Forty-seven years after his death, Jamaluddin al-Afghani was reburied in Kabul. Amid the chaos of World War II, Afghanistan had enlisted the governments of British India, Turkey, and Iraq in a scheme to bring the bones of this nineteenth-century intellectual and Pan-Islamist out of exile in Istanbul, where they had lain buried since 1897. The subsequent exhumation, transnational corpse transfer, and reinterment in Kabul provoked the ire of the Iranian state, which contested Afghanistan's claim to be Jamaluddin's natal state. The significance of Jamaluddin's corpse was inseparable from certain aspects of his self-curated hagiography as a consummate wanderer and anti-imperial Pan-Islamist. Consequently, the two states competed for custody of his remains. This transregional case study engages multidisciplinary scholarship on commemoration of the dead and remaking nationalist spaces. The article proposes that the physical location of the dead conjoined with individual hagiographies is key to disrupting or reifying nationalist narratives.

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