Ottoman Naqshbandiyya Manuals in the Eighteenth- Century


This study examines the Naqshbandi booklets written in the 18th century. In comparison with the previous centuries, many booklets about the Naqshbandi order were written in this century as a new compilation, commentary or translation. It claims that through these booklets, the Naqshbandi order was presented as a viable track for the Ottoman religious sphere. The specific version of the order proposed in these booklets, however, was notably informed by the criticisms of Birgivi, an Ottoman scholar with profound influence on the Ottoman religious thought, and Kadızadelis.

These booklets were written not just in Anatolia, but also in the Ottoman Arabian cities such as Damascus, Cairo and Medina. In fact, especially Damascus and Medina served as important stations for transporting the Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi order from India to the Ottoman Empire.

In this period, the Naqshbandi order received a quite large foothold among the Ottoman religious scholars due to the impact of the political conjuncture. Another reason for their popularity was the Naqshbandi preference for silent/secret dhikr as opposed to the controversial Sufi practices such as raks, sema and devran. They also steered clear of innovation (bidah) and emphasized the need to embrace the sunna of the Prophet and the way of his companions (sahabe).

Keywords: Sufism, Naqshbandiyya, Naqshbandî Booklets, Birgivî, Kadizâdeli Movement, 18th century.

Ali Çoban
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