Islamic Studies Bektashi Sufi Order
by
Mark Soileau
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 November 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0304

Introduction

One of the most famous of the Sufi orders (tarikat) of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and the Balkans, the Bektashi order is known for its Shiʿi orientation, its immanentist Sufism, and its free spirit and wit, and is recognizable by the elaborate symbolic costume of its dervishes and babas. While the term “Bektashi” is often used today as if to indicate any tradition related to the 13th-century eponym Haji Bektash Veli, and so including the Kizilbash/Alevis, as well as being used in reference to the tradition under the leadership of the Çelebis, who are considered the descendants of Haji Bektash, the tradition discussed here is the dervish order led by babas (and thus often referred to as Babagân), typified in the premodern period by training in tekkes, non-hereditary membership defined by initiation, and still today recognizable by the costume of its dervishes. The course of this group’s history has certainly crossed and blended with, and emerged from the same historical milieu as, those of the Alevis and Çelebis, so some reference will be made to them in this bibliography. The Bektashi order has been studied especially for its history, its tekkes (convents or lodges), its relationships to the Janissary corps and the Ottoman state, its cult of saints, and its poetry. Studies have been made in English, French, and German, but mostly in Turkish. Many works by and about Bektashis were written in Ottoman-era Turkish in the Arabic-based script, so modern published editions of these often involve transcription into the modern Latin-based alphabet and/or rendering into modern Turkish phraseology.

General Overviews

The best introduction to the Bektashi order continues to be Birge 1937. A good one-volume overview in Turkish is Noyan 1995, with the added value that the author was the dedebaba of the order 1960–1997. The same author’s complete writings on the Bektashi tradition were published posthumously in the nine-volume Noyan 1998–2011. A general account is also provided in French, with Mélikoff 1998. Ulusoy 1986 is an overview of Bektashi tradition from the perspective of the Çelebis. A survey of Bektashi history while delineating referents to the term “Bektashi” is found in Yıldırım 2010. A rich source of information on Bektashi tradition collected from oral and material sources in the early 20th century is Hasluck 1929. Many aspects of the Bektashi tradition are explored in the articles in the collection Popovic and Veinstein 1995. Aspects of Bektashi philosophy, cosmology, and lore can be gleaned from Oytan 2007 and Sunar 1975.

  • Birge, John Kingsley. The Bektashi Order of Dervishes. London: Luzac, 1937.

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    The first comprehensive account of the order, a classic, and still the best introduction, covering the history, doctrines and beliefs, rites and practices, relations to other faiths, and other matters. Presents thirty-two illustrations (paintings, costume) with commentary, including detailed description of items of the dervish garb; a glossary of terms; and an extensive bibliography of manuscripts and printed works.

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  • Hasluck, F. W. Christianity and Islam under the Sultans. Edited by Margaret M. Hasluck. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929.

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    Author traveled in Greece and Turkey in the early 20th century, collecting archaeological, architectural, and folkloric information on folk religion, much of which is Bektashi. Includes the geographical distribution of Bektashi tekkes, and a translation of Naim Frasheri’s Albanian “Bektashi Pages.”

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  • Mélikoff, Irène. Hadji Bektach: un mythe et ses avatars. Genèse et évolution du soufisme populaire en Turquie. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1998.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004491434Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    On Haji Bektash and the traditions associated with his legacy. Stresses Central Asian precursors such as shamanism, and concepts like syncretism and heterodoxy. Has been translated into Turkish as Hacı Bektaş Efsaneden Gerçeğe.

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  • Noyan, Bedri. Bektaşilik Alevilik Nedir? Istanbul: Ant/Can, 1995.

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    Comprehensive account of everything about the order, by the dedebaba (leader) of Bektashis from 1960 to 1997.

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  • Noyan, Bedri. Bütün Yönleriyle Bektâşîlik ve Alevîlik. 9 vols. Ankara, Turkey: Ardıç Yayınları, 1998–2011.

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    Posthumously published nine-volume collection of Noyan’s writings on every aspect of the Bektashi tradition.

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  • Oytan, M. Tevfik. Bektaşiliğin İçyüzü: Dibi Köşesi Yüzü ve Astarı Nedir? Istanbul: Demos Yayınları, 2007.

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    Originally published in 1945, focuses on Alevis and Bektashis belonging to the Seyyid Battal Gazi and Sultan Şücaaddin Veli tekkes. Method is to present a poem by a local poet, then give commentary on it, revealing Bektashi lore in the process. Many valuable insights.

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  • Popovic, Alexandre, and Gilles Veinstein, eds. Bektachiyya: Études sur l’ordre mystique des Bektachis et les groupes relevant de Hadji Bektach. Istanbul: Isis, 1995.

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    Collection of articles arising out of a conference, including thirty-two articles on the influences on the order, its ritual and cultural aspects, its relations with the Ottoman and later Turkish states, its presence in Balkan countries, and modern identity issues.

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  • Sunar, Cavit. Melâmîlik ve Bektaşîlik. Ankara, Turkey: Ankara Üniversitesi İlâhiyat Fakültesi Yayınları, 1975.

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    Describes Bektashi philosophy, rituals, and poems, with extensive endnotes offering symbolic meanings or expounding on points made in the text, with philosophical Sufi explication.

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  • Ulusoy, A. Celâlettin. Hünkâr Hacı Bektaş Velî ve Alevî-Bektaşî Yolu. Hacıbektaş, Turkey: n.p., 1986.

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    General account of Haji Bektash, Bektashi and Alevi history, the Twelve Imams, and Sufism by a learned member of the family of Çelebis, considered by their followers to be descendants of Haji Bekash. Reflects the Çelebi interpretation of Bektashi history.

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  • Yıldırım, Rıza. “Bektaşi Kime Derler?: ‘Bektaşi’ Karvramının Kapsamı ve Sınırları Üzerine Tarihsel bir Analiz Denemesi.” Türk Kültürü ve Hacı Bektaş Veli Araştırma Dergisi 55 (2010): 23–58.

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    Overview of Bektashi history while attempting to distinguish between three socioreligious groups to which the name “Bektashi” has been used: the dervish order (Babagân), the Alevis affiliated with the Çelebis (descendants of Haji Bektash), and Alevi-Bektashi groups in the Balkans.

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Reference Works

There are a few useful reference works (Korkmaz 2003, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı) and bibliographies (Öztürk 1991, Yaman 1998, Kaplan 2012) that can be consulted.

History

Bektashi history can be periodized around certain key events: the lifetime of the eponym Haji Bektash (13th century), the coming to leadership of the “second Pir” Balım Sultan (c. 1500), the abolition of the order along with the Janissaries (1826), and the closure of all the orders in Turkey (1925).

Pre- and Early Bektashi History

Haji Bektash is considered to be among the first wave of Turkish socioreligious leaders in Anatolia, and efforts have been made to understand the milieu from which he arose and in which his legacy was perpetuated. A fascinating element of this milieu is the phenomenon of wandering non-conformist dervishes who were described in narrative sources and Western travel accounts. Ocak 2016 and Karamustafa 1994 both deal with this phenomenon, though their approaches are quite different. The effects of the 13th-century Babai revolt against the Seljuk state were also likely felt on the formation of Bektashi tradition, a topic dealt with in detail in Ocak 2020. There was as well a tradition of guild brotherhoods whose institutions and rituals resembled those of Bektashis and may have been an institutional precursor; an early study of such connections is Arnakis 1953. The role of Bektashi-type dervishes and the founding of frontier tekkes in lands conquered by the early Ottomans was argued in Barkan 1974. The possibility of an early tribal factor was also explored in Beldiceanu-Steinherr 1991. An early attempt at explaining the formation of the Bektashi order was Köprülü 1925, and a more recent account is Yıldırım 2019. Karakaya-Stump 2020 questions some commonly held assumptions on this early period.

  • Arnakis, G. G. “Futuwwa Traditions in the Ottoman Empire: Akhis, Bektashi Dervishes, and Craftsmen.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 12.4 (1953): 232–247.

    DOI: 10.1086/371156Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    On the rise and fall of the Akhi brotherhoods, with Bektashis as their successors.

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  • Barkan, Ömer Lütfi. “Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda Bir İskân ve Kolonizasyon Metodu Olarak Vakıflar ve Temlikler.” Vakıflar Dergisi 2 (1974): 279–386.

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    On the role of “colonizer Turkish dervishes” and tekkes in settling lands conquered by the early Ottomans, spreading Turkish language and religion.

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  • Beldiceanu-Steinherr, Irène. “Les Bektasi a la lumière des recensements ottoman (XVe- XVIe siècles.” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 81 (1991): 21–79.

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    Study of individuals and communities referred to in archival documents as Bektashi in the area surrounding the central tekke, based on information in late-15th-century census registers. This population included a tribe named Bektaşlu.

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  • Karakaya-Stump, Ayfer. The Kizilbash/Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia: Sufism, Politics and Community. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

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    Chapter 3, “Hacı Bektaş and His Contested Legacy: The Abdals of Rum, the Bektashi Order and the (Proto-) Kizilbash Communities,” reassesses the early formation of the Bektashi tradition in relation to other similar groups. Stresses Vefa’î (Wafa’i) influences and critiques some ideas originating with Fuad Köprülü.

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  • Karamustafa, Ahmet T. God’s Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period 1200–1550. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994.

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    History and cultural analysis of non-conformist dervish groups, seeing them as representing a new renunciatory movement, with Bektashis carrying their legacy.

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  • Köprülü, Fuad (Köprülüzâde Mehmed Fuad). “Bektaşîliğin Menşeleri: Küçük Asya’da İslâm Batınîliğinin Tekâmül-i Tarihîsi Hakkında bir Tecrübe.” Türk Yurdu 16–2.169–8 (1925): 68–76.

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    Early account of the formation of Bektashism, arguing that after the failure of the Babai revolt, Babai dervishes hid themselves under the cloaks of other dervish orders, but reemerged after the Mongol invasion. Haji Bektash was the most important of these. Article also published in French as “Les origines du Bektachisme.”

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  • Ocak, Ahmet Yaşar. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Marjinal Sûfilik: Kalenderîler, XIV-XVII. Yüzyıllar. Istanbul: Timaş Yayınları, 2016.

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    History of the movement of non-conformist dervishes within the Islamic mystic tradition that have been known by various names including Kalenderi, which took the form of the Abdals of Rum, who influenced the formation of the Bektashi order.

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  • Ocak, Ahmet Yaşar. Babaîler İsyanı: Alevîliğin Tarihsel Alt Yapısı. Istanbul: Dergâh Yayınları, 2020.

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    History of the 13th-century Babai revolt, its causes, underlying social base, ideology, leaders, and the mystical-religious movement that formed in its wake, leading to what we know as Bektashis and Alevis.

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  • Yıldırım, Rıza. Hacı Bektaş Veli’den Balım Sultan’a Bektaşiliğin Doğuşu. Istanbul: İletişim, 2019.

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    Recent book-length account of the development of the Bektashi order, beginning with the period prior to the formation, through the figure of Haji Bektash, to that of the “second Pir” Balım Sultan and the definitive organization of the order. Relies on mostly narrative sources. Special emphasis is given to the Rum Erenleri, the Rum Abdalları, and the role of the Kızıldeli tekke in the formation of the order.

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Sixteenth Century to 1826

The 16th century was marked not only by the formalization of the tradition under Balım Sultan, but also by persecutions against non-conformist dervishes and the Kızılbaş in the context of the Ottoman-Safavid conflicts and the centralization of Ottoman religious authority, during which antinomian groups are thought to have been absorbed into the Bektashi order. This process is explored in Karamustafa 1993. An overview of this period is provided by Faroqhi 1995. The persecutions are illustrated with examples from Ottoman decrees in Ahmet Refik 1932 and Imber 1979. Moving forward, Faroqhi 1981 describes an institutionalized tekke-based Bektashi order until the closure of 1826, and Maden 2013 offers a summary of the observations of the 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi, who visited and described many Bektashi tekkes.

  • Ahmet Refik. On Altıncı Asırda Rafızîlik ve Bektaşilik. Istanbul: Muallim Ahmet Halit Kitaphanesi, 1932.

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    Compilation of fifty-four documents from mühimme defterleri, decrees condemning and ordering action taken on groups known variously as Işık or Kızılbaş and labeled disparagingly as heretics (mülhid, rafızî) for behavior contrary to the Sharia. Bektashis per se are not targeted in these decrees, but they provide context on the religiopolitical climate of the time, of which Bektashis were a part.

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  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. Der Bektaschi-Orden in Anatolien (vom späten fünfzehnten Jahrhundert bis 1826). Vienna: Verlag des Institutes für Orientalistik der Universität Wien, 1981.

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    Economic and social history of the Bektashi order in Anatolia from the end of the 15th century to its closure in 1826, focusing on tekkes. With attention to the tekke as an institution and an economic unit, relations among Bektashi tekkes and between the tekkes and the Ottoman state, the geographical distribution of tekkes, and their closure in 1826.

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  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. “Conflict, Accommodation and Long-Term Survival: The Bektashi Order and the Ottoman State (Sixteenth-Seventeenth Centuries).” In Bektachiyya: Études sur l’ordre mystique des Bektachis et les groupes relevant de Hadji Bektach. Edited by Alexandre Popovic and Gilles Veinstein, 171–184. Istanbul: Isis, 1995.

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    Overview of the complex relations between the Ottoman state and the Bektashi order in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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  • Imber, C. H. “The Persecution of the Ottoman Shiʾites According to the Mühimme Defterleri, 1565–1585.” Der Islam 56.2 (1979): 245–273.

    DOI: 10.1515/islm.1979.56.2.245Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Study of the 16th-century persecutions, using mühimme defterleri documents not published by Ahmet Refik. Defines the target of decrees as “pro-Safavid elements in the Ottoman state, in particular the kızılbaş.” Gives background on the Ottoman-Safavid conflict, the target communities of the decrees, and the methods of persecution.

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  • Karamustafa, Ahmet T. “Kalenders, Abdâls, Hayderîs: The Formation of the Bektâşîye in the Sixteenth Century.” In Süleymân the Second and His Time. Edited by Halil İnalcık and Cemal Kafadar, 121–129. Istanbul: Isis Press, 1993.

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    Relying on Vahidi’s 1522 Menâkıb-ı Hvoca-i Cihân ve Netîce-i Cân (which the author has also edited), which describes various dervish groups. The Bektashi order seems to have formed by absorbing elements of other antinomian groups during the 16th century.

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  • Maden, Fahri. Seyyah ve Sufi: Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi’nde Bektaşîler. Istanbul: Kapı Yayınları, 2013.

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    Analysis of descriptions of Bektashis in Evliya Çelebi, especially tekkes, saints, and şeyhs, with corroborating evidence from archival documents.

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From 1826 to 1925

The Bektashis had an unclear yet well-known relationship with the Janissary corps, which by the early 19th century was seen as an obstacle to modernizing reforms under Mahmud II. When the corps was violently destroyed in 1826, the opportunity was taken to abolish the Bektashi order as well, on grounds of heresy. Besides the execution and exile of certain babas, some tekkes were either destroyed or confiscated, being turned over to shaykhs of other orders, especially Naqshbandis. The official history of the 1826 events is Es’ad Efendi 2005. The confiscation of Bektashi property is outlined in Barnes 1986. Çamuroğlu 1994 explains relationships between the Janissaries and Bektashis and the events of 1826. Abu-Manneh 2017 sees the events in the context of the increasing political power of orthodox Naqshbandis. Maden 2013 discusses the abolition and the period following it in the light of archival documents, and Soyyer 2005 discusses Bektashis during the period following the closure. After an underground period, Bektashis resurfaced with the support of later sultans. Yüksel 2002 presents a study of a prominent baba and poet during this period. Bektashis were soon engulfed in a series of political crises: the Young Turk revolution, the nationalist struggle, and the closure of all the tekkes in Republican Turkey in 1925. Küçük 2002 discusses in detail Bektashi involvement in the nationalist struggle, and Zarcone 1993 the connections between Bektashis and Freemasons, with a focus on Rıza Tevfik. Kara 2019 analyzes Bektashi relations with other religiocultural groups during this period.

Early Publications

Works by and about Bektashis began to be published during the underground period. The first works were related to Hurûfism, the science through which cosmology and theology could be related through numerical values, against which there was much opposition. A publishing debate ensued with İshak Efendi’s condemnatory Kâşifü’l-Esrar, to which refutations were then published, including prominently Ahmet Rifat Efendi 2007. German scholarship then entered the debate with Jacob 1908. This was followed by Ahmet Rıfkı 2017, Gümüşoğlu and Tokçiftçi 2012, Kasap and Günaydın 2006, and Kayıkçıoğlu 2017. Clayer 2015 provides an overview of this debate. Western scholars then began to explore the literature of Hurûfîs with Browne 1907 and Huart 1909.

  • Ahmet Rifat Efendi. Gerçek Bektaşilik (Mir’âtü’l-Mekâsıd fî def’i’l-Mefâsid). Edited by Salih Çift. Istanbul: İz Yayıncılık, 2007.

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    In response to İshak Efendi’s Kâşifü’l-Esrar, offers a comprehensive account of the Bektashi order, refuting any Bektashi connection with Hurûfism, and portraying Haji Bektash and Bektashism as firmly in conformity with Sharia. First published in 1876.

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  • Ahmet Rıfkı. Bektaşî Sırrı: Sadeleştirilmiş ve Asıl Metin Bir Arada (Cilt 1-4). Edited by H. Dursun Gümüşoğlu. Transcribed by Erdoğan Ağırdemir and Fidan Batmansuyu. Istanbul: Post, 2017.

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    Transcription and modern Turkish rendition of Ahmet Rıfkı’s work on the Bektashi order, the first two volumes of which were met with a response from the Çelebi Cemaleddin, whose Müdafa’a Rıfkı then included as Volume 3 of the work, responding to the Çelebi with another volume, which became Volume 4. This edition includes all four of the volumes.

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  • Browne, E. G. “Further Notes on the Literature of the Hurufis and Their Connection with the Bektashi Order of Dervishes.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 39.3 (1907): 533–581.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0035869X0003639XSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Catalogue of Hurûfî works, some mentioning Haji Bektash or Bektashis.

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  • Clayer, Nathalie. “Sufi Printed Matter and Knowledge about the Bektashi Order in the Late Ottoman Period.” In Sufism, Literary Production, and Printing in the Nineteenth Century. Edited by Rachida Chih, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, and Rüdiger Seesemann, 351–367. Würzburg, Germany: Ergon-Verlag, 2015.

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    Discusses how Western knowledge of Bektashism was influenced by Jacob’s use of İshak Efendi, as well as by translations of Naim Frasheri’s Albanian booklet. Good overview of the early publishing history and debate.

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  • Gümüşoğlu, Dursun, and Jülide Tokçiftçi. Şeyh Baba Mehmed Süreyya Bektaşîlik ve Bektaşîler. Istanbul: Hoşgörü Yayınları, 2012.

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    Transcription, modern Turkish rendition, and facsimile of Mehmed Süreyya’s 1922 work on Bektashi teachings in the form of a dialogue between a baba and a potential disciple.

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  • Huart, M. Clément. Textes Persans Relatifs a la Secte des Houroûfîs. Suivis d’une étude sur la religion des Houroûfîs par Le Docteur Rıza Tevfiq. Leyden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1909.

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    Includes the Bektashi Rıza Tevfik’s views on Hurûfî cosmology and anthropology.

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  • Jacob, Georg. Beiträge zur Kenntnis des Derwisch-Ordens der Bektaschis. Berlin: Mayer & Müller, 1908.

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    First attempt to synthesize knowledge of the Bektashi order in German, but unfortunately choosing to include a translation of the polemical anti-Hurûfî work Kâşifü’l-Esrar, further continuing the debate about the nature of Bektashism.

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  • Kasap, İsmail, and Yusuf Turan Günaydın. Bektaşîlik Makâlâtı Ali Ulvî Baba. Istanbul: Horasan Yayınları, 2006.

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    Transcription and facsimile of the work of Ali Ulvi Baba in response to Ahmed Rıfkı’s Bektaşi Sirrı.

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  • Kayıkçıoğlu, M. Sâdık Vicdânî. Hurûfîlik ve Bektaşîlik: Ne İdiler ve Nasıl Kaynaştılar? Edited by İsmail Güleç. Istanbul: İz Yayıncılık, 2017. 2. Baskı.

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    Transcription of an unpublished work from the 1920s by a Naqshbandi, entering the debate on Bektashism in relation to Hurûfism.

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Modern Period

Though like all the Sufi orders in Turkey the Bektashi order was officially outlawed in 1925, it continues to function, trying to adapt to the modern situation. Doğu and Kaya 2021 show through newspaper reports how Bektashis continued to gather during the early decades following the 1925 ban. Norton 1983 relates observations on 20th-century Bektashis in Turkey. Temren 1994 explains the educational function of Bektashi discourse and practice, based on observations of contemporary urban Bektashi communities. Yıkmış 2014 provides a sociological study of the family considered to be descendants of Haji Bektash and their leadership structure. The Bektashi village of Tekke Köyü in Antalya has been approached from different perspectives in three articles in an issue of the jourrnal Turcica: Cler 2017, Elias 2017, and Sigalas 2017. And in the United States a Bektashi baba has been the subject of a sociolinguistic study of the master-disciple relationship in Trix 1993.

  • Cler, Jérôme. “Le ‘terrain’: ethnographie et ethnomusicologie en milieu rural bektachi.” Turcica 48 (2017): 307–350.

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    Description of Tekke Köyü’s ritual, musical, and institutional life, focusing on the ritual gathering called birlik.

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  • Doğu, Bedri Cumhur, and Okan Kaya. Kupürlerle Türkiye Basın Tarihinde Bektaşilik: Erken Cumhuriyet Dönemi. N.p.: Nazenin, 2021.

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    Collection of newspaper reports from 1930 to 1953 of Bektashis being charged with performing secret rituals, which had been outlawed in 1925. Their explanation was often that they were only drinking among friends, and they only lit candles because the electricity went out.

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  • Elias, Nicolas. “Vivre sous la règle de Kaygusuz: Institutions confrériques et forme (liturgique) de vie commune.” Turcica 48 (2017): 351–379.

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    How Bektashis in Tekke Köyü live according to the discipline promoted by features of ritual practice such as initiation, ritual exclusion (düşkünlük), and the controlled ritual consumption of alcohol, toward a communal life associated with the rite of Kaygusuz Abdal.

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  • Norton, J. D. “Bektashis in Turkey.” In Islam in the Modern World. Edited by Denis MacEoin and Ahmed Al-Shahi, 73–87. London: Croom Helm, 1983.

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    History and author’s personal observations, based on repeated visits to the annual Haji Bektash festival in August.

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  • Sigalas, Nikos. “Le passé-présent du tekke d’Abdal Musa: une enquête sur les survivances du passé ottoman, l’autorité religieuse et la communauté dans un village bektachi de l’ouest-anatolien.” Turcica 48 (2017): 381–448.

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    Reflections on religious authority and community at the nexus of the oral history of the villagers of Tekke Köyü and the Ottoman historical record on the Bektashi order and the Abdal Musa tekke.

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  • Temren, Belkıs. Bektaşiliğin Eğitsel ve Kültürel Boyutu. Ankara, Turkey: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1994.

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    On the structural features of the order, rituals, concepts related to Bektashi education, and terms used in the sofra ritual meal. Relying on interviews with contemporary Bektashi babas.

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  • Trix, Frances. Spiritual Discourse: Learning with an Islamic Master. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

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    Sociolinguistic study of the “language attunement” occurring in the course of dialogue within the context of a master-student relationship the author became a part of as she received regular lessons in Bektashi mysticism over many years from the Albanian émigré Bektashi Baba Rexheb at his tekke in the United States. It analyzes one particular lesson in depth.

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  • Yıkmış, Meral Salman. Hacı Bektaş Veli’nin Evlatları: “Yol”un Mürşitleri: Ulusoy Ailesi. Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014.

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    Sociological study of the family of Çelebis, the leaders considered to be descendants of Haji Bektash, with attention to issues like kinship relations, patrilineality, and gender.

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Haji Bektash and the Vilâyetnâme

The life of the eponym of the Bektashi order—Haji Bektash Veli (Hacı Bektaş Veli)—is summarized in most books about the order, and a full biography is not possible due to the paucity of historical sources from the time he lived, the 13th century. Ülken 1924 and “Bektaş” 1953 are early accounts in the modern period that draw on historical sources. The available sources are critically evaluated in Soileau 2014, which analyzes the longstanding debate over the saint’s character. The prime source for understanding his life is the hagiography usually titled Vilâyetnâme, which portrays his migration from Khorasan to Anatolia, where he settles and establishes his sainthood to the people he comes across, performing numerous miraculous acts along the way. The text was probably compiled and set down in writing in the 15th century, but the earliest extant copies are from the early 17th century. The standard version consists of mostly prose, but with some sections in verse, but there is another old version that is entirely in verse, and it was versified twice more in the 19th century. The first published edition was actually an extended German summary in Gross 1927. Gölpınarlı published a modern Turkish rendition in 1958 which became a popular source for scholars and the general public: Gölpınarlı 1995. More recently editions have appeared which juxtapose a transcription and modern Turkish rendition with facsimile on facing page, as with Duran 2007 and Duran and Gümüşoğlu 2010. A critical edition of the early verse version has recently been published as Köksal 2018, and the 19th-century verse version by Nihânî was published in transcription as Kurtoğlu 2015. Kardaş 2019 provides a bibliography of studies of the Vilâyetnâme and a list of many known manuscripts.

  • “Bektaş, Hacı B.-i Veli.” Türk Ansiklopedisi. Vol. 6. 32–34. Ankara: Milli Eğitim Basımevi, 1953.

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    Early modern encyclopedia entry on the life and significance of Haji Bektash, drawing on the relevant historical sources. No author given, but widely known to have been written by Abdülbâki Gölpınarlı.

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  • Duran, Hamiye. Velâyetnâme Hacı Bektâş-ı Veli. Ankara, Turkey: Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı Yayınları, 2007.

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    Edition of the Vilâyetnâme based on an early manuscript copy (1035 AH), with transcription, modern Turkish rendition, and facsimile of the manuscript. Very usable.

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  • Duran, Hamiye, and Dursun Gümüşoğlu. Hünkâr Hacı Bektaş Velî Velâyetnâmesi. Ankara: Gazi Üniversitesi Türk Kültürü ve Hacı Bektaş Veli Araştırma Merkezi Yayınları, 2010.

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    Edition of the Vilâyetnâme based on an early manuscript copy (1034 AH—the one also used by Gölpınarlı), with transcription, modern Turkish rendition, and facsimile of the manuscript.

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  • Gölpınarlı, Abdülbâki. Manakıb-ı Hacı Bektâş-ı Velî “Vilâyet-nâme.” Istanbul: İnkılâp Kitabevi, 1995.

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    The edition of the Vilâyetnâme that has most often been referenced, based on one of the oldest manuscript copies (1034 AH), but here rendered in modern Turkish with even the verse sections in prose. The long introduction on the text provides valuable information. The original 1958 edition included a facsimile of the manuscript, but this was replaced with that of a 19th-century copy in the 1995 edition.

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  • Gross, Erich. Das Vilâjet-Nâme des Haggi Bektasch: Ein Türkisches Derwischevangelium. Leipzig: Mayer & Müller, 1927.

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    Extended summary of the Vilâyetnâme in German, constituting the earliest published version of the text.

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  • Kardaş, Sedat. “Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli Velayetnamesi Üzerine bir Bibliyografya Denemesi.” Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi 12.65 (2019): 105–112.

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    Bibliography on the Vilâyetnâme, listing books, articles, conference papers, and theses. With a list of forty-six manuscripts.

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  • Köksal, Fatih. Uzun Firdevsî Manzum Vilâyet-Nâme: Vilâyet-Nâme-i Hâcî Bektaş Velî-i Horasanî (Tenkitli Metin). Ankara, Turkey: Alevilik Araştırmaları Dergisi Yayınları, 2018.

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    Critical edition of the early verse version of the Vilâyetnâme.

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  • Kurtoğlu, Orhan. Yozgatlı Nihânî Velâyet-Nâme-i Hâcı Bektaş-ı Velî. Ankara, Turkey: Gazi Üniversitesi Türk Kültürü ve Hacı Bektaş Veli Araştırma Merkezi Yayınları, 2015.

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    Edition of a verse version of the Vilâyetnâme made by Nihânî in the late 19th century, in transcription.

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  • Soileau, Mark. “Conforming Haji Bektash: A Saint and His Followers Between Orthopraxy and Heteropraxy.” Die Welt des Islams 54 (2014): 423–459.

    DOI: 10.1163/15700607-05434P06Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Critical analysis of the debate over whether Haji Bektash conformed to the Sharia, through a review of the sources on the saint’s life.

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  • (Ülken), Hilmi Ziya. “Anadolu Tarihinde Dini Ruhiyat Müşahedeleri 3: Hacı Bektaş Veli.” Mihrab 1.15–16 (1340/1924): 515–530.

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    Early modern account of the life and significance of Haji Bektash.

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Other Saints and Hagiographies

Other Bektashi saints likewise lack historical evidence, so we rely on their hagiographies for an understanding of them as well as for understanding the period in which the saints lived and/or the works were composed. The hagiography of Hacım Sultan was first published with German translation in Tschudi 1914, and the same text was more recently transcribed in Gündüz 2010. The short hagiography of the early saint Abdal Musa was published in transcription and facsimile as Güzel 1999a, and that of Kaygusuz Abdal as Güzel 1999b. Other hagiographies have been published for Seyyid Ali Sultan (Yıldırım 2007), Demir Baba (Kılıç and Bülbül 2011), and Otman Baba (Kılıç, et al. 2007). The Otman Baba hagiography has been analyzed by Halil İnalcık in İnalcık 1993. The Bektashi hagiographies as a genre have been analyzed for the sources of their motifs in Ocak 2000. The poet-saint Kaygusuz Abdal has been studied—based more on his poetry than on his hagiography—as representing a vernacular Islam in Anatolia in Karamustafa 2014.

Tekkes

From the earliest period of the order, Bektashi dervishes were visiting, founding, residing in, serving in, and training in convents or lodges of various sizes and types, which have been known as dergâh or zaviye, but are usually referred to generally as tekkes. Found throughout Anatolia and the Balkans, as well as spreading to Iraq and Egypt, they were sites of economic production and consumption, spiritual and other education, ritual practice, and the arts, and they have been studied as to their histories, relations with the Ottoman state, economic activity, and architectural features. The tekkes constitute a popular topic among historians because they are the aspect of Bektashism about which there is the most information to be found in Ottoman archival documents, and which is described with most detail in the travel book of Evliya Çelebi, a rich source of information for the 17th century. The disposition of the tekkes was an important concern when the Bektashi order was abolished in 1826, and again when all the Sufi orders in Turkey were closed in 1925.

Tekke of Haji Bektash

The largest and most important of the many tekkes was the complex built around the tomb of Haji Bektash in Central Anatolia, in a village which came to be known as Hacıbektaş. The complex’s history and architectural features are detailed in Tanman 1996. The tekke’s economic relations with its social environment have been studied by Faroqhi 1976. The population of the tekke and its environs has been studied for the 15th-16th centuries by Beldiceanu-Steinherr 2005, and for the post-1826 period by Altı 2019. When the tekke was taken over by the state in 1925, its possessions were catalogued before being moved to a museum, a process described in Koşay 1928 and Koşay 1967. After serving other purposes for decades, the complex was again surveyed in 1967 before being converted into a museum, which is described in Akok 1967. It remains open as a museum today.

Other Tekkes

Tekkes were found throughout the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Koca 2005 includes articles on several individual tekkes, as do several books by historian Fahri Maden, such as Maden 2012. The many tekkes of Istanbul are catalogued in Maden 2019, and those in the Balkans in Altı 2019. For individual tekkes, Suraiya Faroqhi’s studies of agricultural and other, especially economic, activities at the tekkes of Kızıl Deli (Faroqhi 1976) and of Seyyid Gazi (Faroqhi 1981) are noteworthy. Among Machiel Kiel’s many studies of individual tekkes in the Balkans is that of one in central Greece (Kiel 2005). The most important Bektashi tekke in Istanbul, at Merdivenköy, has been studied in its many aspects by a team of scholars and published as “Le Tekke Bektachi de Merdivenköy” 1991. An architectural analysis of the Seyyid Gazi complex has been undertaken by Yenişehirlioğlu 2008, and the relationships between architecture and hagiography have been studied intriguingly in the cases of the tekkes of Haji Bektash and Seyyid Gazi in Yürekli 2012.

  • Altı, Aziz. Balkanlarda Bektaşilik XVII-XVIII. Yüzyıllar. Ankara, Turkey: La Kitap, 2019.

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    Study of tekkes in the Balkans in the 17th and 18th centuries, a catalogue of brief information on dozens of tekkes, and an analysis of how they operated.

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  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. “Agricultural Activities in a Bektashi Center: The Tekke of Kızıl Deli 1750–1830.” Südost-Forschungen 35 (1976): 69–96.

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    Study of agricultural production at the tekke of Kızıl Deli in the context of the development of large landholdings, relying on Ottoman archival documents.

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  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. “Seyyid Gazi Revisited: The Foundation as Seen Through Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Documents.” Turcica 13 (1981): 90–122.

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    Study of various aspects of life in one of the largest Bektashi tekkes: the dervishes who gathered there, its agricultural production, the taxes paid by villagers for the support of its foundation, and its expenditures.

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  • Kiel, Machiel. “The Bektashi Tekke of Durbali Sultan in Central Greece: Some Notes on its Architecture, Epigraphy and History.” In Sufism and Sufis in Ottoman Society: Sources, Doctrine, Rituals, Turuq, Architecture, Literature and Fine Arts, Modernism. Edited by Ahmet Yaşar Ocak, 421–441. Ankara, Turkey: Turkish Historical Society, 2005.

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    Description of the history, architecture, epigraphy, and gravestone inscriptions of an important Bektashi tekke in mainland Greece.

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  • Koca, Şevki. Bektâşîlik ve Bektâşî Dergâhları. Istanbul: Cem Vakfı Yayınları, 2005.

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    Collection of author’s writings on Bektashism, reflecting Bektashi oral history. With articles on many individual tekkes in Istanbul, Anatolia, and the Balkans.

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  • “Le Tekke Bektachi de Merdivenköy.” In Anatolia Moderna II. Derviches et Cimetières Ottomans. 29–135. Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1991.

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    The reports of a team project on various aspects of an important tekke and cemetery in Istanbul: the complex, its graves, history, famous babas, and traditions. With photos and plans.

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  • Maden, Fahri. Bektaşilerin Serencamı. Istanbul: Kapı Yayınları, 2012.

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    Collection of articles on particular tekkes, provinces, and post-1826 Bektashism.

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  • Maden, Fahri. İstanbul Bektaşileri. Ankara, Turkey: Gazi Kitabevi, 2019.

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    Catalogue of histories of Bektashi tekkes in Istanbul, featuring prominent babas.

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  • Yenişehirlioğlu, Filiz. “The Tekke of Seyyid Battal Gazi.” In Anadolu ve Çevresinde Ortaçağ 2. Edited by Mine Kadiroğlu, 121–164. Ankara, Turkey: Anadolu Kültür Varlıkları Araştırma Derneği, 2008.

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    Architectural analysis of the Seyyid Gazi complex and its different phases of construction, and the relationship between the social, religious, and economic history of the complex and architectural formation. With plans and many photographs.

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  • Yürekli, Zeynep. Architecture and Hagiography in the Ottoman Empire: The Politics of Bektashi Shrines in the Classical Age. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2012.

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    Study of the interconnections between hagiography, shrine construction, and the sociopolitical context in the case of two Bektashi tekkes: Seyyid Gazi and the central tekke of Haji Bektash, both of which underwent remodeling in the 16th century, around the same time the first Bektashi hagiographies were composed, as the Ottoman state was shifting from its frontier warrior culture to its settled, centralized, imperial form.

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Rituals

The Bektashi order includes a complex ritual system with an intricate initiation ceremony and periodic rituals closed to outsiders. The actions performed and prayers (gülbank, tercüman) recited in them were recorded in manuscript manuals known as erkânnâme. Teber 2012 provides a bibliography of such manuscripts. Some of these have been published in recent years, such as Gümüşoğlu and Yıldırım 2006 and Muhammed 2007. They have also been summarized in general works on the Bektashi order, such as Birge 1937 and Noyan 1998–2011 under General Overviews. Relatively few studies have been made on Bektashi rituals, but Soileau 2019 analyzes the initiation ritual, as does Ambrosio 2017 in the context of discussing the question of secrecy as an early ritual manual was first published. Soileau 2021 illuminates the use of candles in Bektashi ritual. The ritual meal which follows the closed ritual has been analyzed among contemporary urban Bektashis in Turkey by Soileau 2012, and among the Amuca Bektashis of Thrace by Engin and Çakır 2013. Gündüzöz 2015 discusses the symbolism and ritual use of food in Bektashi tradition, and Elias 2020 investigates the issue of discipline and inebriation in the ritual tradition of Tekke Köyü.

Prose Works

While not nearly as common as poetry, prose works have been produced which expound the mystical, cosmological, and ethical aspects of the Bektashi worldview, though their usually cryptic and ambiguous style of explication has led to multiple interpretations, and, especially with those works attributed to Haji Bektash, serious questions as to authenticity, representation, and import continue to be raised. The work most commonly attributed to Haji Bektash is known as Makâlât, purportedly composed in Arabic though all known copies are in Turkish, and it is often presented as if coming directly from the pen of Haji Bektash, though it is more likely a record of his teachings which has passed through various anonymous hands. Coşan n.d. is a critical edition in transcription of the text with reference to a few copies, while Yılmaz, et al. 2009 is a usable edition with transcription, modern Turkish, and facsimile. Uluç 2007 is an English translation of the text, and Yalçın 2000 presents the text along with the author’s extensive commentary. Another work with similarities to the Makâlât also appears to be a record of Haji Bektash’s teachings, though its two known copies are in Persian. This work has been published in Turkish and English translation as Makâlât-ı Gaybiyye ve Kelimât-ı Ayniyye (2009). Another work which has been linked to Haji Bektash because it was found in a volume that also includes a copy of the Makâlât is a Sufi commentary on the besmele formula, published in transcription as Duran 2012. All of the works that have been attributed to Haji Bektash have been collected in Hacı Bektaş Velî Külliyatı (2010). Prose works from other Bektashis that have been published include those by Kaygusuz Abdal (Güzel 2010) and Vîrânî (Eğri 2008). A work by a 20th-century Bektashi dervish is Koca 1999.

Poetry

Poetry is the most cherished form of verbal production among Bektashis and an important vehicle for transmitting Bektashi mysticism, cosmology, and lore. Several genres can be distinguished, but most prominent is that of the nefes, a lyric form of mystical content usually intended to be sung as hymns in Bektashi gatherings. Some prominent Bektashi poets’ works were collected in manuscript divans, but most were transmitted orally or recorded in singers’ personal notebooks (cönk or defter). Thus there was variation among versions of particular poems, which we see reflected in the many anthologies that were published beginning in the early 20th century. An important early collection is Ergun 1930, and an influential anthology is Gölpınarlı 1963. Koca 1990, though not widely available, is an important collection by a Bektashi baba. The most complete anthology is the five volumes of Özmen 1998. Among the collections of individual early poets, the Mesnevi (long work of rhymed couplets) of Kaygusuz Abdal has been published as Oktay 2013, and Sâdık Abdal’s divan as Gümüşoğlu 2009. The 16th-century Yemînî’s important work Fazîletnâme has been published as Tepeli 2002. From the 19th century, Turâbî Baba’s divan has been published as Altınok 2006 and Edîb Harâbî’s as Üçüncü 2012. The 20th-century baba and poet Turgut Koca’s poems have been published as Koca 1999.

Music

Nefes poems were intended to be sung in ritual or more informal gatherings, and musical traditions have emerged to accompany them. The composers of tunes are almost always anonymous, and different regional and cultural contexts produced different styles and utilize different musical instruments. The works were not notated until modern times, with Bektaşî Nefesleri (1933) being the first extensive published collection. Koca and Onaran 1987 is a collection of nefes songs with musical notation and lyrics reflecting the repertoire sung by urban Bektashis in Turkey, while Sipos and Csáki 2009 is an in-depth analysis of songs sung by Bektashis in the Thrace region of Turkey. Cler 2020 is a detailed ethnomusicological analysis of the repertoire in Tekke Köyü.

  • Bektaşî Nefesleri. İstanbul Konservatuvarı Neşriyatı. Istanbul: Fenike Matbaası, 1933.

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    Collection of eighty-seven nefes poems made by a commission from the Istanbul Conservatory, which produced notation for each, and included short biographies of the poets. The earliest extensive collection of nefes musical notation.

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  • Cler, Jérôme. “The Life of a Ritual Repertoire and Its Aesthetic: Cem Ceremonies in Tekke Köy, the Village of Abdal Musa.” In Aesthetic and Performative Dimensions of Alevi Cultural Heritage. Edited by Martin Greve, Ulaş Özdemir, and Raoul Motika, 65–102. Baden-Baden, Germany: Ergon Verlag, 2020.

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    Analysis of the ritual music repertoire of the Bektashi cem ceremony in the village of Tekke (Antalya), including a detailed musicological examination of the hymns and semah dances.

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  • Koca, Turgut, and Zeki Onaran. Güldeste: Nefesler, Ezgiler, Notalar. Ankara, Turkey: n.p., 1987.

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    Songbook used by urban Bektashis in contemporary Turkey, with notation and lyrics for nefes hymns, along with some liturgical tunes. Preface includes information on themes in the poems and on musical performance practice.

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  • Sipos, János, and Éva Csáki. The Psalms and Folk Songs of a Mystic Turkish Order. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2009.

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    Musical and textual analysis of the songs constituting the religious and folk repertoire of Bektashis in the Thrace region of Turkey, which the authors collected on videotape between 1999 and 2003 from multiple sites and multiple performers.

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Arts, Material Culture, and Symbolism

Bektashi mythology, cosmology, and worldview have been expressed through various artistic media, with symbolic meanings attached to all items of material culture. Themes in Bektashi pictorial art have been explored in Aksel 2010 and de Jong 1989. Mikov 2005 is a comprehensive study of Bektashi and Alevi art and material culture in Bulgaria. Altıer 2008 analyzes examples of decorative begging bowls of the kind wandering dervishes would carry, and Harman 2019 describes the two enormous candelabra at the central tekke. Items in the costume of Bektashi initiates are likewise weighted with symbolic value, as Özen 2011 describes. The costume for dervishes and babas is even more elaborate and includes cut stones worn around the waist and around the neck, as analyzed by Zarcone 2017. Atasoy 2016 carefully examines the costumes and accoutrements of all the Ottoman dervish orders, with a section specifically on the Bektashi order. Even time itself is imbued with Bektashi notions, as Çamuroğlu 2000 explains. One unique aspect of Bektashi verbal art is the timely telling of short humorous tales known as fıkra; there are many collections of fıkra texts, but Yıldırım 1999 offers an exceptionally rich one along with a folkloric analysis.

  • Aksel, Malik. Türklerde Dinî Resimler. Edited by Beşir Ayvazoğlu. Istanbul: Kapı Yayınları, 2010.

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    Study of religious-themed pictures in Turkish culture, especially those composed of Arabic-script calligraphy that take the shape of objects, animals, or the human face. Many examples are from Bektashi tradition.

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  • Altıer, Semiha. “Bektaşi İkonografisi Üzerine bir Deneme: Hacı Bektaş Veli Müzesi’ndeki Figürlü Keşkül-ü Fukaralar.” SDÜ Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi 17 (2008): 101–116.

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    Analysis of the motifs found on decorative dervish begging bowls.

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  • Atasoy, Nurhan. Derviş Çeyizi: Türkiye’de Giyim-Kuşam Tarihi. Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür AŞ Yayınları, 2016.

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    Description of the costumes and accoutrements of the dervish orders, with a section on the Bektashi order, and sections on individual items like the teslim taşı. With illustrations and photographs.

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  • Çamuroğlu, Reha. Dönüyordu: Bektaşîlikte Zaman Kavrayışı. Istanbul: Doğan Kitapçılık, 2000.

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    Analysis of the Bektashi conception of time, in the context of other ancient, mystical, and philosophical conceptions.

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  • de Jong, Frederick. “The Iconography of Bektashiism: A Survey of Themes and Symbolism in Clerical Costume, Liturgical Objects and Pictorial Art.” Manuscripts of the Middle East 4 (1989): 7–29.

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    Study of the symbolism of Bektashi pictorial art, liturgical objects, and the costume worn by dervishes.

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  • Harman, Mürüvet. “Kırkbudak Şamdanlar İle İlgili Bir Deneme.” Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı 28 (2019): 55–80.

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    Description of the two enormous candelabra known as Kırkbudak (“Forty Branch”) housed in the central tekke museum of Hacıbektaş, explaining their motifs and symbolic elements, and their place in Bektashi tradition. With photographs.

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  • Mikov, Lyubomir. The Art of Heterodox Muslims in Bulgaria (XVI-XX century): Bektaşi and Kızılbaş/Alevi. Sofia, Bulgaria: marin Drinow, 2005.

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    Analysis of the art of Alevis and Bektashis in Bulgaria, including cult architecture, paintings and plastic arts, textile design, and symbolism. The book is mostly in Bulgarian, but with an extended summary in English. It has been translated into Turkish as Bulgaristan’da Alevi-Bektaşi Kültürü.

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  • Özen, Gürkan. “Bektaşilikte Olmazsa Olmaz Sembollerden Çerağ ve Yola Giren Can’ın Ziynetleri: Arakiye, Teslim Taşı ve Tığbent.” Türk Kültürü ve Hacı Bektaş Veli Araştırma Dergisi 60 (2011): 415–434.

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    Explication of the symbolic value and use of candles and items worn by initiates during rituals.

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  • Yıldırım, Dursun. Türk Edebiyatında Bektaşi Fıkraları. Ankara, Turkey: Akçağ Yayınları, 1999.

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    Study of Bektashi fıkra jokes, with a classification and analysis of the genre, and 389 fıkra texts.

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  • Zarcone, Thierry. “Sacred Stones in Qalandariyya and Bektashism.” In Islamic Alternatives: Non-Mainstream Religion in Persianate Societies. Edited by Shahrokh Raei, 139–158. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017.

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    Study of the symbolism of the stone items worn around the waist and around the neck of Kalenderi and Bektashi dervishes.

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Fiction on Bektashis

There have been a few works of fiction that portray Bektashi figures, though many of the early published works do so in a negative light. Karaosmanoğlu 1997 is a novel (Nur Baba) first published in 1922 and featuring a sexually libertine baba and his female disciples. This novel is analyzed as a product of its times in Wilson 2017. Nur Baba inspired other literary works, mostly of lesser literary value, that drew similar scenes of sex in Bektashi tekkes; these are critiqued in Çakmak 2021. More recent historical novels have fictionalized Bektashis before (Çamuroğlu 2000) and after (Soyyer 2008) the 1826 abolition of the Bektashi order.

Bektashis Beyond Turkey

The Bektashi order may have been centered in Anatolia, but it was prevalent in the Balkans as well, especially in Albania and among Albanians elsewhere. There were also tekkes in Cairo, Egypt and in a few places in Iraq, as well as in Greece and the islands of Crete and Cyprus.

Albania and the Balkans

A good overview of the Bektashi presence in Albania is Clayer 1990. More recent overviews are Norris 2006 and Elsie 2019. Bektashism was banned by the communist regime of Albania in 1967, but reopened in 1991, after which time it has reasserted itself institutionally. Clayer 2012 analyzes the changing power relations that accompanied the new institutions, and Mustafa 2015 describes the ways Bektashis have reconstituted since 1991. Kuehn 2021 traces the legacy of the Bektashi saint Sari Saltuq through various sacred sites in the Balkans. Clayer and Popovic 1992 looks at the Bektashi and other tekkes in Yugoslav Macedonia. And Trix 2009 follows an Albanian baba from his homeland through exile in Egypt to Michigan, where he founded the first (and so far only) Bektashi tekke in the United States.

  • Clayer, Nathalie. L’Albanie, pays des derviches: Les ordres mystique musulmans en Albanie à l’époque post-ottoman (1912–1967). Berlin: Osteuropa-Institut, 1990.

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    Study of the dervish orders of Albania: their histories, geographical distribution, hierarchical structures, teachings, the cult of saints, etc. Mostly about Bektashis, the most widespread of the orders.

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  • Clayer, Nathalie. “The Bektashi Institutions in Southeastern Europe: Alternative Muslim Official Structures and Their Limits.” Die Welt des Islams 52 (2012): 183–203.

    DOI: 10.1163/157006012X641692Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Analysis of the post-communist Bektashi Community World Bektashi Chief Grandfather Centre of Albania, and how its creation changed power relations in the community.

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  • Clayer, Nathalie, and Alexandre Popovic. “Sur les Traces des Derviches de Macédoine Yougoslave.” In Anatolia Moderna IV: Derviches des Balkans, Disparitions et Renaissances. 13–63. Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1992.

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    Study of tekkes in Yugoslav Macedonia, many of them Bektashi.

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  • Elsie, Robert. The Albanian Bektashi: History and Culture of a Dervish Order in the Balkans. London: I.B. Tauris, 2019.

    DOI: 10.5040/9781788315722Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Overview of the history and culture of Albanian Bektashis, with a catalogue of tekkes and shrines, and a catalogue of historical and legendary figures.

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  • Kuehn, Sara. “A Saint ‘On the Move’: Traces in the Evolution of a Landscape of Religious Memory in the Balkans.” In Saintly Spheres and Islamic Landscapes: Emplacements of Spiritual Power across Time and Place. Edited by Daphna Ephrat, Ethel Sara Wolper, and Paulo G. Pinto, 117–148. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2021.

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    Study of the relics of the Bektashi saint Sari Saltuq (Sarı Saltuk) and the memory landscape of sacred places in Dobruja, Bosnia, and Albania.

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  • Mustafa, Mentor. “From the Ashes of Atheism: The Reconstitution of Bektashi Religious Life in Postcommunist Albania.” PhD diss., Boston University, 2015.

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    Study of the ways Bektashis have reconstituted in the post-communist period in Albania (since 1991), based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research. Explores areas of spiritual authority, tekkes as spaces, and pilgrimage.

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  • Norris, H. T. Popular Sufism in Eastern Europe: Sufi Brotherhoods and the Dialogue with Christianity and “Heterodoxy.” London: Routledge, 2006.

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    Articles on aspects of dervish orders in the Balkans, much of it related to Bektashis.

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  • Trix, Frances. The Sufi Journey of Baba Rexheb. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2009.

    DOI: 10.9783/9781934536544Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Ethnographic biography of Baba Rexheb, from his Bektashi lineage through his exile from turbulent Albania to his stay in the Cairo tekke and finally his founding of and life and work in the tekke in the United States.

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The Middle East and Greece

The presence of Bektashis in Egypt since the time of Kaygusuz Abdal has interested scholars since Köprülü 1939. The modern history of the Kaygusuz tekke in Cairo is described by de Jong 1981, and a comprehensive history of Bektashis in Egypt is Çift 2013. The Bektashis in Iraq have received less attention, though Karakaya-Stump 2010 shows the relations between the Bektashi tekkes in Iraq and Alevi leaders in Anatolia. The presence of Bektashis in mainland Greece is detailed in Mavrommatis 2008. The Bektashi tekkes of Crete are described in Maden 2017.

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