I. INTRODUCTION: SUFISM IN OTTOMAN SOCIETY
Before the conquest of Constantinople, the main structure and characteristics of Sufi life had already been established in Ottoman society. During the years of the foundation of the Ottoman state, zaviyes (dervish lodges) were established by followers of the tariqas (Sufi orders) in areas that were not suitable for settlement, thus transforming these places into habitable areas. In addition, the Sufis’ participation in military campaigns gained them support from state administrators. As a result of their efforts, official titles were given to the followers of the tariqas, along with permission settle on land that they developed and made habitable. New convents were established; endowments were established for some, while others were exempt from paying taxes.
Relationships between Dervish Lodges and Madrasas
Ottoman policies aimed to maintain a balance between Sufi and intellectual circles were brought closer to one another. In 1331 the appointment of Davud-i Kayseri, a Sufi scholar, to manage the first madrasa established in the Ottoman state, in the city of İznik, enabled Sufi thought to enter the Ottoman madrasa culture. And with the appointment of Molla Fenari (d. 1430), a Sufi scholar who adopted a similar understanding to Kayseri, to the office of Sheikh al-Islam (chief jurist) in 1425, Sufi thought spread in intellectual circles.
Such state appointments enabled Sufi scholarship to gain recognition and play a larger role in society. In some works authored by Sufi scholars who were brought up as dervish as well as in madrasas, issues related to kalam (Islamic theology), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and tasawwuf (sufism) were addressed in an integrative approach. Comparative evaluations were made between al-aql wa al-burhan (reason and logic), an approach used in other religious disciplines, and kashf (inspiration), thus enabling Sufism and other religious sciences to find scholarly common ground. In this respect, Şeyhülislam Molla Fenari’s works Ayn al-A‘yan and Misbah al-Uns are important. In the introduction to Ayn al-A‘yan, which Fenari wrote as a commentary on the “al-Fatiha” chapter of the Qur’an, he listed “the knowledge of kashf” among the sciences—such as Islamic theology, jurisprudence, and hadith—that a scholar was required to know to be able to interpret the Qur’an. Sometimes Fenari even personally applied knowledge acquired by kashf to his commentaries on Qur’anic verses. Likewise, in the introduction of his book Misbah al-Uns—a commentary on Sadreddin Konevi’s Arabic work Miftah al-ghayb, written to explain the place and value of divine knowledge within the relationship between God and the cosmos—Fenari stated that he was trying to explain the principles introduced by kashf in a way that could be easily understood by those who use nazar and burhan (rational and logical reasoning).
The dual education of Sufi sheikhs, combining Sufi training and sciences taught at madrasas, as well as their statements about the unity of sharia and tariqa and their special emphasis on the rules of religion, accelerated their affiliation with the madrasa circles. As a result, many scholars who studied in madrasas also received education at a dervish lodge (tekke); over time, the leadership of many lodges was filled by Sufi scholars who had been educated in madrasas. These Sufi sheikhs, educated not only in positive sciences but also in esoteric knowledge, wrote hundreds of books, translations, and commentaries on tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis), hadith, fiqh, and kalam, as well as on tasawwuf. This affected the functions of the religious institutions; the close relationships between public officials, madrasa employees, and followers of the Sufi orders prepared the ground for the development of new dual-function architectural structures such as madrasa/mosque and mosque/lodge combinations after the 12th and 13th centuries. The Sheikh Vefa Complex, established in Istanbul in the second half of the 15th century, is one of the first examples of this style with its mosque and tevhidhane (hall for Sufi religious ceremonies) in the city. This structure, built on the orders of Sultan Mehmed II, has cells for dervishes and madrasa rooms in the front of the main building.
After the conquest of Constantinople, institutions like madrasas and lodges, which shaped the religious and intellectual life of society, cooperated instead of competing. The Ottoman state remained at an equal distance to both institutions and tried not to destroy the harmony that had developed between them. Many prominent members of the state, especially sultans, had a close relationship with members of madrasas and Sufi orders. In this way, a unity was developed in a state–madrasa–tekke triangle. Sultan Mehmed II took steps that would further strengthen this harmony, which had existed since the birth of the state. One day he told Kazasker (Chief Judge) Alaeddin Ali Fenari (d. 1497): “There are three groups who deal with the knowledge of truth, namely theologians, Sufis, and philosophers. Their power should be combined and strengthened.” This statement demonstrates that the sultan maintained an equal distance from all groups in order to protect the balance between them. When Kazasker Fenari replied to the sultan, saying: “Molla Abdurrahman Jami‘ is the person who can do this job best,” the sultan sent an envoy to Molla Jami‘ with valuable gifts, asking him to write a treatise evaluating the views of these three groups. Upon this request, Molla Jami‘ wrote his Arabic treatise al-Durra al-Fakhira fi tahqiq madhhab al-Sufiyya wa al-Mutakallimin wa al-Hukama al-Mutaqaddimin, evaluating various views on issues such as the existence and oneness of Allah, the essence of his attributes and names, the nature of his knowledge and divine will, how plurality was created out of unity, and the pre-eternity of the universe.
Some scholars in Istanbul opposed Sufi views and practices. The documentary record indicates that a discussion of a legal matter occurred in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II between some scholars and Konyalı Muslihuddin Mustafa (Sheikh Vefa), a Sufi sheikh of the Zayniyya order. Some scholars in Istanbul considered that as a follower of the Hanafi legal school, Sheikh Vefa’s recitation of the Basmala during prayer and his practice of jalsa al-istikhara (sitting before standing up after the prostration)—both practices approved in the Shafi‘i legal school but not in the Hanafi school—was khalt al-madhahib (mixing the schools). To warn the sheikh, they gathered at a mosque under the leadership of Molla Gurani. When Sinan Pasha, one of the scholars invited to the meeting, learned the reason for the meeting from Molla Gurani, he turned to the scholars and said, “If Sheikh Vefa tells you that this is his ijtihad (independent reasoning), what can you do?” Gurani objected to this question by asking, “is he a mujtahid [master jurist]?” Sinan Pasha responded by saying, “Yes, he is. He knows Qur’anic exegesis, as well as seven types of esoteric interpretation, and knows all of the hadiths of kutub al-sitta (six authentic hadith books) by heart. He is also well acquainted with the requirements of independent reasoning.” When Sinan Pasha responded in the affirmative to Gurani’s question “Would you witness that?” Molla Gurani told the people with him, “Let’s go. It is not right to oppose a man who has a witness like Sinan Pasha.” The documentary record indicates that Sinan Pasha defended the sheikh as follows: “with this much disagreement, scholars would not be ousted even from the School of Imam Azam. Are you not aware that even Hanafi scholars disagree with him on many issues? Why is there so much argument because of such a small disagreement about a saint who is a perfect person both inwardly and outwardly? If anyone thinks evil of this saint, it is just out of that person’s bigotry and ignorance.”
At the top of the list of issues discussed in the Ottoman capital were the views expressed by Muhyiddin ibn al-Arabi in Fusus al-Hikam. His view of how the Pharaoh confessed his faith at the last moment of his life was especially widely discussed. The first such discussion in Istanbul was begun by an important Sufi scholar during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, Kutbuddinzade Mehmed İzniki, in one of his works. When Mehmed İzniki mentioned Ibn al-Arabi’s views about the Pharaoh to have his faith in God at the last moment of his life and the state of unbelievers in hell, serious discussion broke out among the scholars. At the request of Grand Vizier Mahmud Pasha, who was afraid that discussions would get worse, İzniki was forced to say that he accepted the views of the majority of scholars in this matter. However, he also stated that he would make a detailed explanation of Ibn al-Arabi’s views when circumstances were suitable. When Sheikh Vefa was asked about his view of the matter, he declined to answer directly, saying, “I wish two believers like Ibn al-Arabi could be witnesses for us in this case.”
Sultan Selim I, who discovered the location of Ibn al-Arabi’s grave and built a tomb and mosque over it, had Sheikh Muhammed bin Hamiduddin al-Makki, one of the students of Molla Jami‘, write a book (al-Janib al-Gharbi fi Hall Mushkilat Ibn al-Arabi) that explained Ibn Arabi’s views. Moreover, Sheikh al-Islam Kemalpaşazade issued a fatwa (religious/legal opinion) about Ibn al-Arabi:
Those who oppose Ibn al-Arabi’s views are mistaken. If they insist on their mistake, they go astray; thus it is necessary for the sultan to discipline them and deter them from this error. Some of the views expressed in Ibn al-Arabi’s books al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya and Fusus al-Hikam can be understood and it is clear that they are consistent with sharia. Other issues, however, cannot be understood by everybody, but only by those who have spiritual insight. Therefore, those who cannot understand the intended meanings in those books should stop talking about them and be quiet.
Scholars like the chief tutor of Kemalpaşazade, Sinoplu Abdülbari bin Turhan, İbrahim bin Muhammed Halebi, and Şeyhülislam Çivizade Muhyiddin Mehmed Efendi continued to oppose Ibn al-Arabi’s views in the 16th century. From a fatwa issued by Sheikh al-Islam Ebussuud Efendi it can be understood that he was trying to find a middle way. According to Ebussuud Efendi, statements in Fusus al-Hikam that cannot be reconciled with the principles of Islam, such as that the Pharaoh died as a believer, were added to the book by a Jew; the reason given for this was that in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya, Ibn al-Arabi argued against this view. Sofyalı Bali Efendi, a Sufi sheikh of the Khalwatiyya order, asserted that Ibn al-Arabi’s real view of the Pharaoh’s faith was the one he expressed in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya. In the following century, the view defended by Ebussuud Efendi was objected to by Katib Çelebi, a supporter of Ibn al-Arabi. The views that Ibn al-Arabi was an unbeliever and that the Pharaoh’s faith was not valid were argued by Kadızade Mehmed Efendi, the leader of the Kadızadeliler movement, which emerged in the 17th century.
The two main methods of dhikr (remembrance of God) practiced in Sufism are khafi (hidden/silent) and jahri (open/vocal). The former, practiced in a motionless and quiet manner, is also known as dhikr qalbi (remembrance of the heart) and khafi dhikr (hidden remembrance); the latter, which is practiced out loud and actively, is usually called sema or devran. Among these dhikr types, the second one in particular attracted the criticism of some scholars, and they discussed whether or not such practices could be acceptable under the principles of Islam. Even though the term sema is often used for the whirling rites of the dervishes of the Mawlawi order, its origin comes from Arabic and literally means “listening.” In Sufism, sema essentially refers to listening to the religious music and hymns that are chanted during dhikr ceremonies. On the other hand, the term devran, which literally means “turning,” usually refers to the ceremonies of the dervishes of the Qadiriyya, Rifaiyya, and Khalwatiyya orders, who practice jahri dhikr with some nuances; they form circles, turn in a standing position, moving their heads and arms, sometimes stamping the ground in their rapture. It also refers to the ceremonies of the Mawlawi dervishes who spin. Because dervishes listen to the hymns accompanied by musical instruments, such as tambourine and ney (reed flute), during the devran, this practice is usually referred to with both terms, sema and devran, interchangeably. This practice is also referred to, especially by those who oppose it, as raqs (dancing).
The first recorded incident in relation to a dhikr ceremony practiced in the form of sema and devran goes back to the reign of Mehmed II. The documentary record indicates that Molla Gürani (d. 1488), who served as şeyhülislam, opposed the devran implemented by the sheikh of the Zayniyya order, Sheikh Vefa (d. 1491) in the mosque/tekke complex that had been built in the latter sheikh’s name by the sultan. Due to the opposition by Molla Gürani, a debate ensued between the two men. Zenbilli Ali Efendi (d. 1526), an adherent of Sheikh Vefa who served as şeyhülislam during the reigns of powerful sultans such as Bayezid II, Selim I, and Suleyman I, stated in a treatise that this type of dhikr was acceptable under the principles of Islam. He also issued several fatwas clearly stating that those who opposed the dervishes were making an error and should repent.
In the first half of the 16th century, Muhammed bin Ömer (d. 1531), who was better known as Molla Arap or Vaiz Arap, also opposed the Sufi devran ceremonies. In particular, Muhammed bin Ömer strongly criticized the members of the Khalwatiyya order, the most widespread Sufi order of the time, and their practice of raqs and devran, in a letter to the masters of the order in Istanbul. In another letter, Cemaleddin İshak Karamani (d. 1526), a prominent master of the Khalwatiyya order in this period, demonstrated that raqs and devran were permissible. Kemalpaşazade (d. 1534), who was appointed as sheikh al-Islam after Zenbilli Ali Efendi, was another scholar opposed to dhikr ceremonies that included devran. In his work Risala al-Munira, he argued that when Sufis turned in circles and tapped their feet on the ground it was not an act of worship but just raqs (dancing). He also claimed that there was a consensus among scholars that raqs was unlawful and that those who accepted it as lawful had left the religion. Zenbilli Ali Efendi issued many other fatwas harshly condemning raqs, sema, and devran—stating that those who practiced them would be outside the bounds of Islam, no matter how pious they were, that it was not permissible to perform funeral prayers for them or bury them in a Muslim cemetery, and that those who condone performing dhikr while swinging the head and body should be punished by exile.
Kemalpaşazade also wrote a book on this issue, Risala fi tahqiq al-haqq wa Ibtal Ra’y al-Sufiyya fi al-Raqs wa al-Dawran, in which, after quoting earlier scholars on the unlawfulness of raqs and sema, he stated that sema is only permissible under certain conditions. According to him, the dervishes who perform sema should be sincere and should not be trying to manifest rapturous behavior unless it happened spontaneously. They should not perform dhikr to show off, gain money, or benefit from banquets. They should not accept those who are amrad (too young to have facial hair) in their ceremonies, nor those who were fasiq (those who habitually commit sins) or who selfishly sought worldly gains. After listing these conditions, Kemalpaşazade reached the judgment that:
Sema (the dhikr ceremony accompanied by music) could not be allowed. Even Junayd al-Baghdadi (d. 909), a prominent Sufi sheikh, abandoned the sema and repented, concluding that since raqs (devran) was prohibited according to the consensus of scholars, those who accepted it as lawful had left Islam.1
Kemalpaşazade’s views, which appear to have been issued while he was the chief judge of Anatolia, before he was appointed as Sheikh al-Islam, motivated the judge of Istanbul, Muslihuddin Sarıgürz (d. 1522), who shared his views, to act. Muslihuddin Sarıgürz prepared a written complaint about catching and punishing the dervishes who performed devran and presented it for Kemalpaşazade’s approval. The attempt of the Istanbul judge worried the members of the Khalwatiyya order, who were active in many Ottoman cities at the time, particularly in Istanbul; this led them to counterattack quickly. The record indicates that Kemalpaşazade first approved the written complaint of the Istanbul judge, but changed his mind after Sünbül Sinan Efendi (d. 1529), a prominent Sufi sheikh of the Khalwatiyya order with a madrasa background, got help from Mahmud Efendi, the Sufi sheikh of the Sheikh Yavsi Efendi Lodge, a man whom Kemalpaşazade trusted.
The record indicates that a public debate on devran took place between Muslihuddin Sarıgürz and Sünbül Sinan and that Sarıgürz was defeated by Sinan’s wisdom and spiritual influence. It appears that Sarıgürz sent his written complaint to Kemalpaşazade as a result of his anger at this defeat.
To end such debates and resolve the problem, Sünbül Sinan Efendi, the master of the Kocamustafapaşa lodge, wrote two books, first in Arabic and then in Turkish, about the permissibility of the dhikr ceremony being performed with sema and devran. In his Arabic treatise, which he titled Risala al-Tahqiqiyya and sent to contemporary scholars, he argued, based on textual evidence, that devran could be defined as raqs and that there was no consensus among scholars even about the prohibition of raqs; thus, condoning raqs did not cause people to leave Islam. He wrote his Turkish book not only for scholars but also for the public and had it approved by some scholars who were not opposed to the sema and devran. Şeyhülislam Zenbilli Ali Efendi’s fatwa, written in Turkish, appears at the end of the copies found in Süleymaniye and Istanbul University libraries, and Muhammed Fenari’s Arabic fatwa is written on the cover of the copy found in Atıf Efendi Library. The fatwa issued by Zenbilli Ali Efendi briefly stated that “everything recorded in this book is true. Being against this book and believing the opposite of what is written in it will cause a person to leave Islam.” After similar statements, Muhammed Fenari asserted that those who opposed the views written in the book should be punished, including by exile.
Although it is possible that most of the scholars of the era were in agreement about sema and devran, or at least did not oppose them, as result of Sünbül Sinan’s efforts, it seems that the debate did not die down. In fact, İbrahim Halebi (d. 1549), one of the imams of Fatih Mosque, wrote a work titled Risalat al-Rahs wa al-Waqs li-mustahil li al-Raqs; this work, written toward the end of Sünbül Sinan’s life, in January 1528, tried to establish that the Sufi devran was similar to Christian dance and thus was prohibited. İbrahim Halebi stated that perceiving such acts as forms of worship was wrong. Even though opposition to sema and devran existed in all eras, it appears that in particular some high-ranking scholars were convinced as a result of Sünbül Sinan’s efforts and softened their earlier approaches. Sheikh al-Islam Kemalpaşazade was among them. It is likely that Kemalpaşazade wrote his work after becoming friends with Sünbül Sinan and allying himself spiritually with the Khalwati sheikh İbrahim Gülşeni (d. 1534), whom he met after Sünbül Sinan’s death. In fact, Kemalpaşazade’s views in this book coincide with the Sufi views of the devran, in particular with Sünbül Sinan’s views, which he defended in Risala al-Tahqiqiyya. Most importantly, Kemalpaşazade said that the main priority in evaluating these actions should be the intentions of the people carrying them out; this clearly demonstrates the significant transformation that occurred in his inner world. Kemalpaşazade stated:
The acts of Sufis defined as raqs are not actually raqs, even though they have some similarities. The real purpose in dhikr and acts of worship is to purify the heart from ma-siwa [everything other than Allah] and turn to Allah. Because the acts sincerely and enthusiastically performed by those who do the sema lead them to avoid this world and to achieve tranquility of heart, they are absolute goodness. There is no harm in the words uttered together with musical instruments unless they include evil or sinful words. There are scholars who oppose the Sufis because they believe that raqs is prohibited. However, because there is no consensus about its prohibition, accepting it as permitted does not make someone leave Islam.
Kemalpaşazade also wrote fatwas in favor of sema and devran. However, he continued to oppose more extreme versions of the practice, in which, he argued, devran ceased to be worship and became entertainment, and he called for those who did so consciously or with the intention of showing off and gaining prestige to be stopped. In a visit to Sünbül Sinan Efendi shortly before his death, Kemalpaşazade told Sünbül Sinan about his final opinion on sema and devran. After delivering the sheikh his best wishes, Kemalpaşazade said, “our fatwa does not concern you. It is about the dissolute who do not know their origins.” It seems that Kemalpaşazade’s final position became a common point at which he met with followers of Sufi orders that practiced open dhikr ceremonies, in particular those of the Khalwati order. In his treatise on sema and devran, Ahmed Beşir Efendi (d. 1570/1571), the khalifa (successor) of Merkez Efendi, who in turn had been trained by Sünbül Sinan, wrote of Kemalpaşazade’s fatwa on devran, “what he [Kemalpaşazade] opposes is not devran, but immoral acts … which are prohibited.”
The change in the views of prominent scholars like Kemalpaşazade in the first half of the 16th century lowered the heat of the debates on sema and devran. On the other hand, the fact that this controversy was addressed in the fatwas issued by Ebussuud Efendi, who was the Sheikh al-Islam between 1545 and 1574, demonstrated that the debates continued during the second half of the century. Even though the opinions were not as harsh as those issued earlier by Kemalpaşazade, Ebussuud Efendi’s position against devran was still severe. He was of the opinion that there should be some restrictions on this type of dhikr—for example, moving the feet should be prohibited; moving the body from the waist up, including the head, from a standing or sitting position was acceptable, although it would be more in keeping with the etiquette of dhikr if there was no movement from the waist. Dhikr that did not comply with these restrictions was compared to the dancing of unbelievers, and the Sheikh al-Islam opposed it. According to Ebussuud Efendi, even though dervishes claimed that such movements helped them repulse evil and remember God, the movements were not permitted by Islam; none of the master jurists (mujtahid) had ever ruled about the permissibility of dancing, although there was disagreement about sema. This is why the judges should prevent the practice of devran and dancing.
On the question of whether those who practiced dancing and devran left Islam, Sheikh al-Islam Ebussuud Efendi asserted that as long as they did not regard the practice as worship it could not be said that they had left Islam because of it. However, if they considered it to be worship, then they had left the religion, because acts of worship are commanded by God, and to claim that devran and dancing were commanded by God was a slander against God.
The Khalwati master İbrahim Ümmi Sinan (d. 1568), in whose name Sultan Suleyman I had a lodge built in Istanbul, heatedly discussed sema and devran with Ebussuud Efendi; after some incidents that took place following the discussion, İbrahim Ümmi Sinan managed to soften Ebussuud’s strict approach, much like Sünbül Sinan Efendi had managed to soften Kemalpaşazade’s. Ebussuud Efendi appears to have later abandoned his opposition to Sufism and avoided using expressions in his fatwas that would incite debate.
Even though the Sufi practice of sema and devran faced strong opposition from prominent scholars from the second half of the 15th century until the end of the 16th century, it continued without interruption, thanks to the policy of state administrators, in particular the sultan, who tried to protect the balance. Due to this policy, no members of the Sufi order were punished during this period. However, in the 17th century, the picture changed with the emergence of the Kadızadeli movement. Kadızade Mehmed Efendi (d. 1635) and his followers defined some customs and traditions that had appeared after the time of Prophet Muhammad, including sema and devran, as bid‘a (innovations in religion) and strongly opposed them. Murad IV, the sultan of this period, did not oppose Sufism as long as it did not disrupt the political order; he pursued a policy of promoting balance between the Kadızadelis and Sufis, thus managing to prevent troublesome incidents from occurring in the early years of the Kadızadeli movement. However, Kadızadelis, who were not very skilled at intellectual debates, started to use the political influence they had gained in the palace to impose their views during the second phase of their movement, which began after the death of Kadızade Mehmed Efendi, during the final years of the reign of Sultan İbrahim and in the early years of the reign of Mehmed IV, a sultan who ascended to the throne at the age of seven. The Kadızadelis managed to attain an imperial edict banning the sema and devran as practiced by Mawlawis and Khalwatis, a great blow to the Sufis. This ban remained in place for 18 years, until 1684. Although there were some intellectual debates in the following centuries, there were no further attempts to ban the sema and devran.
Relationship between the State and the Tekkes
The fact that Sufi sheikhs were trained in certain sciences, arts, and professions—such as medicine, astronomy, musical performance and composition, calligraphy, engraving, making pen-cases, and flower arranging enabled some tekkes to function essentially as a school of fine arts or a hospital. This also ensured that they would have a stronger relationship with the government officials. The fact that the Sufi sheikhs were content with the generous gifts of the aofficials increased the trust that people felt. This environment of trust led many state officials, in particular sultans, to visit Sufi sheikhs in their tekkes, discuss certain issues with them, and even ask their advice, thus being influenced by them. In time, family connections were developed between Sufi sheikhs and state administrators. Some sheikh al-Islams and some Sufi sheikhs led the girding of the sword, a ceremony that was performed during the ascension of a new sultan to the throne. Some were invited to give sermons to the palace household. Among the Sufis so honored were some sheikhs who received a salary for their activities. Sufis were also appointed as deputy Sheikh al-Islam, jurists, judges and chief judges, palace imams, tutors of the princes, preachers, katip (scribes), sheikhs of tradesmen, hekimbaşı (chief physician), müneccimbaşı (chief astrologer), and sheikh of the army. Thanks to the close relationship between the soldiers and the Sufi sheikhs who were asked to preach to them, especially during military expeditions, to keep their motivation high, many soldiers joined Sufi orders. Because of the eminence that Sufi sheikhs gained in the presence of the sultans, some princes and other high-ranking officials who thought that they were going to be punished by the sultan used Sufi sheikhs as middlemen to seek forgiveness, or sought sanctuary in their tekkes.
Sufis support for the Ottoman state during its founding years continued in later periods. Mehmed II benefited greatly from Akşemseddin’s spiritual support during the conquest of Constantinople. Together with hundreds of disciples, Akşemseddin, Akbıyık Sultan, and other prominent Sufi sheikhs of the era joined Mehmed II’s army in spring 1453 when the sultan was setting out from Edirne to conquer Constantinople. During the most troubling times of the siege, Akşemseddin helped to keep up the morale of the sultan and his army. When despair started to spread through the army, Akşemseddin wrote to the sultan, reassuring him that victory was approaching and advising him to be patient, thus making a significant contribution to the conquest. The first Friday sermon after the conquest was delivered by Akşemseddin in Hagia Sofia Mosque. The documentary record indicates that, at Sultan Mehmed II’s request, Akşemseddin discovered the grave of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, one of the Companions of the Prophet, through spiritual inspiration. After the conquest, the sultan, who admired the sheikh’s lofty personality, wanted to join the Sufis as a dervish and retreat to spiritual seclusion; however, with great sagacity, Akşemseddin refused the sultan’s petition. He told the sultan that he could achieve everything that he wanted to achieve through seclusion by living among people and being a just ruler.
The healthy balance that existed between the state, tekke, and madrasa since the establishment of the Ottoman state was from time to time broken as tensions emerged between the three entities. The state’s primary concern when this occurred was to prevent disruption of political order and abandonment of the Sunni path.
In the capital, Istanbul, where people of various views and creeds lived together in harmony, there was no problem as long as the path of the tariqas and sheikh was not considered a threat to the political order; whenever such concerns emerged, the transgressors were warned by the authorities. The first problem experienced in relation to Sufism after the conquest of Constantinople concerned a Khalwatiyya Sufi sheikh, Ali Rumi. After Sheikh Ali Rumi managed to attract many prominent government officials to join his disciples, and rumors spread that he had political ambitions, Mehmed II forced him to leave the capital.
During the same period, an incident occurred with the Hurufi order. This order, which was established by Fazlullah-ı Hurufi (d. 1394) and was based on interpretation of the secrets of the letters of the Arabic alphabet, became influential in Anatolia during the time of Mehmed I and Murad II and reached the palace during the reign of Mehmed II. This movement took advantage of the sultan’s tolerance of different views and creeds. According to the records, even the young sultan was affected by their views. The methods used by the Hurufis in Herat, Isfahan, and Tabriz were also applied in Ottoman lands. They tried to find adherents among the janissaries, while also trying to influence the sultan to transform their order into the official sect of the state, and thus put themselves in a position from which they could seize power. After Grand Vizier Mahmud Pasha realized the seriousness of the matter, he warned the scholars. Fahreddin-i Acemi, a famous scholar of the time, convinced the sultan to punish the Hurufis in a number of ways.
During Bayezid II’s reign, members of the Qalandari order were executed after an attempt to assassinate the sultan; during the reign of sultan Mahmud I, the members of the same order were executed for heresy. The Baktashi sheikh Kalender Shah was executed during the sultanate of Suleyman I in response to a rebellion he had incited, while Sheikh Gülşeni was brought from Egypt to Istanbul due to concerns that he might rebel against the state. Sheikhs İsmail Maşukî and Hamza Bâlî of the Malamiyya-Bayramiyya order and Muhyiddin Karamani of the Khalwatiyya order were executed for heresy and atheism. In the following century, Abaza Sheikh Abdurrahim Efendi from the Shamsiyya-i Bayramiyya tariqa, Sütçü Beşir Ağa from the Malamiyya-i Bayramiyya order, Mahmud Efendi, a sheikh from the Urmiyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya order, and Sheikh Ahmed (the sheikh of Sakarya), whose order is unknown, were executed on political grounds. The documentary record indicates that before the beginning of 20th century, more than 20 sheikhs were exiled for a variety of reasons, and that in the 19th century, groups of Bektashis and Naqshibandi-Khalidis were expelled from Istanbul.
Relationship between the Tekkes and Society
Tekkes (dervish lodges) established after the conquest of Constantinople promoted the Islamization of Istanbul; in time many tariqas emerged, and these will be examined below. The tekkes influenced public culture and tradition, helped promote harmony between administrators, and contributed to the high culture of scholars. Tekkes whose sheikhs’ stories circulated among the public became effective educational centers; the tombs of the sheikhs became popular places to visit. Sufi sheikhs like Sheikh Vefa, Sünbül Efendi, Merkez Efendi, Sheikh Yahya Efendi, and Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi established important tekkes that marked places within the city walls and in the Bilâd-ı Selâse (three provinces—Eyüp, Galata, and Üsküdar)—that is, Istanbul in the classical period. Public dhikr ceremonies performed in tekkes and sermons delivered by scholar-sheikhs in large mosques established a close relationship between the Sufis and the masses. Many sheikhs treated illnesses by reciting prayers and administering herbal medicines; Sufis donated crops produced in the fields endowed to the zaviyes and tekkes to the needy, travelers, and other guests, increasing the esteem in which people held them.
Sufism and Tekkes in the Period of Modernization
The construction of tekkes and convents during the classical period, usually next to a mosque or madrasa, and the activities of the Sufis that were open to the public brought along a type of auto-control; in this way, whether consciously or unconsciously, the spread of the problems that existed in this period was, to a certain extent, prevented. Sometimes defects were observed in this system, which continued for centuries, and measures were taken to correct them. In the 19th century, when the state was being restructured, Sultan Selim III began to exert control for the first time over the tekkes, which numbered in the thousands. Some Sufi sheikhs were appointed to investigate tariqa members with heretical beliefs, inform the state about them, and prevent them from opening tekkes. An 1812 imperial edict placed the tekkes’ endowments under state control and mandated that, for tariqas with multiple tekkes, the tekke in Istanbul would be the asitane (main lodge). The same imperial edict established the rules for presenting a candidate for the office of the Sheikh al-Islam, for appointing the meşihat (Sufi leadership) of the asitane, and consulting the asitane in the appointment of Sufi sheikhs to tekkes in outlying areas. The edict also placed tekkes under the supervision of the office of the Sheikh al-Islam and bound them financially to the Evkaf-ı Hümayun Nezareti (Ministry of Imperial Endowments), which was established shortly after the promulgation of this edict. The establishment of the Meclis-i Meşayih (Council of Sufi Sheikhs) in 1866 was the second step in regulating the tekkes. The head of Sufi sheikhs was appointed based on direct descent; succession was controlled by the Meclis-i Meşayih. The recording of deeds in the endowment registers of the Meclis-i Meşayih, as well as their protection, control, and regulation, were among the tasks that the council carried out. It continued to perform its functions under the office of the şeyhülislam until it was abolished.
The Sufis established the Cemiyet-i Sufiye (Association of Sufis) in Istanbul in 1911, three years after the declaration of the second constitutional period. The Sheikh al-Islam Musa Kazım Efendi was appointed as head, assisted by the sheikh of the Kalami order, Esad (Erbili) Efendi. The association’s goals included strengthening the ties of brotherhood, improving members’ morals, preventing behavior that was not in keeping with Sufi principles, and meeting the needs of the Sufis. Additional goals included producing a comprehensive history of Sufism and establishing a library that would include all books published on Sufism. After March 23, 1911, the Cemiyet-i Sufiye also published the journal Tasavvuf.
Another organization that emerged about the same time was the Cemiyet-i Sufiye-i İttihadiye (Association of the Unity of Sufis), established by Sheikh Naili Efendi to find jobs for unemployed tekke members and help them to participate in business life. From time to time there had been discussions between the journal Muhibbân, which supported this association, and Tasavvuf. From the records of these discussions it can be understood that the Cemiyet-i Sufiye, which had elected the Sheikh al-Islam of the era as its head, mostly functioned within the official view of the state, while Cemiyet-i Sufiye-i İttihadiye members were looking for a broader and freer environment.
Cerîde-i Sûfiyye, another journal on Sufism published starting in 1909 in Istanbul, examined the disadvantages of the beşik şeyhliği (birthright to being a sheikh) which affected Sufism and the tariqas. It also started a project in which Sufi sheikhs were asked to write the history of their tekkes for publication in the journal, but this project was not completed.
II. SUFI ORGANIZATIONS: TARIQAS AND THEIR TEKKES
1. Khalwatiyya Tariqa
The Khalwatiyya tariqa developed in Azerbaijan toward the end of the 14th century; it spread from there to Anatolia, and from Anatolia to the Balkans, Syria, Egypt, North Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Asia. This order, which first entered Anatolia with the help of Pir İlyas Amasi, the Sufi sheikh of the Amasya Gümüşlüoğlu tekke, spread throughout Ottoman lands with the help of the disciples of the second sheikh, Pir Seyyid Yahya-yı Şirvani (d. 1463/1464), after the second half of the 15th century.
The first Sufi sheikh to act in the name of Khalwatiyya in Istanbul was Alaeddin Rumi (Ali Halveti, d. 1462-1463), the disciple (khalifa) of Yahya-yı Şirvani from Karaman. Alaeddin Rumi, who went to Istanbul after serving in Bursa for some time, quickly gathered many adherents there. Among those who were affiliated with his order were many state officials and members of the Council of State, including the Sheikh al-Islam Alaeddin Arabi Efendi. However, upon hearing rumors that the sheikh was plotting an uprising, Sultan Mehmed II ordered Alaeddin Rumi to leave the city. He left, and died in his hometown of Karaman.
Many branches of the Khalwatiyya developed throughout the Ottoman era, spreading the order from Istanbul; for this reason, this order was known as “the factory of tariqas.” Many Sufi sheikhs established branches, including Sünbül Sinan, Ümmi Sinan, Nureddin Cerrahi, Hüsameddin Uşşaki, Mehmed Nasuhi, and Mehmed Raufi. Although records vary on the exact number of Khalwati tekkes established in Istanbul, it appears that there were about 110. Of these, 27 did not have a special branch name and were recorded only as Khalwatiyya tekkes, 25 were recorded as Sunbuliyya tekkes, 24 as Shabaniyya tekkes, 15 as Jarrahiyya tekkes, five as Ushshakiyya tekkes, five as Gulshaniyya tekkes, and four as Sinaniyya tekkes. Because some tekkes changed hands within the Khalwatiyya tariqa, these numbers changed over the centuries.
Çelebi Halife and Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke
After the death of Alaeddin Rumi, the functions that were known by the name of Khalwatiyya were continued in Istanbul by Cemal Halveti (d. 1494), also known as Çelebi Halife. Çelebi Halife, who was trained by Pir Muhammed, one of the khalifas of Yahya-yı Şirvani from Erzincan; he had served in Amasya before moving to Istanbul. When he was in Amasya, the Amasya governor, Prince Bayezid (later Sultan Bayezid II) affiliated with him. After Bayezid ascended the throne, Çelebi Halife came to Istanbul on his invitation and for a while worked next to Gül Mosque in Ayvansaray. Then he moved to a building that had been converted from an old church to a tekke by one of his disciples, Grand Vizier Koca Mustafa Pasha. As the first Khalwatiyya tekke in Istanbul, this building, known as Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke, was accepted as the asitane. Çelebi Halife was visited by Sultan Bayezid II twice while serving in this building; upon the sultan’s request, he and 40 disciples set out to visit the Kaba and pray there for the end of the Black Death, which had broken out in Istanbul. However, he died before he could arrive in Mecca.
Çelebi Halife sent one of his khalifas, Kasım Çelebi (d. 1518), as Sufi sheikh to Kabataş Tekke, built in Tophane by Karabaş Mustafa Agha, the head eunuch of the sultan’s harem. After serving in this tekke for a while, Kasım Çelebi moved to the zaviye built by Grand Vizier Atik Ali Pasha (Ali Paşa Zaviye) in Çemberlitaş. Kasım Çelebi, a prominent scholar during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II, continued his teaching from this building, leaving his post to Karabaş Ramazan Efendi (d. 1545 or 1556), one of his khalifas. After Ramazan Efendi, who was known for his expertise in interpreting dreams, his khalifa Sarhoş Bâlî Efendi (d. 1572/1573) took up the post. Bâlî Efendi, who was known by the nickname sarhoş (drunk) because he was intoxicated by divine love and unity, continued his activities in Altuncu/Altuncuzade Tekke (Kurşunlu Türbe Zaviye) in Şehzadebaşı. Like his sheikh, Ramazan Efendi, Bâlî Efendi was also an expert in dream interpretation, and as a graduate of the madrasa, worked as an instructor. Mehmed Efendi (d. 1567/1568), another khalifa of Ramazan Efendi, served in the zaviye built in Yedikule by one of his disciples, the agha of the janissary corps, Ferhad Agha. Because of this important disciple, Mehmed Efendi was also known as the sheikh of Ferhad Pasha.
Sofyalı Bâlî Efendi (d. 1553), another khalifa of Kasım Çelebi, for some time served at the Semerci İbrahim Efendi Tekke (Akşemseddin Tekke) located next to Zeyrek Mosque, and then returned to his hometown of Sophia, continuing his services there. His khalifa Filibeli Mustafa Muslihuddin (d. 1574), also known as Nureddinzade, was one of the Sufi sheikhs who advised Sultan Suleyman I and his last grand vizier, Sokullu Mehmed Pasha, about dhikr. Sokullu Mehmed Pasha started to build a tekke for Nureddinzade, who worked in the Küçük Ayasofya Tomb, as part of the complex (külliye) which he had constructed in Kadırga; however, as the sheikh died before the construction was completed, another khalifa of Bali Efendi, Kurt Mehmed Efendi (Mehmed b. Ömer, d. 1589) was appointed to the post.
Sinaneddin Yusuf Erdebili (d. 1544), one of khalifas trained by Çelebi Halife, continued to serve in the tekke that had been built near Ayasofya Mosque until his death; he left his post to his son Mehmed Efendi (d. 1566), who was known as Erdebilizade (son of Erdebili).
Sünbül Sinan and the Sünbüliye Tariqa
After Çelebi Halife, his khalifa, Sünbül Sinan (Sinaneddin Yusuf, d. 1529), took up his position at the Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke. Sünbül Sinan was also a scholar and had completed his madrasa education. During the time that Sünbül Efendi held this post, the interest of government officials in the order continued; Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke was visited several times by Sultans Bayezid II, Selim I, and Süleyman I. In addition to his activities in the tekke, Sünbül Efendi preached at Ayasofya and Fatih Mosques on Fridays and performed Khalwati devran with his disciples after Friday prayer. Sultan Selim I gave Sünbül Efendi the duty of giving the sermon at the opening ceremony of the mosque that had been built in the sultan’s name. The funeral prayer of Sünbül Efendi was performed by Şeyhülislam Kemalpaşazade in Fatih Mosque, and he was buried in the cemetery of the tekke. His tomb is one of the most important sights in Istanbul.
With Sünbül Sinan, the Sünbüliyya branch of the Khalwatiyya tariqa emerged in Istanbul; this branch was represented by more than 25 tekkes, most of which were located in the district of Fatih. Ten of these tekkes were established in the 16th century, two in the 17th century, two in the 18th century, and three in the 19th century, with the rest being transferred to Sünbüliyya from other tariqas. Three of those tekkes were destroyed at the end of the 19th century. Tekkes known for the performance of Sünbüliyya rites are the Alaeddin in Aksaray, Hacı Evhad in Yedikule, Ferruh Kethüda in Balat, Şah Sultan in Davutpaşa, Hacı Kadın in Samatya, Mehmet Ağa in Çarşamba, Kara Mehmet in Aksaray, Saffeti in Silivrikapı, Koruk or Koruklu in Fındıkzade, İmrahor and Ramazan Efendi in Kocamustafapaşa, Karabaş in Tophane, Yavsi Baba in Yavuzselim, Keşfi Cafer Efendi in Fındıklı, Yorgani in Sirkeci, Sinan Erdebili in Sultanahmet, Tercüman Yunus in Draman, Mimar Acem in Mevlanakapı, and Balçık and Şah Sultan in Eyüp.
Merkez Efendi and Merkez Efendi Külliye
After Sünbül Efendi’s death, his khalifa Merkez Efendi (Musa Muslihuddin, d. 1552) took his place in the tekke. The record indicates that Merkez Efendi had attended the sermons of prominent Sufi sheikhs in Istanbul, but distanced himself from Sünbül Efendi in the beginning because of the latter’s performance of dhikr with devran and views about wahdat al-wujud (unity of being) before adhering to his order. At that time, Merkez Efendi had been a disciple of Mirza Baba, the Sufi sheikh of a tekke in the Fatih district that was known by various names including Mirza Baba, Etyemez, and Karabıçak Veli, and had married his daughter. Merkez Efendi had a dream which no sheikh but Sünbül Efendi could interpret. He interpreted Merkez Efendi’s dream by appearing to him in another dream. As a result, Merkez Efendi realized that his negative approach to the sheikh had been wrong and became one of his disciples. After that, Sünbül Efendi complimented Merkez Efendi with his famous saying, “You… are the center (merkez) of our circle,” and thus he was given the nickname Merkez.
Because he was married, Merkez Efendi did not live in the tekke to complete his Sufi training but commuted from his home. After being certified as a sheikh by Sünbül Efendi, Merkez Efendi became a sheikh first at a Khalwati tekke in Aksaray known as Koğacı Dede or Sevindik Dede. After that, when Sultan Suleyman’s mother, Hafsa Sultan, requested a sheikh for the tekke in the külliye she was having built in Manisa, Merkez Efendi was sent there by Sünbül Efendi. Records indicate that Şehzade Suleyman (Sultan Suleyman I) attended his talks and was moved to tears.
Ten days after Sünbül Efendi died, Merkez Efendi came from Manisa to Istanbul. He stated that when he arrived at the tekke, at first no one paid attention to him, but then everyone realized that he was the most qualified khalifa for the post and accepted him as their sheikh. Records indicate that Yakub Efendi, a disciple of Sünbül Efendi who would take Merkez Efendi’s post after his death, slept in the hope that Allah would show him in a dream who was the most qualified person for the post of sheikh. He dreamt that a chair had been set in a high place; everyone was waiting for the person who would preach from that chair. Just then, Merkez Efendi, wearing a green turban, started to climb up to the chair. When Merkez Efendi sat in the chair, his turban turned black. Meanwhile, Yakub Efendi heard someone shouting, “green is the manifestation of sharia and black is the manifestation of the Sufi path. The sharia and Sufi path of this man are both prosperous.” In his speech from the chair, Merkez Efendi interpreted the chapter “Taha” from the Qur’an. Because Taha was one of the names used to address Prophet Muhammad, this dream was interpreted to mean that Merkez Efendi was qualified to guide people in the path of Prophet Muhammad.
The close relationship between Merkez Efendi and Sultan Suleyman I, which had begun in Manisa, continued in Istanbul. When the sultan was about to set out for the Corfu Expedition in 1537, he appointed Merkez Efendi sheikh to the army. The record indicates that the sultan called him “our Merkez” to show his love and respect for the sheikh. Records indicate that Merkez Efendi was married for a short time to Sultan Selim’s daughter; his son, Ahmed Çelebi, was born of this marriage.
Before going to Manisa, in 1514 Merkez Efendi built a tekke near Topkapı, outside the city walls, across from Mevlanakapı; during the Ottoman period this was known as Mevlevihane Yenikapısı. The water next to the tekke, thought to have healing powers, is believed to have been discovered by Merkez Efendi. The record indicates that a hamam (Turkish bathhouse) was later built next to the fountain. While Merkez Efendi was serving as the Sufi sheikh for Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke, he would sometimes withdraw into the tekke’s seclusion section (çilehane). Şah Sultan (half-sister of Suleyman I) supported the Merkez Efendi Tekke by establishing endowments and had Mimar Sinan reconstruct the mosque/tevhidhane building. When Merkez Efendi was buried in the tekke after his death, a tomb was built over his grave; after this, the tekke in Yenikapı district developed into one of the most prestigious visitor destinations in Istanbul and became a fully constituted center of the tariqa. This place, which used to be an empty field but was filled with buildings and facilities in a short time, started to be known as the merkez vilayet (capital province) of the region.
The documentary record indicates Şah Sultan, a member of Khalwatiyya tariqa, made substantial financial contributions to support its expansion; to this end she had a mosque and zaviye built on the Bahariye shores of Eyüp district and Davutpaşa. Merkez Efendi first appointed Gömleksiz Mehmed Efendi, one of his khalifas, to serve there; after the latter’s death in 1544, Seyyid Abdülhalık Efendi was appointed to the zaviye in Eyüp. Upon Şah Sultan’s request, Yakub Efendi, who was in Yanya, was appointed to the zaviye in Davutpaşa, and his son-in-law, Seyyid Muslihuddin, was appointed to the convent that Merkez Efendi had built outside Yenikapı. Merkez Efendi also had other khalifas whom he sent to fulfill the various functions of the tariqa. Of these, Merkez Efendi sent his son, Ahmed Çelebi, to the Baba Nakkaş Tekke in Nakkaştepe, Üsküdar; Köse Muhyiddin Efendi to the zaviye he had had built next to Odabaşı Mosque in İstinye; Abdi Efendi from Finike, Antalya, first to the convent built next to Sultan Bayezid Mosque in İncekeze, Istanbul, and then to Mimar Acem Tekke in Fatih; and Ahmed Çelebi from Karaman to the Tercüman Yunus Zaviye (Dırağman Tekke) in Fatih.
Even though Merkez Efendi was at Koca Mustafa Pasha Tekke, he sometimes went to other tekkes. Moreover, he gave sermons at Fatih and Ayasofya Mosques. Merkez Efendi, who was known as sahib al-tartib because since childhood he had always performed his prayers on time, emphasized the significance of performing prayers in congregation. Riding his donkey, he used to go to people to teach them the commands and prohibitions of Islam, not just in Istanbul but also through the cities of Anatolia. Merkez Efendi would give presents to schoolchildren and make them happy. He used to warn the farmers he met during his travels not to treat their animals badly, and he is said to have refrained from feeding cats in his home because of his pity for the mice. His funeral was held at Fatih Mosque. The documentary record indicates that Şeyhülislam Ebussuud Efendi, who led his funeral prayer, said: “In this world this is the only man we have met who has no hypocrisy,” and the inscription marking the date of his death reads “Dairesin Merkez’in nur ide Allah” (“May Allah enlighten the center of his circle”).
Cemaleddin İshak Karamani and the Zeyrek, Fındıkzade, and Sütlüce Tekkes
Another sheikh who was associated with the Khalwatiyya tariqa in Istanbul was Sheikh Cemaleddin İshak Karamani (d. 1527). Vizier Pîrî Mehmed Pasha, who later became grand vizier and who was a relative of Sheikh Cemaleddin İshak Karamani, had three tekkes constructed (in Zeyrek, Fındıkzade, and Sütlüce) in the name of Cemaleddin İshak Karamani, who had been trained by Habib Karamani, one of the khalifas of Yahya-yı Şirvanî. The name of the tekke in Zeyrek is listed in the records as Cemali Halife Tekke or Pîrî Paşa Zaviye, as well as Kara Pîrî Paşa Mosque or Soğukkuyu Mosque. The fact that the waqfiyya/vakfiye (endowment deed) of this tekke is dated 1517 indicates that the construction was completed in 1517. While the tekke built in Fındıkzade in 1521 is called Pîrî Paşa Tekke, after its patron, it is also known as Koruklu or Koruk Tekke, because of the sobriquet Koruklu that was given to Sheikh Mehmed Fahri, who was the postnişin (head sheikh) in 1715, referring to the place where he and his khalifa Mehmed Şeyhi Efendi resided. The construction date of the tekke in Sütlüce is not known; this tekke is listed in the records as Sheikh İshak Cemaleddin Karamani Tekke. Cemaleddin İshak Karamanî’s fellow Sufi sheikh Nakkaş Baba had his tekke built on the hill in Kuzguncuk, Üsküdar; this area is today known by his name (Nakkaştepe). Nakkaş Baba continued to guide Sufis in this area until the end of his life. Nakkaş Baba, who was one of the artists brought by Sultan Selim I to Istanbul following the conquest of Tabriz during the Battle of Chaldiran, probably practiced agriculture to earn a living and meet the expenses of the zaviye. Following him, his son Derviş Çelebi (d. 1560) took over this position.
İbrahim Gülşeni and Gulshaniyya Branch
Sheikh İbrahim Gülşeni (d. 1534), who established the Gulshaniyya, a branch of the Rushaniyya, one of the main branches of the Khalwatiyya tariqa, expanded his order in Istanbul, Tabriz, and Cairo. He was brought to Istanbul from Cairo during the reign of Suleyman I because the grand vizier, Ibrahim Pasha, suspected that he might attempt to stage an uprising. After he had lived in the capital for a few months, and no tangible proof had been found against him, an apology was made in a meeting with the sultan; he was then allowed to go back to Cairo. The record indicates that Sultan Süleyman was impressed by his meeting with the sheikh and asked him to stay in Istanbul. However, the sheikh, citing his advanced age, declined the offer. The sultan then asked him to leave one of his khalifas in Istanbul; in response, the sheikh left Hasan Zarifî in Istanbul. When he was about to leave Istanbul for Egypt, Sultan Suleyman gave a grand feast in the palace for the scholars and sheikhs to honor him. Gülşeni reportedly taught Sultan Suleyman a name that would “make come true whatever the sultan prayed for with this name, whatever the intention.” Sheikh al-Islam Kemalpaşazade, who was among the scholars sent by Grand Vizier İbrahim Pasha to attend Gülşeni’s talks to gather evidence, also had private meetings with the sheikh; moved by his speeches, the Sheikh al-Islam joined the sheikh’s disciples. A mosque in Kumkapı, which had once been a church, was given to Sheikh Hasan Zarifi (d. 1569/1570), the khalifa İbrahim Gülşenî left behind in Istanbul, and a salary was allocated to him from the treasury. A janissary built a tekke and rooms in an empty field adjacent to the mosque; endowments (waqfs) were made to support these. When these buildings were later destroyed by an earthquake, Muhsine Hatun, one of Grand Vizier İbrahim Pasha’s wives, had the mosque and zaviye built on the same spot and established new waqfs for them.
Another tekke that operated under the Gulshaniyya branch was established in Rumelihisarı by Sheikh Hasan Zarifi. This tekke, known as Durmuş Baba Tekke, was transferred to the Jarrahiyya branch of the Khalwatiyya tariqa in the 18th century. In addition to the aforementioned tekkes, at least five more were established under the Gulshaniyya: Hulvi Efendi Tekke in Şehremini, Peyk Dede Tekke in Silivrikapı, Sarmaşık Tekke in Edirnekapı, Gürcü Ali Efendi Tekke in Balat-Eğrikapı, and Tatar Efendi Tekke. In time, some of these tekkes joined other tariqas, while other tekkes were transferred from other tariqas to the Gulshaniyya order.
İbrahim Ümmi Sinan and the Sinaniyya
Another Sufi sheikh who worked with the Khalwatiyya tariqa in Istanbul was İbrahim Ümmi Sinan (d. 1568). İbrahim Ümmi Sinan, the founder of the Sinaniyye, one of the four branches of Ahmediyya (the other three were Ramazaniye, Uşşakıye, and Mısriye), known in the Khalwatiyya as the middle branch, came to Istanbul after serving in Manisa and Uşak. Until his death İbrahim Ümmi Sinan continued services and guidance in the tekke he had constructed in 1551 (Ümmi Sinan Tekke). This tekke is said to have been constructed on the orders of Sultan Süleyman I, and the sheikh was invited to head it up after it had been constructed.
In Istanbul, at least five tekkes were established in the name of the Sinaniyya branch. In the tekke established in the Şehremini district, Ümmi Sinan’s son-in-law Mir Ali Alemdar became the sheikh. After the poet Mustafa Zekai Efendi (d. 1812) became sheikh of the tekke at the beginning of the 19th century, it started to be known as Zekai or Zekaizade Tekke. Zekai Efendi, who was buried in the cemetery of the tekke, was famous among the people as Oruç Baba; it has become a tradition to gather around his grave and break the fast there on the first day of Ramadan. The second Sinaniyya tekke was also constructed in the Şehremini district, near Ümmi Sinan Tekke. Although this building shares the name Ümmi Sinan Tekke, it is also known as the Pazar (Sunday) Tekke, due to the day on which the dhikr is performed there. This tekke was constructed by Hariri Mehmed Efendi, the first khalifa of Sheikh Ümmi Sinan. The third tekke was built in the Düğmeciler district of Eyüp by another khalifa of Ümmi Sinan. This tekke is also known as Ümmi Sinan Tekke and is considered the asitane of the Sinaniyya tariqa, as Ümmi Sinan’s grave is located there. The last sheikh to serve in this tekke was Yahya Galib Efendi, who also served as governor of Ankara during the War of Independence in Turkey. The fourth tekke of the Sinaniyya is Emirler Tekke, which was established in Silivrikapı in the second half of the 16th century by Seyyid Nizamoğlu. Hakikizade Tekke, built by Hakikizade Osman Efendi (d. 1628) in Eğrikapı, near Yatağan Mosque, is the fifth tekke of the Sinaniyya tariqa.
Ramazaneddin Mahfi and the Ramazaniyya
Ramazaneddin Mahfi Efendi (d. 1616), the founder of the Ramazaniyya branch of the Khalwatiyya tariqa, was one of the sheikhs who had tekkes established in their names in Istanbul. In 1586, Bezirgan Hacı Hüsrev Çelebi had Mimar Sinan build a mosque/tekke complex in Kocamustafapaşa in the name of Ramazaneddin Mahfî Efendi; the sheikh served in this complex until his death. Ramazan Efendi Tekke, also known as the Bezirgan Tekke after its founder, was the asitane of the Ramazaniyya branch and one of its most frequently visited places, as it was the residence of the sheikh. This tekke was transferred to the Jalwatiyya in the 17th century and then to the Sunbuliyya branch of the Khalwatiyya tariqa.
The tekke established in the Çapa district by Şerbetçi Mehmed Efendi (d. 1642), one of the khalifas of Ramazaneddin Efendi, was later transferred to the Rifaiyya tariqa. Çalak Tekke in the Cağaloğlu district, which functioned under the Ramazaniyya in the first half of the 18th century, and Yıldız Dede Tekke in the Eminönü district were connected to the Cerrahiyye tariqa in the second half of the same century. Saçlı Sheikh Hüseyin Efendi Tekke in Üsküdar belonged to the Buhuriyya, a branch of the Ramazaniyya, and then was affiliated with the Sunbuliyya tariqa. In the name of Cihangiriye, another branch of Ramazaniyya, Abdal Yakub Tekke in Davutpaşa, Akbıyık Tekke in Eminönü, and Kelami Tekke in Şehremini were established in addition to the asitane, which was in Cihangir. After a while, these tekkes were transferred to other tariqas. Ahmed Raufi (d. 1757), the founder of the Raufiyya branch of Ramazaniyya, continued offering guidance at his tekke, which was close to Üsküdar Koca Sinan Paşa Mosque, and trained about 20 khalifas. It appears that at least three more tekkes were established by the Raufiyya in Istanbul. The most widespread branch of Ramazaniyya in Istanbul was the Jarrahiyya tariqa, established by Nureddin Cerrahi (d. 1721). Until his death, Nureddin Cerrahi continued offering guidance at his tekke, which was constructed by Sultan Ahmed III in Karagümrük in 1703. In addition to this tekke, which was the asitane of the Jarrahiyya, 24 more tekkes operated in Istanbul after the 18th century. The earliest of these were the Sertarikzade tekkes, located around Fatih Kumrulu Mosque and in Nişancılar, Eyüp, the tekke of Hâcegî Mosque on the Otlukçu slope in Fatih (tekke of İğci Mehmet Hüsameddin). Additional tekkes were transferred from other tariqas to the Jarrahiyya.
Hüsameddin Uşşaki and the Ushshakiyya
Hüsameddin Uşşaki (d. 1593), the founder of Ushshakiyya, one of the main branches of Khalwatiyya-Ahmediyya tariqa, was another Khalwatiyya sheikh who served in Istanbul. While serving in the city of Uşak, Hüsameddin Efendi came to Istanbul at the invitation of Sultan Murad III; he continued his services until his death in the tekke established by the same sultan in Kasımpaşa (Hüsamettin Uşşaki Tekke). This tekke in Kasımpaşa, also known as Şimşirli (Thursday) Tekke because of the day on which the dhikr is performed, is regarded as the asitane of the Ushshakiyya, as Hüsameddin Efendi’s tomb is located there.
After Hüsameddin Efendi, the Ushshakiyya branch was also represented in Istanbul by the Jamaliyya branch, in respect of Sheikh Cemaleddin Uşşaki, and then the Salahiyya branch in respect of Sheikh Salahi Uşşaki. In addition to its asitane, which remained in operation until recently, the other tekkes established by the Ushshakiyya in Istanbul were Cemaleddin Uşşaki Tekke outside Eğrikapı, Tahir Ağa and Hocazade Tekkes in Haydar, Fatih, Havuzlu Uşşaki Tekke in Nişanca, Fatih, Mahmut Bedreddin Tekke in Keçeciler, Fatih, Uşşaki Zaviye in Karagümrük, Deniz Abdal and Kayserili Mustafa Efendi Tekkes in Şehremini, Halit Efendi Tekke in Yedikule, Mehmed Emin Efendi Tekke in Aksaray, Balçık Tekke in Defterdar, Eyüp, and Halim Gülüm Tekke in Üsküdar.
Abdülmecid Sivasi and the Sivasiyya
Abdulmecid Sivasi (d. 1639), a Khalwatiyya sheikh who served in Istanbul, was the founder of the Sivasiyye branch of the Khalwatiyya order. This branch developed after the Shamsiyya branch, which was attributed to Abdulmecid Sivasi’s uncle, Şemseddin Sivasi; however, it eventually became known as Sivasiyye after Abdulmecid Sivasi. After serving in Amasya, Tokat, and Sivas, Abdulmecid Sivasi moved to Istanbul in 1599 at the invitation of Sultan Murad III. He settled in a house near Ayasofya Mosque and started to give preaches and teach hadith and Qur’anic exegesis in this mosque. Then he moved to a house in Eyüp Nişanca that was given to him by Reisülküttab La‘li Efendi. In 1601, he became the sheikh of Mehmed Ağa Tekke in Fatih Çarşamba. After serving there for three years, he served at Sheikh Yavsi Tekke near Sultan Selim Mosque. This tekke, established when Bayezid II ascended to the throne, was begun in the name of Muhyiddin Muhammed Yavsi Efendi, Ebussuud Efendi’s father and a Bayramiyya sheikh. It operated under the Bayramiyya tariqa for more than a century and was then transferred to the Khalwatiyya tariqa. After Abdulmecid Sivasi served there, the name was changed to Sivasi Tekke. This tekke was connected to the Sunbuliyya branch of the Khalwatiyya at the beginning of the 19th century.
It is likely that Abdulmecid Sivasi appointed a sheikh to his mansion in Nişanca, Eyüp, transforming this place into a zaviye that operated under the main Sivasi tekke in the Sultanselim district where he worked. This tekke is also listed in the records as Sivasi Tekke or Abdülahad Nuri Tekke. Because the graves of Abdulmecid Sivasi and his cousin and khalifa Sheikh Abdülahad Nuri are located in this tekke in Eyüp, it became the asitane of the Sivasiyya branch.
Sultan Ahmed I, who was a disciple of Abdulmecid Sivasi, gave him the honor of delivering the first Friday sermon in the opening ceremony of Sultanahmet Mosque. Records indicate that Sivasi, who continued to deliver Friday sermons at this mosque in addition to his tasks in his tekke until his death, carried out the girding-of-the-sword ceremony for Sultan Murad IV before the sultan set out on a military expedition to Baghdad. Sivasi’s tomb in Nişanca, Eyüp, was constructed on the orders of the mother of Sultans Murad IV and Ibrahim, Kösem Mahpeyker Valide Sultan. Seyyid İbrahim Efendi, the Sufi sheikh of the asitane in Eyüp, was among those invited to the wedding of Saliha Sultan, one of the daughters of Sultan Mahmud II, in 1833.
Karabaş Veli and the Karabashiyya
Karabaş Veli (Alaeddin Ali, d. 1686), one of the sheikhs who served the Khalwatiyya in Istanbul, was the founder of Karabashiyya branch of the Khalwatiyya-Shabaniyye tariqa. After serving in a number of places, he came to Üsküdar in 1670 and retired into seclusion at Rum Mehmed Pasha Mosque. After being a recluse for four years, he became the sheikh of the zaviye at Üsküdar Valide-i Atik Mosque and the preacher at this mosque. After continuing these services for nine years, Karabaş Veli was exiled to Lemnos Island due to some views he held; four years later he returned to Üsküdar. He entrusted his post in the tekke to Bolulu Mustafa Efendi and went on a hajj. After that, he remained in Medina for a while; on his way back to Istanbul through Egypt, he died in Cairo.
Sultan Mehmed IV was reportedly a strong supporter of Karabaş Veli. Once the sultan asked Karabaş Veli to send one of his khalifas to the palace to perform devran dhikr; the sheikh sent Ünsi Hasan Efendi, one of the sheikhs of Aydınoğlu Tekke in Eminönü.
Another khalifa of Karabaş Veli, Üsküdarlı Mehmed Nasuhi (d. 1718), established the Nasuhiyya branch. Sheikh Nasuhi continued to guide people in Üsküdar until his death in 1685. The record indicates that Sheikh Nasuhi was first in Mudurnu, but after coming to Istanbul in 1684/1685 he continued to serve at Çakırcı Hasan Pasha and Süleyman Pasha mosques in Doğancılar, Üsküdar. In 1688, Nasuhi moved to the tekke named after him (Nasuhi Tekke) in Doğancılar and continued to guide people from there. Because the sheikh’s tomb is located in Nasuhi Tekke, it is accepted as the asitane of the Nasuhiyya branch. After Nasuhi Efendi, his son Sheikh Ali Alaeddin Efendi took over the post at the tekke, and this tekke continued to function until recent times. The sheikh who served in Istanbul in the 19th century in the Kuşadaviyye (Ibrahimiyya), a sub-branch developed from Nasuhiyya chains—Kuşadalı İbrahim Efendi (d. 1846)—was the founder of this branch.
Tekkes were also established by government officials in the name of the Khalwatiyya tariqa. Indeed, this tariqa was fully supported by high-ranking state officials: Grand Vizier Melek Ahmed Pasha, Grand Vizier Köprülüzade Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, Grand Vizier Damad Hasan Pasha, Vizier Hızırpaşazade Mehmed Pasha, Beylerbeyi (Governor-General) Hızır Pasha, İmrahor (Master of the Horses) İlyas Bey, the successor to Koca Sinan, Acem Ali, Yunus Bey, who was the saray tercümanı (palace translator), Admiral Bâlîzade Hasan Bey, and Yusuf Efendi, who was the tersane emini (supervisor of dockyards). Many more officials belonged to this tariqa. The entire family of Şeyhülislam Seyyid Feyzullah Efendi were adherents of the Khalwatiyya. Sultan Ahmed III reportedly built a tekke for Khalwatiyya; Sultans Mahmud I, Osman III, and Mustafa III, as well as the aforementioned sultans, were followers of the Khalwatiyya.
2. Naqshibandiyya Tariqa
Naqshibandiyya, an influential tariqa in Istanbul, was established by Bahauddin Naqshiband (d. 1389) in Bukhara in the second half of the 14th century. Naqshibandiyya’s first tekke in Anatolia was the Mahmud Çelebi Tekke, built in Amasya in 1404–1405; the first sheikh of this tekke was Hace Rukneddin Mahmud from Bukhara, one of the khalifas of Bahauddin Naqshiband. The first tekke of this tariqa in Istanbul was Hindiler Tekke, which was established in the Aksaray district at the request of Hace İshak Buhari-i Hindi to Mehmed II; the expenses were met by the sultan himself. Later, after serving in Simav, Kütahya, Abdullah-ı İlahi, an adherent of the Ahrariyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya, carried out his work from the empty rooms of Zeyrek Madrasa in Istanbul.
Emir Ahmed Buhari and the Fatih, Ayvansaray, and Edirnekapı Tekkes
By means of the tekkes that were established in the districts of Fatih, Ayvansaray, and Edirnekapı in the name of Emir Ahmed Buhari (d. 1516), one of Abdullah-ı İlahi’s khalifas and his successor in Istanbul, Naqshibandiyya spread through Istanbul after the 15th century. Emir Ahmed Buhari first worked from his home on the west side of Fatih Mosque (today Emir Buhari Street in the Fevzipaşa Street). When that was no longer large enough, he moved to the tekke established in his name.
Fatih Emir Buhari Tekke was built on the orders of Bayezid II on Emir Buhari Street in the Malta Hacıüveys district of Fatih. In this tekke, Emir Buhari’s son-in-law and khalifa, Hace Mahmud Efendi (d. 1531), continued after Emir Buhari’s death. After Hace Mahmud Efendi, his son-in-law Hace Abdüllatif Efendi, Sheikh Cemaleddin İshak Karamani’s son, Hace Seyyid Mehmed Efendi, and Hace Ahmed Sadık Efendi acted as sheikhs of the tekke. Until the end of the 18th century, men from Emir Buhari’s lineage served as sheikhs of the tekke. In the 19th century, Sheikh Seyyid Mustafa Efendi, a descendent of Emir Sultan who was also known by the nickname Haşhaş Molla, Trabzonlu Sheikh Ahmed Faiz Efendi, Küçükkadızade İbrahim Edhem Efendi’s son Sheikh Abdullah Ferdi Efendi (d. 1857), and his son-in-law Halil Cemal Efendi took on this role.
Ayvansaray Emir Buhari Tekke was built by Emir Buhari in 1512/1513. This tekke, the second oldest in Istanbul, is located at the intersection of Dervişzade and Ahmedrifai Streets in the Atikmustafapaşa district. Prominent Sufi sheikhs provided guidance in the tekke, including Mehmed Emin Tokadi (d. 1745).
Edirnekapı Emir Buhari Tekke (Mahmud Çelebi Zaviye) was constructed on Münzevi Street in the Otakçılar district of Eyüp, on the road between Edirnekapı and Eyüp. The documentary record contains some conflicting claims about the founder of this tekke, crediting Emir Buhari or Sultan Suleyman I, but the records of the Istanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri (Register of the Survey of Istanbul Endowments) indicate that it was established by Emir Buhari’s son-in-law and khalifa, Hace Mahmud Efendi (Sheikh Mahmud Çelebi); the endowment deed is dated 1530. Control of this tekke was taken over by other tariqas in 1675/1676 but transferred back to the Naqshibandiyya 150 years later, in 1824/1825, by Sheikh Seyyid Abdülhalim Efendi. Because Abdülhalim Efendi completely rebuilt the tekke, he is considered the tekke’s second founder. Among the sheikhs who headed the tekke were Sheikh Mehmed Efendi, who wrote a treatise (Waqayi al-Fudala) in response to Nev‘îzade Atâî’s Hadaiq al-Haqaiq, a continuation of Al-Shaqaiq al-Nu‘maniyya.
Records indicate that Emir Ahmed Buhari advised people to be devoted to the Prophet’s path, that they should avoid bid‘a (innovations in religion), preferring the azima (prescribed rulings) rather than rukhsa (permit) in devotional matters, that they should spend the night in worship, going beyond the minimum requirements, and the days in fasting. He was loved not only by the public but also by the Sufi sheikhs of other tariqas. In fact, Kasım Çelebi, one of the prominent Sufi sheikhs of the Khalwatiyya (another large tariqa), had a dream about a lunar eclipse before the death of Emir Buhari; he interpreted this dream as news of the sheikh’s death and expressed his sadness. The funeral prayer for Emir Buhari, who died in 1516, was led in Fatih Mosque by Şeyhülislam Zenbilli Ali Efendi.
Emir Ahmed Buhari’s son-in-law and khalifa, Mahmud Çelebi (d. 1531/1532), took his place after his death and served for 16 years as the Sufi sheikh, not only of the tekke in Fatih but also of the one he had built in Edirnekapı. Gelibolulu Muslihuddin Mustafa Süruri (d. 1561/1562), a scholar trained by Mahmud Çelebi, was appointed by Sultan Suleyman I as a private tutor to the prince Mustafa. The funeral prayer for Mahmud Çelebi was led at Fatih Mosque by Şeyhülislam Kemalpaşazade.
Sheikh Abdüllatif Efendi replaced his father-in-law, Hace Mahmud Çelebi, as a Sufi master at the tekke in Fatih; one of the sheikh’s khalifas, Menteşeli Halifesi Şeyh Hacı Halife, was selected for the same position at the tekke in Edirnekapı. During his more than 30 years of service, Abdüllatif Efendi was greatly supported by his brother-in-law, Abdurrahman Efendi, the chief judge of Rumelia. Among his students were prominent scholars such as the compiler of Lugat-ı Fârisî, Sheikh Nimetullah, and Abdurrahman Gubari. Nimetullah Efendi worked as a librarian in the tekke in Fatih, while Abdurrahman Efendi, who developed the gubari calligraphy style, was first appointed as a teacher for the janissaries under the command of Sultan Süleyman’s younger son Bayezid, who was the governor of Kütahya; he later became the private tutor of the sultan’s elder son Orhan Çelebi. Abdurrahman Efendi reportedly wrote his most important work, Şehnâme, at the request of Sultan Suleyman.
Another Naqshibandiyya tekke carried Emir Buhari’s name; this was established in Unkapanı, Istanbul, in the 19th century. The name of this tekke was derived from a sheikh who shared the same name as Naqshibandi Sheikh Emir Ahmed Buharî (d. 1516), after whom the Fatih, Ayvansaray, and Edirnekapı tekkes were named. This sheikh died 72 years after Emir Ahmed Buhari, in 1586. He came from Bukhara to Istanbul and settled in a house at the intersection of Üsküplü Street and Yeşil Tulumbalı Road in Unkapanı. After his death, Sultan Murad III built a sarcophagus over his grave. However, according to the last Sufi master of the tekke, Ali Fakri Efendi, the tekke was later destroyed and houses were built over it; Ahmed Buhari appeared to Mahmud II in a dream and asked to be saved from this situation. The sultan commanded the Naqshibandi sheikh and scholar Mustafa Mısri Efendi (d. 1822) to discover the location of the grave. He then ordered the houses to be destroyed and the tomb and tekke to be rebuilt in their place. Mustafa Mısri Efendi was the first sufi master of the new tekke; he was followed by Sheikh Hasan Hilmi Efendi from Cyprus. The last Sufi master of the tekke, Ali Fakri Efendi (d. 1928), continued to work there until all of the tekkes and zaviyes were closed in 1925.
Hekim or Hakim Çelebi and Fildamı Zaviye
One of the sheikhs who served the Naqshibandiyya in Istanbul was Emir Ahmed Buhari’s (d. 1516) khalifa Hekim or Hakim Çelebi (Mehmed b. Seyyid Ahmed, d. 1567). He was sometimes referred to as hekim or hakim because of either his knowledge of medicine or his deep wisdom. Many famous people became affiliated with Hekim Çelebi, who studied at madrasa and acquired the knowledge of the zahir ilimler (apparent sciences), prior to committing to the Sufi path. Until his death, he continued to serve in the zaviye (Fildamı Zaviye or Hekim Çelebi Tekke), which was built by the grand vizier of Sultan Suleyman I, Rüstem Pasha, who was one of Hekim Çelebi’s disciples; this zaviye had been built from an elephant stable in the Koska district. Records indicate that Hekim Çelebi had another tekke (Âsitan-i Hekim/Fazlullah Efendi Tekke) in the Halıcılar district of Fatih.
Hekim Çelebi also trained Mahmud Çelebi (d. 1579), one of the private tutors of Rüstem Pasha. Sheikh Mahmud Efendi from Niğde and Kavaklızade Sheikh Mehmed Efendi from Bursa, who were at the madrasas, became his disciples. When Mahmud Efendi (d. 1567/1568) was working as assistant to a professor at Süleymaniye Madrasa, he became affiliated with the sheikh. While continuing his mystical training, Mahmud Efendi continued to teach at Defterdar Mahmud Çelebi Darulhadis in Eyüp. Mehmed Efendi (d. ca. 1592), on the other hand, affiliated with Hekim Çelebi while serving as private tutor to the retired beylerbeyi of Egypt, Geylun Ali Pasha, and to Vizier Ferhad Pasha.
Halim Çelebi, an influential figure who contributed to Sufi life in Istanbul and one of the private tutors of Sultan Selim I, belonged to the Naqshibandiyya order; he was in charge of the education of Sultan Suleyman I prior to his becoming sultan. The Naqshibandiyya was one of the tariqas with which Sultan Suleyman I was affiliated. Sultan Suleyman I built a mosque/tekke in Eyüp for Baba Haydar (d. 1550), another influential Istanbul Sufi, and his khalifa, Ubeydullah Ahrar. This mosque/tekke complex served as a guesthouse for the Naqshibandi Sufis coming from Transoxiana. Ahmed Buhari, who came from Bukhara to Istanbul in 1543–1553, established a tekke in Unkapanı and continued his services in this tekke. Mehmed Nurullah Efendi (d. 1569), also known as Yorgancı (Quilt Maker) Emir because of his profession, came to Istanbul in 1564/1565 and served in a tekke founded in Ayakapısı; his son Emir İsmail Efendi succeeded him.
Ahmed Sadık Taşkendi and the Kasaniyya
With Ahmed Sadık Taşkendi (d. 1586), who seems to have had good relations with Sultan Murad III, the Kasaniyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya tariqa appears to have started to take hold in Istanbul. Ahmed Kasani (d. 1542), the founder of the Kasaniyya branch, was trained by Muhammed Kadı, one of the khalifas of Ubeydullah Ahrar, while Ahmed Sadık Taşkendi received his icazet (diploma) to be a Sufi master from Kasani’s khalifa, Muhammed Islam Cuybârî (d. 1563). After coming to Istanbul, Ahmed Sadık Efendi became head of Fatih Emir Buhari Tekke after the death of Hace Seyyid Mehmed Efendi in 1585; the leadership of the tekke was continued by Sufi masters who descended from Ahmed Sadık Efendi until the beginning of the 19th century.
Özbekler Tekke was established near Bülbülderesi in Üsküdar by Haydar Taşkendi (d. 1700), a Sufi master of the Kasaniyya branch. After Sheikh Haydar, Sheikh Mehmed Niyazi Buhari (d. 1704) became head of the tekke. Hacı Hüseyin Dede, one of khalifas of Mehmed Niyazi Efendi, continued to guide people at Üsküdar Alaca Minare Tekke, while Mehmed Ataullah Efendi, another khalifa, held a similar position at Kanlıca Ataullah Efendi Tekke. These Sufi masters contributed to the expansion of the Kasaniyya branch in Istanbul. Another representative of the Kasaniyya in Istanbul was Abdullah Nidai Efendi (d. 1760), the first Sufi master of Kaşgari Tekke in Eyüp. This tekke was run by Sufi masters from the Kasaniyya branch until the beginning of the 20th century, when it was transferred to the Khalidiyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya.
Murad Buhari and the Mujaddidiyya
With Murad Buhari (d. 1720), who came to Istanbul toward the end of the 17th century, the Mujaddidiyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya order entered the Ottoman capital. This branch, which is attributed to the Indian Sufi İmam Rabbani (Ahmad Faruki Sirhindi, d. 1624) and takes its name from İmam Rabbani’s epithet mujaddid-i alf-i thani (renovator of the second millennium), continues to influence Sufi life today.
Murad Buhari, who was invited to Istanbul while living in Damascus, received a warm welcome from scholars and government officials upon his arrival in the city in 1681. For about five years, he served in the mansion that had been given to him on Nişancıpaşa Street, Eyüp. Later, Rasih Efendi’s son, Şeyhülislam Damadzade Ahmed Efendi, invited Murad Buhari to a building that he had turned into a tekke, which had originally been built by his father, the chief judge of Anatolia, Çankırılı Mustafa Rasih Efendi, as a madrasa. Murad Buhari, who stayed in this tekke for a short time, passed on his position to Kilisli Ali Efendi and returned to Damascus in 1686. When he came back to Istanbul in 1708, Murad Buhari lived in a house in the neighborhood of Sultan Selim Mosque. Probably five years later, Grand Vizier Çorlulu Ali Pasha became concerned about the sheikh’s influence on the public and palace members, and exiled him from Istanbul on the excuse that they were sending him on hajj. In 1718, when circumstances once again allowed it, Murad Buhari returned to Istanbul and stayed in the Hüseyin Efendizade Garden and in the mansion of Nuh Efendi, the chief physician. He later moved to a tekke in Nişanca, Eyüp (Sheikh Murad Tekke). He died on 22 February 1720 and was buried in the classroom section of his tekke.
Mujaddidiyya became an influential branch due to the membership of some high-profile figures, like Murad Buhari, who were able to influence the public as well as government and madrasa circles; they gained support from some of the sheihk al-Islams, like Seyyid Feyzullah Efendi and Veliyyüddin Efendi; this participation led to a growth in popularity from the beginning of the 18th century. Mehmed Emin-i Tokadi (d. 1745) was the most important representative of the Mujaddidiyya branch in Istanbul during this century. Tokadi, who was affiliated with Ahmed Yekdest-i Cüryani in Mecca and stayed there for three years, received authorization from Abdurrahim-i Buhari, one of the khalifas of Cüryani; he then worked as the keeper of Eyüp Sultan Tomb and continued teaching for a long time. He never became a Sufi master of any tekke. However, after the death in 1743 of Kırımlı Ahmed Efendi, the Sufi master of Ayvansaray Emir Buhari Tekke, Tokadi accepted the offer of the sheikh al-Islam, Mustafa Efendi, and took up the post of head of the tekke for two years, continuing in this role until his death. Tokadi, who had his disciple Müstakimzade Süleyman Sadeddin Efendi translate İmam Rabbanî’s Maktûbât into Turkish, died on 12 September 1745 and was buried in the cemetery of Pîrî Paşa (Soğukkuyu) Mosque in Zeyrek.
Some of the sheikh al-Islams in the 18th century, such as İshak Efendi, Damadzade Ahmed Efendi, Seyyid Mustafa Efendi, Mehmed Salih Efendi, and Salihefendizade Mehmed Emin Efendi, became affiliated with the Naqshibandiyya, while some had tekkes built for the tariqa. It is also evident that many important state officials, including Sultan Abdulhamid I, Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha, Grand Vizier Köse Bahir Mustafa Pasha, the defterdar (finance minister) Merami Ahmed Efendi, the dârüssaâde agha (chief eunuch) Hacı Beşir Agha, the Anadolu muhasebecisi (Anatolian accountant) Murtaza Efendi, the beylerbeyi of Maraş, Abdullah Pasha, the kazasker Damadzade Mehmed Murad Efendi, Yeğen Mehmed Pasha, and Seyyid Abdullah Efendi all were affiliated with the Naqshibandiyya or financially supported it in various ways, for example establishing tekkes.
During the Turkish Republic, the Mujaddidiyya was represented in Istanbul by the scholar Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan Efendi from Silistre (d. 1959), who received authorization from Sheikh Salahuddin b. Siracüddin from Uzbekistan (d. 1910).
Halid-i Bağdadi and Khalidiyya Tariqa
In the first half of the 19th century, the Khalidiyya branch emerged, led by Mevlana Halid-i Bağdadi (d. 1826), from the Naqshibandiye-Mujaddidiyya chain. This branch quickly spread throughout Istanbul through the efforts of Bağdadi’s khalifas. Before his disciples and khalifas arrived in Istanbul, Mahmud Can, a Sufi master from India, had already come to Istanbul and influenced many people, including members of the palace. Şumnulu Ali Efendi, the Sufi sheikh of Bâlâ Tekke in the Silivrikapı district of Fatih, the reisülkurra Abdullah Eyyübi, and the calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa İzzet received authorization from him. However, Mahmud Can’s activities in Istanbul did not last long, as Halid-i Bağdadi’s khalifas took his place. Abdülfettah el-Akri from the Üsküdar Alaca Minare Tekke and Ali Talib Efendi, who served at Murad Molla Tekke, renewed their Sufi training in the Khalidiyya order. In this way, Naqshibandiyya started to be represented in Istanbul and its environs by members of the Khalidiyya branch.
Muhammed Salih, the first khalifa sent by Halid-i Bağdadi to Istanbul, was removed from his position as khalifa because he did not allow anybody who was not a member of the Khalidiyya inside the tekke; Abdülvehhab es-Sûsî was appointed to replace him. After he in turn was removed from this position, İzmirli Ahmed Eğribozi was appointed; the spread of the Khalidiyya in the Ottoman bureaucracy is attributed to him. The documentary record indicates that şeyhülislams, like Mekkizade Mustafa Asım and Mehmed Refik Efendi, as well as other prominent people like Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, Said Pasha, Davud Pasha, Gürcü Necib Pasha, Namık Pasha, and Musa Saffeti, were also affiliated with the Khalidiyya.
The rapid spread and political influence of the Khalidiyya in Istanbul caused some problems in administrative circles. Because of this, in 1828, Sultan Mahmud II exiled almost all members of the order from Istanbul to Sivas.
The oldest Khalidiyya tekke in Istanbul was İsmet Efendi Tekke. This was established by Yanyalı Mustafa İsmet Efendi (d. 1872), who was a khalifa of Abdullah Mekki, who in turn was a khalifa of Halid-i Bağdadi; the tekke was established in Fatih-Çarşamba in 1853. Among the disciples of İsmet Efendi, who promoted the Khalidiyya in Istanbul, were some officials including Memduh Pasha. İsmet Efendi was replaced by Halil Nurullah Efendi; after him, leadership passed to Ali Rıza Bezzaz Efendi and then Ahıskavi Ali Haydar Efendi.
A Sufi sheikh at the Üsküdar Alaca Minare Tekke, Ahmed Ziyaeddin Gümüşhanevî (d. 1893), who was a khalifa of Ahmed Ervadi, who in turn was a khalifa of Halid-i Bağdadi and known as the mufti of Trablusşam, played an important role in Turkey’s political, social, and religious life. He served in the Gümüşhanevi Tekke, which had been transformed from the Fatma Sultan Mosque in Cağaloğlu by establishing the post of Sufi sheikh in 1859; Ahmed Ziyaeddin Gümüşhanevi took on 116 khalifas, thus playing an important role in the spread of the Khalidiyya. Leadership then passed, in turn, to Hasan Hilmi Efendi, İsmail Necati Efendi, Dağıstanlı Ömer Ziyaeddin Efendi, and Tekirdağlı Mustafa Feyzi Efendi. Mehmed Zahid Kotku (d. 1980), who was trained by Ömer Ziyaeddin Efendi (d. 1920) and served as the imam of the İskender Paşa Mosque in Fatih, influenced many religious scholars, teachers, authors, and artists. Some of his adherents were active in politics; these included a prime minister, other ministers, members of parliament, and other high-ranking officials.
Esad Erbili (d. 1931), whose line of succession goes back to Halid-i Bağdadi through Seyyid Taha Hakkari, was one of the important Khalidiyya sheikhs who served in Istanbul. Erbili, who also was a member of the Meclis-i Meşayih, which was established to investigate the tekkes near the end of the Ottoman state, served in the Kelami Tekke in the Odabaşı neighborhood in the Şehremini district. He was exiled in 1900 by Sultan Abdulhamid II and returned to Istanbul in 1908 after the declaration of the Second Constitutional Period (II. Meşrutiyet). He served as a Sufi sheikh not only for the Kelami Tekke, which he had reconstructed, but also for the Selimiye Tekke, located in Çiçekçi, Üsküdar. His son, Mehmed Ali Efendi, was appointed to the Selimiye Tekke as his deputy. Esad Efendi worked for the foundation of the Cemiyet-i Sufiyye (Association of Sufis) after the Meşrutiyet from the Kelami Tekke; Esad Efendi was the second president of the Cemiyet. After all tekkes and zaviyes were closed, he was kept under continuous police surveillance and confined to his house. He was accused of being involved with the Menemen Incident in March 1930. He and his son Mehmed Ali Efendi were taken to Menemen, where they stood trial and were sentenced to death. His sentence was reduced to life imprisonment due to his advanced age, but his son was executed. Sheikh Mahmud Sami Ramazanoğlu (d. 1984) was another Khalidiyya sheikh who lived in Istanbul.
Another Sufi sheikh whose line of succession goes back to Halid-i Bağdadi via Seyyid Taha Hakkari was Sheikh Abdülhakim Arvasi (d. 1943). He was appointed to serve in the Kaşgari Tekke in Eyüp in 1919. Arvasi, who at the same time taught courses on Sufism at Madrassa al-Mutahassisin, ended his involvement with the tariqa, instead continuing to give sermons on Sufism at the tekke, which he had turned into his home. Arvasi was arrested and accused of involvement in the Menemen Incident and tried at Menemen; he was acquitted.
Hacı Feyzullah Efendi from Silistre (d. 1875), who was trained by Halid-i Bağdadi’s khalifa Memiş Efendi (Muhammed Kudsi, d. 1852), served in a tekke which he himself had established in the Fatih Halıcılar district of Istanbul. He attracted the attention of important people like the poet Leskofçalı Galib and Mehmed Emin Pasha, who joined his order. Muhammed b. Abdullah Hânî (d. 1862), a khalifa of Halid-i Bağdadi, came to Istanbul and met with Sultan Abdulmecid at the invitation of Musa Safveti Pasha and attracted many disciples there. Osman Siraceddin es-Sani, the grandson of Osman Siraceddin Efendi (d. 1866), another khalifa of Bağdadi, came to Istanbul in 1986, settled in Büyükçekmece Hadımköy district, and continued his services from there.
Another Khalidiyya tekke was established by Koca Hüsrev Pasha and Mustafa Saffet Pasha.
The Bayamiyya, which was founded by Hacı Bayram-ı Veli in Anatolia in the 15th century, became prestigious through the efforts of Sheikh Akşemseddin, who carried out the girding-of-the-sword ceremony for Sultan Mehmed II. Akşemseddin helped increase the spiritual power of both the sultan and the army during the most distressing times of the siege of Istanbul and strengthened the sultan’s determination by writing him letters that gave glad tidings of the conquest. Akşemseddin, who delivered the first Friday prayer at the Ayasofya Mosque after the conquest, also discovered, at Mehmed II’s request, the burial place of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, a martyr who died during one of the earliest Muslim sieges.
Following the conquest, the sultan wanted to go into seclusion under the guidance of Akşemseddin, like a dervish, but the sheikh discouraged this, warning the sultan that he would not be able to carry out his duties as a leader and telling him that he could gain the same spiritual reward for being a just ruler as he would for seclusion. When the sheikh understood that the sultan was determined to do this, he left Istanbul and moved to Göynük. However, Mehmed II wanted to build a mosque and tekke in the name of Akşemseddin in Istanbul. After the sheikh moved to Göynük, Bayramiyye lost its influence.
After Hacı Bayram-ı Veli, Akşemseddin developed the branch of Shamsiyya (d. 1459) in Bayramiyya; the branch of Malamiyya was developed by Ömer Dede Sikkini (d. 1475), and Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi (d. 1628) developed the branch of Jalwatiyya. The first representative of Shamsiyya in Istanbul after Mehmed II’s reign was Sheikh Yavsi.
Sheikh Yavsi and Yavsi Baba Tekke
With the Yavsi Baba Tekke, which was established by Sultan Bayezid II for the father of Şeyhülislam Ebussuud Efendi, Muhyiddin Muhammed Yavsi (d. 1514), who was a sheikh of the Bayramiyya tariqa, Bayramiyya started to take hold in Istanbul. Before coming to Istanbul, Sheikh Yavsi served in Amasya; among those who affiliated with his tariqa in Amasya was the governor of Amasya, Prince Bayezid (later Sultan Bayezid II). Another Bayrami sheikh from whom Bayezid received Sufi training was Baba Yusuf Seferihisari, one of Akşemseddin’s khalifas. Baba Yusuf is also known as the sheikh who girded Sultan Bayezid with the sultanate sword.
Because Muhyiddin Yavsi was the sheikh who trained Sultan Bayezid II, he was respected by state officials and known as the sultan’s sheikh. He served in his tekke in Istanbul until the end of Bayezid’s reign and returned to his hometown, İskilip, in 1512, where he continued to serve as a sheikh. At first, his khalifa Muslihuddin Sirozi replaced him in Istanbul, and then Müeyyedzade Abdurrahim took over. Before Müeyyedzade affiliated with Sufism, he had studied with prominent scholars like Sinan Pasha and Hocazade and had taught for 18 years, from the beginning of Sultan Suleyman I’s reign. After Müeyyedzade’s death in 1537/1538, Muslihuddin Mustafa became the sheikh of the tekke; Sheikh Muhyiddin Mehmed b. Bahaeddin, also known as Bahaeddinzade, became the sheikh of the tekke after him.
Bahaeddinzade was also a scholar who studied sciences at a madrasa. He wrote the commentary al-Qawl al-Fasl on Abu Hanifa’s al-Fiqh al-Akbar and authored several other books, such as Risalah al-Wahdat al-Wujudiyya, Sharh Asma al-Husna, and Risalah Sirr al-Qadar. The record indicates that he granted an icazet from the Bayramiyya tariqa to Sheikh al-Islam Ebussuud Efendi. While he was serving as the sheikh, like other sheikhs, he was oppressed by the grand vizier, İbrahim Pasha. When he spoke publicly about this, people tried to silence him, but Bahaeddinzade challenged them, stating: “What kind of penalty will be given to me? If I am killed, I will become a martyr. If I am imprisoned, it will be khalwa and uzla [solitude and isolation, which were considered beneficial to a devout Moslem]. If I am sent into exile, it will be my hijrah [migration, an emulation of the Prophet Muhammad]. In any case, I hope to receive spiritual rewards from Allah.”
After Bahaeddinzade Efendi, Sheikh Abdurrahman Hatifi from Edirne took over as sheikh, followed by Sheikh Yavsi’s son and khalifa, Sheikh Nasrullah (d. June 1567). Nasrullah Efendi was the last sheikh to serve at the Yavsi Baba Tekke in the name of the Bayramiyya. After his death, the control of the tekke was transferred to members of the Khalwatiyya and it became known as the Sivasi Tekke due to the service of Abdülmecid Sivasi there.
Himmet Efendi Tekke and the Himmatiyya
After the Yavsi Baba Tekke in Istanbul, the Bayramiyya-Shamsiyya tariqa regained its vitality in the second half of the 17th century with the Himmet Efendi Tekke. This facility, which began operating as part of the mosque built by İbrahim Efendi, the defterdar (minister of finance) of the era of Mehmed IV, in Şehremini, Fatih, is also known as the Himmetzade Tekke. Himmet Efendi (d. 1684), who was the first sheikh of the tekke and to whom the Himmatiyya branch of the Shamsiyya tariqa is attributed, completed his madrasa education before he became affiliated with the Sufi path. He received an icazet from Bolulu Hacı Ahmed Efendi, a sheikh of the Bayramiyya-Shamsiyya tariqa, and then started to guide people in the aforementioned tekke, which had been built for and named after him. In addition to his activities in this tekke, Himmet Efendi delivered sermons at the Kasım Pasha Mosque and the Üsküdar Davutpaşa Mosque. After almost half a century of service, Himmet Efendi died on February 3, 1684, and was buried in the Bezcizade Muhyiddin Efendi Tomb, located in the Divitçiler district of Üsküdar. The tekke that was later built next to his grave—known by various names, including Bezcizade Muhyiddin Efendi Tekke, Salı Tekke, Himmetzade Tekke, and Himmet Efendi Tekke—became one of the important centers of the Himmatiyya branch. His tekke in Şehremini, which was taken over by his son Abdullah Efendi (d. 1710), also known as Himmetzade Derviş Abdi, remained under the control of this family until the closure of dervish lodges and convents in 1925. After Abdullah Efendi, the following individuals served as sheikh: Abdüssamed Efendi (d. 1737), Mehmed Nureddin Efendi (d. 1766/1767), Mehmed Mecdeddin Efendi (d. 1800), Bahaeddin Efendi (d. 1805), Mehmed Muhyiddin Efendi (d. 1843), Kerameddin Efendi (d. 1857), Abdülhay Efendi (d. 1858), Mecdeddin Efendi (d. 1872), Abdüşşekur Mahfi Efendi (d. 1886), and Mehmed Hüsameddin Efendi (d. 1916).
Himmet Efendi’s descendants, who formed a large and influential family, served as the sheikhs in most of the Bayramiyya tekkes in Istanbul; the Himmet Efendi Tekke also remained under the control of the Himmetzade family. The Himmet Efendi Tekke held an important place in artistic life of Istanbul, particularly in relation to Sufi music. The mystical poems of the sheikh and poet Himmet Efendi were composed by Hafız Post, Sütçüzade Hafız Abdüllatif Efendi, Ali Şîruganî, Hacı Arif Bey, and others. For centuries, these poems were recited not only in Bayramiyya tekkes, but also in tekkes of other tariqas that practiced the devran in Istanbul. Himmet Efendi’s son, Abdullah Efendi, was also a poet, composer, and calligrapher. The most famous musician trained by Abdullah Efendi was the composer Şîve Ahmed Çelebi, who was the zakirbaşı (head of dhikr ceremonies) in the tekke. Hüsameddin Efendi, one of the last sheikhs of the tekke, was also a prominent zakirbaşı.
Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi and the Jalwatiyya
Another important center of Bayramiyya in Istanbul was the Hüdayi Asitane in Üsküdar. Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi (d. 1628), who established the Jalwatiyya branch of the Bayramiyya tariqa and was the first sheikh of the asitane, came to Istanbul after staying in Thrace and the Balkans following the death of his sheikh, Muhyiddin Mehmed Üftade, in 1580. He was appointed as the sheikh of the Küçük Ayasofya Mosque Tekke by Şeyhülislam Hoca Sadeddin Efendi. In addition to his position at the tekke, Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi was also a preacher at Fatih Mosque and taught Qur’anic exegesis and hadith. After eight years of service, Hüdayi purchased the land of Hüdayi Tekke in Üsküdar in 1589. To oversee the construction of the tekke, he moved to the neighborhood of Rum Mehmed Pasha Mosque. The construction of his tekke was completed in 1595. In 1599, he left his position as a preacher at Fatih Mosque and began preaching at the Üsküdar Mihrimah Sultan (İskele) Mosque on Thursdays. During the same years, he constructed a çilehane and bathhouse in Bulgurlu village. This village, Ilıksuluk fields, and Gaziler Hill were later registered in Aziz Mahmud Hüdayî’s name by Sultan Ahmed I.
Hüdayi, who is said to have married the granddaughter of Sultan Suleyman I and the daughter of Mihrimah Sultan, Ayşe Sultan (d. 1598), delivered the first Friday sermon at the opening ceremony of Sultanahmet Mosque in 1616 and agreed to give sermons at the mosque on the first Monday of every month.
Hüdayi commanded great influence not only among the public, but also among government administrators. He established close relationships with the sultans who reigned while he was alive -such as Murad III, Ahmed I, and Osman II- and wrote letters and offered advice to them. He girded Sultan Murad IV with the sword of the sultanate. He also joined the Tabriz military expedition with Ferhad Pasha. From time to time, Hüdayi was invited to the palace by the sultans for discussions. The record indicates that Hüdayi’s tekke was visited by people from all classes of society and that he had 170,000 followers. Among his disciples and frequent guests were Grand Vizier Halil Pasha from Kayseri and Dilaver Pasha; officials including Hoca Sadeddin Efendi, Sunullah Efendi, Hocazade Esad Efendi, Okçuzade Mehmed Şahî Efendi, Sarı Abdullah Efendi, and Nevizade Atayi; and scholars including the famous Sufi sheikh İbrahim Efendi. The record indicates that Hüdayi had about 60 khalifas by the time he died. Through his khalifas and the approximately 30 books he wrote, Hüdayi was able to leave a religious and specifically Sufi legacy in Anatolia and the Balkans, with Istanbul at the center. His tekke in Üsküdar was the most important center of Sufism and culture in Istanbul; many scholars, intellectuals, sheikhs, and musicians were trained there. Hüdayi wrote music for the lyrics of hymns, while other hymns were written by his followers and those who loved him. These hymns were chanted in tekkes for centuries and became an inseparable part of dhikr gatherings and Sufi religious ceremonies.
The most famous of the sheikhs trained at Hüdayi Asitane was İsmail Hakkı Bursevî (d. 1725), the author of the Qur’anic exegesis Ruh al-Bayan. Bursevi, credited with establishing the Haqqiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya tariqa, came to Üsküdar in 1720 on his way back from Damascus and settled in a house that was given to him by Damad İbrahim Pasha. He continued to lead Sufi activities from his house and preached during Friday prayers at the Ahmediye Mosque, unsuccessfully. He was questioned about views that were allegedly inconsistent with the Sunni views. Although it later became apparent that the accusations against him were baseless, Bursevi left Istanbul and moved to Bursa in 1723.
The remarkable stories that were passed down from generation to generation that detailed Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi’s life and miracles ensured that his legacy would live on. He was known for welcoming visitors. His richly endowed külliye was a shelter and a place of refuge. His tomb, located in the külliye, was often visited by members of the Jalwatiyya, with a special ceremony led by the sheikh of the asitane on the eve of religious festivals; this continued until the closure of tekkes and zaviyes in 1925. His special prayer for the visitors of his tomb reads: “May they not be drowned in seas. May they not be inflicted with poverty. May they not die until they save their faith.” This prayer has made his shrine one of the most visited tombs in Istanbul after those of Eyüp Sultan, Sünbül Efendi, and Yahya Efendi. The Hüdayi Külliye was damaged during a fire in 1850 and reconstructed by Sultan Abdulmecid between 1855 and 1856.
The Jalwatiyya tariqa in Istanbul was also represented by the Salamiyya, Fanariyya, and Hashimiyya branches. The record indicates that there were about 30 tekkes affiliated with these branches in Istanbul just a few years prior to the closure of the tekkes.
Selami Ali Efendi and the Salamiyya
Selami Ali Efendi (d. 1691), who is credited with establishing the Salamiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya tariqa, was raised in Istanbul by Zakirzade Abdullah Efendi, one of the sheikhs of the Jalwatiyya. After spending some time in Bursa, Selami Ali Efendi became the seventh sheikh at the Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Asitane, after its previous sheikh, Divitçizade Mehmed Efendi, died in 1679. A year later he had an argument with the palace preacher, Vani Mehmed Efendi of the Kadizadeli family, and at Vani Efendi’s request was relieved of his duties by Sultan Mehmed IV. When Vani Efendi was exiled to Bursa following the Ottoman defeat in Vienna in 1683, Selami Ali Efendi was appointed by imperial edict to the post of the sheikh of Jalwatiyya Asitane in 1684 or 1685. He trained a number of prominent khalifas, including Bosnalı Mehmed Fevzi Efendi, Fenai Mustafa Efendi, Bilecikli Osman Efendi, Fenai Ali Efendi, and Niksarlı Mehmed Efendi.
Jalwati manners and principles were also practiced in other tekkes that had been established by Selami Ali Efendi in the districts of Fıstıkağacı, Selamsız, and Kısıklı in Üsküdar—each called the Selami Ali Efendi Tekke. Selami Ali Efendi also changed the design of the 13-stripe Jalwatiyya turban to 17 stripes.
The endowment deed of the tekke in Fıstıkağacı was registered between 1685 and 1688. This facility, called Acıbadem, Bülbülderesi, or Şücabağı Tekke, seems to have completely disappeared; in its place stands a classical mosque, the Selami Ali Efendi Mosque, which was established during the Republican era. The first sheikh of the tekke, which held its ceremonial day on Saturday, was Selami Ali Efendi, who served as sheikh of the Jalwatiyya Asitane during the same years. After him, Ali Efendi became the sheikh, followed by Bandırmalızade Küçük Hamid Efendi (d. 1758), Hamid Efendi’s son Kemal Efendi, Göynüklü İbrahim Efendi, İbrahim Dede from Mawlawiyya, and Hafız Mehmed Emin Efendi (d. 1892), who was also the imam and sheikh at Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Tekke. Mehmed Hilmi Efendi, the assistant sheikh of Acıbadem Tekke in Üsküdar, was one of the Jalwatiyya sheikhs, who was invited to the wedding of the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II.
The endowment deed of the tekke that was established in Selamsız was registered in 1681. A mosque/tekke in the same district, established by Selami Ali Efendi, gave the district its name but was eventually destroyed. The first sheikh of the tekke was Kütahyalı Fenai Ali Efendi, the founder of the Fanaiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya tariqa, and one of Selami Ali Efendi’s khalifas. The tekke, originally transferred from the Ramazaniyya branch of the Khalwatiyya, was returned to the Jalwatiyya in 1761, and headed by Salih Efendi (d. 1780). Later it was led by Mehmed Raşid Efendi (d. 1834), who was the founder of the Hashimiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya tariqa and one of the khalifas of Bandırmalızade Haşim Baba; when the latter became sheikh the tekke was transferred to the Hashimiyya branch.
The tekke in the Kısıklı district was the last of three tekkes to be built by Selami Ali Efendi in Üsküdar. Selami Ali Efendi, the first sheikh of the tekke, is buried there. Damad Mehmed Paşazade İzzet Ali Pasha (d. 1734) built a pulpit in the mosque, in the tevhidhane section of the tekke, and contributed to its endowment. Between 1912 and 1917, significant parts of the tekke were destroyed. After sitting in ruins for a long time during the Republican era, the wooden buildings of the tekke vanished. After Selami Efendi, his chief khalifa, Kayserili Ahmed Efendi, became sheikh of the tekke, followed by another khalifa, Niksarlı Hacı Mehmed Efendi (d. 1740), Kayserili Ahmed Efendi’s son Halil Efendi (d. 1798/1799), and Mehmed Raşid Efendi, who was the sheikh of a tekke in the Selamsız district. It appears as though the tekke was transferred to the Hashimiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya after Raşid Efendi. The sheikhs were then, respectively, Mustafa Şerefeddin Efendi (d. 1854), Ali Rıza Efendi (d. 1914), Hafız Mehmed Nurullah Efendi (d. 1917), and Mustafa İzzeddin Efendi. Selami Ali Efendi’s grave in the cemetery section of the tekke is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul today.
The Fenaiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya is attributed to Fenai Ali Efendi, one of the khalifas of Selami Ali Efendi. Fenai Ali Efendi, who increased the number of stripes in the Jalwatiyya turban, was the head of the tekke in the Selamsız district in 1692 after the death of his sheikh. With his disciples, he participated in the military campaign of the Pruth River, led by Baltacı Mehmed Pasha in 1711, where he acted as army sheikh. In 1714, he left his post to another sheikh and moved to a tekke that had been named after him, Fenai Ali Efendi Tekke, which he had built in the Pazarbaşı district of Üsküdar. After 32 years of service in this tekke, he died, and is buried next to the tekke. He was succeeded by Abdullah Rıfkı Efendi (d. 1770), Mehmed Nazif Efendi (d. 1792), Mehmed Şakir Efendi (d. 1810), Mehmed Efendi (d. 1845), Mehmed Şakir Efendi (d. 1884), İhsan Efendi, and Mehmed Şakir Efendi (d. 1951). It is reported that Fenai Ali Efendi Tekke, also known as Yaldızlı Tekke, was constructed in its final form by the daughter of Kavalalı Mehmed Ali Pasha, Zeynep Hanım, who also built the Zeynep Kamil Hospital.
Mustafa Haşim Baba (d. 1783), the accepted founder of the Hashimiyya branch of the Jalwatiyya, was the son of Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi, the sheikh at the Badırmalızade Tekke in İnadiye, Üsküdar. Mustafa Haşim Baba received Sufi training from his Jalwati father, but he later joined the Bektashi order and rose to the position of dedebabalık (the sheikh regarded as Haji Baktash’s deputy). Haşim Baba, who is also known to have a Malami character, was revered both by Baktashis and Jalwatis due to his multidimensional personality. After he was buried in the Bandırmalızade Tekke, where he had served as sheikh, the tekke started to serve as the asitane of the Hashimiyya.
Bandırmalızade Tekke, established by Grand Vizier Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha in 1732 for Sheikh Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi, was reconstructed in 1755 by Grand Vizier Şehlagöz Ahmed Pasha and later renovated by Firari Hasanpaşazade Abdullah Pasha. The first sheikh of the tekke, Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi, after whom the tekke was named, was the son of the Jalwati sheikh Bandırmalı Hamid Efendi (d. 1726). Sheikh Hamid Efendi, on the other hand, completed his Sufi training with the Jalwati sheikh Tophaneli Veliyyüddin Efendi. Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi completed his Sufi training with his father and Erzincanlı Mustafa Efendi, the sheikh of Hüdayi Asitane, based on Jalwati methods; he became a loved and respected sheikh due to his great knowledge and wisdom. Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi trained his sons, Küçük Hamid Efendi and Haşim Baba, as well as his son-in-law Dolayobalı Sheikh Veliyyüddin Efendi. Küçük Hamid Efendi served as sheikh at the Selami Ali Efendi Tekke in Fıstıkağacı and then returned to his hometown, Bandırma, where he died. After Yusuf Nizameddin Efendi, his other son Mustafa Haşim Baba (d. 1783) became the sheikh at Bandırmalızade Tekke. After Haşim Baba, Sheikh Mehmed Galib Efendi became the sheikh at the tekke.
Ömer Dede Sikkînî and the Malamiyya
The Malamiyya branch, established by Ömer Dede Sikkînî (d. 1475), split into a separate order which was based on love, rapture, and sohbet (Sufi conversation); however, it dropped some concepts and practices such as the turban, mantle, dhikr, wird (constantly repeated dhikr), riyazah (ascetic discipline), and khalwah (devotional retreat). The order’s ideas were largely based on the concept of wahdat al-wujud (unity of being), and the sheikhs developed the concepts of haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya and qutb (the perfect human being, al-insan al-kamil) in the light of the concept of wahdat al-wujud; they expressed extreme love for ahl al-bayt (the family of the Prophet). To distinguish them from the Malamiyya movement (Malamatiyya or “Malamis of the first period”), which appeared in the ninth century in Khorasan, they are called “Malamis of the second period.” The first Malami tekke in Istanbul was constructed by Suleyman the Magnificent next to the Bozdoğan aqueduct, and the post of sheikh in the tekke was given to Sheikh Yakub Helvai. Saçlı Emir Tekke (Haşimî Osman Efendi Tekke), Paşmakçı Tekke, and Lagarî Mehmed Efendi Tekke (Taşlıburun Tekke) were also affiliated with the Malamiyya.
The order could be seen as accepting Sunni views, based on statements made by Pir Ali Aksarayi, who was considered one of the Malamiyya qutbs, and those of his disciple Sarban Ahmed in the 16th century, and Sütçü Beşir Agha, a Malami sheikh in the 17th century. However, some Malami views, including their beliefs about the union of Muhammad and Ali, reluctance to adhere to theological or legal schools, and views about tawalla (love) and tabarra (aloofness), did not conform to Sunni principles. Oğlan Sheikh İsmail Maşuki, who was active in the 16th century in Istanbul, was charged with heresy and was executed together with his 12 disciples. In the 17th century, Sütçü Beşir Agha was executed with his 40 disciples.
The documentary record indicates that Grand Vizier Halil Pasha and Şeyhülislam Ebülmeyamin Mustafa Efendi were affiliated with İdris-i Muhtefî from Malamiyya; Grand Vizier Ferhad Pasha affiliated with Lamekani Hüseyin Efendi, while Şeyhülislam Paşmakçızade Ali Efendi affiliated with Bursalı Seyyid Haşim Efendi in the 17th century. The record also indicates that Paşmakçızade, who rose to the position of qutb, trained Grand Vizier Şehid Ali Pasha, who became the qutb after his sheikh’s death in 1712. The alliance between the Malamis and the Naqshibandi-Mujaddidis was also remarkable during this period. According to some researchers, the Naqshibandi-Mujaddidi sheikh, Murad Buhari, affiliated with Paşmakçızade, while according to other researchers, Paşmakçızade affiliated with the Naqshibandi-Mujaddidi sheikh Murad Buhari. In this way, close ties were established between the two orders. In the 19th century, with Seyyid Muhammed Nur al-Arabi (d. 1888), “the third period of Malamiyya,” also known as Malamiyya-i Nuriyya, began. The views expressed in his works suggest that Nur al-Arabi at first followed the Sunni path but then diverged.
The Mawlawiyya, which was developed by Mawlana Jalaladdin-i Rumi, took root in Istanbul after the conquest when the Kalenderhane Mosque in Vezneciler was transformed into a Mawlawi lodge. After this time, the mevlevihane (Mawlawi convent) in Galata (Kulekapı), which was built in 1491 on the hunting land of Grand Vizier İskender Pasha with the permission of Sultan Bayezid II, became the first mevlevihane in Istanbul.
Even though mevlevihanes in Istanbul held special importance in the Ottoman Sufi culture, which was centered in the capital city, relatively few mevlevihanes opened in the city compared to the tekkes of many other orders. This was primarily because the Mawlawiyya spoke to a higher class of people in terms of intellect, literature, music, wisdom, and manners. In general, mevlevihanes were constructed as large complexes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, mevlevihanes in Istanbul became more like schools for music; the most prominent performers of classical Turkish music were trained in them, including Ali Nutki, Osman Selahaddin, Kutbünnâyî Osman, Selim, Abdülbaki Nasır, Hamamizade İsmail, Ahmed Celaleddin, Zekai Dede, Fahreddin Dede, Itri, Sultan Selim III, and Rauf Yekta Bey. Because scholars and artists—such as İsmail Rusuhi Ankaravi, Şeyh Galib, Ali Nutki, Ahmed Celaleddin, Nazif, and Abdülbaki—were buried in the tombs and cemeteries of the tekkes where they had served as sheikhs, the Mawlawi tekkes in Istanbul were regarded as more significant than those in other cities.
The Mawlawiyya was one of the orders supported by Suleyman the Magnificent and his son Selim II. Suleyman dismissed Çivizade Muhyiddin Mehmed Efendi from the post of chief jurist for issuing a fatwa stating that Mawlana Jalaladdin-i Rumi was a heretic. With many officials among its members, the Mawlawiyya spread mostly among prominent members of the city. For instance, during the 16th and 17th centuries, mevlevihanes were established by Grand Viziers Pîrî Mehmed Pasha, Ohrili Hüseyin Pasha, Bayram Pasha, and Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha; the viziers Çoban Mustafa Pasha, Emir Abdülhamid Murtaza, Ulvân Mirza, and Fûlâd Mirza; Yakovalı Hasan Pasha, the governor of Ankara; Cenabi Ahmed Pasha, the governor of Damascus; as well as Hasan Pasha, Emir Gazi Ebu Seb, Malkoç Mehmed Efendi, Muslu Agha, and Türkmen Mustafa Agha. Mustafa III rebuilt the Galata Mevlevihane, which had burned down during the Tophane fire. Selim III, Mahmud II, and Mehmed V (Sultan Reşad) were also affiliated with the Mawlawiyya. During the reign of Mahmud II, thanks to a Mawlawi official, Halet Efendi, many mevlevihanes were restored and sustained and their sheikhs were given salaries. Likewise, during the reigns of Abdulhamid II and Mehmed V, many mevlevihanes were repaired and restored. The girding-of-the-sword ceremonies for the sultans Abdulmecid, Abdulaziz, Abdulhamid II, and Mehmed V were also led by Mawlawis. Mawlawis supported and provided social assistance for the Balkan wars, World War I, and the Battle of the Dardanelles. When a holy war was declared after World War I broke out, an all-volunteer military unit called Mücâhidîn-i Mevleviye Alayı was established under the command of Veled Çelebi and fought in Palestine.
A second Mawlawi tekke was established in Yenikapı in 1597 by Malkoç Mehmed Efendi, a senior member of the janissary corps, in a large area of the district that is known today as Mevlanakapı, near the Khalwatiyya Merkez Efendi Tekke. The opening ceremony for this tekke was attended by Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha and the janissary commander, Tırnakçı Hasan Agha, as well as many sheikhs; this was the largest center of Mawlawiyya in the capital and had all the features of a large complex.
The first sheikh of the Yenikapı Mevlevihane was Kemal Ahmed Dede (d. 1601), one of the khalifas of Hüsrev Çelebi, the sheikh of the Mawlawi center in Konya. After Kemal Ahmed Dede died, having served as sheikh for four years, Doğani Ahmed Dede became the sheikh of the mevlevihane. His period of service is important to the history of both the Mawlawiyya and Istanbul. The endowment deed (waqfiyya) of the tekke was written in the early years of Doğani Ahmed Dede’s tenure in the name of Malkoç Mehmed Efendi by the Rumelian chief judge, Esad Efendi. The assets of the waqf were registered as the main sources of income for the tekke. The activities of Ahmed Dede deeply influenced Sultan Murad IV and attracted members of the palace to the mevlevihane, despite pressure from those who opposed Sufism, namely the Kadızadelis.
After Doğani Ahmed Dede, Sabuhi Ahmed Dede (d. 1644) became the sheikh of the tekke. After his death, one of the Mawlawi sheikhs who had written a divan, Câmî Ahmed Dede, replaced him. Câmî Ahmed Dede trained the famous music expert Buhurizade Itri (d. 1711) at a time when music was banned due to the influence of the Kadızadelis. Itri Efendi, one of the most prominent figures in the history of Turkish music, was not only known for his singing, poetry, and calligraphy, but also for the fine music he composed.
After Câmî Ahmed Dede, Kârî Ahmed Dede, and Naci Ahmed Dede (d. 1711) served as sheikhs at the tekke. Naci Ahmed Dede, also known as Pendari, first served as the sheikh of the mevlevihane in Beşiktaş before being appointed to the mevlevihane in Yenikapı in 1679. After the ban on the sema was removed in 1684, Naci Ahmed Dede taught Mawlana Jalaleddin-i Rumi’s Mathnawi at Fatih Mosque.
After Naci Ahmed Dede, Yusuf Nesib Dede, Peçevizade Arifi Ahmed Dede, and Kerestecizade Mehmed Dede served as sheikh of the tekke; toward the middle of the 18th century, the joint administration of the mevlevihanes in Istanbul was transferred to the household of a strong sheikh family, that of Mustafa Safi Dede. The sheikh of the Yenikapı Mevlevihane came from one of the most important families in Mawlawi history, the family of Ebu Bekir Dede; they held this post from 1746 until the closure of the tekkes in 1925. During the tenure of Ali Nutki Dede (d. 1804), the Yenikapı Mevlevihane trained two of the greatest figures of Turkish cultural history, Sheikh Galib (d. 1799) and Hamamizade İsmail Dede (d. 1846). Sheikh Galib, one of the greatest of the classical Turkish poets of the late period, completed his Sufi training in this tekke and was appointed sheikh of the Galata Mevlevihane. İsmail Dede Efendi, one of the most prominent figures in the history of Turkish music, who was also known for his singing, teaching, and in particular his skill in music composition, was trained by Nutki Dede in 1799. Yenikapı Mevlevihane was used as a hospital during the Balkan Wars and the Battle of Dardanelles; members of the tekke joined a military unit composed of Mawlawi dervishes, known as the Mücâhidîn-i Mevleviye Alayı, which was under the command of Abdülbaki Dede in World War I; this unit fought against the British in the famous Kanal Harekatı (Channel Campaign). Abdülbaki (Baykara) Dede (d. 1935) was the last sheikh of the Yenikapı Mevlevihane. During the years following the closure of the tekkes, the mevlevihane was used as a children’s home for a long period. Its wooden sema house (semahane) burned down on September 9, 1961, and the cells for the sheikhs (dedegan cells) and kitchen were set on fire on May 7, 1997. After this date, the mevlevihane was left to its fate. Restoration of the site began with the Kültür Vadisi Projesi (Culture Valley Project), carried out by Zeytinburnu Municipality in 2005; the restoration was completed with the support of the Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü (General Directorate of Endowments) in 2009. The building was given to Fatih Sultan Mehmed Foundation University, and continues to be used for educational purposes.
Beşiktaş, Maçka, and Bahariye Mevlevihanes
The Beşiktaş Mevlevihane was established by Grand Vizier Damad Ohrili Hüseyin Pasha in 1622 at the place where Çırağan Palace stands today. Ağazade (Yeniçeriağasızade) Sheikh Mehmed Hakiki Dede Efendi, the first sheikh at Gelibolu Mevlevihane, also became the sheikh of the Beşiktaş Mevlevihane. He traveled between Gelibolu and Istanbul on a small sailboat and thus was able to continue teaching. After his death in 1653, he was succeeded as sheikh by Süleyman (d. 1654), Hüseyin (d. 1660), Naci Ahmed (dismissed in 1663), Çengi Yusuf (d. 1669), Eyyübi Mehmed Memiş (d. 1723), Ahmed (d. 1764), Mehmed Sadık (d. 1764), Tokadi Abdülahad (d. 1766), Trablus Sheikh Ahmed (d. 1771), Hattat Yusuf Zühdi (d. 1817), Trablusşamlı Mahmud (d. 1819), Ermenekşeyhizade Mehmed Kadri (d. 1851), Mehmed Said (d. 1853), Hasan Nazif (d. 1862), and Hüseyin Fahreddin (d. 1911).
Selim III reconstructed the Beşiktaş Mevlevihane in 1804 as part of the expansion project of Çırağan Sahilsarayı (Shore Palace). Between 1836 and 1838, Mahmud II wanted to expand the palace; he demolished the mevlevihane, along with other charitable institutions, and annexed their land to the palace. The record indicates that the mevlevihane was moved to Musahib Abdi Bey Mansion, next to the palace. When Abdulaziz constructed a larger and more ostentatious palace in place of the Çırağan Sahilsarayı, which had been demolished by his brother Abdulmecid in 1859/1860, he demolished the mansion that was being used as a mevlevihane in 1867/1868. The Beşiktaş Mevlevihane was then temporarily moved to Karacehennem İbrahim Pasha Mansion in Fındıklı; it was moved again in 1870 to a new building on the Maçka hillside. The Maçka Mevlevihane, which was a continuation of the Beşiktaş Mevlevihane, was in turn demolished in 1874 to open space for the army barracks. Hüseyin Fahreddin Dede Efendi, then sheikh of the tekke, moved to the mevlevihane that was under construction in Bahariye, Eyüp, that same year.
The Beşiktaş Mevlevihane, which promoted a rich environment of culture and Sufism from the time it was established, received support from the sultans, in particular from Mehmed IV, Selim III, and Mahmud II; it was frequented by officials and art experts as well as many musicians and poets.
After the destruction of the Beşiktaş Mevlevihane, its last sheikh, Hüseyin Fahreddin Dede, constructed the Bahariye Mevlevihane in Eyüp during 1874–1877. Many of the followers, especially Abdulhamid II, who ascended to the throne while the mevlevihane was under construction, supported the project. After construction was completed, Abdulhamid II constructed an additional 28-room building, with two floors reserved for women; only the third floor was reserved for men. The cells for sheikhs, somathane (dining room), matbah-ı şerif (kitchen), bathhouse, restrooms, and kitchen for the harem were built at the same time. The mevlevihane, which was soon damaged due to humidity along the banks of the Golden Horn, was later repaired by the Evkaf Nezareti (Ministry of Waqfs) on the orders of Mehmed Reşad in 1910. The Bahariye Mevlevihane was neglected after the tekkes were closed; the semahane was demolished in 1935, and the harem burned down in 1938/1939. The prayer house was used for storage for many years, and the tomb collapsed that held the heirs of the last sheikh of the mevlevihane and Sheikh Hasan Nazif Efendi, Sheikh Küçük Hasan Nazif Efendi, Yenişehirli Avni Bey, and the family of Sikkezanbaşı. Early in 1970, the gate, left standing between the walls of two factories, was destroyed along with the wooden room that had been reserved for men. Some 20 graves located in the cemetery were moved to the cemetery across from the old thread factory, while others were transferred to Edirnekapı Martyrs Cemetery. Today, the restored mevlevihane is the headquarter of a private waqf.
Another Mawlawi center in Istanbul was the Kasımpaşa Mevlevihane. This mevlevihane, established by Fırıncızade Sheikh Sırrî Abdi Dede Efendi (d. 1631) in the Sururi Mehmet Efendi district of Kasımpaşa during 1623–1631, was modest compared to the others. It was ruined and repaired several times, rebuilt by Selim III in 1795, and rebuilt again in its final form in 1834 by Mahmud II. Seyfeddin Dede Efendi was the last of the 19 sheikhs, beginning with Sırrî Abdi Dede, who worked in this lodge, ending with the closure of the tekkes in 1925. Until recent times the Kasımpaşa Mevlevihane was occupied by poor and homeless people from the neighborhood; the wooden parts were used as firewood, and finally a fire broke out. Today the site is a part of the yard of Sururi Elementary School. There is no trace left of the mevlevihane except two stone stairs and the grave of a Mawlawi.
The Üsküdar Mevlevihane was established in the Ayazma district of İmrahor by Sultanzade Halil Numan Dede, one of the sheikhs of the Galata Mevlevihane, in 1792/1793. Unlike other mevlevihanes in Istanbul, it was designed to host dervishes traveling between Istanbul and Anatolia. Mahmud II reconstructed the mevlevihane, which was restored several times during the 19th century. During the reign of Abdulmecid, some of the problems in the building were rectified in 1844, 1845, and 1851. It was reconstructed in its final form by the High Admiral Ahmed Vesim Pasha.
Numan Dede, the first sheikh of the Üsküdar Mevlevihane, was succeeded by Mehmed Hüsameddin Dede, followed by 11 more sheikhs until 1925. The last sheikh of the tekke was Ahmed Remzi (Akyürek) Dede (d. 1944). The mevlevihane is a two-floor building consisting of a semahane, section for men, harem, matbah-ı şerif, tomb, and dervish rooms. Today, a section of the mevlevihane serves as a mosque and other sections are used by a waqf that deals with classical Turkish art.
The Zayniyya was another Sufi order that was influential in Istanbul. Konyalı Muslihuddin Mustafa (Sheikh Vefa, d. 1491), one of the Zayni sheikhs, probably came to Istanbul in 1465 and worked in the city until his death.
Sheikh Vefa and Vefa Tekke
After coming from Konya, a mosque/tevhidhane complex and a dual bathhouse were built by Sultan Mehmed II for Sheikh Vefa in the district named after the sheikh. The sultan also gave the sheikh a field near the mosque with all of the buildings on it and Kepelim village in the town of Çorlu. Sheikh Vefa built dervish rooms, a library, houses for dervishes, and an imaret (soup kitchen) on a field near the mosque. Then he endowed the lands given to him by Mehmed II and his books in July 1485. Records indicate that the sultan, Grand Vizier Karamani Mehmed Pasha, and other officials respected Sheikh Vefa. The grand vizier reportedly had the sheikh prepare a type of talisman called wafq or vefk; the grand vizier wore this on his head to protect him from accidents and other trouble. As a result, sultans and other administrators had the sheikh prepare talismans for them as well.
This attracted attention from many people who followed Sheikh Vefa at that time, including prominent scholars like Sinan Pasha (d. 1486), Molla Lütfi (d. 1495), Veliyyüddinoğlu Ahmed Pasha (d. 1496/1497), and Şeyhülislam Zenbilli Ali Efendi (d. 1526), as well as from outstanding artists and poets such as Safayi, Balıkesirli Zâtî, Edirneli Sabâyî, Rumelili Şem‘i, Hattat Kasım, and Hattat Abdülmuttalip b. Seyyid Murtaza.
Sinan Pasha (Sinanüddin Yusuf b. Hızır), a disciple of Sheikh Vefa, was an important scholar; he was the son of Hızır Bey, the first judge of Istanbul. Because Mehmed II raised Sinan Pasha to the position of vizier and grand vizier after he had served as the tutor to the sultan, he became known as Hoca Pasha. Tokatlı Molla Lütfi was a student of Sinan Pasha and teacher of Kemalpaşazade. When Sinan Pasha was at the office of the vizier, he recommended Tokatlı Molla Lütfi to Sultan Mehmed II and arranged for his appointment as palace librarian. Tokatlı Molla Lütfi then was promoted to the professorship of the Sahn madrasas during Sultan Bayezid II’s reign. Records indicate that Tokatlı Molla Lütfi used to go to the madrasa and teach from the morning until late afternoon, and then went to Sheikh Vefa Tekke to teach the book of hadith, Sahih of al-Bukhari, before returning to his house. Ahmed Pasha, another name mentioned above, was the son of Veliyyüddin Efendi, one of the chief judges during the reign of Murad II. After working at various madrasas, he became a chief judge prior to the reign of Mehmed II; he then became a musahib (gentleman-in-waiting) and teacher for the sultan. Ahmed Pasha, who was rewarded with the title of vizier for his services to the state, took responsibility for strengthening the army’s morale during the conquest of Constantinople. Zenbilli Ali Efendi (Ali Cemali), another prominent disciple of Sheikh Vefa, served as chief jurist (şeyhülislam) under three powerful sultans -Bayezid II, Selim I, and Suleyman I. There was also a strong friendship and mutual respect between Sheikh Vefa and Molla Hüsrev (d. 1480). The record indicates that Sheikh Vefa sometimes visited Molla Hüsrev, who was praised by Mehmed II as the “Abu Hanifa of this era.”
Sheikh Vefa was known for his spiritual influence, modesty, wisdom and spirited talks; his knowledge of various sciences and his artistic talent were also evident due to the respect and love shown to him not only by the people but also by high-ranking officials, prominent scholars, poets, and artists. Sheikh Vefa is said to have been knowledgeable in both zahir (exoteric) and batın (esoteric) religious sciences, and to have attained the level of a master jurist (mujtahid) and written poems in three languages—Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. He was in particular skilled in the fields of music and astronomy, and was an expert in preparing talismans against accidents and troubles. The books he wrote display his knowledge in various fields. For example, Rûznâme is about astronomy, while Melhame is about people’s behavior in accordance with the positions of the stars and planets. The fact that Christians who disagreed about the correct date for Easter asked Sheikh Vefa to determine it indicates that his expertise in astronomy was accepted by all. Sheikh Vefa composed one of the two 11-folio evrads (litanies) that were attributed to him (see Süleymaniye Library, Yazma Bağışlar, no. 222); he also composed non-religious music.
Sheikh Vefa also led the funeral prayer for Mehmed II; the funeral was attended by Bayezid II.
The Vafaiyya branch of Zayniyya, which developed after Vefa Tekke and Sheikh Vefa, struggled to remain influential after the sheikh’s death. This can be clearly seen in the lack of information about Ali Dede, who worked for a long time after Sheikh Vefa at the main tekke, which had become a popular place for classes. After Ali Dede, the Vafaiyya was represented by other sheikhs, such as Davud Vefai Rumi and Abdüllatif Vefai Rumi. Political developments contributed to the order’s loss of influence in Istanbul. Developments that took place during Sheikh Vefa’s lifetime are described in the following text.
While Bayezid II was governor of Amasya, he learned that Grand Vizier Karamani Mehmed Pasha, with whom Sheikh Vefa had good relations, supported Prince Cem; Bayezid II complained to his father, Sultan Mehmed II; this could have led to Karamani Mehmed Pasha’s elimination. To get rid of the grand vizier, Bayezid II asked for spiritual assistance from the Khalwatiyya sheikh, Çelebi Halife. Together with his followers, Çelebi Halife made every effort to help Bayezid II. He told him that the grand vizier was being protected by a talisman that Sheikh Vefa had prepared for him but that he and his dervishes had managed to break the protection and that the grand vizier would soon be eliminated. Soon after this, Mehmed II died suddenly and the grand vizier was killed by the janissaries.
It appears that, when Bayezid II ascended to the throne after this incident, Sheikh Vefa preferred to remain distant and not pursue a close relationship like that which he had had with his father, Mehmed II. Bayezid II recognized this and tried to soften their relationship; for example, he invited the sheikh to his daughter’s wedding. However, Sheikh Vefa refused the invitation and suggested that the sultan invite another Zayniyya sheikh, Muhyiddin Kocevi. Sultan Bayezid II reportedly did not see the sheikh often after this. When the sheikh died in 1491, the sultan attended his funeral, opened his shroud and looked at his face, despite objections that such a practice was not in accordance with the rules of Islam. Sheikh Vefa’s attitude toward the sultan did not seem to negatively affect the tekke, but after the support it had enjoyed during the reign of Mehmed II, the tekke lost its identity as one of the influential Sufi centers in Istanbul.
Âşıkpaşazade and Âşık Paşa Tekke
Another Zayniyya center was Âşık Paşa Tekke, founded by Hüseyin b. Abdullah, one of the aghas of the Old Palace during the reign of Mehmed II; he established the tekke for the historian Âşıkpaşazade (Derviş Ahmed Âşıkî, d. after 1484). Endowments were established for this tekke by Fatma Sultan, or Sufi Sultan Hanım, the daughter of Sultan Bayezıd II, at the beginning of 16th century. The tekke was also known as Seyyid Velayet Tekke after its second sheikh.
Âşıkpaşazade, who was trained by Abdüllatif Kudsi, one of the Zayniyya sheikhs, continued to guide people in this tekke until his death, when his disciple and son-in-law, Seyyid Velayet (d. 1522), replaced him. Seyyid Velayet was followed by his son Derviş Mehmed; after Derviş Mehmed’s death in August 1535, Seyyid Velayet’s other son, Mustafa Çelebi, became the sheikh. After Mustafa Çelebi (date of death unknown), Seyyid Velayet’s son-in-law Gazzalizade Abdullah Efendi (d. 1570) became the sheikh. It appears that this Zayniyya tekke was transferred to another order later. In 1785, its name was recorded as Emirler Tekke.
Muhyiddin Kocevi and the Karanlık Mosque Zaviye
In the second half of the 15th century, the zaviye of Karanlık Mosque functioned as a Zayniyya center. After receiving authorization from Pîrî Halife in Eğirdir, Muhyiddin Kocevi (d. 1480), a Zayniyya sheikh, settled in Istanbul and established the mosque and a lodge known as Karanlık Mosque and Zaviye; these structures were in the Âşıkpaşa district of Fatih. Muhyiddin Kocevi continued to teach and guide people until his death in 1480. The sheikh, who is said to have mastered exoteric and esoteric sciences, spent all of his time training his disciples; he is said to have remained distant from worldly gain and was known among the people as someone who could perform keramet (saintly miracles).
After Muhyiddin Kocevî, his disciple, Sheikh Muslihuddin Mustafa, also known as Gündüz or Gündüzlü Muslihuddin, took over as head of the tekke. Although Muslihuddin Mustafa reportedly served as sheikh during Süleyman I’s reign, there is no information available about his life, activities, or the date of his death. After completing his education in sciences, Muslihuddin Mustafa entered the path of Sufism by affiliating with Tacüddin İbrahim Karamani (d. 1467/1468), a prominent disciple of Abdüllatif Kudsi (d. 1452). After Tacüddin İbrahim Karamani’s death, Muslihuddin Mustafa joined Muhyiddin Kocevi’s circle of guidance. It is unknown whether this lodge remained active after Muslihuddin Efendi died.
Burhaneddin Efendi (d. 1562/1563), a Zayniyya sheikh, also served in Istanbul for some time. When he came to Istanbul to visit Suleyman I’s grand vizier, Rüstem Pasha, who had become a disciple during his services in Eğirdir, the pasha asked him to stay and serve in the capital. The pasha set aside the Küçük Ayasofya lodge for the sheikh. Burhaneddin Efendi found it difficult to refuse the grand vizier’s demand, and served at the lodge for approximately a year. Many scholars became his disciples. However, he did not like to be so close to officials and told the pasha that he wished to return to Eğirdir and serve in the tekke there. When Rüstem Pasha informed Süleyman that the sheikh wished to return to his hometown, the sultan appears to have offered the sheikh a salary of 30 akçe, to be raised from taxes collected from the non-Muslim residents of the Island of Nis in Eğirdir Lake.
Many other prominent individuals, poets, and artists of the era, such as Grand Vizier Mahmud Pasha, İbrahim Pasha, scholars like Mullimzade Ahmed, Alaeddin Ali Fenari, Sultan Mehmed II’s teacher Mevla Ayas, Molla Hayali, Musannifek, Molla Hüsrev, Kutbüddinzade İzniki, Şüca Çelebi, and Hasan Çelebi Fenari were affiliated with the Zayniyya; indeed, in the second half of the 15th century, it was the most influential order in Istanbul.
The Baktashiyya order began with the arrival of one of the Yasawi dervishes, Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, to Anatolia in the 13th century and his establishment of the lodge in Sulucakaracahöyük (Hacıbektaş today). The Baktashiyya attracted many converts to Islam in Anatolia and Rumelia, and started to spread through Istanbul in the 16th century. At the same time, Muhammed Hindi, a Yasawiyya sheikh who came to Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Suleyman I and to whom a salary of 120 akçe had been allocated, reportedly lived in Istanbul for four years and then moved to Rumelia after his health declined. Another Yasawiyya sheikh, known as Hazini, came to Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Selim II; upon seeing the respect that Sultan Murad III gave to Sufis, he wrote his work Jawahir al-Abrar, which was about Ahmed Yasawi and the Yasawiyya order; this was presented to the sultan.
Hacı Bektaş, who came from the Yasawiyya tradition and clearly adhered to Sunni beliefs, as can be seen in his works, at first did not have a distinct organizational structure, but rather maintained a close relationship with the Qalandariyya. After the second sheikh, Balım Sultan (Hızır Bâlî), the Baktashiyya gained a distinct identity; this process began in the early 16th century, and the order began to diverge from its earlier principles. The historian Gelibolulu Mustafa Âli Efendi said that the Baktashis he saw in the second half of the 16th century did not perform prayers or other acts of worship, so their claims to be affiliated with the path of Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli were not meaningful. Moreover, Evliya Çelebi mentioned that in the middle of the 17th century there were more than 300 dervishes who followed Sunni principles in Abdal Musa Tekke in Elmalı, one of four tekkes affiliated with the Baktashiyya. These records reveal that some of the tekkes remained loyal to the Sunni path, while others appear to have diverged. The latter group influenced the dominant perception of the order.
The documentary record indicates that after Balım Sultan, the Baktashiyya became primarily organized in Istanbul’s janissary corps. It also indicates that the dedebaba, the sheikh who occupied the post of Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, was represented in the janissary corps by a Baktashi sheikh from the 94th battalion; this person was considered to be the deputy of the dedebaba in Istanbul. There were five active tekkes in Istanbul, all of which were administered by sheikhs appointed as representatives of the dedebaba. One of these tekkes was in the Old Barracks, while the rest were in the New Barracks. After the dedebaba, who was to fill the post of Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, was selected, this individual would come to Istanbul, meet the janissaries in Üsküdar, and then be taken to their headquarters in a magnificent procession through the Bayezid district. The turban of the order would be placed on the dedebaba’s head by the janissary agha, and the grand vizier would place a cloak on the dedebaba’s back.
The Bektashi tariqa was able to organize outside of the janissary corps through the Istanbul tekkes that were affiliated with the Baktashiyya. The earliest tekke was Karaağaç Bektaşi Tekke, which is thought to have been established at the beginning of the 16th century. When the Baktashi sheikh who represented the tariqa in the 94th battalion of the janissary corps died, the sheikh of the Karaağaç tekke would take his place. Other tekkes included Karyağdı Bektaşi Tekke in İdrisköşkü, Eyüp, Bademli Tekke (Caferabad Tekke/Münir Baba Tekke) in Sütlüce, Bandırmalı Tekke in İnadiye, Üsküdar, Şehitlik Tekke (Nafi Baba Tekke) in Rumelihisarı, Eryek Baba Tekke (Perişan Baba Tekke) in Kazlıçeşme, Takkeci Tekke (Büyük Abdullah Baba Tekke) outside the city walls, Ağlamış Baba Tekke in Belgrat Woods, at the junction of Kilyos and Uskumru village, Akbaba Tekke in Beykoz, Tahir Baba Tekke in Çamlıca, Yarımca Baba Tekke in Paşalimanı, Üsküdar, and Şahkulu Sultan Tekke in Merdivenköy, Göztepe. Little information exists on when most of these tekkes were established or who their sheikhs were. Some of the tekkes were originally established under other orders and later transferred to the Baktashiyya.
After the abolition of the janissary corps by Mahmud II in 1826, the activities of the Bektashi tekkes were also banned; they were only allowed to operate again during Abdulaziz’s reign (1861–1876). The record indicates that Baktashis were admitted to the Freemasons by the Egyptian Prince Mustafa Fazıl Pasha starting in 1867 and that they formed an alliance in this organization with the New Ottomans.
Registrations of Istanbul tekkes give varying numbers for Bektashi tekkes—9, 10, 12, 13, 14, or as many as 20 tekkes. The smallest number represents active tekkes in Istanbul at the time they were recorded, while the highest number shows the total number of tekkes that functioned throughout history, even though some were not functioning by the time these numbers were recorded. After the closure of the tekkes, Bektashis tekkes were abandoned like those of other orders, and other buildings have been constructed on their lands. As in the cases of Şahkulu Sultan Tekke and Karacaahmet Sultan Tekke, some later began to function as cemevis (Alawi houses of worship).
The Qadiriyya, an influential Sufi order, was established by Abdülkadir Geylanî (d. 1165/1166) in Baghdad; it spread to Istanbul through the Rumiyya branch, established by İsmail Rumi (d. 1631), after the 17th century.
İsmail Rumi and the Rumiyya
The Rumiyya (Ismailiyya) sheikh İsmail Rumi came to Istanbul in 1611 and started teaching and offering guidance at Sofular Mosque, relocating to the Kadirihane Tekke in Tophane toward the end of his life. İsmail Rumi, who appears to have had good relations with palace officials, was invited by Ahmed I to the opening ceremonies of Sultanahmet Mosque, where he performed Qadiri dhikr after Friday prayer. This tradition was continued by other Qadiri sheikhs in the following centuries. Hüseyin Ayvansarayi stated that there had been a Qadiri tekke near Sultanahmet Mosque, and it was for this reason that Qadiri dhikr was performed in the mosque. It is probably for this reason that Mehmed Rifat Kadiri listed this mosque among Qadiri tekkes.
Kadirihane, established in 1630 in the Tophane district of Beyoğlu by Hacı Pîrî for Sheikh İsmail Rumi, became the asitane of not only the Rumiyya branch but also the entire Qadiriyya in Istanbul. It is for this reason that the icazets of other Qadiri branches had to be approved by sheikhs from this tekke. Because the sheikhs who worked in this tekke, which stayed under the control of Rumiyya from the time of its establishment until the closure of tekkes in 1925, also received icazets from the Ashrafiyya branch of Qadiriyya, they performed dhikr ceremonies on Tuesdays in accordance with the methods of both the Rumiyya and Ashrafiyya branches and trained their disciples according to the principles of both branches. Mehmed Şerefeddin Efendi, one of the sheikhs of this tekke, served as a member of Meclis-i Meşayih, and Ahmed Muhyiddin Efendi served as the head of the same meclis (council). Among its other members were notable artists like Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi.
Molla Mustafa Efendi and Mahmud Efendi, two of the Kadirihane zakirbaşıs (heads of the dhikr ceremonies) in the 18th century, were the first famous Qadiri musicians in Istanbul. Bağdatlı Mehdi, who lived in the same period, was a poet and musician who belonged to the Kadirihane. Hopçuzade Mehmed Şakir Efendi, the sheikh of Karabaş Tekke near Tophane, was also a Kadirihane zakirbaşı. Şakir Efendi was also an expert tambur player and a successful composer. Mehmed Şerefeddin Efendi, one of the Kadirihane sheikhs, received praise from Sultan Abdulaziz for his beautiful Qur’anic recitation and musicianship. His son, Ahmed Muhyiddin Efendi, who later took his place in the tekke, composed 36 chants for devran ceremonies. İsmail Gavsi Efendi, the last Kadirihane sheikh before 1925, was also an expert in music.
Kadirihane Tekke also contributed to the tariqa folklore of Istanbul. Arbain helva (semolina halvah), a popular tradition among Istanbul residents, was made in Kadirihane once a year by seven dervishes, representing the etvar-ı seb‘a (seven modes of conduct), in accordance with the rules of Qur’anic recitation. In addition to the helva, aşura (a dessert made of grains, nuts, and fruits) was cooked in the central lodges of many tariqas in Istanbul twice a year during the months of Muharram and Safar. Helva and aşura were distributed among the dervishes and guests of the tekke and were sent to the palace in a special ceremony.
Şerif Halil Efendi, the disciple and son-in-law of İsmail Rumi, was appointed as sheikh to the Kadirihane during the lifetime of İsmail Rumi. Halil Efendi, the son of Feyzullah Efendi, the sheikh of the Qadiri lodge in Baghdad, was the first representative of the family of sheikhs known as the şerifler hanedanı (dynasty of sheriffs); the members of this dynasty served as sheikhs for the Kadirihane until 1925. After Halil Efendi, who was known as şerif-i evvel (the first sherif), the sheikh’s position was filled in turn by Fazıl Mehmed Efendi, Abdurrahman Efendi (şerif-i sani or the second sherif) Hüseyin Efendi, Halil Efendi, Mehmed Efendi, Ahmed Efendi, Mehmed Sırrı Efendi, Abdurrahman Efendi, Mehmed Fahreddin Efendi, Mehmed Emin Efendi, Ali Rıza Efendi, Abdüşşekur Efendi (Büyük Şekur), Mehmed Şerefeddin Efendi, Ahmed Muhyiddin Efendi, Abdüşşekur Efendi (Pamuk Efendi), and İsmail Gavsi Efendi.
Abdurrahman Efendi (d. 1711), one of the tekke sheikhs who was known as şerif-i sani, was the son-in-law of Sheikh Hasan Efendi, who was the son of Şerif Mehmed of Aleppo, a sheikh of the Khalwatiyya-Sinaniyya; Sheikh Hasan Efendi had received his Khalwatiyya icazet and thus combined the Qadiriyya-Rumiyya with the Khalwatiyya. As a symbol of this unification, he placed the Qadiri rose on the Khalwatiyya-Sinaniyya turban. The later Kadirihane sheikhs wore this turban on special days in his memory. Likewise, when Mehmed (Ahmed) Efendi married the daughter of Yahya Efendi, the sheikh of the Khalwatiyya-Jarrahiyya lodge, the two tariqas grew closer. During Mehmed Efendi’s visit to his father-in-law in the Jarrahi lodge, Yahya Efendi gave the leadership of devran dhikr to his son-in-law, who carried it out in accordance with Qadiri rules out of respect for Abdülkadir-i Geylanî. This method continued among Qadiri and Jarrahi sheikhs in festival ceremonies.
A tie of kinship similar to the one between Qadiriyya-Rumiyya and Khalwatiyya sheikhs was also established with the Naqshibandiyya. Ahmed Efendi (d. 1801), one of the Kadirihane sheikhs, married his daughter Fatma Hanım to Tahir Efendi, the sheikh of Naqshibandi Çakır Dede Tekke (Karaabalı Tekke) and gave his son-in-law an icazet from the Rumiyya tariqa. Likewise, Attar Mehmed Efendi, the sheikh of Çakır Dede Tekke, married his daughter to Mehmed Emin Efendi (d. 1845), a Kadirihane sheikh, and made him a disciple of the Naqshibandiyya.
Qadiriyya-Rumiyya spread widely in Istanbul during the 18th century thanks to relationships that had been established with the palace during the era of Sheikh Hüseyin Efendi and his successor, Halil Efendi. Mehmed Şerefeddin Efendi, who became a sheikh in 1860, contributed to the foundation of the Meclis-i Meşayih and worked in the meclis between 1868 and 1880. His son, Ahmed Muhyiddin Efendi, was appointed to the leadership of the meclis in 1896 and continued in this position until his exile to Rhodes in 1906.
The Kadirihane Tekke was repaired and restored several times. A fountain was constructed by Topçubaşı İsmail Agha in 1731/1732, and the water for it was brought by Mahmud I’s mother, Saliha Valide Sultan; another fountain was constructed in the tekke in 1763/1764. Burned to the ground in 1765 during the Tophane fire, the tekke was rebuilt by Mustafa III. It was reconstructed again by Mahmud II after it was destroyed by another fire in Tophane in 1823; a new kitchen and dining hall were built, and other facilities like the harem (private) and selamlık (public) sections of the tekke were renovated by Abdulhamid II in 1894.
From its founding until 1925, 19 sheikhs descended from İsmail Rumi headed the tariqa at Kadirihane. Between 1927 and 1951, the tevhidhane section of the tekke was used by Elementary School 31 in Tophane. Then it was transferred to the Vakıflar Müdürlüğü (Directorship of Endowments), and became known as Hacı Pîrî Mosque. The sheikh’s room (harem) was constructed by Abdulhamid II for Ahmed Muhyiddin Efendi, who was the 16th sheikh of the tekke and head of the Meclis-i Meşayih. Descendants of the sheikh still live in this building and continue to keep the Qadiri traditions alive.
Other Rumiyya Tekkes
Other Istanbul tekkes besides Kadirihane Tekke were affiliated with the Rumiyya. Körükçü Tekke was built, on the orders of İsmail Rumi, by Körükçü Mehmed Efendi, one of İsmail Rumi’s disciples; after 1758, it was transferred to the control of the Sa‘diyyah, the Khalwatiyya-Sunbuliyyah, and the Qadiriyya-Ashrafiyyah. The Kubbe Tekke, established in Fatih in the name of the Rumiyya at the end of 17th century, was transferred to the Rifaiyya order in 1766. Remli Tekke, which was established in Fatih Şehremini in the 18th century, was transferred to the Sa‘diyya between 1775 and 1839, but it was returned to the Rumiyya and remained under their control until recent times. The Sinek Şeyh Halil Efendi Tekke, which was established in the same century, was administered by Mawlawi sheikhs after 1797. Çenezade Tekke in Fatih was established by Ziyaeddin Mehmed Efendi in the 18th century and left to his son, Ahmed Efendi.
In the 18th century, Mahmud Efendi Tekke and Hatuniye Tekke (Çakmak Hasan Efendi Tekke and Hoca Hüsam Tekke), were established in the name of the Rumiyya. Hatuniye Tekke was transferred to the Naqshibandiyya after Selim Sırrı Efendi in the 19th century. Other 19th century Rumiyya tekke included Şeyh Taha in Haseki, Kaygusuz in Sultanahmet, Abdüsselam Mosque Tekke in Hasköy (established with the creation of the post of sheikh at Abdüsselam Mosque), Ali Baba in Fındıklı, Ahmed Sıdkı Efendi in Rumelihisarı, Haffaf Hüseyin Efendi in Emirgan, Sheikh Nevruz in Çengelköy, and Ayni Ali Baba in Kasımpaşa.
Some of the lodges established in the name of the Rumiyya in Istanbul were eventually transferred to the control of other tariqas, and tekkes of other tariqas were transferred to the Rumiyya. Fazıl Mehmed Efendi, one of the sheikhs of the Kadirihane Tekke, became the sheikh at Khalwati Aydınoğlu Tekke in Eminönü between 1664 and 1683. Muabbir Tekke of the Khalwati-Sivasiyya in Kasımpaşa was affiliated with the Rumiyya tariqa by Ali Vahidi Efendi in 1733. The post of sheikh at Muabbir Tekke was later transferred to the Naqshibandiyya; Hulvî, Karabaş, Ağaçayırı, Peyk Dede, and Kasım Çavuş tekkes were transferred from the Khalwatiyya to the Rumiyya. The Karabaş Tekke in Tophane, which was very close to Kadirihane, was transferred to the Rumiyya in 1784 by Debbağzade Mustafa Muhsin Efendi; Ağaçayırı Tekke in Kocamustafapaşa was transferred to the Rumiyya in 1792 by Ebubekir Efendi; Khalwati-Gulshani Peyk Dede Tekke in Silivrikapı was transferred to the Rumiyya by Hilalci İbrahim Efendi, and Kasım Çavuş Tekke in Kasımpaşa was transferred to the Rumiyya in 1838 by İsmail Aşki Efendi. The Bayrami Yavaşça Mehmed Ağa Tekke in Şehremini was transferred to the Rumiyya by a Qadiri sheikh, Mehmed Emin Sırrı, in 1770; this tekke continued to function until the end of the 19th century. The Bayrami-Malami Saçlı Emir Tekke in Kasımpaşa was affiliated with the Rumiyya by Ali Efendi in the second half of the 18th century and was later transferred to the Baktashiyya. The Paşmakçı Tekke was also transferred from the Bayramiyya to the Rumiyya. In later periods, this tekke was administered by Rifai-Bayrami sheikhs. Mehmed Ağa Tekke of the Bayramiyya-Himmetiyya tariqa in Çarşamba was under the control of the Rumiyya between 1855 and 1868. Emir Buhari Nakşibendi Tekke in Edirnekapı Otakçılar, which was affiliated with the Khalwatiyya-Sivasiyya in 1675, was affiliated with the Qadiriyya by Abdurrahman Edirnevi in 1731 and stayed under the administration of the Rumiyya until 1824, that is, for about a century. Between 1830 and 1904, the post of sheikh at Vani Tekke in Silivrikapı was filled by Abdullah Bağdadi and Mehmed Emin Efendi from the Qadiriyya. The fact that Mehmed Raşid Efendi, a sheikh from the Qadiri tariqa, served as sheikh at the Kelami Tekke of the Rifaiyya tariqa between 1853 and 1878 demonstrates that this tekke had been transferred to the control of the Rumiyya during those dates.
The Qadiri sheikhs who served at Hâkî Baba, Cafer Paşa, Âşık Efendi, Ümmi Şeyh Süleyman, Molla Çelebi, and Yâvedud tekkes in Eyüp, at Yarımca Baba Tekke, which was transferred from the Baktashiyya, and Halim Gülüm Dede, Bâlî Çavuş, Kartal Dede, Abdülhay Efendi, Avnizade, and Serbölük Ahmed Efendi tekkes in Üsküdar were probably affiliated with the Rumiyya tariqa from the 19th century on.
Ashrafiyya, Rasmiyya, Mushtaqiyya, and Anwariyya Branches
Even though the Ashrafiyya branch of the Qadiriyya, developed by Eşrefoğlu Rumi (d. 1469), was established before the Rumiyya, this branch only arrived in Istanbul at the beginning of the 18th century. With Sheikh Mehmed Rıza Efendi (d. 1749), who became sheikh at Abdal Yakub Tekke in Fatih after his father, Enfî İbrahim Vehbi Efendi (d. 1710), the tekke was transferred to the Qadiriyya-Ashrafiyya; it remained under the control of Qadiri sheikhs until the middle of the 19th century.
Around the end of the 18th century, the Rasmiyya branch of Qadiriyya came into being in Istanbul. This branch, which was established by Mustafa Resmi Efendi (d. 1793), was represented by Kabakulak Tekke in Karagümrük, Resmi Efendi Tekke in Edirnekapı, and Akşemseddin Tekke (Şeyh Muhyi Efendi Tekke) in Fatih. The Kabakulak Tekke, also known as Âlime Hatun Tekke, was the center of the Rasmiyya in Istanbul.
The Mushtaqiyya, founded by Mehmed Mustafa Müştak Efendi (d. 1831), and the Anwariyya, founded by Osman Nureddin Şems Efendi (d. 1893), officially became Qadiriyya branches in the 19th century. The key tekkes of the Mushtaqiyya, which enabled the Qadiriyya to expand in Istanbul by acquiring tekkes from other tariqas, were Selami Tekke in Eyüp, Gümüş Baba Tekke and Bayram Paşa Tekke in Davutpaşa, Keşfi Osman Efendi Tekke in Vezneciler, and Geylani Tekke in Şehremini. The Anwariyya, which developed at the end of 19th century, continued its activities at the Aydınoğlu Tekke in Sirkeci.
At the end of the 19th century, there were 57 Qadiriyya tekkes—including those transferred from other tariqas—in Istanbul, making it the most widespread tariqa in the capital after the Khalwatiyya and Naqshibandiyya.
The Sa‘diyya, another influential Istanbul tariqa, was established by Sa‘d al-Din Muhammad al-Jabawi al-Shaybani in the second half of the 13th century in Damascus and first began operating in Istanbul in the 16th century; the record indicates that Sa‘dî b. İshak Çelebi, an adherent of the Sa‘diyya and the head astrologer of Sultan Suleyman I, constructed a mosque and a tekke (Müneccim Sa‘dî Tekke) in the capital. No information is available on the activities of this tekke.
Wafaiyya and Abdussalamiyya Branches
The real influence of Sa’diyya in Istanbul was evident after the beginning of the 18th century, in the Wafaiyya and Abdussalamiyya branches. Abu al-Wafa Ibrahim b. Yusuf al-Shami founded the Wafaiyya tariqa in 1715 at the Taşlıburun (Lagarî) Tekke in Eyüp, which until then had been under the control of the Naqshibandiyya. The activities of the Sa‘diyya at this tekke continued until recent times. After Abu al-Wafa Ibrahim, the sheiks at this tekke were the judge of Eyüp, Gözoğlu Sheikh Hüseyin Efendi, Çelebi Abdurrahman Efendi, Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi, İsmail Necati Efendi, Ahmed Hulusi Efendi, Salih Efendi, Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi, and Sadeddin Efendi. During Mahmud II’s reign, this tekke had a special section set aside from which the sultan could watch the dhikr ceremonies. After the Sa‘diyya gained influence in Istanbul, a Sa‘di dhikr ceremony was organized in Ayasofya Mosque, particularly on the Night of Qadr in the month of Ramadan.
The sheikh of the Abdüsselam Tekke in Koska was Abdüsselam eş-Şeybanî (d. 1752), the founder of the Abdussalamiyya branch; this tekke became the second tekke of the Sa‘diyya branch in Istanbul in 1718. The record indicates that after Kovacı Sheikh Mehmed Emin Efendi (d. 1836), this tekke was known by various names, including Kovacı Dede, Kovacı Şeyh, and Kovacılar. Abdüsselam Efendi was appointed sheikh of this tekke with support from Ahmed III. After Abdüsselam’s death, his son, Mehmed Galib Efendi (d. 1783), served as sheikh; during this period, the Abdussalamiyya spread throughout Istanbul and came to influence Sufi life in the city. During the era of Mustafa Haydar Efendi (d. 1791), who was sheikh after Galib Efendi, the tekke remained influential, and Taşlıburun Tekke, which had been under the control of the Wafaiyya, was transferred to the Abdussalamiyya in 1789 due to the efforts of Ahmed Hulusi Efendi, one of Haydar Efendi’s disciples.
Muhammed Ziyad Efendi, a Wafaiyya sheikh, was invited to move from Damascus to Istanbul by Abdulhamid I; he brought the Kadem-i Şerif (Prophet’s footprint) to Istanbul, carrying it on his head. He settled by the Kadem-i Şerif Tekke in Davutpaşa, built by Grand Vizier Halil Hamid Pasha, who was one of his disciples, and continued to work there until the end of his life. Mirza Baba Tekke, one of the most important Sa‘diyya tekkes in Istanbul, was also constructed by Halil Hamid Pasha, in 1784.
Sütlüce Hasirizadezade Tekke
Another influential Sa‘diyya center was the Hasirizade Tekke in Sütlüce. The record indicates that this tekke, established by Mustafa İzzi Efendi in 1784, was reconstructed and expanded by Selim III. Mustafa İzzi Efendi was succeeded by his son Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi (d. 1837). Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi was affiliated with the Naqshibandiyya and studied Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi’s Mathnawi with Mehmed Murad Efendi, the sheikh of Murat Molla Tekke in Fatih, which was under the control of the Naqshibandiyya. Thus, it appears that the Sa‘diyya established close relations with the Mawlawiyya and Naqshibandiyya. The record indicates that Sultan Mahmud II appointed Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi (d. 1837), whom he loved and visited from time to time, as the şeyhülmeşayih (sheikh of sheikhs) of the Badawi and Sa‘di sheikhs. Süleyman Sıdkı Efendi was succeeded by his sons, who remained in office until the beginning of the twentieth century. The last sheikh of the tekke was Hasirizade Elif Efendi (d. 1927), who also served as the president of the Meclis-i Meşayih.
A total of 32 Sa‘diyya tekkes were opened in the capital; this tariqa spread in Istanbul during the 17th century and opened new centers in the 19th century. Important Sa‘di tekkes in Istanbul included the Abid Çelebi Tekke in Fatih Kadıçeşmesi, Balçık Tekke in Defterdar, Ciğerimdede Tekke in Kasımpaşa, Çakırağa Tekke in Edirnekapı, Ejder Tekke in Karagümrük, Ahmet İshak Tekke in Fındıkzade, Hasan Kudsi Efendi Tekke in Mevlanakapı, İsa Efendi Tekke in Halıcılar, Kantarcı Baba Tekke in Gümüşsuyu, Eyüp, Raşit Efendi Tekke in Şehremini, Sır Tekke in Otakçılar, and Şeyh Cevher Tekke in Okmeydanı. Malatyalı İsmail Agha, Balaban Baba, and Hallaç Baba (Gani Baba) Tekkes in Üsküdar continued to function until the tekkes were closed. Sadettin Nüzhet Ergun, a scholar of Turkish literature and music history, was the last sheikh of the Hallaç Baba Tekke.
The Rifaiyya tariqa, which became influential in Istanbul, was established in Iraq in the 12th century. After the end of 16th century, some Rifai sheikhs moved to Istanbul and served under the Rifaiyya. For example, the record indicates that Sheikh Muhammad b. Ukayl (d. 1627) came to Istanbul from Yemen around 1591/1592 and briefly performed Rifai dhikr ceremonies in Tavaşi Hasan Ağa (İnadiye) Mosque. The tariqa took root and spread through Istanbul after the establishment of the Rifai Asitane in Üsküdar in 1732.
Üsküdar Rifai Asitane
This tekke was constructed in İnadiye, Üsküdar, in 1732. Later, in 1812, Defter-i Hakani Emini Hafız Yusuf Rıza Efendi rebuilt it as a larger structure. The original center of the Rifaiyya was the facility established near the tomb of Sayyid Ahmad al-Rifaî in Ummu Abida village, between Basra and Wasit, south of Baghdad. However, because of Istanbul’s importance in the Muslim world, the Üsküdar tekke became the central Rifai tekke for Anatolia and Rumelia. This place was known as the Thursday tekke because of the day on which dhikr was performed; other names included Feyzizade, Hafız İbrahim Efendi, Sheikh Hafız Efendi, Sheikh Mehmet, Sheikh Sadık Efendi, and Sheikh Ziya Efendi Tekke.
The asitane, which was under the control of the Ulwaniyya branch of the Rifaiyya, was famous for its burhan (the proof, such as piercing the bodies and putting hot iron hooks in their mouth etc.) ceremonies performed after recitations of the Qur’an following the noon prayer on Thursdays.2 This is why it was called “the tekke of screaming dervishes in Üsküdar” and was referred to as one of the most interesting places in Istanbul in travelogues published in the 19th century, when Orientalist and exoticist tendencies took hold in Europe. It was frequented by many foreign writers and painters. The Frenchman Albert Aublet and the Italian Fausto Zonaro, who served as court painter, created paintings that depict the sheikh’ devsiye (in which the sheikh walked over the backs of ill disciples to heal them) during a ceremony in the tevhidhane.
The sheikhs who worked at the asitane and the years of their service are as follows: Sheikh Muhammed el-Hadidi (1732–1756), Sheikh Yasin Efendi of Damascus (1756 [?]), Hocazade Sheikh Mehmed Tahir Efendi (1812), Sheikh Ali Rıza Efendi (1812–1813), Sheikh Mehmed Sadık Hilmi Efendi (1813–1826), Sheikh Seyyid Feyzullah Efendi (1826–1843), Tatar Sheikh Hafız İbrahim Hilmi Efendi of Larende (1843–1865), Sheikh Hafız Abdurrahman Tevfik (Büyük) Efendi (1865–1898), Sheikh Abdülkadir Ahmed Ziyaeddin Salahi Efendi (Ziya Molla) (1898–1917), and Sheikh Hasan Hüsnü Sarıer (Ceyhun) Efendi (1917–1925).
During the 18th century the Rifaiyya tariqa became one of the six largest tariqas in Istanbul; records indicate that during the 19th century, more than 40 Rifaiyya tekkes were active in Istanbul.
Seyyid Mehmed Marifi and the Marifiyya Branch
The Marifiyya branch of the Rifaiyya order was developed by Seyyid Mehmed Marifî (d. 1842); it began at Marifiyya Tekke, which was established by the sheikh in Kartal, Istanbul, in 1818. Mehmed Marifi most likely came from Egypt to Istanbul around 1785 and continued the activities of his tariqa at his home until his tekke was established. Sheikh Ali Kuzu, one of the disciples of Mehmed Marifi, also established a lodge prior to 1805 in Kasımpaşa. Another tekke was constructed in the name of Marifiyya in Toygartepe.
The Sayyadiyya Branch and Ebu’l-Hüda es-Sayyadi
A branch of Rifaiyya known as the Sayyadiyya was founded by İzzeddin Ahmed es-Sayyad (d. 1271), the grandson of the founder of the Rifaiyya, Ahmad al-Rifai; this branch was represented in Istanbul by Ebu’l-Hüda Muhammed es-Sayyadi (d. 1909) at the end of the 19th century. Sayyadi came to Istanbul in 1878 and first settled in a house in the Abbas Ağa district of Beşiktaş. In 1889, a mansion on Serencebey Hill was prepared for the sheikh by Sultan Abdulhamid II and turned into a tekke and residence. After the declaration of the Second Constitutional Period, the sheikh was questioned about his close relationship with Abdulhamid II.
His continued residency in Istanbul from 1878 until the end of the reign of Abdulhamid II, as well as his tekke’s proximity to the palace and the favors he frequently received from the palace, provide evidence of Sayyadi’s influence in politics. Records indicate that the palace benefited from the influence of this sheikh, and it was believed that the Ottoman state could be strengthened by Rafaiyya’s contacts in Arab provinces.
The Badawiyya tariqa, established by Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi in Egypt in the 13th century, was first represented in Istanbul by the Eburrıza Tekke, which was established at the beginning of the 18th century.
Asitane of the Badawiyya: Eburrıza Tekke
The Eburrıza Tekke, established by Eburrıza Sheikh Seyyid Mehmed Şemseddin Efendi (d. 1740) in Beyoğlu on the border of the Kasımpaşa and Kurtuluş districts is considered the asitane of Badawiyya. Limited information exists about the early history of the tekke, but we do know that it was reconstructed by Sahaf Emin Efendi in 1847. Adherents of the Badawiyya developed close relations with the nearby asitane of the Khalwati-Ushshaki tariqa (Hüsameddin Uşşaki Tekke).
Other Badawiyya Tekkes
After the Eburrıza Tekke, seven other Badawiyya tekkes were established in Istanbul in the early 19th century: Hasib Efendi Tekke in Üsküdar (established in the name of the Naqshibandiyya in the second half of the 18th century, restored and transferred to the Badawiyya around 1812), Arapzade Tekke (established in Kasımpaşa in 1828), Ağaçkakan Tekke (established in Kocamustafapaşa in 1840), Hüseyin Efendi Tekke (established in Beylerbeyi in 1854), Ahmet Efendi Tekke (established in Çengelköy in 1866), İslam Bey Tekke (established in Eyüp in the second half of the 19th century), and Tımariye Tekke (Hamil Efendi Tekke) (first established in Beylerbeyi in 1883 under the Khalwatiyya and later transferred to the Badawiyya).
The first tekke in Istanbul of the Shaziliyya tariqa, founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Shazili in North Africa in the 13th century, was the Şazili Tekke in Alibeyköy, constructed by Silahtar Abdullah Agha in 1786. Hacı Ahmed Efendi (also known as Sheikh Tahsin Efendi), who served as sheikh at this tekke, was one of the sheikhs invited to the wedding of Mahmud II’s daughter Saliha Sultan, held in 1834. Another Shaziliyya tekke was established in Unkapanı around the same time. The first sheikh of this tekke, which is mentioned in the sources by different names (including Balmumcu Tekke, Sheikh Seyyid Ahmet Tekke, and Şem‘î Sheikh Ahmet Efendi Tekke), was Sheikh Seyyid Hacı Ahmed Efendi (d. 1826/1827). It was reconstructed by Abdulhamid II in 1886/1887 and remained active until the closure of the tekkes in 1925.
Ertuğrul Tekke and Sheikh Zafir Tekke
The Shaziliyya played a significant role in Sufi life in Istanbul in the second half of the 19th century, particularly through some sheikhs from the Madaniyya branch, such as Sheikh Hamza Zafir, İbrahim Berade, and Mahmud Abu al-Shamat. The documentary record indicates that Abdulhamid II was a follower of Hamza Zafir, while the head imam of the palace, Ali Rıza Pasha, was a follower of Mahmud Abu al-Shamat. Abdulhamid II oversaw the repair of the tekke in Alibeyköy in 1886 and a year later had a mosque/tekke complex (Ertuğrul Tekke or Sheikh Zafir Tekke) constructed in Beşiktaş that was affiliated with the tariqa. After its foundation, this tekke—called Ertuğrul Tekke in memory of Ertuğrul Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty—was transformed into the center of the Shazili tariqa in Istanbul. Hamza Zafir Efendi (d. 1903), the first sheikh of the tekke, was succeeded by his younger brothers Muhammed Zafir Efendi (d. 1904) and Beşir Zafir Efendi (d. 1909). The sultan ordered the Shazili dhikr ceremonies to be performed in this tekke every night after evening prayer and after every Friday prayer; this tradition continued until the closure of the tekkes. Tekkes hosted the sheikhs and scholars who came from various parts of Anatolia to Istanbul.
The Shaziliyya left an important legacy in tariqa folklore in the capital city. A panel with the name of Shaziliyya Sheikh Ali Shazili, who was accepted as the sheikh of the owners of coffeehouses, was found on the walls of almost all tekkes and coffee houses in Istanbul. It was a tradition that dervishes who made coffee in the sheikh’s room or other areas in the tekke that were reserved for male guests would turn toward Shazili sheikh when they lit the flame and placed a pot over it.
12. Tijaniyya and Dasukiyya
A lodge was established in Istanbul at the end of the 19th century in the name of the Tijaniyya tariqa, which had been established by Ahmad Tijani (d. 1815) in Algiers. After Abdulhamid II met Sidi Muhammed al-Ubaydi, who came to Istanbul in 1897, he supported the establishment of the lodge. The Tijaniyya, which was represented throughout the African continent, was expected to support the policies of Abdulhamid II, thus encouraging a unified Islam.
Toward the end of the Ottoman state a tekke was opened in Istanbul in the name of the Dasukiyya tariqa, which had been established by Burhanaddin Ibrahim al-Dasuki (d. 1277) and which was popular throughout Egypt and Sudan.
III. MANIFESTATIONS OF SUFI THOUGHT AND THE SPREAD OF SUFI CULTURE IN ISTANBUL
Tekkes were centers not only of worship but also of culture and knowledge. They became the meeting places for people with diverse views, which were exchanged through consultation and debate. They were established as social movements and ensured interaction between the rich and poor. Imarethanes (soup kitchens) established next to some tekkes also addressed important social needs.
Tekkes helped solve human problems by directing individuals to reflect on themselves, their children, other people, and all aspects of life. Because they encouraged people to refrain from worldly pursuits and excess consumption, they not only provided inner tranquility but also helped those in need to endure life’s hardships.
Because most members of the tekkes were skilled workers and artists from the city, they were able to pursue their trades and contribute to the arts, such as calligraphy, gilding, and music, and these areas remained under their control. The greatest experts in calligraphy and gilding in Islamic history were given patronage and encouraged; their successors were trained by tekke members. Artists like Karahisari, Hasan Rıza, Rakım, Altunbezer, Şefik Bey, and Yesarizade were all trained in tekkes.
Duas, naats, münacats, ilahis, virds, and medhiyes constituted the subjects of tekke literature. A number of concepts used in divan poetry—such as âşık, maşuk, pîr, şive, hicap, ney, mey, şarap, meyhane, çeşm, leb, and zülf—originated in tekke literature; artists including Şeyhi, Nev‘i, Atayi, Nef‘i, and Sheikh Galib were promoted by the tekkes.
Tekkes also developed a unique architecture that included rooms of seclusion (khalwa), dervish cells, and tevhidhane halls where tevhid and sema ceremonies were performed.
Throughout Ottoman lands, but particularly in Istanbul, Sufi life and thought were shaped by the idea of wahdat al-wujud (unity of being). This concept, put forward by Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi, continued without interruption from the foundation of the state until the final period by the teaching, studying, and interpretation of Ibn al-Arabi’s works Fusus al-Hikam and al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya, which are considered to be summaries of his ideas.
The concept of wahdat al-wujud was first formally recognized in Sufi thought by Davud-ı Kayseri, who was appointed as the head professor of the first madrassa in İznik during the first years of the Ottoman state. Davud-ı Kayseri’s Arabic commentary on Fusus, titled Matla‘ Husus al-Hikam, was the first to interpret the main text by following its original structure and is still accepted as the most useful commentary. Fusus was first translated into Turkish by Ahmed Bican (d. after 1466), who expanded his brother Yazıcıoğlu Mehmed’s talikat (marginal notes) on Muayyad al-Din al-Jandi’s commentary on Fusus. At the end of the 16th century, Turkish translations of Fusus were prepared based on a dream that Murad III had; these were done by Sheikh Şaban Efendi of Kastamonu (d. 1569) and Yahya Nev‘i Efendi, a writer of divan poetry and a scholar. The summary of Fusus, written by Ibn al-Arabi, titled Naqsh al-Fusus, was translated and interpreted by one of the sheikhs of Istanbul Galata Mevlevihane, İsmail Ankaravi (d. 1631), under the title Zubda al-Fuhus fi Sharh Naqsh al-Fusus. The Turkish Fusus commentary written by Abdullah Bosnevi (d. 1644), Tecelliyâtü arâisi’n-nusûs, was a favorite in scholarly circles, and the author was given the title of Sharih al-Fusus (Commentator on Fusus). Many scholars, in particular Katib Çelebi, spoke highly of this commentary. The tradition of translating and commenting on Fusus al-Hikam continued until the final years of the Ottoman state.
Some şeyhülislams held lessons and study circles to explain Fusus al-Hikam. The record indicates that Osman Selahaddin Dede, the sheikh of Yenikapı Mevlevihane, taught Fusus to his son Celaleddin Şeyhi Dede and Esad Dede from Mawlawiyya, and thaught lessons from Mawlana’s Mathnawi to the congregation in Fatih Mosque, while teaching lessons from Fusus to influential people in his madrassa.
In addition to the views of Ibn al-Arabi expressed in Fusus, his Sufi views are explained in detail in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya in the form of commentaries and translations. People who published partial commentaries on al-Futuhat included Davud-ı Kayseri, Molla Fenari, Cemal-i Halveti, Sarı Abdullah Efendi, Abdullah Bosnevi, Osman Fazlı Atpazarî, and Salahi Efendi. al-Futuhat was studied in scholarly circles, though not to the same extent as Fusus al-Hikam. The record indicates that Şeyhülislam Müftizade Ahmed Efendi (d. 1791) gave al-Futuhat lessons in Fatih Mosque. Esad Dede stated that he and other members of the Mawlawiyya order studied al-Futuhat with Sheikh Mustafa Efendi of Tunisia in Çayırlı Madrasa in the Fatih district. The same sheikh taught al-Futuhat in the “sheikh room” of the Yenikapı Mevlevihane to a group that included Tahirülmevlevi. Records indicate that a man named Nazmi Efendi, nicknamed Futuhatçı (the Futuhat scholar) because he knew al-Futuhat so well that he could recite it from memory, offered lessons on the text from his home in the Nuruosmaniye district. Courses on al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya and Fusus al-Hikam were among the most important courses that supposed to be offered at the Madrasa al-Mashayikh (School of Sufi Masters), which was planned to be established in the 1910s in Istanbul.
Sufi belief centered on the concept of wahdat al-wujud, which was identified with Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi, continued to be transmitted through the work of his adopted child and student, Sadreddin Konevi, Miftah al-Ghayb, and commentaries written on it. The first commentary on this book was the Arabic treatise of sheikh al-Islam Molla Fenari, Misbah al-Uns. At the request of Mehmed II, an Arabic commentary on Molla Fenari’s book was written by Kutbüddinzade Mehmed İzniki with the title Fathu Miftah al-Ghayb, and a Persian commentary was written by Molla Ahmed-i İlahi, titled Sharh-i Miftah al-Ghayb. Mehmed II also had Molla Ahmed-i İlahi prepare another book titled Sharh-i Istılahat-ı Miftah al-Ghayb, which explained the terminology used in the book. Additional commentaries were written on the book in later periods, including by Atpazarî Osman Fazl-ı İlahî (Misbah al-Qalb Sharhu Miftah al-Ghayb), Abdurrahman Rahmi Bursevi, Ahmed b. Abdullah Kırımi, Malkoçzade Mustafa Efendi, and Şehabeddin Ahmed b. Hüseyin el-Hamevi (the books of the last four authors share the same title, Sharh Miftah al-Ghayb).
Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi’s Mathnawi had a strong influence on Sufi life in Istanbul. This book gradually became the primary handbook not only for Mawlawis but also for the followers of many other tariqas. It was also used as the main source in Sufi talks as well as in sermons that were delivered in mosques. The first noteworthy commentary on this text, written in Arabic by Şeyhülislam Molla Fenari, focused on the introduction. The first complete Persian commentary on the book was written by Gelibolulu Sururi Muslihuddin Mustafa in the 16th century; a Turkish commentary was written by Mustafa Şem‘i Efendi toward the end of the same century. The İsmail Rusuhi Ankaravi commentary, Mecmûatü’l-Letâif, the most widely accepted Turkish commentary, was published at the beginning of the 17th century. With this commentary, Ankaravi gained the title Hazret-i Şârih (Exalted Commentator). The Naqshibandi sheikh Mehmed Murad Efendi published a full commentary on the text, titled Hulasa al-Ruh. Mehmed Nazmi Efendi, a Khalwati sheikh, translated the first volume of the Mathnawi into Turkish as Sırr-ı Mânevî. The first complete Turkish poetic translation of the Mathnawi was done by Süleyman Nahifi in the 18th century. Mehmed Şakir Efendi translated the Mathnawi in 1835, together with the seventh volume, into Turkish as Mesnevî-i Şerîf Maa Terceme-i Manzûme-i Türkî and presented it to Mahmud II. Several authors—including Süleyman Hayri Bey, Yenişehirli Avni Bey, İbnü’s-Seyyid Galib, Kara Şemsi Dede, Fazlullah Rahimi, and Yenişehirli Hasan Nazif Dede—produced partial translations of the Mathnawi at the end of 19th century. A recent commentary on the Mathnawi by Abidin Pasha focused on the first volume. Other commentaries have focused on verses that are perceived as contextually and linguistically difficult to understand, and still others on compilations of the Mathnawi. These include Yusuf Sineçak’s Cezîre-i Mesnevî and İsmail Ankaravi’s Hall-i Müşkilât-ı Mesnevî and Câmi‘u’l-âyât, as well as their commentaries.
The Turkish Muhammediyye, which consists of 9,000 verses, was written by Yazıcızade Mehmed Bican (d. 1450) from the Bayramiyya tariqa in plain, sincere, and flowing language. Through its popular sayings, this work had a strong impact on society. It was found not only in tekkes, mosques, and madrasas, but also in village public halls. It was widely read and listened to, and thus became one of the most important books for used in informal education. The fact that after the 17th century some artists were referred to as Muhammediyehan (reciters of the Muhammediye) demonstrates that this work was recited in an impromptu and melodic form, like mawlids. One of the most widely respected names in this respect was the Khalwati sheikh Müstakim Efendi. Famous Muhammediyehans of the 18th century included experts like the composer and calligrapher Mehmed Zaifi, known as the imam of Akbaba, and Hafız Şühudi Mehmed Efendi of Istanbul. The public’s excitement over the appointment of Jalwatiyya Sheikh Mehmed Zaifi Efendi (d. 1703) as the Muhammediyehan to Sultan Selim Mosque and the development of a tradition regarding his recitation from the Muhammediyye after the recitation of the Qur’an exemplify the level of interest in the book.
The Muhammediyye was written after Prophet Muhammad appeared to the author in a dream and commanded him, “Have my people drink wine of wisdom / Deliver my sayings clearly to the public.” The book deals with several subjects, including the creation of the light of Prophet Muhammad and the creation of the universe from that light. More than half of it deals with the creation of paradise, hell, earth, the heavens, angels, jinn, devils, other creatures, and Adam and Eve, as well as prophets and the birth, life, battles, miracles, family members, and caliphs of the Prophet Muhammad. In that section, which consists of a 285-verse mirajiyyah, other subjects are also addressed, like the characteristics of the Holy Qur’an, exegesis on the chapters “Fatiha” and “Ikhlas,” hadith commentaries, the Prophet’s advice, the merits of saying praises for the Prophet, and encouragement to carry out the acts of worship and struggle for the sake of Allah. The most influential section of the Muhammediyye was the chapter “Vefât-ı Muhammed” (“The Death of Prophet Muhammad”). The rest of the book addresses subjects including the signs of Judgment Day, the emergence of the Dajjal, the descent of Jesus, Ya’juj, and Ma’juj, dabbat al-arz, the sun rising from the West, and repentance. Attention to rhyme, the words after the rhymes, and other instruments of harmony made it easier to memorize and recite at religious gatherings. In fact, Evliya Çelebi stated that some people from the community became famous for their recitation of the Muhammediyye from memory. There are 65 copies of the Muhammediyye in Istanbul, 58 complete and seven incomplete. İsmail Hakkı Bursevi (d. 1725), a Jalwati sheikh, wrote a commentary on the book titled Ferahu’r-Rûh. In the 17th century, the Muhammediyye was also written in prose by Esiri Mehmed Yusuf Efendi. Some copies were produced by well-known calligraphers like Mustafa Rakım. When illustrations were added—of paradise, hell, heaven, throne, livau’l-hamd, Mecca, Medina, the Ka‘ba or Masjid al-Nabawi—this increased the value of the book.
Envâru’l-âşıkîn was one of the most influential books in Sufi religious culture. Its author, Yazıcızade Ahmed Bican, was the brother of Yazıcızade Mehmed Bican, the author of the Muhammediyye. Like his older brother, Yazıcızade Ahmed Bican was also an adherent of the Bayramiyya. The book was based on the translation of Mehmed Bican’s Arabic Magharib al-Zaman with some additions. Magharib al-Zaman was also the source for the Muhammediyye. Ahmed Bican stated that as most of the earlier books had been written in Arabic, he wanted to benefit the community by writing in Turkish. This book, which discusses the characteristics of Sufism, consists of five main chapters on different subjects. The first chapter addresses the order of existing beings, creatures on earth and in the heavens, and explores divine wisdom and secrets. The second chapter, the longest one in the book, mentions almost all of the prophets, starting with Adam, and discusses their miracles, revelations, the hardships they faced, and other incidents that had a strong impact on their lives. The longest section in the chapter is reserved for the life of Prophet Muhammad. The third chapter discusses Jabrail, Michael, Israfil, the angel of death, Kiraman Katibin, and other angels. The fourth chapter begins with information about the Judgment Day and goes on to discuss principles like prayer, fasting, alms, pilgrimage, and other acts of worship. The fifth chapter explores paradise and its blessings, the state of people in paradise, and the stages of martyrs in paradise, araf (the place separating paradise from hell), seeing Allah, hell, and the state of sinners. This book, together with Envârü’l-âşıkîn and the Muhammediyye, which were enthusiastically read by Muslim Turks from the day they were written until the 20th century, could be found in the libraries of almost all Muslim families.
Müzekki’n-nüfûs, another popular book, was written by Eşrefoğlu Abdullah Rumi (d. 1469/1470?), a sheikh of the Qadiriyya-Ashrafiyya tariqa. Written in plain Turkish so that it could be understood by the common people, it contributed greatly to the spread of Sufism. It explained many issues, dealing especially with human beings and how they should, as the most respected creation, be educated. The book also addresses the benefits and harms of love for this world, the characteristics of the nafs and their disciplining, death, the Last Day, grave sins, trust in Allah, the manners and principles of Sufism, and the qualities of a good Muslim. There are many manuscript copies of Müzekki’n-nüfûs in libraries; these served as models for books written later.
A number of additional works on Sufi personalities and other aspects of Sufism have been transmitted from generation to generation and have helped to keep alive Sufi feelings and thoughts.
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[In addition to the above mentioned references, we have also benefited from the related articles of DBİst.A (I-VIII) and DİA I-LXII].
1 Süleymaniye Library, Düğümlü Baba, no. 446, fol. 88a-b.
2 Performances included stabbing hot iron rods into parts of the body and licking a piece of hot iron, known as lal.