(redirected from Imam Shamil)
Also found in: Wikipedia.


see ShamylShamyl
or Shamil
, 1798?–1871, imam (religious and political leader) of the E Caucasus. From 1834 to 1859 he led the Muslim tribes of the E Caucasus in their holy war to resist Russian conquest, waging guerrilla warfare with great skill.
..... Click the link for more information.



(also Shamyl). Born 1797 in the aul (village) of Gimry, in Dagestan; died March 1871 in Medina, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Head of a Muslim military and theocratic state in Dagestan who led the struggle of the Dagestan and Chechen mountaineers against the tsarist colonialists (seeCAUCASIAN WAR OF 1817–64).

The son of an Avar peasant, Shamil was raised among Muslim clergy. In the 1820’s he became an associate of Gazi-Magomed’s and later of Gamzat-Bek’s; in 1834 he was elected imam. Through his organizational abilities and force of will he succeeded in uniting the mountaineers and in subjugating the local Dagestani feudal lords. His personal bravery and remarkable eloquence made Shamil an extremely popular figure. In 1848 his rule was declared hereditary. Supported by the free peasants and the clergy, he established an imamate, that is, a military theocracy in which secular and religious power was invested in him (seeIMAMATE).

Shamil, who proved to be a skilled military commander, successfully warred against the tsarist forces and achieved several major victories in the 1840’s. In the 1850’s, however, his movement declined, owing to the superior numbers of the tsarist troops, growing internal social contradictions, the ruin and exhaustion of the people, a food crisis, and the treachery of his vicegerents.

On Aug. 25, 1859, Shamil, with 400 Murids (seeMURIDISM), was besieged in the aul of Gunib, and on August 26 he surrendered under honorable conditions. He and his family were resettled in Kaluga, and in 1870 he was permitted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Dagestan and Chechnia were annexed by force, a method typical of tsarist policy. At the same time, the incorporation of these peoples into the Russian Empire contributed to their economic, political, and cultural development.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed. (See index, p. 252.)
Gadzhi, Ali. “Skazanie ochevidtsa o Shamile.” In Sb. svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh, fasc. 7. Tiflis, 1873. (Translated from Arabic.)
Mukhammed-Takhir al Karakhi. Khronika o dagestanskikh voinakh v period Shamilia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Runovskii, A. Zapiski o Shamile. St. Petersburg, 1860.
Bushuev, S. K. Bor’ba gortsev za nezavisimost’ pod rukovodstvom Shamilia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
O dvizhenii gortsev pod rukovodstvom Shamilia: Materialy sessii Dagestanskogo filiala Akademii nauk SSSR, 4–7 oktiabria 1956. Makhachkala, 1957.
Dvizhenie gortsev Severo-Vostochnogo Kavkaza v 20–50-kh gg. XIX v.: Sb. dokumentov. Makhachkala, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
The bombing was claimed by a little-known group, the Imam Shamil Battalion, which experts say is linked to al-Qaeda.
Within the context of the Yalova ynternational Caucasian Festival, group took stage at KE-ltE-rpark open Air Theater with their famous Imam Shamil (Sheikh Shamil) performance portraying the legendary life of Shamil whose life can be shown one of the magnificent example in struggle against Tsarist Russia which invaded many part of Caucasia including Shamil's home country of Checnia.
24) Led most notably by Imam Shamil, a dynamic Avar from the village of Gimry in present-day central Dagestan, (25) North Caucasian Sufis waged a 25-year-long holy war against Russian forces that is still invoked to the present day.
do 1864) (Western Circassia in the System of Russian Interaction with Turkey, England, and Imam Shamil in the 20th Century [until 1864]).
Imam Shamil (1797-1871) was a political and religious leader of the Muslim tribes of the Northern Caucasus who fought against Russians in the Caucasian War.
Even after his surrender to the Russians and exile, Imam Shamil remained a hero to North Caucasian Muslims.
editorial board of the Imam Shamil encyclopedia, Mikhaylov noted, adding that
Alternative visions of the conflict between Imam Shamil and the Russians, 1830-1859.
Let us start with the discussion of Imam Shamil and the Imamate he established in the nineteenth century.
However, ever since the original early 19th century resistance to Russia led by Mansur Ushurma and then Imam Shamil, history has shown that when Russia is weak, the Chechen separatists become strongest and in between, never go away.
Islamic schools and mosques opened, new periodicals and political parties sprang up, and ubiquitous portraits of Lenin were ripped down and replaced with images of Imam Shamil, a 19th-century Muslim war hero.
Shamil Basaev was named after the legendary pan-Caucasian leader Imam Shamil.