Ahmed Yesevi and Turkish popular Islam

18.11.08 | Xurshid


Ahmed Yesevi and Turkish popular Islam
Author: Irene Melikoff
Publisher: EJOS VI (2003) No 8,1-9
ISBN: 0928-6802
Size: 161 kb
Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi (Uzbek: Xoja Ahmad Yassivi, also spelled Khoja Ahmad Yasawi, Ahmet Yasevi, Ahmed Yesevi or Ata Yesevi) born in Sayram in 1106, and died in 1166, Yasi, Turkestan, both cities now in Kazakhstan, was a Turkic[1] poet and Sufi (Muslim mystic), an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world.[2] Yasavi is currently the earliest known Turkic poet who composed poetry in a Turkic dialect. Ahmed Yesevi was a pioneer of popular mysticism, founded the first Turkic tariqah (order), the Yasaviyya (Yeseviye), which very quickly spread over the Turkic-speaking areas.[3] Yasavi is also mentioned by Ernest Scott (pseudonym)[4] as a member of the Khwajagan Sufis. His poems created a new genre of religious folk poetry in Central Asian Turkic literature and influenced many religious poets in the following countries. [5]
Very little is known about his life, but legends indicate that his father Ibrahim died when the boy was young and his family moved to Yasa. There he became a disciple of Arslan Baba. After the death of the latter Ahmed Yesevi moved to Bukhara and followed his studies with the well known Yusuf Hamdani[6] (d. 1140).
Later he made the city of Yasi into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh steppes, then retired to a life of contemplation aged 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life. "It was a Seljuq king who brought Rumi, the great Sufi poet, to Konya; and it was in Seljuq times that Ahmad Yesevi (died 562; A.D. 1166), another great Sufi, lived and taught. The influence of those two remarkable teachers has continued to the present", notes a Turkish scholar Hasan Basri Çantay.[7]
A mausoleum [8]was later built on the site of his grave by Tamerlane the Great in the city (today called Türkistan). The Yasaviyya Tariqah which he founded continued to be influential for several centuries afterwards, with the Yasavi Sayyid Ata Sheikhs holding a prominent position at the court of Bukhara into the 19th century.[9] In the Yasaviyya Sufis one comes across the greatest number of the shamanistic elements compared to other Sufi Orders. [10]
The first Turkish-Kazakh university, Ahmet Yesevi University,[11] and liceum, Hoca Ahmed Yesevi Lisesi,[12] were named in his honor.
Naqshbandi Sufi Idries Shah mentions Ahmed Yasavi's lineage in his interesting book-cum-psychological-experiment "The Book of the Book" [13] .Yasavi's are also present in kashmir part of India.They came to kashmir from Turkey with Yousif Hamadani.Yasavi's are respected in kashmir.There is also a book "SILSLAY YASAVI "(historical background of Yasavi's in Kashmir) This book is written by Peerzada Mohammad Shafi Yasavi who is eldest member of Yasavi family in kashmir.The book is written in Urdu & it will be translated in English soon.

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