Reza received his BA and MA in Colonial and Global History, Leiden University. His Masters’ thesis focused on the formation of Mughal political ideology and its relation to the first Islamic Millennium in the sixteenth century. His main argument is that the situation in this period namely, intensification of globalization, migrations and expansion of the empire required a new political ideology that could include as many as possible. This necessity felt even further in the vast and diverse Indian regions. To do so, the Mughal emperor Akbar used knowledge of both migrant and Indian scholars to form his inclusive political ideology of “Absolute Peace”, in which all inhabitants of the empire had freedom to express their socio-cultural traditions. The idea has announced and put to practice at the end of the first Islamic millennium in 1580-1592.
Reza also has completed another MA in Medieval and Early Modern History of India at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Tukharistan on the eve of the early Muslim conquests: continuity, transition and change
Reza Huseini’s research focuses on Tukharistan on the eve of the early Muslim conquests with a particular interest in continuity, transition and change after the conquest. He asks why and how the early Muslims went to Tukharistan in the first place. What was so specific about it? How did people in the region respond to the conquests? What were the social and political structures that made the conquests possible? His research is an attempt to provide some answers to these questions. It gives an analysis of the available sources such as Arabic narrative histories.
The study of the early Muslim military expansion in the east and its later domination on the region is usually based on Arabic historical narratives such as al-Balādhurī’s Futūḥ al-buldān, and al- Ṭabarī’s Tārīkh al-rusul wa-al-mulūk, compiled during the early Abbasid period. These narratives are written by Muslim figures in Arabic for Arabic speaking audiences within a particular framework to represent an ideal image of the early Islamic period. Thus, they are representations of the past which do not necessarily accurately record it. Within this framework, they naturally highlight the early Muslim characters and their achievements and engage less with issues related to social and political structures practiced in the region.
The importance of these Arabic narrative histories remains absolute as they depict a larger picture, a macro history of the Empire. Nevertheless, while they present this larger image, they miss micro-historical elements within this broader picture. To fill the gap and provide a better understanding of the conquest of Tukharistan, this research benefits largely from non-Arabic sources like Bactrian documents discovered from the region. They are very important as they are original compositions produced in Tukharistan and a considerable number of them were written during and after the conquest. It is through these documents and other sources like Chinese travelogues and numismatic and archaeological reports that one can understand the social and political structures in Tukharistan before and after the conquest.
This research will lead to a clearer picture of how the early Muslims naturalized their rule in Tukharistan and what were the consequences of their conquests.