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TURKISH HUMANISM AND ANATOLIAN MUSLIM SAINTS (DERVISHES)

Khorasan Dervishes , including “Haci Bektas-i Veli” the great Turkish thinker, had mixed up in the same culture, Christian communities living in Anatolia with Turkmen groups come by immigration, through activities of education and reconstruction and had not played a vital role in creation of cultural integrity in Anatolia and constitution of Central Authority. A number of Dervishes who had come to Anatolia by way of immigration settled in secluded road junctions, opened lodges (Zaviye) there, and these institutions established on unsettled territories had been converted into centers of culture, reconstruction and religion in time. Thus religious communities had been spread out everywhere; rules of ethic, decency, behaviour, belief had been standardised, knowledge and science had been produced and expanded in these centers within the framework of availabilities of the era. That these Dervishes had settled in villages and cultivated soil and dealt with education had been also supported by Rulers, and a number of privileges had been granted to Dervishes. Consequently lodges had been set up even at the most remote corners of Anatolia and a common cultural texture had been commenced forming thanks to the education provided. One of Khorasan Dervishes who had arrived in Anatolia is “Haci Bektas-i Veli”. “Haci Bektas-i Veli” was born in 1248 B.C. in Nishabur city of Khorasan in Iran and spent his childhood and youth in Khorasan; learned philosophy, social and technical sciences in “Hoca Ahmet Yesevi” Center and after travelling and studying Iran, Iraq, Arabia arrived in Anadolia in 1275/80 B.C. and settled in Hacibektas (formerly called Sulucakarahöyük). In that era Anatolia had been crushed under Mongolian invasion on the one part and had faced with great political and economic crisis as well as struggles of throne on the other part. “Haci Bektas-i Veli” who had settled in Sulucakarahöyük in such condition improved his philosophy and began to educate students. His system of thought based on tolerance and love of human being had spread shortly to masses of great people in Cappadocia which had been a greet center of Christianity and adopted by the people.

  • The end of path not leading science is dark,
  • Educate women,
  • Control your hand, waist, tongue !
  • The greatest book to be read is human being
  • Honesty is the door of friendship,
  • The quality of a spiritual teacher is to give, not to receive,
  • Universe is within Adam, Adam is within the Universe,
  • Science is the light illuminating roads towards the reality,
  • The end of road not led by science is dark,
  • Our way has been established on science, knowledge and love of human,
  • Clean up your dwelling place, deserve the money you earn,
  • Let us unite together, let us be huge, alive,
  • Do not hurt even if you were offended,
  • Whatever becomes heavy for your own personality, do not make it applied to anybody,
  • Happy is those who enlighten the darkness of thought,
  • Be mediator,
  • Perfection of a person is the beauty of his words,
  • Always bear in mind that even your enemy is a human,
  • The biggest miracle is to work,
  • Male, female are not questioned in the language of love.
    Everything created by God is placed orderly.
    Woman and man are not different according to us.
    Deficiency, shortness are in your views.

His philosophic thought has been based on existence of human being and love of human being. This thought has been reflecting the same understanding with 1948 Human Rights Universal Declaration. Thoughts of “Haci Bektas-i Veli Veli” have been taken into consideration in 1923 by M. Kemal Atatürk approximately after 600 year, and a republic which is secular, democratic, respectful to human rights has been established. Despite such a long time passed, his thoughts have been preserving their effectiveness and proceeding to enlighten the path of humanity.

  • Temperature is in fire, not in sheet iron,
  • Miracle is in coat, not in crown,
  • Whatever you look for, look for within yourself
  • Not in Jerusalem, Mecca, Pilgrimage.

“Haci Bektas-i Veli Veli” who made a statement as “ Difference in religion is unnecessary. In fact all religions are intended to establish peace and brotherhood in the World.” Has been setting forth all of his views in his work called “Velayetname”. The primary objective “Bektasilik” (following ideas of Bektasi) established on the basis of such system of thought of “Haci Bektas-i Veli Veli” is to perceive unity of “Universe-God-Human” which is basically formed by love. Human being is a creature of love. Human being has been provided with divine (God-Like) qualifications. Initial phase of success is that human being should know and love himself/herself; because human being carries in himself/herself a divine gist and an individual who loves himself/herself loves also God. The perfect expression of love of God in “Bektasilik” has been found in the best manner in the following quatrain:

  • Their apprentices chip stone
  • After chipping present it to their Master
  • Mention the name of “God”
  • In every piece of that stone.

Human being is an independent creature in his/her living environment. His/her duty is to behave modest, to purify his/her core, to be mature, to remain far from showing-off and to be full of love of God. Humanly bodies are only a mean for attaining an objective. Therefore to divide people as Woman and Man, or to despise them according to their social positions or their races are the biggest fault that can be performed. Women and Men, all human beings are equal. Thoughts of Haci Bektas-i Veli Veli have been prevailing still today and have been celebrated with great enthusiasm every year on dates of 15-16-17 August in township of Hacibektas of Nevsehir province.

One of Institutions which has been effective in attaining Anatolia’s cultural unity as referred above is the Organisation of Akhi (Ahilik). The Akhis who came in Anatolia together with “Yesevi” Dervishes settled themselves in urban areas rather than rural areas since they had a profession to work on. Organisation of Akhi, being a professional organisation, is an Interior (Batıni) Establishment. “Ahi Evran Veli”, one of Khorasan Dervishes as “ Haci Bektas-i Veli Veli”, ensured that Akhis of Anatolia become an organised power. Wife of “Ahi Evran” had been known as “Fatma Bacı Kadın Ana” and established Organisation of “Bacıyan-ı Rum” which was the first women organisation in the world. Akhis who had assembled in 13th Century in Ankara and KırSehir under the Sheikhship of “Ahi Evnan” spread out shortly to Seljuk Cities. In foundation of the Ottoman Empire Akhis had played rather important role, and according to some sources they had attached “Osman Gazi” who was the founder of Ottoman Empire, his son “Orhan Gazi” and Murad-I the 3rd Sultan to their sides.

General basic principle in Akhism (Ahilik) is absolute equalities of those who are the member of the Organisation. All members are brother of one another. However, there are an eternal respect hierarchically from young to older members. A candidate for membership is to be proposed by one of members in the Organisation. Those who are engaged in degrading works, known in the vicinity as unfavourable, thought to bring defaming words against the Organisation cannot be Akhi. For example those who killed somebody, killed animal (butchers), thieves, those whose adultery was proved cannot participate in the Organisation. Entrance into the Organisation is performed through a special ceremony like membership to the Organisation of “Bektasilik”. In this ceremony a special kind of belt (Þed) is worn by candidate of Akhi and advised that he must show love and respect to all humanity, and be true and honest. The organisation requires that all members have absolute loyalty and endless obey towards the Organisation. Atheists can never be a member to the Organisation, however devoted religious persons are not also allowed to participate in the Organisation. As was the case in the Organisation of “Bektasi”, members are subjected to such phases as to get knowledge, patience, purification of soul, loyalty, friendship, tolerance, etc. In addition to have such features six important principles of Akhism are:

1. Keep your hand open,

2. Keep your dining-table open,

3. Keep your door open,

4. Keep your eyes tied,

5. Control your waist,

6. Hold your tongue.

Whoever praying patience with devout in God
Came to us is our member.
Whoever working with wisdom and moral
Exceeded us is our member.

Certain phases are applied in Akhilism. In these phases disciple is taught professional skills, mysticism and religious information, reading and writing, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, music, mathematics and information about military as well as “Fütüvvetname” of a nature as the constitution of the Organisation of Akhi (Brotherhood). There is a system with nine ranks in the Organisation of Akhi, namely:

1- Valiant,

2- Assistant,

3- Apprentice,

4- Foreman,

5- Master,

6- Akhi,

7- Caliph,

8- Sheikh,

9- Sheikhulsheikh.

Although Organisation of Akhi has ceased to exist today, it has been celebrated officially with the Week of “Akhi Cultural Celebration” on the second Monday of the Month of October every year.

Another great scholar in Anatolia who enlightened the humanity is however “Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi”. “Mevlana was born in 1207 in Khorasan, died in 1273 in Konya. He received his first lessons from his father “Bahaeddin Veled” known as “Sultan of Scholars”. “ Mevlana” who had grown up complete with the thought of mysticism came across with “Sems Tebrizi” who was an Akhi and then his own thoughts started to take form. Mevlana’s ability to express his thought of mysticism through poetry helped him to be well known even today in all over the World.

  • Non-priority is branch of love, root in endlessness.
  • This greatness does not fit this wisdom, moral.
  • Be disappear, give up your existence, Your existence is crime.
  • Love is nothing but to find the true path.

According to Mevlana the most important thing which is necessary for reaching the God is love. A plant, animal may be also loved; however, the only creature that is capable of loving with its body, conscious, thought, memory altogether is human being. Mevlana praised the love felt for a woman; because a person who is capable of loving another person is able to love himself, all human beings, universe and the God. And the best of all loves is the love of “Reality” which starts when attained to this knowledge. “Sema” which has performed by “Mevlevi” dervishes by whirling is to reach an agreement with all the World in love, to keep pace with its universal whirling. The fact that one hand faces the sky and the other to the Earth is to present love received from the God to all the World. Soul is a core jetting out from the God, it is immortal. Soul is desirous to turn back to its source, to the God. Sound coming from “Reed” (Ney) is the sound of soul full of sadness, desiring to turn back the initial source. “Mevlana” has expressed that the Universe was the endless field of existence of the God and that human being carried a God-Like quality as a part of a whole by saying “ Hey, whoever looks for the God, it is you what you look for…”

Come whatever you are, come
Whether you are atheist, or worship fire,
Whether you have broken your oath thousand times
Our convent (Dergah) is not the convent of despair,
Come whatever you are, come again

As would be seen in the foregoing verses, “Mevlana” believed in brotherhood of all humanity and difference among religions would not be related with the God-Like presence. “Mevlana” attached great importance to women, by stating “ As long as you wanted that women should cover themselves with clothes, you would stimulate the desire in everybody to see them. If heart of a woman is good, like a man, whatever ban you put into practice she will lead to the way of goodness. If your heart is bad, whatever you do, you can never affect her.” Mevlana advocates equality of a woman with a man. Students of Mevlana were called “Kitap-el Esrar” (Clerks of Secret), among who had been included Muslims, Jews, Christians, Greeks, Iranians, Arabians, Armenians, Turks. Poems of Mevlana were collated by his Students consisting of so many different religion and nationality and have been arrived up to the present day.

Source: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

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