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Some Notes on the Naqshbandī
Tarīqat in Bosnīa[*]


Hamid Algar

Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 9, No. 2. (Spring, 1975). © World Wisdom, Inc.

STUDY of the contemporary Muslim world concentrates increasingly on the processes of westernisation and modernisation, implicitly regarding these as both salubrious and inevitable, and, indeed, as having already displaced the essential foundations of traditional Islam. There is much in the present state of the Muslim peoples to encourage such a view: the apparently irretrievably shattered unity of the umma, the expanding triumph of secularism in public life, the transformation of religion into ideology by various Muslim movements, and the continued absence of a genuine Islamic renaissance. Elements persist, however, throughout the Muslim world that are at variance with this spectacle of Islam in disarray, and that are commonly overlooked by western observers, including the scholarly among them. Their absence from the picture drawn by scholarly investigation of contemporary Islam derives in part from the unspoken assumption that religion is primarily a function of history and society, so that the interior and vital aspects which in fact constitute its essential and immutable character are ignored or neglected as devoid of interest. The strongholds of traditional Islam are, moreover, in a certain sense inaccessible to the investigator who, for all his learning, is alien to the tradition. It is not a question of rejection, of barriers erected in his path, rather of a certain mode of spirituality, enshrined in tradition, that cannot be appreciated by the common methods of academic investigation, but only by participating in its reality, or by the exercise of a rare and subtle type of sympathy.

One such stronghold of traditional Islam is simply the way of life of those Muslims whose existence continues to be formatively guided by the Qur’an and sunna, and who thereby preserve the possibility of a real though circumscribed application of the sharī‘a. The spiritual contours of their existence are moreover recognisably the same despite differences of language, race and climate; and in this sense one breathes the same air in the mountains of Bosnia and the cities of the Hijaz. This unity, which defies all political fragmentation, receives its most obvious expression in the hajj, when the community of believers is drawn closely together around the Ka‘ba, the pivot to which all are connected throughout the year by the endless series of radii that the canonical prayer creates.

The religious brotherhoods fulfill a similar function of assuring unity in the pursuit and cultivation of tradition, for their branches stretch out and entwine from one end of the Islamic world to the other and bring the believers together in the shade of that massive tree of esoteric tradition which is the inward essence of Islam. The manner in which the brotherhoods thus continue to be a means for the expression of the ideals and realities of the faith constitutes indeed their real claim to attention in the present age, one that is bypassed by anthropological and sociological investigation. The tarīqats are above all a stronghold of traditional Islam, and although not impregnable to the assaults of the present age, they have shown themselves capable of permanent resistance and of continuing to provide a framework for the spiritual life of Muslims. It is proposed here to illustrate this statement with an examination of the recent history and present status of the Naqshbandī tarīqat in Bosnia.


The Naqshbandī tarīqat first appeared in the Balkans in the fifteenth century in the person of Mollā Abdullah Ilāhī (d.896/1490-1491), founder of the West Turkish branch of the order. Born in the town of Simav near Kütahya, he acquired his exoteric learning at the Zeyrek madrasa in Istanbul before embarking on the Sufi path and travelling eastwards to Khorasan and Transoxania in search of a preceptor. After passing through Herat, he arrived in Samarqand, there to become one of the numerous murīds of the celebrated Naqshbandī pīr, Khwāja ‘Ubaydullāh Ahrār (d. 845/1441). Khwāja Ahrār instructed him in the method of dhikr practised by the tarīqat, and then dispatched him to the tomb of the eponymous founder of the order, Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband (d. 1389), at Qasr-i ‘Arifān near Bukhara. Here he spent nine successive periods of forty days in seclusion, fasting and meditating. Having thus prepared himself for the task of irshād, he returned westwards to Anatolia as khalīfa of Khwāja Ahrār. He settled first in his birthplace of Simav, but was soon prevailed upon to come to Istanbul. In the capital he attracted numerous adherents, and he established for the Naqshbandī tarīqat that prominent place in the spiritual life of Turkey that it continues to hold to the present day. The demands made upon Mollā Ilāhī by his flock of devotees turned his thoughts again to seclusion, and when he received an invitation from Ahmed Bey, son of Evrenos Pasa, to settle under his protection in the town of Vardar Yenicesi in Rumelia, he accepted, leaving the care of his followers to Seyh Ahmed Buhārī. He took with him into Rumelia only a select few of his murīds, and devoted the rest of his life to writing and contemplation rather than to the training of disciples. It seems probable, then, that his presence in Vardar Yenicesi did not bring about a significant expansion of the tarīqat in the Balkans.[1]

The first Naqshbandī tekke in Bosnia appears nonetheless to have been established in his lifetime. It was built soon after the Ottoman conquest in 1463 by Iskender Pasa, the Beylerbeyi of Rumelia and four times governor of Bosnia. On the site where the city of Sarajevo was later to arise stood a village by the name of Vrhbosna, and here, on the left bank of the Miljacka, Iskender Pasa erected a tekke for the use of Naqshbandī dervishes. Next to it he built a bridge leading across the river and a musafirhane to accommodate visitors to the tekke. These foundations were richly supported with endowments, and despite the alienation and destruction of much of the property during the restless and war-filled history of Ottoman Bosnia, the tekke was able to survive until the second decade of the present century. Known either as the tekke of Iskender Pasa or as that of Seyh Müsafir, it was especially noted for the hospitality it extended to travellers, and the bi-weekly sessions of dhikr conducted in it are still recalled by some of the elderly inhabitants of Sarajevo. Its last shaykh was one Hadzi Mehmed Efendi. Now no trace of it remains, although the name of Iskender Pasa is perpetuated in the large exhibition hall and stadium complex that stands on its site—the “Skenderija”.[2]

In the mid-nineteenth century another Naqshbandī tekke came into being in Sarajevo, the tekke known as Yediler, affiliated to the important Khālidi branch of the order.[3]  This tekke, which adjoins a small mosque, is situated farther down the same bank of the Miljacka, on a square that opens up behind the Careva Dzamija. The structure still exists, but both mosque and tekke are closed and in a state of neglect. The Yediler tekke continues, however, to play a minor role in the religious life of the Muslims of Sarajevo. One wing of the structure houses the graves of seven shaykhs of the tekke (the most recent being that of Hadzi Salih Efendi who was also mufti of Sarajevo), each surmounted by the distinctive turban of the Naqshbandiya. Passers-by will often stop to recite a fātiha for the souls of the departed shaykhs, or to throw a coin through the wooden grating as a token of supplication.[4]

While there are no functioning Naqshbandī tekkes in Sarajevo, certain adherents of the order live in the city and meet for the performance of dhikr. There is one among them who is a khalifa of a celebrated contemporary Turkish shaykh of the order, and who organises every other week a kind of syncretic dhikr that incorporates practices of the Mevlevīs, Qādiris and Rifā‘is, as well as of the Naqshbandis.[5] It is, however, outside of Sarajevo that the traditional life of the Naqshbandī tekke continues to flourish.


If we leave Sarajevo and proceed westwards for about fifty kilometers on the road to Travnik, we come to the little town of Fojnica, picturesquely situated at the foot of lush and verdant mountains. A rough and barely motorable road then takes us northwards from Fojnica through majestic scenery to the village of Mejdan. Thence we continue on foot, climbing ever higher on a mountainous path through forest and cornfield until after an hour we reach our goal—the village and tekke of Zivcic. The tekke and the houses clustered round it stand in magnificent isolation on the mountainslope, gazing across a deep valley to the green and undulating hills beyond. Each winter it is severed by heavy snow from the outside world, while in the summer it is drenched in a rich, profound tranquillity of warmth and light. At the Zivcic tekke the dervish can with ease follow the Qur’anic injunction of perceiving “God’s signs upon the horizon”, of observing the divine attributes manifested in creation.[6]

The Naqshbandī tekke of Zivcic was founded in 1195/1781 by a native of the village, Sejh Husejn Baba Zukic, usually known simply as Sejh Husejn.[7] His father was a simple villager who earned his living by burning and selling charcoal, but when he perceived indications of talent in Husejn, he sent him to the madrasa at Fojnica. He proceeded thence to Sarajevo and continued his studies at the Kursunli madrasa. There he was much beloved of all by reason of his diligence and gentle disposition, and when two of his fellow pupils set out for Istanbul for further study, they prevailed upon Husejn to accompany them. In Istanbul he not only completed his madrasa training but also entered on the Sufi path, being initiated into the Naqshbandī order by Seyh Hafiz Muhammed Hisari (d. 1199/1785), who presided over the Muradiye tekke.

This tekke, situated in the Carsamba district on the southern shore of the Golden Horn, was the fountainhead in Turkey of the Mujaddidī branch of the Naqshbandī order, that tracing its descent to the celebrated Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī (d. 1034/1625), known as Mujaddid-i Alf-i Thāni, “regenerator of the second millennium”.[8]  The tekke derived its name from Seyh Muhammed Murad Buhārī (d. 1132/1729), who had travelled to India and been initiated into this branch by Khwāja Ma‘sum, one of Shaykh Ahmad’s sons. After leaving India, he embarked on a series of extensive travels and brought the Mujaddidiya to Syria and Anatolia, finally settling in Istanbul three years before his death.[9]

From Istanbul, Sejh Husejn was destined to carry the Mujaddidiya to its most westerly point of expansion, to Bosnia, but his preparation for the task was not yet complete, and the inner journey had to be mirrored in further wanderings. On the instructions of Seyh Hafiz Muhammed, Husejn left Istanbul for Konya, and spent three years at the tekke attached to the tomb of Maulāna Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumī, benefiting from the guidance of the incumbent Celebī.[10]  He was then recommended to proceed to Turkistan, and after several months at a Naqshbandī tekke in Samarqand went to Qasr-i ‘Arifān to spend seven years in the tekke attached to the tomb of Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband. As had been the case with Mollā Abdullāh Ilāhī some three centuries earlier, the sojourn at Qasr-i ‘Arifan marked the climax of Sejh Husejn’s journeying, and at the end of the seven years, he set out again for Bosnia, travelling by way of Iran, Baghdad, Konya and Istanbul. Before returning to Zivcic to found the tekke, he stopped first in Sarajevo, where he married the daughter of his host, and then in Fojnica. There he was the guest of the local judge, Mehmed Efendi, who recognised in him the man he had seen in a dream the night before the birth of his son, Abdurrahman. The son, now twelve years old, was introduced to Sejh Husejn, who gave him the name of Sirri and immediately adopted him as his murīd. He was, indeed, to be the sole disciple of Sejh Husejn, for Seyh Hafiz Muhammed in Istanbul had forbidden him to take more than one, saying that he would be the source of the Naqshbandī order in Bosnia, and his sole dervish the fountainhead. Sejh Husejn died in either 1213/1798-1799 or 1214/1799-1800. [11]

Abdurrahman Sirri Baba founded, as we shall see, a new tekke at Oglavak; and it was one of his murīds, Muhammed Mejli Baba, who succeeded Sejh Husejn at Zivcic. Mejli Baba, born in western Anatolia, had come to the Balkans in search of the “perfect shaykh(seyh-i kāmil), that is, a shaykh both perfect in his attainments on the spiritual path, and perfectly attuned to the needs of the murīd. One of his earliest preceptors had caused an iron ring to be forged around his right ankle, informing him that when he found the perfect shaykh the ring would instantly dissolve. In the course of his wanderings he came to Belgrade, and there a dervish advised him to seek out Sirri Baba in Oglavak. On the last stage of his long and tiring journey to Oglavak, Mejli Baba was afflicted with great hunger, and when still some distance from the tekke he saw to his astonishment a dervish coming towards him to bid him welcome, and bearing with him a tray of food. Sirri Baba had anticipated his arrival and intuitively known of his hunger. Mejli Baba was thus certain that he was approaching the goal of his search, and when he reached the presence of Sirri Baba in the tekke, the iron ring around his ankle indeed fell apart at one wondrous glance from the shaykh. Mejli thereupon uttered extemporaneously a kaside:

Allah, Allah! In search of a cure for my pain I have come to Sirri;

   O Messenger of God, give of thy generosity, I have come afire to Sirri.

God Almighty has bestowed His Grace upon me;

   He has given me leave to love Him, I have come to the lion, to Sirri.

By means of Sirri, He has acquainted me with His secret;[12]

   With bare head and crazed like Majnun I have come to Sirri.

Night and day I bemoaned my unhappy state;

   God granted me His favour, and I have come with my wounds (lit., bleeding) to Sirri.

He instructed me in both sharī‘at and tarīqat;

   Obedient to his command, I have come in faith to Sirri.

The Beloved gave thee command over my soul, O my shaykh;

   I have sacrificed my soul, and come to the true soul, to Sirri.

My soul inclined to Sirri, and its true essence remained thus inclined;[13]

   Hence I have cast away my soul and come to revolve around Sirri.

My carnal soul cast me into myriad abysses; my shaykh fettered it, and fettered

   I have come to Sirri.[14]

O God, Thou knowest, the secret is Thine, Sirri too is Thine;

   The slave is Thine, the sacrifice Thine; I have come as’ a sacrifice to Sirri.

O Messenger of God, give of thy generosity for the love of all thy people;

   Longing for the gate of thy kindness I have come for support (lit., leaning) to Sirri.

To intercede for the criminal is a sign of thy rank high;

   Thou knowest that I have become a wing and come as a moth to Sirri.

The thirsty heart requires an ocean, deprive it not, for mercy’s sake.

   A needy beggar am I, and I have come to the ocean, to Sirri.

For the sake of the Supreme Name, for the love of the Light of the Essence.

   Sick at heart, sick in body, I have come to the master physician to Sirri.

Sinful Mejli has heard that thou art a generous sultan;

   In the love of God All-Powerful, I have come to the sultan, to Sirri.

After sixteen years with Sirri Baba, Mejli Baba went as shaykh to Zivcic, and died there in the fullness of old age in 1270/1853-1854.[15]

Mejli Baba was succeeded by his son, Sejh Hasan Efendi (d. 1316/ 1898-1899).[16] After Sejh Hasan, direction of the tekke passed to his grand-nephew, Sejh Muhammed Efendi; to Muhammed Efendi’s son, Sejh Abdullatif Efendi,[17] and finally, to his son, the present shaykh of Zivcic, Sejh Behaedin Efendi, a learned and pious man much respected in religious circles throughout Bosnia.


The tekke at Zivcic is a large, oblong, two-storeyed structure, with a roof covered in wooden tiles. Nothing in the exterior of the building suggests its function except a large and skillfully executed HU painted on the wall next to the entrance. The lower storey consists of a single long room used for communal iftār during Ramadan, and for festive gatherings on such occasions as the two Bayrams and the birthday of the Prophet. The semā’hāne in which prayer and dhikr are performed is situated in the upper storey of the tekke and is approached along a passage leading to a doorway surmounted by a plaque demanding “Adab, yā Hu!” The doorway opens onto a large room, each side of which is about twenty metres long. The floor is richly covered in kilims, and in the mihrab which is set into one wall lies the sheepskin (post) that is the traditional seat of authority of the shaykh. The decoration of the mihrab is crude and mediocre, a sample of late Ottoman baroque; but the walls are by contrast adorned with numerous fine specimens of calligraphy: Qur’anic verses, ahadīth, poems of Sufi content, calligraphic compositions in pictorial form, depictions of the initiatic chain of the order, and various documents relating to the history of the tekke. Around three sides of the room runs a latticed gallery, for the use of women, and in the middle of the roof is a small, twelve-sided skylight.[18] The remainder of the upper storey is occupied by a small kitchen where coffee is prepared on the nights when dhikr is held, and by a spacious meydan odasi—the room where the dervishes gather before and more especially after dhikr to engage in pious conversation and the singing of ilāhīs (religious songs) in Arabic, Turkish and Serbo-Croat. Around the walls of the meydan odasi runs a long divan, covered in kilims, and if, seated here, one gazes out of the windows that extend along two sides of the room, an imposing view presents itself of the quiet and charming village of Zivcic and the majestic hills beyond.

On a low hill overlooking the tekke stand three türbes that are the object of constant pilgrimage from all over Bosnia. Each is a small cubic structure with whitewashed walls and a conical thatched roof, and like the tekke is distinguished from other buildings in the village only by a large HU painted on the wall. The largest of the three encloses the grave of Sejh Husejn Baba, founder of the tekke. The interior contains numerous copies of the Qur’an, arranged on rahles, and several spiked racks for the pilgrim to impale his votive candle, while the walls are adorned with various pieces of calligraphy. The second tilt-be houses the remains of Mejli Baba; and the third, those of Sejh Hasan Baba and his two sons, Sejh Abdullatif and Kazim Efendi. Around the türbes are clustered the graves of those who wished to be buried in the blessed proximity of the shaykhs.

Despite the isolated position of the Zivcic tekke, it continues to play a role of importance in the religious life of Bosnian Muslims. Among the Naqshbandī tekkes of Bosnia, it occupies a position of primacy, and the Muslim traveller from abroad is frequently recommended to make it the first object of his visit. Dhikrin the manner described below—is performed regularly every Thursday night, and on every night of the week during Ramadan, and the number of participants is frequently in the hundreds.[19] Apart from sessions of dhikr, the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday also attracts many worshippers to the Zivcic tekke. On this occasion, a feast is served, and the celebrated poem of Süleyman Celebi on the life of the Prophet is recited, either in its original Turkish or in the Serbo-Croatian translation by Hafiz Salih Gasovic.[20] Throughout the year, the incumbent shaykh, who frequently leaves Zivcic to travel elsewhere in Bosnia, is occupied in the dispensation of religious guidance, and he is widely regarded as an authority in matters relating to both sharī‘at and tarīqat.

If we set out again from Fojnica in the direction of Sarajevo, after about ten miles we reach a curve in the road, beyond which, to the left, lies a village in the midst of rich cornfields. Leaving the road shortly before the village, we climb a steep path that leads northwards past a few farmhouses and a newly constructed mosque above which flutters the green banner of the Bosnian Muslims. After following the path up a wooded slope for half an hour, we emerge onto a broad hilltop, and here, beyond a cornfield, stands the tekke of Oglavak, the second functioning Naqshbandī tekke in Bosnia. In Oglavak, the atmosphere of rustic simplicity is even more marked than in Zivcic. The tekke, a long, low building, stands on one side of a grassy field where cows pasture and chickens wander, and might in fact be taken, at first sight, for a barn, were it not for the distinctive HU painted on the wall to the right of the entrance. Oglavak is without the lofty majesty bestowed on Zivcic by a mountainous location, but, almost entirely concealed by thick forest, it partakes of the same palpable tranquillity, and is thus a fitting site for the contemplation of creation and Creator.

Both the tekke at Oglavak and the village itself were founded by Sejh Abdurrahman Sirri Baba, the sole murīd of Sejh Husejn. After completing his discipleship towards the end of the eighteenth century, Sirri Baba cleared a space in these wooded hills near Fojnica and established his tekke, and the little village grew up around it. This secluded and rustic spot came in the lifetime of Sirri Baba to occupy a place of much importance in the religious and even political life of Bosnia, and for a time its fame eclipsed that of Zivcic. Indeed, its founder is probably the most celebrated of all the Naqshbandī shaykhs of Bosnia, past and present.        

His influence was such that each new governor of Bosnia would regard it as one of his first duties to visit Oglavak, and for the purpose of receiving such prominent guests two konaks, still standing today, were erected near the tekke. There came to pay their respects to Sirri Baba and his successors, governors and generals such as Stocevic All Galip Pasa, governor of Hercegovina, Mehmed Vechi Pasa, Mehmed Kāmil Pasa and the ferocious Omer Pasa, as well as the leader of the Bosnian revolts against the reforms of Mahmud II, Gradacac Kaptan Husejn. The fame of Sirri Baba evidently reached the Ottoman capital itself, for he received from Sultan Mahmud II a firman exempting the tekke at Oglavak and its incumbent shaykh from taxation.[21]

Sirri Baba’s celebrity rested, however, not so much on patronage as upon his widespread reputation for sanctity and piety, and still more on the numerous ilāhīs that he composed, in both Turkish and Serbo-Croatian. The composition of such poems was of course traditional in the Sufi orders, particularly in Turkey, and Sirri Baba’s preceptor, Sejh Husejn, also has a number of ilāhīs to his credit. Those of Sirri Baba are, however, at once more numerous and more widely known and sung. The ilāhīs he composed in Serbo-Croatian are of particular interest, for they furnish one of the most celebrated examples of what has been called the Aljamiado literatures of Bosnia—that is, Serbo-Croatian written in the Arabic script.[22] These Serbo-Croatian ilāhīs are clearly modelled on their Turkish counterparts but the very fact of their composition may be taken as an indication of the depth of popular assimilation of Islam in Bosnia. Such poetry, moreover, continues to be cultivated in Bosnia, and the present shaykh of Zivcic has written a number of Serbo-Croatian ilāhīs in the Arabic script.

Sirri Baba died in 1263/1846-1847, and was succeeded as shaykh at the tekke by his eldest son, Abdullatif Efendi. Upon his death in 1300/1882-1883, supervision of the tekke passed to his younger brother, Sejh Sakir Efendi, who died in 1307/1889-1890. Sakir Efendi was followed in turn by Sejh Abdulhalim Efendi, the eldest son of Sejh Abdullatif, and then in 1917 by the younger brother of Abdulhalim Efendi, Sejh Hamdi Efendi. Sejh Hamdi Efendi died in the 1930s and was succeeded by his son, Sejh Sakir Efendi, a scholar of some prominence known professionally as Sakir (Sacir) Sikiric. His life came to a premature end in 1966 shortly after his return from a journey to Egypt.[23] His younger brother, Hilmi Efendi, now resides at Oglavak and presides over dhikr in the tekke, but he has no claims to shaykhood, regarding himself simply as a vekil, an interim trustee whose task it is to keep the tekke open and functioning.

The tekke at Oglavak is a long oblong building with a low wooden door at its northern end opening onto a narrow passageway. This corridor leads first to the semā’hāne, a small room furnished and decorated in the manner typical of a rural Bosnian mosque: kilims and sheepskins on the floor, and a cluster of specimens, of calligraphy on the wall. Over the mihrab hangs, however, a large ostrich egg, a feature peculiar to tekkes and possessing its symbolic justification.[24]  Next to the semā’hāne stands the meydan odasi, the room where the dervishes gather before and after dhikr. A tall hearth of traditional Turkish type is set into one wall, and a low divan runs along the other walls. Finally, the tekke contains a small cell designed for use as a halvetgāh, a place where the dervish may retire for forty-day periods of meditation or penance. The sole furnishing of this cell consists of a Y-shaped iron bar that the dervish sets before him, placing his neck in the curve to ward off sleep. The halvetgāh, according to Hilmi Efendi, has latterly fallen into disuse, and is now used chiefly for storing firewood. Just as the setting of Oglavak lacks the majesty of Zivcic, so too does the tekke have a simpler and more intimate atmosphere than its counterpart described above.

Opposite the tekke on a grassy rise stands the residence of the shaykh, which now presents the aspect of a picturesquely dilapidated farmhouse, and next to it stand two konaks, similarly rustic and unpretentious in appearance. They were, however, both founded by governors of Bosnia who were devotees of the shaykhs of Oglavak: the first by Mehmed Vechi Pasa, and the second by Mehmed Kāmil Pasa, in 1262/1845-1846.[25]

In keeping with its general simplicity, Oglavak contains only one türbe, by contrast with the three at Zivcic. In outer appearance it resembles those at Zivcic: whitewashed walls decorated with a large HU, and a thatched conical roof. In this türbe, constructed by Stocevic Ali Galip Pasa, rest Sirri Baba and his eldest son Sejh Abdullatif Efendi. The walls are decorated with various pieces of calligraphy, as well as plaques bearing the names of the principal companions of the Prophet. On a ledge beneath the sole window of the türbe stands a rack for the pilgrim to place his votive candle. A few tombs are gathered outside the wall of the türbe, chiefly those of the later shaykhs of Oglavak.

Dhikr is performed at Oglavak twice weekly, on Friday and Monday nights, as well as every night during Ramadan. As at Zivcic, the two Bayrams, the Prophet’s birthday and other festivals are also occasions for the gathering of dervishes at the tekke. It seems, however, that its fame has somewhat waned since the death of Sejh Sakir, and that fewer devotees seek out Oglavak than Zivcic: the lack of a shaykh has made itself felt. Nonetheless, the tekke at Oglavak continues to function as a rural stronghold of the Naqshbandī tarīqat


The third Naqshbandī tekke of Bosnia is a more recent foundation, and one, moreover, that is placed in an urban setting, in the town of Visoko, situated about forty miles to the northwest of Sarajevo. It was established shortly before the First World War by Sejh Hadzi Hafiz Husni Efendi Numanagic, a scholar and Sufi universally acknowledged as the most eminent figure to have appeared among the Muslims of Bosnia in recent times.

Hafiz Husni Efendi was born in Fojnica in 1853 and, orphaned at an early age, he was taken to live with his grandmother in Sarajevo. Here his schooling was supervised by one Sejh Arif Efendi Zelenko, under whose guidance he completed the memorisation of the Qur’an when eight years old. In his early youth he went to Istanbul for further study. After a few years, he proceeded first to the Mahmūdiya madrasa in Medina and then to the Azhar in Cairo, where he spent two years in the intensive study of hadīth. In the course of these studies, he acquired a sound competence in Arabic and Turkish, an accomplishment which had become rare since the severance of Bosnia from the Ottoman Empire, and which marked him out as the most prominent scholar among the Muslims of Bosnia. Upon his return he was first appointed teacher at the madrasa in his native town of Fojnica, before being transferred after a few years to a similar post in Visoko. It was during this first residence in Visoko that Hafiz Husni Efendi established a Naqshbandī tekke. In 1914 he was appointed mufti of Travnik, and held this position until his retirement in 1927. He then returned to Visoko and spent there the few remaining years of his life. He died on Dhūl Qa‘da 16, 1349/April 4, 1931.[26] Hafiz Husni Efendi was duly succeeded at the Visoko tekke by his most promising murīd, Sejh Hasan Baba, but the life of the tekke was violently interrupted by the events of the Second World War: the German occupation, civil war and the establishment of the Communist regime. For some time it functioned as a refuge and place of shelter for Muslims from various parts of Bosnia who had been uprooted in the course of these events, and it has only recently been reopened to serve its original purpose of a meeting-place for dervishes. Like the tekke at Oglavak, that of Visoko is at present without a shaykh, and is presided over by a vekil. The vekil of Visoko is one Abdulhakk Efendi Hadzimejlic, a great-grandson of Mejli Baba, and thus related to the present shaykh of Zivcic. Despite the fact that he makes no claim to the status of shaykh, he is widely respected and numerous followers come to participate in the ceremonies of dhikr that he directs.

The tekke is situated on a narrow sloping street on the outskirts of town, and is secluded from the outside world by a high wall in which is set a low wooden gateway. The building as constituted at present consists of three rooms, the largest being that used for prayer and dhikr; the second serving as meydan odasi; and the third being reserved for the use of women. Standing at a slight distance from the building is an abbreviated minaret where the call to prayer is sounded. Because of its urban location, the Visoko tekke does not have the impressive isolation of Zivcic and Oglavak, and is not therefore suited to that contemplation of nature which is a part of the Naqshbandī path. By way of compensation, its accessibility makes it possible, however, for a larger number of devotees regularly to attend the ceremony of dhikr, and thus the participant enjoys to a high degree that sense of pious company (suhbat) which is another pillar of Naqshbandī practice.

The number of dervishes coming to the Visoko tekke is particularly high during Ramadan, which is not only the month of fasting but also that of the most intense spiritual and devotional activity. This writer was present in the tekke on one night of Ramadan, 1389/November-December 1969, and the following description of the dhikr observed on that night may be regarded as valid for all the Naqshbandī tekkes of Bosnia.

The congregation of about sixty worshippers gathered in the largest room of the tekke with Abdulhakk Efendi sitting in the mihrab, and awaited the adhān. The call to prayer was followed by a litany of salutation to the Prophet, recited by the muezzin and concluded with a silent recitation of the Fātiha by the congregation.[27] The ‘Isha prayer was performed, and then the twenty rik‘ats that according to Hanafi fiqh constitute tarāwīh, the supererogatory prayers offered after ‘Isha each day during Ramadan. The rik‘ats were performed in pairs, and after the fourth, eighth and twelfth rik‘ats, the congregation engaged in repetition of the kalima—lā ilāha illā’Llāh.

Such repetition, universally practised by the Naqshbandī order, is known as dhikr an-nafy wa-’l-ithbāt, the remembrance (of God) through negation (of other than God) and the affirmation (of God). The negation empties and purifies the heart that it may become a fit receptacle for the divine and capable of receiving the impress of the Supreme Name—Allāh.[28] This form of dhikr is accompanied—in Bosnia and elsewhere—by certain physical movements, each with its symbolic justification. Lā is pronounced with the head turned over the right shoulder; ilāha with the head slightly inclined over the right breast; illā with the head bent towards the navel; ’Ll āh with the head bent deep over the left breast, facing the physical heart, the counterpart of that “true heart” which according to the celebrated hadīth is the “throne of the Compassionate” (‘arsh ar-rahmān). Particular stress is laid upon and illā, a stress which grows with each successive repetition.[29]

The dhikr of negation and affirmation was pronounced nine times after the fourth, eighth and twelfth rik‘ats, while the sixteenth and twentieth rik‘ats were followed by the invocation of blessings upon the Prophet and the recitation of Sūrat al-Ikhlās. After tarāwīh, salāt al-witr was offered, and part of the congregation then left, the remainder staying to engage in further dhikr and other devotional exercises.

Abdulhakk Efendi now turned to face the congregation, sitting in the mihrab with his back to the qibla, and about thirty people formed a circle round him. Under his direction, the form of recitation known as Khatm-i Khwājagān was then performed—the repetition, in silent unison, of a number of sūras of the Qur’an. The designation Khatm-i Khwājagān (“Recitation of the Masters”) is derived from the line of Central Asian masters of Sufism, known as the Khwājagān, out of which the Naqshbandī order arose.[30] There is, however, no mention of the khatm in the earliest manuals of Naqshbandī practice, and it appears to have been some time before this silent recitation of Qur’anic verses established itself as a universal feature of the Naqshbandī path.[31] The khatm was preceded by a prayer invoking the baraka of the shaykhs of the Naqshbandī order on those present, with each constituent link of the initiatic chain that reaches back to the Prophet receiving separate and pious mention. The recitation was then dedicated to the souls of the departed shaykhs.

The khatm began with a silent recitation by all present, fifteen times, of a formula of istighfār—seeking the forgiveness of God. Then Abdulhakk Efendi uttered the words rābita-yi sharīf (“noble union”), indicating that the participants should inwardly join their strivings in the khatm to his and, as it were, direct them through him as a channel to the heavenly realm.[32] The Fātiha was recited seven times, followed by a formula of salutation and benediction on the Prophet, repeated a hundred times. Sūrat al-Ikhlās was recited a thousand and one times; then again the Fātiha, seven times; and finally salutation and benediction on the Prophet, a hundred times.[33]

The ceremony of khatm is held to purify the soul by imbuing it with the baraka inherent in the Qur’anic passages recited, as well as in the formulae of salutation of the Prophet (since one in a sense participates in the blessing that is invoked), and it thereby constitutes a preparation for dhikr. Dhikr consisted first of negation and affirmation, the repetition of lā ilāha illā’Llāh, in the manner described above, but at greater length and with more intensity than was observed during the intervals of tarāwīh. The kalima was repeated about thirty times with increasing tempo: the head moved swiftly back and forth from right to left; the affirmation— illā ’Llāh—was pronounced with ever greater emphasis, and accompanied by a violent downward jerk of the head in the direction of the heart. Abdulhakk Efendi brought the repetition to a close by a rising intonation at the end of the affirmation, and a low forward inclination of the body.

Repetition of lā ilāha illā’Llāh was followed by that of three other formulae which draw out successively profounder implications of the kalima: lā mabuda illā ’Llāh—there is no object of worship other than God; lā maqsūda illā ’Llāh —there is no aim other than God; and lā maujūda illā ’Llāh—there is no existent other than God. Each of these was repeated in the same manner and for the same duration as lā ilāha illā’Llāh.

This fourfold repetition of negation and affirmation, culminating in the assertion of the absolute reality of God and the denial thereof to other than God, is a preparation for the next stage of the dhikr, in the same way that the Khatm-i Khwājagān prepares the dervish for the negation and affirmation. The duality of negation and affirmation is now overcome, and the dhakir engages in repetition of the Supreme Name alone. This repetition is accompanied by movement of the head from right to left and back again, both repetition and movement becoming increasingly swift. After about thirty repetitions of the Supreme Name, pronunciation of Allāh gradually passes into the emphatic utterance of the single syllable HU, that name of God which stands for the divine ipseity and which is regarded as constituting the essence of the Supreme Name, Allāh. Finally, the utterance of HU yields to a heavy and emphatic breathing, which again is accompanied by movement of the head from right to left: the dervish inhales with his head over his right shoulder, and exhales with his head over his left shoulder. This constitutes the climax and termination of dhikr: the process of remembrance has become synonymous with the very act of breathing, and while inhalation and exhalation constitute a duality, it is not a duality of contrast, but rather of balance and harmony, and it therefore reflects the sublime and tranquil unity which lies beyond all duality.

This rhythmic breathing was brought to an end by the recitation by Abdulhakk Efendi of several brief sūras, and thus the cycle was complete: from the recitation of Qur’an through the forms of dhikr to its essence and back again to recitation; that is, from relatively diffuse verbal forms through more concise verbal forms to the non-verbal, and back again through lessening degrees of multiplicity to unity, and back again. This cyclical nature of the dhikr corresponds to the traditional threefold journey of the Sufi: from creation to the Creator; within the Creator; and back from the Creator to creation.

After the ceremony of dhikr, the participants withdrew to meydan odasi, there to engage in pious conversation accompanied by the liberal consumption of tobacco and coffee. Discussion of profane topics is strictly avoided in such gatherings, and the material of the conversation consisted chiefly of anecdotes from the lives of the saints of the recent and distant past, and reflections upon Qur’anic verses and sayings of the Prophet, all this presented in the most natural and sincere manner.

Conversation was frequently and spontaneously interrupted by the singing of ilāhīs. The ilāhīs sung were chiefly those composed in Serbo-Croatian by the Bosnian shaykhs of the Naqshbandī order—Sejh Husejn and Sirri Baba; but others were in Turkish (poems by Sirri Baba, Mejli Baba, and the celebrated mystical poets Yunus Emre [d. 1320 (?)] and Niyazi Misrī [d. 1693], and a few in Arabic. These were sung partly from memory and partly from the notebooks containing Qur’anic verses, ilāhīs, formulae for prayer and dhikr, etc., that are carried by many dervishes.

Conversation also gave way on several occasions to the spontaneous resumption of dhikr initiated by many of those present, not only by Abdulhakk Efendi. Again the formula of negation and affirmation was repeated, leading to the dhikr of the Supreme Name. In addition, a formula that had not been used during the formal session of dhikr was recited: Anta ’l-hādī, anta ’l-haqq; laysa ’l-hādī illā HU (“Thou art the Guide, Thou art the Truth; there is no Guide other than HE”). In the same way that the recitation of lā ilāha illā’Llāh shrank to Allāh so, too, this formula was reduced first to illā HU and then to HU.

After about two hours thus spent in conversation, the singing of ilāhīs and the performance of dhikr, the company dispersed for the night. The tekke at Visoko is inhabited only by a caretaker and his wife, but the next morning a number of dervishes had congregated again to perform the dawn prayer. This was preceded by the recitation of the rhyming litany known as Aurād-i Fathiya, composed by the Kubravī saint, ‘Alī b. Shihāb ad-Dīn Hamadānī (d. 1384). Recitation of this litany appears to be a widespread feature of Naqshbandī practice, and is to be encountered in Turkey and Afghanistan as well as in Bosnia.[34] Like the Khatm-i Khwājagān, it receives, however, no mention in the earliest works on the Naqshbanī path, and seems, strangely enough, almost to have displaced a similar litany attributed to the founder of the order, Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband, the Aurād-i Bahā’iya.[35] Recitation of the Aurād-i Fathiya was followed by a brief dhikr; the prayer was offered; and the participants departed to go about their daily business.

This description of devotional ceremonies in the Visoko tekke reflects, too, the practices cultivated in the other Naqshbandī tekkes of Bosnia, and to an extent those of Naqshbandī dervishes in other parts of the Muslim world. There are, however, certain features of the practices described that are not commonly encountered in a Naqshbandī environment and call for some comment.

Particularly remarkable is the fact that dhikr is practised vocally and not silently, although silent or “concealed” dhikr (dhikr-i khafī or qalbī) instead of the more widespread vocal or “open” dhikr (dhikr-i jahrī or jalī) has always constituted a distinguishing characteristic of the Naqshbandī path. The most common version in the initiatic chain of the Naqshbandiya goes back to Abū Bakr as-Siddiq, whom the Prophet is believed to have instructed in the method of silent dhikr while the two were secluded in a cave during the migration from Mecca to Medina. Vocal dhikr, on the other hand, was taught by the Prophet to ‘Alī b. Abī Tālib, from whom it was then transmitted to the numerous orders that claim descent from him, such as the Qādiriya.[36] Certain of the Khwājagān appear to have practised vocal dhikr, but Bahā ad-Dīn regarded it as reprehensible and engaged only in silent dhikr, and his practice became normative for the order.[37]

Several explanations suggest themselves for the deviation from silent dhikr observed in Bosnia. It may first be remarked that the appeal of vocal dhikr is more immediate and its practice of greater facility than silent dhikr. Dhikr-i khafī may in a sense be regarded as suited only to an elite among the Sufis—khavāss-i khavass, so to speak—who need to clothe the inner substance of dhikr with only the thinnest and most diaphanous of outward forms. Such an élite is able to induce a state of inward recollection and tranquillity by means less substantial and concrete than vocal repetition. That dhikr-i jahrī corresponds to the needs of a wider segment of the believing community is reflected in its practice by the majority of the Sufi orders other than the Naqshbandiya.

The orders, however, in no sense practise a formalistic exclusiveness with regard to each other’s methods of dhikr, considering the differences between them to be purely methodological. That which constitutes the identity of an order and its guarantee of authenticity is not so much a circumscribed set of practices as the chain of initiation that reaches back to the source, to the Prophet. It is thus comprehensible that the adherents of one order should engage in practices associated with another, particularly when these practices possess a certain immediate and obvious attraction. Such eclecticism may be expressed in multiple affiliation to two or more orders.[38] In the case of such affiliation, one order constitutes at least nominally the chief focus of allegiance; but this need not reflect itself in the practice of the dervish. He may regard himself as belonging to one order, while his devotional life reflects the practice of another order. Such is the case with the Naqshbandis of Bosnia, who have to a considerable extent absorbed Qādirī influences, the most obvious of which is the practice of vocal dhikr.

It is not known when these influences first made themselves felt, nor, indeed, whether the silent dhikr characteristic of the Naqshbandiya was ever practised in Bosnia. It is, however, to be presumed that at least Sejh Husejn, who had received the tarīqat in Istanbul, followed Naqshbandī practices in their entirety, and that the emergence of vocal dhikr was gradual. Many of the contemporary Naqshbandis of Bosnia are at any rate still conscious that their mode of dhikr is a deviation from the tradition of the order, and readily identify it as the result of Qādirī influence.

The joint cultivation of the Naqshbandī and Qādirī traditions is by no means confined to Bosnia, nor is it recent in origin. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī, from whom almost all surviving branches of the Naqshbandī order derive, was initiated into the Qādiriya as well as the Naqshbandiya, although his Qādirī affiliations appear to have been of little significance.[39]  In Afghanistan, India, Turkey and Kurdistan, dual affiliation to the Qādirī and Naqshbandī orders is common, but it seems not to have resulted in those lands in the displacement of silent by vocal dhikr.

In Bosnia, by contrast, Qādirī influence is dominant in the method of dikhr practised by the Naqshbandis. It is almost as if the celebrated declaration of ShaykhAbd al-Qādir Gilānī that “this my foot is placed on the neck of every saint” had vindicated itself with regard to Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband.[40]  Over the door of the tekke at Oglavak stands a plaque one half of which reads: hazrat-i pir Muhammad Bahā ad-Dīn-i Naqshband, and the other half: Yā hazrat-i pīr ‘Abd al-Qādir-i Gilānī; thus the dual patronage of the two saints is invoked for the tekke.[41]  Similarly, Abdulhakk Efendi in Visoko likened the Qādirī and Naqshbandī orders to twin brothers. In Bosnia, the Qādiriya appears to be the dominant twin. Not only is the method of dhikr practised of Qādirī derivation, but the figure of ‘Abd al-Qādir Gilānī is closer and better known to the dervishes who regard themselves as Naqshbandī than that of Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband, concerning whom precious little is known or related. By contrast, anecdotes about ‘Abd al-Qādir Gilānī frequently occur in their conversation.[42] It is true that Khatm-i Khwājagān and recitation of the Aurād-i Fathīya are distinctive Naqshbandī practices, even though they do not apparently derive from the earliest masters of the order in Transoxania; but the mode of dhikr practised in Bosnia—which, after all, is the core of Sufi practice—is Qādirī in form. There has thus arisen a fusion the designation of which is Naqshbandī but the content of which is predominantly Qādirī.

The practice of vocal dhikr may, then, in part be ascribed to Qādirī influence. There is record, however, of at least one attempt to vindicate this deviation from the norm in specifically Naqshbandī terms. The attempt was undertaken by Osman Sükrü Dzaferagic, one of the foremost disciples of Sejh Abdullatif Efendi, a circumstance which suggests that it was he who introduced the practice of vocal dhikr during his tenure of the post at Oglavak. In a treatise entitled Risālat at-Tarīqat an-Naqshabandiya,[43] Dzaferagic points out that the initiatic chain of the order includes the sixth Imam of the Shi‘a, Ja‘far as-Sādiq. While he is connected, through Qāsim b. Muhammad b. Abī Bakr and Salmān al-Fārisī to Abū Bakr as-Siddiq, another line of spiritual as well as physical descent leads through the Imams Muhammad Bāqir, Zayn al-‘Ābidīn and Husayn to ‘Alī b. Abī Tālib, the fountainhead of esoteric tradition. In Ja‘far as-Sādiq, then, two lines of descent unite, the second being one by which vocal dhikr was transmitted. Having regard for the Imamite descent of Ja‘far as-Sādiq, the Naqshbandis may therefore regard the practice of vocal dhikr as contained within their tradition. Salmān al-Fārisī, the first link in the Bakrī chain of transmission, was, moreover, in accordance with a celebrated hadīth, one of the Ahl al-Bayt, and as such owed allegiance and submission to ‘Alī. His subordination to ‘Alī may be taken to imply the primacy of vocal over silent dhikr.[44]

These considerations advanced by Dzaferagic are totally atypical for the Naqshbandī order. The Imamite descent of Ja‘far as-Sādiq always receives mention in the spiritual genealogy of the order, and is commonly described as Silsilat adh-Dhahab, “the Golden Chain.”[45]  The mainstream of the tarīqat is seen, however, as deriving from Abū Bakr, and the Imamite line is, in this connection, only a rivulet that joins and becomes intermingled with the current.[46] Silent dhikr is therefore to be regarded as characteristic of the initiatic chain. Dzaferagic is on somewhat stronger ground with respect to Naqshbandī tradition when he points out that one of Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband’s preceptors, Amīr Kulāl (who is buried close to his celebrated disciple at Qasr-i ‘Ārifān) himself engaged in vocal dhikr.[47]  Bahā ad-Dīn, however, explicitly abandoned such recitation and devoted himself to silent dhikr, his practice becoming normative for the order. In a certain sense, the links in the initiatic chain preceding Bahā ad-Dīn constitute only the prehistory of the order, and its practices and characteristics were crystallised with his coming.

It is almost as if Dzaferagic were somewhat embarrassed by the Bakrī line of the Naqshbandiya, and were attempting to substitute for it an ‘Alavī descent, at least by implication. Indeed, he goes beyond an insistence on the Imamite genealogy of Ja‘far as-Sādiq to connect the Naqshbandiya with all of the Twelve Imams. This too represents a curious and unexpected trait, for the Naqshbandī order has been celebrated historically for an attitude of militant hostility to Twelver Shi‘ism.[48]  In his treatise, Dzaferagic records certain prayers in which the patronage and blessings of the Twelve Imams are invoked. A gülbāng to be chanted before the performance of dhikr reads as follows:

Allah, Allah; aksamlar hayir ola; hayirlar feth ola; serrler def ola; hasïm ile dusmanlarïmïz kahr ola; on iki Imam’ïn himmeti üzerlerimize hazïr ola; erenlerimizi on iki Imam’ïn katarïndan ayïrmaya; erenleri iftiradan saklaya; muradlarïmïz hasïl ve niyazlarïmïz kabul ola. Gülbāng-i Muhammed: nur-u nebi, kerem-i Ali; pirimiz Muhammed Bahaeddin Uveysi, hazir ve nazir, zahir ve batin; HU, HU

“Allah, Allah, may our evenings be good; may good be unfolded to us; may evil be repelled from us; may our enemies and adversaries be subjugated; may the benevolent aid of the Twelve Imams be ever with us; may those among us who reach the goal be not severed from the train of the Twelve Imams; may they be shielded from slander; may our wishes be granted and our supplications accepted. This is the gulbang of Muhammad: the light of the Prophet, the nobility of ‘Alī; our pīr Muhammad Bahā ad-Dīn Uvaysī, present and watchful, outward and inward; HU, HU![49]

The khirqa, the cloak worn by the shaykh, is seen as a symbolic remembrance of the celebrated occasion when the Prophet enclosed in a single mantle (‘abā) himself, ‘Alī, Fātima, Hasan and Husayn. Accordingly, when it is donned, the following formula should be recited:

Hïrka-i hakikat, hulasa-ï tarikat, Al-i Abā’dan oldu bize emanet; destur-u padisah-i vilâyet, pirimiz Muhammed Bahaeddin Naksibend Uveysî el-Buhârî.…

“The cloak of truth, the essence of the Path, has come to us as a trust from the Family of the Mantle, by leave of the king of sanctity, our pīr Muhammad Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband Uvaysī al-Bukhārī…”[50]

While these formulae appear to have fallen into disuse, a certain Shi‘i colouring is still to be observed in the devotional life of the Bosnian Naqshbandis, constituting, together with the Qādirī-inspired mode of dhikr, a further syncretic element in their practices. The call to prayer at the Visoko tekke includes the additional shahāda otherwise found only in the Shi‘i adhān: Ashadu anna ‘Alīyyan walī-yullāh (“I bear witness that ‘Alī is the saint of God”).[51]  Among the ilāhīs sung in the meydan odasi at Visoko were several in praise of the Twelve Imams and of the “Family of the Mantle”.

It would be wrong to deduce from these and similar fragments of evidence the existence of serious Shi‘i tendencies among the Naqshbandis of Bosnia, whether past or present. Rather they should be taken as one more indication of the existence of a certain perennial ‘Alavī ferment in Sufism, deriving from the universally acknowledged status of ‘Alī as the fountainhead of the esoteric tradition in Islam.[52]

This spiritual presence of ‘Alī throughout the branches of Sufism is at times disposed to manifest itself in Shi‘i forms of expression, even in a Sunni context such as that of the Naqshbandis. The phenomenon may also be observed in other Sunni orders, notably the Mevlevī.[53]

Since the essential concept of the tarīqat is, moreover, opposed to competitive exclusiveness—notwithstanding certain historical exceptions, among the Naqshbandiya and other orders—it is felt to be necessary to accommodate within the overall framework of the esoteric tradition that line whose physical descent from ‘Alī complements their spiritual lineage—the Twelve Imams. This involves the adoption of certain devotional attitudes similar to those of the Shi‘a, without, however, causing abandonment of allegiance to one of the Sunni schools of law for the regulation of the outer practice of religion. Indeed, on a polemical plane, expressions of devotion to the Imams may be combined with a certain hostility to Twelver Shi‘ism. The celebrated Naqshbandī saint Maulānā Khālid, when passing through Mashhad on his way to India in the early nineteenth century, composed one poem in praise of the Imam Ridā and another in condemnation of the Shi‘i ulama of the city.[54]   In connection with the shrine of the Imam Ridā, it may be noted that one part of the old courtyard (sahn-i qadīm) is customarily reserved for the Hanafīs of Khorasan, among them some Naqshanbdis.[55]

This attitude of devotion to the Imams, capable of combination with hostility to Shi‘ism, is possible only by regarding the Imams exclusively as guardians of esoteric tradition, and as essentially unconnected with the distinctive exoteric forms evolved by the Shi‘a. The line of the Imams is shorn of all dynastic and political implications and seen instead as a unique kind of initiatic chain. This chain is not exclusive in its possession of initiatic authority, but equally it cannot be considered as merely equivalent to the genealogies of the Sufi orders. In the first place, its constituent links are members of the Ahl-i Bayt, the Family of the Prophet, and as such enjoy a special status, in addition to that conferred by spiritual accomplishment; secondly the links are joined together by physical as well as spiritual descent; and lastly the chain is not capable of indefinite extension, being terminated with the occultation of the Twelfth Imam. The Imams can then be regarded as a self-contained and cyclically closed tradition, situated nearer to the fountainhead of esoterism than are the Sufi orders, whose links stretch out over an indefinite period of time and unite men of diverse physical genealogy.

This view of the Imams, often encountered in Sunni esoterism, is diagrammatically represented on a chart that is commonly found hanging in tekkes and traditional households in both Bosnia and Turkey. In the middle of the chart is drawn a typical Ottoman fountain (cesme), on the side of which is inscribed the celebrated hadīth: “I am the city of knowledge, and ‘Alī is its gate.” Around the cesme are written in the form of a circle the names of the Chahārdah Masūm, the Fourteen Immaculate Ones—the Prophet, Fatima and the Twelve Imams. The rest of the chart is occupied by a depiction of the distinctive turbans of fourteen Sufi orders—six to the right of the cesme, six to its left and two beneath it. The correspondence in number between the Chahārdah Masūm and the orders depicted is not, of course, fortuitous. While the existing Sufi orders exceed fourteen in number, according to a current notion only fourteen of them are to be accepted as legitimate and authentic.[56]  This restriction of the “genuine” tarīqats to fourteen suggests a desire to conform in at least symbolic fashion to the Imamite tradition. It implies further that there is an essential identity between the two traditions: the Imamite, compact and drawn in a close circle around the source, and the Sufi orders, consisting of channels radiating away from the fountainhead.[57]

The Naqshbandī tarīqat in Bosnia is thus distinguished from the order elsewhere by Qādirī influences and a certain Shi‘i colouring that make it the heir to several initiatic chains, the point of confluence of different streams of esoteric tradition.[58]


Through the practices described and analysed above, the Naqshbandī tarīqat continues to play a role of importance in the religious life of practising Bosnian Muslims, though there can be little doubt that its importance has declined in the postwar period. Members of the order gather not only at the tekkes in Zivcic, Oglavak and Visoko, but also occasionally at mosques elsewhere in Bosnia—Fojnica, Travnik, Pales (a village near Kiseljak)—with the imam functioning as vekil. The shaykh of Zivcic exercises a certain general influence in the areas of Sarajevo and Fojnica on the believing Muslim population which extends beyond his status in the tarīqat, and it may even be said that for the majority of practising Muslims the exercise of religion is still associated —whether actively or not—with the order.

There is, however, a certain hostility to the Naqshbandiya (and to Sufism in general) observable in Bosnia. Many young Muslims, like their counterparts elsewhere in the Islamic world, decry the Sufi orders as corrupt and superstitious, as deviations from a “true Islam” conceived of as narrowly exoteric. Such sentiments are to be found, too, among the members of the official body that regulates the religious affairs of the Yugoslav Muslims, the Supreme Islamic Directorate (Vrhovno Islamsko Starjesinstvo), and it occasionally engages in propaganda against the tarīqats.[59] All tekkes in Bosnia-Hercegovina were in fact officially dissolved in 1952 by the regional Vakuf (waqf) assembly as being “devoid of cultural value”, and their goods were to form an endowment “administered by the competent authorities of the community”.[60] As in Turkey, official decree has, however, proved inadequate to put an end to the life of the tarīqats, and there seems in any event to be little inclination to suppress what activity is continued in the tekkes.

The Naqshbandī tarīqat not only forms an element of continuity with traditional Islam inside Bosnia, but also plays a role in sustaining contact between Muslims of the region and the Islamic world beyond. An increasing number of Bosnian pilgrims perform the hajj each year, travelling overland by bus to the Hijaz, through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.[61] Many of those who frequent the tekkes will be found among the pilgrims. On their journey to and from Mecca they have the opportunity of visiting Naqshbandī shaykhs in Istanbul and Damascus, as well as the shrines of the saints in Istanbul, Konya, Damascus, Baghdad and Medina. Above all, while in Mecca, against the matchless background of the Ka‘ba, they meet and converse with shaykhs and dervishes from all parts of the Islamic realm, and are thereby reminded of the universality of that still vital tradition to which they belong.[62]

The Naqshbandī tarīqat serves, then, outwardly as a link whereby the Muslims of Bosnia are connected to the geographical and symbolic centre of the faith, just as inwardly it is a means whereby the devotional life of the community is tied to the esoteric core of Islam.


Some ilāhīs from Bosnia:

Sirri Baba:[63]

Whoever attaches himself to the sanctuary of the saints,

   Will attain the blessing of (divine) generosity and win favour on the Day of Reckoning.[64]

Whoever plants the sapling of unity in the garden of unity,

   His words will be the unveiled essence of the secret of “I am the Truth”.[65]

Whoever enters the circle of dhikr and remembers God with frequent mention,

   Will drink the eternal wine from the hand of the Eternal Saqi.

Let laments mount to the Throne, proclaiming “Allah!” in love;

   Let lamenting bodies turn into reed-pipes, and breasts become like rebabs!

Both lover and ascetic have seen Thee in the form of Adam;

   I, Sirri, am the manifestation of “I was a treasure”;[66]  this is my final word![67]

If thou wishest to be a dervish, Thou must cleanse thy heart.
Ascribe no partners to God— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh!
Repent of thy sins, Return not to them,
Be a slave to dear God— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh!
To be a slave is beauty, Not to obey is a sin.
To seek pay is shameful— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh!
Whatever the intention, God knows all; Hypocrisy is a pit for the Sufi.[68]
He seeks only God’s good pleasure. Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh
Thou must know that all comes from God,  And forget all others;
Thou must constantly affirm His Being— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh
The Book says this: He is worse than an animal
Whoever does not burn with love— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh
Heed what is the divine command, Remember God full well,
With all thy heart (say) “O God”— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh.
This world soon shall pass, And the angel shall come for thy soul.
But help there will be for us here— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh.
Look now upon Sirri, He has compassion for all the dervishes,
And day and night he says— Lā ilāha illā ’Llāh![69]


Sejh Bahaedin Hadzimejlic:[70]

I came to thy door, A command was given to me,
And humbly I stood on the threshold,  Doing, ceaseless battle with the carnal soul.
With humility I said to thee, “Fulfil thy promise.
Mercy, O Shaykh, help, O Pīr! Mercy, O Shaykh, help, O Pīr!
I bear the burden of (Satan) the foul But I was once a servant, so receive me!
My sins are laid to rest with thee, So inscribe me in thy book.
In truth I love thee much, Lead me to my home”.


[*] This is the first of a series of studies on the Naqshbandī order arising from a year’s research in Europe and the Near East that was undertaken with the support of the Social Science Research Council, support here gratefully acknowledged. Sincere thanks are also offered to Dr. Dzemal Cehajic of the Orientalni Institut, Sarajevo, Hadzi Sulhi Hadzimejlic of Visoko and Husejn Hadzimejlic of Zivcic for the kindness and assistance they extended to me during my visits to Bosnia. This article was first published in Die Welt des Islams, XIII (1972).

[1] Concerning Mollā Abdullāh ilāhī, see Lami’ī Celebī, Nefahāt el-Uns Tercemesi (Istanbul, 1270/1854), pp. 460-465; Taskopruzāde, Sakayik-i Numāniye, Turkish translation by Mecdī Efendi (Istanbul, 1289/1872), pp. 262-265; and Kasim Kufrali, “Mollā Ilāhī ve kendisinden sonraki Naksbendiye muhiti,” Turk Dili ve Edebiyati Dergisi, III (1948), 129-151. Of the writings of Ilāhī, so far only his Persian and Turkish poetry has been published: Ilāhī Divāni (Istanbul, 1960), a facsimile of the manuscript at the Orhan library in Bursa with an introduction by Ismail Hikmet Ertaylan. I hope to make a detailed study of Ilāhī and his works.

[2] Information drawn from Evliyā Celebī, Seyāhatnāme, ed. Ahmed Cevdet (Istanbul 1315/1897), V. 432; annotated Serbo-Croation translation of parts of the Seyāhatnāme by Hazim Sabanovic under the title of Putopis: odlomci o jugo-slavenskim zemljama (Sarajevo, 1967), p. 110, n. 90; E. Hakki Ayverdi, “Yugoslavya’da Turk Abideleri ve Vakiflari,” Vakiflar Dergisi, III (1956), 205; Alija Bejtic, “Skender Pasina Tekija,” Novi Behar, XVI 1944), 24-26; and Sakir Sikiric, “Derviskolostorok és szent sirok Bosniaban,” Turan, n.v. (1918), pp. 577-580.

[3] Founded by Maulānā Khālid Baghdādī (d. 1242/1826), concerning whom see Ibrahīm Fasīh Efendī Haydarizāda, Al-majd at-tālid fi manāqib Maulānā Khālid (Istanbul, 1316/1898), and other sources to be cited in my forthcoming monograph on Maulānā Khālid.

[4] Although there are seven shaykhs buried at the tekke, it appears to have derived its name originally from seven other tombs now enclosed in an adjoining cemetery: those of a dervish who came to Bosnia with Sultan Mehmet Fatih; of two men wrongfully executed for theft; and of four captains put to death for their negligence in opposing Count Eugene of Savoy’s invasion of Bosnia in 1697. The tekke temporarily passed from the Naqshbandī to the Halvetī order in the late nineteenth century, See Sikiric, op. cit., p. 222.

[5] The phenomenon of syncretic dhikr is to be encountered in Turkey also. In Adapazari, for example, joint Naqshbandī-Qādirī dhikr is performed every Saturday. It may be considered in part as an outcome of the pressures that have been exerted upon the orders, in both Bosnia and Turkey, and which encouraged the formation of a defensive alliance among them; and, more significantly, as a natural consequence of multiple affiliation to different orders. See pp. 18-19 below.

[6] Cf. Qur’an, 41:53. Concerning the similar predilection of the Bektashis for imposingly sited tekkes, see J. K. Birge, The Bektashi Order of Dervishes (London 1937), pp. 174-175.

[7] To the right of the main entrance of the tekke, a plaque is set into the wall, bearing this inscription in somewhat broken Arabic: “This retreat was built for wayfarers on the path by the heir of the Master of the Prophets, the servant of the Naqshbandī order, the preceptor of men, Sejh Husejn Zukic the Bosnian, in the year 1195.” Sejh Husejn Baba is sometimes referred to as Qutb az-Zamān, “Pole of the Age”, that is, the head of the invisible spiritual hierarchy by means of which divine grace is channelled to creation.

[8] On the history of the Muradiye tekke, see anonymous, Cumle-i Cevāmi ve Zevāyā, ms. Bibliothèque Nationale, Supplément Turc, 1084, f. 129a; and Hafiz Huseyin Ayvansaraī, Hadikat el-Cevāmi (Istanbul, 1281/1864), I, 292-294. In the latter, the nisba of Seyh Hafiz Munammed is given as Canakhisarī. On the life of Sirhindi, see Muhammad Hāshim Badakhshānī, Zubdat al-Maqāmāt (Cawnpore, 1308/1890).

[9] For his biography, see Muhammad Khalīl al-Murādī, Silk ad-durar fī a‘yān al-qarn ath-thanī-‘ashar (Bulaq, 1301/1883), IV, 129-121; and Muhammed Mekki Efendi, Manākib-i Hazret-i, Seyh Muhammed Murad, ms. Seyh Murad Buharī (Suleymaniye) 256.

[10] The Celebi at the time appears to have been one Ebubekr Efendi. See Abdulbaki Gölpinarli, Mevlānādan sonra Mevlevilik (Istanbul, 1953), pp. 169-170. Devotion to the figure of Maulānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī has been a constant feature in the history of the Naqshbandī tarīqat; I hope to devote a paper to the subject in the near future.

[11] This biography of Sejh Husejn is drawn from Sikiric, op. cit., pp. 597-598; and the Turkish mersiye composed in 1294/1877 by Sakir Efendi, son of Sirri Baba, that hangs on the wall of Sejh Husejn’s tomb in Zivcic. The former gives 1214 as his date of death and the latter 1213 (cami‘ mugni tamam tarih-i rihlet-i Seyh Huseyin).

[12] A conjectural translation of a somewhat obscure original.

[13] In this line, Mejli Baba is playing upon the meanings of his own name (meyl—inclination) and that of Sirri Baba (sirr—true essence, inward nature).

[14] A reference to the iron ring forged around Mejli Baba’s ankle.

[15] Sikric, op. cit., pp. 598-599.

[16] It appears that Sejh Hasan Efendi at one point contemplated emigrating to Istanbul because of the Austrian occupation of Bosnia-Hercegovina. A letter dated 1298/1881 from a certain Sayyid Muhammad ‘Arif in Istanbul urging him to stay in Bosnia, is preserved at the Zivcic tekke.

[17] Sejh Abdullatif Efendi was celebrated for his wondrous deeds. One of his followers, Ismet Hadziabdic of Kiseljak, told me that the shaykh had, one wet day, anticipated his arrival at the tekke, although unannounced, and held ready for him a change of clothing.

[18] A feature copied possibly from certain Bektashi tekkes that contain two twelve-sided sema’hane (for example, that at Göztepe near Istanbul).

[19] Since the Muslim day begins at sunset, it would be more correct to say that this dhikr takes place in the early hours of Friday.

[20] This translation, made originally in the Arabic script, has recently been re‑published in Latin letters by Resad Kadic. Concerning previous editions, see Werner Lehfeldt, Das serbokroatische Aljamiado-Schrifttum der bosnisch-hercegovinischen Muslime (Munich, 1969), pp. 36-38.

[21] Sikiric, op. cit., p. 600.

[22] The fullest collection of Sirri Baba’s Serbo-Croation ilāhīs has been assembled by Sakir Sikiric in “Pobozne pjesme (Ilahije) Sejh Abdurrahmana Sirrije”, Glasnik Vrhovnog Starjesinstva Islamske Vjerske Zajednice, IX (1941), 332-354, 362-373. Specimens of his poetry are also to be found in Scheich Seifuddin Efendi Kemura and Vladimir Corovic, Serbokroatische Dichtungen bosnischer Moslims aus dem XVII, XVIII und XIX Jahr-hundert (Sarajevo, 1912), pp. 59ff.; F. S. Krauss, Slavische Volksforschungen (Leipzig, 1908), pp. 22ff.; M. beg Kapetanovic, Narodno blago (Sarajevo, 1887), II, 228, 232-234, and Istocno blago (Sarajevo, 1897), II, 288ff. Mention of Sirri Baba’s Turkish poetry is made by Safvet beg Basagic in Bosnjaci i Hercegovci u islamskoj knijeznevosti (Sarajevo, 1912), p. 64. One of his Serbo-Croation ilāhīs is included in the appendix to this article.

[23] Sakir Sikiric was, among his other accomplishments, a scholar of Persian, and he wrote a grammar of Persian in Serbo-Croatian, as well as composing a chrestomathy of classical authors.

[24] The sphere is to be regarded as the most perfect form, containing within it the maximum amount of potential differentiation. See René Guénon, Le symbolisme de la croix, new edition (Paris, 1957), p. 107. It might be remarked in passing that the Ahl-i Haqq of Kurdistan sometimes compare creation to an egg resting in the hand of the Creator (see Nūr Alī-Shāh Elahi, L’Esotérisme, Kurde [Paris, 1966,] p. 17).

[25] See Sikiric, “Derviskolostorok”, p. 600. The building of the second konak was celebrated in a Turkish poem composed by Muidovij Mehmed Sakir Efendi, mufti of Sarajevo at the time. The poem is quoted by Sikiric.

[26] This account is taken from the introduction by Adem Karadozovic to his translation of Ahmed Zarifi Baba’s Pendname published under the title of Zbirka Savjeta i Uputa (Sarajevo, 1970), pp. 6-9. Karadozovic was a murīd of Hafiz Husni Efendi. On pp. 11-12 he quotes a Turkish kasīde written by him in praise of Visoko and its people. Hafiz Husni Efendi also founded Naqshbandī tekkes at Prusac and Travnik, but these did not outlive him.

[27] The salutation consisted of the following: As-salāt wa ’s-salām ‘alayka, yā rasulullāh; as-salāt wa ’s-salām ‘alayka, ya habībullāh; as-salāt wa ‘s-salām ‘alayka, yā shafi’ullāh.

[28] This notion of the heart being permanently imprinted with the name Allāh is the true sense of the name Naqshband that was borne by the founder of the order. It is sometimes pictorially represented by a heart in the middle of which the Supreme Name is inscribed. Such pictures are frequently found in Naqshbandī tekkes and homes.

[29] These few remarks are not intended to constitute an exhaustive analysis of Naqshbandī dhikr. I hope to examine the subject independently and more adequately on another occasion. The intention here is only to supply an account of the forms practised in Bosnia.

[30] Khatm, in normal usage, denotes a complete recitation of the Qur’an, from beginning to end. Its use to designate a partial recitation implies the belief that those chapters recited constitute the essence of the Qur’an and, in a sense, embrace its whole content. Concerning the Khwājagān, see Hasan Lutfī Susud, Islam Tasavvufunda Hācegān Hānedāni (Istanbul, 1958), and the traditional sources cited in his work.

[31] An exhaustive analysis of the significance of the Khatm-i Khwājagān is given by Abdullāh Salāhī Balikesirli in Esrār-i Nihān ez Envār-i Hatm-i Hācegān, ms. ‘Arif Hikmat library, Medina, 10/79.

[32] The word rābita has a certain technical significance in the Naqshbandī tarīqat, denoting the inner link between the murīd and his shaykh which should underpin all devotional practice.

[33] The composition of the Khatm-i Khwājagān sometimes differs from that set forth here.

[34] Numerous printings of the Aurād-i Fathīya exist, as well as countless manuscripts. We will mention here only a lithographed edition produced in Sarajevo in 1336/ 1918 to finance the restoration of the türbe of Sirri Baba at Oglavak, and a printing, together with Turkish translation and commentary, in Mehmed Nuri Semseddin el-Naksibendī, Miftāh ul-Kulub, new edition (Istanbul), 1969), pp. 401-589. Concerning recitation of the Aurād-i Fathīya in Turkistan for warding off sickness and misfortune, see Sadriddin Ayni, Yoddoshto, contained in kulliyot (Dushanbe, 1962), VI, 10.

[35] The Aurād-i Bahā’īya is to be found with Turkish translation in Miftā ul-Kulub, pp. 592-621, and with an Arabic commentary by Muhammad al Khālidī in al-Aurād al-Bahā’īya (Cairo, 1298/1881), pp. 2-15.

[36] For a Naqshbandī statement of the ancestry of the two modes of dhikr, see Mustafa Mustakīm Niyazī, Suluk-u Kavīm ve Sirāt-i Mustakīm, ms. Celebi Abdullāh Efendi (Suleymaniye) 173/1, f. 7a.

[37] Fakhr ad-Dīn ‘Alī Safī, Rashahāt ‘Ayn al-Hayāt (Tashkent, 1239/1911), pp. 49ff.

[38] Certain of the shaykhs of Zivcic have had Mevlevī, Qādirī and Rifā‘ī affiliations, while being primarily identified as Naqshbandīs.

[39] The Qādirī silsila of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi is given by Kamāl ad-Dīn al-Harīrī in his neglected encyclopedic work on Sufism, Tibyān Wasā’il al-Haqā’iq wa Salāsil at-Tarā’iq, ms. Ibrahim Efendi (Suleymaniye) 430, II, f. 98a.

[40] It might be noted in passing that Bahā ad-Dīn is represented in certain Qādirī sources as having been aided by the “spiritual body” (ruhaniya) of ‘Abd al-Qādir at a critical point in his mystical career. See ShaykhAbd al-Qādir al-Qādirī al-Irbīlī, Tafrīj al-Khātir (Alexandria, 1300/1883), pp. 24-25.

[41] The following verse in Persian, copied by Bahaedin, one of the sons of Sirri Baba, was also noted hanging on the wall of the Oglavak tekke: Be a dog at the threshold of the elders, if thou desirest proximity to God; For the dog at Gilani’s threshold is more ennobled than the lion.

[42] It should be remarked that the lack of precise factual information about the life and sayings of Bahā ad-Dīn Naqshband does not of course cancel or even contradict the Naqshbandī affiliation of the dervishes in question, since this depends upon the integrity of the initiatic chain connecting them with the founder of the order and transmitting his baraka to them. The relative obscurity of Bahā ad-Dīn may in part derive from the lack in Bosnia of any serious literature on the order, particularly in recent times. In oral tradition, by contrast—both in Bosnia and elsewhere—‘Abd al-Qādir appears to hold a firmer and more prominent place than Bahā ad-Dīn.

[43] Ms. Gazihusrefbeg Library, Sarajevo, 4447. The manuscript is dated 1301/1884.

[44] F. 5b.

[45] See, for example, Maulānā ‘Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī’s masnavī of this title in Haft Zurang, ed. Murtadā  Mudarris Gilānī (Tehran, 1337 solar/1958), pp. 2-309.

[46] This is diagrammatically represented in Muhammad b. Husayn Qazvīnī, Silsila-Nāma-yi Khwājagān-i Naqshband, ms, Lāleli (Suleymaniye) 1381, f. 2b. Other mss. of same work: Bibliothèque Nationale, Supplément Persian, 1418: Sehid Ali Pasa (Suleymaniye) 2893; Esad Efendi (Suleymaniye) 1487; Lālā Ismail (Suleymaniye) 1281; ‘Arif Hikmat Library, Medina, 22/106.

[47] Risalat at-Tarīqat an-Naqshabandiya. f. 5b.

[48] This hostility has been marked in Iranian Kurdistan, an area of direct confrontation with Shi‘ism. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a Naqshbandī shaykh of the region, ‘Ubayjdullāh, led an important uprising which was at least as much religious as political in its motivation (see N. A. Khalfin, Bor’ba za Kurdistan (Moscow, 1963), pp. 108-134). One contemporary Shi‘i scholar, Kāmil ash-Shībī, regards the Bakrī line of the Naqshbandiya as a retrospective invention inspired purely by hostility to Shi‘ism (al-fikr ash-shi‘ī wa’n-naza‘āt as-sūfiya [Baghdad, 1386/1966]), p. 329.

[49] Risālat al-Tarīqat an-Naqshabandiya, f. 8a (margin). The syntax and sense of this last part of the gulbāng are uncertain.

[50] Ibid., f. 8b (margin).

[51] It does not, however, contain the other distinctive phrase of the Shi‘i adhān: Hayy ‘ala khayri ’l-‘amal (“Hasten to the best of deeds”).

[52] By “ ‘Alavī” we do not intend here any genealogical or sectarian implications.

[53] See the extremely interesting material assembled by Gölpinarli in Mevlānā’dan sonra Mevlevilik, pp. 224-243.

[54] Maulānā Khālid Baghdādī, Dīvān, (Bulaq, 1260/1844), pp. 41-42, 68.

[55] There is a Naqshbandī khānaqāh at Turbat-i Jām, presided over by Shaykh Hājjī Fakhr ad-Dīn Ahmadī, a man of great learning and piety. Other Naqshbandīs in Khorasan owe their spiritual loyalty to various shaykhs across the Afghan border.

[56] The identity of the fourteen tarīqats thus regarded as genuine is subject to variation, and is of little importance in this context. It is sometimes said that the legitimate orders are twelve in number, not fourteen, in which case the figure corresponds, of course, to the Twelve Imams alone.

[57] The range of problems involved in these last considerations is extremely complex, and deserving of detailed and separate treatment on another occasion. For a masterly summary of the problem of the relationship between Sufism and Shi‘ism, see Seyyed Hossein Nasr, “Le Shi‘isme et le soufisme: leurs relations principielles et historiques,” in Le Shi‘isme Imamite (Paris, 1970), pp. 215-233.

[58] It may be noted in passing than one branch of the Naqshbandī order in Afghanistan also practises vocal dhikr; in this case the deviation is a result of Yasavī influence. Concerning the founder of this branch, Sūfī Islām (d. 1222/1807), see Asīl ad-Dīn Haravī, et al., Risāla-yi Mazārāt-i Harāt, ed. Fikrī Saljūqī (Kabul, 1346 solar/ 1967), pp. 154-157; and the anonymous Risāla-yi Islāmīya (ms. in the Naqshbandī khānaqāh at Karrukh near Herat).

[59] Vincenzo Strika, “La communità religiosa islamica della Jugoslavia”, Oriente Moderno, XLVII (1967), 38.

[60] Ibid., p. 37. See too H. Talic, “Odluka o prestanku rada tekija u NR B/H,” Glasnik Vrhovrog Islamskog Starjesinstva, III (1952), 199.

[61] The number of Yugoslav pilgrims in 1389/1970 was 1517, somewhat less than the previous year’s total of 1554 (see Ihsā’iyat Hujjāj Bayt Allāh al-Harām [Mecca, 1389/1370], p. 13). Probably about half of the pilgrims were from Bosnia-Hercegovina, and half from Macedonia and other regions of Yugoslavia.

[62] These remarks are based upon personal observation during the hajj of 1389/1970. The convergence of the pilgrimage routes at the Ka‘ba mirrors the meeting of the Sufi paths at that central point—haqīqat—to which they all lead.

[63] The text of this and the following two poems was copied from an undated manuscript in the possession of Hadz Sulhi Hadzimejlic of Visoko. There are certain metrical irregularities to be noticed, particularly in the kasīde of Mejli Baba; and the obscurity of some lines suggests that the text has been corrupted.

[64] This translation of sabib-i yevm ul-hisab is conjectural.

[65] The famous utterance of Husayn b. Mansūr al-Hallāj (d. 922).

[66] The first part of the celebrated hadīth qudsī: “I was a hidden treasure, and I desired to be known; thus I brought creation into being, that I might be known”.

[67] Fasl al-Khitāb, an expression drawn from the Qur’an, 38: 20. It is also the title of an important work by the early Naqshbandī master, Khwāja Muhammad Pārsā d. 822/1419) (ms. India Office, Ethé 1855). Sirri Baba may be alluding here to this work.

[68] Text and translation of this line are conjectural.

[69]This poem, as well as that of Sejh Bahaedin Hadzimejlic, was translated in collaboration with Professor Robert Whyte of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of California, Berkeley.

[70]Text transliterated from the original manuscript at the Zivcic tekke.

Original editorial inclusion that followed the essay in Studies:
Ramdas can tell you in all truth and sincerity that there is no Sadhana easier than the repetition of the Name. It can take you to the highest spiritual eminence by giving you the all-comprehensive knowledge of God. Sri Ramakrishna had gone through various Sadhanas for twelve years. Ultimately, whenever anybody went to him for spiritual advice, he would ask them to take only the name of God. This is the essence of all Sadhanas.
Swami Ramdas.