Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN

In the introduction of Ma'rifetmame Ibrahim Hakki from Erzurum, a great Islamic scholar, states, "God created both worlds for man; he created man for his ability to know God." This statement taken from the Koran contains an important truth: man's main task on earth is to know his creator. To make this task easy, Muslim scholars have written many articles and books, and developed methods. Thus, various true tarikats (Sufi orders) which show the path to reach God, have come into existence throughout the Islamic world. These Sufi orders are the Kadiris, the Rifais, the Shadhilis, the Kubraviz, the Ekberis, the Sühreverdis, the Chestis, and the Yesevis. Still today there are many members and friends of these orders in Islamic countries as well as Turkey. It is obvious that religious orders and sufism have very strong roots in our country's history and culture. Our people sincerely love and respect them, and visit the graves of many saints, for example, Yunus Emre, Mevlana, Haci Bektas-i Veli, Haci Bayram-i Veli, Esrefoglu Rumi, Merkez Efendi, Sumbul Efendi, Niyazi-i Misri, Semseddin Sivasi, and Abdulehad-i Nuru.

Recently, the frequently mentioned Naqshibend Order is one of the main paths to esoteric knowledge. The Naqshis, who has taken the name from the famous Turkish sheik from Buhara, Bahaeddin-i Naqshibend (1318-1389), is a religious school. As stated in Meydan Larousse, "Naqshibandy is an order which uphold all Sunni views and which is chosen by those who are tightly bound to their religion." It has existed for centuries and has an important place in the Turkish history and culture. It has spread to many countries and has been accepted by many people. As part of the country's historical background, this order has had many famous scholars, and virtuous people and leaders. Millions of people in and out of Turkey belong to this order. Among the many honorable members of this order were the spiritual guide Imam-i Rabbani who valiantly struggled against unorthodox sects and beliefs in the time of Akbarshah (?--1605) in India, the unforgettable hero from Caucasia, Sheik Shamil, and most of the turbaned warriors who fought the Turkish War of Independence. Also, a number of leaders and groups who struggled against the Russians in Afghanistan are members of this order.

According to some news in the English press, the Naqshis are still a quiet but effective force in the Soviet Union. In spite of the communist propaganda and religious oppression, the Naqshi religious order has enabled Muslims, especially Central Asian Turks, to keep their identity.

Nowadays in Turkey, the Naqshi order is divided into various branches, some of which are active in rural areas and others are active in cultural centers. In their midst, many poets, scholars, writers, lectures, müftis, heads of religious affairs, professors, doctors, engineers, ministers, deputies and administrators have been raised and, in turn, have performed valuable service. They continue to serve their nation and humanity effectively by publishing magazines and newspapers, and directing schools, courses and foundations.

According to Uluç Gürkan, a newspaper reporter, "In comparison with other religion orders, Naqshibendis are mild-mannnered and comtemporary minded."

(Islam, December 1988)