Chapter 9 Abdāl-affiliated Convents and “Sunnitizing” Halveti Dervishes in Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Rumeli

In: Historicizing Sunni Islam in the Ottoman Empire, c. 1450-c. 1750
Author: Grigor Boykov
Open Access

As recent research suggests, Ottoman “Sunnitization” entailed much more than a number of state-led measures directed against the non-Sunni Muslim communities in the empire. It was an uneven, complex, and long-term process that was driven not solely by religiopolitical concerns centered on the rising Safavid threat during the late ninth/fifteenth and early tenth/sixteenth centuries, but by deeper social, political, cultural, and even regional dynamics both before and after this period. Moreover, recent scholarship has demonstrated that even in the tenth/sixteenth century, when the process of state-enforced Sunni orthodoxy intensified mainly due to the Shi‘ite Safavid challenge, it was not only the Ottoman authorities but a mixture of multiple agents with their own religious and political agendas who played a crucial role in and shaped the process of Ottoman Sunnitization.1

These agents, as persuasively argued by Derin Terzioğlu, included various Sunna-minded Sufis who sought to negotiate their own place and role in the religious and political dynamics of the time, when Sufi groups themselves were experiencing concurrent institutionalization and confessionalization in the Ottoman Empire.2 The latter processes went hand in hand with an increased pressure on nonconformist dervish groups both in Anatolia and the Balkans, who were denounced for their “innovations” in practices and beliefs, and even persecuted as “heretics” during the tenth/sixteenth century, as revealed by Ottoman archival sources.3 The deep involvement of the Halveti (Ar. Khalwati) shaykhs who acted as agents of Sunnitization, especially the network constituted by adepts of Ṣofyalı Bālī Efendi (d. 960/1553), has been convincingly demonstrated by Nathalie Clayer, who shed light on the complexity of the tenth/sixteenth-century developments that led to the gradual Sunnitization of Muslim populations in Rumeli.4 Some Halveti shaykhs enjoyed particularly close relations with the Ottoman political elite and ulama circles, and functioned as a clientage network that on the one hand secured their firm position in the Sufi convents both in the capital and throughout the imperial provinces, and eased the reach of the Sunnitizing and centralizing efforts by the Ottoman authorities to the farthest regions of the empire, on the other. At the same time, however, as John Curry has shown, Halvetis constructed different chains of mystical authority (silsile), all of which originate with ʿAlī ibn Abū Ṭālib and pass through his sons Ḥasan and Ḥusayn—which was common among other Sufi orders as well—but some of which also include “the major Shi‘î imams,” Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn (d. 95/713), Muḥammad al-Bāqir (d. 114/732), and Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765).5 The fact that the order was steeped in the ‘Alid tradition and the veneration of the Household of the Prophet (ahl al-bayt)—a phenomenon widespread among Ottoman Sunnis, as discussed in this volume by Vefa Erginbaş—likely made Halvetis a particularly useful partner for the Ottoman authorities in their efforts to negotiate the boundaries of Ottoman Sunnism and bring nonconformist Sufi orders with pronounced ‘Alid loyalties under control.

Despite the increasingly nuanced scholarly understanding of the Halvetis’ role in Sunni propaganda, much is still unknown about their strategies of either resistance to or implementation of Sunnitizing policies at a provincial and local level. Focusing on the latter, what is especially missing is some sense of how local nonconformist groups reacted toward the Sunnitizing efforts of the Halveti preachers, as well as a better idea of the characteristics peculiar to the individuals or groups who were targeted in particular regions or locales. Were the targets of the Sunnitizing Halveti preachers undifferentiated groups of “heretics” or did Halvetis find particular social groups or religious allegiances particularly “attractive”? Did Halvetis single out their targets purely for the latter’s nonconformist religious views or did their choices have certain political overtones as well? What can we discern about the Halveti leaders’ own patron-client networks and how they informed the policies of Sunnitization in particular contexts?

The present paper aims at elucidating these questions with respect to the broader region of the eastern Balkans. This region is particularly worth examining because it was a zone of interaction between various antinomian Sufi groups collectively known as abdāls, military retinues of several Rumeli frontier commander (uc begleri) families, as well as nomadic or seminomadic populations, which by the 850s/1450s seem to have formed an informal alliance that came to resist first the centralizing initiatives of the Ottoman authorities and subsequently their Sunnitizing policies as well. It was also the region where some of the most influential Halveti leaders chose to settle and set up their own Sufi hospices as bases for their preaching. It is therefore an area where the examination of the local agents of Sunnitization and their targets can reveal much about the broader dynamics of the process and how it was informed by the networks that bound the capital and the provincial locales. The paper will focus in particular on the clientage network of the Ottoman Grand Vizier Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha (in office 972–987/1565–1579) that included some of the most influential Halveti shaykhs of the period. Together, they sought to overcome the bitter opposition of the nonconformist Balkan frontier commanders’ families and their patronage network, which included the antinomian dervishes in the region. Thus, the paper will offer a preliminary picture regarding how the process of the Sunnitization of nonconformist religious communities, and specifically abdāl groups, transpired in the eastern Balkans in the tenth/sixteenth century, with the hope of outlining a research agenda and inciting further studies. It makes a contribution to the topic by highlighting the importance of geography and approaching the multiple clientage networks in the region and their interrelations in a spatial perspective.

1 The Establishment of Nonconformist Religious Communities in the Eastern Balkans in the Fifteenth Century: An Entangled Network of Border Society

The establishment of the Kızılbaş-Alevi communities and antinomian Sufi groups in the eastern Balkans is closely intertwined with the historical formation of the sizable Muslim communities in the area. The two regions with the most compact Muslim population—Thrace and the eastern Rhodope Mountains in the southeast, and Deliorman, Gerlovo, and Dobrudja in the northeast—were regions that witnessed significant Turcoman colonization (through voluntary or forced migration) in the course of the Ottoman conquest, beginning in the second half of the eighth/fourteenth century and continuing with growing intensity until the mid-tenth/sixteenth century.6 Adherents of various antinomian Sufi groups also migrated or were deported to these very territories, which are today home to the bulk of the Kızılbaş-Alevi and Bektashi communities in the Balkans.7 The close link between Turcoman colonization and Sufi groups in the eastern Balkans is also clearly attested by their numerous convents built in the area under consideration during the first two and a half centuries of Ottoman rule.8 Moreover, the Ottoman archival evidence demonstrates that the crescent-shaped territory that links Dobrudja and Thrace had the highest concentration of seminomadic Turcomans (yürük), who were among the most vigorous supporters of different itinerant dervish groups.9 When one maps out the available data for the convents of antinomian dervishes in the region, which predate 1008/1600, it becomes apparent that the two groups were very closely linked and depended on one another. The tekkes of nonconformist dervishes that I was able to identify as existent in the period in question were all commissioned and built in territories that were heavily colonized by Anatolian yürük settlers in the course of the eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries. The map appended to this study (figure 9.1) displays those 47 identifiable convents in eastern Rumeli that exercised a significant influence over the local Muslims in the first centuries of Ottoman rule in the region.10

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Figure 9.1

Map of nonconformist dervish tekkes in Eastern Rumeli up to 1008/1600 (map by G. Boykov)

The antinomian dervish groups in the eastern Balkans were largely identified with the appellation abdāls, an umbrella term that broadly described the nonconformist itinerant dervish collectivity in the late eighth/fourteenth and ninth/fifteenth centuries, which in the course of the following centuries merged with the Bektashi order.11 The abdāls were an integral component of the sociocultural landscape of the then-frontier zones in Rumeli, which comprised antinomian dervishes, yürüks, and military leaders and their retinues (known as gāzīs) who were active in the conquest and colonization of the Balkans. The hagiographic works produced by the abdāl milieu resemble examples of the gazāvatnāme literature, embracing the values and ethos of the frontier zone with an emphasis on frontier warfare, in which a leading role is ascribed to the wandering dervishes and the gāzīs. Textualized at the end of the ninth/fifteenth and the early tenth/sixteenth century, velāyetnāmes of Ḳızıl Deli and Otman Baba, for example, should also be seen as an attempt to legitimize these groups’ existence within the sociopolitical order affected by the centralizing and bureaucratizing Ottoman empire, in which all the protagonists of the frontier culture were increasingly becoming marginalized.12

The centralizing policies of Meḥmed II (r. 848–850/1444–1446 and 855–886/1451–1481) affected the social, religious, and ethnic base of the frontier society while also manifesting first signs of a centrally supported program of gradual Sunnitization.13 These policies targeted the relative autonomy of the Balkan frontier lords who effectively assimilated into the imperial military-administrative structure, as they were granted offices as provincial governors of different border provinces on a rotating basis.14 The seminomadic yürüks, who constituted the bulk of raider (aḳıncı) troops and were the strongest sympathizers and supporters of the itinerant abdāls in Anatolia and Rumeli, were also subjected to heavy obligations and forced to gradually adopt a sedentary lifestyle through regular registration and taxation.15

The dissatisfaction of these groups with the centralizing Ottoman policies brought them into conflict with the Ottoman dynasty’s impulse for establishing and ruling over a much more solidly—politically and socially—integrated polity. Hagiographical works that were written by and about the abdāls in this period articulate their discontent with the changing sociopolitical order (for a similar dissatisfaction on the other side of the empire, in eastern Anatolia, see Ayşe Baltacıoğlu-Brammer’s article in this volume). The frontier lords, who were these dervishes’ natural allies, on the other hand, not only sought the latter’s support and blessing, but also became vigorous patrons of their associated convents in the Balkans.16 Moreover, in the late ninth/fifteenth and early tenth/sixteenth century the Balkan frontier lords’ dynasties began an ambitious program for endowing the principal gathering places of the itinerant abdāls in Anatolia.17 Thus, the Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī convent near Eskişehir was completely rebuilt in two generations by the Plevne branch of the Miḥāloğlu family,18 while the nearby Şücāʿe’d-dīn Velī zāviye and, in all likelihood, the smaller Üryān Baba shrine were patronized by a member of the İhtiman branch of the same family.19 The important Ḥāccī Bektaş Veli complex, located even further east in Anatolia, near Kırşehir, was patronized by the Evrenosoğlu and Malḳoçoğlu families.20 Malḳoçoğlu Bālī Beg alone commissioned and built three convents in Rumeli, namely the ones of Pīrzāde in Tatar Pazarı, of Bāyezīd Baba near Yenice-i Vardar (Giannitsa), and of Ḥasan Baba v. Yağmur at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains.21 Yaḥyāpaşaoğlu Bālī Beg built two convents frequented by the antinomian dervishes—the zāviye in the Deliorman village of Lomtsi22 and the zāviye of Kütüklü Baba, located east of the once important Ottoman town of Karasu Yenicesi (Genisea) in Greece.23 The patronage of the Balkan warlords in Anatolia proclaimed a political message linking the Anatolian gāzī tradition to their actions in Rumeli, thereby claiming legitimacy.24 In the Balkans, however, where the raider families established their powerbases, they seem to have been more cautious about displaying their affiliation to the antinomian abdāls. Recent studies on the four principal Bektashi-turned convents of the eastern Balkans, namely those of Otman Baba, Ḳıdemli Baba, Aḳyazılı Baba, and Demir Baba, all spiritually connected to the Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī and Şücāʿe’d-dīn Velī complexes, demonstrate that while distinct politically and confessionally nonconformist symbols were included in the architectural layout of these buildings, the patrons from the Miḥāloğlu family were careful not to manifest explicitly their affiliation to the convents.25 They seem to have found, however, a roundabout way to show their devotion to the ethos of the frontier milieu in general and abdāl mysticism in particular.

The case in point is the mausoleum (türbe) of Binbiroḳlu Aḥmed Baba in the vicinity of Pınarhisar in Thrace (a private domain of the Miḥāloğulları), which was commissioned for a Miḥāloğlu family member. Aḥmed Beg’s mausoleum later became known under the name Aḥmed Baba and became a focal point of the dervish convent that developed around it.26 Similar must have been the story behind the development of another hospice in Thrace, the one of Hıżır Baba veled-i Timurṭaş Beg, whose name indicates that it was built for a son of Timurṭaş Beg, another frontier warrior of the eighth/fourteenth and early ninth/fifteenth century.27 The latter two cases in which the frontier warlords erected dervish hospices in their own name identifying themselves as abdāl leaders (baba) not only exemplify the religious and political alliance between the gāzīs and the itinerant dervishes but bespeak of a shared or similar sociopolitical background. These two examples of sanctification of historical figures from the gāzī milieu of the raider commanders in the Ottoman Balkans makes Irène Beldiceanu’s suggestion that the popular dervish Ḳızıl Deli was identical with Ḥāccī İlbegi, the Karasi warlord, known from the early Ottoman chronicles for his incursions and conquests in Thrace, even more plausible.28 Hence, one can see prominent figures from the frontier lords’ dynasties, whose relationship with the centralizing Ottomans was probably never too smooth, at the center of a network of political figures as well as social and religious groups with anti-centralizing (i.e., anti-Ottoman) sentiments.29

The Ottoman rulers seem to have been fully aware of the immediate threat to the centralized order posed by the hostility of the frontier warlords and their Turcoman seminomadic supporters who manned their armies, on the one hand, and the abdāls, who held religious authority among these groups, on the other. Yet, in the Ottoman imperial setting the frontier warlords were an essential element who were not only at the vanguard of the Ottoman incursions in the West, but were also major landed magnates in control of vast territories in the Balkans. The members of the Ottoman dynasty, therefore, had to apply carefully calibrated measures against them in order to diminish their power. It is with this perspective in mind that one needs to consider the reversal of Meḥmed II’s confiscation measures by his son and successor Bāyezīd II (r. 886–918/1481–1512) who returned the appropriated properties to the gāzīs and the dervish communities.30 Bāyezīd II appeared as a keen patron of dervish convents himself; his patronage of the shrine of Ṣarı Ṣaltuḳ in Dobrudja in all likelihood demonstrates his conciliatory approach toward those Sufis and gāzīs in Rumeli who were dissatisfied with the harsh centralization policy of his father. It was also during his reign that the Balkan frontier warlords rebuilt the Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī and Ḥāccī Bektaş convents—an investment and construction on such a scale could not have gone unnoticed and therefore must have received the sultan’s sanction.31 Nevertheless, these conciliatory policies toward the Balkan gāzīs and different antinomian dervish groups went hand in hand with the introduction of fines and penalties in the Ottoman penal code for the absentees at the five daily prayers.32 In moments of serious threats to the central power, Bāyezīd II did not hesitate to order preemptive strikes on those groups in the Balkans who were suspected of tacitly embracing any claimant who could promise relief from the gradually increasing centralization and turn to Sunni orthopraxy.

A few decades later, when the “Kızılbaş threat” became one of the main themes on the Ottoman political agenda, the sultans hardened their approach. It appears that in the viewpoint of the Ottoman rulers the distinction between the nonconformist Sufis and “Kızılbaş” was very vague, if it existed at all, which led the Ottoman authorities to the idea, probably not completely ill founded, that the Safavids were using the antinomian dervishes to focus popular discontent against the rule of the Ottoman sultan.33 Furthermore, with regard to active Safavid propaganda, the central power perhaps feared that the close cooperation between the abdāls and the frontier lords might embolden the Balkan raider commanders to challenge the preeminence of the Ottoman dynasty in Rumeli.

2 Pressures to Conform in the Early Sixteenth Century

Without denying the transformative effects of the persecution of the Kızılbaş communities during the reign of Selīm I (r. 918–926/1512–1520), it seems that it was during the reign of Süleymān I (r. 926–974/1520–1566) that an empire-wide and centrally coordinated effort was made to strengthen Sunni Islam by implementing a number of “positive measures” that had a long-lasting effect. As Gülru Necipoğlu has demonstrated, the period inaugurated an unprecedented spree of mosque building in the cities, facilitating access to ritual worship and allowing imams to better monitor attendance at prayer.34 Additionally, in 944/1537–1538 Süleymān promulgated an imperial decree ordering that every village where Muslims resided must have a place of worship (masjid)—studied in this volume from the legal perspective by Evren Sünnetçioğlu. At the present state of research, it is very difficult to tell how successful this enterprise was and whether in fact the Imperial Treasury, the Ottoman officials who had private funds, and the local Muslim communities managed to marshal the enormous financial resources that were needed for construction on such a scale.

A general survey of Rumeli from the 930s/1530s can provide quantitative data for the religious infrastructure that existed in the province during the first decades of the rule of Süleymān I. According to the document, at that time the Ottoman province of Rumeli, roughly the territory of the Balkan Peninsula, had 242 towns and 25,210 villages. The document also meticulously indicates aggregated figures for revenues, individuals on a state payroll, and other important details about provincial affairs, including an inventory of the public buildings. The survey shows that in the early years of Süleymān I’s reign Rumeli had some 241 mosques, 992 masjids, 45 ʿimārets, 45 colleges (madrasas), and 196 dervish convents (zāviye).35 If data are scaled down to the district level, the initiative to furnish Muslim villages with masjids in the course of the tenth/sixteenth century can be better observed in qualitative terms. The ḳażā of Eski Zagra (mod. Stara Zagora) in Thrace, which had almost an exclusively Muslim population, can serve as a good example. In 921/1516 only 30 % of the villages in the district had an imam, thus supposedly a functioning masjid too.36 In 977/1570, more than three decades after the promulgation of Süleymān’s decree ordering the mass construction of village masjids, the share of settlements with a masjid in the Eski Zagra district rose to 42 %.37 It was only toward the end of the century, in 1004/1596, when the majority of the villages (80 %) are recorded to have an imam and a masjid.38 One should bear in mind that the increase in the number of imams in the ḳażā was accompanied by a substantial growth of the Muslim population, which between 921/1516 and 1004/1596 more than doubled; therefore, the higher number of imams is also a reflection of the growing Muslim community. Nevertheless, the efforts of the central authorities to encourage Sunni orthodoxy and orthopraxy in the rural areas are attested in the changing ratio of the number of imams to the size of the congregation—while in 921/1516 it was one imam to 229 residents, in 977/1570 it dropped down to one to 136. Furthermore, it is also telling that it was during Süleymān’s reign that the multifunctional buildings (T-shaped zāviye/ʿimārets), which previously combined accommodation for Sufis and travelers while serving as sites for the performance of the congregational Friday prayer, and which had been a symbol of the gāzī milieu in the previous centuries, ceased to be constructed.39 As Çiğdem Kafescioğlu demonstrates in her paper in this volume, these T-shaped zāviye/ʿimārets were transformed into Friday mosques by undergoing certain structural transformations. The flanking guestrooms were detached from the body of the building functioning as a mosque, and a minbar and a minaret were added too. Alongside imams, muezzins and Friday preachers were also appointed for the regular performance of the prayers.40

All of the state-initiated Sunnitizing measures went along with another process that intensified in the course of the tenth/sixteenth century, namely the institutionalization of the Sufi orders, and more particularly, the growing influence of the Sufis with a more pronounced sunna consciousness. During that period some shaykhs from Sufi orders, such as the Naqshbandi and Halveti, enjoyed particularly close relations with the Sunni ulama and were appointed as preachers both in the imperial mosques in the largest Ottoman cities and in the dervish convents in the provinces, acting as agents of state-inspired centralization and Sunnitization.41 Royal and grandee patronage of a multibranched network of clients originating from the Sunni Sufi circles also allowed a smoother implementation of the central power’s ruling concept, which, along with reaffirming the Ottoman dynastic myth, clearly aimed at increasing centralization and gradual Sunnitization.42

Returning to the territory of the eastern Balkans, one of the most important features that needs to be underlined is the very low population density of the region before the Ottoman conquest, which led to a mass settlement of the Anatolian Turkish population, both sedentary and seminomadic, to this region during the first two centuries of Ottoman rule.43 It seems that this process was partly the result of the transfer of deportees by sultanic decree, and partly spontaneous, or orchestrated by the powerful Balkan frontier lords.44 The development of the two principal urban centers in the region of Upper Thrace, namely Filibe (Plovdiv) and Tatar Pazarı (Pazardzhik), provides an excellent illustration of this dynamic. While the much larger metropolis of the region, Filibe, attracted the patronage of the ruling dynasty and the high-ranking Ottoman officials who commissioned and built all the principal religious and commercial infrastructure there, its smaller counterpart, Tatar Pazarı, was created from scratch and developed into a provincial town by the members of the frontier society.45 The patronage of several of the great families of raider commanders, those of Malḳoçoğlu, Evrenosoğlu, and Miḥāloğlu not only promoted the newly founded settlement to a ḳaṣaba in a very short period, but also in the course of the second half of the ninth/fifteenth century their seemingly coordinated effort turned Tatar Pazarı into an attractive spot, which gave shelter to a wide network of political and religious figures as well as social groups that did not share the centralizing and Sunnitizing policies of the Ottoman government.

These developments coincided with the peak of influence of the highly popular abdāl Otman Baba who was closely associated with the Miḥāloğlu family and was one of the outspoken critics of Meḥmed II’s rule.46 Evidence about the visible presence of followers of Otman Baba in the region can be derived from both the literary and archival sources. Thus, for instance, his velāyetnāme insists that two convents in Filibe, namely the Hıżırlık tekke and the Ḥasan Baba zāviye recognized the authority of the renowned Baba.47 Even if we cannot be sure of the existence of these convents on the basis of this statement alone, the presence of Rum abdāls in Filibe is also attested in Corneille de Schepper’s travel account. De Schepper, who traveled through the city in the summer of 939/1533, witnessed there a group of naked dervishes and attended their ritual of song and dance in a garden near Filibe. The Flemish traveler’s description of the dervishes, whom he called “dervitz” or “ischnicqz,” strongly suggests that he was depicting a gathering of itinerant abdāls.48 Possibly the abdāls described by Corneille de Schepper were followers of Otman Baba who are mentioned in the velāyetnāme. The presence of itinerant abdāls is also ostensible in the nearby town of Tatar Pazarı, which is hardly surprising given the seminomadic background of many of the town dwellers and the vigorous support of the Balkan aḳıncı families. A good portion of the personal names of the residents in the town, encountered in the tax registers from the late ninth/fifteenth and early tenth/sixteenth centuries, belong to the pantheon of the Anatolian Sufi brotherhoods.49 There is not much information about the convent of Pīrzāde, built near the town by the prominent marcher lord Malḳoçoğlu Bālī Beg, but yet again the personal names of the dervishes—İsḥāḳ, Hınzīr Ḳulu, and Ḳaygusuz Abdāl—recorded in the register as residents in the convent, suggest their direct connection to the nonconformist dervishes.50 The rural surroundings of the two towns had a mixed Christian and Muslim population, but the fact that the area lies a few kilometers east of one of the Miḥāloğlus’s ancestral powerbases (the town of İhtiman) and that four other convents, namely those of Ḥüseyin Dede, Umur Baba, Kürekçi Baba, and Ṭurnacı Baba, were located in the immediate vicinity bespeaks of a considerable presence of antinomian abdāls in the rural areas too.

The turning point, when the central power began targeting in a more systematic manner the unruly, disobedient social groups in the eastern Balkans, seems to have come during the 930s/1530s. It seems that along with the sultan-initiated empire-wide project of Sunnitization, multiple agents of the Sunnitizing policies also converged on the provincial level. An illustrative example of this is the evolution of the city of Hezargrad in the Deliorman region, which developed into an outpost of Sunni Islam within a predominantly heterodox religious landscape marked by the influx of a religiously nonconformist population as a result of the pro-Safavid rebellions of Shah Ḳūlu, Shaykh Celāl, and Ḳalender Shah in the first half of the tenth/sixteenth century.51 The foundation of the town is associated with the establishment of the mosque and the pious endowment of the grand vizier İbrāhīm Pasha in 939/1533, who intentionally exchanged his private estates in other parts of the empire with landed properties in the Deliorman region in order to raise enough local revenues for the pious foundation, established to support his newly created town and its buildings.52 The endowment deed of İbrāhīm Pasha indicates that the mosque was part of a complex that also included a school (dārü’t-taʿlīm), a public bath, and a 50-room inn for the travelers. It also lists the stipends of the personnel that included an imam, a Friday preacher (haṭīb), muezzins, Quran reciters, and primary school teachers (muʿallims) and their assistants, along with other service personnel.53 A tax register from 957/1550 suggests that the school of İbrāhīm Pasha was soon elevated to a madrasa, while a convent (zāviye) appears to have been added to this complex also.54 In the mid-tenth/sixteenth century the rank of the madrasa in Hezargrad was ḳırḳlı, while later in the course of the century it was elevated to ellili.55 The town, centered around the Friday mosque complex of the Ottoman grandee, soon became a seat of a judge (ḳażā) and within several decades grew into a major regional urban center. Forming a new separate administrative unit, centered on Hezargrad, not only changed the administrative division of the Ottoman northeast province but also helped bring it under centralized state control.56

About the same time, the town of Tatar Pazarı, a token of the marcher lords’ cooperation, was also promoted to a ḳażā center by creating a new administrative unit that lay between the metropolis Filibe and Miḥāloğlus’s family domain in İhtiman. Naturally, a single administrative act, such as the appointment of a kadi, in places dominated by the borderland forces could hardly have changed the social and religious atmosphere. In subsequent years, a sophisticated network that included high-ranking Ottoman officials and prominent Halveti preachers, possibly approved or at least encouraged by the sultan, began to converge on the city, apparently in order to bind the region closer to Sunni Islam and the Ottoman state. It is difficult to reconstruct the exact chronology of the events that followed or to discern the ties among all of the participants in the network, but members of the Ṣoḳollu household, their clients, and the Halveti shaykhs Ṣofyalı Bālī Efendi, Muṣliḥu’d-dīn Nūre’d-dīnzāde (d. 980/1573), and Ḳurd Efendi (d. 996/1588) were certainly part of it.

3 Sunnitizing Measures of the Ṣoḳollu and Halveti Networks

The beginnings of the cooperation between the Ṣoḳollus and the Halvetis must be linked to the appointment of Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha as governor-general (beglerbegi) of Rumeli in 956/1549 and his transfer to Sofia.57 This period coincided with the peak in the popularity of the Strumica-born Bālī Efendi, who upon receiving education in Istanbul and becoming a disciple of Shaykh Ḳāsım Efendi, returned to his native region. He settled near Sofia, established a zāviye and gathered a large number of disciples.58 The sources do not contain explicit evidence that Bālī Efendi and Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha were in direct contact, but the fact that they resided in the same provincial town strongly suggests so, especially if Bālī Efendi indeed held the post of kadi of Sofia as suggested by Tietze.59 In any case, the letters sent by Bālī Efendi to the then grand vizier Rüstem Pasha (in office 951–960/1544–1553 and 962–968/1555–1561) in which he expresses his ideas about the Kızılbaş heresy,60 and to the sultan advising severe punishments for the followers of Shaykh Bedre’d-dīn in the Deliorman and Dobrudja region,61 were written during Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha’s tenure in Sofia.

There is a great chance that it was also in Sofia that Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha first met Muṣliḥu’d-dīn Nūre’d-dīnzāde, who was to be his life-long confidant and a highly influential Halveti Sufi preacher. Being a native of the region, Nūre’d-dīnzāde had become one of the numerous followers of Bālī Efendi after receiving a madrasa education in Edirne in the second decade of the tenth/sixteenth century.62 Halveti hagiographic tradition maintains that Bālī Efendi recommended that, as one of his most talented disciples, Muṣliḥu’d-dīn Nūre’d-dīnzāde leave Sofia and establish a Halveti convent in Tatar Pazarı in order to “guide the believers” and fight against the heretics.63 Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s sojourn in Tatar Pazarı and the surrounding region in the 940s/1540s and 950s/1550s is shrouded in obscurity, but his preaching must have targeted the abdāls at the convent of Pīrzāde (mentioned above) built by Malḳoçoğlu Bālī Beg near the town at the end of the ninth/fifteenth century. These dervishes seemed to have been the natural target in the joint efforts of the central power and the Halvetis in introducing a closer observation of Sunni Islam and the strengthening of the central rule, which requested the personal involvement of a character of the magnitude of Nūre’d-dīnzāde. That Nūre’d-dīnzāde was successful in his mission and likely had the support and sanction of the Ottoman authorities is suggested by the fact that a tax register from 936/1530 is the last documentary evidence attesting to the existence of the Pīrzāde convent in Tatar Pazarı. It would appear that after this date the convent ceased to exist.64

Nūre’d-dīnzāde was given a regular daily stipend derived from the surplus of Şihābe’d-dīn Pasha’s waqf in Filibe. It is not known when Nūre’d-dīnzāde moved to Filibe, but a sultanic order from 963/1556 shows that he was already residing in the city at that time.65 Later in the 950s/1550s Nūre’d-dīnzāde came to Istanbul in order to defend his master Ṣofyalı Bālī against accusations of heresy. His acute comment and interpretation of a passage of the Quran convinced the şeyhü’l-islām Ebū’s-suʿūd Efendi (d. 981/1574) that the accusations were false and Nūre’d-dīnzāde was offered the convent of Küçük Aya Sofya in the Ottoman capital.66 This marked the beginning of a successful career for Nūre’d-dīnzāde in Istanbul during which he enjoyed the patronage of the sultan and the grand vizier Meḥmed Pasha who, together with his spouse, the princess İsmiḥān, commissioned and built for him the Kadırga Limanı complex.67

Returning to Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s Filibe period, one discovers that he founded a Halveti zāviye in this city too. The available information about Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s convent in Filibe is extremely scarce, but archival documents show that he established a pious foundation for its support, endowing a lump sum of cash (vaḳf-i nuḳūd). Supporting his establishment with a cash waqf might have been a purposeful decision. The foundation was created only a few years after the height of the so-called cash waqf debate in the Ottoman learned circles. Keeping in mind that Nūre’d-dīnzāde was a disciple and a vigorous supporter of Ṣofyalı Bālī, who had been one of the vocal proponents of cash waqfs, it might not be coincidental that Nūre’d-dīnzāde established a cash waqf in support of his convent in Filibe.68 In Bālī Efendi’s view, expressed in his letter to the sultan, cash endowments were a crucially important mechanism that supported the establishment of Islam in Rumeli. Snježana Buzov’s brief, but insightful, analysis of the Sofian Halveti shaykh’s involvement in the cash waqf debate demonstrates that he not only propagated the cash endowments as one of the pillars supporting and encouraging Sunni orthodoxy in the heterogeneous atmosphere of Rumeli, but he was also inclined to mislead his high addressee by twisting the facts and claiming that cash waqfs constituted the only support of many mosques, responsible for the “settling of Islam” in the province.69

In light of this, it is highly likely that his disciple Nūre’d-dīnzāde also perceived the cash endowments as one of the important instruments for encouraging Sunni Islam in Rumeli and therefore opted to found a cash waqf to support the zāviye he established in Filibe. A document dating to 1004/1596, drawn up by the administrator of the cash waqf of Nūre’d-dīnzāde, a certain ʿAbdullāh, presents a brief accounting balance of the foundation, established with a lump sum of 70,000 aḳçes, lent at 10 % annual interest.70 The document reveals some details about the zāviye itself. It had a public soup kitchen, since the foundation spent annually 4,900 aḳçes for the food cooked there. Appointments of personnel, registered in a later hurūfāt defteri, show that the zāviye of Nūre’d-dīnzāde must have been a rather spacious complex, since except for the dervish convent and the public kitchens it had a mosque served by at least one imam and one muezzin.71 Another ḥurūfāt register, though containing much less detailed information, provides an important clue about the exact location of Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s zāviye in Filibe. It specifies that a certain Muṣṭafā received a berāt for his appointment as imam to the mosque of Nūre’d-dīnzāde, which is located near the bank of the river Meriç.72 Additional information from the earlier ḥurūfāt register, showing that the zāviye and the mosque of Nūre’d-dīnzāde were built in the quarter of Ḥāccī ʿÖmer, allows one to establish with a great degree of certainty the location of Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s convent in Filibe. It was built in a place that in the mid-tenth/sixteenth century was quite distant and isolated from the commercial part of the city. The zāviye and the mosque stood by the river on the northwestern edge of Filibe in a zone that must have been uninhabited at that time. Even in the thirteenth/nineteenth-century photographs the district appears empty. It is unknown when the convent was abandoned or demolished. Undoubtedly the zāviye was still functioning in the mid-twelfth/eighteenth century, because after sultan Muṣṭafā III (r. 1171–1187/1757–74) occupied the Ottoman throne, he issued a berāt that reaffirmed the post held by a certain Shaykh Muṣṭafā as zāviyedār of the Nūre’d-dīnzāde Muṣliḥu’d-dīn lodge.73

Recalling de Schepper’s account of the naked dervishes dancing in a garden by the river from 939/1533, it is possible that Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s convent simply replaced a preexisting lodge, which had once accommodated the followers of Otman Baba. The replacement was not an isolated case, and there is little doubt that the pressure on the nonconformist dervishes in the eastern Balkans and Anatolia was instigated by the central power and Sufi circles close to it. Numerous imperial orders compiled during the second grand vizierate of Rüstem Pasha testify that the abdāls were targeted by the Sunnitization policies supported at a highest level. In the late 950s/1550s, the primary gathering place of the Anatolian and Balkan abdāls, the Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī convent, was handed over to a Naqshbandi shaykh, and a madrasa was established within the complex, while its dervishes were chased away.74 The convent had been built and patronized by the Miḥāloğlus; therefore, expelling the original residents of the tekke and their replacement with Naqshbandis clearly aimed not only to Sunnitize this important convent but also to undermine and diminish the influence of the family there. The pressure on the convents patronized by Miḥāloğlus was by no means restricted to Anatolia. Another zāviye in the eastern Balkans, built and patronized by the Miḥāloğlus and which “was provided by the frontier begs with slave servants,” that of Aḳyazılı Baba near Balçık on the Black Sea coast, was also heavily pressured by the central power in 967/1559.75 The same applies to the nearby convent of Ṣarı Ṣaltuḳ in Kaliakra, whose resident dervishes were also subjected to investigation and persecution following a sultanic order issued upon a report of the local kadi.76

The mission of Nūre’d-dīnzāde in Rumeli was taken up by another highly influential Halveti figure, Shaykh Meḥmed b. Ḥelvacı ʿÖmer, more popularly known as Ḳurd Efendi. Being also a native of the region, born in the town of Tatar Pazarı itself and known for his profound commitment to Sunni Islam and animosity toward antinomian dervish groups, Ḳurd replaced his tutor Bālī Efendi in Sofia in 960/1553 upon the latter’s death.77 At this date, Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha was still beglerbegi of Rumeli and the events that followed clearly show that these two men came into closer contact at this early stage, if not even earlier when Bālī Efendi was still alive. Ḳurd Efendi’s subsequent actions and career path reveal that he belonged to the client network of Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha. In 973/1566 Ḳurd Efendi left Sofia, and marched with the imperial army to Hungary in the company of Nūre’d-dīnzāde and the grand vizier Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha. The available sources do not specify whether the two Halveti shaykhs were involved in the execution of Arslan Pasha, the beglerbegi of Buda, in 973/1566, but the fact that his post was taken by Ṣoḳollu Muṣṭafā Pasha, a nephew of the grand vizier Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha, and that Ḳurd Efendi remained in Buda after the campaign and served as the new beglerbegi’s counselor for several years before returning to his convent in Sofia, strongly suggests so.78 In any case, the execution of Arslan Pasha was a major blow for the frontier society as it removed one of the last remnants of real political power held by the marcher lords and transferred it to the centrally supported network of the Ṣoḳollu family.79 The executed Arslan Pasha descended from the illustrious family of uc begleri known as the Yaḥyālı (in Serb. Jahjapašići), named after the founder of the dynasty, the Rumeli beglerbegi and vizier of Sultan Bāyezīd II, Yaḥyā Pasha, who established the family in the western Balkans.80 Yaḥyā Pasha married a daughter of Bāyezīd II and left behind seven sons, who reaffirmed the family position as the leaders of the frontier society in Rumeli. Members of the family were frequently governors of sancaḳs in Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, and Croatia, while the post of beglerbegi of Buda was held almost on a hereditary basis by the family members until 973/1566.81 The removal from the post and the subsequent execution of Yaḥyālı Arslan Pasha can probably be regarded as a sign of cooperation between the Ṣoḳollu clan and the Halveti preachers, directed against the political and military leadership of the frontier society and its nonconformist dervish supporters.82 It might have been for this reason that Ḳurd Efendi remained for several years in Hungary, enjoying the patronage of the Ṣoḳollu clan and spreading the influence of Sunni orthodoxy in the frontier regions. Ḳurd Efendi’s popularity in the Ottoman ruling circles and the Halveti order must have been growing because in 981/1574, prior to his death, Nūre’d-dīnzāde designated Ḳurd Efendi as a fellow-in-lineage (pīrdāş) who was to replace him in the Kadırga Limanı convent in Istanbul and soon after Ḳurd Efendi moved to Istanbul.83 He died in 996/1588 in his native Tatar Pazarı during one of his journeys outside the capital.84

Documentary evidence demonstrates that Ḳurd Efendi was a faithful continuator of Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s policy of exerting firm pressure on the antinomian dervishes because in 983/1576 he was involved in the resolution of a case, which in all likelihood was initiated earlier by Nūre’d-dīnzāde himself. In the period of Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha’s grand vizierate (972–987/1565–1579), the influence of Nūre’d-dīnzāde at the Ottoman court reached a peak. Except for enjoying the patronage of the mighty grand vizier and his spouse, the Ottoman princess İsmiḥān, Nūre’d-dīnzāde became one of the sultan’s confidants and his advice was offered at the highest level.85 In the early 970s/1570s Nūre’d-dīnzāde was heavily involved in the Ṣoḳollu administration’s persecutions of influential Sufis who were deemed heretical. He played a decisive role in the accusations against the Melami-Bayrami shaykh Ḥamza Bālī, his pursuit in Bosnia, and subsequent execution in Istanbul in 980/1573 after interrogations orchestrated by Nūre’d-dīnzāde.86

Moreover, official orders demonstrate that in the same period the antinomian dervishes in the convent of Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī in Anatolia were once more subjected to persecutions since they failed to abandon the unorthodox practices, allowed the mosque to fall into disrepair, and disrupted the functioning of the madrasa in the complex.87 The Ottoman documents do not explicitly indicate the involvement of Nūre’d-dīnzāde in the persecutions of the dervishes in the Seyyid Baṭṭāl Gāzī convent, but the concurrent processes in Rumeli strongly suggest so. A sultanic command from 979/1572 ordered the kadis of Filibe and Tatar Pazarı to launch an investigation against a certain ʿĪsā Halīfe and ʿOs̱mān Halīfe from the village of Umur obası in the region of Filibe and of a certain Muṣṭafā Işıḳ from a village named Manend(lü) in the district of Tatar Pazarı.88 The men in question were suspected of being Hurufis and/or followers of Shaykh Bedre’d-dīn (“Simav şeyhi”) and therefore “heretics” who misguided the local Muslims and corrupted their faith. The kadis were urged to investigate the case, and if these individuals were found guilty of heresy, they were to be executed. The yürük village of Umur obası is no longer extant, but its precise former location can be identified thanks to detailed historical maps.89 It was situated to the northeast of Filibe in close proximity to the convents of Umur Baba and Ṭurnacı Baba, who are mentioned in the velāyetnāme of Otman Baba as his followers. A tax register, compiled two years before the sultan’s order for investigation, in 977/1570, shows that the village had 67 Muslim households and several of the taxpayers served as raiders (aḳıncı). In the next census, conducted in 1004/1596, the village population dropped to 40 households, thus losing one-third of its residents in the interim years.90 It is difficult to tell whether this sudden population drop was a consequence of the sultanic order in question or whether it was caused by natural processes, but the fact that local residents were persecuted suggests a possible involvement of the Ottoman authorities in local demographic processes.

The other village mentioned in the Ottoman documents as being investigated, Manend(lü),91 is located northwest of Tatar Pazarı, on the way to İhtiman and Sofia. Manend(lü) is also only six kilometers away from the convent of Ḥüseyin Dede, built near the village of Semçine (mod. Semchinovo).92 The fields near the village regularly served as one of the stations of the Ottoman imperial army marching toward Central Europe, especially during the campaigns led by Süleymān I. This could be the reason why the Ottoman authorities were particularly interested in subduing those deemed “heretical” in this particular locality.93 By 977/1570 the village had 37 Muslim households and was registered together with the nearby village, named Akıncı (mod. Akandzhievo).94 The Ottoman registers specify that Manend(lü) had an imam, who in 977/1570 also served as aḳıncı. This individual must have been quite young in 977/1570, because in 1004/1596 he still appears among the village residents, but it seems that in the interim years between the registrations he was stripped of his post as village imam and was recorded solely as a raider.95

As stated above, none of the documents mentions explicitly Nūre’d-dīnzāde’s involvement in the persecutions of those deemed “heretics” in Thrace in the early 970s/1570s. Nevertheless, considering the fact that he was closely linked with this region and that his close associate Ḳurd Efendi resided in Sofia at the time, it is highly likely that the active communication between the Halveti shaykhs about provincial developments and the influence that Nūre’d-dīnzāde exercised through his patron Ṣoḳollu Meḥmed Pasha were the decisive factors that instigated the imperial order for investigation. As a further indication of that, when the case was resolved in 984/1576, the document explicitly specifies that the sultanic order was handed to one of the subordinates of Ḳurd Efendi, who had already occupied the place of Nūre’d-dīnzāde in the convent in Kadırga Limanı in Istanbul built by Ṣoḳollu.96 Another disciple of Nūre’d-dīnzāde, İbrāhīm-i Ḳırımī (d. 1001/1593), known as “Tatar Shaykh,” continued the established tradition of Halveti shaykhs’ involvement in persecutions of nonconformist dervishes at the highest political level. After spending some time fighting against the misbelievers in Baba (i.e., Babadağ) Ḳırımī received the post of the shaykh of the convent of Küçük Ayasofya in Istanbul and became an important factor in the capital’s highest Sufi and political circles, reaching the position of sultan’s shaykh.97 In a series of letters addressed to Murād III (r. 982–1003/1574–1595), Ḳırımī advised the sultan to take decisive actions against the followers of Shaykh Bedre’d-dīn and the Kızılbaş in Dobrudja, where he spent an unspecified period of time.98 The rhetoric of these letters and the social groups targeted in them are greatly reminiscent of the letters authored by Bālī Efendi of Sofya. Ḳırımī himself may have been the person who orchestrated the Halveti takeover of the zāviye of Ṣarı Ṣaltuḳ in Babadağ and the subsequent dispersal of the resident dervishes. A sultanic order to the kadi of Baba, asking for an inspection, attests that in 991/1584 a halvethāne existed there.99

Clearly, the persecutions of the antinomian dervishes during the 970–980s/1570–1580s targeted places in Anatolia and especially in the eastern Balkans that were also closely associated with the Balkan frontier lords. Archival sources demonstrate that both of the villages in the Filibe region that were supposedly home to “Hurufis” and “Bedreddinis” had aḳıncıs among the residents and were situated very close to convents established by abdāls originating from the circle of Otman Baba and his followers. Moreover, the territory was very close to the Miḥāloğlu family ancestral domain in İhtiman and had been in the sphere of influence of the mighty family for nearly two centuries. The Sunnitizing efforts of the Ottoman government, which were tacitly embraced if not induced by the Halveti shaykhs also aimed at marginalizing the influence of the frontier lords’ families on a provincial level. It is difficult to tell whether the convents, built in towns that constituted part of the family domains of the marcher lords, such as Plevne or İhtiman of the Miḥāloğlus, were also subjected to systematic pressure to implement policies that assured the local population’s adherence to Sunni orthodoxy. Circumstantial evidence, however, suggests that this might have indeed been the case. For instance, in 985/1578, the haṭīb of the zāviye of Miḥāloğlu Maḥmūd Beg in İhtiman, a certain convert to Islam named İbrāhīm b. ʿAbdullāh, copied the text of ʿİmādü’l-İslām (written c. 949/1543) by ʿAbdu’r-raḥmān b. Yūsuf Aḳsarāyī, a popular ʿilm-i ḥāl in Turkish that aimed to instill the principles of Sunni orthodoxy and orthopraxy into its readers. This suggests that by the second half of the tenth/sixteenth century a greater awareness of what it meant to be a Sunni must have reached the family estates of the frontier lords too.100 Further studies can reveal more details that will demonstrate the pace of Sunnitization and its penetration within the domains of the other families of marcher lords in the Balkans and test whether the Cemaliye branch of the Halveti order, and especially the descendants of Bālī Efendi, had any involvement in the process as well. The appointment of the Halveti shaykh Sinān, a disciple of Ḳırımī, as Quran commentator at the mosque of Turaḥānoğlu ʿÖmer Beg in Tırhala, is very indicative and demonstrates that further research in this direction might be very useful.101 Furthermore, a little-known zāviye, built by Gāzī Evrenos Beg in Yanya (Ioannina) and supported by his pious foundation, appears in later sources as the “Halveti tekke of Shaykh Hāşim.”102 The power base of the Evrenos family, the town of Yenice-i Vardar, had a convent directed by a certain shaykh ʿAlī Efendi, who was one of the disciples of Ümmī Sinān (d. 976/1568), who gave his name to the Sinaniye branch of the Halvetiye. This suggests that the Halveti takeover of convents previously supported by marcher lords could have been part of a systematic effort of which we currently know very little.103

The cases examined in the paper show that the provincial perspective in the process of Sunnitizing Rumeli is worth exploring. The complex dynamics at a local level demonstrate multifaceted connections that bound provincial affairs and the highest levels of the Ottoman government through the policies of spreading and enforcing Sunni Islam in the empire. The map appended to this study presents the spatial spread of the convents of antinomian dervishes in the eastern Balkans, which offers a glimpse, but not much more, into the rich and dynamic processes in this region and it might be indicative of the increased interest of the Ottoman ruling elite in this region in the tenth/sixteenth century. The map suffers, however, from a complete lack of temporal dimension since it is apparent that these convents evolved, functioned, and many of them disappeared within a time span that spreads over at least two centuries. Therefore, as any static map, it fails to illustrate the changes that took place over time. Nevertheless, it demonstrates quite clearly that most of these convents were built in a crescent-shaped territory, which is enclosed by the large landed estates of the Miḥāloğlu family in İhtiman, Plevne, and Pınar Hisarı. The same territory became a new home for many Anatolian settlers, among which were at least 600 ocaks of seminomadic yürüks who arrived to the region in the course of the ninth/fifteenth and tenth/sixteenth centuries. Recent studies on the recruitment of raiders (aḳıncı) show convincingly that a large portion of the manpower that filled the raiding parties organized by the marcher lords came from exactly the same area.104 Thus, if yürük settlements, places of recruitment of raiders, and the convents of the nonconformist dervishes in the eastern Balkans are placed onto a single map, one can easily notice an overlap between the three within a territory flanked by the possessions of the Miḥāloğlu family. Therefore, it is scarcely surprising that the Ottoman archival documents referred to this area as the “Mīḥāllu wing” of the aḳıncı corps.

The cooperation between the groups who shared an anticentrist sentiment and opposed the Sunni orthodoxy was not restricted either to the Miḥāloğlu family, or to the region of the eastern Balkans. On the contrary, the architectural patronage of the shrine of Ḥāccī Bektaş by the Evrenosoğlu, and later in the mid-tenth/sixteenth century by the Malḳoçoğlu family, demonstrates the deeply rooted connection between the Balkan marcher lords’ families and the Anatolian abdāl tradition. In the Rumeli context, the attempts to introduce closer compliance with Sunni orthodoxy appear to have gone hand in hand with attempts to marginalize the influence of the marcher lords who constituted the political, but also the military, embodiment of the antiestablishment sentiments of a large group of subjects of the sultans. The comprehensive understanding of the process thus requires a more detailed research into the local power relationships. At the present state of research, very little is known about the dynamics taking place in the territories under the influence of the Evrenosoğlu family, which stretches from western Thrace through Aegean Macedonia to the Adriatic coast, or in Thessaly, dominated by the Turaḥānoğlus, or in the zone between Skopje and Sarajevo that was under the control of the İsḥāḳoğlus, later replaced by the Yaḥyālı and Malḳoçoğlu families, etc. The present study focuses primarily on the eastern parts of the Balkans where the Miḥāloğlu and Malḳoçoğlu families appear to have been the chief local players in the power struggle, but hopefully it constitutes the first step toward a more detailed exploration of provincial power dynamics and their role in the process of Sunnitization of Rumeli.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the editors of this volume Tijana Krstić and Derin Terzioğlu for their meticulous reading of the text and for their extremely helpful critical comments. The responsibility for failing to implement some of the editors’ insightful suggestions and for all the mistakes rests with me.

1

Terzioğlu, How to conceptualize 301–308; Krstić, State and religion.

2

Terzioğlu, Sufis in the age of state-building 86–102; Terzioğlu, Sunna-minded Sufi preachers 241–321.

3

Refik, On altıncı asırda.

4

Clayer, Des agents du pouvoir 21–30; Clayer, Mystiques, état et société.

5

Curry, The transformation 25, 45n9.

6

Recent studies, examining this process and providing abundant bibliographical references on the matter, include Boykov, The human cost of warfare 103–166; Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 30–40, 98–157. Antov, Ottoman Dobrudja 72–94.

7

De Jong, The Kızılbaş sect 21–25; De Jong, Notes on Islamic 303–308; Mélikoff, La communauté Kizilbaš 401–409; Zarcone, Nouvelles perspectives 1–11; Gramatikova, Non-orthodox Islam in Bulgarian lands; Yıldırım, Bektaşi kime derler? 23–58.

8

Barkan, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda bir iskân 279–386; De Jong, The Kızılbaş sect 21–25; De Jong, Notes on Islamic 303–308; Mélikoff, La communauté Kizilbaš 401–409; Zarcone, Nouvelles perspectives 1–11; Gramatikova, Non-orthodox Islam in Bulgarian lands 411–557; Kayapınar, Dobruca 85–102.

9

Gökbilgin, Rumeli’de Yürükler, Tatarlar; Yeni, Osmanlı Rumelisi’nde Yörük teşkilatı 187–205; Altunan, XVI. ve XVII. yüzyıllarda Rumeli’de 189–200; Altunan, XVI. yüzyılda Balkanlar’da Naldöken Yürükleri 11–34.

10

Data for building the map were extracted from a variety of sources, such as Ottoman taxation registers, velāyetnāme texts, and a number of secondary publications. Data reliability for each of the 47 mapped out convents has been analyzed individually, and their exact location has been displayed on the map to the best of author’s capabilities. In cases when buildings from these convents or their ruins are still extant, the map visualizes their GPS coordinates. Certainly, for many of the convents that are no longer extant, the map merely displays a tentative location, based on the toponymy on the 1:5000 modern Bulgarian map that often indicates the former location of the convents. Some convents that do appear in the secondary literature, but whose existence or correct identification is uncertain, are not visualized on the map.

11

Köprülü, Abdal 21–56; Ocak, La Révolte de Baba Resul 117–134; Ocak, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda marjinal 85–93; Karamustafa, God’s unruly friends 46–49, 70–78; Karamustafa, Ḳalenders, Abdāls, Ḥayderīs 121–129; Gramatikova, Non-orthodox Islam in Bulgarian lands 133–141; Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 49–61; Popovic and Veinstein, Bektachiyya.

12

Kafadar, Between two worlds; Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography; İnalcık, Dervish and sultan; Yıldırım, Rumeli’nin fethinde; Krstić, The ambiguous politics 247–262; Krstić, Contested conversions 45–48.

13

Terzioğlu, How to conceptualize 309–314; see Çiğdem Kafescioğlu’s paper in this volume.

14

Kiprovska, The military organization; Kiprovska, Mihaloğlu family 173–202.

15

İnalcık, The Yürüks 97–136; Yeni, The utilization of mobile groups 183–205; Yıldırım, ‘Heresy’ as a voice 22–46.

16

İnalcık, Dervish and sultan; Beldiceanu-Steinherr, Le règne de Selim I 34–48; Beldiceanu-Steinherr, Seyyid ‘Ali Sultan 45–66; Yıldırım, Rumeli’nin fethinde; Kiprovska, Shaping the Ottoman borderland 185–220.

17

Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography.

18

Ibid. 126–128.

19

I owe this information to Mariya Kiprovska. Unlike Zeynep Yürekli, who ascribes the patronage of Şücāʿe’d-dīn Velī’s complex to a member of the Malḳoçoğlu family, Kiprovska maintains that its patron was a member of the Miḥāloğlu family, who possessed lands in the ancestral domains in the region of Harmankaya. Kiprovska, Byzantine renegade 245–269.

20

Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography 100–113.

21

Boykov, Tatar Pazardzik 39–40; Kayapınar, Malkoçoğlu Bali Bey vakfı 105–115; Barkan, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda bir iskân 341.

22

The convent stood until 1829, when it was demolished by an invading Russian military force. Local lore considers the current chapel of St. Elias (xy coordinates—43.429053-23.354372) a replacement of the convent. Barkan, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda bir iskân 342.

23

The magnificent tomb of the patron saint, Ḥāccī Baba/Kütüklü Baba still stands in a field by Lake Vistonida, xy coordinates—41.075583-25.058267. BOA, TD 311, 39. Lowry, The shaping of the Ottoman Balkans 49–50.

24

Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography passim.

25

Yürekli, 79–133; Kiprovska, The Mihaloğlu family.

26

Kiprovska, Legend and historicity 29–45.

27

Gramatikova, Non-orthodox Islam in Bulgarian lands 544–545. The archival documents show that Timurṭaş’s son Hıżır Baba passed on this hospice to his own son Shaykh Şücāʿ. Barkan, Osmanlı İmparatorluğunda bir iskân 338, 347. The location of this zāviye was not established in the literature to date, because the Ottoman archival sources place it in the region of Çirmen (Ormenio in Greece) without any further indication of its exact location. In my opinion, the evidence, even if it is circumstantial, strongly suggests an identification of the convent of Hıżır Baba v. Timurṭaş with the now standing tomb of Hıżır Baba (xy coordinates—41.989557-26.025702) in the village of Bogomil in Bulgaria. The tomb that must have been part of a larger complex is studied by Mikov, Muslim tomb in Bogomil 113–121.

28

Beldiceanu-Steinherr, Le règne de Selim I 44–45. Cf. Yıldırım, History beneath clouds of legend 21–57.

29

Çıpa, Yavuz’un kavgası 130–135; Kiprovska, Ferocious invasion or smooth incorporation 93–102.

30

On Meḥmed II’s confiscations, known as “land reform,” see Beldiceanu, Recherches sur la réforme 27–39; Cvetkova, Sur certaines réformes 104–120; Özel, Limits of the almighty 226–246; İnalcık, Autonomous enclaves 112–134.

31

Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography.

32

Terzioğlu, How to conceptualize 313–314. See the contributions of Çiğdem Kafescioğlu and H. Evren Sünnetçioğlu in this volume.

33

Minorsky, Shaykh Bālī-Efendi 437–450; Imber, The persecution of the Ottoman Shi’ites 245–273; Baltacıoğlu-Brammer, The formation of Kızılbaş communities 21–48; Karakaya-Stump, Kizilbash-Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia 220–245.

34

Necipoğlu, The age of Sinan 47–56.

35

İ.B.B. Atatürk Kitaplığı, MC. Evr. 37/7, fol. 2v.

36

BOA, TD 77.

37

BOA, TD 494 and TD 498.

38

BOA, TD 470 and TD 1001.

39

Eyice, İlk Osmanlı devrinin 3–80; Yürekli, Architectural patronage 733–754.

40

Necipoğlu, The age of Sinan, 49–55.

41

Terzioğlu, Sufis in the age of state-building 96.

42

Karateke and Reinkowski, Legitimizing the order; Clayer, Des agents du pouvoir; Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 63–112; Karamustafa, God’s unruly friends 65–84; Terzioğlu, Sufis in the age of state-building.

43

Kiel, Incorporation of the Balkans 142–154. In spite of the mass migration of the Anatolian population to the region by 936/1530, it still remained very sparsely populated. Thrace had a population density of roughly 4.8 p/km2, while the eastern Danubian part of Bulgaria, approximately Deliorman, Dobrudja, and the Black Sea coast—6.9 p/km2; Boykov, The human cost of warfare 136.

44

Barkan attributes to the Ottoman rulers a decisive role in revitalizing Thrace and other parts of the Balkans. See Barkan, Quelques observations 289–311. Recent studies, however, demonstrate that the marcher lords (uc begleri) also played a significant role in the process. See Lowry, The shaping of the Ottoman Balkans; Lowry, The Evrenos family.

45

For a study of these cities, see Boykov, Mastering the conquered space.

46

İnalcık, Dervish and sultan 28–32.

47

Ocak, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda marjinal 191; Gramatikova, Non-orthodox Islam in Bulgarian lands 539.

48

“En ce jardin y avoit ung lieu où se retiroyent ordinairement les dervitz ou ischnicqz, c’ est-à-dire les numbdes, à raison qu’ ilz disent avoir fuy le monde, et sont quasy toutz nudts et très-mal en ordre. Ils s’ assembloyent environ la nuict, et au chant d’ ung, les aultres respondoyent, chantantz assez barbarement, en caste substance: Sicha Sahestem va Hussem, selon qu’ on est accoustumez en nostre quartier de faire aux danses … Les susdictz dervi[c]tz usent des susdictes chansons, à raison que personne n’ est parfaict en leur ordre, ne soit qu’ elle ayt visité les sépulchres de ces deux, Sahuestem et Hussem; et quand ilz entreprendent ledict ordre, ilz font serment d’ aller visiter les dictz sépulchres. Les dictz dervictz sont abhorrez, et grandement hayz des Turcqz en horreur et hayne, à raison qu’ ilz n’ ayment que Hasdrith, c’ est-à-dire le magnifique Haly. Et après qu’ ilz eussent longtemps chanté de ceste sorte, ilz commencèrent à danser, et finablement se misrent à resposer.” De Schepper, Missions diplomatiques 191–192.

49

For instance names like “Bektaş,” “Mūsā Baba,” “Baraḳ Baba,” “Ẕūlfikār, v. Baba ʿAcem,” etc. are encountered among the taxpayers in the town.

50

Boykov, Tatar Pazardzik 154.

51

Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 165–178.

52

Kiel, Hrâzgrad-Hezargrad-Razgrad 495–569.

53

The endowment deed (waqfiyya) of İbrāhīm Pasha was first published by Mikov, The mosque of Ibrahim pasha 35–67 and later also analyzed by Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 168–172.

54

BOA, TD 382, 847; Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 172.

55

Baltacı, XVXVI asırlar Osmanlı medreseleri 257–258.

56

Kiel, Hrâzgrad-Hezargrad-Razgrad; Antov, The Ottoman “wild west” 165–178.

57

Samardžić, Meḥmed Sokolovitch 39–40; Dakić, Sokollu Family clan 39.

58

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 70–71; Belgrādī, Silsiletü’l-muḳarrebīn 119b. The vita of Bālī Efendi Baḥr’ül-velāye (Sea of sainthood) was written by the thirteenth/nineteenth-century scholar Süleymān Köstendilī. See Kalicin and Mutafova, Halveti Shaykh Bali Efendi 339–353. Bālī Efendi was buried in a mausoleum in his convent, which grew into a village of the same name. The türbe of the shaykh was rebuilt in the thirteenth/nineteenth century by the son of the famous brigand leader Ḳara Feyżī (I am indebted for this information to Dr. Tolga Esmer). The mosque of the convent was replaced by the St. Elias church built in the post-Ottoman period. The partially preserved tombstone of Bālī Efendi is published by Kmetova and Mikov, Bali Efendi 41–44.

59

Tietze, Sheykh Bālī Efendi’s report 115. Kalicin and Mutafova (Historical accounts 127) point out that they could not find a confirmation of Tietze’s statement.

60

Minorsky, Shaykh Bālī-Efendi on the Safavids.

61

Tietze, Sheykh Bālī Efendi’s report.

62

Belgrādī, Silsiletü’l-muḳarrebīn 113a. Based on the information of ʿAṭāʾī, Nathalie Clayer proves that Nūre’d-dīnzāde was born in the village of Anbarlı (mod. Žitnitsa) located thirty kilometers north of Filibe.

63

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 83; Belgrādī, Silsiletü’l-muḳarrebīn 114a.

64

The geomancer of Süleymān I, Remmāl Ḥaydar must have also been present in the town in this period, but it is unclear whether he played any role in the process. Fleischer, Shadow of shadows 60.

65

BOA, A.DVN.MHM 2, 45/409. The record in the mühimme register is very brief, stating that upon sultanic order a daily salary of three aḳçes was allocated to the shaykh from the surplus of Şihābe’d-dīn Pasha’s waqf.

66

Yürekli, A building between the public 163.

67

Yürekli, A building between the public; Necipoğlu, The age of Sinan 331–345.

68

On the cash waqfs and Bālī Efendi’s involvement in the debate, see Mandaville, Usurious piety 289–308; Keskioğlu, Bulgaristan’da Türk vakıfları 81–94; Özcan, Sofya Bâlî Efendi’nin 125–155; Karataş, The cash waqfs debate 45–66.

69

Buzov, The Lawgiver and his lawmakers 254–256.

70

BOA, TSMA d. 4319. The document is wrongly dated in the catalogue to 1020/1611.

71

VGMA, D. 1180, ff. 225, 228, 239, 242, 248. In 1176/1763 the imam was entitled to a daily salary of two aḳçes.

72

Çal, Hurufat defterine göre Bulgaristan 258.

73

BOA, C.EV. dosya 569, gömlek 28746.

74

Faroqhi, Seyyid Gazi revisited 90–122; Faroqhi, The tekke of Hacı Bektaş 183–208; Yürekli, Architecture and hagiography 42–45.

75

Refik, On altıncı asırda 19.

76

Ibid. 17–19.

77

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 94.

78

Ibid; Römer and Vatin, The lion that was only cat; Dakić, The Sokollu family clan 52–57; Káldy-Nagy, Budin beylerbeyi Mustafa Paşa 649–663; Vatin, Ferîdûn Bey 90–91.

79

Fodor, Wolf on the border.

80

Reindl, Männer um Bayezid 336–345.

81

Fotić, Yahyapaşa-Oğlu Mehmed Pasha 437–452; Bojanić, Požarevac u XVI veku 49–75; Altaylı, Budin beylerbeyi Arslan Paşa 33–51.

82

Işıksel, Ottoman power holders in the Balkans 92–96.

83

Yürekli, A building between the public 163.

84

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 94.

85

Fleischer, Bureaucrat and intellectual 57–58.

86

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 86–90.

87

Yürekli, Architectural patronage 45.

88

Refik, On altıncı asırda 31–32.

89

The village is marked on the Russian 1:126 000 (3-vest) Military map, drawn up in 1877–1879. XY coordinates of the vanished settlement are 42.310105-25.171454.

90

Borisov, Gazetteer of Upper Thrace 303.

91

The modern village of Menenkyovo in the region of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria.

92

The Ḥüseyin Dede or Ḥüseyin Baba convent and its waqf are first registered in the early tenth/sixteenth-century registers, BOA TD 77, 825 from 922/1516 and BOA, MAD 519, 271 from 931/1525. After 936/1530 the convent and its endowment disappear from the Ottoman documents.

93

Several campaign itineraries show that the Ottoman army regularly stopped near the village, which strongly suggests that this was a specifically designated camping spot before the army moved west through the difficult pass of Trojan’s gate and descended to the plane of Ihtiman. These were, for instance, the campaigns of 927/1521, 932/1526, 935/1529, 938/1532, and 973/1566. See Yerasimos, Les voyageurs 148, 158, 167, 175; Erdoğru, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman’ın 167–187; Vatin, Ferîdûn Bey 30; Arslantürk and Börekçi (eds.), Nüzhet-i esrârü’l-ahyâr 217.

94

Borisov, Gazetteer of Upper Thrace 199–200.

95

Ibid. 199.

96

Refik, On altıncı asırda 36–37.

97

On Ḳırımī’s biography, see Terzioğlu, Power, patronage, and confessionalism 157–163.

98

The letters are widely known in modern scholarship but were erroneously attributed to Maḥmūd Hüdāyī (d. 1037/1628). For the correction and analysis, see Terzioğlu, Power, patronage, and confessionalism 154–164. I am grateful to Derin Terzioğlu for bringing her recent publication to my attention.

99

The order was handed to a certain Meḥmed Sufi. Refik, On altıncı asırda 41.

100

The manuscript of İmādü’l-İslām by ʿAbdu’r-raḥmān b. Yūsuf Aḳsarāyī is kept in the Bulgarian National Library in Sofia, Department of Oriental Collections, Op. 828. It treats the five pillars of Islam. For more on this text, see the article by Tijana Krstić in this volume.

101

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 103.

102

Umur, Reconstructing Yenice-Vardar 83. Terzioğlu, Power, patronage, and confessionalism 173.

103

Clayer, Mystiques, état et société 173.

104

The registers and the maps displaying the places of recruitment of raiders (aḳıncı) by the Miḥāloğlu family, published recently by Kayapınar and Özünlü, show significant overlap between the territories with high yürük concentration and the location of the principal convents of the antinomian dervishes in Rumeli. See Kayapınar and Erdoğan Özünlü, Mihaloğulları’na ait; Erdoğan Özünlü and Kayapınar, 1472 ve 1560 tarihli akıncı defterleri.

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