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Between Heterodox and Sunni Orthodox Islam: The Bektaşi Order in the Nineteenth Century and Its Opponents

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In the first quarter of the nineteenth century Ottoman society, especially in cities suffered from a dichotomy. On the one hand there existed for several centuries the Bektaşi which was heterodox order. But in the eighteenth century there started to expand from India a new sufi order: the Naqshbandi – Mujaddidi order known to have been a shari’a minded and highly orthodox order. The result was a dichotomy between religious trends the clash between which reached a high level in 1826. Following the destruction of the janissaries, the Bektaşi order lost its traditional protector and few weeks later was abolished. But a generation later it started to experience a beginning of a revival and by the mid 1860s it started to practice unhindered. But after the rise of Sultan Abdülhamid II (in 1876) the Bektaşis were again forced to practice clandestinely. However, they supported Mustafa Kemal in the national struggle.

Affiliations: 1: University of Haifa, Israel,


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