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Araştırmalar Ingilizce

Makalelerde yer alan görüşler yazarlarına aittir. Alevilik-Bektaşilik Araştırmaları Sitesini bağlamaz.

A Glimpse at Sufism in the Balkans

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Huseyin Abiva (Chicago)  

Introduction

            The nearly six centuries of Ottoman rule over southeastern Europe provided ample opportunity for the spread of Islam. Indeed, among the nations that now comprise the Balkans Peninsula (Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) the visible Muslim component to their populations are readily evident. Two of these nations, Albania and Bosnia-Hercegovina, undoubtedly have Muslim majority populations. The populations of Macedonia and Serbia (which includes Kosova) are comprised of huge Muslim minorities. In Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece there are smaller percentages, but in the case of Bulgaria this means more than 1 million!

            The largest Muslim ethnic group present in the Balkans is the Albanians, who number over 5 million. They are concentrated in the central and southern areas of the Peninsula and form the overwhelming majority of the population in Albania, the Serbian occupied province of Kosova and western Macedonia. There are small groups of Albanians living in Bosnia, Montenegro and Croatia who are mainly émigrés from the Tito era. In regards to religion, though they are for the most part followers of Islam (or the non-practicing descendants of Muslims), Albanians have never found it a force for ethnic unity. Significant portions of the Albanian people still cling to either Catholic or Orthodox Christianity, and among the Muslim population there was further division between the Sunni majority and the followers of the Shi’ah Bektashi (see below).    

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Kizilbash Alevi Dedes

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Ali Yaman (Istanbul University)*

 

Before discussing some of the less known aspects of the Kizilbash Alevi Dedes1, who have been of fundamental importance in the survival of Anatolian Alevism until today, a general assessment of the topic, I believe, will be useful. Up to now, many things have been written and certain theories suggested about the genesis and roots of Alevism by the Orientalists, foreign missionaries, travelers, and local and foreign researchers. While some of them argued that “the Alevi groups in Anatolia are the remainders of Christian elements2, others claimed that “Alevism is a destructive movement originating in the Persian civilization which aims at undermining Islam3, and yet others suggested that “Alevism is the essence of Islam.”4 At times, Alevism became victim to ideological conflicts. Attempts were made to explain it in connection to left-right, Turk-Kurd or Alevi-Sunni divisions. In sum, everybody interpreted the topic subjectively. Unfortunately, it is still possible to encounter such emotional assessments and impositions that are far from the seriousness of a scientific approach.

Especially towards the end of 1980s, there was almost an explosion in the number of publications about Alevism. But this publication explosion proved to be no more than transient, because a number of researchers, ignorant of the scientific method, and without even feeling a need to review the existing literature, contributed to the confusion surrounding the topic. In the end a variety of definitions of Alevism mushroomed: “it is a sect, a religion, an order, a path, a way of life etc.” As a natural result of the failure of the universities and government institutions to develop a sound approach to the subject, it remained vulnerable to manipulations. These manipulations are still going on, including even by those who claim to serve the Alevis. Hence the need for scholarly research as the only way to block such manipulations is increasing day by day.

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Alevi-Bektashism: The Past and The Present of A Disappearing Turkish Culture

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Gökhan Percin (Stanford University)

For him who has perception, a mere sign is enough.
For him who does not really heed, a thousand explanations are not enough.
Haji Bektash Veli

Kaygusuz Abdal: A fifteenth-century popular mystic poet, what is known of his life is mixed with legend. He seems to have settled in Egypt and founded a dervish lodge there of which he was the sheyh. He is considered the founder of the Bektashi branch of mystical poetry and excelled particularly in humorous-satirical verse. He was also the author of powerful pamphlets in prose on mysticism.

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Introduction to Sufi Music and Ritual in Turkey

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Reprinted from the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, December 1995 (with changes in orthography to HTML standards. NB: Turkish characters may not display on all Web Browsers.).
Copyright 1995 by the Middle East Studies Association of North America

Introduction to Sufi Music and Ritual in Turkey

Irene Markoff, York University

IT IS DIFFICULT to appreciate and understand Sufism fully without an informed exposure to the expressive cultural forms that help define and enhance it. It is this dimension of Islamic mysticism that transports the seeker on the path of spiritual attainment into higher states of consciousness that promise spiritual intoxication (wajd) and a unique and intimate union, even annihilation (fanâ'), in the supreme being. This emotional expression of faith is intensified and externalized in elaborate forms of meditation and esoteric techniques that are part of ritual ceremonies.

Through ritual, many Sufi orders and Sufi-related sects throughout the world of Islam have been able to articulate doctrines and beliefs through artistic traditions such as sung poetry, instrumental music and dance-like movements (samâ' or spiritual concerts) and have utilized meditation patterns that combine corporeal techniques and controlled breathing (dhikr; Turkish, zikr) to induce or conduct trance and ecstatic states.

In Turkey, the Sunni brotherhoods (tarikat) such as the Halveti (Khalwatiyya), Rifai (Rifâ'iyya) and Kadiri (Qâdiriyya) engage in the collective musical dhikr that was the principal Ottoman dervish ceremony. In the true spirit of dhikr (recollection of God), divine names and expression of tawhîd (Turkish, tevhid) (oneness of God with all existence) are repeated to rhythmic patterns often including rhythmic breathing, body postures with a variety of motions and hymns (ilâhî), songs of mystical love (gazel) and mersiye (sung poems commemorating the martyrdom of the imam Husayn at Karbala'). This form of worship meditation in line or circular formation is incomplete without recitation of passages from the Koran.

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Ritual Change in a Turkish Alevi Village

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Ritual Change in a Turkish Alevi Village

Introducing the Community

This study is a documentation and analysis of change in ritual in the village of Sarylar, on the west bank of the Euphrates River near Yavuseli, Gaziantep. It is based on material collected during the months of May and June 1989 consisting of field notes, recorded interviews, and photographs, as well as comparisons with complementary material collected on subsequent visits to Turkey. The research problem posed was identification of ritual change within the consultants’ memory and some tentative ways of situating such change within the socio-economic context.

Sarylar is a pistachio farming village reachable by a daily local bus leaving from the market in the center of Gaziantep. Almost everyone living in the village cultivates the nuts as a cash crop. Other occupations include the few paid officials and school-teachers as well as one or two shopkeepers. Goats, sheep, poultry and a few cows complete the economy. Horses are far fewer than donkeys, and although there are a good many tractors that began to make an appearance in the 1970s, there were no automobiles in the village in 1989. Some families are fortunate enough to have gardens of vegetables and fruit trees on the river bank, but the climate is too arid for such agriculture in other places in the immediate vicinity. Although some land is rented, it appears that most of the land is owned by the families who cultivate it.

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