In memoriam. Amri Rzaevich Shikhsaidov (20 March 1928–21 September 2019)
The article resumes research biograhy of late Professor Amri R. Shikhsaidov (1923–2019), the authority of Arabic studies in Russia’s North Caucasus. From 1973 to 1998 Shikhsaidov directed the Institute’s Department of Oriental Studies, known for its growing manuscript collection. Desite of Soviet anti-religious persecutions Shikhsaidov managed to sideline some official taboos by focusing on medieval Islamic historiography in the Arabic language. Before him Krachkovskii had already emphasized Arabic’s role as a written lingua franca for the many small nations of Dagestan. Yet Arabic also linked the North Caucasus to the wider Muslim world. Shikhsaidov organized yearly expeditions to Dagestani villages for the study of Arabic manuscripts in private collections. He discovered (and published in Russian translation) numerous historical narratives from the medieval period to the early twentieth century. A second major field in which Shikhsaidov opened up new horizons is the study of Arabic epigraphical monuments in Dagestani villages, fortresses, and cemeteries, from Kufi to modern inscriptions. A third research field that Shikhsaidov firmly established is the systematic study of manuscript collections as they are preserved in private homes or in mosques. Shikhaidov was not only the most outstanding Islamologist in the twentieth-century North Caucasus but also a brilliant teacher who formed his own academic school of Arabic and Islamic studies.