Mysticism and how it penetrated the Ottoman Community
Regarding the Ottoman Caliphate; of which the political Islam exaggeratedly talks, referring to it as the last stage of the Islamic caliphate, and even attribute a form of holiness to it – and the entire Ottoman era – without looking at the other side, and in terms of holiness we mean that speaking about the caliphate is in fact An elite, ideological discourse that hides the other side of the so-called popular religion, referring to the religious status of large sectors in the Ottoman Turkish community at the time.
In this regard, we shall find another form other than the issue of the caliphate, and perhaps other than Sunni Islam in its traditional form, and by that we mean the spread of groups known as “Mysticism” among wide circles in the heart of Ottoman Turkish community. Perhaps the most important of these movements is what is known in Ottoman history as the “revolution of Sheikh Badr al-Din”, Who is Sheikh Badr al-Din, and what events were famous afterwards in his revolution?
The revolution of Sheikh Badr al-Din:
“Sheikh Badr al-Din” was one of the leading Ottoman scholars, and reached a major official position, as a judge; Where he assumed the position of the military jurisdiction with Musa Jalbi, son of Sultan Bayezid al-Sa’iqa.
The ideas of “Sheikh Badr al-Din”, which he presented in his famous book “Waredat,” mainly relied on the idea of Al-Mahdi Al-Montazar, not to mention; moving towards a conciliatory direction – or based on fabrication – between the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This idea was formed to employ this politically; in order to become a political movement seeking to rule.
The followers of Sheikh Badr al-Din ignited a revolution in the first half of the fifteenth century under the leadership of two sheikhs of his followers: “Bur Kulujah Mustafa” and the second “Turlaq Kamal”. It is well stated in the sources that “Bur Kulujah Mustafa” was a Christian who converted to Islam, and that “ Turlaq Kamal ” was a Jew who converted to Islam.
Despite the suppression of this revolution, but the ideas of Sheikh Badr al-Din lasted. The phrase of “Followers of Sheikh Badr al-Din”” was stated in the sources back in the seventeenth century, i.e., “Alawites” or “Qizilbash” i.e., Red hats movement.
The group known as “Hurufism” was one of the most important other mystic groups in the Ottoman history, a group that the great Turkish historian “Fuad Kobreli” asserts its Iranian origin. Where it appeared first in Azerbaijan and then moved to Turkey. The reason why it was called a Hurufism; due to the nature of its concept; As it was moving towards inspiring special hidden meanings of the letters, and the mixture with the philosophy of pantheism.
Some Sufi groups in Anatolia, Rumeli, and Istanbul embraced the supplications of this group, and spread widely, even the book “Al Shaqaq Al Naamaniyya” mentions that the ideas of Hurufism had found their way to the Ottoman palace itself, especially during the era of Al-Sultan Al-Fatih. Some believe that Sheikh “Othman Baba” – one of the senior sheikhs of this Order – was able to recruit some senior courtier of the Ottoman into the ranks of this mystic community.
Turkish libraries still preserve several books explaining the ideas of this group, especially the books written by “Fadlallah Astrabadi”, as well as the poems of the famous poet “Nasimi” who toured Anatolia, promoting the ideas of “Hurufism”, and his Diwan remained to be an inspiration for many mystic groups such as Al-Qalandariya and Al-Bektashi Orders.
Some historians believe that the sixteenth century – which some may consider the Ottoman century, and the peak of the Ottoman Empire glory – has witnessed at the same time a serious shift that some consider it as one of the major events in the socio-religious history of the Ottoman Empire, and its effects remain until today, and this event is – according to What the Ottoman documents and historical sources provide – the emergence of “Rafidiyah” or “Qizilbashiyah”, or “Alevism” with the terminology of the group itself, which led to the great evolution which is the division of popular Islam in Turkey into: Sunni, and Qizilbash, i.e., Mysticism.