of the empire, from which the term Jadidism is derived. A leading figure in the efforts to reform education was the Crimean Tatar Ismail Gasprinski who lived from 1851–1914. Intellectuals such as Mahmud Khoja (author of the famous play "The Patricide" and founder of one of Turkestan's first Jadid schools) carried Gaspirali's ideas back to Central Asia.[2]


  • Relationship with the Ulama 1
  • Educational reform 2
  • The press and print media 3
  • Jadids in Bashkortostan 4
  • Jadids in Tatarstan 5
  • Jadid–Russian relations in imperial Turkestan 6
  • Jadid–Bolshevik relations after 1917 7
  • Jadid–Bolshevik relations after 1926 8
  • See also 9
  • Further reading 10
  • Notes 11
    • References 11.1
  • External links 12

Relationship with the Ulama

Jadid thought often carried distinctly anti-clerical sentiment. Many members of the Ulama opposed the Jadid's programs and ideologies, decrying them as un-Islamic, heretical innovations. Many Jadids saw these "Qadimists" (proponents of the old ways) not only as inhibitors of modern reform but also as corrupt, self-interested elites whose authority lay not in Islamic ideology as dictated by the Quran and sunnah but rather in local tradition that were both inimical to "authentic" Islam and harmful to society. In his Cairo publication al-Nahdah, Gasprinski published cartoons that depict mullahs and sheikhs as rapacious and lustful figures who prevented women from taking their rightful place as social equals and exploited the goodwill and trust of lay Muslims.[3]

To be clear, Jadids asserted that the Ulama as a class were necessary for the enlightenment and preservation of the Muslim community, but they simultaneously declared Ulama who did not share their vision of reform to be unacquainted with authentic knowledge of Islam. Inevitably, those who opposed their modernist project were decried as motivated by self-interest rather than a desire to uplift their fellow Muslims. Sufi mystics received an even more scathing indictment. Jadids saw the Ulama and the Sufis not as pillars of Islamic principals, but rather as proponents of a popular form of Islam that was hostile to both modernization and authentic Islamic tradition. Central Asian Jadids accused their religious leaders of permitting the moral decay of society (as seen in the prevalence of alcoholism, pederasty, polygamy, and gender discrimination) while simultaneously cooperating with Russian officials to cement their authority as religious elites.[4]

Despite this anti-clericism, the Jadids often had much in common with the Qadimists. Many of them were educated in traditional maktabs and

  • Central Asia: Jadidism -- Old Tradition Of Renewal from RFE/RL
  • Jadid.Uz -- Haq olinur, Berilmas! from Neo-Jadid

External links

  • Keller, Shoshana (2001). To Moscow, Not Mecca: The Soviet Campaign Against Reform in Central Asia, 1917–1941. Westport, CT:  
  • Khalid, Adeeb (1998). The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia. Berkeley, CA: [1] 
  • Khalid, Adeeb (2001). "Nationalizing the revolution in Central Asia: the transformation of Jadidism, 1917–1920". In Ronald Grigor Suny & Terry Martin. A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin. New York, NY:  
  • Khalid, Adeeb (2006). "Backwardness and the quest for civilization: early Soviet Central Asia in comparative perspective".  
  • Khalid, Adeeb (1994). "Printing, publishing, and reform in tsarist Central Asia" ( 
  • Kuttner, Thomas (1975). "Russian Jadīdism and the Islamic world: Ismail Gasprinskii in Cairo, 1908. A call to the Arabs for the rejuvenation of the Islamic world".  
  • Sahadeo, Jeff (2007). "Progress or peril: migrants and locals in Russian Tashkent, 1906-1914". In Nicholas B. Breyfogle, Abby M. Schrader & Willard Sunderland. Peopling the Russian Periphery: Borderland Colonization in Eurasian History. London:  
  • Абдирашидов, Зайнабидин (2011). Исмаил Гаспринский и Туркестан в начале ХХ века: связи-отношения-влияние. Ташкент:  


  1. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 93.
  2. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 80.
  3. ^ Kuttner
  4. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 148.
  5. ^ Khalid (1998), pp. 5–6.
  6. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 20.
  7. ^ Khalid (1998), pp. 24–25.
  8. ^ Khalid (1998), pp. 158–159.
  9. ^ N. A. Bobrovnikov, as quoted in Khalid (1998), p. 84.
  10. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 161.
  11. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 91.
  12. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 164.
  13. ^ Keller (2001), p. 15.
  14. ^ Khalid (1994)
  15. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 121.
  16. ^ Khalid (1998), p. 109.
  17. ^ d'Encausse (1989), p. 193.
  18. ^ d'Encausse (1989), pp. 189–192.
  19. ^ Allworth (1989), pp. 409–410.
  20. ^ d'Encausse (1989), p. 205.
  21. ^ Khalid (1994), p. 194.
  22. ^ a b c Sahadeo (2007), p. 151.
  23. ^ Khalid (2006), p. 236.
  24. ^ a b c d Khalid (2006), p. 241.
  25. ^ Khalid (2001), p. 172.
  26. ^ Khalid (2006), p. 242.


  • Paul Bergne "The Kokand Autonomy 1917–18: political background, aims and reasons for failure", in Tom Everett-Heath Central Asia: Aspects of Transition (London) 2003
  • S. A. Dudoignon & F. Georgeon (Eds.) "Le Réformisme Musulman en Asie Centrale. Du ‘premier renouveau' à la Soviétisation 1788–1937" Cahiers du Monde Russe Vol. XXXVII (1-2) Jan-Jun 1996
  • Gero Fedtke "Jadids, Young Bukharans, Communists and the Bukharan Revolution: from an ideological debate in the early Soviet Union" in Von Kügelgen et al. (Eds): Muslim Culture in Russia and Central Asia Vol.II - Inter-regional & inter-ethnic relations (Berlin) 1998 pp. 483–512
  • И. И. Минтс (Ред.) Победа Советской Власти в Средней Азии и Казахстане (Ташкент) 1967

Further reading

See also

Throughout the remainder of the 1920s and 30s, virtually the entire intelligentsia of Central Asia, including leading Jadid writers and poets such as Cholpan and Abdurrauf Fitrat were purged. However, Jadids have now been rehabilitated as 'Uzbek National Heroes' in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan.

With the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin began his push for power, ultimately leading to the elimination of his political opponents and his consolidation of power. As a result of this consolidation, by 1926 the Communist Party felt secure in its Central Asian regional power to lead the charge against traditional Muslim authorities without the assistance of the Jadids. Even worse, the Jadids became the victims of the very same purges inflicted upon their primary rivals, the Ulama and the Islamic clergy. The Jadids were denounced as the mouthpiece of the local bourgeoisie and were considered counterrevolutionary agents that should be stripped of their jobs, arrested, and executed if necessary.[26]

Jadid–Bolshevik relations after 1926

As the Jadids became more comfortable with the inner workings of the Soviet system, the Bolsheviks determined that they could no longer completely manipulate them. As a result, the Bolsheviks established local Central Asian cadres who were ideologically bound to Socialist revolutionism and disconnected from Islamic religious practice.[24] Ultimately, this class grew to overshadow the Jadids and displaced them from public life.[24]

Flag of Kokand Autonomy 1917–1918

At the same time, Bolsheviks and Jadids did not always see eye-to-eye on how the socialist revolution should play out. The Jadids hoped to establish a unified nation for all Turkic, Muslim peoples, while the Bolsheviks envisioned a more divided Central Asia based on ethnographic data.[25] As a formal challenge to the Bolshevik model of nation building, the Jadids founded a unified provisional government in the city of Kokand, with the intention of remaining autonomous from the Soviet Union. After lasting only one year, 1917–1918, Kokand was brutally crushed by the forces of the Tashkent Soviet; around 14,000 people, including many leading Jadids, were killed in the ensuing massacre. Unfortunately for the Jadids, by the late 1930s, the Bolshevik nation building program resulted in the division of Turkestan into five distinct national territories: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

For their part, the Bolsheviks were willing to assist the Jadids in realizing their nationalist goals, but only on Bolshevik terms. While the Bolsheviks created the structures needed to fully realize the Jadids' dreams (state-funded schools, a print sphere immune to market forces, new organs of political authority[24]) the Bolsheviks maintained their own agenda for harnessing the energies of the Jadid mobilization effort. This agenda focused on political education through postering, newspaper articles, film, and theater.[24] Essentially, the Bolsheviks wanted to use the facilities they had established on the Jadids behalf to disseminate political propaganda and educate the Central Asian masses about the socialist revolution.

With the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks aimed to create nation states for separate ethnic groups that answered to a central authority. The Jadids, greatly attracted to the promotion of Central Asian nationalism, embarked on language reform, "new-method" teaching, and expansive cultural projects with renewed fervor after 1917. By the early 1920s, the Jadids finally felt comfortable navigating the channels of Bolshevik central bureaucracy, allowing them to participate in the government on a more equal standing with the Russians. Also, in order to further reap the benefits of the Soviet system, large numbers of Jadids joined the Communist Party.

Jadid–Bolshevik relations after 1917

In terms of keeping the Russian and Central Asian populations separate, residence in Tashkent, the capital of Turkestan, was limited to Russian elites. Furthermore, most cities in Turkestan had distinct quarters for Russians and "natives" (a pejorative term for Central Asians).[23] To limit the political power of the Jadids, while giving the appearance of creating a more accessible political system in line with the 1905 October Manifesto, the Russians divided Turkestan's population into "native" and "non-native" electoral franchises, each with the ability to send one representative to the Duma.[22] This system gave the "non-native" franchise a two-thirds majority in the Duma, despite consisting of less than ten percent of Turkestan's population.[22] Because of Russian authority and political maneuvering, the Jadids failed to achieve their goals for equality under the Imperial rule of Turkestan.

For the most part, the Russian population of Turkestan viewed religious practice as counter to civilization and culture.[22] Therefore, the Russians had a particular diastase for traditional Muslim authority figures, like the Ulama and the Islamic clergy, who they viewed as dangerous extremists. On the other hand, the Russians held the Jadids in much higher regard because of the progressive and secular nature of their reforms. However, the Russians maintained the idea that the Central Asian population of Turkestan should have separate living spaces and limited voting rights.

Jadid–Russian relations in imperial Turkestan

Some of them were supporters of religious reforms (Ğ. Barudi, Musa Bigiev, Ğäbdräşid İbrahimov, Q. Tärcemäni, C. Abızgildin, Z. Qadíri, Z. Kamali, Ğ Bubí et al.), while others wanted educational reforms only (R. Fäxretdinev, F. Kärimi, Ş. Kültäsi et al.).

Jadids in Tatarstan

Zaynulla Rasulev, a prominent Bashkir religious leader in the 19th century, was among the most important representatives of Jadidism and the organizer of one of the first Jadidi madrasah.

Jadids in Bashkortostan

Central Asian Jadids used such mass-media as an opportunity to mobilize support for their projects, present critiques of local cultural practices, and generally advocate and advance their platform of modernist reform as a cure for the societal ills plaguing the Muslims of Turkestan. Despite the dedication of their producers, Jadidist papers in Central Asia usually had very small circulations and print runs that made it difficult for publications to maintain their existence without significant patronage. Jadids publishing in Turkestan also sometimes ran afoul of their Russian censors, who viewed them as potentially subversive elements.[21] Despite official fears of their sympathies with Pan-Turkic and Pan-Islamic movements, Turkestani Jadids generally couched their arguments and criticisms firmly within the realm of culture, not politics, and it was not until after 1917 that Jadids became actively involved in political organizing.

The content of these papers varied – some were extremely critical of the traditional religious hierarchy, while others sought to win over more conservative clergy. Some explained the importance of Central Asian participation in Russian politics through the Duma, while others sought to connect Central Asian intellectuals to those in cities like Cairo and Istanbul.[18] The Jadids also used fiction to communicate the same ideas, drawing on Central Asian as well as Western forms of literature (poetry and plays, respectively).[19] For example, the Bukharan author Abdurrauf Fitrat criticized the clergy for discouraging the modernization he believed was necessary to protect Central Asia from Russian incursions.[20]

Adeeb Khalid describes a bookstore in Samarqand that in 1914 sold "books in Tatar, Ottoman, Arabic, and Persian on topics such as history, geography, general science, medicine, and religion, in addition to dictionaries, atlases, charts, maps, and globes." He explains that books from the Arab world and translations of European works influenced Central Asian Jadids.[16] Newspapers advocated modernization and reform of institutions such as the school system. Tatars who lived in Central Asia (like the socialist Ismail Abidiy) published some of these newspapers. Central Asians, however, published many of their own papers from 1905 until the Russian authorities forbade their publication again in 1908.[17]

Many Jadids were heavily involved in printing and publishing, a relatively new enterprise for Muslim Russians. Early print matter created and distributed by Muslims in Turkestan were generally lithographic copies of canonical manuscripts from traditional genres.[14] Turkestani Jadids, however, used print media to produce new-method textbooks, newspapers and magazines in addition to new plays and literature in a distinctly innovative idiom. Private (i.e., not state-run) newspapers in local languages were available to Tatar Muslims earlier and Gasprinski's newspaper Tercüman (Interpreter) was a major organ of Jadid opinion that was widely read in Central Asia. The first appearance of a Turkic-language newspaper produced in Turkestan, however, dates to after the 1905 revolution.[15]

The press and print media

Jadid schools focused on literacy in native (often Turkic) languages rather than Russian or Arabic. Though Jadid schools, especially in Central Asia, retained a religious focus, they taught "Islamic history and methods of thought" rather than just memorization. Unlike their traditional predecessors, Jadid schools did not allow corporal punishment. They also encouraged girls to attend, although few parents were willing to send their daughters.[13]

Jadids maintained that the traditional system of Islamic education did not produce graduates who had the requisite skills to successfully navigate the modern world, nor was it capable of elevating the cultural level of Muslim communities in the Russian Empire. The surest way to promote the development of Muslims, according to the Jadids, was a radical change in the system of education. New method schools were an attempt to bring such a change about. In addition to teaching traditional maktab subjects, new method schools placed special emphasis on subjects such as geography, history, mathematics, and science. Probably the most important and widespread alteration to the traditional curriculum was the Jadids' insistence that children learn to read through phonetic methods that had more success in encouraging functional literacy. To this end, Jadids penned their own textbooks and primers, in addition to importing textbooks printed outside the Russian Muslim world in places such as Cairo, Tehran, Bombay, and Istanbul. Although many early textbooks (and teachers) came from European Russia, Central Asian Jadids also published texts, especially after the 1905 Revolution.[11] The physical composition of new method schools was different as well, in some cases including the introduction of benches, desks, blackboards and maps into classrooms.[12]

In 1884, Ismail Gasprinski founded the first, the very first "new method" school in Crimea.[10] Though the prominence of such schools among the Tatars rose rapidly, popularized by such thinkers as Ghabdennasir Qursawi, Musa Bigiev, and Gasprinski himself, the spread of new method schools to Central Asia was slower and more sporadic, despite the dedicated efforts of a close-knit community of reformers.

The traditional education system was not the only option for Central Asian students, but it was far more popular than the alternative. Beginning in 1884, the tsarist government in Turkestan established "Russo-native" schools. They combined Russian language and history lessons with maktab-like instruction by native teachers. Many of the native teachers were Jadids, but the Russian schools did not reach a wide enough segment of the population to create the cultural reinvigoration the Jadids desired.[8] Despite the Russian governor-general's assurances that students would learn all the same lessons they could expect from a maktab, very few children attended Russian schools. In 1916, for example, less than 300 Muslims attended Russian higher primary schools in Central Asia.[9]

One of the Jadid's principal aims was educational reform. They wanted to create new schools that would teach quite differently from the maktabs, or primary schools, that existed throughout the Muslim areas of the Russian empire. The Jadids saw the traditional education system as "the clearest sign of stagnation, if not the degeneracy, of Central Asia."[6] They felt that reforming the education system was the best way to reinvigorate a Muslim society ruled by outsiders. They criticized the maktabs' emphasis on memorization of religious texts rather than on explanation of those texts or on written language. Khalid refers to the memoirs of the Tajik Jadid Sadriddin Ayni, who attended a maktab in the 1890s; Ayni explained that he learned the Arabic alphabet as an aid to memorization but could not read unless he had already memorized the text in question.[7]

Educational reform


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