This article studies the images of two famous jihad leaders of the nineteenth century, the Daghestani Shamil (d. 1871) and the Algerian Abd al-Qadir (d. 1883), in Daghestani/Russian and in Algerian historiography. A combined horizontal and vertical perspective is applied to compare the sequence of new historical interpretations in both countries over time. In particular, the article discusses (1) nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Arabic biographies compiled by persons related to the two jihad leaders; (2) mid-twentieth-century Marxist and nationalist interpretations in Algeria and Daghestan; and (3) late-twentieth-century Islamist and "post-Islamist" interpretations. As is shown, the historiographical discourse went along similar paths in the two countries. At crucial points in time, certain interpretations of the jihad leaders were established and monopolized, while others were repressed (later to be revived), in order to use the historical memory for changing political agendas. The time after 1991 especially saw the publication of several new competing interpretations e.g., of regional and national Islamist and of feminist character. As a result, the term jihad can take on completely different meanings.
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