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The Kizil Bash

August 23, 1514 at Tchaldiran in this part of Kurdistan

fought over the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire,
the riders red turban Shah Ismail, the king of Iran, load
saber with a crazy bravery penetrated of the invincibility of
their spiritual guide, an offshoot of Ali and holder of the
divine power. They are chopping by artillery and guns and
the Ottoman Persian army between routed. Defeated by
the weapons of the new times, Ismail will never be the
Guide and the Mahdi of Kizil Bach, and Iran will never
become an Alevi earth. Released and challenged by his
followers, the Shah will be converted to Twelver Shi'ism
and support power over the nobility and traditional classes

Sheikh Zayid Gilani designates as his

successor Sheikh Safi

On the evening of August 23, 1514 at Tchaldiran. Selim I

Ottoman savor his victory. The Persian troops pushed
beyond its borders, it needs to stabilize and control the
area. Already, the majority of Sunni Kurds rallied well in
extremis to the Ottomans, and their support has weighed
in victory. But it must now settle the account of other
Kurds who kizil bach with their coreligionists Turkmen
supported their religious leader. At the end of the day, the
earth gorge blood of thousands of Kizil Bach beheaded.
Others were able to flee by the thousands as well. They
may be the cause of the Shabak in Iraq, they may have
joined the Ahl-e-Haqq in Iran. Many also stayed behind,
went underground, the taqiyat , saying Muslims but of the
brotherhood of Bektashi, usual refuge of heretics hunted
by the government.
In the ranks of the Janissaries in the convents of the
Bektashi dervishes in the mountains of Dersim, the Kizil
Bach lasted. Gradually the suspicion of the Ottoman state
to them diminished before shutting down altogether. After
the sixteenth century, the Kizil Bach, scattered, tracked or
folded in their mountains, could not serve as extra strength
to the Safavids who do not even share more religion. They
survived the dissolution of the brotherhoods by Kemal
Ataturk, they were Young Turks, like many Armenians or
Kurds, they were Kemalists also hoping under a secular
regime to free themselves of the Sunni yoke, they have
also revolted in Dersim in 1925, in 1937, they suppressed
revolts so frightfully long time and it was not stir only in
the 80s that Alevi Kurds joined their fellow Sunnis in their
political struggle in Turkey, to the point that Today in the
country's political fate of Kurds and Alevis is sometimes

Esma'il Kills Sultan Hoseyn Barani

The identity of Kizil Bach, Turkish or Kurdish has often

been presented as a tribal phenomenon mingled with
shamanism. Now, we will see that the formation of this
brotherhood has its roots in an ancient Iranian mystic
ground, even if it flourishes in the Turkmen tribal structure
already iraniss and if its implementation Anatolian home
provides him with elements Christian and even pagan

The Ghulat
Who are the Kizil Bach? Of Ghulat all, ie of these sects
from Shiism, they say "extremists", not in their political
demands or religious observances, but in their veneration
"extreme" Ali, son of the Prophet Muhammad and leading
religious figure for all Shia. But here, this veneration
bordering on suspicious worship for Muslims who call them
sometimes ali-elahi , that is to say, Ali dficateurs.
The reality is of course a bit more subtle. The Ghulat
especially believe in identification or common essence
between Ali, God and Muhammad (the latter can be
replaced by other religious figures as sects). In general,
these manifestations of divine figure are three in number,
which naturally leads to see a Christian influence. Very
often, the charismatic leader of the movement Ghulat itself
as the personification of God or Ali. This is the final step in
a sense symbolic identification of the Lover (Sufi) to the
Beloved (God). However, the authors themselves Shiites
believe that God's spirit ( ruh ), this breath that brings
divine knowledge is present not only in the prophets, but
also in their imams.

Esma'il Celebrates the Rite of the Twelve


Sufi symbolic discourse frequently served as a cover for

more heterodox thinkers, who themselves literally heard
the most classic metaphors of the Muslim mystical
thought, but to safeguard them was hiding behind the
poetic and exuberant wave of Sufis. For we must never
lose sight of that heterodoxy Ghulat was still illegal,
chased, hated, and that it is freely asserted that in periods
of weakening of central authority, or when the location of
his followers (often mountain) allowed them to escape
repression. This situation forced secret, waiting for a savior
messiah, to distrust official bodies of the state have
naturally their importance when it comes to understanding
the world of Ghulat.
Because for Islam and Islamic law, the Kizil Bach, Shabak,
Ahl-e Haqq, and other sects were always of idolatry homes,
since they associate several figures in the oneness of the
divine manifestation. However, they could never enjoy the
protected status of dhimmi (second-class subjects, but the
cult and security rights are guaranteed by contract),
enjoyed by Jews and Christians. Indeed, if Christianity and
Judaism are regarded by Muslims as the balance of
authentic divine revelation but warped by time and faulty
transmissions of their followers, the Ghulat are considered
from Islam and claim to add one or more cycles after
revelation of the coming of Muhammad, the Seal of the
Prophets. But if Islam is more tolerant of other religions, he
strongly condemned the heresy within its ranks and
punishes with death apostasy. Even more than the Shiites,
Ghulat therefore exercised the taqiyat or concealment of
their beliefs. Even today it is difficult to know the exact
number, as persecution or simply hostility which they are
subject are perennials from the Muslims.
The common point of all these sects, ultimately fairly
similar dogmas are:
- The practice of Ishq or passionate love for God;

Alvand Mirza Torkman Visits' Ala al-Qadar

Dowleh Zu'l

- Their veneration for the People of the Mantle (the

immediate family of the Prophet, that is to say, his
daughters, his son Ali and his two grandchildren, son,
Hasan and Husein)
- The symbolic importance of the numbers 3, 5, 7 and 40
in their religious rites and their cosmogony, numbers that
connect a celestial cosmic religious and religious hierarchy
as part of their earthly life, and the 7 degrees of spiritual
hierarchy, the 12 imams the 40 abdal or Erenler , insiders
have reached divine knowledge.
All these traits them away from Islam the most
conservative and most down to earth (that is to say, most
Sunni!) Are found also in other mystical currents still
tolerated by the Shariah (Law Qur'an). So crazy love,
almost irreverent to God of a poet ' Ashiq , whether or
Bektashi Kizil Bach or is recurrent in all mystical and even in
the classical poetry.
The miraculous attributes ascribed to Ali and the Prophet's
family are familiar to Shiites and gestures inspired by the
popular fervor.

Battle Scene Between Safavids and Zu'lQadars in Saru Qaplan qui est Killed

We must not forget that in the early days of Islam, Ali

appeared as the protector of the poor, the champion of a
faith remained pure, against the intrigues of the great
families of Mecca. It is rare in Muslim history, the
movements in rebellion against the incumbent does not
take the "Lion of God" to standard. As for the figures cited
above, as well as their highly symbolic that sometimes
border on magic, they are present in the Muslim gnosis
from the beginning of the establishment of Islam in
Mesopotamia, Iran and Syria, reflecting the sustainable
influence of Pythagoreanism and the legacy of ancient
Eastern religions. Similarly the cosmic organization of the
world and time, already made by the Shia and some Muslim
philosophers, comes from the neo-platoniscisme ( See also
Culture -> The Book of Thriaque )
As for the action of the Forty Sages or initiated in the
divine knowledge that in the period between the Earth and
beyond, are involved in the running of the universe past,
present and future, and without our world would be only
Chaos, we also found them in the Sunni piety, even more
As we see, each of these beliefs would not be enough
alone (apart from God Ali Mohamed Trinity) to completely
separate the Ghulat of Shiism. It's more systematic
assembly which makes them a separate group of Islam.

Esma'il (?) Kills Bayrak Soltan

These sects, dogma and rituals quite similar so are mostly

branched get geographies rather than religious currents:
the Ahl e Haqq , more present in Iran are mostly Kurds
Gorani language. The Shabak , Bajwan , Sarliyya , Kahaiyya ,
Ibrahimiyya are present in Iraq and offer a complex ethnic
mix or language between Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish. The
Nusairis or Alawis are in Syria. In Turkey, there are the
Bektashi , the Alevis , the Tehtejii the Tchepnis .
A religious unity therefore oppose their ethnic, linguistic
and social diversity even since it has sometimes dealing

with religious brotherhoods, whose membership induced

conversion and thus an individual commitment (dervishes),
or tribes who confession is primarily a matter of birth. This
is what separates the Kizil Bach and the Bektashi,
otherwise so closely mingled in the minds, history and
culture. These can be Ghulat Arabic, Turkmen, Kurdish,
Zaza. They are of Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Arabic. One
language may also reflect itself in this mix: the Shabak ,
spoken by one of these communities in the north of Iraq, is
a mixture of Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic. Zazaki, ancient
language spoken in Dersim (Eastern Anatolia) also includes
Kurdish and Armenian elements. In short, there is no more
faithful and vivid picture of the historical and religious
complexity of Anatolia and Upper Mesopotamia than that
given by these populations, beliefs and ethnicities if mixed.

Anatolia to the Middle Ages

Babor Shah Khan Chasing Shahibeg

Seljuk victory over the Byzantine army at Manzikert in

1071, significantly changed the human and geographical
aspect of the Anatolian mainland. Cultivated campaigns of
the Greek and Armenian peasants shrank from the pastures
of Turkmen nomads. The Southeastern Anatolia, by cons,
had to undergo less change, as it was already inhabited by
pastoral tribes, Kurdish and Arabic. There was just
coexistence of Kurds and Turkmen tribes, not smoothly
with one another and in 1185-1187 where Kurds in the
Diyar Bakr region and Upper Mesopotamia are massacred
by a Turk, or as evidenced by the favor enjoyed Nisibin
Christians - Hasankeyf artoukides under the Turks, who
distrusted some Arabs and Kurds in the region.
But it is especially the Mongol advance in the fourteenth
century that caused a large influx of Turkmen and Iranians
fleeing troops Ilkhanids. At that time, Eastern Anatolia is
part of the area of influence of the descendants of Genghis
Khan, while the West (the territory of Rum) was divided
between Byzantium, this power that would not stop
declining and the rising power of the Ottomans.
Fleeing the Mongols like many other Iranian refugees, many
dervishes Central Asia (qalendar) once in Anatolia, led a
wandering life in close harmony with the ghazi who
preceded them. These mystical vagabonds, poets their
hours are not all peaceful. The prevailing insecurity often
forced them to arm themselves. So, it becomes difficult to
distinguish between these Sufis weapons and fighters of
the faith themselves, especially as the war in Anatolian
steps resulting in the attack but also looting and banditry.
Anatolia is, after all, a land open to troop movements since
1071. These turbulent Turkmen for which we created the
principalities of the Seljuks of Rum, have always resented
the central government. It is paradoxical that eventually
the two large centralized empires of modern Islam, the
Ottoman and Safavid, born of the activity of these ghazis
so unruly. Ethnically, these confederations are as mixed as
the Mongol confederations: Armenians, Kurds, SyroAramaic, Arabic. The origin of the Safavids is uncertain:
Kurds, Turkomans?
The Middle Ages was therefore for the Eastern Anatolia, as

in Upper Mesopotamia, a period as troubled and confused

as politically fruitful for the economy, the arts, intellectual
life. Under the Seljuks, Sivas was a great trading center.
The Artoukides raised Diyarbakir, Mardin, Hasankeyf Hisn
Kayfa or the rank of capitals.
But the devastation caused by the Mongols and later
Tamerlane weakened the power of the princes and
authority of cities. The political and economic organization
was then provided by the military-religious orders that
provided more or less clearly Jihad against the Greeks. The
advent of the Safavids in the sixteenth century came in a
land so politically organized and structured religiously for
over a century by Ghazi. But this political and religious
model may be older. Thus, Danishmendides, who reigned
from 1071 to 1178 in the regions of Sivas, Kayseri,
Malatya, were perhaps the first ghazi state. The etymology
of the name, Danishmend or "insider", "who has
knowledge" suggests a religious leader in the eponymous,
which will be the case for other (Baba Ishaq Ismail).
In Eastern Anatolia, the Armenian population was then
Monophysite or majority, ie exposed to hostility and even
persecution of the Byzantine church. Also said she
welcomed the Turkomans, like 600 years ago, the
Nestorians and Monophysites of Palestine and Syria had
received quite favorably the Muslim conquest. But there
was no massive conversion. In Erzurum, the Armenian
population was so large in proportion, we drank wine in
public. In addition, the Sufis, very present in Anatolia,
already rejected the external rituals of the faith, giving way
to much more heterodox practices, inspired by Gnosticism,
perhaps even Indian and Christian elements.
Among the social factors that may have influenced the Kizil
Bach, we must speak of akhis and futuwa . These
brotherhoods were indeed popular corporatist groups but
not professionals, which distinguished the first corporations
that are emerging in major cities in the tenth century
Abbasid. On the other hand, the ties that bound its
members were more social than religious, and also drew
their powers of a balance of power against power and
aristocracy, sometimes forming true urban militias, which
can be traced throughout the literature, especially popular.

'Akhi Sultan Juli Killing the Uzbeg in


Unlike futuwwa , though they have influenced the Akhis are

a religious movement. In the early days, (at sicle XI), it is
even mystical pure. They appear in Asia Minor and
northwest Iran. Akhi means brother in Arabic, but in
popular language, also called rind or rindan (in Kurdish
beautiful, good). The first major character is akhi Akhi
Zandjani Faraj, who lived in the eleventh century. As the
name suggests, it was from the northwest caucasian.
Another great figure was, of Akhi Trk Ourmiya, Iranian
Kurdistan, who lived in the twelfth century century. The
akhis traced their ancestry to Ali but do not seem to have
had any particular religious affiliation, except reverence for
Alides in general. Circles akhis also referred the matter to
Abu Muslim, a popular religious figure in Iran and we will see
further the permeability of the Anatolian gnosis with
eastern Iran.

After the Mongol invasion and the weakening of central

authority, the power went akhis in all cities. At the same
time, there was a literary explosion treaties futuwa ,
reflecting the enthusiasm that these ideas of mysticism
and social fraternity gave rise to a population that could
not count on the reassuring stability of a strong state. In
Prince cities without resident, Akhi govern.
In his travels, in the fourteenth century, Ibn Battuta, shows
the contagion between business and religion in these
corporations. It also shows us the political power that had
achieved these corporations. In Konya, the leader of akhis
is also the qadi, the akhi Kayseri is a Sharif, another emir,
suggesting the formation of more aristocratic groups, while
popular movements.
This popularity does not reach the brotherhoods that Islam.
There were parallel groups more or less professional among
non-Muslims, for example, among the Armenians of

Adi Khan Rescues Shahibeg From Drowning

These brotherhoods had a late influence Kizil Bach. Even

today, an Alevi ceremony Djem, is in memory of a
corporate boss, Selman--Farsi. Similarly Kurds and Alevis,
practice the custom of blood brother when the brother of
the above, already practiced by Akhis which relates
perhaps an Indo-Iranian ancient practice. The Kurds thus
distinguish very well destbra (hand's brother), egalitarian
relationship with the Alevi sponsorship (kirivat), which is to
give a child a sponsor from another religious community.
The high persistence of practices akhis is also explained by
the fact that after the ban of their brotherhood, the akhis
hunted like Kizil Bach took refuge in the Bektachiyya there
practicing takiyat or hiding their beliefs under the
protection of tekes dervishes.
Other religious movements could influence the Kizil Bach
when they established themselves in Kurdistan and
Anatolia. And Yezidis: the Kurds before the Mongol
occupation, there was a Sufi brotherhood, the Adawiya
founded by Sheikh Adi (which post-mortem will become a
major religious figure Yezidis). The Germiyan princes, a
mixture of Kurds and Turkomans, are considered by the
informants as Ibn Battuta Yezidis. On the eve of the
Mongol conquest, there is in fact a large pro-Yezidi Kurdish
propaganda in the media.

Mohammad Mirza Aqa at the Court of


Finally, we must not overlook the fact that Anatolia,

Northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia was Shiite cultural
centers or on the margins of the very active Shi'ism. picorich Shiite literature, for example in Karbala, existed from
the fourteenth century in Anatolia. Moreover, as each
troubled period in Islam, minds lingered readily on the
golden age of rachidouns Caliphs (the first successors of
Muhammad, practicing and just pure Islam), but also lived
in hope a mahdi, that is to say, the advent of a religious
Guide that came from the other world would restore the
order of this world and the religious justice. Messianic
movements of revolt often produced. That of Baba Ishaq
around the Euphrates, who claimed divine apostle and
messenger of God, is one of the most interesting,

especially since we ready to safavisme direct affiliation

with the babasme. The movement appears to Kafarsud in
1233. His followers, who came into the fight against the
Seljuks, control very quickly a territory between Malatya,
Amasya, Marach.
In any case, the border between Shiism and Sunnism was
not so radical in the Muslim Middle Ages. The Seljuks of
Rum had also long tolerated. A son of Saladin, the great
conqueror Ayyubid, champion of the Sunni faith, professed,
despite the hostility of his father against religious
deviance. The Illusionist Djawbani and says he posed as a
Alide during his travels in Anatolia to gather sympathy
popular. Note also that the uncertain border between Iran
and Sunni Shia also existed in Iran.

Najm Hangs Shaykham Sani Mirza at the

Gate of Qarshi

In the fourteenth century, in Khorassan, there is a similar

precedent: the Sarbardar who had even a heterogeneous
doctrine, which was organized in military brotherhood, in
reaction against the Mongolian paganism. The internal
dialectic of all extremist movements was the camouflage of
certain religious excesses in various forms or original
contributions to Twelver Shi'ism. The Sarbardar for
Amoretti, so are the first link in a long line leading to the
Kizil Bach. This organization into religious brotherhoods he
said is a trait peculiar to Iran. It should be noted that many
Iranians fled Eastern Mongols and reached Central Asia
where Iranian culture became predominant. And that
Iranian influence leads us immediately to the origins of

The Savaviyya
Safi al Din Ishaq was born of a family probably Kurd and
Sunni, in 1252, and died in 1334. He was the founder of
the Sufi Safawiya and the ancestor of the Safavids.
His ancestors were already operating a brotherhood in
Ardabil in Azerbaydjan. It was a family of landowners who
had a function of spiritual guide, or Irshd , transmitted
hereditarily. This inheritance of functions is usual in chites
circles, though at that time they were not yet really alides.
Born in Ardabil, he studied in Shiraz and later tied to a
Sheikh of Guilan, Sheikh Zayid, for twenty-five years. He
succeeded to the group's head of his disciples who then
called safaviya .

Jani Beg Visits Qasem Khan

After his son Musa Sadr al-Din (1334-1391) has

strengthened and organized the Brotherhood, it prospered
by winning the favor of great rulers such as Tamerlane or
Uzun Hasan. This purely mystical organization militarized
under Djounayd (1447-1460) and Haydar (1460-1488).
At that time, the Kizil Bach had already converted to
Shiism, which prevented its leaders from marrying Sunni
Qoyounlou Aq. Djounayd and Haydar led a holy war against
Christians in Georgia and they were both killed in Chirwan.
After the death of Uzun Hasan, the reports were cooled
with Aq Qoyounlou and the defeat of Safavis Sheikhs result
of an alliance with the sultan of the Turkmen King Chirwan.
As a precaution, Aq Qoyounlou imprisoned his son, Ali and
Ismail. When they were released, Ali rebelled and was killed,

but the young Ismail, was hidden in Guilan by his

supporters. He managed to lead his followers and
maintained an effective propaganda in Asia Minor. His rise
was meteoric then. At the head of Kizil Bach began by
avenging the death of his father Haydar beating the king of
Chirwan and White Sheep Chahrour in 1501. He took Tabriz
and becoming Shah of Iran. When Kizil Bach led by Ismail
conquered Iran, it was initially a state Ghulat behind a
spiritual guide. After the defeat of Tchaldiran, which
weakens the authority of the Shah by showing that he was
not invincible, the Kizil Bach turned against their guide who
eventually join the Twelver Shi'ism.
The persecution of the Shiites was general in the Ottoman
Empire during the sixteenth century. Even after rallying
Shah Ismail to Shi'ism, as the Ottomans did not distinguish
between Shiite and Ghulat (for all of them pro-Persian).
The obsession of Ottoman power is that of a Persian
The mhimme defterli studied by Colin Imber outlines the
interplay of forces between Persia, the Ottoman Empire,
Shiites and Kizil Bach. This persecution, we only give details
of Kurdistan, is identical in the country of Rum and Iraq
(and so on "real" Shiites).

Shah Abu'l Esma'il Kills Kheyr Khan in


According to reports from Ottoman officials, seeking the

Kizil Bach, Persia, to win over the nomadic environments,
such Ulus tribes and Bedouins. Cadis the beylerbey and
sancaks seek in everyday life, the actions of the subjects
which would denote membership in heresy, inquisition,
unusual in a Muslim country. Thus, in the 1570s, the qadi
of Kirkuk reports the activities of a group of Kizil Bach
Dakuk, specifying that they form joint meetings, between
men and women (main criticism leveled at Kizil Bach).
In 1570, the sandjakbeyi and qadi of Entab stop some
Mehmet: it seems that in his village, they insult the
memory of Caliphs Omar and Othman (victorious
opponents Ali), but not Abu Bakr. More broadly, officials
recommend to pay attention to given names. If in a
community, no first name is Omar Othman, or, as Ali, the
Huseyin, the Hasan predominate, then it is certain that we
are dealing with heretics. Possible support activities to
Persia course are repressed. A report of Urfa, 1574,
mentions that a Shahirdi and his son collect Hosh present (
Nezir ) and organize sacrifices ( Kurban ) for the Persian

Battle of Chaldiran

Less peaceful activities often troubled region. The cases of

the most common revolt translate looting or robbery,
traditional gestures of hostility to the central government
and which were harmful to the state of the lifting of the
tax. June-July 1578, the qadi Elbistan reports that a
certain "Shah Ismail" appeared, from Syria with two
hundred horsemen. It is reported in the Confederation of
Sham Bayadi. It is engaged in brigandage. This false Shah
Ismail will be continued without success for two years.
Diwan orders to seize him from the summer of 1578 but it
seems more mobile than the imperial troops. We report it
to Haci Bektash. In September 1578, he received the
Sanjak of Malatya the allegiance of all tribes mentioned

after capturing a witness, and the list is given us:

The Izl, Rishvan, Eshkanlu, Solaklu, Sheyh Hseyl,
Soydanlu, Eyerbkl, Adaklu, Kalaaklu, Bezki, akalu,
Mihriman, Karasaz, Kmrl.
A report from sancak of Bozok describes this false Hatai
(pen name of Shah Ismail): blonde, blue eyes, long hair and
a beard, he speaks Persian, which can assume that it
comes from Persia, but Is sent by the Shah or is it pass for
the deceased ruler (the Shah reigned Thamasp time) for its
own account? False son of sovereign or sovereign
reappeared dead are not uncommon at the time, so Cem,
son of the Ottoman sultan. He spotted several times, once
arrested and released by mistake, he waves the province,
elusive. It is reported by his side Turkomans of Ali'l tribe.
From December 1578 to January 1579, he preached
sedition to Begl Kurdish tribe confederation Boz Ulus (Kizil
notorious Bach). It brings together many of their members
with the intention of returning to Persia Baghdad,
according to a report by the qadi Ulus. The Sanjak is
powerless to disperse them. Three weeks later, a document
that tells the Diwan ordered us to Diyarbakir qadi to stop
it. Then we do not know anything delui.
Ghazali 'Arab as a Prisoner Brought Before
Shah Esma'il

This adventure shows two weaknesses of both sides: while

the power is unable to effectively oppose the false Shah
Ismail, but the Kizil Bach can not permanently raise the
The war against Persia resumed in 1578, when persecution
is very active. A spy network information cadis the sancak
and beylerbey, which send their reports to the Diwan
(Council of Ministers). Sometimes mfettish or mbeshir
could be sent to quell a community. The suspects were
executed, exiled, imprisoned.
Persecution is as strong in Central Anatolia, between the
provinces of Erzurum and Karaman. After insurrections
(matted) from the beginning of the century, there is no
major revolts, the province appears takeover, but the
kizilbachisme is alive. There are acts of insubordination,
robberies. Many Kurds have joined the kizilbachisme. But
many villages are kizilbach serbest (independent), and
officials can crack it without seeking permission from the

Shah Esma'il Receiving Ghazali Oghli

In 1585 again, some Shey Haydar announces the arrival of

the Shah in a village near Amasya. Then the change in
doctrine brings the decline of Kizil Bach in the Persian
Empire and the end of their influence in Anatolia. In the
1590s, the most militant bach kizil tribes had been
eliminated or were parties in Iran. The later rebellions djelali
could have shelter homes agitation kizil bach in the
seventeenth century.
The Kurdish Kizil Bach are mainly from Dersim and regions
Marash and Malatya, mainly. They Zaza and Kurmanj. It is
likely that even before the persecutions of Selim I, and of
course after the Turkish-Kurdish tribes are refugees in
Dersim, finding a population with significant Armenian
elements, which gave the rites of Kizil Bach and his

Christian contributions pre-Islamic. Turkmen tribes were

also able to escape in the Kurdish areas after failed
uprisings of 1530 and it kurdifier.
Some Zaza Kurds also claim to be directly descended
from Armenians. Anyway, there was a great cultural and
social harmony between Christians and Kizil Bach Dersim. It
is also found in their belief of former track cults, such as
the veneration of fire, light, prayer at sunrise), but also of
the moon, river sources. The Kurdish Kizil Bach, in night
ceremonies, sacrifice a sheep, share it with bread and wine.
They celebrate Easter with the Armenians and Khizr Elias
party is often confused with Saint Sergius. The Kizil Bach
also religious respect of certain trees on the hills, lonely.
We can not cut or lopping, otherwise serious misfortunes.
It suspends rags, ex-votos, there sacrificed chickens or
sheep. But this practice is also found in other parts of
Kurdistan, which were never won by Alevism, for example
in the region of Afrin, northwest Syria.
The Kurdish Alevis influence is felt in many music. The Alevi
directory and uses the maqam kord and typical modulation
in the Kurdish songs. Using the saz ( tembur ) by Alevis
musicians should also be emphasized, as this instrument is
very important among the Kurds, both Sunni and Alevi.
Kh'ajeh Sultan Ali Siah Push Returning
Timur's Whip

The Bektashi
The brotherhood of the Bektashi indeed appeared in the
thirteenth century. A Hadji Bektash, Turkish Sufi, whose
legend will enrich number of Kurdish and Alevi myths, fled
Khorasan before the Mongol invasion. It was probably a
disciple of Baba Ishaq. If at first Bektashism is barely
distinguishable from the heterodox climate in general, it will
switch further into heresy, perhaps under the influence of
Kizil Bach, to the point that the Bektashi will have to be
distinguished from the power. The Bektashi owe their
success in the Ottoman Empire by their links with the
Janissaries, they relied mostly in their ranks. The flexibility
of the Bektashi doctrines and substrate Christian themes
they conveyed in their ideology may explain this success,
the Janissaries are of Christian origin. They also had many
followers in the social elite and imperial policy.
The problem is that many Bektachiyya Ghulat infiltrated the
persecuted and that she left probably win more than its
founders would have liked by the Kizil Bach or Hurufis. The
Bektashi are closer to the Christians in the Balkans, while
the influence of Kizil Bach is predominant in tekkes Eastern

Timur Kh'ajeh Visits Sultan Ali Siah Push at

Mo'in Mosaver MS. 'Alam-ara-ye Shah
1689 Reza Abbasi Museum, Tehran.
Photo Layla S. Diba

When the Janissaries were exterminated by the Sultan

Mahmud in 1826, the Bektashi were also included in the
purge and monasteries were destroyed. But the order
survived in Anatolia until the twentieth century.
All authors agree on the difficulty of distinguishing the
Bektashi Kizil Bach, to the point that it sometimes seems
that the Bektashi the Kizil Bach and Ahl e-Haqq are variants
of the same religion. Identical nicknames are given to Ahl eHaqq ("extinguishers light") and the Bektashi, the Ahl eHaqq and Kizil Bach ("David worshipers"). In the East, the

Ali and the 12 imams

Most cults Ghulat have very limited access
to their sacred texts (when they have
them), the study of these texts being
reserved for insider clergy. The faithful
then will practice a direct devotional,
emotional, with religious figures, which is
reminiscent of the Hindu bhakti.

influence of the Kurds is often stronger in bektachiyya

since Bektashism flexible enough, fits in the middle where it
operates. The feast of Mawlid , which was taken up and be
honored by the Bektashi is important among the Kurds
since the time of Saladin's son instituted in Erbil, in the
thirteenth century. The Kurdish and Iranian festival of
Newroz, the Bektashi connect with Ali, also has great
significance in the brotherhood. The legendary birth of
Hadji Bektash and the Mam Alan, Kurdish mythical hero is
identical (v. The Vilayetnameh and Mam Alan). According
to Martin van Bruinessen, there are also similarities
between Sultan Dahak (founder of Ah-e-Haqq) and Hadji
Bektash: and the battle between the lion Rider and snake.
But for the Kizil Bach Dersim, lion Rider is the mythical
ancestor of the tribe of Kureyshar and the man who rides
the wall or Munzur Baba Baba Mansour, the eponymous
ancestor of the tribe of Bamasuran. It is permissible
(today) that the miracle of Munzur Baba was done with the
spiritual strength of Hadji Bektash.
The Khurramites was a religious movement that appeared
in the ninth century of Islam. It is also one of the first
Ghulat sects or extremist Shi'ism, since it supported the
claims of the Abbasids (who presented first as champion
Alides) against the Umayyad caliphs. It was a pro-Iranian
cult and anti-Arab. Their veneration Abu Muslim, this
mysterious character, almost legendary, which first
supported the Abbasids in the name of Alides and was
executed by them, is significant. Even after the death of
Abu Muslim, followers of the Khurramiyya believed he
would return to destroy the Arab empire.
We were able to connect mazdkisme the fifth century.
Some of its members may have had relations Azerbaydjan
in the early ninth century with the rebel Babak, who
proclaimed reincarnation of a prohte. Proponents of
Khurramites are still in western Iran to IX and X centuries
and perhaps further east, in small communities, specifically
in areas where kizilbachisme flourished.

Sheikh Sayid Riza launched in 1925 which

was perhaps the last great religious
inspiration in Dersim rebellion and also one
of the first national Kurdish revolts.

The turbeh Hadji Bektash is a place of

pilgrimage for the Alevis as for the
Bektashi (Photo Roxane)

These Ghulat believed in the transfiguration of souls, in the

continuity of prophethood after Muhammad in the coming
of the Mahdi. And if we conclude this study of Kizil Bach by
evoking an earlier sect centuries to this movement, it is to
emphasize the continuity of Ghulat themes that appear in
the margins of the Shiite opposition and feed on culture
Iranian. Because at that time, from the Khuramiyya,
everything is there, the questioning of the uniqueness
dinive, although for Khurramiyya or Khurramdiniya (religion
"merry" in Farsi), it both dualism and not a Trinity
metempsychosis, Mahdism, prophecy, the epitome of the
old prophets or divine manifestations. And these are the
same constants that are found in all Ghulat movements,
with variations. Thus, for Amoretti the Sarbadar, military
and religious brotherhood active in Khorassan in the
fourteenth century, with this mix of heterodox beliefs
disguised as Shia, are one of the links leading to
Alevis or Kizil Bach are not a singular movement to the
margins of Islam but rather has offered the example of a
mystical tradition of fighting brotherhoods that existed

from the tenth century in Turkey and Iran.

Sandrine Alexie, June 2000

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Journal of near eastern studies XII-4 - Futuwwa Traditions
in the Ottoman Empire: Akhis, Bektaschi Dervishes and
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Sun worship for the Ahl-e Hakk of Iran , pp. 139-146,
Turcica, XIV, Hossein Beikbaghban, 1982.
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Apparently Unique Manus cript Safawi History of the
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Sultan Sahak , pp. 117-138, Martin van Bruinessen, 1982.
Mditerannens peoples - Nationalism and intra-Kurdish
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Martin van Bruinessen, 1991.
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Hans-Lukas Kiesert, 1968-1969.

Kurdish epic , Alan Mam, trans. R .Lescot.

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