Afghanistan, Articles / Essays, Uncategorized

Syed Ali Shah of Wakhan, Northern Afghanistan: Kinship Relationships, Lineages of Sayyids and the Interesting Stories connected with Pir Syed Shoh Ardavil of Badakhshan

January 17, 2024

By Fazal Amin Beg1

This small contribution deals with a preceding article and an impressive interview discussion on some existing Sayyid families of Badakhshan and their ancestors, the marriage system in practice and more particularly the descendants of a legendary Pir (Spiritual Guide) named Syed Shoh Ardavil.It also includes couples of miraculous stories related with Syed Shoh Ardavil.It was this fabulous and historic figure again who preached and converted  Mir Shah Silum Khan (a powerful ruler of Hunza State) in Ismailism (a branch of Shia school of thought within Islam).

More than 16 years ago, I got an opportunity to visit Badakhshan province in Spring and Summer of 2007 during the Karzai Government in Afghanistan. The objectives were broad and diverse  to pursue my anthropological field studies within and out of Wakhan district.  The scope of the fieldwork included the notion of cultural exchange, kinship and marriage system, family, patrilineal and matrilineal descent groups (clans and tribes),  stories behind historic and archaeological sites, folktales and folksongs, ecotourism and tourism potentials, orientation with mother tongue literacy, and the like.

It was in this connection in September 2007,  around my fielwork objectives I met with Syed Ali Shoh son of Syed Rushan Ali of Wakhan district, who was the Chairman of his local Council in Lower Wakhan. He specifically belongs to a tiny setting of Wakhan called Urup, Digergend . Ifound him so wonderful gentleman and one of my key informants.I had recorded and preserved the conversation and interview  in my digital voice recorder.

Although,  I have collected enormous interviews, focused group discussions and conversations from Wakhan in hundreds of hours, I have been gradually dealitng with the collected data whenever I get time. In a given situation when I came in contact with two siblings Ms. Gul Pari and Mr. Fatah Ali Shoh children of Syed Ali Shoh in the first week of December 2023 in Pakistan, I found an interview of and reflected on their father’s discussion. Interestingly, I got it befitting and fascinating with enriched contents.

Fazal Amin Beg is an independent researcher in the field for more than two decades and embedded in socio-cultural and legal anthropology and linguistics in addition to applied side of development, human rights and politics.He has carried out his fieldwork in Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Tajikistan. Email: [email protected]  His YouTube Channels are:


K̃hikwor Adabiyot-e Gulshan (dedicated entirely for Wakhi):


I therefore transcribed the original Wakhi data  and translated it in English to publish the refined product on my website (FAZALAMIN.COM so th related stakeholdres will get benefit from it in academic and applied context).

The interview with Syed Ali Shoh mainly comprises on four thematic areas of discussion:  family history and kinship relations; the customary marriage system; information on the local historic sites an an excersise on the local toponyms; and the stories of Syed Shoh Ardavil the Great, a legendary Pir (spiritual figure) of Badakhshan.

Beginning with his immediate family, he tells us about his ancestors as Sayyids who migrated from Iran to Bukhara to Badakhshan, specifically in Zibok to Wakhan. He then carries on relating his lineage and clan groups (both paternal and maternal) in the districts of Wakhan, Ishkoshim, Zibok as well as Wakhan and Ishkoshim of today’s Tajikistan.Besides his own lineage and clan, Syed Ali Shoh also tells us briefly about the lineage of a Mir (ruling)family living in his settlement.

Moving ahead, he then shares with us some ground realities regarding the customs of marriage, especially within the Sayyid families , lineages and clans.  It was great to know he was well aware of the fact that how the 49th shia Ismaili Imam of the Time  (Noor Mawlana Shah Karim al-Hussaini, Aga Khan) has his global worldview and directives about the consent and preferences of the children  in choosing spouses. He therefore is so enlightened and also describes about his own children and their priorities despite the fact the directives of the Imam of the Time had not then strongly taken roots in the ground (in 2007).

The discussion then proceeds ahead and revolves around the meanings and concepts behind a couple of local toponyms contextually with the concerned settlements in addition to sharing some information on the historic and natural sites.

As final but highly important part, Syed Ali Shoh  discusses about the family, lineage and existing clan groups as descendants of a legendary and famous Pir (spiritual Guide) from Badakhshan called Syed Shoh Ardaval. Through female line, Syed Ali Shoh himself is also a descendant of the great Pir.

Before moving ahead, allow me to take a significant pause to describe about the importance of the relationship of Pir Syed Shoh Ardaval with Hunza. When we talk of Isma’ilism as the State Religion of the former Hunza State, the significant role  of Syed Shoh Ardavil always dominates the literary circles (through oral traditions and published literatures). It was reportedly Syed Shoh Ardavil who preached the faith of Shia Ismailism  to Mir Shah Silum Khan son of Mir Shah Khusraw Khan, the then ruler of Hunza.The latter  consequently embraced Isma’ilism.  When Mir Shah Silum Khan passed away and was burried in Gulmit (the second capital of Hunza State) in 1824, his death funeral was performed, according to his will, within the Ismaili tradition in the house of his foster mother named Late Gulbahor wife of Oshur Beg and daughter of Qozi Makhzum of Wakhan.  This historic house still exists in Gulmit. For this purpose, Pir Shoh Hussain son of Pir Shoh Ardavil had arrived at Gulmit from badakhshan  before  the death of the Mir of Hunza State. After his death and during the reign of Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan son of Mir Shah Silum khan,   Ismailism  was set to be the State’s Religion that sustained for over 150 yrstd up to 1974.

It should however also be noted that there is a huge difference between Ismailism in Hunza and Ismailism as a State Religion in Hunza.Ismailism in Hunza was for a long time in Hunza as the paternal and maternal kinship relationship  of various lineages, clans and tribes existed in Hunza State with the small kingdoms of Central Asia such as Sariqol, Wakhan, Ishkoshim, Zibok, Shughnon, Darwoz and so on.  Isma’ilism as the State Religion began with Mir Shah Silum Khan son of Khusraw Khan.  In short, Hunza has a particular  spiritual relationship with Pir Shoh Ardaval, his progenies and descendants.

Well, let’s come and focus again on the point of discussions with Syed Ali Shoh of Wakhan.He so nicely shares  his knowledge on the patrilineal and matrilineal kinship relationships and descendants of Syed Shoh Ardavil who live in Wakhan, Ishkoshim and Zibok in today’s Afghanistan  and across the Panj River in today’s Tajikistan.Though, he specifies the patrilineal  descendants  to a certain extent, he also informs us about the matrilineal descendants in terms of estimated households reckoning between 200 to 300 in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

A highly interesting and fascinating  phase as a last resort is description of the miraculous stories  connected with Pir Syed Shoh Ardavil. The stories appear on the lime light when the notion and pragmatism of the Sayyids in gnosticism is discussed in a comparative context whether or not today the Sayyids could be termed as Sayyids.Though, in terms of rationalism and scientific approaches, valid questions could be raised,the stories include tragic death of Syed Shoh Ardavil when he was seven years old but taken by the flying horse of Imam Ali called Duldul and reached in the court of Imam of the Time. Syed Shoh Ardavel as a child served the Imam for seven years. Similarly, other stories  include getting food  from invisible forces during hunting,  stretching the beam of a house during construction of the roof when the beam got short and the like.  My interview with and the interesting discussion of Syed  Ali Shoh of Wakhan thus comes to the end.

I hope the readers of this piece would enjoy the interview discussion in a lively manner.  It provides a great deal of information and many insights of the past  connected with the present discourses. The first hand information and the oral narratives as primary sources combined with the secondary sources  will help us understand to rethink, reconsider, rebuild and reshape many aspects of the historic events  and history in a positive and academically critical manner

I would now invite  the enthusiastic readers to go through the enriched  content in the discussion of Syed Ali Shoh here in his own words followed by the questions I have asked or probed in the middle to get additional information or make clarity in the discussion in a logical way (wherever deemed necessary). The abbreviation FAB stands for Fazal Amin Beg and SAS stands for Syed Ali Shoh.

FAB: Cẽ S̃hẽk̃harv en cẽbas saken dẽ Urup Digargend en g̃hẽtetk, woz hadrem dẽ Shoh Sohib-e khun en, kumdi ki Rayis-e Shuro-e Digergend tey. Trẽmis be da’n qisa vitu, niv be ca’mv en mazid qisa caren. Yav-e khonadon-e hawola’r woz yem diyor-e hawola’r, yav-e shuro-e hawola’r. Z̃aq chiz perskiz caren, chiz dishn-e kushish caren. Awal cam’v-e khonadon. Sav-e nungi chiz Shoh Sohib?

FAB: After S̃hẽk̃harv, we have arrived at Urup and are with Mr. Shah in his house, who is Chairman of the Council for Digargend. We had talked to him earlier, too,  We will get further information about his family, about his village and the council. First, with his name. What is your full name Mr. Shah?

SAS: Z̃hũ nung Sayid Ali Shoh.

SAS: My name is Sayyid Ali Shah.

FAB: Khub, sayisht cum vũrũt?

FAB: Well, how many brothers are you?

SAS: Wuz yi toqa. Z̃hũn vũrũt nast, yow fawt k̃hetu.  Sof toqa’m.

SAS: I am alone and no brother. I had one but he had passed away.

FAB: K̃hũy?  Cum k̃hũyisht woz kumjay?

FAB: Sisters? How many sisters do you have?

SAS: K̃hũy tey. K̃hũy z̃hũ buy.  Yũw da Sarhad et yũw adem s̃hẽk̃harv. Sarhad dẽ Sargaz (diyor). Nasridin ki dish, yow dhast dẽ Sargaz. Yũw dem s̃hẽk̃harv spo Sayid’v-e mulung.

SAS: I do have two sisters. One is married in Sargaz village in the border area (of Wakhan). If you know Nasruddin, she is marreid with him. Another sister of mine is married here at S̃hẽk̃harv village wihtin our Sayyids.

FAB: Peter  et dheg̃hd ti’n cumer woz chiz nung?

SAS: How many sons and daughters do you have and what are their names?

SAS: Peter z̃hũ cũbũr. Yav nung rus̃han Ali, Madah Ali Shoh, Fatah Ali Shoh et Mahabat Ali Shoh. Dheg̃hd z̃hũ buy. Yav nung Gul Pari et Mihr Nigor.

SAS: I do have four sons and their names are Rushan Ali,  Madah Ali Shah, Fatah Ali Shah  and Muhabat Ali Shah. I have two duaghters and their names are Gul Pari and Mihr Nigar.

FAB: SAV tat-e nung woz yem sokht cẽbas ki rec̃h.

FAB: Your father’s name and likewise you go behind (in degree of generations).

SAS: Z̃hũ tat-e nung Rus̃han Ali, yow tat nung Sayid Wali, yow tat nung Khidmat Ali, yow tat nung pas Rus̃han Ali, yow tat nung Shoh Ziyo, yow tat nung Shoh Nawoh, kho az̃i rek̃hk to Sayid Hassan.

SAS: My father’s name is Rushan Ali, his father’s name is  Sayyid Wali, his father’s name is Khidmat Ali his father’s name is again Rushan Ali, his father’s name is Shah Zia,  his father’s name is Shah Nawah, and in such way it goes and reaches to Sayyid Hassan.

FAB: Yani, naw pus̃ht bat az̃i k̃han k̃he yem res̃ht to Sayid Hassanes̃h g̃hat?

FAB: Well, up to nine generations, you relate it  in such manner and afterwards it continues and reaches to Sayyid Hassan?

SAS: O, Sayid Hassan.

SAS: Yes, so, and reaches to Sayyid Hassan.

FAB: Sav pup kum jay en drem wezg?

FAB: From which place, your ancestor has come here?

SAS: Spo pup aslan cẽ Iron en drem wezg. Iron ce Shiroz en twetk a cereng, hatman malũm nast.  Ca’n bu pus̃ht dẽ Bukhoro tiwetk. Ca’n yan wezg Afghoniston et adem Kazdon k̃hanen, dem Zibok. Wuz dẽ Zibok yi bu pus̃htev adra haletk. Truyer, woz spo pupish wezg, Rus̃han Ali lup , de Gawon Dara.Woz yi pũs̃htev adra niyeng et yan aca’n wezgev dẽ Qozideh (Wakhon). Cẽ Qozideh en yek sad u pinjo sol vitk ki sak adrem  jay (Digergend).

SAS: Our ancestor has come from Iran, perhaps from Shiraz, exactly it is not known. Two gnerations of my ancestors lived in Bukhara.   In the second phase, two generations of them have lived in Kazdon of Zibok in Afghanistan.  In the third phase, my ancestors like Rushan Ali as older one, has migrated to Gowan Darah.  A generation has lived there and from there onward, they have migrated to Qozideh of Wakhan. From Qozideh,  the last level of migration took place and we are settled here in Digargend. For the last 150 years, we live here.

FAB: Adrem sav pup wezg a?

FAB: Has your grandfather migrated to this place?

SAS:  Ney, spo tat drem wezg.

SAS: No, our father has migrated to this place.

FAB : Dremev niv sayish cum khun?

FAB: How many households do you have here now?

SAS: Drem sak tru khun. Wuz k̃hat Sayid Ali Shoh. Sayid Hassan Shoh et Amir Muhammad.  Yow z̃hũ bech peter.

SAS: We are three houses here at present.  I myself Sayyid Ali shoh, Sayyid Hassan Shoh and Amir Muhammad.  He is my paternal cousin.

FAB: Ya yo’r vũrũt kum jay en?

FAB: What about another brother (household) with you here?

SAS:  Yem Sarjangal en wezg. Asl yow tat nung Nur Mamad tiwetk.Lup ki niv fi’lan ce Amir Mamad et yem en Mamad Gũl.  Sarjangal, cẽ Ishkoshim en az̃i rec̃hen et bu  so’at paster et yan ta Yaghzru nag, Walej k̃hanen, dra et’v-e pupkhun asal.

SAS: They have come from Sarjangal (of Ishkoshim).  His father’s name was Noor Muhammad.  Older among them is Amir Muhammad and then is Muhammad Gul.  When we go down for two hours fro Ishkoshim, we then turn right and move towards Walej. That is their original paternal place.

FAB: Yetisht be Pir a?

FAB: do they also belong to the Pir family?

SAS: Ney, Mir.

SAS: No, they belong to the Mir family.

FAB: Hadem Digargend sa Sayiidsht cum khona?

FAB: How many households do you have of Sayyids here in Digargend?

SAS: Adem Digergend sak sizdah khona tey. Faqat ayet Mir et saken kũ Sayid.

SAS: We have 13 households of Sayyids here in Digargend and they have the only household of the Mir’s family.

Dẽ Digargendev Mirisht a?

fAB: Are there the Mir’s family in Digargend?

SAS: Ney,  Sayyidish.

SAS: No, of the Sayyids.

FAB: Yasht kuyisht?

FAB: Who are they?

SAS: Yemish adra Jũma Gũl, Sayyid Mushtoq, Sayyid Asghar, Khushomadin, Tojiddin, Ghũlom Sakhi, Sayyid Sannad, Sayyid Mazhar, Sũlton Shoh.  Naw khun.

SAS: They are Juma Gul, Sayyid Mushtoq, Sayyid Asghar, Khushomadin, Tojiddin, Ghulom Sakhi, Sayyid Sannad, Sayyid Mazhar, Sulton Shoh.  Nine housholds.

FAB: Khub, naw khun dra k̃he buy drem.

FAB: Well, nine housholds there and two here (in Urup).


FAB: Of course.

FAB: Woz kumer sav-e guru khalgisht? Sav’res̃h chiz k̃hanen? Sayyid a ney Sayyidon?

FAB: Okay, where else do your clan members live? Are you termed as Sayyid or Sayyidon?

SAS: Sayyid. Sayyid.  Spo guru aslan Shoh-e Zibok.Spo kanda-e asosi, Shoh Abdul Moni.

SAS: Sayyid, Sayyid.  Our lineage is actually  that of Shoh-e Zibok.  Our clan is basically that of Shoh-e Moni.

FAB: Sav-e nasab res̃ht k̃h dẽ Abdul Shoh Moni g̃hat a?

FAB: Does your genealogy go back and reaches with Shoh Abdul Moni?

SAS: O. Da’m.

SAS: Of course, with him.

FAB: Wozi kum kumer sav-e guru-e khalgisht?

FAB: Where else are then your clan members?

SAS: Dẽ Qozideh tey banom-e Shoh Samad k̃hanen.  Yow spo kanda en.  Yem rang, Sayyid Hoshim woz Sayyid Hussain, yemish spo Kanda en.

SAS: In Qozideh, there is a household headed by Shoh Samad. He is from our clan.  Similarly, Sayyid Hoshim and Sayyid Hussain are also from our clan.

FAB: Woz, dẽ Sargaz?

FAB: Further, what about those in Sargaz (village)?

SAS: Ney, yasht modari tey pidari nast. Ya’ni pisari nast, dukhari tey. Woz dẽ Zibok tey dẽ Kazdon ty yi panz̃ khun.  Yav nungish Mir Sayyid, Nur Ali Shoh, Khalil Ahmad, Mir Ahmad et Shoh Qosũm. Yemish kũ pisari spo khonadon en.

SAS: No, they are linked with us maternally  and not paternally. I mean, they are linked with us through female line and not through male line.

FAB: Dukhtari sav en kum kumer?

FAB: Where do your relatives live through female line?

SAS: Yũw dẽ Sargaz, yũw dem S̃hẽk̃harv, yi buy digar dẽ Ridhkhed, de Zibok dara, ya’ni dra be tey. Dukhtari spocen dẽ Sarjangal be spocen khis̃hi tey de Mir Ahmad Shoh en.Maqsad spo rishta-e dukhtari tit dẽ har jay. Aslan kanda-e asosi ayetish, spo k̃hũn en.

SAS: One is in Sargaz, one in S̃hẽk̃harv, couples of them at Ridhkhud in Zibok dara: means, they are also present there. Through female line, we have also our kinship relations in Sarjangal with the family of Mir Ahmad Shoh.I mean, our kinship relationship is scattered extensively in different places. However, our own and actual or fundemental clan structure (male line) I described to you.

FAB: Dẽ Pir Shoh Ismoyil yav en be teya sav en chiz khis̃hig̃h?

FAB: Do you have also kinship relationship with Pir Shoh Ismo’il?

SAS: Ney, nast. De Shoh Langar en tey woz dẽ Pinja  spo bech Ali Shoh mes̃h tey. Yũw Abdulloh Khon peter kaf, woz yũw Sayyid Ollo mes̃h, Yawish Sayyid Shoh Langar hamaki. Dam’v en spo dukhtari rishta.

SAS: ney, not.  We do have our kinship relationship with Shoh Langar and also with our uncle Ali Shoh in Panja.  One of our femle members is married with the son of Abdulloh Khon and another one is with Sayyid Allo.  They are the lineage members of Shoh Langar (of Qozideh). With them, we do have our kinship relations through female line.

FAB: Khub, dem Digargendev sasht ro Sayyidishtes̃h k̃han ne, ro yi khun  Mir en?

FAB:  Well, you said here in Digergend  all households belong to those of your Sayyids except for one who belongs to the Mir family. Is it so?

SAS: O, yan.

SAS: Yes, of course.

FAB: Yem matlab yem vite ki Sayyidisht yi drem dem Digaegendev wezde, yi dẽ Sargaz wezde.Kumd ki dẽ yi jayev kũk̃ht. Da Sargaz   yaven be ta’r malũm teya ki yasht kum jay en wezg?

FAB: It then means that the Sayyids live mainly (in majority) here in Digergend and also in Sargaz. Do you also know about the families or ancestors of those who live in Sargaz?

SAS: Yowisht be cẽ Zong en wezg. Ca Shoh Langar-e guru’nev yash. Yash qomot-e Shoh Langar en. Yow-e Kũnda’nev. Yowish, Sayyid Kiron k̃hanen dẽ Zibok, yowish kũ yi kũnda en.

SAS:  They have also emigrated from Zong (Tajik Wakhan).  They are from the lineage of Shoh Langar.  They belong to one clan.  Likewise, there is a known name Sayyid Kiron of Zibok. All of these belong to the same clan.

Ayet Mironish kũ yi kanda en. Farz car Miri Sarjangal,  yi Mir dẽ Waliyej, yi dẽ Panja, yũw dẽ Mataq, yũw dẽ zibok. Yetish kũ yi kanda en.

The Mirs here are from one stem (clan).  For instance, the Mir of Sarjangal, one in Waliyej, one in Panja, one in Mataq and one in Zibak. All of them are from the same clan.   

Fab: Yet’v-e pup nung (de Urup) yan chiz?

FAB: What is the name of their grandfather’s here (in Urup)? then?

SAS: Yet’v-e pup nung wuz ta’r k̃hanem. Yow pup nung Gũldasta. yow peter nung Amir Mamad. Yow peter nung   Mamad Gũl. Gũldasta-e tat nung Gũl Bata.

SAS: Well, I will tell you the name of their grandfather.His grandfather’s name was Guldastah.  The name of his son is Amir Muhammad. His son’s name is Muhammad Gul.  Name of  Guldastah’s father was Gul Batah.

FAB: Yow tat nung?

FAB: What about name of his father (Gul Batah)?

SAS: Yow tat nung be wuz dishm a (hahaha).

SAS: How could I know beyond him as their ancestor (hahaha)

FAB: hahaha Yetish yan ra Sarjangal cereng rek̃hk?

FAB: Hahaha, how could they have then migrated to Sarjangal?

SAS: Yetish aslan Sarjangal en adrem wezg. Yet’v-e mum cẽ Panja en. Yemish (Mamad Gũl) dukhtari ce Panja en woz pisari ce Sarjangal en. Ya’ni Ishkoshimi.

SAS:  These people have actually migrated from Sarjangal to this place here (Urup). Their grandmother is from Panjah.   They (Muhammad Gul) are thus maternally from Panjah and paternally from Sarjangal, Ishkoshim district.

FAB: Sav’nes̃h tuy-e rasm ziyot ce sokht wost?

FAB: How do you largely perform your kinship and marriage ceremonies?

SAS: Tuy, massalan, niv yani Mawlo’ni k̃hand ki petr et dheg̃h dhast din a ney. Mis az̃i raqam ne tu. Harjay ti khohish tu ki k̃hũ qom’v s̃hik̃h reg̃hd, dam’v en qisa k̃hat ki ney wuz wezgem, maqsad ki ma’r ki khalg bakor. Sak qomi, rishtadori toza caren. Yow da k̃hũ khun khalg’v en masliht cart et k̃hand, khay niv weze. Mis yem raqm tu.  Niv woz farmon-e Mawlo  vitk, drem ghal tadbi ne vitk. Haya shakles̃h ghal c̃hit.

SAS:  Well, Marriage! At present, Mawla (that is, Imam of the Time )directs that a son and a daughter should have their say in this regard. Earlier, it was not so. If you liked to build your kinship relation, you would go to your kinspersons anywhere and put your request in this regard that you need a person (daughter). You were supposed to convince the family of the female to establish and revive or refresh the kinship relationship.  The head of the family would thus discuss with his family members and once agreed, he would send message to the boy’s family head to come and kick on the rituals.  It was so earlier.  At present, there is the directive of the Imam of the Time but it has not yet taken its roots on the ground. Instead,  it still runs according to the old norms.

FAB: sasht kum tarji randit?

FAB: Which one would you prioritize?

SAS: Har kuy ya k̃hũ kanda en. Har kuy ki yow kanda wezdit, massalan, qomiyatisht ki wzde. Mamto, Sayyid ki tu, yow-e kanda be parwo nast. Harkuy k̃hũ qom en khis̃hig̃h cart. Mirisht dẽ Mir en, Mirisht dẽ Sayyid’v en aca mis en be dẽ qomiyatev tu.

SAS: Everyone would prefer his or her own lineage or clan.   For instance, if the same lineage or clan members would come for this purpose.  However, if someone from the Sayyid family comes, no issue of his or her lineage or clan.  Each one prfers  his or her own kinship relationships.  Mir families would get married with the Mirs. The Mir families have also kept their kinship relationships with the Sayyids from the old times.

FAB: Cereng sokht? Saves̃h yav-e dheg̃hd yut a ney yaves̃h sav-e deg̃hd yut?

FAB: How come?  Did the male Sayyids would get married with the Mir’s daughters or the male Mir family members would get married with the daughters of the Sayyids?

SAS: Yow farkh nast, yawish be yunden, sak be randen.  Sak be yunden et yaiwsh be randen.

FAB: There is no such distinction. They can get married with the daughters of our Sayyids and  our male members would get married with their daughters.

FAB: Dẽ Khũja’v en?

FAB: What about the Khũjas?

SAS: Dẽ Khũja’v en tum khis̃hig̃h spocen nast, ca sobiq en ne tiwetk.

SAS: With the Khujas, we don’t have such kinship relationship and it has been from the old times.

FAB: Ta wuch palewe (Sayyid), yav mes̃h teya?

FAB: Do you have kinship relationships with the Sayyid Families of upper part (of Wakhan)?

SAS:  Ta wuch palew tey. Dhirev, ki ney sak be  caren, kum massala nast.

SAS: Yes, with them we do have. They are far away (from us). Otherwise, we could also promote our kinship relationships.  Won’t be any issue in this respect.

FAB: Matlab yem ki Sayyid Sayyid mes̃h awwal awwal, ca’n cẽbas yem ki Mir’v en ki wezde, dam’v en be wost woz Khũjayisht ki wezde dam’v en be wost?

FAB: It means, first and foremost with the Sayyids, then with the Mirs, then with the Khujas. Is it so?

SAS: o, o.

SAS: Yes, of course.

FAB: Dẽ chiz’v en, digar’v en?

FAB: What about building kinbship relationship with others than them?

SAS: Kho, yaw az̃i ki   mister yow en ruzgor ne tu. Massalan, yow mis tu taryoki, digar ba’z mũshkilot yow en tu k̃he vite qarzdor. Sharoyat tu k̃he vite kharob. Yan, yow harkuy be wezde, Afghon be ki wezde, k̃hũ dheg̃hdi rat.

SAS: Well, the fact is so that earlier a man had no income.He was addicted with opium.  Such type of hardship existed with him and he would become defaulted. Such disabling conditions domainated him. In such situation, when anyone, even an Afghan,  would approach and ask for the kinship to  be established, he would give his daughter to him.

FAB: Z̃erengisht vitk a?

FAB: Well, have has such kind of issues also emerged?

SAS: O, vitk.

SAS: Yes, of course. It has been.

FAB: Dem sav diyor?

FAB: have they happened in your village?

SAS: O, vitk. Masslan, z̃hun k̃hũn tru qessanguldẽ Pishowũr. Yani misev retka ki dẽ yodi sak nast. Yemi, niv Imom-e Zamon dem wakht, ya’ni muysafidish be ce niyes̃hk, maqsad, massalan, Mamad Wali Khon rangish,  Shoh Sohib-e Panja, Yemisht gha tokid caren. Mis yem rang qissayish ne tu. Yaw be Imom k̃hand da k̃hũ qom’v en, da k̃hũ  ham-masslak en khis̃hi carev.  Mis yem rang qisa ne tu.Yi rig̃his̃hin wezdi, yi pũrchodhev rati ya’r, yow dur̃zde et yut.

SAS: Yes, they have happened here.  For exampel,  thre of my wife’s sisters have got married in Peshawar. They have been earlier that we don’t rmember.  Now, Imam of the Time, elders (leaders) like Muhammad Wali and Pir of Panja, emphasize  and advice to be careful or avoid in building such type of kinshipp relations.  Earlier, there was no consideration of such kinds.  Imam says to build relationships with your kinspersons, with your religious fellows.  Earlier, it was not so. A bearded man would come and his daughter to handed over to him and he would  take her away.

FAB: Nivi matlab cereng? Farz car ki sak yem tayin caren ki ti peter ce yowes̃h kum z̃ereng jay  chiz …

FAB: Well, how is it now?

SAS: Saker be niv parwo nast. Harchiz ce beh amr-e Hozir Imom hũmũt, sak ada mawofiq.

SAS: Now, we don’t feel much worry. Whatever our Imam of the Time tells us, we will be in consonance with it.

FAB: Ce sokht?

FAB: How come?

SAS: Masallan, niv yem z̃hũ petr res̃ht dẽ Ishkoshim dẽ maktab joyd ney. Yem dadwozdayi ki pos kertey res̃ht to S̃haghnon, farz car yoy, Fezabod. Harjay ki k̃hũ ham-maslaki got, yow parwo nast. Yem et yow k̃hat ki …

SAS: For example,  my son goes to Ishkoshim and gets education there in the school. After qualifying his intermediate level education, he then goes to Shughnon, or Faizabod.  Wherever, he goes, he then comes across his religious fellow.

FAB: Dem diyor k̃hat ki  kert?

FAB: What, if he did marry someone here in this village?

SAS: Harjay ki dũrzd, parwoyi nast.

SAS: Wherever he does prefer to marry, no issue.

FAB: Yoy ney, sav dheg̃hd dẽstan ce faqir guru’v en kuy wizit, yoy ney dẽ digar’v en?

FAB: What, for instance, if someone from the common people or other clans, comes to get engagement with your daughters?

SAS: Yowi az̃i ki mis yi chiz tiwetk. Yem kum ananot-e Qur’oni nast ki farz car ki Quron yemi k̃hẽnetk ki  tu k̃hũ dheg̃hd e Sayyider rand et faqirer me rand.Aslan, qawmoti ya qawmot-e faqiresht dẽ sak en khis̃hig̃h ne caren beh khotir-e ayet ki shoyad awlod-e rasul. Agar ney, yow farq nast, hechek. Ya’ni Odam azo-e yek digarand.

FAB:  Well, it has been a norm of the past. There has never been any tradition in this regard or written in the Holy Qur’an that you should marry your daughters with the Sayyid families and not with the men of common families.  The reason might be so that the common people think that we are descendants of the Holy Prophet and that is why they avoid to opt and establish marriage relationship with us.  There is no point to make such type of discrimation (or distinction). The descendants of Adam are like the organs of a body.

FAB: Bani Odam azo-e yek digarand Ki dar ofarinas zi yek gawharand/jawharand.

FAB:  The descendants of Adam are like the organs of a body, because their orgin is from the same source.

SAS: Niv azĩ ki massalan yow hechk farq nast. Misolan yi Ismoyila. K̃hatem ki mis Afghonev yutev, niv ki yi Ismoyila . Kũ sak yi bozu en. Yi jigar en, ney. Yem ki agar ihtarom be saker cart,  makhluq saker cart. K̃hanen ki yemish Sayyid. Imom-e Zamon ki mũrdũm agar yow ne disht, digar toyifayish yow dishn a ki yow Imom? Sak yow dishen ki yow Imomi. Digar, Farz car ki yet qawmot-e chizish, ki sak e dishen ki yetish Sayyid. Chizer ki ya lupterish saker ihtarom caren. Sak be yet’ver ihtarom caren. Yet ananot-e mazhab hechk taghir ne yit.

SAS:  Now, there is no difference at all. For instance, we all are Ismailis.  I said that earlier the Afghans married our daughters. Now, we all are like an arm of a body. We all are like liver (of a body), isn’t? If there is a respect given to us, it is by the masses who say that we are the Sayyids. If our people don’t recognize thee Imam of the Time , could other people recognize  him then.  We recognize him  as Imam.  Therefore, the ethnic groups around recognize us as Sayyids because their elders respect us.  We do also respect them.  There does’t come change in the value system.

Massalan, mas’ala-e dawat hũmũt, massala-e ananot-e qomi hũmũt, massala-e piri-mũridi ũmũt, dẽ Afghoniston yet gha mũshkili. Niv misoli, fe’lan yet spo mukihoyish dẽ sak en  rahbari caren, yetish digar yark be ne dishen ziyodter.Okhir wakht woz mũshkil sakker pish wizit ki sak boyyad adet sajjoda nezden, jawob yet’ver keceren, agar k̃hẽnak ne kecereren, joyak ne keceren, sak mahkum wocen jawobdeh ham pish-e Imom-e Zamon, ham pesh-e jamo’at.  Boyad ki khalg k̃hati sof cart. Yaki disht, yarki cart  . Yarki, masalan, Mudir sohb dẽ sav en ki wizit, sav-e yarki ya’ni pish yund a ney.

For example, whether it is the issue of preaching, the issue related with socio-cultural groups, or the issues of the pirship and followership , there are difficulties in Afghanistan around them.  For instance, at present, our Mukhis do play their leadership roles with us.  When they don’t know other related aspects in depth,  we have to then take on the concerned positions to address the issues.  If we could not respond to the problems, if we could not read effectively, we are then accountable to both the Imam of the Time and the community per se.   One should be transparent within himself or herself.  He or she should know the nature of the work and should be competent of doing them.  For instance, Mr. Manager (refering to late Muhammad Wali) knows the nature of the assignments  you people have and has been facilitating you. Isn’t it so?

FAB: Yan.

FAB: Yes.

SAS: Wakhti ki yow ne bas wezit, yow k̃hand ki wuz ne rec̃hem. Yet yarki mazhab be fe’lan dẽ Afghoniston bish k̃hat gha masha washi.

SAS: When one cannot perform the tasks effectively,  he or she would avoid to go for them.  The religious tasks are also on such tracks. To maintain them, at present, in Afghanistan is difficult.

FAB:  Masalan chiz?

FAB: For example, what are they?

SAS: Ayet mol-e wojibot ziyodter ya’ni g̃hurtetk ne wost. Niv mũshkilotisht. Farz car, har chiz, har ananot cẽ mazhab en. Niv Imomfarmones̃h cart ki pũrchodh ki dawozdayi joyd, yan yow tuy go. Hayow ki drem tadbiq vite, Farmon-e Imom ki drem tadbiq vite, kũ mũrdũm k̃hũ vẽdek disht.  Amo, felan mũrdũm k̃hũ rag disht. Dũrũst.

SAS: The religious obligations  cannot entirely be performed. Now, there are difficulties. For instance,  everything in the value system emanates from the religion. Now, Imam of the Time directs us to marry daughters when they have studied up to intermediate level of their education. When his directives will come in action, the people will find their directions and pathways.  Alright.

FAB: Niv cem mawzu’n woz z̃aq trẽ jẽdha nag far g̃hiren.  Urup ma’no ko chiz vite?

FAB: Now, let’s move out of this topic.  What could be meaning of the toponym Urup  ?

SAS: Urup sak k̃hat ki bah ma’ni-e “otash.” Ur az̃i ki “dũrzev.”

SAS:  The meaning of Urup we could say is in terms of “heat” or “fire.” Ur is so “to take.”

FAB: Yurish k̃hak a cereng?

FAB: Is it in terms of “invasion” or “attack?”

MW: o, yurish, hamla.

MW (Muhammad Wali): Yes, attack or invasion.

FAB: Yem Urup yan ko chiz vite? Yem’ni dẽ Urup yoy Urupo en chiz ta’luq tey a? Saver sũdhũyd a ki ghafch khũshruyi k̃he Yurup rangi. Ya rangi be chiz nast?

FAB: What could be the toponym of Urup? Has it any link with the continantal Europe?

SAS: Ney, Urupo en yow  iqtisod bũland et maqsad yow khũshruy vitk. Drem be aya chiz jũr wost et bũland res̃ht. Yem cẽ Urupo en chiz kam nast. Amo, saker k̃hat ce Urupo en yem bũland. Sak Urupo recc̃hak ne keceren a sohb.

SAS: No,  Europe has it enriched economy and thus it has been made beautiful.  If such level of high economy we will have, it  will not be lesser than Europe.  For us, it is higher than Europe, though we ourselves cannot go  to Europe. .

FAB: Yũw yem ki sav en drem kum masjidi dremm tey ?a

FAB: Well, another point is so that do you have any mosque here at this place?

SAS: Masjid drem tey ba nom-e Masjid-e Urup, Masjid-e Rushan Ali ki spo tat yow jũr kerk.

SAS: Yes, a mosque exists here, which is known as the Mosque of Urup or Mosque of Rushan Ali. Our father had built it.

FAB: Yem cum sol trẽmis-e qisa tey?

FAB: Well, when was it constructed?

SAS: Yagon, yek sad u si sol.  Yow takhrib ne vitk.  Sak k̃hanen ki yow-e tarmim caren. Masjid ney to mehmonkhona wost.  Spo dur tey ki bafter yow jũr caren.

SAS: Perhaps 130 years ago. It has not got deteriorated.  We are thinking to bring some changes in and maintain it. If it cannot continue as a mosque, it should be converted to a guesthouse.  We plan to build it with its strength.

FAB: Takhrib yow carit a k̃he?

FAB: After you dismantle it, then?

SAS: Ney, takhrib ne caren, hayow rang k̃hat.

SAS: No, we will not dismantle it. We will maintain it the same way as it has its existing structure.

FAB: Yũw ye ki mehmonkhona, yũw yem ki kutubkhona.

FAB: Well, one option is to make it a guest house and another one could be library.

SAS: O, yoy kitobkhona wost. Niv ki yow jũr caren, namoz joyak da wost. Amo, spocen jamotkhona riwoj.

SAS: Yes, of course. Either to make it as a library.  However, if we rebuild it, prayers could be offered here, too as we have now the rite of jamatkhana.

FAB: Drem jamotkhona tey a, drem Urup?

FAB: Is there a jamatkhana here in Urup?

SAS: Nast, nast.

SAS: No, not.

FAB: dra yow cumer lup tey ki agar  dra ki joyit?

FAB: How much big is its size if you people offer your prayers there?

SAS: Maqsad sak k̃hater wost.

SAS: I mean, the space can accomodate us. .

FAB: Maqsad, yem tru khuner wost?

FAB: Does it mean that it will accomodate the people of the three households?

SAS: Wost.

SAS: Yes, it will accomodate.

FAB: Yow hisober yan yow ne c̃hawũvit a?

FAB: In that context, can’t you then run it?

SAS: Yow da dafter en truloy pishnihod dhet ki sak dẽ Digergend g̃hẽtak ne keceren. Sayish ki adem jay saker ijozat randiv, yawish k̃han ki ney.

SAS:  We proposed it threice in the concerned office that it becomes difficult for us to access easily in Digergend.  They responded that you cannot do so because there is no order.


FAB: Yũw, drem chiz asor-e atiqa … gozisht … kũkisht …     

FAB: Are there archaeological  sites here … meadows … springs …

SAS: Drem hechk nast, chiz osor-e atiqa.   Gozish tey. Z̃aqlay gozish harjay tey. Kũkish nast. Kũkish cẽ har g̃har en niwizd amo sũr.

SAS: It doesn’t have any archaeological sites here. There are meadows but smaller ones. There is no prominent spring, though out of diferent stones spring errupt but they are colder ones.

FAB: Haca’n yan saver yupk wũzũmn bas ne wezin a drem?

FAB: Can water be then supplied to you from those springs here?

SAS: Yupk wizit drem. Niv aca yupk en wizit. Wesk ki wost, wizit. Zemistoni tey ki westk wost.

SAS: Well, water comes here. But, when the springs dry up or freeze in winter then there is no water from them.

FAB: Digergendi cereng? Drayi kum khos chiz z̃ereng?

FAB: What about Digergend?  Is there anything special for which it is well-known?

SAS: Digergend be kũk tey. Dra be goz tey. Eni, kũki az̃i    shundr nast misl-e Bobo Tangi et az̃i jayev.

FAB: In Digergend, there are also springs and meadows.  However, the springs are not hot like those of Bobo Tangi or some otehr villages.

FAB: Osor-e Atiqa-e hawola’er, ce sokht ki sav en drem masjid tey?

FAB: What about the historic sites as, for instance, you have the mosque here?

SAS: Masjid dra be tu magar kũnetu’v yawi.

SAS: They had also a mosque but it had got dismantled.

FAB: Kũnetu’v a. Woz az̃i qila meqilah?

FAB: Well, got dismantled. What about any fort or fortress?

SAS: Ney, qilah me qilah dra nast.

SAS: No, it had no fort or fortress.

FAB: Oston?

FAB: Any shrine?

SAS: Oston be nast.

SAS:  No, it doesn’t have any shrine.

FAB: Chizeri yow gha mashhũr? Digergend-e ma’no chiz vite?

FAB: In what context, it is famous? What does Digergend mean?

SAS: Digergende k̃hẽnetk ki ya ti bu diger ki ne was̃ht, to wũk̃hen skem ne c̃haktey, k̃hech ne tag kecerev. Ya shet kharob et maqsad ya yupk s̃hũw. Bet aska. Diger ya’ni diger vite, gend ya’ni sivand k̃hak.

SAS: Digergend has said: “Untill two of your nails doesn’t get out and fall, unless the blood comes out of them, no food will be available to you.  It means, the soil is not upto the mark and the water is black in color.  For such reason, it is said so. Diger in Wakhi means  “nail” and “gend (from afgan in Persian) means “to throw.”

FAB: Shoh Sohibep niv saker Pir Shoh Ardavil-e bobat en, yow-e shajra et awlod’v-e bobat en saker qisa cart.  Shoh Ardavil-e barakat en ce  dẽ Kũnjũdhi Ismo’iliyati wũrk̃hvetk. Ya hawola’rep saker niv qisa cart.

FAB: Mr. Shah will now tell us about Pir Shah Ardavil, his genealogy and descendants.  It was the blessing of Shah Ardavil who brought the Ismailism in Hunza. He will now share his knowledge with us (on the subject matter).

SAS: Az̃i ki Seb (Sohib), Shoh Ardavil aslan ce dashtikhon en. Yow en, matalab, yow vũrũt dra tiwetk. Yow k̃hat dra tiwetk.  Yow jonashin beh adra tiwetk. Ca’n en ki Sohib Nodir Shoh Khon de Pokiston tey,woz Sayyid Hussain dra. Woz z̃hũ bechish ki acan da langarkhona’v wũrek̃hk, yav nung Nawnihol Shoh et Sayyid Shoh Futur ki yasht awloda-e Sayyid Tughon k̃hanen, yaven shajra-e nasab kũli chiz mukamal tey.

SAS:  Well, Mr. Shah Ardavil was actually from Dashti Khon (Zibok). I mean, his brother  has lived there. He himself lived there. His successor lived there.  Out of him,  Sayyid Nodir Shoh is in Pakistan; and Shoh Hussain is also there.  My uncles, who lived in his house are Naunihol Shoh and Sayyid Futur, who are termed as descendants of Tughon Shoh. They have their complete genealogy with them.

Woz can ki wezg et Sayyid Shoh Ardavil, maqsad beh nung Sayyid Shoh Hussain ki ya peter rek̃hk dẽ Bukhoro joyetk.  Cẽ Bukhoro en ki wezg, yan Sayyid Shoh Hassan en ya tat yow dishetk ney. Ya k̃hẽnetk ki khay ki z̃hũ zẽmanet, tu ma’r ki asbot car. Yow yan k̃hũ zẽmanig̃h ya’r asbot kerk.

And he has come from there, Sayyid Shoh Ardavil, I mean his son Shoh Hussain, has gone to Bukhara and has studied there.  When Sayyid Shoh Hassan has returned from Bukhara,  his father has not recognized him. He has asked him: “If you are my son, provide me the evidences?” He has then provided evidences to him (his father).

Woz ya’r [Shoh Hussain]k̃hẽnetk [Shoh Ardavile]ki tu rec̃h adem kũnj ki Sayyid Firuz Shoh Khon dra ce nest [dẽ Digergend]. Yan wezg adrem et maqsad yet mũlki Mironish ya’r bakhshishev ratk.Mir Ali Mardon et dẽ wakht-e Mir Kay Qubod et Kay Khusraw et Kay Kowus tiwetk.  Gha sobiqa tiwetk.  Woz ya’sh cem en ki buytru loy rek̃hk, yarekev ne retk. Ya dhay be Sayyid Shoh Ardavil-e Kalon yow peter ne dez̃hgg. K̃hẽnetki ki: “Ney wuz tawi ne dishem, Z̃hũ peteret nast.”

And he (Sayyid Shoh Ardavil) has then asked him (Sayyid Shoh Hussain) to go to Kũnj, where Sayyid Firuz Shoh Khon lives at present [in Digergend].  He has then come here and the Mirs of Wakhan have bestowed upon him the land.  It may be the time of Mir Ali Mardon, Kay Qurbod, Kay Khusraw and Kay Kowus. It has been so old.   They have goen twice or thrice but haven’t got the task. Sayyid Shoh Ardavil (Older)  thus avoided to owned the man as his son and has said: “No, I don’t recognize you. You are not my son.”

Yaw digardes̃h tiwetk. Mis yaa pirish dũnyo-e olam’ves̃h g̃hirdi a ney. Reg̃hde Pokiston et Gilgit et yem jovev. Ca’n wezg ki yem tawalũd vitk et   yemev yutk dẽ Tojikiston, muridonish. Dra yan dẽ Bukhoro joyetk et ki niv be dra ya zẽmanish Tojikiston be nungi Sayyid Hussain et Shoh Ardavil, maqsad Ardavil et ayet woz be tey. Yet yi kanda gha lupi. Niv dẽ Ridkhũd be tey: azhda (18) khun drayi’t. Dah khun dẽ Ziboki. Ya’ni dẽ Pokiston Sayyid Shoh Nodir Shoh-e peter Ogho Sayyid Ziouddin dishev sayish ney? Ogho Sayyid Ziouddin k̃hanen a adem Muzhikarami Pokistones̃h nest.

It is said that he (Pir Shoh Ardavil) was in some other countries. You know the Pirs would travel around different parts of the world earlier.   They would go to the countries like (today’s) Pakistan,  Hunza and the like. After he (Pir Ardavil) has returned (from his tour),   he learns about the birht of his son (Sayyid Hussain) who was  taken by his disciples   in (today’s Tajikistan.  He Sayyid Hussain has thus studied in  Bukhara and his descendants carry the names as Shoh Hussain , Shoh Ardavil and the like. This (Ardavil) is thus a large clan.   At present, there are also eighteen households of them in Ridkhud. Ten houses in Zibok. In Pakistan, there are Sayyid Nodir Shoh and you might know his son  Ogho Sayyid Ziouddin.  Ogho Sayyid Ziouddin lives in Muzhkaron.

FAB: ney, maz̃h yem s̃heg̃hd ye kẽs̃hen. Ma’ri malũm ne tu. Dẽ Chitrori a?

FAB: no, I didn’t know about it. I heard it for the first time. Is it in Chitral?

SAS: O, dẽ Chator. Yow dra. Sayyid Hussain dẽ Birzuz. Eni, yetish kũ yet kanda en.

SAS: Yes, it is there in Chitral. He is there. Sayyid Hussain is in Birzuz.  All of them belonged to the same clan.

FAB: Yem chizev ce k̃hat, Ridkhũd … dra’ev kuyisht?

FAB: you talked about Ridkhud, who are there?

SAS: Dẽ Ridkhũd yan, dra’ev tey.  Dra’ev Seb (Sohib) Sayyid Sulton k̃hanen, ena Amonuddin k̃hanen ki ya’sh yagon dah khona’ev tey dra.

SAS:  Yes, there are those in Ridkhud. Mr. They include   Sayyid Sultan  and  Amonuddin. These people live in the house.

FAB: Woz ca’m en illowa? Dẽ Zibok woz jidha jay’vet be k̃hat …

FAB: Besides them,  you also related about other places.

SAS:  Da Zibok k̃hatem ki bu jay ney. Dẽ Dashti Khon, Nawnihol et Shoh Futur et yavem k̃hati.  Yi dah khunev yawish. Dah yawish, dah kun yetish,  bist khun. Ya’ni bu khun Firuz Shoh ki nivi toqa wũrek̃hk. Em Firuz Shoh be aca’m en wũrek̃hk.

SAS: I talked about two places in Zibok.  In Dashti Khon, where live Nawnihol and Shoh Futur. They are in ten houses. Ten houses of them and ten of the other one. Altogether, they make twenty households.

FAB: Yet en cum zẽman?

FAB: How many children has he?

SAS: Yemen cũbũr zẽman.

SAS: He has four children.

FAB: Yem’v-e kũnd̃a drem chiz be tey ne, S̃hẽk̃harv?

FAB: Well, I think, they have also their clan members in S̃hẽk̃harv (Shikhawar?

SAS: Yetiv woz aslan k̃hanen Asliddin. Yawish woz dẽ Walej be yav kanda be tey. Bist khunev dra yetish, dẽ Walej, taraf-e Ghoron.

SAS: Actually, one of them is called Asluddin. Their clan members are also in Walliyej. They have twenty households there in Walliyej, towards Ghoron.

FAB: Dẽ S̃hẽk̃harvev ce, yemish be yav-e chiz en (guru)ne…

FAB: Those in S̃hẽk̃harv are also of their clan . is it?

SAS: O, o, ya yi khun, bu khun tey yav en. Muki Sohib yash dra ce.Yaw be Shoh Ardavil-e Kanda en. Ya Muki k̃hat nast. Yow cẽ Ishkoshim’ni.

SAS: Yes, of course. A couple of households of them are there, where the Mukhi lives.  They are from the clan of Shoh Ardavil.  The Mukhi himself doesn’t belong to their family. He is from Ishkoshim.

FAB: Yowi Shoh Ardavil enen nast a?

FAB: Does he (Mukhi) not belong to the lineage of Shoh Ardavil?

SAS: Ney, yow nast. Yow agar k̃hẽnetk be ce, durugh k̃hẽnetk.

SAS: No, he doesn’t. If, in case, he has said so, he has made a blunder.

FAB: Yow chiz tu, yow nung, Muki en?

FAB: What was his name? The name of the Mukhi?

SAS: Mirzo Mara Mad. Khay, fe’lan be yav nasab noma z̃hũ kaf hũmũyd.

SAS:  Mirzo Maramad.  Their genealogy could also be with me right now.

SAS: Az̃i ki niv z̃hũ nan ki qaribi sad sola, ney, Yow K̃hikwor ne disht, ki ney ya ki shuru cart,  Nag̃hd rukhn cart, ror pũrz cart.

SAS: Well, my mother is almost a hundred years old. Unfortunately, she  cannot understand Wakhi. Otherwise, when she starts talking  and sharing information in around such topics,  she continues for the whole night to morning; and from the morning up to evening.

FAB: Sad sola a?

fAB: Is she a hundred year old?

SAS: Khay, vite ni 95 sola. Wũserd taryoki be bond. Ska tumer ya hũs̃h ne g̃hat. Yig̃hun wakht yan qisayi khato cart. Yũw, digar K̃hikwor ne disht.

SAS: Well, she would be perhaps over 95 year old.  This year, she also gave up the opium drug. Her sense therefore does not support her much.  She sometimes makes mistakes. On the other, she doesn’t know Wakhi.

FAB: Taryokes̃h dik̃ht a?

FAB: Did she use opium?

SAS: Taryoki bond ey. Trẽ mises̃h dek̃hte az̃i qokhaq en, eni ki dawo nast, doktar nast, mũshkilot tu. Eni, bet da Walej tey. Ta palewe ru pẽ ruy-e Walej  20 khona tey, Bughus̃h k̃hanen. Digar yan ya kanda-e Shuravi ta’r k̃hat malũm ki jay titevb.

SAS: She gave up opium. Earlier, she used it due to cough as we have no medicine here. No  doctor here and there was hardship. Coming to the point, their clan members (of Shoh Ardavil)  are thus there in Walliyej. Twenty households of them also live opposite Walliyej towards the Soviet side (Tajikistan), which is named as Bughus̃h.  You know better that the clan members in the Soviet side are enormous.

Nivi az̃i ki yũw ce dheg̃hd en wũrek̃hk. Farz car z̃hũ k̃hũ nan be Shoh Ardavil-e nũpũsi. Aslan qonũni kandayi cẽ tat en, jigar a ney. Ya ki khalos vite, yan woz cẽ nan en.  Ska ruy-e nan ki k̃hanen, ya’sh du sad si sad khona vik.Du sad yoy si sad khunev tey. Amo cẽ tat en atum. Ya bu vũrũtish dẽ Pokistonev rek̃hk.

Another point is with regard to the female line descendants and progenies that continue.  For instance, my own mother is also a progeny of Sayyid Shoh Ardavil. However,  actual and legal consideration is from the father’s side (male-line), Isn’t? When the male line of the descendants gets extinct, the female line then begins.  If we take into accounts the female line descendants (of Shoh Ardavil), they could be found between two to three hundred households. The existing number of households from the male side I shared with you. Two of them have migrated to (today’s) Pakistan.

Ayet jamo’at-e Imom-e Zamon be ayawish taqsimev k̃hetk. Sayyid Gũl Jon’es̃h k̃hat dẽ K̃hũndũt, Mudir Sohiber malũm, yaw be ca’mv-e guru’n tu. Yaw be yan khub dhay tu. Ada sharoyit khub farmonbardor-e Imom-e Zamon tu. Maqsad, dẽ mardũm be yow rul tu. Yem raqam ney ki beh nung Sayyid tu a. Yaw k̃hat yi pir tu.

It were thus those who divided the community of Imam of the Time in terms of management. Sayyid Jon of Khandud, as Mr. Manager (Muhammad Wali) knows, was also from their clan.  He was a nice gentleman.  He was  truly obidient to Imam of the Time in the given circumstances. He had a great role and say among the community.    He was not a Sayyid by name (or by tag). He hemself was a Pir.

Niv sak beh nungi Sayyid wũrek̃hk.Ki k̃han ki Sayyid,  Sayyid yemi ki beh ma’rifat-e Imom-e Zamon mardũmi g̃hatũvd. Yaw yark-e mazhab cart. Ya qisayish nast. Niv sak beh nungi Sayyiden wũrek̃hk. Sayyidi ya dhayish ki mis tu. Farz car ki ya langari ki  sayyid Ardavile k̃hetk, ya wass, sak wass k̃hanen a ney, ya wass qiti k̃hetk. Du’o k̃hetk et ya wass bu mitr tra nag verz. Eni yow ya rang Shoh Ardavil tu.  Dishtet a? Ya k̃hat reg̃hde s̃hẽkor dẽ kum khalg en, wakhti k̃hech az̃i wost ki ghaybi ya’r k̃hech wizit.

These days, we are Sayyids by name only.  If you ask how was the Sayyid then, let me describe that Sayyids were those who would spiritually connect the people (followers) with the Imam of the Time (in terms of gnosticism ). He would carry out the religious obligations. There is no consideration now.  We are Sayyids  by label at present. The actual Sayyids were our predecessors.  For instance, when Shoh Ardavil constructed a house (Langar),  the beam of the roof got short. He prayed (through his spiritual power) and the beam got to the other end and even two meters went beyond in excess. He was such Shoh Ardavil. Did you understand?   When he (Shoh Ardavil) did go for hunting along with his fellow, during the time of meal, he would get food from unseen sources.

Dẽ didor rek̃hk, Zibokish yaw likerk, k̃hat z̃aqlay zay-e hũb sola tiwetk k̃he mirit. Rec̃hen ki Imom-e Zamon wizit dem mihmon’v-e pũrũt. Imom-e Zamon perst ki ya kas̃h ki amonati dẽ maz̃h en tu,  yow ce vitey? K̃hateb ki ye Seb yowi saken likertu, yinũk yowi yutey, sũng yow  yutey, mertey, adra khoken yowi kertey. K̃hẽnetki, khay: “Dũldũl yow wozomdi, yem haya kas̃h.” To hũb sol ymeish dra g̃hẽtek,   yeme dra khidhmat k̃hetk, bo mũrod g̃hẽtetk. Awish ya rang khalgish tu.

When he was seven year old boy and has gone to meet Imam of the Time, his Ziboki elders have left him alone as he had died. When those people reach at their destination, Imam of the Time comes before the guests and asks:  “The boy who was in trust with me, where is he?”  They replied: “Your honor! We had left him there. He was fallen asleep.  The frostbite hit him. He died. We burried him there on the way. He (Imam of the Time) has said: “Duldul (legendary flying horse of the Imam) had brought him (the boy) here. It is the same boy here.” He [the boy] has already served the Imam for such a long time and has got his wishes fulfilled.   While, those people on the way have travelled for seven years and have reached at the Imam’s place. He [Shoh Ardavil] had such wonderful personality.

Niv kũli chizish rek̃hk ce dũnyo en.  Sayyidish be Sayyid ne wũrek̃hk. Yow k̃hater k̃hetk.

Now, everything has gone from this world. The Sayyids are no more Sayyids. He has carried out the things in his capacity.

Nives̃h Sayyid Firuz Shoh k̃hand ki   dẽ saken rec̃h ki yow pup ki Sayyid Shoh Ambori Sayyid Shoh Hussain peter tiwetk et yow Sayyid Shoh Ardavil e, yowe hũb sol dẽ Imom-e Amborkhona-e shakhsi yark k̃hetk, ki dẽ Imom-e k̃hũ khun. Yan yo’r farmon retk ki eni yem e yund. Farmoni azi ne retk ki misl-e Shoh Sohib-e   Panja yoy Shoh Sohib-e Zibok et Shoh Sohib-e digarish. Yi farmon-e mutafariqa dẽ …… (gulĩkot… Ki rec̃hit bu khun k̃hater jama carev. Misloi, Nosir-ee Khusraw ki Sayyid Surob-e Waliyer ki k̃hat ki khu e tu me riz car. Ya reg̃hdi haftod khuni k̃hater kert. Yem ya ki wezde, az̃i Sayyid tu ki   khalgi khub tu. Harjay ki wezde,  mardum yow domani wodort k sak ti mariden. Ya dawr shekhste. Niv harchiz ki razo-e Imom et  yow k̃hat ki amr cart.Sak banda-e amren.   Tashakru ki zahmatem ta ret.

Now, Sayyid Firuz Shoh narrates that when his ancestor named Sayyid Shoh Ambori son of Sayyid Hussain  son of Shoh Ardavil had served the personal Amborkhona of Imam of the Time in his house, the Imam has thus directed him to take his farman (directives)   to carry it to the community. It was not like those of Shoh of Panjah or Shoh of Zibok or Shoh of other places. A miscelaneous  Farman and asked him to go and make two houses of followers for yourself (in preaching).  For instance,  as Nosir-e Khusraw asked Sayyid Surob Wali to go  and make followers for yourself and he (consequently)brought people of seventy households under his pirship. He [Sayyid Shoh Ambori] thus proceeded on and was such a great Sayyid  that wherever he did go, people came under his discipleship. That time thus passed.  Now, everything is with the will and command of Imam of the Time.  We are thus under his command and obey him as folowers. Thank you. I bothered you.

FAB: Tashakur-e ziyod saver.

FAB: Thanks so much to you, indeed.


My special thanks go to Mr. Syed Ali Shah for giving his kind consent to share his acquired and diverse knowledge and experiences with me on the subject matter.  I am indebted to his family for the kind hospitality they extended towards us.

I am so much grateful to late uncle Muhammad Wali, former Chairman of District Council of Wakhan, and all his family members for the great hospitality and sincere facilitation during my fieldwork in Wakhan in Spring and Summer 2007. Similarly, my special gratitude to all the respective families (wherever we had our stays),   all the respondents and key informants, all the political and bureaucratic entities of Afghanistan and others.

I owe my indebtedness to Dr. John Mock of University of California (United States) and The Christensen  Foundation (TCF) for the kind and generous support of the field studies. This enabled me to be in Afghanistan and carry out the academic mission  before me.

I would also like to acknowledge the help and facilitation provided to me by my assistants including Hyder Murad and Muhammad Yar Baig of Hunza from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Note: The above audio interview  I have converted to MP4 and published on one of my YouTube channels, named Adabiyot-e Gulshan (Literatures Garden), which   is specifically for the Wakhi language.   It could be accessed , watched and listened on the following link here:

Syed Ali Shah of Wakhan: Family, Clans of Sayyids Stories of Pir Syed  Shoh Ardavil  of Badakhshan  (

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