Domullo Hikmatullo Tojikobodi, known Tajik theologian and one of Sufi leaders in Tajikistan, died yesterday, aged 80 after a short illness, a source within the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan (CRA) told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, the funeral of the famous theologian is taking place in his hometown of Tojikobod (Rasht Valley in eastern Tajikistan) today.  

As Sufi leader, Domullo Hikmatullo had many followers not only in Tajikistan but also in other Central Asian nations.  He reportedly adhered to traditional Islam.   .

In his interview with journalists in 2014, Domullo Hikmatullo quoted the words of the founder of the Hanafi madhhab Imam Azam, “Respect the padishah and his dignity.” 

He also called on Muslims in Tajikistan to address good wishes to President Emomali Rahmon after prayers.  

In his appeal to members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which is now banned in the country, Domullo Hikmatullo called on them to remove the word “Islam” from the party’s name.  

“Islam does not need any party,” he noted.  

In Tajikistan, the most important form of Sufism is the Naqshbandiyya, a Sufi order with followers as far away as India and Malaysia.  Besides Sufism, other forms of popular Islam are associated with local cults and holy places or with individuals whose knowledge or personal qualities have made them influential. 

Some experts consider that Sufism is becoming a spiritual alternative for some believers, partly because the new ideology of independent nationhood being promoted by state propaganda organizations is receiving a lukewarm reception.  According to them, Sufism can now be spread legally, which makes it more attractive to the older and middle-aged Central Asian believers.