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Interventions to the Sheikhdom and Charitable Foundations (Awqaf) of Abdal Musa Dergahı in Elmalı in the Nineteenth Century
Hatice Durgun
Abdal Musa, who partook in the conquests of the Ottoman Emirate and had many disciples, is one of the most important figures of Bektashism. He is known as Pîr-i Sani, i.e. “the Second Sage”. He established his tekke at Tekke Village in the Elmalı kaza in Teke Sanjak, the area known as Teke during the period of the Emirates, and as Lycia in antiquity. Following the Turkish conquests, many Türkmen and Yörük groups were settled in the Teke region, and Sunni Islam was greatly surpassed by Bektashism. The extent of the lands in Elmalı, Kaş, Kalkan, Finike and Korkuteli endowed to the Abdal Musa Dergahı reveals the great spread of the fame of Abdal Musa, particularly in the central Teke region.

The awqaf of this tekke and the income from them, which obviously whetted the appetite of many people, witnessed some interventions, especially after the abolition of Bektashism. The tekke’s administration was limited to the keeping of the türbe (shrine) and given to Naqshibandi sheikhs, while its endowed land, already given out to tax-farming (iltizam), passed into the hands of the local dignitaries.

However, because of requests from the first and only Mawlawi sheikh of Abdal Musa Dergahı, Ismail Hakkı Efendi, who complained that the allocations of a türbe-keeper were not enough to maintain the needs of such a large tekke, the awqaf administration was returned to the tekke’s sheikh. When the local dignitaries lost these endowed lands in tax-farming, significant clashes broke out between them and the tekke’s sheikh regarding the right of use of these lands. Court cases culminating in alleged murder lasted many years. The defence by Ismail Hakkı Efendi during the court case caught the attention of the authorities, and the dergah and its awqaf came under increased scrutiny. The position of zaviyedar (zawiyah-keeper) was abolished after Ismail Hakkı Efendi’s death but was revived by his son Hüseyin Hüsnü Efendi during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz. Thereafter, the struggle between Bektashis and Naqshibandis, especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century, came to a head at Abdal Musa Dergahı. Although the struggle was concluded in favour of the Naqshibandis, personages with the title of çelebi, who claimed to be descendants of Abdal Musa, tried to get hold of the dergah’s administration.

On the one hand, these struggles for the Abdal Musa Dergahı were not one-sided; this power struggle not only had a religious aspect to it but also an economic one. On the other hand, the Naqshibandi sheikhs appointed to the tekke were blamed for keeping alive Bektashi beliefs.

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