In the introduction to the famous encyclopedic work the great Islamic scholar Ibrahim Hakki of Erzurum, it is stated that "God created both worlds for Man; He created man for his ability to know God." This saying taken from the Holy Qur'an contains an important truth; that is, man's essential task on earth is to recognize, find, and know his Creator.
In order to facilitate the accomplishment of this most important and sublime purpose, Muslim scholars have expended much effort, written many works, and developed methods for doing so. Thus various true tariqats (religious orders), which show the path of reaching God, came into being throughout the Islamic world: the Qadiris, the Rifais, the Shadhilis, the Qubrevis, the Ekberis, the Suhrawardis, the Chishtis, the Yesevis.... Even today there are many members and friends of these religous orders and Sufism has many strong roots in our country's [Turkey's] history and culture. Our people sincerely love and respect them and visit the graves of these countless saints such as Yunus Emre, Mevlana [Jalaluddin Rumi], Haji Bektash-i Veli, Haji Bayram-i Veli, Esrefoglu Rumi, Merkez Efendi, Sumbul Efendi, Ismail Hakki-i Bursevi, the dear Mahmud-i Hudai Efendi, Niyazi-i Misri, Shamsuddin Sivasi, and Abdulehad-i Nuru.
The recent frequently mentioned Naqshbandi Order is one of the main paths of esoteric knowledge.
The Naqshis, which take their name from the famous Turk shaykh from Buharali, Bahauddin-i Naqshband (1318-1389) are a religious school. As is stated in the Meydan Larousse, "Naqshis are an order which uphold all Sunni views and which is chosen by those who are bound tightly to their religion." It has existed for centuries and has an important place in Turkish history and culture. It has spread to many countries and has been embraced by the people. The owner of an honorable history, it has raised many famous scholars, virtuous people, and leaders. Millions of people inside of Turkey still participate in this order and are among the many honorable members of this order. The spiritual guide Imam-i Rabbani who valianty struggled against unorthodox sects in the time of Ekbershah (died: 1605) in India; the unforgettable hero from Mount Qaf [the Caucasus mountains], Shaykh Shamil; a number of leaders and groups struggling today against the Russians in Afghanistan; and finally most of the turbaned warriors in our War of Independence.
According to news analysis 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 sustain their identity and remain on their feet.
Today in Turkey the Naqshi order is split into various branches, some are active in rural areas, others in cultural centers. In their midst are many poets, scholars, writers, lecturers, muftis, heads of Religous Affairs, professors, doctors, engineers, ministers, deputies and various administrators have been raised and they in turn have performed valuable service. They are continuing to serve effectively their nation and all humanity by publishing magazines and newspapers and directing schools, courses, and pious foundations.
I would like to end my article with a statement by a newspaper man (uluch Gurkan): "Naqshbandis in comparison with other religious orders are mildmannered and contemporary-minded."
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