The Kizilbash/Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia

The Kizilbash/Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia

Islamic History

The Kizilbash/Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia
Sufism, Politics and Community

Author(s): Ayfer Karakaya-Stump

Reviewed by: Sajjad Rizvi, University of Exeter, UK



As we move towards more sophisticated understandings of Islamic intellectual history and recognise that modern Sunni and Shi[i identities have not necessarily been as clearly crystalised (and even as oppositional) as they seem today, studies such as these on a distinct Muslim identity developing independently in the Ottoman-Safavid milieu and lying between Sufi networks and forms of Shi[i and [Alid devotionalism are essential. Stump’s book is much more than just a history of Kizilbash/Alevi identity and spirituality in Turkey; it shows continuities with the Ottoman past and Sufi elements of ‘ahlulbaytism’ and the (charismatic) authority of descendants of the Prophet (sayyids) and their spiritual networks across the Ottoman lands and especially into the Shi[i shrine cities in Iraq. Similarly, it forces one to think between the rather colonialist logic of orthodoxy versus heterodoxy and learned versus folk Islam.

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