Velayetnames: The Written Sources of the Alevi-Bektashi History


The Islamic world witnessed the widespread influence of a variety of Sufi (tasavvuf) schools from the ninth century onwards. As a result, many religious texts were penned focusing on the virtuous behavior of sufi figures for the purpose of setting an exemplary life style for the disciples (manâqibs). In the following centuries, manâqibs, forming a separate genre as manâqibnâmâs, formed an important part of the Sufi literature and became the main source for scholars working on Sufism and various Sufi orders (tariqas). The manâqibnamâs related specifically to the Alevi-Bektashi order (history/ order) are known as velayetnames. One of the remarkable examples of this genre is Velayetnâme-i Hacı Bektâş-ı Velî, which is estimated to have been written by Uzun Firdevsi. Focusing on the life of Hacı Bektâş-ı Velî, it covers his relations with the ruling elite, his dealings with other religious scholars, his settlement in the town of Sulucakarahöyük and other important events until his death. Other examples of this genre focusing on figures linked to Bektashism and Qalandarism are Vilayetnâme-i Hacim Sultan,Vilayetnâme-i Abdal Musa, Vilayetname-i Seyyid Ali Sultan, Vilayetname-i Sultan Şücâeddin, Vilayetnâme-i Otman Baba, Vilayetnâme-i Koyun Baba andVilayetname-i Demir Baba.

Keywords: Bektashism, Alevism, vilâyetnâme, Sufism

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