|Beliefs and practices|
|Branches of Shi'ism|
Alevism (also called spiritual shiism or Sufi-shia, Turkish: Alevîlik, Persian: علویان) is a religious group within Shia Islam combined with Sufi elements such as those of the Bektashi tariqa. Alevis claim to be the followers of Muhammad, his Ahl al-Bayt, his Twelve Imams, and their descendant, the Alevi saint and Sufi master Haji Bektash Veli. They believe the path of Haji Bektash Veli is the path of Ali ibn Abu Talib.1 Believers live almost entirely in Turkey, with minorities in Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Crimea, the Caucasus, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Iran,2 Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tatarstan, and the Turkish Diaspora (esp. Germany). Alevis are among larger Turkish, Turkmen, Tatar, Azeri, Zaza and Kurdish sub-ethnic communities.
Alevism is also a group identity which is variously interpreted as cultural (emphasizing special traditions of poetry, music and dance), humanistic and/or political - whether leftist or Kemalist. They are not to be confused with another minority, the Alawites3
- 1 Alevi identity
- 2 Etymology
- 3 Alevi Islamic School of Theology (Madh'hab)
- 4 History
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Beliefs
- 7 Practices
- 8 Society
- 9 Relations with other Muslim groups
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Alevi worship and other social activities take place in assembly houses (cemevi). The ceremony (âyîn-i cem, or simply cem) features music, singing, and dancing (semah) in which both women and men participate. Rituals are performed in Turkish, Kurmanji, Zazaki, and other local languages. The size of the Alevi population is likewise disputed, but most estimates place them somewhere between ten and twenty million people, primarily in Turkey.citation needed
"Alevi" is generally explained as referring to Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. The name represents a Turkish form of ‘Alawī (Arabic: علوي) "of or pertaining to Ali". Another explanation is that it comes from "Alev" ("flame" in Turkish) in reference to fire which is extensively used in Alevi rituals.
Alevi used to be grouped as Kızılbaş ("redheads"), a generic term used by Sunni Muslims in the Ottoman Empire for the various Shia sects from the 15th century. Many other names exist (often for subgroupings), among them Tahtacı "Woodcutters", Abdal "Bards" and Çepni.citation needed
In Turkey, Shia Muslim people belong to the Jafari Islamic school, which tracks back to the sixth Shia Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (also known as Imam Jafar-i Sadiq), are called as the Ja'farīs, who belong to Twelver Shia. Although the Alevi Turks are being considered as a part of Twelver Shia Islam, they are different than the Jafarī Muslims in their convictions and beliefs.
- "The Alevi-Turks" has a unique and perplex conviction tracing back to Kaysanites Shia and Khurramites which are considered as Ghulat Shia. According to Turkish scholar Abdülbaki Gölpinarli, the Qizilbash ("Red-Heads") of the 16th century - a religious and political movement in Azerbaijan that helped to establish the Safavid dynasty - were "spiritual descendants of the Khurramites".6
- Among the members of the "Qizilbash-Tariqah" who are considered as a sub-sect of the Alevis, two figures firstly Abu Muslim Khorasani who assisted Abbasids to beat the Ummayyads but later eliminated and murdered by Caliph Al-Mansur, and secondly Bābak Khorram-Dīn who incited a rebellion against the Abbasids and consequently was killed by Caliph al-Mu'tasim are highly respected. This belief provides strong clues about their Kaysanites Shia and Khurramites origins. In addition, the "Safaviyya Tariqah" leader Shāh Ismāʿīl is a highly regarded individual in the belief of "Alevi-Qizilbash-Tariqah" associating them with the Imamah conviction of the doctrine of the "Twelver Shi'a Islam".
- Their Aqida (theological conviction) is based upon a syncretic fiqh system called as "Tasawwufī-Batiniyya-Ismailism"7 which incorporates some Qarmatian sentiments, originally introduced by "Abu’l-Khāttāb Muhammad ibn Abu Zaynab al-Asadī",89 and later developed by "Maymun al-Qāddāh" and his son "ʿAbd Allāh ibn Maymun",10 and "Mu'tazila" with a strong belief in Twelve Imams.
- Not all of the members believe that the fasting in Ramadan is obligatory although some Alevi-Turks performs their fasting duties partially in Ramadan.
- Some Shamanistic beliefs still are common amongst the Qizilbash Alevi-Turks in villages.
- On the other hand, the Bektashis has a conviction of "Batiniyya Ismailism"7 and "Hurufiyya" with a strong belief in the Twelve Imams.
- In conclusion, Qizilbash-Alevi-Bektashis are not Ja'farīs, even though they can be considered as members of different Shia-Tariqat all looks like sub-classes of Twelver-Shia. Their conviction includes "Batiniyya-Hurufism" and "Qarmatian-Ismailism" sentiments.117
- They all may be considered as special groups like Nusayris who are in the class of Ghulat Twelver Shia not following the Ja'fari jurisprudence but a special Batiniyya belief somewhat similar to Ismailism in their conviction.
- In conclusion, Ithna 'ashariyah branch of Shī'ī Muslim population of Turkey is composed of Mu'tazila aqidah of Ja'fari jurisprudence madh'hab, Tasawwufī-Batiniyya aqidah of Maymūn’al-Qāddāhī fiqh of the Alevīs, and Cillī aqidah of Maymūn ibn Abu’l-Qāsim Sulaiman ibn Ahmad ibn at-Tabarānī fiqh of the Alawites,1213 who altogether constitutes nearly one third of the whole population of the country. (Over two thirds of the population, on the other hand, overwhelmingly constitute Maturidi aqidah of the Hanafi fiqh and Ash'ari aqidah of the Shafi'i fiqh of the Sunni followers.)
Following poem is (one) source to be concerned:
- belongs to: Edip Harabi, ~1900, Istanbul
Aleviness developed out of Shi'a Islam. Some consider the Alevi part of an "extremist" trend (ghulū) within Shia Islam, like the Alawite sect of Syria.14 Otherswho? emphasize elements of a pre-Islamic substrate within Aleviness, as in the case of groups such as the Yaresan and the Yezidis, Zoroastrian influence might play some part. Stillwho? others detect the influence of Eastern Orthodox Christianity or Gnosticism. More than one of these viewpoints might be true simultaneously.
The Turkic tribes of northern Iran and eastern Anatolia were converted to Shia Islam during the Ilkhan Mongol period. Yunus Emre and Haji Bektash Veli were early saints of this period who would later become associated with Aleviness. The Qizilbash emerged from this milieu as a militant Sufi order centered in Ardabil whose leader Ismail I succeeded in conquering Persia.citation needed
Because of their heterodox beliefs and practices, Alevis have been the target of historical and recent oppression. They sided with the Persian Empire against the Ottoman Empire and forty thousand Alevis were killed in 1514 by the Ottomans.15 The Qizilbash of Anatolia found themselves on the "wrong" side of the Ottoman-Safavid border after the 1555 Peace of Amasya. They became subjects of an Ottoman court which viewed them with suspicion. In that troubled period under Suleiman the Magnificent the Alevi people were persecuted and murdered.citation needed
Alevis were early supporters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whom they credit with ending Ottoman-era discrimination against them, while Kurdish Alevis viewed his rise with caution. However, Kemalism lost some of its appeal during the 1960s, as many Alevis turned towards more left-wing politics.
On July 2, 1993, Alevis were celebrating the Pir Sultan Abdal Festival. Coming out of mosques after their Friday's prayer, a mob of roughly 20,000 Sunni fundamentalists surrounded the Madimak Hotel in downtown Sivas, chanting anti-Alevi and pro-sharia slogans.16 The events quickly escalated and the mob ultimately set the hotel on fire and pelted the building with stones. While the fire killed thirty-seven Alevis, several members of the police, soldiers, and the fire department did nothing to stop the fire, or save the victims. The events surrounding the massacre were captured by TV cameras and broadcast all over the nation and the world. Every year, during the anniversary of the massacre, various Alevi organizations call for the arrest of those responsible. 33 individuals were sentenced to death in 1997 for crimes related to the massacre, but they were never executed, in part because Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2002. The hotel is slated to be turned into a memorial museum to the event.
There was also a drive-by shooting of Alevis in Istanbul's Gazi neighborhood in 1995 which resulted in the death of some Alevis. Then when protests followed, police periodically opened fire on the demonstrators. When the protests were over, there were a total of fifteen Alevis killed. The result was a revival of Alevi identity, and debate over this identity which continues today.citation needed
The Alevi population has been estimated as follows:
- "approx. 15 million..." —Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi.18
- In Turkey, 15 percent of Turkey's population (approx. 10.6 million) —David Shankland19
- "Most Alevi writers and spokespersons claim that Turkey's population today is one-third Alevi-Bektashi, or more than 20 million. Lower estimates range from 10 to 12 million."—John Schindeldecker.20
- "The Alevi constitute the second-largest religious community in Turkey (following the Sunnis), and number some 25% (15 million) of the total population (Alevis claim 30%–40%). Most (?) Alevis are ethnic and linguistic Turks, mainly of Turkmen descent from Central and Eastern Anatolia. Some 20% of Alevis are Kurds (though most Kurds are Sunni), and some 25% of Kurds in Turkey are Alevi (Kurmanji and Zaza speakers)." —David Zeidan.21
- "15 to 20 million..." —Olli Rehn, from the 1996 (Camiel) "Eurlings Report" to the European Commission (on the suitability of Turkish accession to the EU).
- "...a world total of between 15 and 25 million adherents. There is no independent data for their numbers, so these statistics are estimates or conjectures." —"Alevism," from The Encyclopedia of the Orient.
In June 2008, several Turkish newspapers reported that the Turkish military had commissioned three universities to research the ethnic demography of Turkey. The study was done in 2000 and included all ethnic groupings. According to the results, the Alevi population of Turkey, including those who currently reside in Europe, is around 10 million.
Alevis have been subjected to persecution (often deadly) for centuries. Due to this fact, some have been assimilated. It is not clear how effective the above study is in including those who might be more timid about advertising their Alevi origins.
Some of the Kurdish Alevis speak Kurmanji or Zazaki. Some Alevis are Azeris. Despite universalist rhetoric (and in contrast with Islam in general, or the Bektashi order), Alevi communities do not generally acknowledge the possibility of conversion to Aleviness.
Alevi communities are concentrated in central Anatolia, in a belt from Çorum in the west to Muş in the east. The only province within Turkey with an Alevi majority is Tunceli, formerly known as Dersim. Beginning in the 1960s, many Alevis have migrated to the large cities of western and southern Turkey—and to western Europe, especially Germany—and are now heavily urbanized.
A Turkish scholar working in France has distinguished four main groups among contemporary Alevis, which cautiously show their distinctive features in modern Turkey.23
- The first congregation is mainly represented by the urban area population and emerged during the period of the Republic of Turkey. For many decades, this group of people belonged to the political left and presumed "the Aleviness" just as an outlook on the individual human life rather than a religious conviction by persistently renouncing the ties of the Batiniyya-Alevism with the Ithna 'ashariyah political branch of the Shī'ī Islam. The followers of this congregation, who later turned out to be the very stern defenders of the Chinarism, hold ritual unions of a religious character and have established cultural associations named after Pir Sultan Abdal as well. According to their philosophy, human being should enjoy a central role reminiscent of the doctrine of Khurramites, and as illustrated by the Hurufiyya phrase of "God is Man" quoted above in the context of the Trinity.
- The second group of people, who adopted some aspirations of Christian mysticism, is more directed towards heterodox mysticism and stands closer to the Hajji Bektashi Brotherhood. According to the philosophy developed by this very last group of congregation, Christian mystic St Francis of Assisi and Hindu Mahatma Gandhi are being supposedly considered as better believers of God than those of Muslims as it should expectedly be in that manner, since the concept of God in Islam has already been embodied by the supreme authority of Allah.
- The third group regards themselves as true Muslims and are prepared to cooperate with the state. It adheres to the way of Jafar as-Sadiq, the sixth Imam. Its concept of God is closer to that of orthodox Islam, but like the two groups already mentioned it considers the Quran to have been manipulated by the early Sunni Caliphs in order to eliminate Ali.
- The fourth is said to be under active influence from official Iranian Shi'a to be confirmed adherents to Athnā‘ashariyyah Shia and to reject Bektashism. It follows Sharia and opposes secular state power.
Alevi beliefs are hard to define, since Aleviness is a diverse movement without any central authority, and its boundaries with other groups are poorly demarcated. Many teachings are based on an orally transmitted tradition which has generally been kept secret from outsiders (but is now widely accessible).
The basis for Aleviness's most distinctive beliefs is found in the Buyruks (compiled writings and dialogues of Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (eponym of the Safavi order), Ja'far al-Sadiq (the Sixth Imam), and other worthies). Also included are hymns (nefes) by figures such as Shah Ismail or Pir Sultan Abdal, stories of Hajji Bektash and other lore. Gokhan Can
Alevis believe in the unity of Allah, Muhammad, and Ali, but this is not a trinity composed of God and the historical figures of Muhammad and Ali. Rather, Muhammad and Ali are representations of divine energies, the first of which is Allah.
|Left side: Ali ibn Abi Talib, Center: Prophet Muhammad, Right side: Allah. (Reflections of the Qizilbash-Bektashi belief)|
In Alevi writings there are many references to the unity of Muhammad and Ali, such as:
- Ali Muhammed'dir uh dur fah'ad, Muhammed Ali
- Gördüm bir elmadır, elhamdü-lillâh
- Ali is Muhammed, Muhammed is Ali;
- I saw an apple, all praise is for God24
For some, the linking of the three together seems polytheistic and not in line with monotheistic Islamic teachings, but Alevis counter that such people do not understand the batini meaning of the Alevi equation of Allah-Muhammed-Ali.
The Twelve Imams is another common Alevi belief. Each Imam represents a different aspect of the Universe and are realised as twelve services or oniki hizmet which are performed by members of the Alevi community. Each Imam is believed to be a reflection of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the first Imam of the Shi'ites, thus we find references to the "First Ali" (Birinci Ali), Imam Hasan the "Second 'Ali" (İkinci Ali), and so on up to the "Twelfth 'Ali" (Onikinci Ali), Imam Mehdi. The Twelfth Imam is hidden and represents the Messianic Age.
There are two sides to creation, one goes from a spiritual centre to plurality, the other goes from plurality to the spiritual centre. Plurality is the separation of pure consciousness from the divine source. It is seen as a curtain alienating creation from the divine source, and an illusion which in Aleviness is called the Zâhirî or the Exoteric side to reality. The hidden or true nature of creation is called the Bâtınî or the Esoteric.
The fact of plurality in nature is attributed to the infinite potential energy of Kull-i Nafs when it takes corporeal form as it descends into being from Allah. During the Cem ceremony, the cantor or aşık sings:
- "All of us alive or lifeless are from one, this is ineffable, Sultan.
- For to love and to fall in love has been my fate from time immemorial."
This is sung as a reminder that the reason for creation is love, so that the followers may know themselves and each other and that they may love that which they know.
Linked to the concept of the Prototypal Human is that of the "Perfect Human Being" (Insan-i Kamil). Although it is common to refer to Ali and Haji Bektash Veli or the other Alevi saints as manifestations of the perfect human being, the Perfect Human Being is also identified with our true identity as pure consciousness, hence the Qur'anic concept of human beings not having original sin, consciousness being pure and perfect. The human task is to fully realise this state while still in material human form.
The Perfect Human Being is also defined in practical terms, as one who is in full moral control of his or her hands, tongue and loins (eline diline beline sahip); treats all kinds of people equally (yetmiş iki millete aynı gözle bakar); and serves the interests of others. One who has achieved this kind of enlightenment is also called eren or munavver.
The Alevi spiritual path (yol) is commonly understood to take place through four major life-stages, or "gates". These may be further subdivided into "four gates, forty levels" (dört kapı kırk makam). The first gate (religious law) is considered elementary (and this may be perceived as subtle criticism of other Muslim traditions).
The following are major crimes that cause an Alevi to be declared düşkün (shunned):25
- killing a person
- committing adultery
- divorcing one’s wife
Most Alevi activity takes place in the context of the second gate (spiritual brotherhood), during which one submits to a living spiritual guide (dede, pir, mürşit). The existence of the third and fourth gates is mostly theoretical, though some older Alevis have apparently received initiation into the third.26
Musahiplik (roughly, "Companionship") is a covenant relationship between two men of the same age, preferably along with their wives often called spiritual brotherhood (manevi kardeşlik).
Part of a series on Shia Islam
|The Fourteen Infallibles|
- Mürşid or Dede: This is the leader of the Cem who represents Muhammad and Ali. The Dede receives confession from the attendees at the beginning of the ceremony. He also leads funerals, Müsahiplik, marriage ceremonies and circumcisions. The status of Dede is hereditary and he must be a descendant of Ali and Fatima.
- Rehber "Guide": This position represents Husayn. The Rehber is a guide to the faithful and works closely with the Dede in the community.
- Gözcü: This position represents Abu Dharr al-Ghifari. S/he is the assistant to the Rehber. S/he is the Cem keeper responsible for keeping the faithful calm.
- Çerağcı: This position represents Jabir ibn Abd-Allah and s/he is the light-keeper responsible for maintaining the light traditionally given by a lamp or candles.
- Zakir: This position represents Bilal ibn al-Harith. S/he plays the bağlama and recites songs and prayers.
- Süpürgeci: This position represents Salman the Persian. S/he is responsible for cleaning the Cemevi hall and symbolically sweeping the carpets during the Cem.
- Meydancı: This position represents Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman.
- Niyazcı: this position represents Muhammad ibn Maslamah. S/he is responsible for distributing the sacred meal.
- İbrikçi: this position represents Kamber. S/he is responsible for washing the hands of the attendees.
- Kapıcı: this position represents Ghulam Kaysan. S/he is responsible for calling the faithful to the Cem.
- Peyikçi: this position represents Amri Ayyari.
- Sakacı: represents Ammar ibn Yasir. Responsible for the distribution of water, sherbet, milk etc..
Many folk practices may be identified, though few of them are specific to the Alevis. In this connection, scholar Martin van Bruinessen notes a sign from Turkey's Ministry of Religion, attached to Istanbul's shrine of Eyüp Sultan, which presents
...a long list of ‘superstitious’ practices that are emphatically declared to be non-Islamic and objectionable, such as lighting candles or placing ‘wishing stones’ on the tomb, tying pieces of cloth to the shrine or to the trees in front of it, throwing money on the tomb, asking the dead directly for help, circling seven times around the trees in the courtyard or pressing one’s face against the walls of the türbe in the hope of a supernatural cure, tying beads to the shrine and expecting supernatural support from them, sacrificing roosters or turkeys as a vow to the shrine. The list is probably an inventory of common local practices the authorities wish to prevent from re-emerging.27
Other, similar practices include kissing door frames of holy rooms; not stepping on the threshold of holy buildings; seeking prayers from reputed healers; and making lokma and sharing it with others.
Newruz "New Day" is the Iranian New Year observed on 21 March (the Spring equinox) as a celebration of newness and reconciliation. It is celebrated by many modern Turkic peoples as well. Apart from the original beliefs of the Zoroastrians regarding the New Year, Alevis also celebrate and commemorate the birth of Ali, his wedding with Fatima, the rescue of the prophet Yusuf from the well, and the creation of the world on this day. Various cems and special programs are held.
Hıdırellez honors the mysterious figure Khidr (Turkish: Hızır) who is sometimes identified with the prophet Elijah (Ilyas), and is said to have drunk of the water of life. Some hold that Khidr comes to the rescue of those in distress on land, while Elijah helps those at sea; and that they meet at a rose tree in the evening of every 6 May. The festival is also celebrated in parts of the Balkans by the name of "Erdelez," where it falls on the same day as Đurđevdan or St. George's Day.
Khidr is also honored with a three-day fast in mid-February called "Hızır Orucu" (Khidr Fasting). In addition to avoiding any sort of comfort or enjoyment, Alevis also abstain from food and water for the entire day, though they do drink liquids other than water during the evening.
Note that the dates of the Khidr holidays can differ among Alevis, most of whom use a lunar calendar, but some a solar calendar.
The Muslim month of Muharram (Turkish: Mâtem Orucu) begins 20 days after Eid ul-Adha (Kurban Bayramı). Alevis observe a fast for the first twelve days. This culminates in the festival of Ashura (Aşure), which commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn at Karbala. The fast is broken with a special dish (also called aşure) prepared from a variety (often twelve) of fruits, nuts, and grains. Many events are associated with this celebration, including the salvation of Husayn's son Ali ibn Husayn from the massacre at Karbala, thus allowing the bloodline of the family of the prophet to continue.
The solstice and equinox celebrations and their confusion with historical and human incarnations are very well mirrored in Christian religious, and even political, celebrations, e.g. May Day and Christmas, and more closely still with Celtic traditions.
Alevis are not expected to give Zakat in the Islamic mode, and there is no set formula or prescribed amount for charity. A common method of Alevi almsgiving is through donating food (especially sacrificial animals) to be shared with worshippers and guests. Alevis also donate money to be used to help the poor, to support the religious, educational and cultural activities of Alevi centers and organizations (dergâh, vakıf, dernek), and to provide scholarships for students.
While Aleviness does not recognize an obligation to go on pilgrimage, performing ziyarat and du'a at the tombs of Alevi-Bektashi saints or pirs is quite common. Some of the most frequently visited sites are the shrines of Şahkulu and Karacaahmet (both in Istanbul), Abdal Musa (Antalya), Battal Gazi (Eskişehir), the annual celebrations held at Hacıbektaş (16 August) and Sivas (the Pir Sultan Abdal Kültür Etkinlikleri, 23–24 June).
In contrast with the traditional secrecy of the cem ritual, the events at these cultural centers and sites are open to the public. In the case of the Hacibektaş celebration, since 1990 the activities there have been taken over by Turkey's Ministry of Culture in the interest of promoting tourism and Turkish patriotism rather than Alevi spirituality.
Some Alevis make pilgrimages to mountains and other natural sites believed to be imbued with holiness.
Alevi religious services, referred to collectively as Cem or Âyîn-î Cem, include spiritual exercises that incorporate elements of zikr ("remembrance" or recitation of God's names, in this case without controlled breathing, but with some elements of body posturing) and "Samah" (ritual dance). The latter is accompanied by sung mystical poetry in the vernacular, and by the sacred ritual instrument known as baglama or saz (a plucked folk lute with frets).
Such music is performed by specialists known as zâkir, aşik, sazende or güvende, depending on regional usage. They are recruited from Alevi communities and descended from dede lineages. Many are also known to be poet/minstrels (aik, ozan) who perpetuate the tradition of dervish-lodge (tekke) poets such as Yunus Emre (13th century), Nesîmî (14th century), Pir Sultan Abdal, Hata'î and Genç Abdal (16th century) and Kul Himmet and Kul Hüseyn (17th century). The poetry was composed in the Turkish vernacular and follows the principles of folk prosody known as hece vezne in which the focus is the number of syllables.
The specialized sacred musical repertoire of Alevi musicians includes
- Deyiş (Dayesh - songs of mystical love)
- Nefes (Nafas - hymns concerning the mystical experience)
- Düvaz or dıwes imâm (Duvāz - hymns in honor of the 12 Alid imams)
- Mersiye (Marseyyah - laments concerning the martyrdom of Imam Huseyn at Karbala)
- Miraçlama (Merāj - songs about the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven)
- Semah (Samāh - ritual dance accompanied by folk lutes and sung poetry)28
The dances are performed with dignity by couples, and choreographies employ circle and line formations as well as arrangements where couples face one another, thus synchronizing their movements more closely. As the tempo of the music increases, the figures become more complex and intense. There are many regional variants of Samāh, but the most widespread and important are the Dance of the Forty (The Kırklar Samāh) and the Dance of the Cranes (The Turnalar Samāh).
The Âyîn-i Cem can be heard on the JVC CD in Turkey. An Esoteric Sufi Ceremony. Unfortunately for non-specialists, the notes are very vague and give no indication of location, performers, musical genres or poetic forms. The recording was made in Istanbul in 1993, and the ceremony includes in an order typical of a Cem: a deyi that reiterates the line of descent of the sect in a historical framework, two düvaz (one based on the poetry of Hatayi, and the other on the poetry of Kul Himmet), prayer formulas, the illâllâh genre that incorporates the tahlîl formula into the poem to create an atmosphere of zikr while sect members create rhythmic intensity by hitting their knees in time to the music and sway their bodies slightly, the Dance of the Forty (Kırklar Semahı), the Dance of the Cranes (Turnalar Semahı) and prayer formulas.
Alevis have a significant role in Turkish music and poetry. Pir Sultan Abdal, a 16th-century Alevi poet whose poems and songs often contain spiritual themes, is revered as a saint and hero. Important figures are the Sufi poet Yunus Emre, widely regarded as having been Alevi, and Kaygusuz Abdal. Their poems shape Turkish culture up to now, and are also performed by modern artists. Songs attributed to these poets have been embraced by left-wingers in the 20th century. The aşık bards are also influenced by Alevi tradition.
Many of the major traditional musicians in Turkey are Alevi, including Arif Sağ, Musa Eroğlu, Erdal Erzincan, Aşık Mahzuni Şerif, Aşık Feyzullah Çınar, Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu, Ali Ekber Çiçek, Sabahat Akkiraz, Belkıs Akkale, and Ulaş Özdemir. Other non-Alevis, such as Ruhi Su, have recorded many Alevi songs. Mercan Dede, an artist whose music combines electronic and traditional Sufi elements, has made some songs involving Alevi themes in cooperation with singer Sabahat Akkiraz.
The phrase mum söndü ("The candle went out") alludes to an accusation about a holy moment of some cem rituals in which twelve candles (representing the Twelve Imams) are doused with water. For centuries it has been widely spread among Sunnis to demean Alevis by accusing them of having orgies after blowing off the ritual candles.29 This is nothing more than an unfounded rumour.30 This accusation has especially been used during the time of the Safavid-Ottoman conflict, as means to justify killing of the Qizilbash people, which were declared "infidels" by the Ottomans.citation needed
In contrast to the Bektashi tariqa, which like other Sufi orders is based on a silsila "initiatory chain or lineage" of teachers and their students, Alevi leaders succeed to their role on the basis of family descent. Perhaps ten percent of Alevis belong to a religious elite called ocak "hearth", indicating descent from Ali and/or various other saints and heroes. Ocak members are called ocakzades or "sons of the hearth". This system apparently originated with Safavid Persia.
Alevi leaders are variously called murshid, pir, rehber or dede. Groups that conceive of these as ranks of a hierarchy (as in the Bektashi tariqa) disagree as to the order. The last of these, dede "grandfather", is the term preferred by the scholarly literature. Ocakzades may attain to the position of dede on the basis of selection (by a father from among several sons), character, and learning. In contrast to Alevi rhetoric on the equality of the sexes, it is generally assumed that only males may fill such leadership roles.
Traditionally Dedes did not merely lead rituals, but led their communities, often in conjunction with local notables such as the ağas (large landowners) of the Dersim Region. They also acted as judges or arbiters, presiding over village courts called Düşkünlük Meydanı.
Ordinary Alevi would owe allegiance to a particular dede lineage (but not others) on the basis of pre-existing family or village relations. Some fall instead under the authority of Bektashi dargah (lodges).
In the wake of 20th century urbanization (which removed young laborers from the villages) and socialist influence (which looked upon the Dedes with suspicion), the old hierarchy has largely broken down. Many Dedes now receive salaries from Alevi cultural centers, which arguably subordinates their role. Such centers no longer feature community business or deliberation, such as the old ritual of reconciliation, but emphasize musical and dance performance to the exclusion of these.32 Dedes are now approached on a voluntary basis, and their role has become more circumscribed—limited to religious rituals, research, and giving advice.
According to John Shindeldecker "Alevis are proud to point out that they are monogamous, Alevi women worship together with men, Alevi women are free to dress in modern clothing, Alevi women are encouraged to get the best education they can, and Alevi women are free to go into any occupation they choose.
According to Australian anthropologist Dr. Sevgi Kilic, while Alevi women do not experience gender segregation in the private and public domain they are subject to traditional male values about women's sexuality and constructed within the honor/shame paradigm. This ethnography is the first on Alevi women in Turkey and argues that Alevi identity is complex, diverse and rich in its theory and practice.
Hence, while rural Alevi women subscribe to traditional conservative views about women's status in the family, these ideas are rapidly changing within an urban environment, where many are compelled to work as domestic servants and in other low paid jobs. Alevi women are not required to wear a headscarf or other bodily coverings. According to Kilic this is because Alevi identity is very much focused on the internal rather than the external representation and covering women's hair or concealing the female body in and of itself cannot legitimize women's moral, social, political and economic worth. Thus an unveiled Alevi woman cannot impugn her honour or her communities. Thus Alevi women's bodies are what Kilic calls paradoxically 'neutral' and acts as an "ideology of difference."
Alevis are classified as a sect of Shia Islam,33 as Alevis accept Twelver Shi‘a beliefs about Ali and the Twelve Imams, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed Alevis to be part of the Shia fold in the 1970s.34 There are, however, Alevi philosophies, customs, and rituals that are appreciably different than those of Twelver Shias in Iraq and Iran. According to more orthodox Sunni Muslims, Alevis are labeled as "ghulat" groups, since Alevis praise Ali beyond what mainstream Muslims would expect. He and Muhammad are likened to the two sides of a coin, or the two halves of an apple. Some even speak of a trinity of God, Muhammad, and Ali.
|Sufism and Tariqa|
Despite this essentially Shi‘i orientation, much of Aleviness' mystical language is inspired by Sufi traditions. For example, the Alevi concept of God is derived from the philosophy of Ibn Arabi and involves a chain of emanation from God, to spiritual man, earthly man, animals, plants, and minerals. The goal of spiritual life is to follow this path in the reverse direction, to unity with God, or Haqq (Reality, Truth). From the highest perspective, all is God (see Wahdat-ul-Wujood). Alevis admire Mansur Al-Hallaj, a 10th-century Sufi who was accused of blasphemy and subsequently executed in Baghdad for saying “I am the Truth” (Ana al-Haqq).
The relationship between Alevis and Sunnis is one of mutual suspicion and prejudice dating back to the Ottoman period. Sunnis have accused Alevis of heresy, heterodoxy, rebellion, betrayal and immorality. Alevis, on the other hand, have argued that the Quran does not demand five prayers, nor mosque attendance, nor pilgrimage, and that the Sunnis distorted early Islam by omitting, misinterpreting, or changing the meaning of verses from the Quran with fabricated hadith, especially those dealing with Ali and ritual practice.35
Alevis see Sunni mentality as originating in Arabia and as contrary to the Turkish national character. Some Alevis believe Sunnah and Hadith were Arab elite innovations, created to ensure Arab dominance of Islam and to enslave the masses through manipulation. Sunnism, according to the Alevis, is not true Islam but an aberration that by its strict legalism opposes free and independent thought and is seen as reactionary, bigoted, fanatic, and antidemocratic. Alevis believe Sunni nationalism is intolerant, domineering, and unwilling to recognize Alevi uniqueness.36
In today's political arena Alevis see themselves as a counterforce to Sunni fundamentalism in Turkey. Alevis, who have a great interest in blocking the rising fundamentalist influence, are the main allies of the democratic secularists, and are also searching for alliances with moderate Sunnis against the extremists. They are demanding that the state recognize Aleviness as an official Islamic community equal to, but different from, Sunnism. As yet the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) only represents and promotes Sunni Islam based on the Hanafi school of law, and does not recognise Alevis.
There is some tension between folk tradition Aleviness and the Bektashi Order, which is a Sufi order founded on Alevi beliefs.37 In certain Turkish communities other Sufi orders ( the Halveti-Jerrahi and some of the Rifa'i) have incorporated significant Alevi influence.
Despite ethnographic differences between Alevis living in Turkey and the Alawites in Syria, their historical and religious ties remain strong even across national boundaries. The Syrian civil war and social unrest in Turkey show both ethnic demarcations that are relevant to the conflict in the Levant. On the one hand, Alevis are mostly a Shiite minority that tend to emphasize secular government, on the other hand, some of their mystical and Sufi-influenced spiritual beliefs are not tolerated by the Sunni majority. The recent plan to expand Ottoman architecture on Taksim Square has encountered stiff resistance by some Alevis in Turkey and Western Europe.38 At the same time, many Alevis in Turkey do support the current ruler Bashar al-Assad in Syria.39
- de Bellaigue, Christopher (December 19, 2013). "Turkey: ‘Surreal, Menacing…Pompous’". New York Review of Books. Retrieved 12 December 2013. "Turkey’s Alevis have only a hazy affinity with Syria’s Alawites"
- "Erdogan, Iran, Syrian Alawites, and Turkish Alevis". The Weekly Standard. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia ... - Gisela Procházka-Eisl, Stephan Procházka, Stephan Procházka - Google Břger. Books.google.dk. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Roger M. Savory (ref. Abdülbaki Gölpinarli), Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Kizil-Bash", Online Edition 2005
- Encyclopedia Iranica, "BĀṬENĪYA"
- Encyclopedia Iranica, "ABU’L-ḴAṬṬĀB ASADĪ"
- Encyclopedia Iranica, "ḴAṬṬĀBIYA"
- Encyclopedia Iranica, "ʿABDALLĀH B. MAYMŪN AL-QADDĀḤ"
- Öztürk, Yaşar Nuri, En-el Hak İsyanı (The Anal Haq Rebellion) – Hallâc-ı Mansûr (Darağacında Miraç - Miraç on Gallows), Vol 1 and 2, Yeni Boyut, 2011.
- "Muhammad ibn Āliyy’ūl Cillī aqidah" of "Maymūn ibn Abu’l-Qāsim Sulaiman ibn Ahmad ibn at-Tabarānī fiqh" (Sūlaiman Affandy, Al-Bākūrat’ūs Sūlaiman’īyyah - Family tree of the Nusayri Tariqat, pp. 14-15, Beirut, 1873.)
- Both Muhammad ibn Āliyy’ūl Cillī and Maymūn ibn Abu’l-Qāsim’at-Tabarānī were the murids of "Al-Khaṣībī," the founder of the Nusayri tariqat.
- bar-Asher, Meier; Aryeh Kofsky (2002). The Nusayrī-‘Alawī Religion: An Enquiry into its Theology and Liturgy. Jerusalem Series on Religion and Culture 1. Boston: Brill. p. 1.
- Jack David Eller,(1999), From culture to ethnicity to conflict, p.148
- "Sivas Katliamı Belgeseli". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- "T.C. Resmi Gazete". Resmigazete.gov.tr. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- From the introduction of Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East edited by her, B. Kellner-Heinkele, & A. Otter-Beaujean. Leiden: Brill, 1997.
- Structure and Function in Turkish Society. Isis Press, 2006, p. 81).
- From his Turkish Alevis Today.
- "The Alevi of Anatolia," 1995.
- Μποζανίνου Τάνια. "ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ - Αλεβίτες, οι άγνωστοι "συγγενείς" μας - κόσμος". Tovima.gr. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Bilici, F: "The Function of Alevi-Bektashi Theology in Modern Turkey", seminar. Swedish Research Institute, 1996
- These and many other quotations may be found in John Shindeldecker's Turkish Alevis Today.
- Also see, Öztürk, ibid, pp. 78-81. In the old days, marrying a Sunni [Yezide kuşak çözmek] was also accepted as an offense that led to the state of düşkün. See Alevi Buyruks
- Kristina Kehl-Bordrogi reports this among the Tahtacı. See her article "The significance of musahiplik among the Alevis" in Synchronistic Religious Communities in the Near East (co-edited by her, with B. Kellner-Heinkele & A. Otter-Beaujean), Brill 1997, p. 131 ff.
- Religious practices in the Turco-Iranian World, 2005.
- Semah should not be confused with Mevlevi Order Sema.
- Muslims in 21st Century Europe: Structural and Cultural Perspectives by Anna Triandafyllidou p60
- Ferhat Kentel (2010). "'Nationalist Reconstructions'". In Marlies Casier, Joost Jongerden. Nationalisms and Politics in Turkey: Political Islam, Kemalism and the Kurdish Issue. Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 978-0415583459.
- Dabashi, Theology of Discontent, p.463
- See Martin Stokes' study.
- Miller, Tracy, ed (October 2009). "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population, Pew Research Center" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- Nasr, V: "The Shia Revival," page 1. Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc, 2006
- Karin Vorhoff. 1995. Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identitat in der Türkei der Gegenwart, pp. 107-108.
- Karin Vorhoff. 1995. Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identitat in der Türkei der Gegenwart, pp. 95-96.
- Ataseven, I: "The Alevi-Bektasi Legacy: Problems of Acquisition and Explanation", page 1. Coronet Books Inc, 1997
- "Überall ist Taksim: Zehntausende demonstrieren in Köln gegen Erdogan" (in German) Spiegel online Politik. 2013-06-22.
- J. Gettleman (June 2012). NYTimes.com. As Syria War Roils, Unrest Among Sects Hits Turkey Retrieved 2013-06-22.
- General introductions
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2000). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 1 Band: Kimlik ve Tarih / Identität und Geschichte. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 59/2000). ISBN 3-89173-059-4
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2001). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 2 Band: İnanç ve Gelenekler / Glaube und Traditionen. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 60/2001). ISBN 3-89173-061-6
- Engin, Ismail & Franz, Erhard (2001). Aleviler / Alewiten. Cilt 3 Band: Siyaset ve Örgütler / Politik und Organisationen. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient Institut (Mitteilungen Band 61/2001). ISBN 3-89173-062-4
- Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina (1992). Die Kizilbas/Aleviten. Untersuchungen uber eine esoterische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Anatolien. Die Welt des Islams, (New Series), Vol. 32, No. 1.
- Kitsikis, Dimitri (1999). Multiculturalism in the Ottoman Empire : The Alevi Religious and Cultural Community, in P. Savard & B. Vigezzi eds. Multiculturalism and the History of International Relations Milano: Edizioni Unicopli.
- Kjeilen, Tore (undated). "Alevism," in the (online) Encyclopedia of the Orient.
- Shankland, David (2003). The Alevis in Turkey: The Emergence of a Secular Islamic Tradition. Curzon Press.
- Shindeldecker, John (1996). Turkish Alevis Today. Istanbul: Sahkulu.
- White, Paul J., & Joost Jongerden (eds.) (2003). Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Leiden: Brill.
- Yaman, Ali & Aykan Erdemir (2006). Alevism-Bektashism: A Brief Introduction, London: England Alevi Cultural Centre & Cem Evi. ISBN 975-98065-3-3
- Zeidan, David (1999) "The Alevi of Anatolia." Middle East Review of International Affairs 3/4.
- Kurdish Alevis
- Bumke, Peter (1979). "Kizilbaş-Kurden in Dersim (Tunceli, Türkei). Marginalität und Häresie." Anthropos 74, 530-548.
- Gezik, Erdal (2000), Etnik Politik Dinsel Sorunlar Baglaminda Alevi Kurtler, Ankara.
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (1997). "Aslını inkar eden haramzadedir! The Debate on the Kurdish Ethnic Identity of the Kurdish Alevis." In K. Kehl-Bodrogi, B. Kellner-Heinkele, & A. Otter-Beaujean (eds), Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East (Leiden: Brill).
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (1996). Kurds, Turks, and the Alevi revival in Turkey. Middle East Report, No. 200, pp. 7–10. (NB: The online version is expanded from its original publication.)
- White, Paul J. (2003), “The Debate on the Identity of ‘Alevi Kurds’.” In: Paul J. White/Joost Jongerden (eds.) Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview. Leiden: Brill, pp. 17–32.
- Alevi / Bektashi history
- Birge, John Kingsley (1937). The Bektashi order of dervishes, London and Hartford.
- Brown, John (1927), The Darvishes of Oriental Spiritualism.
- Küçük, Hülya (2002) The Roles of the Bektashis in Turkey’s National Struggle. Leiden: Brill.
- Mélikoff, Irène (1998). Hadji Bektach: Un mythe et ses avatars. Genèse et évolution du soufisme populaire en Turquie. Leiden: Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts, volume 20, ISBN 90-04-10954-4.
- Shankland, David (1994). “Social Change and Culture: Responses to Modernization in an Alevi Village in Anatolia.”In C.N. Hann, ed., When History Accelerates: Essays on Rapid Social Change, Complexity, and Creativity. London: Athlone Press.
- Yaman, Ali (undated). "Kizilbash Alevi Dedes." (Based on his MA thesis for Istanbul University.)
- Ghulat sects in general
- Halm, H. (1982). Die Islamische Gnosis: Die extreme Schia und die Alawiten. Zurich.
- Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Krisztina, & Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean, eds. (1997) Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East. Leiden: Brill, pp. 11-18.
- Moosa, Matti (1988). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects, Syracuse University Press.
- Van Bruinessen, Martin (2005). "Religious practices in the Turco-Iranian world: continuity and change." French translation published as: "Les pratiques religieuses dans le monde turco-iranien: changements et continuités", Cahiers d'Études sur la Méditerranée Orientale et le Monde Turco-Iranien, no. 39-40, 101-121.
- Alevi Identity
- Erdemir, Aykan (2005). "Tradition and Modernity: Alevis' Ambiguous Terms and Turkey's Ambivalent Subjects", Middle Eastern Studies, 2005, vol.41, no.6, pp. 937–951.
- Koçan, Gürcan/Öncü, Ahmet (2004) “Citizen Alevi in Turkey: Beyond Confirmation and Denial.” Journal of Historical Sociology, 17/4, pp. 464–489.
- Olsson, Tord & Elizabeth Özdalga/Catharina Raudvere, eds. (1998). Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute.
- Stokes, Martin (1996). “Ritual, Identity and the State: An Alevi (Shi’a) Cem Ceremony.”In Kirsten E. Schulze et al. (eds.), Nationalism, Minorities and Diasporas: Identities and Rights in the Middle East,, pp. 194-196.
- Vorhoff, Karin (1995). Zwischen Glaube, Nation und neuer Gemeinschaft: Alevitische Identität in der Türkei der Gegenwart. Berlin.
- Alevism in Europe
- Geaves, Ron (2003) “Religion and Ethnicity: Community Formation in the British Alevi Community.” Koninklijke Brill NV 50, pp. 52– 70.
- Kosnick, Kira (2004) “‘Speaking in One’s Own Voice’: Representational Strategies of Alevi Turkish Migrants on Open-Access Television in Berlin.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30/5, pp. 979-994.
- Massicard, Elise (2003) “Alevist Movements at Home and Abroad: Mobilization Spaces and Disjunction.” New Perspective on Turkey, 28, pp. 163–188.
- Rigoni, Isabelle (2003) “Alevis in Europe: A Narrow Path towards Visibility.” In: Paul J. White/Joost Jongerden (eds.) Turkey’s Alevi Enigma: A Comprehensive Overview, Leiden: Brill, pp. 159–173.
- Sökefeld, Martin (2002) “Alevi Dedes in the German Diaspora: The Transformation of a Religious Institution.” Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 127, pp. 163–189.
- Sökefeld, Martin (2004) “Alevis in Germany and the Question of Integration” paper presented at the Conference on the Integration of Immigrants from Turkey in Austria, Germany and Holland, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, February 27–28, 2004.
- Sökefeld, Martin & Suzanne Schwalgin (2000). “Institutions and their Agents in Diaspora: A Comparison of Armenians in Athens and Alevis in Germany.” Paper presented at the 6th European Association of Social Anthropologist Conference, Krakau.
- Thomä-Venske, Hanns (1990). “The Religious Life of Muslim in Berlin.” In: Thomas Gerholm/Yngve Georg Lithman (eds.) The New Islamic Presence in Western Europe, New York: Mansell, pp. 78–87.
- Wilpert, Czarina (1990) “Religion and Ethnicity: Orientations, Perceptions and Strategies among Turkish Alevi and Sunni Migrants in Berlin.” In: Thomas Gerholm/Yngve Georg Lithman (eds.) The New Islamic Presence in Western Europe. New York: Mansell, pp. 88–106.
- Zirh, Besim Can (2008) “Euro-Alevis: From Gasterbeiter to Transnational Community.” In: Anghel, Gerharz, Rescher and Salzbrunn (eds.) The Making of World Society: Perspectives from Transnational Research. Transcript; 103-130.
- Vorhoff, Karin. (1998), “Academic and Journalistic Publications on the Alevi and Bektashi of Turkey.” In: Tord Olsson/Elizabeth Özdalga/Catharina Raudvere (eds.) Alevi Identity: Cultural, Religious and Social Perspectives, Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, pp. 23–50.
- Turkish-language works
- Ata, Kelime. (2007), Alevilerin İlk Siyasal Denemesi: (Türkiye Birlik Partisi) (1966–1980). Ankara: Kelime Yayınevi.
- Aydın, Ayhan. (2008), Abidin Özgünay: Yazar Yayıncı ve Cem Dergisi Kurucusu. İstanbul: Niyaz Yayınları.
- Balkız, Ali. (1999), Sivas’tan Sydney’e Pir Sultan. Ankara: İtalik.
- Balkız, Ali. (2002), Pir Sultan’da Birlik Mücadelesi (Hızır Paşalar’a Yanıt). Ankara: İtalik.
- Bilgöl, Hıdır Ali. (1996), Aleviler ve Canlı Fotoğraflar, Alev Yayınları.
- Coşkun, Zeki (1995) Aleviler, Sünniler ve … Öteki Sivas, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları.
- Dumont, Paul. (1997), “Günümüz Türkiye’sinde Aleviliğin Önemi” içinde Aynayı Yüzüme Ali Göründü Gözüme: Yabancı Araştırmacıların Gözüyle Alevilik, editör: İlhan Cem Erseven. İsntabul: Ant, 141-161.
- Engin, Havva ve Engin, Ismail (2004). Alevilik. Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi.
- Gül, Zeynel. (1995), Yol muyuz Yolcu muyuz? İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Gül, Zeynel. (1999), Dernekten Partiye: Avrupa Alevi Örgütlenmesi. Ankara: İtalik.
- Güler, Sabır. (2008), Aleviliğin Siyasal Örgütlenmesi: Modernleşme, Çözülme ve Türkiye Birlik Partisi. Ankara: Dipnot.
- İrat, Ali Murat. (2008), Devletin Bektaşi Hırkası / Devlet, Aleviler ve Ötekiler. İstanbul: Chiviyazıları.
- Kaleli, Lütfü. (2000), “1964-1997 Yılları Arasında Alevi Örgütleri” içinde Aleviler/Alewiten: Kimlik ve Tarih/ Indentität und Geschichte, editörler: İsmail Engin ve Erhard Franz. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 223-241.
- Kaleli, Lütfü. (2000), Alevi Kimliği ve Alevi Örgütlenmeri. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Kaplan, İsmail. (2000), “Avrupa’daki Alevi Örgütlenmesine Bakış” içinde Aleviler/Alewiten: Kimlik ve Tarih/ Indentität und Geschichte, editörler: İsmail Engin ve Erhard Franz. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 241-260.
- Kaplan, İsmail. (2009), Alevice: İnancımız ve Direncimiz. Köln: AABF Yayınları.
- Kocadağ, Burhan. (1996), Alevi Bektaşi Tarihi. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Massicard, Elise. (2007), Alevi Hareketinin Siyasallaşması. İstanbul: İletişim.
- Melikoff, Irene. (1993), Uyur İdik Uyardılar. İstanbul: Cem Yayınevi.
- Okan, Murat. (2004), Türkiye’de Alevilik / Antropolojik Bir Yaklaşım. Ankara: İmge.
- Özerol, Süleyman. (2009), Hasan Nedim Şahhüseyinoğlu. Ankara: Ürün.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, H. Nedim. (2001), Hızır Paşalar: Bir İhracın Perde Arkası. Ankara: İtalik.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, Nedim. (1997), Pir Sultan Kültür Derneği’nin Demokrasi Laiklik ve Özgürlük Mücadelesi. Ankara: PSAKD Yayınları.
- Şahhüseyinoğlu, Nedim. (2001), Alevi Örgütlerinin Tarihsel Süreci. Ankara: İtalik.
- Salman, Meral. 2006, Müze Duvarlarına Sığmayan Dergah: Alevi – Bektaşi Kimliğinin Kuruluş Sürecinde Hacı Bektaş Veli Anma Görenleri. Ankara: Kalan.
- Saraç, Necdet. (2010), Alevilerin Siyasal Tarihi. İstanbul: Cem.
- Şener, Cemal ve Miyase İlknur. (1995), Şeriat ve Alevilik: Kırklar Meclisi’nden Günümüze Alevi Örgütlenmesi. İstanbul: Ant.
- Tosun, Halis. (2002), Alevi Kimliğiyle Yaşamak. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
- Vergin, Nur (2000, ), Din, Toplum ve Siyasal Sistem, İstanbul: Bağlam.
- Yaman, Ali (2000) "Anadolu Aleviliği’nde Ocak Sistemi Ve Dedelik Kurumu.” Alevi Bektaşi.
- Zırh, Besim Can. (2005), “Avro-Aleviler: Ziyaretçi İşçilikten Ulus-aşırı Topluluğa” Kırkbudak 2: 31-58.
- Zırh, Besim Can. (2006), “Avrupa Alevi Konfederasyonu Turgut Öker ile Görüşme” Kırkbudak 2: 51-71.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alevism.|
- Official Alevi-Bektashi Order of Derwishes website (English)
- Alevis (English)
- Alevi Bektaşi Research Site (Turkish)
- Semah from a TV show (YouTube)
- Semah - several samples (YouTube)