Six years ago, as I began my work on the life of the Kurdish Muslim leader, Shaykh Khālid (1189-1242/1776-1827) and his Sufi order (or ṭarīqa), the Naqshbandiyya-Khālidiyya, I faced two signifi cant methodological problems. The fi rst of these was the fact that although Khālid frequently asserted the continuity of his doctrines and his loyalty to previous fi gures in the Muslim tradition, he presented his ideas differently to different audiences. This strategy, in turn, forced him to defi ne his ideas in one context in a manner that undermined or contradicted both his own teachings in other contexts and/or the teachings of the men whose ideas he claimed to uphold. The second is that court records and government documents in Damascus and elsewhere indicate that critical aspects of both his career and the careers of his followers were omitted from the hagiographies and letters that constitute the chief sources that both contemporary and modern historians used to understand Khālid’s life.