Thursday, March 18, 2010

Haydar Ali, Sultan Ali...

Hu Erenler...

These are Balkan Qadiri-Rifa'i videos

The first is a dhikr--  as I mentioned in my last post, this is a group of Balkan Qadiris who also have substantial Shi'i/Alevi leanings, yet the foundation of their worship at the tekke is dhikr, rather than semah.  Their dhikr is also very much on the ecstatic Qalendar side of things, rather than the more subdued side exemplified by most of the more mainline tariqas.  Speaking of which, you might want to be a little careful clicking around on the related videos column... this particular tekke does some rather exuberant knife and skewer play in some of the other videos on the same channel.  But I promise you...  no dervishes were harmed in the making of these 3 videos. ;)

I should mention that though such things are quite common in those branches of the Rifa'i and Qadiri with the most intense devotion to the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) there is absolutely no  history of any use of swords, knifes, etc in the Bektashi or Alevi traditions whatsoever (contrary to the writings of some published authors).  I have seen various explanations of the source of that ritual, but none are fully convincing.  And, of course, I must also emphasize that the great majority of Rifa'i and Qadiri do not do that either.  As Cem told me once, "Many Rifa'is used to swallow hot coals, eat fire, play with it and roll around in it. Some still do.  And we still 'play with fire' but what we're interested in here is the metaphorical fire.  The fire of Ashk."

Speaking of which, here it is...

Another video of this same Qadiri-Rifa'i group-- actually you can see the singer from the last video in the middle of the dhikr circle.

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