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 Mesaj Başlığı: The Rise of the Halvetî Order, 1350-1650
MesajGönderilme zamanı: 19.01.13, 23:03 #mesajın linki (?)

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The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman Empire: The Rise of the Halvetî Order, 1350-1650
John J. Curry


John J. Curry:

This book represents the culmination of a decade-long project which began in 1999 with a project proposal in the Ph.D. program of the The Ohio State University, in which I assumed that I would be able to examine a number of manuscripts from an Ottoman Muslim mystical brotherhood known as the Halveti Order in order to complete my dissertation. How naive this assumption proved to be!

What led me to study this particular subject? Well, the rise of new religious fervor and new, influential movements of piety in both the United States and the Muslim world during my lifetime led me to conclude that we needed to better understand the historical context for these movements--especially as I began to note their disjuncture from earlier visions of the religious traditions from which they hailed. Furthermore, I found myself dissatisfied at the state of our knowledge for the field of Ottoman religious and social history during my graduate training. In particular, the richness of religious history for eras preceding the Ottoman period contrasted sharply with the limited discussions available to me during my training. I hoped to do something that might be able to fill that gap. A few scholars had touched upon the Halveti Order as an example of a powerful Muslim religious movement that had impacts upon Ottoman politics and society, including the work of Madeline Zilfi and Nathalie Clayer. I began by following up on some of their insights, and the project began to expand from that point forward.

I began the project in 2000 and lived in the Turkish Republic for several years in order to complete it. Much of the work was done in the manuscript library of the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, located just to the south of his mighty mosque which still dominates the Istanbul skyline right up to the present. The library was built in 1555 as part of a broader educational and legal complex for Ottoman Muslims, and still acts as one of the city's primary manuscript libraries right up to the present. Since the Ottomans ruled over much of the Middle East and the Balkans during its long history, this library houses much of the knowledge of the medieval and early modern Muslim world.

Many of the manuscripts contained in the library proved to be autograph copies--meaning that they were written by Halveti dignitaries of various ranks themselves. They include hagiographies, which are pious biographies documenting the lives and acts of Muslim saints within the Halveti Order; didactic works, which are intended to teach points of doctrine for the followers of the Halveti; and chronicles, histories and legal works that sometimes touched on the activities of the Halveti from outside perspectives. The more I explored the card catalog and consulted with other scholars working on related topics in Turkey itself, the more I began to realize that the manuscript base for the project was far more extensive than I had imagined, and that there were hundreds of documents that touched on the Halveti Order in one way or another!

These discoveries led me to also examine the manuscript collection in the Ataturk Library in northern Istanbul, along with the Nuruosmaniye Library near the famous covered bazaar in Istanbul, where a rare copies of Sultan Murad III's correspondence with a Halveti leader was preserved. After two years of research, I decided to focus the project predominantly on a sub-branch of the Halveti Order founded by Shaykh Sa`ban-i Veli in the sixteenth century.

Why Sa`ban-i Veli? Several reasons, actually. The first was that he hailed not from the traditional centers of power and influence in the Ottoman Empire, such as Istanbul or one of the other major provincial urban centers. Instead, he hailed from a small northern Black Sea mountain town called Kastamonu. Therefore, we could, through the writings on his branch of the order, see into a world that was provincial and, at times, even rural, which is very difficult to do given the state-centric legacy of much of the Ottoman archival base.

Another reason was that one of Sa`ban-i Veli's later successors, a man named `Omer el-Fu'adi, had left a voluminous corpus of writings about the establishment and development of this sub-branch of the Halveti after Sa`ban's death. The interplay between the Sa`ban, the ostensible founder of the order, and his successor several generations later created a fascinating set of tensions that reflected the changes that the Ottoman Empire was going through during the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

Finally, the Sa`baniyye Order, like many other prominent Halveti sub-branches, was engaged in a running conflict that lasted many years with Islamic puritanical movements such as the Kadizadeli movement, which sought to deny legitimacy to mystics like the Halveti and, at times, even physically attacked them. Given present-day struggles such as those going on in modern Pakistan today between followers of Sufi shrines and violent radicals who have targeted them and their followers with violent acts, it seemed to me that the outcome of this historical conflict 4-5 centuries previous had some bearing on how we might consider this continuing struggle today.

Bringing the manuscript to final publication required some additional work, however. Essential background on the roots of the Halveti Order in northwestern Iran and its gradual migration into the Ottoman Empire after the rise of the militant Shiite Safavid state at the end of the fifteenth century was required to allow a broader audience to understand where this group came from, and how they became a part of the fabric of Ottoman society by the sixteenth century. In addition, new works on earlier periods of Islamic mysticism, such as Erik S. Ohlander's work on the Suhrawardiyya order, a group whose teachings in the twelfth and thirteenth century formed a base for the later Ottoman Halveti, allowed me to see new aspects of the question that I had not considered before.

The result of this is the volume you see here; which is divided into four parts. The first, as noted above, introduces the background of the Halveti Order and its early spread into the Ottoman Empire from the fifteenth century onward. The second deals with the world of Sa`ban-i Veli, his early training and teaching in rural Anatolia, his life in Kastamonu as a teacher and representative of the order, and finally, the four men who succeeded him as leaders of the Sa`baniyye Order after his death. The third part deals with the early life and hagiographical writing of his fifth successor, `Omer el-Fu'adi, who sought to shape Sa`ban's life and legacy in new ways in response to new challenges. The final section describes the subsequent writings of `Omer el-Fu'adi and his legacy for the Halveti Order and Kastamonu as a whole. The book concludes with some reflections on the wider importance of this type of Ottoman religious history for the field as a whole.

*John J. Curry is an assistant professor of Near Eastern and Islamic history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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