MESA Book Awards
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2022 Albert Hourani Book Award Winner
Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus
Harvard University Press
The Hidden Caliphate is a frontier-breaking investigation of the spiritual and political network of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi order across Transoxiana, Khorasan, and Northern India from the 18th up to the 20th century. This is a superb contribution to the historical understanding of the religious, social, political, and intellectual topographies of a cultural environment so far at the periphery of Middle Eastern Studies. Through a multi-dimensional and grounded methodology, Waleed Ziad’s book shows the centrality of the Persianate cosmopolis in challenging the emerging legalistic orthodoxies of the 19th century. Equally attentive to narratives as to local, transcultural semantics, the book brings to light a counter-history of political renewal and spiritual syncretism based on so far untapped sources collected through courageous explorative research. A scholarly gift for those keen to expand the frontiers of Middle Eastern Studies towards new intellectual and geographical horizons.