The invocation ceremonies which followers of a tarikat perform in congregation are referred to as ayin by Iranian Sufis. Arabs call these tarikat ceremonies hazret (al-hadrah), hafle (ihtifal in Turkish), urs (wedding dinner), or sometimes mawlid. Tarikat ceremonies, which were called ayin-i evliyaullah, ayin-i ehlullah in the Ottomans, are also known as sema, mukabele or tawhid. With their music, dancing, clothing and behavior, tarikat ceremonies appeal to both the eye and ear, thus stimulating an inherent sense of the aesthetics of human nature on one hand, whil taking human enjoyment to a divine level on the other.
The religion of Islam has two aspects; these are mü-kellefiyet (obligation) and muhabbet (love). While religious scholars teach us how to perform our religous obligations (eda-yı mükellefiyet), Sufism helps us express our love for Allah and His Messenger (izhar-ı muhabbet). The power of music in expressing love is an indisputuble fact. Tarikat ceremonies originated to implement those verses of the Qur’an that carry the meaning of “Remember Allah!”
As congregational invocations, tarikat ceremonies are performed in three main ways: kuudî (sitting), kıyamî (standing) and devranî (whirling). These are in response to the Qur’anic verse which states “Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth...” (3/191). In fact, all types of ceremonies begin with participants being seated. However, in the kuudî type of ceremony the participant does not stand. In a kıyamî ceremony, the participant stands up after the kuud. Devranî ceremonies are performed while being seated, standing up and in motion. Throughout the Ottoman period and up until December 30, 1925, when the tekkes and zaviyes (dervish lodges) were abolished, the tekkes in Istanbul continued to be places in which people performed the different forms of invocations mentioned above in a unique aesthetic ways. Despite being banned, some of these rituals continue to be performed in some private places.
Ayins (ceremonies) in all tarikats begin with the participants seated in the center – in the kuud position. However, the invocation that is performed in some ayins in which the participants take up a sitting position for a second time is known as kuud tevhidi.
As a ceremony of the Naqshibandi, the hatm-i hâcegân, performed without standing, is the most important example of a kuudî ayin. The Naqshibandi came to Anatolia, and more particularly, to Istanbul with Shaykh Abdullah İlahi (d. 1490) around one century after the time of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari (d.1389), founder of the tarikat. Also known as Molla İlahî-i Simavî, Sheikh Abdullah was the first sheikh of the tekke located next to Zeyrek Mosque. The Naqshibandi is a tarikat that adopted both zikr-i hafi (silent invocation), which was developed by Abdul Khaliq Gajadwant (d. 1179), who followed the school of the hacegan tariq of Yusuf Hamdani (d. 1140), and zikr-i cehri (audible invoaction) developed by Ahmad Yasawi (d. 1166). In some Naqshibandi schools, for example the Halidiye and Rabbaniye, the only ayin is hatm-i hâcegân. Hatm-i hâcegân, which consists of verses from the Qur’an, is recited on the signal of the shaykh; this is a non-musical ayin. The zikr-i hafi was performed in the tekke of Emir Buharî Ahmed (d. 1516) and in that of his successor Hakîm Çelebi (d. 1566); these tekkes are among the earliest Naqshbandi tekkes in Istanbul, and are located in Fatih, outside Edirnekapı.
However, in tarikats that adopted kıyamî and devranî ceremonies, if the sheikh was absent, the person leading the ayin would perform a kuudî invocation out of respect to the sheikh, rather than kıyam or devran. Participants would recite the kalima-i tawhid (Lâ ilahe illallah), İsm-i Jalal (Allah), and İsm-i Hû, and then complete close the ayin with a prayer. In some tarikats, participants would perform only the tawhid invocation on days that coincided with the anniversary of the death of shayhks, and would not stand up throughout the ceremony out of respect. These two types of ayins are also considered to be among examples of kuudî ceremonies.
In all the tarikats kuudî ceremonies share some common principles known as hurda-i tarik. Since these rules have been established down to the finest details by the pir (founder) or pîr-i sani (second founder) of the tarikat, violating these principles, changing them or ignoring them is considered to be outside the manners of the tarikat. Kuudî ceremonies are usualy performed once a week in the semahane or tevhithane. In addition to this ceremony, which is known as the hafta günü (day of week) or hafta gecesi (night of week), there is another ceremony that is performed on the holy nights, called the ihya gecesi (night of revival). Similarly, the kuudî ceremony is performed to mark the anniversary of the death of a sheikh, as well to mark the ritual of the icazet (diploma) given to those who become sheik; this later is the hilafet cemiyeti. The weekly ceremony starts after a congregational prayer has been performed. On the signal of the sheikh or the authorized person, the participants recite Fatiha, recite salawat to Prophet Muhammad accompanied by a certain rhythm. In some tarikats, immediately after the prayer the meydancı announces to the visitors that the ayin has started by uttering the salawat in a way particular to that tekke. The dervishes, waiting in the tevhidhane, stand in their places in small groups, facing the post (sheep skin) where the sheikh sits; this is in the direction of the qibla.
The post of the sheikh is generally red; this color is known as the tecelli rengi. However, the sheikh in the Hüdayî Dergâhı, an Âsitane (centeral lodge) of the Jalwati, and which is located in Üsküdar, does not sit on the post, but on a prayer rug. The post of the sheikh in the Jarrahi Âsitanesi in Karagümrük is blue, representing the light of the kalima-i tawhid. In the Sadî tarikat, the sheihks sit on a white post. The post of some Bektashi sheihks is black. The post of darwishes in all tarikats are white. According to the rules of the tarikat, the feet of the post stands for service, the neck for submission, the wool for blessing, the back for resistance and the tail for assistance; each of these are symbols of Sufism.
The tekke dervishes sit in a halaqa (circle) of invocation; these are ser-tarik, ser-tebbah, pîş-kadem, zâkirbaşı, imam, meydancı, saki, türbedar, çerağcı, pazarcı, asadar, ferraş, kapıcı, nakib. These are also known as the dergâh zabitanı, and they sit, with the halife and dervishes in accordance with their spiritual status. If there is a visiting sheikh to the tekke, he will be seated on a post that has been placed next to that of the sheikh. The appearance of the sheikh’s post before the groups of other dervishes is like that of the moon to the stars.
The kuudî ceremony begins with a meydan açma, performed by the sheikh. During the meydan açma the sheikh has the participants recite Fatiha for the commemoration of the souls Prophet Muhammad, the Companions, other prophets, saints, founders of all tarikats, former sheihks and dervishes of the tarikat, and all muslims who have passed away; this is followed by a prayer for the Islamic world and all of humanity.1 While the meydancı places a fragrant censer that burns agar in front of the shaykh, participants utter the salawat aloud; they then recite Sura Fatiha silently. Ceremonies in all tarikats begin with the salawat to Prophet Muhammad, who is considered to be sebeb-i hilkat-ı âlem (the cause of genesis of the universe) and mefhar-ı beni-âdem (pride of humanity). This is because, “The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves” (Qur’an, 33/6). Allah and His angels pray for Prophet Muhammad, thus, it is obligatory for people to send salawat to him.
There are many different types of salawat-ı sharifs in the tarikats. Among these are Salat-ı kemaliye, salat-ı kutbiye, salat-ı münciye, na‘t Mevlana, with which the Mawlawi ceremony starts, Sünbülîs salat, salat afdaliyya of the Jalwati-Hashimi branch, and the salats and selams (greetings) in the awrad of the Qadiriyya. After the salawat has been uttered as an expression of love and connection to Prophet Muhammad, the participants continue with the kalima-i tawhid. Sometimes a specific number of basmala are read, as well as istighfar -astaghfirullah. A censer is removed from the meydan after the recitation of the tawhid.
Part of the kuudî ayin is to read the evrad-ı şerif with a certain melody; this method can be found in some tarikats. Although awrad is a practice common to almost all tarikats, the recitation of evrad-ı şerif according to a melody is peculiar to the Qadiriyya, Rifaî, Sa‘di, Bayram, and Khalwati-Jarrahi (wird-i sagir: short wird). The Sünbülî prayer is like the evrad-ı şerif of Khalwati-Sünbülî tarikat in melody. The avrad of some tarikats are read in isolation: the Naqshibandi awrad, known as evrad-ı Bahaiye,2 the Mawlawi evrad - the vird-i settâr (vird-i Yahya) - is read in certain branches of the Khalwati, the vird-i kebir is recited in the Jarrahi, the morning wird of the Khalwati-Shabani branch of the Bakriya tarikat (feth-i kudsî or keşf-i ünsî), the hizb-i Hüdayî evrad in the Jalwati; these are all among wirds that are read individually on a daily basis. This reading of the awrad is not in accordance with the rules of ayin. Some of the awrads that are to be read with a melody have been forgotten. For example, the melody of the Bayrami evradı, which Hacı Bayram-ı Veli composed, has been forgotten. Unfortunately, the melodies of the evrad of çamaşır savtı or ekin savtı, which Hacı Bayram-ı Veli, who practiced imece usulu according to the tradition of ahîlik, had his dervishes read and the Vefaiye evradı which Sheikh Vefa composed have been lost.
In kuudî invocation, the kalima-i tawhid is recited after the salawat or evrad-ı şerif that is chanted to a melody. There are various ways of tevhit açma, each of which is more valuable than the other, according to musicology and aesthetics. When the sheikh recites the kalima-i tawhid with the disciples, the participants start to recite these according to different musical makams (modes), for example, uşşak, sabâ, rast, suzinak or hüzzam.
These methods, which are in different makams, begin to be performed in unison after the recitation of the kalima-i tawhid by the sheikh. The participant turns their head to the right while saying “Lâ ilahe” and then to the left, towards the heart when saying “illallah.” In addition, there is yet another method, known as feth-i esma, which is practiced to a certain beat. In this method, the invocation is carried out under the direction of the ser-zakir or zakirbaşı (head-chanter); and the chanting is in harmony with the tawhid. The words used are determined according to the current lunar month (in Dhu al-Hijjah, ‘Eid-ul Adha and the Hajj, in Ramadan, fasting, in Jumada al-Awwal repentance, the birth Prophet Muhammad in Rabi al-Awwal, Karbala in Muharram, etc.). In addition, it is possible to determine lyrics which belong to a tarikat of a visiting sheikh and dervishes. This custom, which is particular to the protocol of the tarikat, means that the zakirbaşı must have a large repertoire. When the hymns that are recited in unison with the tawhid come to an end, the tawhid continues to be recited, without a melody.
Another way of the tevhit açma is for the sheikh utter the basmala, at a very slow tempo, stretching out the syllables and then to recite: “Fa‘lem ennehû lâ ilahe illallah” (Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah) (Qur’an 47/19); all present recite the word “illallah”. The kalima-i tawhid is recited three times, and is then recited at a normal pace. While the tawhid is recited without a melody, the zakirbaşı, or someone appointed by him recites a qasida. The pitch at which the qasida is recited is raised and lowered again at certain intervals; this happens five to seven times. Each time the highest pitch is reached, the rhythm becomes a little faster, slowing down as the pitch is lowered. This method, known as Perdeli tevhid (pitched tawheed) is generally used in the ceremonies of kıyamî tarikats, such as those of the Qadiriyya, Rifai and Sa‘diyya. When the name of the author of the qaside is mentioned, the tawhid continues to be performed kalbî (only with the breath). The kalbî tevhid is recited at a relatively slower pace with a beat. On the signal of the sheikh, that is uttering “illallah” out loud, and after he recites “Seyyidinâ Muhammed Resulullah Hakkan ve Sıdkâ,” the kalima-i tawhid ceremony has been completed.
After this, either an aşr-ı şerif, followed by a short prayer, is recited or the invocation of “Allah,” that is, the İsm-i Celal, begins. While this invocation continues to be performed with a certain melody, the participants heads are bent, pointing towards the heart. Again, on the signal of the shaykh, who says “Allah ü ekber celle celaluh” out loud, the invocation is completed. Later the invocation of “Hû” is performed by all participants; this invocation finishes when the shaykh says “illallahu.” In the invocation of İsm-i Celal and ism-i hû, no hymns are chanted. However, there is a durak which is sometimes chanted by the zakirbaşı after the invocation of the kalima-i tawhid prior to the invocation of the ism-i celal; those present listen to this in silence. The durak is a form that in style is more sombre and artistic, but when recited can be performed freely. Continuing after the durak with the İsm-i Celal, the ceremony is completed with the recital of ism-i hû.
Very important musicians have been trained in the Naqshbandi branches which employ oral invocation. Hattat Mehmed Efendi, who was the zakirbaşı of Edirnekapı Sarmaşık Nakşibendî Tekke and Sheikh Mesud Efendi (d. 1908), who was the başkayyum (caretaker of mosque) for Beylerbeyi Mosque, are among the most important zakirbaşıs of the final period. Being an expert on methods of invocation and ceremonies, and being very successful in leading invocations, Hattat Hacı Mehmed Nuri Efendi (d. 1951), also known as the zakırbaşı of Yahya Efendi, would be invited to tekkes. He would lead invocations in different tekkes, such as Sinan Paşa Nakşibendî Tekke, located in Beşiktaş, Paşa Baba Jalwati Tekke, located in Sıraselviler, Burhaneddin Cihangirî Khalwati Tekke in Cihangir Mosque or Şazelî Tekke in Yıldız Ertuğrul Mosque. Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, who was a member of the Istanbul Naqshbandis, was a skilled calligrapher, a neyzen (player of reed flute), a great performer and a scholar of music; indeed, he developed the tarz-ı cedid makamı. Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi was also a composer. Seyyid Abdülkadir Töre (d. 1946), who was a Khalidi dervish, was another noteworthy Naqshbandi musician.
The basic outline of the kuudî ceremonies is as above. However, in some tarikats, some ceremonies are performed while seated.
Special Kuudî Ceremonies
The darb-ı esma, which is performed in the Shabani branch of the Khalwati, is a form of the kuudî ceremony. Here, after the silent invocation of the kalima-i tawhid, participants proceed to reciting ism-i hayy. Dervishes continue this invocation in a circle or in a line, rising to a kneeling position; they bend forward while lifting their arms, as if rowing, and then sit back. In darb-ı esma, hymns composed in the sofyan method, known as a Shabani anthem, are to be chanted.
Important musicians have been raised among Shabani dervishes in Istanbul: Among these are İbrahim Agha (d. 1732), one of the dervishes of Muhammed Nasuhî, the founder of the Nasuhî Âsitanesi in Üsküdar; Mudurnulu Sheikh Mehmed Tulûî Efendi (d. 1757); Sheikh Mustafa Zekâî Efendi (d. 1812); İhsan Efendi (İyisan) (d. 1950), the last sheikh of the Nalçacı Dergâhı and Zeki Arif Ataergin (d. 1964). Hafız Hacı Nafiz Bey (ö. 1898), who worked as zakirbaşı in Nalçacı Tekke in Üsküdar and Topkapı Seyyid Nizam Tekke, as well as in the âsitanes of Nasuhî, Hüdayî, Sünbül Efendi and Ramazan Efendi, and Mesud Efendi (d. 1878), who was the sheikh of Üsküdar Safvetî Efendi Dergâhı and his brother Said Efendi (d. 1945), who would became the sheikh of the Safvetî Dergâhı and who also was the zakirbaşı in the Hüdayî and Nasuhî âsitanes, are some well-known Shabani musicians.
In some aspects the nısf-ı kıyam of the Jalwati is also a kuudî ceremony. In this ceremony, which is performed after the Friday prayer at the Jalwati Aziz Mahmud Hüdayî Âsitane in Üsküdar, the dervishes are sitting in a circle; in the center of this circle is another circle of zakir (chanters). Meanwhile, the sheikh stays in the latticed room that is positioned front of the minbar. Following the recitation of Sura Fatiha, the zakirbaşı starts to chant the kalima-i tawhid at a slow tempo; after the kalima-i tawhid has been repeated 10 to 15 times, the dervishes kneel on the signal of the zakirbaşı, who says “Ya Allah Hû”. While this chant is continued, one of the Hüdayî’s hymns is recited. Later on, dervishes stand up when the zakirbaşı says “Ya Allah Hû” and then they proceed to chant “Hû”, followed by “Allah”. After the chant that is ended by the zakirbaşı with three long “Hû,” the zakirs chant that which is deemed appropriate for the occasion. The sheikh then comes out of the room and sits on the makam seccadesi. When the hymn is completed, the durak is recited and the real Jalwati ceremony begins. When the durak is complete, the sheikh either recites Sura Fatiha or says “Ya Allah Hû”. The dervishes then stand up for the kıyamî invocation.
The origin of the nısf-ı kıyam, also known as the Hızır kıyamı, is as follows: During an invocation, the founder of the Jalwati, Hüdayî, witnessed the presence of the spirit of Prophet Muhammad, or according to another narration, the spirit Khidr, the Green Man. Wanting to stand up out of excitement and respect, Hüdayî, seeing that the Prophet is signalling to him not to stand up, can neither sit nor stand up. As he continued invocating the name of Allah, this chant is known as nısf-ı kıyam (partial standing up).
The contribution of Jalwatis to religious music is enormous: the founder of the Jalwati, Aziz Mahmud Hüdayî is remarkable for his çargâh tevşihi, with the matla (couplet): Kudûmun rahmet-i zevk u sefâdır Yâ Resûlallâh. In addition, the treatise he wrote, Keşfü’l-gınâ, which is concerned with the importance and virtue of vocal invocation and music is important. The successors of Hüdayî, Zakirbaşı Hafız Kumral, Şaban Dede, the fifth sheikh of the Hüdayî Âsitanesi, Divitçizade Sheikh Mehmed Talib Efendi (d. 1679), Abdülhayy Efendi (d. 1705), the eighth shaykh of the âsitane, Abdurrahman Nesib Efendi, the nineteenth sheikh of the âsitane, his son Mehmed Ruşen Tevfikî Efendi, Mehmed Gülşen Efendi, who was the twenty-second sheikh of the âsitane; Sheikh Mehmed Zaifî Efendi3, who was the imam of Beykoz Akbaba Mosque, and Ömer Efendi (d. 1813), Hatib Aziz Efendi (d. 1852 -1855?), Hayrullah Zekâî Efendi, Zakirbaşı Paşa Mehmed, who were zakirbaşıs of Hüdayî Âsitanesi, are all among important Jalwati musicians. While Aksaraylı Hafız Hüseyin Efendi, known as Malak Hafız, was the zakirbaşı of the İskender Baba tekke and the Bandırmalı tekke in Inadiye, Üsküdar, he was also the zakirbaşı in other tekkes (particularly in Nureddin-i Jarrahi Âsitanesi); Hüseyin Tevfik Efendi, who was one of the zakirs of Bandırmalı Tekke in Üsküdar, was the sheikh of Gizlice Evliya Tekke in Açıktürbe and the head-muezzin of Üsküdar Yeni Mosque.
The kuud tawhid in the Jarrahi ceremony is as follows: when the kuud tawheed is to be performed, which is prior to the vafa devri, part of the Bedevi topu or during the silent invocation of “Hay”, the sheikh sits down, saying “Haay” out loud. The dervishes sit in a straight line before the sheikh. The zakirbaşı chants a short qaside from maksure; then the dervishes proceed to the hymn of invocation. In the meantime, dervishes sway to the right and left and start chanting the name “Hay.” Later on, the invocation of “Haay Allah Hay” continues to be performed, and the pitch rises. After a while, after the silent invocation, this chant continues while the dervishes rise up on their knees and sit back down, while swaying to the right and left, without bending at the waist. This kuud tawhid is controlled with a rhythm that is kept by the knee hitting the ground or by clapping the hands. Rising on the knees in this way appears similar to the Jalwati nısf-ı kıyam ceremony. The blue makam postu is presented to the Cerrahîlik in keeping with the spiritual command of Aziz Mahmud Hüdayî.
To invoke the İsm-i Celal after the morning prayer, a practice of the Mawlawiyya, is another kuudî ceremony. Dervishes circle the sheikh who is sitting on the post. With his two hands, the meydancı presents a long, large-beaded tesbih to the darwishes; the imama (top bead) is facing the sheikh. The sheikh recites “euzu besmele” slowly, and the participants recite the kalima-i tawhid, and chant “Allah” three times. While the chant continues to be performed, the pitch in which the word “Allah” is uttered gradually rises, and the tempo increases. The appearance of dervishes who are chanting while moving their heads up and down, as if drawing the letter elif with their heads is aesthetically pleasing. After the sheikh says “Allahu ekber kebira” and utters a prayer, and after the gülbank (hymn), the chanting of the name of Allah ends. The meydancı, holding the tesbih, the imama of which has been kissed, waits for the sheikh. When the sheikh leaves the meydan, the meydancı and dervishes, bending their heads in a special manner, respond to the greetings of the sheikh.
The daily invocations of kıyamî or devranî tarikats that are performed during the week and in the evenings are called usul; these too are regarded to be of the kuudî ceremonies. There are not many visitors to these ceremonies which are performed by Sünbülî, Sinani, Ushshaki, Shabani, Sivasi, Jarrahi branches of Khalwatiyya, and by some kıyamî tarikats such as Qadiriyya, Rifaî, Sa’di, Badawi in the morning, evening, and at night, as well as in the mornings of holidays (‘Eids and kandils).
This usul (method) is that the sheikh recites Sura Fatiha, and a room is made for the meydan; the participants sit in circle or a line before or after the prayer. First the kalima tawhid is recited, and then names of Allah, which differ depending on the tarikat; however, these are invoked to a a specific number, in a flat tone, without a melody; this ceremony finishes with a prayer and gülbank. In usul ceremonies, although the names of Allah are invoked, no hymn is chanted.
Kıyamî ceremonies are practiced by tarikats like Qadiriyya, Rifaî, Sa‘di, Badawi and Shazali. In addition, Naqshbandi branches that have adopted the al-dhikr al-jahri (vocal chant) also have ceremonies that include the kıyam.
The ceremony consists of two stages in kıyamî tarikats. The ceremony of kıyam begins –as explained above- with the kuud (seated) position; the first stage ends when the chant of “ism-i hû” has been completed. After the “ism-i hû” or prayer, the darwishes kiss the ground and stand up on the signal of the sheikh. They stand in straight lines, facing each other. However, in the kıyamî ceremony of the Shazali tarikat, participants stand in small circles. The sheikh remains in the center of the circle (what is known as the kütüphane). The zakirs who will accompany the invocation with hymns stand on posts that have been laid between the two lines, or sometimes they sit on the post. While zakirs chant the cumhur ilahi [common hymn] along with everyone else, the dervishes sway towards the two sides in what is known as servi salınımı, following the rhythm of the chant. While the cumhur ilahi is being recited, no other chant is made. It is for this reason that sometimes cumhur ilahis were also incorrectly referred to as cumhur durak. Hymns that are recited during the invocation are known as zikir ilahisi or usul ilahisi. After the cumhur ilahi has been recited, the sheikh specifies the name of Allah that is to be invoked and leaves the meydan (this is known as esma atmak). The leadership of the ceremony then transfers to the zikir reisi (head chanter), while the music is under the control of the zakirbaşı.
The kıyam ceremony, as any other ceremony, requires a special talent and skill. Dervishes who possess such skill can become the kıyam reisi (head of the kıyam), regardless of his rank in the tarikat; the kıyam reisi conducts the entire ceremony. There are dervishes who are well-known as kıyam reisi in Istanbul. The sheikh of Beylerbeyi İstavroz Deresi Bedevî Tekke, Mızıkalı Nuri Efendi, Üsküdar Toygartepe Rifaî sheikh, Haşim Efendi and Reis Dökmeci Ali Baba, the father of the famous Hafız Yaşar Efendi, the sheikh Sancaktar Tekke sheikh Rıfat Efendi, known as Eyüplü “Ceylan Efendi” Sadeddin Efendi as well as his son Nazmi Efendi, Mahyacı Aziz Efendi, moderator of Çarşamba Tekke in Üsküdar İbrahim Dede, Üsküdar Fethi Efendi Tekke’s sheikh Şemseddin Efendi and his son Kemal Efendi, the moderator of the same tekke Sobacı Hasan Dede, Haydarhane Qadiriyya sheikh Hakkı Efendi, Karagümrük Nureddin Âsitane’s sheikh Fahreddin Efendi are some of them. Zakirbaşı Yaşar Baba, one of the celebrated Bektaşî musicians of Istanbul, learned kıyam invocation very well. Following the Qadiriyya and Rifaî tarikats, Yaşar Baba would take part as zakir and zakirbaşı, as well as the kıyam reisi, conducting the ceremony in some Istanbul tekkes after he became sheikh of Eyüp Karyağdı Bektaşî Dergah.
The basic action of the kıyam ceremony is to kneel, and then turn the body to the right and the left, bending and straightening up; all of this is carried out in harmony. The kıyam is begun by inclining to the right. If the kalima-i tawhid is to be invoked, la ilaha and ilaha are uttered towards the right and left in units of two. If the İsm-i Jalal is to be invoked, the syllable Al is uttered when inclining towards the right, and the syllable of lah is said when straightening up. The second time Allah is uttered towards the left in the same manner. Swaying and inclining when invoking names like Hayyu’l-kayyum, Allah, Vahid, Ahad, Samed, Hay, Hay, Hu, Hay Allah Hay or Ya Hay are always adjusted to this principle of four units, two to the right, two to the left. In the kıyam ceremony, the leader of the kıyam slowly increases the pace of turning the body and face towards the right and left while kneeling. Upon reaching a certain speed –as explained in the perdeli tawhid in the kuudî ceremony- the invocation of become kalbî, and are invoked sotto voce. Meanwhile, the zakirbaşı, zakirs, and piyrevan (zakir pupils) chant anthems and solo qasidas that are in keeping with the pace of the ritual.
Hymns in Arabic lyrics set to Turkish music which are used in the kıyam are called şuûl. As the tarikats which have adopted kıyamî ceremony are usually of Arabic origin, it is common for the şuûl to be used. In the devranî ceremonies adopted by Khalwatiyya, which is of Turkish origin, however, no şuûl is used. The zakirbaşı start the process known as ilahi atmak. The zakirs continue the hymn that was initiated by the zakirbaşı. The post of zakirbaşı is a very difficult one that requires expertise. The zakirbaşı not only must have a large repertoire of Turkish Sufi music, but also needs to be able to choose works in appropriate melodies and conduct the works in accordance with the pace of the ceremony. Without closing his eyes, the zakirbaşı must follow the leader of kıyam and must also know many different types of invocation; only in this way can the aesthetic of the kıyam ceremony be ensured.
In kıyam ceremony, percussion instruments like kudüm, bendir, mazhar, halile or nevbe are used. When the invocation becomes kalbî, those who are capable of using these instruments accompany the invocation of Allah with their instruments. Rarely does an instrumental solo on the nay (reed flute) instead of vocal solo ocur. However, in the month of Muharrem, no instrument is played out of respect to Husayn and the other martyrs of Karbala.
The generic term for percussion instruments that are used to keep the rhythm in Sufi ceremonies is nawba. In addition to the nawba that is played when the invocation becomes kalbî in kıyamî tarikats, a nevbeli ayin is held on the days and nights before the kandil, as well as in Ramadan and ‘Id al-Adha, three and two times respectively. In general, the weekly ceremony would not be performed if the day of the ceremony of the tekke coincided with the ‘Id. The week in which an ‘Id falls is known as a “feast week”, and the nawba would be played at that time. Ceremonies with nawba would be held to represent both the fact that all who are on the earth and in the heavens glorify Allah (al-Isra’ 17:44) and that the people of Medina had welcomed Prophet Muhammad by singing Tala‘a’l-badru alayna, accompanied by drum and tambourine when he migrated from Mecca. The person who would use the nawba would be determined according to special rules controlled by the zakirbaşı. If a visiting sayyid (descendant of Prophet Muhammad), sheikh, zakirbaşı or prince, and the children of the caliph were present at the ceremony, then the invocation of the names of Allah would be accompanied by the halile, the zakirs with qudum, the halifes with nawbe, dervishes with the frame drum and mazhar. In this context, important names that should be mentioned are the zakirbaşı of Beşiktaş Yahya Efendi Dergâhı, Şevki, the Toygar sheikh, Arif, the Çengelköy Bedevî sheikh, Ahmed and his son Edhem, the sheikh of the Üsküdar Çınaraltı Nakşibendî Tekke, Ömer, Mazhar Baba of Kasımpaşa Hüsameddin-i Uşşakî Âsitanesi and his brother Hüseyin Sebilci; all these were famous for their skill in playing the nawba.
The kıyam ceremony is as outlined above. Occasionally, the kıyam or devran ceremony would also be performed in tekkes if sheihks of kıyamî or devranî tarikats would visit for reasons of tabarruk (asking for blessings). Again, special kıyam methods would also be used in some kıyamî tarikats:
The first nevbe takdimi is performed as part of this ceremony which is peculiar to the Sa’diyya tarikat; here the zakirbaşı recites verses that explain the importance and value of zikrullah (invoking the name of Allah). Then the Sütun-ı Hannâne Menkıbe, mentioned in the Masnawi is recited with a special melody. In this narration, in which many Companions are mentioned, the story of the trunk of the date palm, known as hannane, which Prophet Muhammad would lean upon while giving the khutba (sermon) before the minbar in Medina Mosque was constructed is mentioned. After the construction of the new minbar, the Prophet no longer leaned upon hannane; the story related how the trunk started to moan and cry out of longing. The nevbe vurma, which begun when the invocation becomes kalbî during the kıyam ceremony, continues directly with vocal invocation, with the utterance of names like Illallah Hay and Allah Ya Daim; the invocation remains vocal, and the ceremony ends before the invocation becomes kalbî again.
Again peculiar to the Sa’diyya tarikat, the devsiye ayini would always be performed during Rabi al-awwal, the month in which Prophet Muhammad was born. Derived from the Arabic root devs, meaning to crush or tramp upon, devse is a continuation of the miracle of Yunus al-Djibawi, the son and successor to Sadaddin al-Djibawi, the founder of Sa’diyya; this event occurred when Yunus al-Djibawi first entered the city of Cairo. He rode his horse in a place that was filled with glass containers; however, none of these containers were damaged in anyway. This miracle, thereafter, was commemorated in the Sa’diyya ceremony. The devsiye ceremony is performed in the following manner: during the regular weekly ceremony, when the kıyam invocation becomes kalbî, sick people, in particular children, would be lain face downwards by official darwishes. Invoking and saying the prayer, the sheikh would walk on the backs of these sick people in order to heal them. Permission to perform devsiye could be given to sheikh from other tarikats. For example, it is known that Mehmed Ataullah Dede Efendi (d. 1912), the sheikh of the Galata Mevlevîhane, performed the devsiye ceremony.
There is yet another special part of the ceremony, known as the Sa‘di dondurması; this is performed with a kalbî invocation and is peculiar to the Sa‘di tarikat. Upon catching their eye of the sheikh, some darwishes would remain still, as if frozen; they would only return to the former state when the sheikh looked their way (nazar-ı mürşid) at the end of the ceremony.
Sa‘di dervishes would perform this ceremony after the Friday prayer in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, which is the center of the tarikat. In the Ayasofya Mosque in Istanbul, the Sa‘di ceremony would be performed in particular on the Night of Qadr (Night of Power). The members of the Sa’di tarikat would position themselves under the giant panel in the mosque on which the name of Ali was written.
Mawlawis have a special ceremony for the nevbe vurma which is peculiar to Istanbul. In this ceremony, which is performed on the ‘Id mornings between the Merkez Efendi Halvetî-Sünbülî Tekke and the Yenikapı Mevlevîhane, the Yenikapı Mevlevîhane dervishes would come to Merkez Efendi Tekke after the morning prayer to perform the ‘Id prayer. After the prayer, the sheikh of the Mevlevîhane would recite the prayer of the Merkez Efendi Türbe, and dervishes of the two tekkes would congratulate each other on the ‘Id. When it was time to return to the Mevlevîhane, some of the dervishes would pick up the kudums, and the kudumzens would place the instrument in front of them; the neyzens (ney players) would walk while playing a peşrev on their nays. Sometimes accompanied by a couple of whirling dervishes, the participants would return to the Mevlevîhane, and the ceremony would finish with a prayer and gülbank recited in front of the niyaz penceresi (prayer window).
The Beyyumi tarikat is of Egyptian origin, and was established by Ali Hicazî-i Beyyumî (d. 1769); this ceremony is performed separately from the common kıyam invocation. This ceremony would be performed in Kocamustafapaşa Ağaçkakan Tekke in Istanbul and in İslam Bey Bedevî Tekke in Eyüp as follows: The sheikh enters the meydan where the dervishes are standing in lines; the invocation of Allah is started by zakirbaşı, who then calls out Hû. The kıyam lines then take on a crescent form. As the invocation continues with Ya Allah, the pace increases with the names Ya Allah Ya Daim. In general, the feet do not remain motionless, much as in other kıyam ceremonies. The participants make semi-spins on their knees, and when inclining their bodies downwards, they turn to the right or the left, putting their hands on their chest; when they straighten up they clap their hands. The ceremony, towards the end of the lines become very dense, ends with invocations of Allah Hu Rabbena Ya Rahman.
Nakşibendî Desdere Invocation
Another special kıyam ceremony in the branches of the Naqshbandi which employ the jahri (loud) invocation is the desdere invocation. Guttural voices are predominant in this invocation, which is similar to the method known as zikr-i erre in the Yasawis. Inclining their bodies towards right and left, darwishes form lines opposite one another or in circles; they are accompanied by the zikrullah. This invocation, in which darwishes hit the ground with their right knee, straightening up when the tempo increases, is very hard to perform, but is very vibrant and aesthetic. This type of invocation would be performed in the Naqshibandi tekke on Sultanahmet Mehmetpaşa Hill, as well as at the Özbek Tekke and Bülbülderesi Tekke in Üsküdar, as well as the one on Sultantepe. The vocal invocation ceremonies, similar to the Qadiriyya and Rifaî methods, would be held in Naqshbandi tekkes like Yahya Efendi and Neccarzâde tekkes in Beşiktaş, or in the Edirnekapı Sarmaşık Tekke or the Eğrikapı Emir Buharî Tekke.
The kıyamî ceremony is performed in the Shazali, a tarikat of Maghrib origin. Positioning himself in the middle of the dervishes, positioned in concentric rings, near the kutuphane; tilting his head back, the sheikh conducts the zikrullah by extending his arms out straight, and then bringing his hands together to clap. The conduct of this ceremony, which is carried out with enthusiasm, requires expertise. Arabic hymns that have been specially composed, known as Şazelî şuûlü, accompany the invocation. The last experts of the Şazelî şuûlü in Istanbul were Tahsin Efendi, the sheikh of Alibeyköy Şazelî Dergâh, Hamza Zâfir (d. 1903), Muhammed Zâfir (d. 1904) and Beşir Zâfir (d. 1909), sheikhs of the Beşiktaş Ertuğrul Tekke, and Hattat Hacı Nuri Efendi (Korman), the zakirbaşısı of Beşiktaş Yahya Efendi Dergâh (d. 1951).
Badawi Topu and its Mawlid
Although peculiar to the Badawi tarikat, the Badawi topu is a method which became traditionalized and was performed at the end of all kıyamî, and even devranî, ceremonies. While dervishes formed two lines opposite one another, performed the kıyam with the invocation of Hay, the sheikh remains in the middle and invites the dervishes to gather around him by stretching out his arms over his head and clapping his hands. Meanwhile a zakir recites a sala to the melody of the hymn that is accompanying the zikrullah. As soon as the zakir says Ya Rasulallah, the invocation of Hay becomes Ya Hay, while the tempo is maintained. The dervishes who are gathered around the sheikh, move forward, without their feet losing contact with the floor, until the end of the sala. When the sala ends, the sheikh utters a deep Illallah while the rapid Hay invocation continues; the invocation then comes to an end. Hacı Abdurrahman Hilmi Efendi (d. 1801), the sheikh of the Jarrahi Âsitane, located in Karagümrük, Istanbul, passed away at the age of 110 during a Badawi topu.
One of the ceremonies that is peculiar to the Badawi tarikat is the Badawi mawlid. Kayıtbay, the Mamluk sultan, commanded that Pir Ahmed al-Badawi, form whom he had a great deal of respect, be commemorated in these ceremonies in Cairo. At the Badawi mawlids, which continued to be performed until the Ottomans era, and even until the Khidiv era, Pir Ahmed al-Badawi, and the elders of the tarikat, would be commemorated during the last week of the Zulhijja. Badawi mawlids were performed in İslam Bey Bedevî Tekke in Çengelköy and Eyüp in Istanbul. The Badawi shaykh Ali Baba was a famous mevlidhan. The Üsküdar Bedevî Tekke composer, Fehmi Tokay (d. 1959), was an important composer of Turkish music.
Rifaî Ceremony (Burhan)
There is a kıyam method in Rifaî ceremonies called burhan gosterme. Burhan means “certain and special proof that destroys doubt.” On his pilgrimage in 1160, Ahmed al-Rifaî, the founder of the Rifaî branch, uttered the phrase: “es-Selâmü aleyke Ya Ceddî” before the tomb of Prophet Muhammed. Those who were there were astonished to hear the answer: “Aleyke’s-selâm Ya Veledi” coming from the tomb of the Prophet. The pir excitedly kissed the hand which extended from the blessed tomb. Ecstatic over the miracle they just witnessed, the dervishes attempted to destroy their bodies with the stakes, knives, bars and fire they had to hand. However, no scar appeared on any of their bodies. Then, the pir prayed to Allah: “Oh my Lord! Bestow this secrets on those who follow my tarikat as well.” Out of respect to his memory, Rifaî sheikhs started to perform burhan. In burhan, Rifaî sheikhs use tools like blades, skewers, needles into the bodies of some dervishes; these are chosen during the invocation, the white-hot bar is licked and placed on the body. For those who are skilled, burhan is evidence that objects are subordinate to human beings. In a Rifaî ceremony, the burhan is performed on the signal of the sheikh; this is time to coincide with an increase in speed of the invocation, and when it becomes kalbî. The burhan is performed when the sheikh considers it appropriate. It cannot be performed in the month of Muharram.
When Edirne was liberated during the Balkan Wars, some tarikat sheikhs went there and performed an invocation ceremony in the Edirne Mosque. During this time, Haydar Efendi, the sheikh of the Üsküdar Sandıkçı Dergâh, performed the burhan using a knobby skewer; which pierced his body with this. Ensarî Efendi, the sheikh of Kasımpaşa Çürüklük Dergâh, also performed burhan in a Rifaî ceremony during the occupation of Istanbul. However, due to the disrespectful manner of a visiting Biritish military officer, who believed that this was a trick, Ensarî Efendi performed burhan again, stabbing the officer’s poisoned sword into his body and taking it out.
One form of the kıyam ceremony is the kabir tevhid, which is performed after a funeral or during a visit to a tomb. When a follower of a tarikat passes away, the participants gather around the grave in an invocation circle, and together recite the kalima-i tawhid (tevhid); this ceremony is started by a sheikh who is present at the funeral or a senior dervish. The tawhied, which sometimes includes the expression of Muhammadun shafiullah, ends with the performance of the gülbank.
A typical example of the kabir tevhid ceremony performed during a visit to a tomb took place in the Djalwati Âsitane. In the Hüdayî Âsitane in Üsküdar, participants entered the tomb of the pir and invoked the kalima-i tawhid altogether, standing as they did on the Sundays and Thursdays. The zakirbaşı or imam would recite Sura Mulk at the end of the tevhid, and after the prayer by the sheikh the gülbank would be performed; then the participants would leave the tomb. This ceremony would be followed by the participants drinking the water that the tomb-keeper drew from the well and put into cups; the purpose of this was for good health. In the meantime, hymns, the lyrics of which were written by Hüdayî, would be chanted as well. Out of respect to Husayn and the martyrs of Karbala, no water would be drinken during tomb-visits during the month of Muharrem.
Kıyam Kalima-i Tawhid
The ceremony of kıyam kalima-i tawhid, common to all tarikats and kıyamî tarikats, is performed as follows: While standing, participants repeat phrases such as Lâ ilahe illallah, with the syllables being divided up according to the dü-yek (two-one) method. The hymns and qasidas are recited at first slowly, but then the pace speeds up as the pitch grows higher. The invocation continues with enthusiasm, with the last syllable of the word “ilaha” being stressed. Zakirs chant enthusiastic hymns that are in keeping with the tempo, which increases as the melody changes with the qasidas. Later, the invocation is carried on in hicaz or uşşak modes. Participants seek help from the spirits of Abdülkadir Geylanî, Ahmed al-Rifaî, Ahmed al-Badawi and Ibrahim Dasuki, known as the aktâb-ı erbaa (the four qutbs) in tarikat conventions; the phrase of Shay’an lillah is added to each of these names in turn. Later the founder of the tarikat is commemorated in the same way. At the end of the invocation, there is a return to the original pitch and tempo and then the ceremony ends.
Kıyam İsm-i Celal
The Kıyam İsm-i Celal ceremony is also commonly practiced by all tarikats. After the sheikh says Ya Hazret-i Allah, the dervishes, who have formed lines opposited one another, start the invocation by reciting Allah Allah at a low pitch while swaying from side to side (servi salınımı). While a zakir recites a qasida in the Hüseynî mode, dervishes lead towards the right and front, according to a makamın kararı, and recite Ya Allah to a special melody at the end of each verse of the qasida; all this time the pitch is getting higher; after reaching a certain pitch the dervishes again continue to say Allah. At the end of the qasida, when the name of the author is uttered, the dervishes incline towards the right and front; after a short pause they straighten up, saying Allah. They then incline towards the left front, as in the first, straighten up and say Allah. This action continues with repetition of two utterances of Allah, repeated four time. Zakirs sing hymns that keep tempo with the invocation. Then the invocation becomes kalbî, and it ends when the sheikh says Illallah.
In kıyam ceremonies, the invocation increases with tempo with the names recited by the sheikh; these in general become kalbî. Sometimes, without the pace being reduced, the shaykh will change the invocation to the name Hay. The kıyam ceremony can sometimes start directly with the name Hay. There are many other types of invocation. Whichever name is being invoked, the darwishes leaning towards the right front and then the left front and then straightening up (in units of two) is repeated four times. Different invocations, such as Hay Hay Hay or Ya Allah can be performed in two units that are repeated four times. As the tempo increases, the invocation changes to Hay Hay Ya Allah, which is repeated once. Sometimes near the end of the ceremony, the invocation of Ya Hay starts, again, whichever name is being invoked; this is done on the signal of the shaykh.While participants hit their feed on the ground to accompany the syllable ya, the lines of dervishes move, stepping back and forth in time with the recitation of Hay. No kalima-i tawhid is invoked in this type of ceremony; however, this ceremony is known as dalga tawhid.
Sometimes, as the pace of the invocation increases towards the end of the kıyam, the participants start saying Allahumma, emphasizing the second syllable. One dervish will incline to the front, while those standing on either side of him straighten up; the darwishes standing on both sides of the dervishes who straighten up will lean forward. Thus, they lean forward and back, appearing like the teeth of a comb that has missing teeth. This type of kıyam is known as demdeme. Again, near the end of the kıyam ceremony, as the tempo increases, the names that are being invoked can change to Haay Allah Hay or Allah Allah Hay on the signal of the sheikh. Participants cease inclining to the right and left, as well as inclining to the front and leaning back again; now they lean to the right and left without bending their waists or turning their heads.
Important musicians have been trained by tarikats which perform ceremonies that include the kıyam invocation. Among the Bayramis, it is possible to mention Çalakzade Sheikh Mustafa Efendi (d. 1757), the poet Hattat Himmetzade Sheikh Abdullah (d. 1710), his pupil Zakirbaşı Şiveî Ahmed Çelebi, Hüsameddin Efendi, the sheikh of Şehremini Dergâh and Hüseyin Hüsnü Efendi (d. 1927), who was the sheikh of Salacak Emekyemez Tekke. With an icazet from many tarikats and a halife for the Bayramiye tariqat, Hüseyin Hüsnü Efendi (d. 1927) was not only a well-known zakirbaşı but also taught many of the masters of late Turkish music, such as Sadettin Kaynak, Münir Nurettin Selçuk and Sadi Hoşses.
The Rifaî, which performs a ceremony with kıyam invocation, trained many musicians like Abdülhalim Efendi (d. 1897), the sheikh of Kozyatağı Rifaî Tekke in Istanbul, Tevfik Efendi (d. 1899), the sheikh of Çarşamba Rifaî Tekke in Üsküdar, Mevlithan Sheikh Hayrullah Taceddin Efendi (d. 1954), his son who succeeded him and Ali Rıza Şengeldi (d. 1953). Sheikh Hulusi Efendi (d. 1897) was the zakirbaşı and leader of the kıyam in the Rifaî, Qadiriyya, Bedevî, and Sa‘dî tekkes. Eyüplü Bülbül Ahmed Efendi (d. 1912) was also an important zakirbaşı of the Rifaî. The son of İsmail Hakkı Efendi, a Bedevi shaykh, Eyüplü Bülbül Ahmed Efendi was also zakirbaşı in Badawi tekkes. A follower of Odabaşı Rifaî Tekke, Âsım Efendi (d. 1902) was one of the the celebrated zakirs of his time; he was familiar with many hymns and şuûls, as well as Mawlawi ceremonies. Shaeikh Rıza Efendi (d. 1904), the zakirbaşı of Kubbe Tekke, had a large repertory, and he was skilled at leading the invocation. The Yahya Efendi Dergâh zakirbaşı, Sheikh Mehmed Şevki Efendi (d. 1917) worked as zakirbaşı in tekkes which performed kıyamî and devranî for thirty years. The sheikh of the Eyüp-Otakçılar Rifaî Tekke, Sheikh Talat Efendi (d. 1920), was an important zakirbaşıs of the era. Sheikh Hafız Hasan Rıza Efendi (d. 1890), a follower of the Rifaî-Ma‘rufiye, was famous for his mevlithanlık and mersiyehanlık was famous as a calligrapher and poet; however, Hasan Rıza Efendi also became famous as the imam of Said Pasha, as he acted as the private imam to Damad Said Pasha (d. 1868). Kenan Rifaî (d. 1950), the first and last sheikh of the Ümmü Kenan Rifaî Tekke, was a mesnevihan, poet, neyzen and composer. Kâzım Büyükaksoy (d. 1994), the son of Kenan Rifaî, was the last to recited the Mawlid in the classical Istanbul style.
Many musicians were trained in the Qadiriyya branch in Istanbul; here the kıyam invocation was also performed. Among these were are the zakirbaşıs of İsmail-i Rumî Hankâh in Tophane, Molla Mustafa Efendi (d. 1732) and Mahmud Efendi (d. 1748), Bağdatlı Mehdi, Sheikh Hobcuzade Hacı Mehmed Şakir Efendi (d. 1859), a great percussionist, his sons Sheikh Ahmed Cavsî (d. 1908) and Sheikh Ali Rıza Efendi (d. 1924), Sheikh Edhem Efendi (d. 1933), the sheikh of Kefevî Tekke in Draman, İzzettin Hümayî Bey (d. 1950), a Qadiriyya şeyhzade and a Rifaî zakirbaşı, Hafız Hüseyin Halis Efendi, the shaykh of the Qadiriyya Remlî Dergâh in Şehremini, and the kudumzen (player of a small drum) Şâkir Çetiner (d. 1985), the last sheikh of Karabaş Tekke, and one of the dervishes of Abdülaziz Efendi (d. 1880); in addition Hamamîzade Neyzen Hacı Osman Bey (d. 1890), one of the dervishes of Osman Şems Efendi and a Qadiriyya Sheikh, can also be included among the famous Qadiriyya zakirbaşıs of Istanbul.
Devranî ceremonies are Sufi ceremonies performed by dervishes in which they take a step while standing and turning in a circle.
The Khalwati devran, the most common type of devran ceremony, displays all peculiarities of this ceremony. Devranî ceremony, like the kıyam ceremony, consists of two stages. The first stage is performed kuud (seated) after the meydan has been vacated for the ceremony; after the second stage, the meydancı and his assistants collect the posts lying on the ground. On the signal of the sheikh, in which he hits his hands on the ground and stands up, everyone stands up; the darwishes create concentric circles of varying sizes, according to the number of people. The sheikh also takes his place within the circle. The zakirbaşı and zakirs accompany the invocation which is led by the sheikh; the hymns are sung accompanied by percussion instruments. Similar to the kıyam ceremony, the first cumhur ilahi is sung. Sometimes at the end of the hymn, Sura Fatiha is recited for the author of the nutuk (sermon). Later, when the sheikh says: “recite salawat for İsm-i pak, cism-i pak, nesl-i pâk Prophet Muhammed Mustafa” the participants recite the salawat together to a special melody. When the shaykh says: Ya Allah Hû, Allah Ya Hû, or Hû Mevlam Hû, the devranî invocation starts. Joining hands, with the right hand facing up and the left hand down, the darwishes kiss each others’ hands and dervishes start walking in a circle, anti-clockwise, taking sidesteps at a very slow pace. At the same time, they turn their hands towards right and left in accordance with their steps. They repeat the name of “Hû” once for each step. While they step with their left foot towards left, they turn their hands from right to left and say “Hû.” As the right foot is brought towards the left one, and the weight of the body is shifted, the dervishes turn their head to the right and exhale a breath. In this way, the circle of devran begins.
When the third invocation of Hû starts, the zakirs sing a hymn in keeping with the invocation. When the name of the composer of the hymn, the sheikh strikes the ground with his foot and the pace slows a bit; the sheikh then says Hay. On this signal, the dervishes switch from reciting Hû to the Hay; while stepping with the left foot and dragging the right foot alongside it, doing this twice for each Hû, they repeat Hû once more, thus continuing the invocation. At the same time, they stop holding hands and put their left hand on the left shoulder of the person to their left, and their right hand on the waist of those on their right. This is known as kol atmak. When the invocation of Hay begins, the zakirs accompany the invocation on their percussion instruments, like the bendir, mazhar, kudum, halile and nevbe. It is considered a courtesy to offer the nevbe to visiting sheiks and the halile to seyyids. Out of respect to Husayn and the martyrs of Karbala, no instruments are used in devrans performed in the month of Muharram. When the invocation of Hay begins, the sheiks and halifes take off their headgear and dervish coats. When the hands are joined, the shaykh joins hands, each hand facing down, with those on either side. When the arms are thrown out, he puts his arms around the shoulders of those who are either side of him. However, he can also leave the circle, and facing the kıble stand in the middle of the invocation circle; from here he can conduct the invocation (the face of the sheikh can face the qibla, or the sarcaphoguses in the tekkes. These sarcaphoguses belong to previous sheikhs connected to the tevhidhane, and the area in which they are found is known as the türbeli meydan. If part of the circle, the zakirbaşı leaves the circle and the devran at the time the arms are placed on shoulders; he goes to the zakir maksuresi. It is only the shaykh who directs the devran. Thus, shaykh who conduct the devran invocation must be familiar with music and be able to collaborate with the zakirbaşı to set the pace.
While the devran continues, the zakirs drum and recite the hymns. While switching from one hymn to another, the tempos gradually increases. With the acceleration of the devran, the participants change they way in which they move their feet, and they start placing their right foot into the circle with the left foot going towards the outside of the circle. One zakir performs a taksim consisting of short qasidas between the hymns. If necessary, the melody is changed with the taksim, too. The invocation of Hay can become kalbî, and the taksims in the kalbî invocation can be accompanied by the ney. The taksims are often performed in the kütüphane and sometimes in the zakir maksuresi.
Sometimes the devran is performed as kısm (part). The kısm means that the tempo decreases by an equal amount. This is also known as asma. In the meantime, the invocation type is also changed and the participants begin to say Hay Hay Hay out loud and the word of Allah becomes kalbî. In a devran, the most important names, Hû and Hay, are recited. However, there are very different types of recitation. When the hymn A sultanım sen var iken, which has special composition, and which is also known as a devranî ilahi, is chanted, participants stamp on the ground with their feet, saying Ya Hay during the terennüm (singing); without saying Ya they continue with the name Hay. The devran sometimes ends with a Bedevi topu or the sheikh saying Illallah.
When the devran ends, the dervishes, who are standing in the invocation lines, forming a crescent, the open side of which is facing the qibla. On the signal of the sheikh, they start invoking the name Hû, reciting it in pairs. Meanwhile, the zakirs recite Lâ ilahe illallah, Muhammed Resulullah, sallallahu aleyhi ve sellimû teslimâ in a special composition. Subsequently, the zakir recites a closing prayer in keeping with the compositons of the hymns recited in the devran. After the prayer, the sheikh utters illâ Hû, and with this the Hû invocation ends. Occasionally, participants immediately sit and listen to a recitation of the Qur’an; after a short prayer is recited, Sura Fatiha is recited. According to tarikat conventions, Sura Fatiha is offered to visiting sheiks and halifes, according to their seniority. Next, the salawat and takbir are recited on the signal of the shaykh. After the takbir, the gülbank is recited. While the shaykh or the person to whom the gülbank has been offered recite the gülbank, the dervishes recited in a low voice Allah Allah, while listening to the gülbank. When Dem-i Hazret-i Pir (for the sake of the pir) is uttered, everyone says Ya Allah Hu, after which they kiss the ground and stand up. In tekkes that include tombs, everyone faces the tomb and recites Sura Fatiha. Then the shaykh gives salams, and the dervishes reply out loud, in accordence with the method of each tarikat; this is recited by one of the officials, for example, the ser-tarik, pîşkadem or aşçıbaşı. Others return the salam quitly. Later, the participants leave the tehvithane with great courtesy. In some cases, after illâ Hû is recited, no one sits, and the ceremony ends after the gülbank has been performed while standing.
Among some of the great composers and musicians are the sheikh of Ekmel Tekke in Sofular, Koğacızâde Mehmed Efendi (d. 1617), who wrote some special musical methods for the Khalwati devran. Hatib Zakirî Hasan Efendi (17th century), the zakirbaşı of Edirnekapı Sır Tekke in Istanbul, who was also a poet, was a great composer of Turkish religious music. Bezcizade Sheikh Mehmed Muhyiddin Efendi (d. 1611), the third sheikh of Fatih Mehmed Ağa Khalwati Tekke, Tercüman Yunus, whose nickname was Nefes Anbarı, the sheikh of the Khalwati Tekke, Osman Efendi (d. 1683) and master of the Itrî Hafız Post (d. 1693), Fethullah Çelebi (d. 1699), the son of Esircizade sheikh, Hüseyin Efendi (d. 1693), the ninth sheikh of Pazar Tekke in Çarşamba, Sheikh Mehmed Nazmi Efendi (d. 1700), one of the halife of the Khalwati-Sivasi sheikh, Abdülehad Nuri (d. 1651), Sheikh Ahmed Vefkî Efendi (d. 1748), who was also known as Dıraman Zakiri, Ahmed Çelebi and Habib Dedezade, who were the zakirbaşıs of Pazar Tekke in Çarşamba. Tophaneli Mahmud Efendi, the calligraphy teacher of Hafız Post, was the zakirbaşı in the Halvetiye-Cihangiriye Âsitanesi. Among the important Khalwati-Sinani musicians who were trained in Istanbul we can mention Ümmî Sinanzade Sheikh Hasan Efendi (d. 1677), one of his dervishes, Sütçüzade Hafız Ali Efendi (d. 1699), Bahçevanzade Ali Şehrî Efendi (d. 1702), Fehmi Efendi (d. 1935), the zakirbaşı of Seyyid Nizam Dergâh in Silivrikapı Zakirbaşı Hafız İsmail Efendi (d. 1936). Neyzen Mehmed Nuri Efendi (d. 1822) was famous among the Halwati-Ushshaki musicians from Istanbul.
The devranî ceremony is as outlined above. However, some tarikats have special methods for this ceremony:
Devran Method in Qadiriyya
In the Eşrefiye, Rumiye, and Resmiye branches of the Qadiriyya, the devran is also performed after the kıyam. However, unlike the devran of the Khalwati, the devran turns to the right, rather than to the left. During the devran, one dervish whirls in the kütüphane like the Mawlawis; however, he whirls very rapidly towards the right instead of th eleft, and he does not stretch out his arms. This is known as the Qadiriyya sama.
Devran Method in Sivasîlik
In the Sivasi branch of the Khalwati, when the dervishes stand up for the devran, they first start whirling in lace, and later on form the devran circle. They utter Hay Allah while whirling.
Devran Method in Sünbülîlik
Participants stand up for the devran to the same hymn that is used in the method performed in every week in the Khalwati âsitane in the Sünbüliyye branch in Kocamustafapaşa, Istanbul. While the hüseynî hymn, the first couplet of which is Safha-i sadrında dâim âşıkın efkârı Hû, (the lyrics were written by the sheikh of Pir Sünbül Sinan, Cemaleddin-i Halvetî, and the music was composed by Cihangir Dede) is recited; the pitch increases at the end of each couplet and the tempo of the devran also increases. At the end of this hymn, when the name Sheikh Cemâlî was recited, the invocation Hû switches to that of Hay, and the devran is performed kısm. The rest of the devran is the same as the Khalwati devran.
In the past, special ceremonies would be held on 10 Muharrem in all the tekkes of Istanbul. Kocamustafapaşa Sünbülî Âsitane had special importance due to the fact that the graves of two of Husayn’s daughters were located in the yard of the âsitane. A ceremony the was a show of respect for the ahl-i bayt (family of Prophet Muhammad) and a display of grief for Karbala was held annually from the time the tekke had been built. Immediately after the husamâ prayer,4 which is performed with visiting sheikhs and dervishes from other tekkes in Istanbul and neighboring cities, a Mawlid, mersiye and eulogies for the ahl-i bayt would be recited. After the offer of aşure, the crowd would perform the night prayer and then recited 70,000 kalima-i tawhid under the direction of the most senior sheikh. They all present would perform devran ceremony. Today, this practice has been reduced to the recitation of a Mawlid and mersiye. Yaşar Baba (d. 1934), the sheikh of Eyüp Karyağdı Bektaşî Dergâh, who was a follower of Qadiriyya, Rifaî, would recite the mersiye on the tenth day of Muharrem in the ceremonies performed at Sünbül Efendi Âsitane, Valide Han, located in Mercan and in the Iranian Mosque, located in Seyyid Ahmed Deresi, Üsküdar. Yaşar Baba received a Şir-i Hurşîd medal from the Iranian government for this reason.5
Famous musicians can be found among the Sünbülîs. Of the famous zakir and musicians of the era we can list the following people:Yusuf Sinanzade Kadı Abdülkerim Efendi (d. 1634), the fifth sheikh of Sünbül Efendi Âsitane, Buhurîzâde Abdülkerim Kemterî Efendi (d. 1778), zakirbaşı and sheikh at Şah Sultan Sünbülî Tekke in Eyüp, Şikarîzade Hacı Ahmed Efendi (d. 1831), zakirbaşı of the âsitane and sheikh of Hacı Evhadüddin Sünbülî Tekke in Yedikule, Mutafzade Hacı Ahmed Efendi (d. 1883), a pupil of Dede Efendi and zakirbaşı at the âsitane, Shaykh Türbedarı (tombkeeper) Hamdullah Efendi (d. 1864), Hacıkadınlı Nuri Efendi (d. 1847), Hüseyin Hüsnü Efendi (d. 1894), Hafız Resmî Efendi (d. 1901), shaykh of Cihangir Tekke, Sheikh Mehmed Sinan Efendi (d. 1924), grandson of Mehmed Rızaeddin Efendi, the nineteenth sheikh of the âsitane, Mehmed Kudbüddin Efendi (d. 1913), Sheikh Kısık Mustafa Efendi (d. 1876), his brother Aktar Hacı Ahmed Efendi (d. 1874), Zakir Türbedarı Hakkı Dede (d. 1903), Gül Ali Dede (d. 1914), the meydanci of the âsitane, Hafız Sadeddin Efendi (d. 1927), Sheikh Nida Efendi (d. 1927), the khatib (preacher) of Kocamustafapaşa Mosque, and Melamî-meşrep Kemal Efendi (d. 1914), the shaykh of Balat Sünbülî Tekke. Siyahî Salih Türbedarı Efendi (d. 1899) was a famous zakir for the way he directed the devran. Hakkak Hafız Abdi Efendi (d. 1902), one of the zakirs of the Sünbülî Âsitane, was made zakirbaşı due to his skill at conducting the devran.
Devran Method in Gülşenî Tarikat
Founded by İbrahim-i Gülşenî (d. 1533), the aesthetic nature of the Gülşenî tarikat is second only to those of the Mawlawi sect. The Gülşeni ceremony starts when darwishes sit in a circle before the red makam postu; after the recitation of Sura Fatiha and on the signal of the shaykh they invoke the tawhid. When they stand up, they invoke the names Hû and Hay. During this time the dervishes recite the Gülşenî savtı, which has a special melody. No instruments are played during the recitation of the savt. However, as the tempo of the invocation increases, percussion instruments, such as kudûm, mahzar, bendir or halile, are used to accompany the hymns. At the same time, the darwishes start walking in a circular motion; they progress counter-clockwise while holding hands. During this walk, while moving their left foot towards the center of the circle, their right foots are directed in the opposite ones direction, inclining their bodies to the front when placing the left foot and straightening up with the right one. Because the Gülşenî headgear is pink with a green destar, when viewed from above, the devran reminds one of a rosebud blooming and closing, giving it a beautiful appearance. Except for during the savt, some forms of music are used in the Gülşenî ceremony, much as in the ceremonies of other tarikats. At the end of the devran, the ceremony ends with the recitation of the Qur’an and a prayer, followed by the sheikh’s command to recite Sura Fatiha.
Very important musicians and composers were trained in the Gülşeni; for example, İstanbullu Derviş Ali Şirüganî Dede (d. 1714), Derviş Sadayî, Zakir Hüdayî Çelebi are important names in Turkish music. Ali Şirüganî Dede was the most experienced at playing music, as well as being a famous scholar and teacher in Istanbul during the reign of Mehmed IV, Mustafa II, and Ahmed III; he composed approximately 100 secular works, like kâr, beste, murabba and semai,as well as 600 religious works, like savt, tespih, ilahi, durak and naat. Only musicians who were interested, like Abdurrahman Nesib and Ruşen Efendi, sheikhs of the Hüdayî Âsitane, learned the Gülşenî savts. Nesib Efendi composed savts in çargâh and sabâ modes, while Ruşen Efendi composed them in mahur and müstear modes.
The Zeyniye-Vefaiye Devran Method
The Zeyniye sect, established by Zeyneddin-i Hafi (d. 1434) is a tarikat that uses the devranî ceremony. However, this tarikat has a special ceremony, known as Vefa devri, which is performed relying on the ictihad of Sheikh Ebu’l-Vefa, founder of the Vefaiye branch. Darwishes stand in concentric circles for the devran and join hands, extending their right arms to the front and left arm to the back. Keeping the kutuphane on their left, they start walking in a circle, leading with their left foot, as in the circumambulation of the Ka’ba. First, the invocation of Hayyü’l-kayyum Allah is recited until the tempo increases; then Allah, Vâhid, Ehad, Samed is ercited, and as the tempo increases again, the invocation of Hay Hay Hû is performed. Zakirs accompany this fast pace with appropriate hymns. No percussion instruments are used in the Vefa devri. The devran ends in the same way as the common Halwat devran.
Sheikh Vefa (d. 1491) composed the Vefaiye evradı and ictihad, as well as other Vefa devri. Osman Efendi (d. 1889), who was the tomb-keeper for Shaykh Vefa, was a very important zakirbaşı of the late period. He knew all the tarikat ceremonies well and could lead them. Many of Istanbul’s zakirs and kıyam moderators who conducted kıyamî invocations were people he had trained.
Devran Method in the Jarrahi Branch
The Jarrahi branch of the Khalwati is a tarikat that adopts the devranî ceremony method. The devran ceremony is performed on Monday afternoons– in the late period, this was performed on Thursdays after the night prayer - in the âsitane in Karagümrük, Istanbul.
The Jarrahi ceremony is not different from the devran of other Khalwatis. Only during the devran that continues with the invocation of “Hay,” the sertarik leaves the invocation circle and recites Fatiha before makam postu. Then walking against the turn of the devran, which is moving counterclockwise some names are invoked; three tours are made, and then after the recitaiton of Sura Fatiha once more before makam postu, he reenters the circle. This invocation, peculiar to the Jarrahi Âsitane, is known as top zikri. The Vefa devri stage of the ceremony begins when the sheikh says Ya Mevlâm Hay Hay Hû. The zakirs chant anthems during the Vefa devri, in which participants extend their right hands to the front and left to the back, join hands and walk in a circle, keeping the kütüphane on the left. The Vefa devri ends after a couple of turns; with each step, instead of Hay Hay Hu the dervishes recite Allah, Vâhid, Ehad, Samed and then Hayyü’l-kayyûm Allah, or in the reverse order. The ceremony then continues as the devran of other Khalwatis.
The devran that is practiced based on the opinion of Nureddin Cerrahî (d. 1678-ö. 1721) is known as tawaf tawhid. The devran continues with the invocation of Ya Hay; the dervishes leave the circle when the sheikh says, “Line up, three by three.” They then line up in rows of three, keeping the kütübhane on their left. Those who remain in the circle continue the devran, turning towards the left. Those in the triple lines walk, taking straight steps in the opposite direction. Like Mawlawis, the sheikh whirls towards the left in the kütübhane, which is located in the middle. When viewed from above, the triple lines, ranged like a beam of light coming from the hub of a spinning wheel; the invocation turn like the rim of the tire, creating an aesthetic picture. The tawaf tawhid can be performed anytime, but for the Jarrahi it is always performed during the first week of Ramadan.
Another ceremony that is peculiar to the Jarrahi is the Arafat vakfesi. This ceremony is performed in the mid-afternoon on the eve of the ‘Id al-Adha, and is done with the same intention of those pilgrims who are making the waqfa in Arafat. The ceremony ends after reciting telbiye, tekbir, and salavat like pilgrims, followed by a short performance of devran. This type of ceremony continued to be performed after Nureddin performed the same; indeed, Nureddin continued to do so for three years after visiting the tomb of Nureddinzade Muslihuddin-i Halvetî (d. 1571), the shaykh of Sokollu Mehmed Pasha; this tomb is located in Edirnekapı, Sakızağacı and the visit was made on the eve of the ‘Id al-Adha in 1717. The ceremony that was performed here in the beginning was called Sır Tekke; later on it started to be performed in the Jarrahi Âsitane.
Several important zakirbaşıs worked in the Jarrahi Âsitanesi: Among the important zakirbaşıs we can include Sheikh Hasan Efendi (d. 1804), Sheikh Mehmed Necib Dede (d. 1819), Pepe Sheikh Hasan Efendi (d. 1822), Sheikh Mustafa Efendi (d. 1827), Sheikh İsmail Efendi (Kanbur Hafız) (d. 1839), Sheikh Salih Efendi (d. 1852), the sheikh to the Yağlıkçılar kâhya (steward) Salih Efendi (d. 1869), Yorgancı Sheikh Ömer Efendi (d. 1872), Tahtaminare Sheikh Hafız Mehmed Efendi (d. 1873), Sheikh Hafız Hüseyin Efendi (d. 1901), Sheikh Mustafa Efendi (d. 1915), and Sheikh İbrahim Edhem Efendi (d. 1916). Other Jarrahi tekkes also trained very important zakirbaşıs. One of these was Eyübî Mehmed Bey (d. 1850), a pupil of İsmail Dede Efendi and teacher to Zekâî Dede and Hacı Arif Bey, two great musicians. The zakirbaşı of the Jarrahi Tekke that was built in Eyüp by Sertarikzade Sertarik Shaykh Mehmed Emin Efendi, the successor to the pir, Mehmed Bey wrote fifteen works that have survived until today; these are demonstrations of the great artistic talent of this man. In a similar way, Eğrikapılı Shaykh Mehmed Efendi (d. 1916), the zakirbaşı of Sertarikzade Tekke and Nureddin Âsitane, was a great musician.
The Mawlawi ceremony has features that very different from those ceremonies, which are classified as kuudî, kıyamî and devranî. The sema (sama), performed by Jalal ad Din Muhammad Rumi (Mawlana), while in a trance, took its final form when performed by his son Sultan Walad (d. 1312); this was further developed by Pir Âdil Çelebi (d. 1560) and Pir Hüseyin Çelebi (d. 1666).
The music of Mawlawi ceremony consists exclusively of Turkish music, and there are a number of different compositions and different melodies. The first ceremony is known as the beyatî ceremony and is named after Köçek Derviş Mustafa Dede. This is followed by Itri’s (d. 1712) segâh and Hâyî Shaykh Osman Dede’s (d. 1730) four ceremonies in the çargâh, hicaz, rast and uşşak modes. From 1700 onwards, the compositions for the ceremonies increased in number; however, many of these have not reached us today. Compositions that have existed include: Eyüplü Hüseyin Dede’s (d. 1740) nühüft; Musahib Seyyid Ahmed Agha’s (d. 1794) hicaz, nihavent and sabâ; Musahib Bursalı Âmâ Sâdık Efendi’s (d. 1707) bestenigâr; Hafız Abdürrahim Seyda Dede’s (d. 1800) ırak, ısfahan and hicazeyn; Kudümzen Hafız Ali Dede’s (d. 1800) nühüft; Ali Nutkî Dede’s (d. 1804) şevkutarab; Sultan Selim III’s (d. 1808) sûzidilârâ; ShaykhAbdülbaki Nâsır Dede’s (d. 1821) acembuselik and ısfahan; Shaykh Abdürrahim Künhî Dede’s (d. 1831) hicaz and nühüft; Hamamîzade İsmail Dede’s (d. 1846) sabâ, neva, bestenigâr, sababuselik, hüzzam and ferahfeza; Mustafa Nakşî Dede’s (d. 1854) şeddarabân; Hacı Haşim Bey’s (d. 1868) sûzinak and şehnaz, the lyrics of which were written by Beşiktaş Sheikh Hacı Hasan Nazif Dede; Tanburî İsmet Agha’s (d. 1870) müstear, isfahan and rahatfeza, all of which have been lost; Shaykh Arif Hikmetî Dede’s (d. 1874) mahur, which has been lost; Tanburî Kâmil Dede’s (d. 1875) yegâh, which has been lost; Manisalı Mustafa Cazim Dede’s (d. 1875) hicazkâr; Selanikli Necib Dede’s (d. 1883) lost sûzinak; Müezzinbaşı Rıfat Bey’s (d. 1888) neveser and ferahnak; Neyzen Sâlih Dede’s (d. 1888) şeddarabân; Hacı Faik Bey’s (d. 1891) dügah and selamlı yegah; Beylikçizâde Ali Aşkî Bey’s (d. 1892) hüseynî-aşîran, which has been largely forgotten, and the incompleted nikrîz; Hafız Zekâî Dede’s (d. 1897) mâye, ısfahan, sûzinâk, sabâ-zemzeme and sûzidil; Kudümzenbaşı Ahmed Hüsameddin Dede’s (d. 1900) rahatü’l-ervah; Sheikh Ahmed Celaleddin Dede’s (d. 1907) dügah; Bolâhenk Nuri Bey’s (d. 1910) karcığar bûselik; Sheikh Hüseyin Fahreddin Dede’s (d. 1911) acemaşîran; the zakirbaşı of Yahya Efendi, Sheikh Mehmed Şevki Efendi’s (d. 1914) lost ısfahan; Musullu Hafız Osman Dede’s (d. 1918) selamlık hüseynî; Abdülkerim Dede’s (d. 1920) lost yegah; Rauf Yektâ Bey’s (d. 1935) yegah; Ahmed Avni Konuk’s (d. 1938) buselik-aşîran, dilkeşîde and rûy-i ırak; Muallim Kâzım Uz’s (d. 1938) sultanîyegah; Zekâî Dedezade Hafız Ahmed Irsoy’s (d. 1943) beyâtî-bûselik and müstear; Râkım Elkutlu’s (d. 1948) karcığar; Hafız Kemal Batanay’s (d. 1982) nikrîz; Sadettin Heper’s (d. 1980) hisarbûselik. Hüseyin Sadettin Arel (d. 1955) composed 51 compositions in various modes. In the latter era, Cinuçen Tanrıkorur’s beyâti-arabân and eycârâ, Zeki Atkoşar’s muhayyer, sazkâr and mahur, Necdet Tanlak’s neveser and tahir, Fatih Salgar’s uşşak, Doğan Ergin’s ferahnâkaşîran, Cüneyd Kosal’s nişabur, Kemal Tezergil’s nihavent, Hasan Esen’s şehnaz and Ahmet Çalışır’s hicazkâr ceremonies have been added to the repertory of Turkish music.
The days for ceremonies in Istanbul were Friday and Tuesday in Galata, Saturday in Üsküdar, Sunday in Kasımpaşa, Monday and Thursday in Yenikapı, Wednesday in Beşiktaş (later on Eyüp Bahariye) Mevlevîhanes. In addition, there would be ceremonies on the nights of feasts and kandils as well as for ascension ceremonies.
The Mawlawi mukabele-i şerifi, known as the sema, would be carried out in the semahane of the tekke. They would proceed as follows: the meydancı dede would go to the sheikh shortly before the prayer time, carrying an red post of the sheikh which had been folded so that the outside is showing; the meydancı asked permission from the shaykh to perform the sema. If the sheikh said: Eyvallah, the meydancı dede called the dervishes, saying Abdeste tennûreye salâ!, and laid the post on the floor of the semahane in accordance with conventions. Then the meydancı would recite the adhan. The dervishes who were to particpate in the sema would put on the right clothes (tenure, elifnemed, destegul, resim hirkasi and sikke) out of respect for proper manners and conventions. Upon the invitation of the meydancı dede, who would say “Buyrun Ya Hû,” and nod at the dedes and dervishes one by one, they would enter the semahane, starting with their right foot and avoiding stepping on the threshold. Then they would stand according to their position and seniority. The body of mutrıb, who conducted the music of the ceremony, took their seats in mutrıbhane. Everyone would stand, with their right toes covering their left ones, that is, as if their feet wer adhered, and their arms crossed, the opposite hand holding the opposite shoulder; they would wait for the sheikh in this niyaz vaziyeti (supplication state). The sheikh would enter the semahane with the meydancı on his right, upon pressing on his foot and nodding, they would greet each other quietly. The sheikh would proceed to his post, and the prayer, to be performed in accordance with the conventions of mosque, would end with the Sura Fatiha recited by the sheikh.
After the prayer, dervishes would wait for the Masnawi sohbeti, their faces looking towards the Masnawi kürsü (platform). When the sheikh or mesnevihan approached the platform and sat down, everyone else would kiss the ground and sit where available. If the sheikh himself was not to read couplets of the Masnawi, which would later be commented on, the person in charge of reading the Masnawi (kâri-i Mesnevî) would sit on the prayer rug located under the platform, thus facing the qibla; the couplets to be read would be commented on. After reciting some couplets that contained prayers to Allah, as well as appeals for help and forgiveness, the sheikh would make a commentary on couplets from the Masnawi. At the end, the sheikh would recite the Persian verse that means, “Mawlana, the explorer of the secrets of Allah the Almighty, says thus. His commands are neither a dream, fortune nor astrology. Allah knows best, but it is probable that this is an inspiration from Haqq (God).” The commentary of Masnawi would then end. Someone in the mutrıbhane would recite a short passage from the Qur’an. Sura Fatiha is not recited as this point. Sura Fatiha is recited at the end of the post prayer made by the sheikh on the platform. When the sheikh descendes from the platform, everyone would kiss the ground, stand up and take up their places on the right side of semahane, in the direction of the qibla. If no commentary on the Masnawi was made, an unusual situation, it would be recited after the prayer. The prayer of the post is made when the sheikh sits on the post.
The sema ceremony begins with naat-ı Mevlana, an expression of love and respect for Prophet Muhammad. Itrî, a genius of Turkish music, wrote the music for the famous naat written by Mawlana, which starts Ya Habîballâh, Resûl-i Hâlik-ı yektâ tüyi (Oh the beloved of Allah, you are the Messenger of the only and unique Creater) in the rast mode; this masterpiece has been recited for more than two centuries and is known as naat-ı Mevlânâ, and is recited in mevlevihanes and in other tekkes.
When the naat-ı şerif ends, the kudümzenbaşı strikes the kudüm a couple of timtes, and neyzenbaşı makes the post taksimi. Next, the prelude starts with the first strike. At this moment, the sheikh and the whirling dervishes hit their hands on the ground fast and stand up. This is known as darb-ı celal. The neyzens also stand up and participate in the performance. In the meantime, the sheikh comes to the post and bowing his head, greets the dervishes. Then he turns right and starts walking with his right foot, in accordance with the tempo of the prelude. The semazens start walking in the same way, too. When the person behind the sheikh (the aşçıbaşı or semazenbaşı - chief cook or head-whirling darwish) comes before the post, he puts one foot over the other and bows his head. By taking a step with is right foot, he jumps over the line known as hatt-ı istiva, which supposedly exists between the foot of the post and the door; this is a place on which nobody can step. Without turning his back on the post the aşçıbaşı places one foot over the other and waits. In the meantime, the whirling dervish behind him has also come closer to across from the post. This dervish also covers one foot with the other and the two dervishes before the post bow to one another, looking into each other’s face; they put their right hands, which were inside their coats, over their hearts.
The person on the right side of the post turns right, without turning his back on the semahane and starts to walk; the dervish behind him repeats the same actions. Thus, each whirling dervish greets the next; this is referred to as cemal seyri. At the level of the post that is equal with the hatt-ı istiva, the participants place one foot over the other, and bow their heads; they continue to walk without crossing to the other side. If the ceremony is being performed in the semahane which houses a tomb, participants bow and give a greeting when passing the tomb. When they reach the post on the first turn, the sheikh greets the most nev-niyaz (most junior dervish), and then the second and third dervishes. On the third turn, the dervish who is at the end of the line gives a greeting, without waiting for the sheikh, and continues to walk. Taking his place in the line, the sheikh, thus, proceeds to his post. In the meantime, the mutrıb plays the prelude. Turning around the semahane three times is known as devr-i Veledî. During the Devr-i Veledî, everyone invokes “Allah”. Devr-i Veledî, the first part of the Mawlawi ceremony, is classified as being a devranî ceremony.
Later the kudümzenbaşı strikes the kudüm a couple of times in order to signal the end of the prelude, and a very brief improvisation on the ney is played. When the prelude of the ney ends, vocalists in the mutrıb (ayinhan) starts reciting the ceremony accompanied by the instruments. The sheikh, who is sitting on the post, and the whirling darwishes, who are standing in line on the left side of the shaykh, greet one another by bowing their heads. The whirling darwishes, except for the semazenbaşı, who is leading the sema, take off their cloaks and leave them where they were sitting, taking up position of prayer.
Taking three steps from the post, the sheikh comes forward and bows his head; everyone else bows their heads. While the shaykh keeps his hands joined, the right above the left; the semazenbaşı approaches the sheikh and kisses his hand; leaning over, the sheikh kisses his sikke. Semazenbaşı proceeds to the right side of the hatt-ı istiva and stands in a state of pray on the right side of the sheikh and bows his head. Whever he bows his head, the darwishes also bow their heads. The sheikh also bows his head to indicate his permission for the sema. The dervishes come before before the sheikh, one by one, bow their heads and kiss his hand. In response, the sheikh kisses their sikkes. According to the signal from the semazenbaşı, the first dervish starts the sema in the meydan. The sema is performed with the right hand facing up and the left one down. The left foot of a whirling dervish is known as the pillar and the right the wheel. The pillar never leaves the ground, and the knee does not bend. The wheel spins around the pillar towards the heart. The whirling dervish sliently invokes the name Allah on every turn. The sema continues in this way. After the last whirling dervish joins the sema, the semazenbaşı bows to the sheikh and starts walking around the meydan to conduct the sema. The sheikh goes behind his post and watches the sema from there.
The end of the first salam of the ceremony and the start of the second one occurs with a change in the mode. At the beginning of the first salam, everyone stands on their places facing the center of the semahane; this area is known as the kütüphane. In a state of prayer, they bow their heads and stand shoulder to shoulder. When the sheikh proceeds in front of the post and bows his head, everyone else also inclines their heads. When the sheikh reads the prayer of the salam sliently and goes behind the post, and everyone bows their head. The semazenbaşı and whirling dervishes join the sema, as in the first salam. However, nobody kisses his hand or the sikke. The part known as the second salam continues, and with another change in the mode, the third salam begins. The transgression to the fourth salam is carried out in the same way.
In the fourth salam, the dervishes whirl around the semahane, keeping the meydan vacant. When the last dervish joins in the sema, all the dervishes whirl in place, keeping the “pillar” still. After praying for the sheikh and placing the dervishes into their positions, the semazenbaşı proceeds to his place that is on the left of the sheikh, and he stops walking. The sheikh moves from his post towards the front, and he joins the sema. Grasping the right side of his coat with his left hand at the waist and the collar with his right hand, keeping the breast of the coat slightly opened towards the right, the sheikh whirls. Stepping over the hatt-ı istiva, the sheikh comes to the center of semahane while whirling, and keeps his “pillar” in place there. This type of sema, in which the collar is grasped and which is performed at a slow pace is known as post seması. The semazenbaşı also performs the post seması.
When the vocal part of the fourth salam mode finishes, the instruments immediately proceed to the last prelude. If the niyaz ilahisi is to be performed; this is a hymn that has an improvisational transition to the segâh mode. The last improvisation starts with the end of the last prelude, or the niyaz ilahisi. The sheikh, who is keeping his “pillar” still in the kutubhane, stops and slowly proceeds to the post. When the sheikh arrives at the post, the improvisation ends; immediately after this, the Qur’an, and in particular, Verse 115 of Sura Baqara is recited at a high pitch. At this moment, everyone bows their head, kissing the ground, sit down. When the recitation of the Qur’an finishes, after the duagû dede (beadsman) recites a prayer, takbir and al-salavat al-sharifa, the sheikh recites Sura Fatiha. Then kissing the ground, everyone stands up with the sheikh. The sheikh recites the gülbank which ends with the statement “Let’s say Hû.” Bowing his head, mutrıbân and the dervishes say Hû. When the sheikh leaves the post and bows his head, he says the salam aloud; the semazenbaşı, utters the syllable Hû as loudly as he can and returns the salaam. As to the whirling dervishes, they also bow their heads. In the meantime, the sheikh walks towards the door that is across from the post. When he arrives in the center of the meydan, the sheikh gives a salam again. The neyzenbaşı responds to this greeting, and those who are in the mutrıb bow their heads. When the sheikh arrives at the exit of the semahane, he turns back towards the post and bows his head; now everyone bows. After the sheikh leaves the semahane, everyone one gives salam to the post, one by one, by bowing and leaving the semahane.
The Mawlawi sema ceremony contains many symbols; these can be found in every sphere, ranging from the music to clothing. The sikke on the head of the dervish, a person who has purified themselves from their nafs, symbolizes the gravestone, the tenure the coffin, and the coat the grave. The right side of the semahane, which symbolizes the universe, represents the material world, while the left is the spiritual world. Moving away from the post to the right is descending from nobility to inferiority (from transcendent to unworthy) while moving from the hatt-ı istiva towards the post is going from inferiority to nobility, representing the journey of growing in spiritual maturity, a journey called seyr-i süluk. The first strike on the kudüm symbolizes Allah’s command, “Be!” The ney represents insân-ı kâmil (the perfected human). The first sound of the ney is Israfil blowing on the horn. Striking the ground symbolizes “be” and resurrection from the grave upon hearing the horn. The three turns during the devr of Sultan Walad, which are known as ilme’l-yakîn, ayne’l-yakîn and hakke’l-yakîn, refer to levels of recognition, vision and being. The sheikh who is sitting on a reddish post represents Mawlana, who was an insan-ı kâmil. It is he who knows the path to the Truth, and it is only he who can step on hatt-ı istiva. The spirits who are ressurected from the graves by the horn being blown, follow the insan-ı kâmil. This is best represented by the devr of Sultan Walad. Salams given in the whirling reveal meanings like zat, sıfat, fiil, vahdet (entity, attribute, deed and unity). Four salaams represent Shari’a, tarikat, truth, attainment. In the fourth salam, standing on the station of vahdet is existence with the Only and Real Existence of Allah. At the end, it is said that: “Even if you are familiar with all the spiritual levels, even if you attain them, never renounce servitude; the highest position and stage is servitude. However, those who know are not equal with those who know not.”
In Mawlawiyya, in addition to the mukabele-i şerif, there is another type of ceremony that is called ayin-i cem, aynü’l cem. The ceremony of cem, which is performed in a special section called the meydan odası, rather than in the semahane, starts with a ney improvisation that is not accompanied by naat; this is performed during a sohbet meeting or at a banquet. While the ceremony is being recited, those who wish to put on their coats and whirl in the style of the post sema. This ceremony, at the beginning of which salams are given, ends with the recitation of the Qur’an and gülbank. Later, if so decided, participants continue the sohbet and the banquet. Since the death of Mawlana (Cemaziyelahir 5, 672) is considered by Mawlawis to be when he met with the beloved and the şeb-i arûs (wedding night), the ayin-i cem is performed at this time.
This is the ceremony in which the nev-niyaz (novice darwish) participate in the mukabele-i şerif. The ser-tebbâh (aşçıbaşı dede) conducts this ceremony. Just as ayin-i cem, this ceremony starts with a ney improvision without a recitation of naat. In addition to the prelude, the devr of Sultan Walad is also performed. There is no recitation during the mübtedî mukabelesi. The sema consists of four sections and starts with a prelude, ending with recitation of the Qur’an and gülbank.
After the sema, after everyone has left the semahane, those darwishes who have not yet been satisfied with performing the sema, do not remove their coats, but spin eighteen times in the style of the post semasi. Since this sema is performed individually and without music or light, it is known as the garipler seması or karîbler seması (sema of those who are close to Hakk).
The method of ceremony and invocation in the Bektashi, known as Bektaşî sırrı, which was not recorded in the classical sources due to the principle of concealing worship from public, has become known due to recent compilations and oral narrations.
The ayin-i cem, the main ceremony of the Bektashi, and the ikrar ayini, which is performed to allow new followers of the tarikat to meet with the elders, are very special ceremonies, the details of which are only known by the participants. An outline of a Bektashi ceremony is as follows: before proceeding to the ceremony the baba orders that Sura Fatiha be recited. All men pray two rakat of the tarikat prayer before the pir. The brief invocation is performed in company with the recitation of the Qur’an, some special prayers, and awrad (daily prayers); it ends with the recitation of salavat-ı şerifs for Prophet Muhammad and his family, and then a gülbank. Subsequently, a work which has a special composition, and is called çerâğ uyandırma tercümanı is recited; during this time large candles are lit and the participants proceed to the meydan odası in an orderly manner. Accompanied by music, participants perform a kind of religious dance, known as the semah. In addition, ceremonies known as baş okutma, dolu içme, mücerretlik Ali Sofrası, kurban tığlama, lokma etme and Koyun Baba are performed to accompany the semah. In some ceremonies the semah is not performed, but the gülbank and tercuman are recited without music. The Mawlid of Ali is also recited without instruments. No semah is performed during the month of Muharrem, either. Rather, there are recitals for the martyrs of Karbala. The Semah is a religious ritual that includes rhythmic arm and feet movement, and is performed by men and women together. It starts with Ağırlama and continues with faster sections known as yürütme and yeldirme. The ihvan accompany the semah melody that is recited by the zakirs and accompanied by instruments and singers; these are known as Eyvallah Hu, Şâhım şâh and Dost.
One should not confuse Bektashi ceremonies and semah with Alawi semah. Alawi-Bektashi terminologies are used synonymously in recently written journals and books; however, this is a grave error. Semahs that are performed in public accompanied by folk music in Anatolia are for the most part Alawi semahı. In Bektashi tekkes in large cities, with the influence of classical culture, both the music and the semah has become classical in method and mode. The best examples of this type of semah, as far as the music is concerned, can be found in Istanbul. In addition to classical methods like devr-i hindî, aksak, yürük semai, sofyan, curcuna, müsemmen, and Türk aksağı, the Bektaşî devr-i revanı, Bektaşî raksanı, and Bektaşî dance are also included in the semah.
Many individuals became famous for performing the semah music well and for recitation and nefes: Erzurumlu Ceyhunî (d. 1886), one of the darvishes of Yedikuleli Hacı Hasan Baba, the sheikh of Kazlıçeşme Perişan Baba Dergâh, Çınarî (d. 1899), who was one of Ceyhunî’s students and one of the dervishes of Sütlüce Bektaşî Dergâh, Sheikh Münir Baba, İnebolulu Âşık Ahmed of the Çamlıca Dergâh. Again, it is known that Mihrabî Baba (d. 1922), a follower of Sütlüce Sheikh Münir Baba and Bahriye Kolağası, also played instruments very well and would even compose their own nefes. The sheikh of Merdivenköy Şahkulu Dergâh, Mehmed Ali Hilmi Dedebaba (b. 1844-d. 1910), Neyzen Mehmed Kâmî Efendi (d. 1890?), Tevfik Bey (d. 1889), one of the dervishes of Çamlıcalı Nuri Baba and Samih Rifat Bey (b. 1874-d. 1933) were among famous Bektashi composers. Kazlıçeşme Sheikh Hafız Mehmed Perişan Baba (d. 1876), who would later become dedebaba to the Hacı Bektaş Dergâh, was well-known for playing instruments well. His nefes, the first couplet of which is Subh u şâm ey gönül çekelim gülbank, which he wrote and composed in the uşşak mode, is very famous.
Müezzinbaşı Hacı Haşim Bey is another important Bektashî musicians from Istanbul. Although he is mentioned as a Mawlawi in the records, he is from the tarik-i nazenîn, and this was written on his gravestone. Haşim Bey was a dervish of the sheikh of the Eyüp Bahariye (Karyağdı Bektaşî Tekke) Hafız Baba. Hafız Baba would pray five times prayer at Eyüp Sultan Mosque. In order for Baba to walk easily, Bektashis of Rumelia would pave the road with cobbles, and this stretched from the dergâh down to the mosque. Haşim Bey was the serhanende and müezzinbaşı of the palace and teacher of distinguished composers like Hacı Faik Bey, Hacı Arif Bey and Bolâhenk Nuri Bey. His 73 compositions included ayin, beste, ağır and yürük semai, köçekçe, and songs that are still used today. He also wrote the book known as Hâşim Bey Mecmuası, which is a book of theory and repertoir. Tekirdağlı Hacı Hafız Rifat Efendi is another musician who recited Bektashi nefes in the Istanbul manner.
One of the other characteristics of Bektahsi ceremonies which cannot be found in other ceremonies is the nefes known as deste, takım or arka. Some of the reprises in these nefes are repeated with the canon technique found in Western music. In addition, some of those who participate in the crowded semahs repeat words like Ya Allah, Ya Şâh or Hû on the karar perdesi of the nefes. This is known as dem tutmak. As in the other tarikat ceremonies, in the Bektashi ceremony the pitch increases as the tempo of the semah music increases. Poems read without music are known as nutuk. Nefes are divided into subcategories like naat-ı Ali, Düvazde (twelve) İmam, mersiye, miraciye or nevruziye. These categories are called oturak if to be played slowly, or şahlama if to be played rapidly. Şahlamas are melodic compositions appropriate to the semah. There is also special semah music like turnalar semahı.
Ceremonies performed in city tekkes are performed according to the procedure and conventions of the Erkân-nâme, which is thought to have been written by Balım Sultan. This ceremony starts with the performance of the nefes on the signal of the mürşid. A nefes which is to be played slowly, known as oturak havası is listened to by the participants while they are seated. When it comes to the nefes that is known as Şahlama havası, which is to be played at a fast tempo, the participants stand up for the semah. The music eventually speeds up and becomes more lively. Anyone who can do the semah can attend. The number of those who perform the semah is always even. Those who would like to take the place of another, kisses the knee of those who are sitting and makes a prayer, thus inviting them to take their place. The people participating move without joining hands, walking in line, taking steps in keeping with the mode and tempo of the nefes that is being played in the middle of the meydan; at the same time they wave their arms back and forth or put their hands on their breasts crossed one over the other, and exchange greetings with each other. Participants do not turn their backs on the candlestick, known as the Çerağ tahtı, on which the candles burn, or on the baba, as they pass by out of respect. When the name of the composer of the nefes used in the semah is mentioned, the participants place one foot on the other, put their arms over their breasts, bow their heads and stay still; the semah pauses here. This is known as paymaçan or darda durmak. When this line ends, the semah resumes. The semah ceremony ends on the signal of the mürşid, and following the offering, the group disbands.
The taraklama method of the semah, which is the most aesthetic kind of semah, is performed as follows: If there are eight men and eight women who stand up for the semah, four women and four men stand next to each other, with those of the opposite sex facing one another, forming four crossed lines. Instead of walking around the meydan, those who perform the semah change places in the front. The music of the semah, which is recited and played, is very fast and lively. While the participants change places with one another, they pass through the other lines in an artful way, avoiding bumping into others while not turning their backs on one another, and moving their feet and arms in keeping with the rhythm. As a result, the taraklama semahı is performed very rarely.
Koyun Baba (Çoban Baba) Ceremony
Bektashi ceremonies that are performed outdoor are usually called Koyun Baba ayini or Çoban Baba semahı. This ceremony, which is performed at celebrations of Hıdrellez and nevruz or when people gather at a a tomb to make a vow, is known as Kar muhabbeti. Koyun Baba semahı was performed in Şahkulu Sultan Dergâh in Merdivenköy, Istanbul.
Interview with Ahmet Bîcan Kasapoğlu
Interview with Albay Selahattin Güler
Interview with Albay Zühdü Efendi
Interview with Sadettin Heper
Interview with Selahattin Demirtaş
Interview with Şakir Çetiner
Interview with Şeyh Raşit Efendi
Bayramoğlu, Fuad, Hacı Bayram-ı Velî, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1983.
Dal, M. Fahrettin, “Fahreddin Erenden’in Tasavvufî Görüşleri ve Eserleri ‘Envâr-ı Hazret-i Nûreddîn ve Tabakât- Cerrâhiyye’” (postgraduate thesis), Marmara University Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, 2006.
Ergun, Sadettin Nuzhet, Türk Musikisi Antolojisi, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1942, vol. 1.
Ergun, Sadettin Nuzhet, Bektâşî Şairleri, Istanbul: Devlet Matbaası, 1930.
Müstakîmzâde Mecmuası (manuscript, special edition).
Ozak, Muzaffer, Halvetîlik ve Halvetîler (unpublished special edition).
Ozak, Muzaffer, Musahabat-ı Sufiye (unpublished special edition).
Öztuna, Yılmaz, Türk Musıkîsi Ansiklopedisi, Istanbul: Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı, 1969, vol. 1.
Salcı, Vahit Lutfi, Gizli Türk Dinî Oyunları, Istanbul: Numune Matbaası, 1941.
Salgar, Fatih, Mevlevî Âyinleri: The Music of Divine Love, Istanbul: Ötüken Neşriyat, 2008.
Uludağ, Süleyman, İslâm Açısından Mûsıkî ve Sema, Istanbul: Marifet Yayınları, 1999.
Yekta, Rauf, Türk Musıkîsi Klasiklerinden Bektaşî Nefesleri, Istanbul: İstanbul Konservatuvarı Neşriyatı, 1933, vol. 3-4.
Yılmaz, Hasan Kamil, Aziz Mahmud Hüdâyî, Istanbul: Erkam Yayınları, 1982.
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Zâkir Şükrü Efendi Mecmuası (manuscript, private copy).
1 In the Jalwati tarikat, the opening of the meydan is not performed by the sheikh, but rather by the recitation of Sura Fatiha by the zakirbaşı.
2 The fact that some Naqsibandis who migrated from Rumelia read the awrad in unison was a practice which began for educational purposes; however, this practice, although not correct, continued.
3 Sheikh Mehmed Zaifî Efendi had a unique talent in reciting the Qur’an and Muhammadiyya (As a matter of fact, İsmail Hakkı Bursevî stated in his book that it was this sheikh’s beautiful recitation that motivated him to write a commentary on Muhammediyya.)
4 Husamâ prayer is a prayer that is performed in order to respond with it to those staking out a claim on the Day of Judgment. It has always been performed on the blessed day and nights especially in İstanbul Sünbülî Âsitanesi. It consists of four rakat. In the first rak’at: 1 Fatiha-i şerife, 11 İhlas-ı şerif, in the second rak’at 1 Fatiha-i şerife, 10 İhlas-ı şerif, 3 Kul yâ eyyühel-kâfirûn, in the third rak’at: 1 Fatiha-i şerife, 10 İhlas-ı şerif, 1 Elhâkümüt-tekâsür, in the fourth rak’at: 1 Fatiha-i şerife, 15 İhlas-ı şerif, 1 Ayetü’l-Kürsî are recited and offered.
5 After Hacı Ârif Bey, Yaşar Baba is the second Turk who received a medal from another country.