The 'Bektashi Pages' of Naim Frasheri
In the Name of Allah, the King (2)
We declare our belief in Allah, the Lord of Creation, Master over all, in Muhammad `Ali (3), Khadijah, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn. We hold the Holy Five (4) dear to our hearts and follow the path laid down by our spiritual Father and Mother (6) and the Twelve Imams (7) descended from them.We follow the path of all Prophets (8), the Evliyas, and the Pirs because we believe in Allah and do worship unto Him. As followers of the True Path we do love `Isa the Messiah (9) and his mother and all of his true followers. `Isa the Messiah was a follower of Musa (10), who was sent the Torah, and we do also love Musa and his true followers also.
The founder of our order is Sultan Haji Bektash Veli of Khorasan (11). He is a true descendant of our Prophet Muhammad (12), upon who be the Peace and Blessings of Allah. The Supreme Command of our founder is, "Do good and abstain from evil." (13) The highest virtues are: striving for knowledge, living in brotherhood and friendship, and having love for humanity. Being a follower of Haji Bektash we learn the truth of existence and our being blossoms into its true existence like a flower. Without knowledge and truth you are not a true follower of the Bektashi Way. The universe is a true mirror of its Creator. In this world, man is the Representative of Allah. (14) The virtues of a virtuous man are mirrors of the angels, paradise, and all that is good. His vices are mirrors of the devil and all that is evil. Therefore, all virtuous men, "Practice good and abstain from evil." (15) All the potentialities of the attributes of Allah are in man (the mirror of Allah).
The soul of man is eternal and survives death to be judged on the Day of Judgment. (16) He who does good finds good, he who does evil finds evil. (17) He who goes against love of humanity is of a beastly nature, not a follower of Haji Bektash Veli.The Way of Haji Bektash Veli is wide and open to all who wish the truth of existence and knowledge of their true self. (18) This way is one of Wisdom and there is much goodness in those who strive to use their intellect. Man is of a free willed nature and is answerable for his actions. He has a mind to reason, knowledge to make choices, a soul and heart to discern the truth, and a conscious to weigh his deeds. The Most Wise Lord has given us all we need within ourselves to fulfill our needs. Men and women are equally given grace by their Lord as He says in His Qur'an.
Woman and Man are made for each other. (19) In great misfortune divorce may occur. In great need a man may take a second wife. Divorce is the most hated thing Allah has made legal (20) and a woman should always be part of a family. The woman's dress should be one of modesty. (21) The Bektashi Way is preferable.The Way of Haji Bektash Veli is modesty, chastity, and wisdom. Vices, follies, infidelities and lustfulness are forbidden by those on the Path. This is the Way of Allah and His Holy Evliya. The Noble Imam Ali has told us the truth when he said, "Man is the speaking book, and faith is found in speech, the ignorant add to this. Faith is in the heart, it is not in a written book." (22)
Those in the path strive to keep a pure heart, mind, body, clothes, abode, honor, and conscious. The followers of the Bektashi Way are Spiritual Brothers with all those who strive to do good. Love of family, country, and humanity are great virtues. The Bektashi Path fights against all adversaries of mankind. The true follower helps the impoverished, the widow, and the orphan. A person in the Path has a good heart and is virtuous. Those with hardened hearts can not follow this Way. The person who has done this much is a lover of the Path and can draw nearer to Allah by asking the Baba to become a Dervish. (23)
The Dervish must be virtuous in all things. To take on his shoulders the khirqah of poverty for which he must receive permission from the Baba. (24) Once he has his mantle it can not lawfully be removed. The Dervish must be a servant of humanity, wise, and humble. He must follow the way of Hazrat `Isa and turn his check if struck and feel happy when presented with abuse. (25)
If the new dervish is married, he may remain married after taking on his khirqah, living with his family. However, if he takes a vow of chastity (26) he can not go back on his word without permission from his Baba. The unmarried brothers live in a residence called a tekke or dergah. (27) This has one leader called the Baba. Each brother must take upon himself tasks and responsibilities.
The eldest is usually the Baba. The Babas of the various tekkes elect a leader from amongst themselves to lead the followers of the Way who live in a certain region. This leader is called the Dede. An aspirant can reach an exalted level in the path if he is consistent. If there are many dedes they can elect a Supreme Leader for their country of for all Bektashis residing there and he is called the Dedebaba [alb. kyregyjush]. (28)To be a lover of the Way of Haji Bektash Veli, you must follow it. To become a Dervish you must ask a Baba. To become a Baba, a group of Babas must choose you. To be perfect in the way you must follow your guides in all things pertaining to the Path.Whoever receives permission from the Guides can enter into the Presence of the Evliyas. All the Saints are linked spiritually. Thus the Dervish can enter into the company of the Evliyas and then into the silsilah as in the Circle with permission. (29)The one who wishes to enter the Circle of the Saints must have all their vices die and only virtues remain. (30) The one with an unclean heart, an evil soul, and a bad conscience can not enter the Circle of Saints and draw near to Allah. To know Allah, truly you must know yourself. One must be gentle as a lamb, not like a wild beast. He must be reasonable, just, lovable, learned, and virtuous. This is the Path. The Path of Haji Bektash Veli is one of friendship, virtue, wisdom, and brotherhood.
It is a great sin to cast discord into this beautiful, fair Path. The ignorant cast thorns among blossoms and petals. The true way is not like this, it begins and ends with good. The guide who grants permission says, "Today you have taken unto yourself the Path and have joined the company of the Evliyas. Continue to hold onto good and be away from evil and stay on the Path. Take only what you earn or are given, be honorable, avoid slanderers, avoid the unclean and perverse, and you will truly enter into the Brotherhood."
The follower of Haji Bektash Veli does not view women with lust. He sees her as a sister. The old woman he treats like his mother. The poor man like his brother. All those in the Path are his friends. His conscious is clear, his heart full of gratitude to Allah, and he has a good soul. His is the Way of Goodness. Without these things a Bektashi dervish
Brotherhood, peace, love, virtue, nearness to Allah, friendship, clear conscious, and being virtuous are all lights on the Path. Love (`Ashq) is the interpretation of those approaching the Path. (31) Without these things no Bektashi can exist.With all of this, the follower of Haji Bektash Veli fasts and make prayers. They fast the first ten days of the Islamic month of Muharram. (32) In this time they fast for ten days till the day of Ashura. (33) During this time they do not take water. On the mid day of Ashura, Imam Husayn, the grandson of the Beloved Messenger, fell in the battle of Karbala. This abstinence from water shows the love the followers of Hajji Bektash Veli hold for Imam Husayn.
During Ashura the followers reaffirm their obedience to their guide by making the Niyaz in the Teqe. (34) They also pray Namaz in the mosque. The Bektashi does not reject Shari'ah. (35) They observe Namaz, the month of Ramazan, and other religious duties. In the mosque all marriages, betrothals, funerals, and other religious duties and services occur.
The Bektashi pray before and after meals in this manner, "In the Name of the King, Allah! At this beginning let us say Allah, the Ever living Allah. The table of Ali has come. Permission Oh King. Oh King, give us our dinner. Now by the King's favor...Hu!" (36) At feasts and marriages this prayer is said, "O' our Lord, increase our bounty, fill the world with Your Mercy. Send goodness upon us, not grief and misery. Show us the Way of Righteousness and take us out of Spiritual Darkness. Blessed be Your Holy Attributes. Ya Muhammed Ali, Ya Khadijah, Ya Fatimah, Ya Hasan, Ya Husayn, Ya Haji Bektash Veli, Ya Kulli Awliyah. May our Prayers come before You, Allah... Hu!" (37) At betrothals this prayer is said, "O' Lord, we are at Your command. Grant us love and a good life. Give us your blessings and keep us from evil. Grant us bounty and all good things. In the name of Dawud and Sulaiman, in the name of Harun and Musa, and of Husayn, in the name of Haji Bektash Veli, in the name of all the Evliyas, in the name of Muhammed Ali, in the name of Imam Ja'far as Sadiq." (38)
At marriage these words are added, "Unite them as thou didst Adam and Eve, Muhammed and Khadijah, Ali and Fatimah. Grant them long life, good and obedient children, and allow their prayers to be answered." (39)
At death this prayer, containing verses from the Qur'an, is said, "O' Allah, be forgiving to us and to this one who has died and to all believers, male and female. 'Our sufficiency is in Allah, and He is the most excellent protector,' and excellent director and excellent helper. 'Thy mercy, Lord, for unto Thee is the return.' 'Every soul shall taste of death.' Then 'They shall return to us.'" (40)
The Bektashis only mourn with tears, not with wailing and dirges. The dead are alive in their hearts. The dead are always well spoken of, "May his soul shine and be filled with joy."
The Bektashi way is wide and open to all men who wish to follow it. The Bektashi respect all religions, all dogmas, and Revealed Books.
The Bektashi keep the Holiday called `Eid ul Fitr (Sheker Bayram). It is the first three days of the month of Shawwal. (41) Their second feast is on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah. It is called `Eid ul Adha (Kurban Bayram). (42) The followers of the Way also observe the Sultan Nevruz, which is believed to be the birthday of the Great Imam `Ali. (43) This day falls on the Spring equinox. The Bektashis also observe the tenth day of the month of Muharram, known as Ashura. During the first ten days of this month they read passion plays for Imam Husayn.
Let them strive day and night for the nation to which God calls them and vouches for them that they will work with the chiefs and the notables for the salvation of Albania and the Albanians, for the education and civilization of their nation and their country, for their language, and for all progress and improvement.Let them be peaceable, let them remember the poor, let them shun evil and folly, let them cast into the Way all works that are needful for mankind and for religion, and let them forward all things good.
Together with the chiefs and notables let them encourage love, brotherhood, unity, and friendship among all Albanians: let not the Muslims be divided from the Christians, and the Christians from the Muslims, but let both work together. Let them strain towards enlightenment, that the Albanian, who was once reputed together throughout the world, be not despised today.
All these things for those that have intelligence and who reason and work with zeal and with good sense are not hard tasks, but very light.When they accomplish these things, then will I call them Babas and Murshids: but today I cannot so call them.
The Guides, who pray and worship Allah, follow Truth and Goodness, and reject falsehood and evil, regard mankind as one family, and love the way of Muhammed Ali must be men of intelligence, great wisdom and have a zeal for learning, for the unlearned man is perverse, a novice, an unhewn block of wood. Let your Guides be men of truth, without vices, with integrity, without greed, lacking pride, without follies, who are sober, truthful, just and not following the evils of mankind.
Let them be peaceable, remembering to help the poor, shun evil and foolishness, and keep the Path always trying to aid mankind. Let them encourage love, unity, and friendship among Muslims. All these things are for those who have intelligence and reason and work with zeal and good sense to spread Truth and the Light of the Way. We end by saying: Hu! (44)