Institute of Oriental Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences,
History and Legend: Mythologizing the Image of a Saint in Islamic Tradition (The Case of Ibrahim b. Adham)
Abstract. The article analyzes the relationship between history and legend on the basis of the mythologized image of Ibrahim b. Adham (d. 164/781), the famous mystic and ascetic from the Balkh region. In this legend, the historical facts have been subjected to distortion in several stages. The early sources portray him as a ruler's son who gave up the riches of worldly life and devoted himself to the service of God; the later sources show him as a ruler who becomes a saint. The transformation of the image of the saint, who came from the dynasty of the rulers of Balkh, can be clearly traced in the miniatures of the Mughal School, resonating with the images of the “holy rulers” of the Mughal dynasty, typically shown with a halo over their heads.
Key words: mythologization of history, legends, Sufi tradition, saint, Ibrahim b. Adham, Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri, Abu Bakr al-Darbandi, Arabic manuscripts, Indian miniatures, Mughal School Tocharian, manuscripts, Berlin Turfan Collection, Brahmi script, palaeography, Buddhism, Matrceta, buddhastotras, Varnarhavarnastotra, bilingual texts, Sanskrit
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