Dervish Piety and Alevism in Late Medieval Anatolia



Episode 359


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In this episode, we explore the evolution of Abdal and Bektashi doctrine from the 14th to 17th centuries. The Abdals of Rum and the Bektashis were two dervish groups in Anatolia who by the 16th century would merge to become the Bektashi Sufi order. Many Bektashi beliefs and practices are also inter-connected with those of Alevi communities. By taking a closer look at Abdal and Bektashi poetry, we examine how poetry, fiction, and other aspects of dervish piety evolved into the core beliefs of contemporary Alevism in Turkey.

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Contributor Bios

Zeynep Oktay Uslu holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Darmouth College and a PhD in Islamic Civilisation from Sorbonne University École Pratique des Hautes Etudes. She currently teaches at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at Boğaziçi University. Her research interests include: The formation and historical evolution of Bektashism and Alevism, dervish piety, vernacularization, Islam in Anatolia and the Balkans in the Beglik and early Ottoman periods.
Matthew Ghazarian is a Ph.D. Candidate in Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of natural disaster, humanitarianism, and sectarianism, in central and eastern Anatolia between 1839 and 1893.
Işın Taylan is a PhD candidate in History at Yale University. Her research examines the Ottoman intellectuals’ production of geographical knowledge in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Credits


Episode No. 359
Release Date: 20 April 2018
Recording Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Audio editing by Matthew Ghazarian
Music: Katibim (Üsküdar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla
Images and bibliography courtesy of Zeynep Oktay Uslu


Images

Ḳayġusuz Abdāl, Dīvān, Ankara, Milli Kütüphane MS. Mil Yz A 7621 (dated 920/1514). The second oldest manuscript of Ḳayġusuz Abdāl’s works (only 13 years newer than the oldest), discovered by Zeynep Oktay Uslu. It includes over 400 previously unknown poems, thus bringing Ḳayġusuz’s total number of individual poems to around 530. The newly discovered poems include previously unknown doctrinal elements of Twelver Shi’ite origin.


Select Bibliography


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

Cahen, Claude. “Le Problème du shīʿisme dans l’Asie mineure turque préottomane.” In Le Shîʿisme imâmite: Colloque de Strasbourg (6-9 mai 1968). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1970, 115-129.

DeWeese, Devin. “Foreword. ” In Mehmed Fuad Köprülü. Early mystics in Turkish literature. Edited and translated by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff. London-New York: Routledge, 2006.
Dressler, Markus. Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Kafadar, Cemal. Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995.

Karakaya-Stump, Ayfer. “The Forgotten Dervishes: The Bektashi Convents in Iraq and their Kizilbash Clients.” International Journal of Turkish Studies 16, no. 1&2 (2011): 1-24.

Karakaya-Stump, Ayfer. “The Vefā’iyye, the Bektashiyye and Genealogies of ‘Heterodox’ Islam in Anatolia: Rethinking the Köprülü Paradigm,” Turcica 44 (2012): 279-300.

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.

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. “Kaygusuz Abdal: A Medieval Turkish Saint and the Formation of Vernacular Islam in Anatolia.” In Orkhan Mir Kasimov (ed). Unity in Diversity: Mysticism, Messianism and Construction of Religious Authority in Islam. Leiden: Brill, 2014, 329-342.

Karamustafa, Ahmet T. “Antinomian Sufis.” In Lloyd Ridgeon (ed). The Cambridge Companion to Sufism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 101-124.

Köprülü, Mehmed Fuad. Türk Edebiyatında İlk Mutasavvıflar. Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi Basımevi, 1966.; also Mehmed Fuad Köprülü. Early mystics in Turkish Literature, tr. Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff. London-New York: Routledge, 2006.

Krstić, Tijana. Contested Conversions to Islam: Narratives of Religious Change and Communal Politics in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.

Oktay, Zeynep. “Layers of Mystical Meaning and Social Context in the Works of Kaygusuz Abdal.” In A.C.S. Peacock and Sara Nur Yıldız (eds). Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth-and Fifteenth-century Anatolia. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2016, 73-99.

Oktay, Zeynep. Mesnevî-i Baba Kaygusuz. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2013.

Peacock, A.C.S. and Sara Nur Yıldız. “Introduction: Literature, Language and History in Late Medieval Anatolia.” In A.C.S. Peacock and Sara Nur Yıldız (eds). Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-century Anatolia. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2016, 19-35.

Peacock, A.C.S., Bruno De Nicola and Sara Nur Yıldız. “Introduction.” In A.C.S. Peacock, Bruno De Nicola and Sara Nur Yıldız (eds). Islam and Christianity in Medieval Anatolia. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2015, 1-20.

Terzioğlu, Derin. “How to Conceptualize Ottoman Sunnitization: A Historiographical Discussion.” Turcica 44 (2012-2013): 301-338.

Yıldırım, Rıza. “Abdallar, Akıncılar, Bektaşilik ve Ehli-Beyt Sevgisi: Yemini’nin Muhiti ve Meşrebi Üzerine Notlar.” Belleten 75/272 (2011): 51–85.

Yıldırım, Rıza. “Sunni Orthodox vs Shi‘ite Heterodox?: A Reappraisal of Islamic Piety in Medieval Anatolia.” In A. C. S Peacock, Bruno De Nicola and Sara Nur Yıldız (eds). Islam and Christianity in Medieval Anatolia. Surrey: Ashgate, 2015, 287-307.

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

Zarcone, Thierry. “Bektaşiyye.” Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Kate Fleet, et al. (eds). Consulted online on 26 February 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_24010 First published online: 2014

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