The relationship between mysticism and policy has consistently been a matter of controversy among the political experts and since mysticism was considered as a method in political and social interactions, it faced with rejection, acceptance, contradiction and insistence of thinkers. Some searched for the way of human prosperity and virtue in civil and political lives and some insist on carrying the pillar of policy over mysticism.[1]

It can be said that this issue is one of the relatively important challenges of the last decades across the Islamic world and has been more important in some strategic areas. Turkey is one of the most important and sensitive of these regions which has been along with ups and downs due to its special nature and structure of Islamic political thoughts.

Turkey can be considered as the land having kinds of religious and mystical cults which have always continued to exist and rooted in this country and in the heart of the society since long centuries ago and since Seljuks and Ottomans. A remarkable part of Sufism and mystical movements are those that migrated from various regions in central Asia and Caucasus during the Khwarazmshah era and then Mongols and came to the land we call Turkey today.

Seljuks cherished Sufis very much and the Ottoman also valued them, but during the Republic particularly soaring Laicism and extreme racism, not only Husayniyah and monasteries were diminished but it was impossible for classes of Quran and activities of religious schools to be continued.

According to the results of professor Athar Balji’s research –a professor at Elot university in Turkey, now 30 branches of mystical cults are active in Turkey into which there are various factions. Cults have millions of followers in Turkey. Not only they set their lifestyles based on the ideology of method but also they create lots of money and income by providing financial aid and fixed charities forming a great structure by hundreds of companies, tens of scholars and cultural centers.

The researches of professor Athar Bahji showed that just in Istanbul nearly 500 Husainiyehs are active in Turkey. After Istanbul the number is in the highest in Eastern and Southeastern Kurdish provinces.[2]

Islamism in Turkey

More than any other issues this subtle note must be pointed out that Islamic in Turkey must be distinguished than other regions. Because its background factors are different which has caused the emergence of special reading of Islam in the country which is expanding to other regions, too.

As a matter of fact, this issue is one of the intemperate measures of Kemalism movement in repressing the religion of Islam and preaching Westernism in the social-political structure of Turkey after Ottoman. After Mustafa Kemal Ataturk gained power and the ideology of Laicism ruled –until 1950s- Islam couldn’t self-assert. However, the emergence of Democratic revolution in 1964 A.D. and removing the bases of people Republican party were turning points for returning Islam to Turkey once again. In the meantime, the democratic party could gain the highest vote due to its differences with Kemalism and provided the opportunities for the emergence and development of Islam. By 1990s, the political Islamists could be active significantly in the political-social field and a new viewpoint towards Islam was formed in Turkey. However, the most important note in this regard is that the Sufi cults played a key role as the forerunner and founder of new waves of Islamism. Although there may be differences among researchers and thinkers concerning the extent and quality of this role playing, but the origin of this issue has been the subject of their completes consensus and this is the issue that distinguishes Turkish Sufism from other religions, particularly in the Islamic world; so that Turkey can be assumed as the head of political Sufism.

The Sufism methods (Tariqat) in Turkey

Among Sunnis in Turkey, two methods (Tariqats) are pretty famous: “Noresi” and “Naqshbandi”. Noresi is very influential among the youth, but the public turn to Naqshbandi. There are other groups among Sunnis such as “Yazjiler, Kailanjilar, Sami Effendi, and Mahmoud Effendi” that they do not have many followers. Nevertheless, the most important methods (Tariqats) of Turkey are as follows:

  • Alavis
  • Noresis (Nourchis)
  • Nourji branches
  • Nourji group –Yani Asia branch- headed by Muhammad Kutlular
  • Nourji group –Muhammad Kerkin Ji branch
  • Nourji group of Al-Zahra school
  • Naqshbandi Tariqat (Khazanvilar, Hiqiqatchi lar, Tariqat Naqshbandi Manzel, Tariqat Naqshbandi Soleiman Jilar, Tariqat Ernkoui, Golunists (service group)
  • Ismaeel Agha Tariqat
  • Eskandar Pasha mosque group in Istanbul
  • Ekhlas group
  • Naqshbandi Yahyali group
  • Malami Tariqat group
  • Ejmal group
  • Khalvati Tariqat, Oshaqlar branch
  • Jarrahilar
  • Qaderi Muhammadi Tariqat
  • Qalebi lar
  • ]khalvati Tariqat
  • Tilojular
  • Khalvati Oshaqlar Tariqat

Although all the mentioned Tariqats have possessed special monasteries across Turkey and been active, two Noresi and Naqshbandi Tariqats must be considered as the main movements of Sufism in this country which have made Laicity ideology confront with an undeniable challenge by penetrating into the security and political structure.


Naqshbandieh is one of the greatest Sufism Tariqats in the world which was founded by Muhammad Bahauddin Naqshband in 8th century, Hijrat. This cult must be considered as one of the oldest and common Sufism Tariqats in Turkey. The most important way to achieve God in Naqshbandieh is performing religious necessities and recommended worships and remembering God in group.[3]


After Naqshbandieh, Norasi must be considered as the most important Sufi cult in Turkey which is in opposite of Naqshbandieh ideologically. On the other hand, the fundamental primary principle in Norasi is not meddling with policy. This Tarriqat was founded by Saeed Norasi known as Badiuzzaman Norasi and its population is more than a million. The basic principles of this cult have been mentioned in the book called Nour epistle and maintaining faith against knowledge and philosophy is the most duty of the followers of the cult. After Saeed Norasi’s death this cult was divided into various branches, but they were gathered together again by Fathullah Gulen. Norasis calls Gulen as the savior Mahdi and Jesus.[4]

[1] Kamalyan, Abbas & Aziz Salehi Najaf Abadi, “the relationship between mysticism and policy in the political thought stressing on the Imam oriented government of Ismaeelian Nazari”, mysticism in the Persian literature, No. 24, 1394 S.H., p. 151.

[2] The dangers of the role of Tariqats in the political structure of Turkey, Tasnim correspondence, Mordad, 28, 1399 S.H.

[3] Roudgar, Muhammad, Muhammadi, Farzad and Qader, Hafez, “The influence of Nourasi mysticism on social Islam in Turkey, the contemporary political researches, year 10, No. 3, Fall 1398 S.H., pp. 1-23.

[4] Tariqats of Turkey, WIKI Vahdat