ANDIJAN UPRISING. On the night of 9 Muḥarram 1316 / 30 May 1898 (18 May Old Style), a group of about two thousand poorly armed men attacked the 4th and 5th Russian Companies on the outskirts of Andijan (situated today in the Uzbek part of the Ferghana Valley) under the leadership of the Naqšbandi Sufi Shaykh Dukči Išān (Muḥammad ʿAli Madali, ca. 1856-1898). The battle ended after 15 minutes with 22 Russian soldiers killed and 18 wounded, in addition to several casualties among the public officials and the Russian civilian population (Terent’yev, Istoriya, pp. 432-33, 448-56). Other attacks failed completely: in Margelan the Russian soldiers were alert, and in Osh the garrison had been warned. The arms of the rebels consisted of swords, knives, staves, and magic tooth-picks which they believed would protect them from the soldiers’ bullets (Terent’yev, Istoriya, pp. 432-33, 448-56; “Andizhanskoe vosstanie 1898 g.,” pp. 149-54). The uprising provoked severe punishments and a harsher policy on the part of the Russians, who considered it to be a religious war based on the ideology and power of the Sufi orders that they had begun to consider the most dangerous Muslim movement of their time (Dukhovskoĭ, Vsepoddanneĭšiĭ doklad, pp. 10-11; Komatsu, “The Andijan Uprising”). Eighteen participants of the Andijan Uprising were executed, among them the leader, Dukči Išān, who was dispatched publicly in Andijan. From the remainder of the 546 persons who had been arrested, 365 were jailed, sentenced to hard labor, or banished (mainly to Siberia), and 163 were released (“Andizhanskoe vosstanie,” pp. 174). The power of the Russian Governor-General was extended, allowing him, for instance, to remove local judges from their posts (Bartol’d, Sochineniya II/1, p. 383).

The uprising is to be seen, first of all, in the context of the Czarist annexation of the Khanate of Kokand in 1876 and the resulting economic, social, and religious disintegration of the local population. Many peasants lost their land, and local traders and craftsmen could not hold their own against the Russian colonizers and merchants who were privileged by the change of the fiscal system. Contributing to their problems were the increase in cotton cultivation and the new property policy of the Russian government (Kasymbekov, Iz istorii narodnyx dviženiĭ, pp. 13, 16, 26, 29-31; Pierce, Russian Central Asia 1867-1917, pp. 168-69, 223, 227). Furthermore, some of the Russian regulations were in conflict with local ones. Muslims felt, for instance, offended by the opening of the Russian-native school, the citing of the Czar’s name in the Friday sermon, the deletion of words for “infidels” in reprints of the Qorʾān, and in the school books such as the Čahār kitāb (Fozilbek, Dukchi Eshon voqeasi, pp. 20-21). In addition, the long tradition of rivalry for power in the extremely heterogeneous population of the Khanate of Kokand played its role in the uprising (Manz, “Central Asian uprisings,” pp. 268-73). The uprising in 1875-76 of Kirghiz semi-nomads against Khudoyār, the Khan of Kokand (r. 1845-58, 1862-63, 1865-75), which lead to the breakdown of the Khanate, is but one example, and it was the semi-settled Kirghiz who formed about half of the rebels in 1898, some of whom had already been involved in the former uprising (Komatsu, “The Andijan Uprising”; Sheehy, The Andizhan Uprising, p. 141). Yet, there had been a considerable shift in the leadership away from tribal chiefs, whose power had been greatly weakened by the Russians, to Sufi sheikhs who had enjoyed considerable status under the czarist rule until the uprising of 1898 (Manz, “Central Asian uprisings,” pp. 273-76). The Sufi sheikh whom the rebels (Kirghiz, Uzbek peasants, former office-holders under the Khan of Kokand, religious dignitaries, and local members of the Russian administration: Terent’yev, Istoriya , p. 471) chose to lead the Andijan Uprising was Dukči/Yikči Išān (Muḥammad ʿAli Diwāna ibn Muḥammad Ṣābir, Išān Madali/Muḥammad ʿAli Išān). A native of Chimion qishlaq, a village in the Ferghana Valley, he had studied the basics of religion in Bukhara and Samarkand, and afterwards attached himself to Sulṭān Ḫān Tura, who seems to have been the most famous Naqšbandi shaikh in the region at that time (Fozilbek, Dukchi Eshon voqeasi, p. 6; Manāqib-i Dūkčī Īshān, fol. 27a). Their chain of spiritual ancestors (silsila) remains unknown. A document with a silsila linking Dukči Išān with the Ottoman Emperor ʿAbdalḥamid II. (r.1876-1909) and installing him as the representative of the Sultan in Turkistan, which Dukči Išān himself took as genuine, has been proved a forgery by Russian authorities (Terent’yev, Istoriya , pp. 463-66; “Andizhanskoe vosstanie,” pp. 134, 142, 146-47, 170; Komatsu, “The Andijan uprising”). Nevertheless, it continues to be taken as true (Egamnazarov, Siz bilgan Dukchi Eshon, p. 27; Inoghomov, Muḥammad paighambarning turkii avlodlari, pp.58-60). Dukči Išān succeeded Sulṭān Ḫān Tura after his death in 1882 as Sufi master. He performed two pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina and eventually established himself in Mingtepe (around thirty-five km. southeast of Andijan) where his followers built him a large ḫānaqāh-complex. Several dozen people, including his immediate disciples and household servants (ḫidmatkārlār), regularly lived at the complex. Between two hundred and five hundred people a day came to receive Dukči Išāns teachings, blessings, healing, or counsel. Furthermore, he seems to have fed between a few hundred and a thousand people daily (Fozilbek, Dukchi Eshon voqeasi, pp. 9-10; Komatsu, “The Andijan uprising”). His adherents belonged to almost every ethnic group and stratum living in the Ferghana Valley but (semi-)nomads, peasants, and vagabonds made up his main clientele; he apparently had a worse standing among the urban people (Komatsu, “The Andijan uprising reconsidered”). In Akterek, near Osh in southern Kirghizia, Dukči Išān had another very active center which he visited every summer to see his apparently large community of Kirghiz followers in that region. For a long time Dukči Išān himself seemingly did not favor the use force against the Russian colonizers. In his work ʿIbrat al-ġāfilin (Exhortation to the negligent people), which he composed in Turki in approximately 1893-94 (Babadžanov, “Dūkči Īšān”; The Biruni Oriental Institute, Tashkent, has three manuscripts of it), he does not call on the Muslims to fight the infidels, but expounds religious and moral norms to bring backsliding Muslims to the true path to God. Here Dukči Išān declares his pen to be his weapon (Babadžanov, “Dūkčī Īšān,” pp. 171-74, 176-77). It was obviously his followers, especially the Kirghiz among them, who demanded militant action. Around 1895-96 he seems to have accepted the necessity of a rebellion as the only means to overcome the decline of morals under Russian rule. At that time he began to send out personal letters to the elders of the clans and other influential personalities in the Ferghana Valley calling for a religious war (ġazwa/jihād), and was appointed deputy of the Prophet (khalifat rasul Allāh), i.e. Caliph, in order to be the legitimate leader of a war in which a fighter who is killed can be considered a martyr (šahid). Except for his main Kirghiz adherents, however, the response was far from encouraging; some of the recipients absolutely refused to take part in the struggle and others agreed in principle but asked for better preparation and suitable arms. Only a minority declared their unconditional readiness to fight the enemy. As a date for the attack, Dukči Išān eventually fixed 9 M uḥarram, i.e. the eve of ʿĀshurāʾ, a date that was remembered mournfully in Central Asia not only by the Shiʿites but also by many Sunnis. The day before, Dukči Išān had been nominated “Khān” by around five hundred of his followers, which corroborates the thesis that the idea of restoring the Khanate was still alive (Fozilbek, Dukchi Eshon voqeasi, pp. 22-28; Babadžanov, “Dūkčī Īšān,” pp. 181-84; Komatsu, “The Andijan Uprising”).

There has been considerable disagreement in judging the Andijan Uprising. Among the Muslims of Turkistan and abroad, the response was mostly negative, because it had disrupted the peace and resulted in Russian repressions (Komatsu, “The Andijan Uprising”). In Soviet historiography the assessment alternated between calling it a “reactionary movement,” a “feudal-nationalistic” one, and a “fervent fight for national liberation” (Sheehy, “The Andizhan uprising,” pp.139, 147-50). In the independent Uzbek Republic the Andijan Uprising is officially regarded as a struggle for independence and the religious, socio-political, and national freedom of the people of Turkistan (Egamnazarov, Siz bilgan Dukchi Eshon, p. 3; Ùzbekistanning yangi tarikhi I, p. 382). 


“Andizhanskoe vosstanie 1898 g.,” Krasnyĭ arkhiv 88, 1938, pp. 123-81.

Baxtiyar M. Babadžanov, “Dūkčī Īšān und der Aufstand von Andižan 1898,” Muslim Culture in Russia and Central Asia form the 18th to the early 20th centuries, vol. II Inter-regional and inter-ethnic relations, ed. by Anke von Kµuegelgen, Michael Kemper, and Allen Frank, Berlin, 1998, pp. 167-91.

V.V. Bartol’d, Sochineniya II/1, Moscow 1963.

Dukhovskoĭ, Vsepoddanneĭšiĭ doklad Turkestanskogo General Gubernatora General ot infanteriĭ Dukhovskogo, Islam v Turkestane, Tashkent, 1899, p. 51.

Alinazar Egamnazarov, Siz bilgan Dukchi Eshon, ḥujjatli qissa, Tashkent, 1994.

Fozilbek Otabek úghli, [Faẓl Bek Ātā Bek ughli], Dukchi Eshon voqeasi, Tashkent, 1992 (in Cyrillic characters; first and second edition: Kokand, 1924; Tashkent/Samarkand, 1927).

Raḥmatilla Inoghomov, Muḥammad paighambarning turkii avlodlari, Tashkent, 1995.

K. F. Kasymbekov, Iz istoriĭ narodnyx dviženiĭ v Fergane v konce XIX – načale XX vekov, Tashkent, 1978.

Adeeb Khalid, The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia, Berkeley, Calif., 1998, pp. 53, 59, 240.

Hisao Komatsu, “The Andijan Uprising Reconsidered,” in: Symbiosis and Conflict in Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, ed. by Tsugitaka Sato, London, 2004. Manāqib-i Dūkčī Īšān (Anonim zhitiya Dūkčı Īšāna – predvoditelya Andizhanskogo vosstaniya 1898 goda, predislovie k perevodu, perevod i kommentarii, B.M. Babadzhanova, izdatel’, Anke von Kuegelgen, Almaty, 2004.

Beatrice Forbes Manz, “Central Asian uprisings in the nineteenth century: Ferghana under the Russians,” The Russian Review 46, 1987, pp. 267-81.

Richard A. Pierce, Russian Central Asia 1867-1917 – A study in colonial rule, Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1960.

V.P. Sal’kov, Andižanskoe vosstanie v 1898 godu, Kazan, 1901.

Ann Sheehy, “The Andizhan uprising of 1898 and Soviet historiography,” Central Asian Review 14, 1966, pp. 139-50.

E. Smirnov, “Dervishizm v Turkestane,” in: Sbornik materialov po musul’manstvu, ed. by V.I. Yarovoĭ –Rabskiĭ, St. Petersburg, 1899, p. 49-72.

M.A. Terent’yev, Istoriya zavoyevaniya Sredneĭ Azii s kartami i planami, vol. III, St. Petersburg, 1906.

Ùzbekistanning yangi tarikhi I: Turkistan chor rossiyasi mustamlakachiligi davrida, Tashkent, 2000, pp. 353-82.

È Yu. Yusupov, B.V. Lunin, “Andizhanskoe vosstanie 1898 goda v sovetskoĭ istoriografičeskoĭ literature,” in Obshchestvennye nauki v Uzbekistane, 1 (1987), pp. 18-31.

For further literature see Yuri Bregel, Bibliography of Islamic Central Asia, parts I-III, Bloomington, Indiana, 1995, part I, pp. 620-21.

(Anke von Kuegelgen)

Originally Published: July 20, 2004

Last Updated: August 3, 2011

Cite this entry:

Anke von Kuegelgen, “ANDIJAN UPRISING,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at (accessed on 16 October 2012).