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Rocznik Orientalistyczny/Yearbook of Oriental Studies

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Rocznik Orientalistyczny/Yearbook of Oriental Studies | 2020 | T. LXXIII | No 1 |

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Abstract

Asma Jahangir, the prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist, who had received several awards for her courageous work, passed away on February 11, 2018. Her untimely death at the age of 66 was mourned by a wide public, not only in Pakistan. The newspaper obituaries particularly highlighted her accomplishments and campaigns on behalf of women, children, religious minorities, poor and disenfranchised communities. The deceased “voice of the voiceless” is probably best known for her advocacy on the rights of the most vulnerable and disempowered sections of society and her uncompromising commitment to democratic principles. However, another aspect of Asma Jahangir’s legacy, her thoughts and insights on political power mechanisms in Pakistan and beyond, has so far been rather neglected. With her long-term experience as a lawyer, an activist, and a UN Special Rapporteur, Asma Jahangir often offered useful reflections on the main causes of human rights abuses in Pakistan and the neighbouring countries. Among other things, she pointed to the detrimental effects of the politics of sectarianization and securitization, and also stressed the ongoing aspiration of a great part of the population in the global South to live a dignified life. On the basis of selected publications, reports, and interviews, this paper will provide a number of Asma Jahangir’s explanations for national, regional, and international shortcomings and structural problems (fragile democracies, undermined rule of law; the influence of militant non-state actors; regional/international interconnections and constraints, etc.) which remain relevant under the current conditions.

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Authors and Affiliations

Roswitha Badry
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Abstract

The paper presents how the pluralism of relations in the early Muslim sources concerning the memory the Qādisiyya narrative is problematic for reconstructing the event of the battle by modern scholars. Specific studies of the early Islamic sources concerning the Battle of Al-Qādisiyya lead to the conclusion that it is certainly easier to interpret the functions of particular topoi than to determinate the facts about the Maʿrakat al-Qādisiyya. The main, unsolved questions related to the Qādisiyyah narrative are the uncertainty of the date of the battle, the size of the Muslim and Persian forces that fought in the Maʿrakat al-Qādisiyya as well as some contradictions and different presentations of the battle. Scholars have undertaken many attempts to make the conflicting accounts more coherent but in fact, they only made some speculations or, at the best, case scenario – explanations made on the basis of limited and uncertain evidence. For these reasons, the paper contains the suggestion to avoid an undue emphasis on the importance of the Maʿrakat al-Qādisiyya and to replace this term by the more general expression “the Mesopotamian campaign 634–637.” The critical evaluation of the Muslim sources leads to a more general description of the Battle of Al-Qādisiyya as an element of the campaign (stage 634–637) whose unambiguous evaluation is impossible.

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Krzysztof Kościelniak
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Abstract

Among the big corpus of the commentaries over the Qur’an, one of the special developments was a genre of gloss (hāšiya). The study addresses main Ottoman glosses written to the Qur’anic commentaries, contextualizing it within the internal dimensions of the content transformations. It is argued that since the glosses were used as the textbooks in the Ottoman medrese, they could be considered as the “mainstream” Ottoman reading of the Qur’an. This reading was not merely one of the practices for approaching the Qur’an, but the kind of tradition with the related authorities and meaningful developments. The research covers these patterns of interpretations applied to the case of Āl ‘Imrān, 3: 7, showing the way of how the philology and theology interacted in the Ottoman tafsīr glosses.

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Mykhaylo Yakubovych
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Abstract

The article highlights the significance of the first full English translation of Naqd al-Hitāb ad-Dīnī (Critique of Religious Discourse), one of the most characteristic and important works of the acclaimed Egyptian intellectual Nāsr Hāmid Abū Zayd (1943–2010). The work was firstly published in 1992 by Sīnā li-an-Našr in Cairo, coinciding with the beginning of the so-called Case of Abū Zayd (1992–1995), the campaign of Egyptian fundamentalists against the scholar. Abū Zayd’s critique of the dominant discourses and worldviews in the Arab world, created both by the Islamic fundamentalists and so-called Islamic left, has gained huge acclaim in the international academia but so far there has not been a full translation of the work into English (also taking into account the important role of the full German edition published by Chérifa Magdi and Navid Kermani in 1996). In 2018 Jonathan Wright’s translation was published by Yale University Press in the series “World Thought in Translation”. The edition was enriched by Carool Kersten’s scholarly introduction. The following article discusses the translation dilemma regarding Naqd… (e.g. problems with finding equivalents for Arabic semiotic and hermeneutical terminology utilised by the Egyptian scholar), giving examples of the choices made by the translator. Adding to it, the more general issues of the impact of Abū Zayd’s work on the contemporary rereading of Arab-Islamic turāt are analysed.

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Michał Moch
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In recent reflections on the current situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and the threat of their extinction, a number of Iraqi intellectuals have stressed they cannot imagine their society without the plurality and diversity that have contributed to the creation of a common interethnic and interreligious Iraqi identity and historical memory. Among them are writers who raise this issue not only in essays, articles and interviews, but also in their fiction. The aim of the present article is to show the interweaving of literary discourse on Iraqi minorities and the wider debate among Iraqi intellectuals on the deteriorating condition of Iraqi Christians – which has led to their mass emigration – as reflected in a number of post-2003 Iraqi novels. The literary image of this exodus cannot be discussed without addressing the position of Christians among other Iraqi communities currently and in the past, as well as the question of their identity. This article refers to the following novels: Taššārī (Dispersion, 2012) by In‘ām Kaǧaǧī, I‘ǧām (Diacritics, 2004) and Yā Maryam (Ave Maria, 2012) by Sinān Antūn, Sīra dātiyya riwā’iyya (An Iraqi in Paris: An Autobiographical Novel, 2012) by Samū’īl Šam‘ūn, Frānkanštāyn fī Baġdād (Frankenstein in Baghdad, 2013) by Ahmad Sa‘dāwī, and Sabāyā dawlat al-hurāfa (Slaves of the Imaginary State, 2017) by ‘Abd ar-Ridā Sālih Muhammad. The article is divided into four parts, including an introduction in which the above-mentioned debate is presented. The second part depicts the plight of Iraqi Christians after 2003 through a brief outline of the lives of four literary characters. The third part focuses on the situation of Iraqi Christians before 2003 by relating the memories of five fictional protagonists. These two descriptive parts are followed by some final remarks. The theoretical framework of this article is based on the reflections of Birgit Neumann and Astrid Erll concerning the role of literature as a medium in the construction of cultural memory.

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Authors and Affiliations

Adrianna Maśko
ORCID: ORCID
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Abstract

In the article the author deals with the contributions of Goettingian scholars to the study of the so-called “Runic”-Turkic inscriptions discovered in the early 18th century in Siberia during the 18th and 19th centuries before their decipherment by Vilhelm Ludvig Peter Thomsen (1842–1927) and Friedrich Wilhelm Radloff (Vasilij Vasilievič Radlov; 1837–1918). The author points to the scholars speculations on the unknown language of the inscriptions based in Göttingen as well as the research in this field and times outside that town.

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Michael Knüppel
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Abstract

UNkulunkulu is a very important figure within Zulu pantheon but his nature is not really defined. Should he be considered God, a god or the first ancestor? The problem comes from Western (Christian) need to find and define a supreme deity within Zulu religious beliefs. In 2013, 2018 and 2019 I conducted thorough field-studies among South African sangomas and asked them about uNkulunkulu. This article aims to organise knowledge about uNkulunkulu and tries to place him within the deity stratum. Also, my research allows to show if searching for answers about uNkulunkulu is a Zulu problem or maybe just Western scholars’. Field studies that enabled writing this paper were sponsored by Polish National Science Centre, Poland (Narodowe Centrum Nauki), project no.: 2017/25/N/HS1/02500.

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Agnieszka Podolecka
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Abstract

The shrine antechamber is a standard component of the Indian temple architecture. It was originated in the Buddhist context, and the context was the rock-cut architecture of the Deccan and central India. The first antechamber was attempted in circa 125 CE in the Nasik Cave 17. It was patronised by Indrāgnidatta, a yavana , who possibly hailed from Bactria. The second antechamber was created in Bāgh Cave 2 in ca. late 466 CE. The patron remains unknown. The third antechamber was initiated in Ajanta Cave 16 within a few months. It was patronised by Varāhadeva, the Prime Minister of Vākātaka Mahārāj Hari Sena. When the third antechamber was only half excavated, the plan was cancelled by the patron himself due to a sudden threat posed by the Alchon Hūns led by Mahā-Sāhi Khingila. The Nasik antechamber was inspired from Bactria, the Bāgh antechamber was inspired from the parrallels in the Greater Gandhāra region, whereas the Ajanta Cave 16 antechamber was inspired from Bāgh Cave 2.

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Rajesh Kumar Singh
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The term “comfort women” refers to the women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, who had been forced to serve as sexual slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. The problem emerged at the beginning of the 1990s and became an impediment especially in relations between Japan and South Korea. The article analyzes how the “comfort women” issue was approached to by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in both countries. It is argued that while the problem led to invigoration of civil society institutions, it also incited strong nationalist movements. Anti-Japanese feelings in South Korea contributed to lack of flexibility in negotiations with Japan and rejection of the apologies by the government of that country. Such reaction, in turn, weakened the position of moderate NGOs in Japan that tried to compensate the victims, and made them prone to criticism from right-wing movements. The paper examines these complex developments.

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Authors and Affiliations

Karol Żakowski

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