Hurufiers are intimate companions of "The Conqueror"

Hurufiers are intimate companions

of "The Conqueror"

by harboring their founder, "Tabrizi"

The profound sacerdotalism state in Anatolia represented a widely open door for interpretation in Ottoman culture, which enabled philosophical ideas – which are in conflict with the Sunni doctrine – to spread with their most extreme visions and distant from it, with interpretations that have pagan, Magus, Greek, Indian, Christian, Sabian perspectives; and atheistic ideas, all of which worked to entice the commoner of the Turks in order to limit the religious interpretations to the Sufi clerics, considering that the inside of the frequent Qur’an meanings is full of secrets that only the infallible imams can see, and they are the only ones who are able to interpret them. This what made Sufism in the Ottoman Empire immersed in the mystical ideas.
The focus of Hurufism on verbal worship made it limit man’s communication with Allah to verbal pronunciation only, and it believed that knowledge of words represented the fact of beings. Consequently, the word is preceded over the meaning, and the verbal expressions are explained through the Arabic letters, which are 28 and the Persian letters, which are 32, and the connection between the two languages is in the letter (lam alif- لا), which combines the extra Persian letters in Arabic. Accordingly, Persian has become an interpreter of the Arabic language, and that becomes more special in Persian as it represents the interpretative depth of the Holy Qur’an, its letters and verbal meanings, as well as the interpreter – also – of the outward and inward aspects of the world. Therefore, Moses, peace be upon him, has significance in the Hurufi thought, because as he is the one to whom Allah spoke directly, and Muhammad because he was sent by the comprehensive in meaning, thus, Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) became the speaker of Allah’s words according to their belief.

They restricted their communication with Allah verbally.

The impact of Hurufism in Anatolia began since the era of the Seljuks of Rum, and extended thereafter through the various eras of the history of the Ottoman Empire. A group of Turkish authors pointed out in the book: (The Ottoman Empire, History and Civilization) that Anatolia was always influenced by what was imported to it such as the doctorine of the religious currents emanating from Iran. These historians assert that the influence of Hurufism was crystal clear and thriving on the Sufi orders, on top of which is the Bektashiyya; the most important because it had unlimited support from the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, where the Hurufi thought was crystallized in its visions and applications, and so on, it was inspired by the special and hidden meanings of the letters, and mixed with a Pantheism philosophy. Hurufiers found a safe haven and refuge in Anatolia and the Rumeli regions through their penetration into the center of the Turkish societies, and they were affected firstly by the Qalandariyya, and then by other mystical orders.

Bektashi Order

The Bektashi Order is considered one of the most important Sufi orders in the Ottoman Empire because of its official effect on it, especially as it was the patron of the Janissary army, as the Janissaries were associated with the Bektashiyya and its doctorine, so that their camps were filled with the guiding Sheikhs of the Bektashi orders. Moreover, it was known in Ottoman history that the Janissary army was under the control of The Bektashiyya and its directives, influenced and obeyed it more than they obeyed the Ottoman sultans, accordingly, the sultans harmonized with the Bektasiyya, considering the support it represented among the ranks of the Janissaries. This order was founded by Haji Bektash, who lived during the second half of the thirteenth century AD in Anatolia.

Khalil Inalcik, History of the Ottoman Empire (Beirut: Dar Al-Madar Al-Islami, 2002).

The Sufi philosophy of pantheism

It is known as federalism, and the philosophy of pantheism is summarized in saying that Allah and nature are one reality, and Allah is the true existence, and they depict Allah with the creatures around them, while all that is material in creatures is nothing but an expression to the existence of Allah, otherwise materialities have no existence by itself. Among the most prominent people who believe in it and revived it in Islamic history are Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Ibn Al-Farid, and others who were influenced by Neoplatonist philosophy and the philosophy of the Stoics. Sunni scholars considered them as heretics, and those who believe in their words are disbelievers.

Ahmad Al-Qusayr, The Sufism's Doctrine of the Hidden Pantheism (Riyadh: Al-Rashed Library, 2003).


It is considered one of the orders of Khorasani origin, and it spread after it was founded by Jamal Al-Din Al-Sawi in 463 AH / 1070 AD, and reached Iraq, Syria, Egypt, India and Anatolia, where it faced a violent attack by the Sunni Sufi orders because of its strange and suspicious rituals, as well as what The Qalandarians used to follow; such as disgusting pornography. Consequently, they aspired to celibacy, poverty and begging, as they roamed the Anatolian cities in their strange costumes, shaved heads with their mustaches and eyebrows, carrying their own flags while beating the drums, and the most prominent things that made Anatolian society detest them directly were that they were deliberately calling to rebel against social and moral systems.

Muhammad Cobrieli, The rise of the Ottoman Empire, translated by Ahmad Al-Saeed (Cairo: Dar Al-Kateb Al-Arabi, 1967).

The most prominent connection between al-Haroufiyya and the sultans of the Ottoman Empire was during the reign of Muhammad al-Fatih, as it was stated in the book “Al-Shaqaq al-Naamaniyya”:
“Some of the followers of Fadlallah Tabrizi, head of the misguided al-Haroufiyya sect, received the Sultan Muhammad Khan’s service. Tabrizi showcased some of his elegant acquaintances until the Sultan, Muhammad Khan, and his family, along with his followers tended to him and provided him with a place to live in Dar Al-Sa’ada. The minister, Mahmoud Pasha, was so greatly distressed over this group that he became increasingly overwhelmed, but he was unable to say a word about them for fear of the Sultan.”
Thus, the Haroufis reached Al-Fatih Palace, and he brought them closer to it, among them Othman Baba Al-Qalandari, who had a very strong connection with the influential people in the palace and Al-Fatih at their head. Al-Qalandari was one of the sheikhs of the Qalandari method. This explains for us the strong link between Qalandariyya and the Haroufiyya, which is why Ihsanoglu and others say: “In sum, when we search for the Haroufi group, we must search for them under the description of Qalandari and Bektashiyya, and not under the characteristic of Haroufiyya alone in the fifteenth century and beyond.”
In fact, such words are considered a source confirmation through the mouths of Turkish historians on the extent of the connection of Haroufiyya with Qalandariya and the Bektashiyya, and is supported by the evidence they have provided. Therefore, it seems shocking and exhausting for those who believe in Sunni sectarianism, which the Ottoman Empire had claimed to do.
If the Turks themselves did not acknowledge the esoteric methodology of Haroufiyya and its ideas related to the official methods of the Ottoman Empire, we would have said that their combined ignorance of the principles of the Sharia and the correct beliefs led them to stick to believe in esoteric ideas, but various contemporaries alerted the sultans of the danger of Haroufiyya and its sister sects; however, some aspects of the beliefs of this deviant group found acceptance among some of the sultans and served their policies, so they supported it in various manners.
Although a number of the Haroufis were expelled and killed, they succeeded in having an official representation according to the fact that they were Haroufis before they were intrusive in the official methods. The Haroufis had official representation in Adrianople, as well as having a Persian envoy in the court of the Sultan, in the year 848 AH / 1444 CE and during the first period of the rule of Al-Fateh. And this representation continued until the community of Edirne objected to it under the pretext that Haroufiyya had Christian roots, but there was concern that a crusade would be launched on Adrianople, the Ottoman capital before Istanbul was deemed capital, with their assistance. Then, the Ottoman Palace was silent about what the Ottoman people did when they burned their Persian envoy and cut off the tongues of his followers in their capital. It is said that the number of Haroufis is estimated to be 2,007, and the Ottoman Empire did not hold anything against them, until the Haroufis were accused of masterminding the assassination of Sultan Bayezid II.
And by another admission by the Turkish historian Shemshergul, according to which Muhammed Al-Fateh had great respect for the senior Sufis, and spent long time in their deliberations, and what was mentioned about him, which draws a very big question mark around him, that:
“He had great esteem and great reverence for the Sufis, the people of the esoteric and the saints, and he was quick to serve them, provide them with comfort, and always visit them to be blessed with their righteous supplications.”
If we skipped over his love of Sufism and his constant seeking of blessings from the “righteous people,” the appreciation of Muhammad Al-Fateh and his reverence for the people of esoteric and the saints constitute the biggest question mark about his suspicious relationship with Haroufiyya.
Just as Sultan Al-Fateh had a suspicious relationship with Haroufiyya, Sultan Salim Al-Awwal came after him and he had an even more suspicious relationship with Haroufiyya, according to what was mentioned by Evliya Çelebi (born 1020 AH / 1611 AD). Çelebi confirmed that Salim Al-Awwal had become attached to the knowledge of Al-Jafr, who had connections to the Haroufiyya. It is said that he asked Sheikh Nasser Al-Tarsusi whether it would be easy for him to conquer Egypt, and he told him that Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) – as he claims – said: “Salim Al Othman must conquer the Romans and Persians and then conquer the Arabian Peninsula.” He also informed him that the Noble Qur’an referred to Salim and his conquest with a repeated narration according to the author Çelebi’s belief, including the Almighty’s saying: {There they found a servant of Ours, to whom We had mercy from Us and enlightened with knowledge of Our Own.} (Al-Kahf: 65) that it refers in symbols to Salim Al-Awwal, and the Almighty said: {Surely, following the heavenly Record, We decreed in the Scriptures: “My righteous servants shall inherit the land.} (Al-Anbiya ‘: 105). He indicated that the word (walaqad) which is translated to “surely” is equal to: 140, which is the number of words as referring to it, and the word (dhikr), which is translated to “heavenly Record” is equal to: 920, and the sentence (min ba’d al-dhikr) which is translated to “following the heavenly Record” means: that is, after 900, you will be the conqueror of Egypt, and he mentioned at the end of his interpretation that God considered Salim one of his righteous servants. Salim stuck to these beliefs so much, so that he then proceeded to ask him how long he would maintain his sultanate, but Tarsusi argued that this was knowledge of the unseen; he said that while he interpreted the verses with his tafsir, that is not based upon a scientific dimension. But Evliya Çelebi did not hesitate to claim that the word (wajda) which means “they found” equals the number eight, meaning that Salim’s conquest of Egypt, his return to Istanbul, and the duration of his reign would last for eight years.
Sultan Salim is considered one of the most famous sultans who received visions about the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a dream, whether related to his announcements of the conquest of Egypt, or by providing direct rulings to him, and he went beyond what Çelebi narrated about the story of the Mamluki who broke into Salim’s room in Egypt to murder him. The Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came in his shape in the dream of Salim to alert him that he would be killed. This narration is mentioned by Çelebi without criticizing it or even commenting on what was mentioned in it; rather, he presented it as an indisputable fact, and mentioned it as one of the dignities that Salim was singled out for, and much other than what he mentioned in the narration about Salim Al-Awwal. Note that there was only a century between Çelebi and Salim, and these narrations acquired factual status in some sources of Ottoman history, despite the conjecture, fraud, lying and suspicious relationship with the Haroufis.
Among the most abundant narrations in the Ottoman sources is what was narrated about Salim Al-Awwal’s discovery of the tomb of Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi (died: 638 AH / 1240 CE) in Damascus, where it was reported that Ibn Arabi said: “If the Seine entered the Shein, Muhyiddin will appear.” This statement was narrated in more than one formulation, and it was interpreted in the history books as meaning that if Salim entered the Levant, the tomb of Muhyiddin would appear. Of course, this alleged prophecy of Ibn Arabi found a liking among the Ottomans, and it formed for them the conviction that Salim was exposed to his grave in Damascus, and a shrine was built for him, including paraphernalia, in Salhiya.
It is often found that an idea that enjoys the support of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire is rooted in Haroufiyya and its interpretations and esoteria ideologies, as well as other beliefs that have nothing to do with the origins of the Islamic religion or the Sunni doctrine. The narratives indicate that the greatest support for Batinism from the Ottomans was through the Bektashiyya, which was propagated from Batiniyya.

Ibn Arabi

638-560 A.H. / 1240-1165 A.D.

Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ali bin Arabi Al-Taie, he was born in Murcia in Andalusia, was one of the first people to elaborate on the philosophy of pantheism, and among his views is the unity of the essence of religions and does not differentiate between religions and worships that lead to Allah in any religion. He also has a set of prophecies circulating in Ottoman history, the most prominent of which is that he gave a description of the conqueror of Constantinople, and determined its year, so it is said that Salim built a dome on his grave and made it a shrine in the Levant.

Saad Rostom, The Sects and the Islamic Schools, 3rd Edition (Damascus: Al-Awael for Publishing and Distribution, 2005).

1) Ihsanoglu et al., The Ottoman Empire, History and Civilization, translation:Salih Saadawi (Istanbul: IRCICA, 1999).

2) Ahmed Shemshergl, The History of Bani Othman, translated by: Mahtab Muhammad (Abu Dhabi: Culture for Publishing and Distribution, 2016).

3) Evliya Çelebi, The Journey to Egypt, Sudan and Abyssinia, translated by Hussein Al-Masry and others (Cairo: Dar Al-Horizon Al-Arabiya, 2006).

4) George Tarabishi, The Dictionary of Philosophers, 3rd Edition, (Beirut: Dar Al Taleea, 2006).

5) Khalil Inalcik, History of the Ottoman Empire (Beirut: Dar al Madar al-Islami, 2002).

6) Tashkbari Zadeh, The Naamanian Narrations in the Scholars of the Ottoman Empire (Beirut: Arab Book House, 1975).

7) Abdel Moneim El-Hefny, Encyclopedia of Islamic Groups, Sects and Doctrines (Cairo: Dar Al-Rashad, 1993).

8) Fatih Akjah, Sultan Salim Al-Awwal, translated by: Ahmed Kamal (Cairo: Dar El-Nile, 2016).