Dedicated to Abdülbaki Gölpınarlı's youth
are said to have emerged as a Turkish tarikat or sûfî "way" when EmirSikkini walked into a blazing fire and came out having lost only his dervish robe andcrown. This was in the Anatolian town of Goyniik,after the death of Sikkini's sheikhHajji Bayram Veli c. 1430. From the fifteenth century until now the Turkish
haveworn the normal clothes of their day, and employed none of the other accoutrement bywhich dervish orders in Ottoman times identified themselves in public.Ibn 'Arabi (d.1240) has been associated with the Turkish tarikat both by the
themselves and inthe popular mind.The association is not one of initiatic chain
that is, no continuous connectionbetween master and disciple leading back to Ibn 'Arabi was invoked. Rather, Ibn 'Arabi'smany references to
Meccan Revelations (Futûhât al-Makkiyya)
wereoften cited by the
in definition of their "way". And they have been known asextremists in "the oneness of being"
a theory andpractice which popular opinion attributed to Ibn 'Arabi.In the brief introduction to the
tarikat undertaken here, there will be no evaluation of the accuracy of individualfigures or the order as a whole in representing Ibn 'Arabi's views. Rather, the association istaken for granted as an historical fact; comparative evaluation is postponed until terms of comparison may be more clearly defined. I will relate what is known about the beginningsof the Turkish
give a brief outline of their history, and quote descriptions of theirpractice made by their members.To forestall any confusion of terms, let me distinguish at once between usages of wordsderived from the Arabic root lâm-wâw-mîm, "to blame".
theabstract term used in Turkish today, describes a spiritual state which has been definedvariously over time; its usage has a long and diverse history.In general,
hasbeen defined as a kind of deprecation of the self, whether this is taken as a denial of beingto the self in a philosophical sense, or as a practice of behaving in such a way as to concealone's advanced spiritual states and draw upon oneself the censure of others. The lateAbdiilbaki Gölpınarlı, modern Turkish historian of religion/mysticism and literature, hasdivided
practices into three historical periods. A "first wave" emergedc. the ninth century, probably around Nishapur. In this period adherents of
as aset of characteristics rather than name of an organized group, have been referred tovariously as
and their "way", as
Annemarie Schimmel, discussing Sulami's (d. 1021) early treatise on the
observed:The ideal of the Malamatiyye developed out of a stress on
"perfect sincerity";Ansârî [d. 1089] sometimes praises a person for his "perfect
and sincerity"...Muhâsibî [d. 857] had taught that even the slightest tendency to show one's piety or one'sreligious behaviour was ostentation.