Abakh Khoja


Abakh Khoja

Abakh Khoja, Apak Khoja, or more properly ["Khwāja Āfāq", or Khoja Afaq, is a spelling preferred by modern schlars, e.g. Kim (2004) or Gladney (1999)] Āfāq Khwāja (? - 1693/94) was a religious and political leader in Kashgaria (in modern-day southern Xinjiang). He was also known as Khwāja Hidāyat Allāh (Hidayetullah Khoja).

Name spelling

In Chinese, Afaq Khoja's name is usually written as _zh. 阿帕克霍加 (Apake Huojia) or _zh. 阿帕尔霍加 (Apa'er Huojia), occasionally just _zh. 阿帕霍加 (Apa Huojia); "khoja" may also appear as _zh. 和卓 (huozhuo).

Life of Afaq Khoja

Afaq Khoja was a great-grandson of the famous Naqshbandi Sufi teacher, Ahmad Kasani (1461 - 1542) (also known as "Makhdūm-i`Azam", 'the Great Master'), and was revered as a Sufi teacher in his own right. Among some Uyghur Muslims, he was considered a sayid, who is a relative of the prophet Muhammad.

Afaq Khoja seized power from the Chagatay dynasty of Yarkand by inviting Dzungar invaders through the secret diplomacy of the Dalai Lama. Afaq Khoja was a powerful ruler, controlling East Turkistan including Khotan, Yarkand, Korla, Kucha and Aksu as well as Kashgar.

As a result of the conflict with Iskhaki khojas ( known also as "Kara" "Taghliks", i.e. " Black Mountaineers "), Afaq khoja was at one point expelled from Kashgaria, and is said to have invited the Dzungars in 1678, promising them 100,000 "tangas" (silver coins) for help and using recommendation letter from the 5th Dalai Lama, with whom he met in exile. The Dzungars, led by Galdan Boshughtu Khan (1670-1697), ousted Chagatay (Moghul) ruler Ismail Khan and then made Afaq and his descendants only nominal rulers of Kashgaria.

Afak Khoja died in 1694 and was succeeded in Yarkand Khanate by his son- Yahya Khoja ( 1694-1695 ). After Yahya Khoja death (he was killed) the last Moghul Khan of Kashgaria Muhammad Imin Sultan (Akbash Khan, 1695-1706) restored Chagatay dynasty of Yarkand, trying to organize resistance to Dzungar invasion, but finally he was expelled by khojas and fled to India under protection of Moghul Empire.

Afaq Khoja and Islam in China

Afaq Khoja's influence spread far outside of Xinjiang. From 1671-72, he was preaching in Gansu (which then included parts of modern Qinghai province), where his father Muhammad Yusuf had preached before. On that tour, he visited Xining (today's Qinghai province), Lintao, and Hezhou (now Linxia), and was said to convert some Hui and many Salars there to Naqshbandi Sufism. According to the Chinese (Hui) followers of the Qadiriyya Sufi school, when Afāq Khoja was in Xining in 1672, he gave his blessing to 16-year-old Qing Jingyi (later also known as Hilal al-Din, or Qi Daozu (1656-1719)), who was then to introduce Qadiriyya into China proper. His two other spiritual descendants, Ma Laichi and Ma Mingxin, went to study in Central Asia and Arabia, and upon return to China founded two other Naqshbandi "menhuans" (brotherhoods) there: the Khufiyya and the Jahriyya, respectively. [Gladney (1999)]

The Afaqis

Khoja Afaq's descendants, known as the Āfāqi khojas, or the "Aq Taghliqs", i.e. 'White Mountaineers', played an important part in East Turkestan's politics for almost two centuries after Afāq's death. They first ruled Kashgaria as Dzungars' vassals, but after the death of Dzungars' Galdan Khan managed to gain independence for a while.

The next strong Dzungar ruler, Tsewang Rabtan (1697-1727), subjugated Kashgaria again; to stay on the safe side, Dzungars this time were now to keep the Afaqi Khojas as hostages in the Ili region, and rule Kashgarian cities through Afaqis' rivals, the Ishaqi khojas -"Karataghliks", i.e. 'Black Mountaineers'.

In the 1750s, two Afaqi Khoja descendants- brothers, Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān, who had been held by Dzungars as hostages in Ili, aided the Manchu Qing emperor Qianlong in annihilating the Dzungars ( from spring 1755 till summer 1757 around 300,000 Dzungars, no subject to gender and age, were massacred by the invading 300,000 (?) Qianlong Army, which executed a official order, given to General Jiao Hui in spring 1756 by the Son of Heaven, to liquidate the whole Dzungar nation till last baby, those who survived were killed by the following epidemic of smallpox, total loss of the population in Dzungaria reached 1,000 000, transforming it eventually into the "Land without people"; at the same time Khoja Jahan, executing Khoja Burhan ad-Din order, razed to ground in 1755 both Dzungar temples, "Golden" and "Silver", in Ghulja and Kainuk cities of Ili River Valley, that were built by Galdan Boshugtu Khan and represented the sacred symbols of Dzungar Power) and establishing Qing hegemony over Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin in which they waged in 1755-1756 a bloody war against their old rivals- "Karataghliks", who took control of Kashgaria. However, as the two eventually victorious khojas began to seek more independence for themselves, they soon ( in autumn 1757 ) came into conflict with the Qing power. Having lost Yarkand and Kashgar to the Qing armies in 1759, they fled to Badakhshan, where they were promptly killed by the local ruler, Sultān Shāh, who sent their heads to the Qing.

Accoridng to a legend, Iparhan, granddaughter of Apak Khoja was given to emperor Qianlong as concubine. Under Qing auspice, Khojijan rulers of city states often fell out of favor of the hegemonic power and had to flee to Uzbek protection in the Khanate of Kokand.

By 19th century, prominent Afaqi Khojas ("Khojijans") in exile in Kokand sought to influence their former domains through preaching or allying with new imperialist powers of Russia and Great Britain. It was during the 1800s that two major attempts were launched from Kokand to claim the "Six City State of Tarim Basin" ( "Altishahr" ) from Qing domination. These were the British-supported Jihangir Rebellion (1826-1828) and the usurpation of Kashgaria by Kokand retainer Yaqub Beg (1864-1877) who recognized Ottoman suzerainty.

Well into 20th century, there were still local princely families of Khojijan descent. The Chinese warlord and Military Governor (Duban) of Sinkiang general Sheng Shicai (April 12,1933- August, 29 ,1944) restored the status of several of these local rulers to facilitate his rule.

Afāq Khoja Mausoleum

Afāq Khoja's mausoleum is considered the holiest Muslim site in Xinjiang. It is located at coord|39|29|26|N|76|1|23|E in Haohan Village ( _zh. 浩罕村), a northeastern suburb some 5 km from the city centre of Kashgar. First built ca. 1640, initially as Muhammad Yusuf tomb, the beautiful tiled mausoleum contains the tombs of five generations of the Afāqi family, providing resting places for its 72 members, both men and women.

Footnotes

Literature

* Kim Hodong, "Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877". Stanford University Press (March 2004). ISBN 0804748845. (Searchable text available on Amazon.com)
* [http://www.drugladney.com/articles/salafiyya.pdf Dru C. Gladney (1999), "The Salafiyya Movement in Northwest China: Islamic Fundamentalism among the Muslim Chinese?"] Originally published in "Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts". Leif Manger, Ed. Surrey: Curzon Press. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, No 26. Pp. 102-149.


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