Bektashi

An eclectic Islamic dervish order that originated in the 12th century with an Anatolian dervish named Hadjdji Bektash, about whom little is known. It was given definitive form in the 16th century in Anatolia (Turkey) by B?lim Sul??n. While originally a Sufi order within Orthodox Sunnite Islam, during this period it became more syncretic and adopted tenets of the Shi'a sect.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
30871
Names
Bektashi
Bektāshīya
Bektāshīyya
Bektāshīyah
Bektasi Turkish (transliterated)

More Definitions

An eclectic Islamic dervish order that originated in the 12th century with an Anatolian dervish named Hadjdji Bektash, about whom little is known. It was given definitive form in the 16th century in Anatolia (Turkey) by Bālim Sulṭān. While originally a Sufi order within Orthodox Sunnite Islam, during this period it became more syncretic and adopted tenets of the Shi'a sect. Aspects of Christianity such as confession, absolution and initiation practices were also incorporated as a result of contact with Christians. Bektashi is Shi'a in that it recognizes the twelve imāms (spiritual leaders) and venerates Ali but it is different from most other Muslim orders in that it regards traditional Islamic rituals as hypocrisy and, like many Sufi orders, is lax about observing daily Muslim laws. Bektashi allows women to take part in rituals without wearing a veil. Bektashi mystical writings are an important contribution to Sufi poetry. Through its connection with the Janissaries, an elite Ottoman military corp recruited from Christian areas, Bektashi maintained political importance from the 15th century until shortly after 1826 when the Janissaries were disbanded. The Bektashi order was dissolved in Turkey in 1925 along with all other Sufi orders but it survived in Albania until religion was banned there in 1967. It is still found in some communities in Turkey, Albanian regions of the Balkans, and the United States. Followers wear white caps with 4 or 12 folds, the 4 representing the 4 gates of Islam and the 12 representing the 12 imāms.

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300264340. The J. Paul Getty Trust.