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The Hajj and the Hindi: The ascent of the Indian Sufi lodge in the Ottoman empire*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2016

The Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University, United States of America Email:
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This article charts several historical paths, hitherto underexplored, through the Hindi or ‘Indian’ Sufi lodges of the Ottoman empire. Focusing on the ‘long eighteenth century (circa 1695–1808)’, it tracks their remarkable ascendance as an institutional network for mobile and migrant Indian Sufi pilgrims. From Istanbul to the provinces, the article demonstrates how Naqshbandis and Qadiris on the Hajj circuit drew on local channels of social communications, legal petitioning strategies, and state and inter-state linkages to forge unique identities as ‘trans-imperial subjects’ in an age of decentralization in the Ottoman world. I argue that central to their social success was the creation of new corporate regimes of itinerant piety. But first, I place the little-known lodges at the heart of a specific shift in early modern attitudes to identity, as the story behind ‘Hindi’ beckons wider inquiry into emergent differences among Sufi pilgrims in the Ottoman empire.

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For valuable comments on early drafts, I am grateful to Suraiya Faroqhi, Durba Ghosh, Eric Tagliacozzo, and Robert Travers. I am thankful, as well, to Nida Nebahat Nalçacı for eye-opening trips to Istanbul's Sufi lodges, old and new. Previous iterations of these arguments were presented at Cornell University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Princeton University, and the Social Science Research Council. I am indebted to participants at each venue, and in particular to the referees of this journal, for suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. Research for this article was made possible by the Cornell University Graduate School and the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship. The writing was in part supported by the Brett de Bary/Mellon Interdisciplinary Writing Group Grant from the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University and the Sydney N. Fisher Prize from the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. All errors are mine alone.


1 See also in this regard, Alam, Muzaffar, ‘The Mughals, the Sufi Shaikhs and the Formation of the Akbari Dispensation’, Modern Asian Studies vol. 43:1 (2009), pp. 135174 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Nawab Samsam-ud-Daula Shahnawaz Khan, Ma’āsir al-Umarā, vol. 2, ‘Abdur Rahim and Mirza Ashraf ‘Ali (eds), Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1890, p. 380.

3 Ibid., pp. 385–386.


4 Broadly construed, Sufi tekkes were places of worship and religious ceremony for adherents of particular orders of ‘mystical’ Islam (tasawwuf/Tr. tasavvuf). Most commonly referred to as tekkes in Turkish (Ar./Per. takiya), in different contexts and circumstances they are also dubbed zaviyes (Ar./Per. zāwiya), hangahs (Per. khānqāh), kalendarhanes (Per. qalandarkhāna), and dergahs (Per. dargāh). They are also called ‘hospices’ or ‘convents’ in English. As a rule I use tekke in this article, but invoke its other names in deference to the sources cited. Historically, Sufi lodges were found all over the Islamic world. Their functions extended beyond acting as spaces for ritual performance, however. They operated as waystations for travellers and pilgrims, as centres of pedagogical training and commercial brokerage, and, more controversially and infrequently, as sites of secular authority. For a discussion, see the classic work by Trimingham, J. Spencer, The Sufi Orders in Islam, Oxford University Press, London, 1971, pp. 530 Google Scholar; cf. Nathalie Clayer, ‘Tekke’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition, Brill Online, 2012; and for recent insights from Ottoman history, Lifchez, Raymond (ed.), The Dervish Lodge: Architecture, Art, and Sufism in Ottoman Turkey, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1992 Google Scholar.

5 Barkey, Karen, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003 Google Scholar.

6 Salzmann, Ariel, ‘An Ancién Regime Revisited: “Privatization” and Political Economy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Empire’, Politics & Society vol. 21:4 (1993), pp. 393423 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Itzkowitz, Norman, ‘Eighteenth Century Ottoman Realities’, Studia Islamica vol. 16 (1962), pp. 7394 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Barkey, Empire of Difference, pp. 270 et seq.; Alam, Muzaffar, The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: Awadh and the Punjab, 1707–48, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1986, pp. 92134 Google Scholar, passim; and Marshall, P.J. (ed.), The Eighteenth Century in Indian History: Evolution or Revolution?, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003 Google Scholar.

7 Çaksu, Ali, ‘Janissary Coffee Houses in Late Eighteenth-Century Istanbul’, in Sajdi, Dana (ed.), Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyle in the Eighteenth Century, Tauris Academic Studies, New York, 2007, pp. 117132 Google Scholar; Mardin, Şerif, ‘Some Notes on an Early Phase in the Modernization of Communications in Turkey’, Comparative Studies in Society and History vol. 3:3 (1961), pp. 250271 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Green, Nile, ‘The Uses of Books in a Late Mughal Takiyya: Persianate Knowledge Between Person and Paper’, Modern Asian Studies vol. 44:2 (2010), pp. 241265 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Bayly, C.A., Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999, pp. 180211 Google Scholar.

8 Alavi, Seema, Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 10.

9 In this I aim to bridge the methodological and historical reflections in Kosseleck, Reinhart, ‘ Begriffsgeschichte and Social History’, in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, Tribe, Keith (trans.), Columbia University Press, New York, 2002, pp. 7592 Google Scholar; and Barkey, Empire of Difference.

10 Rothman, E. Natalie, Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11 Davis, Natalie Zemon, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1987 Google Scholar.

12 Faroqhi, Suraiya, Pilgrims and Sultans: The Hajj Under the Ottomans, 1517–1683, I.B. Tauris, London, 1994, pp. 3237 Google Scholar; for Damascus specifically, and the jealously guarded imperial caravan thence, see Barbir, Karl K., Ottoman Rule in Damascus, 1708–1758, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1980, pp. 151177 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 See the valuable study of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Zarcone, Thierry V., Sufi Pilgrims from India and Central Asia in Jerusalem, Center for Islamic Area Studies at Kyoto University, Kyoto, 2009 Google Scholar.

14 Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi—Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archive, Istanbul, Turkey (hereafter BOA), Ali Emȋrȋ Tasnifi III. Mustafa, dosya 322/gömlek 25941, 13 March 1774.

15 BOA, Ali Emȋrȋ Tasnifi III. Ahmed 218/21093, 30 September 1723, therefore mentions ‘Indian fakirs (fukara-ı Hindi) present in the sacred site of the Holy Prophet Daniel, peace be upon him’.

16 Moving roughly westward, the 13 towns and cities in the Ottoman empire that hosted Indian Sufi lodges were Mecca, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Jerusalem, Antakya, Adana, Tarsus, Konya, Tosya, Bursa, Istanbul, and Vukovar. See ‘Map 2’, in Zarcone, Sufi Pilgrims, p. xv.

17 Zafer Hasan Aybek, ‘Hindîler Tekkesi’, Hayat Tarih Mecmuası, July 1977, p. 96; Thierry Zarcone, ‘Hindîler Tekkesi [1]’, Dünden Bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi (hereafter DBİA), vol. 4, Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, Istanbul, 1994, p. 74; Thierry Zarcone, ‘Histoire et croyances der dervisches turkestanais et indiens à Istanbul’, Anatolia Moderna: Yeni Anadolu vol. II (1991), pp. 170–181; M. Baha Tanman, ‘Hindîler Tekkesi’, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi (hereafter TDVİA), vol. 18, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı, Istanbul, 1998, pp. 67–68.

18 Tahsin Öz, İstanbul Camileri, vol. 1, Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, Ankara, 1962, p. 71, n. 146.

19 The Garden of the Mosques: Hafiz Hüseyin Al-Ayvansarayȋ’s Guide to the Muslim Monuments of Ottoman Istanbul, Howard Crane (trans.), Brill, Leiden, 2000, p. 241; for the Ottoman text, see Hafız Hüseyin Efendi bin Hacı İsmail el-Ayvansarayi, Hadikat ül-Cevami‘, vol. 1, Matba‘a-ı Amire, Istanbul, 1864, p. 219.

20 Zarcone, ‘Hindîler Tekkesi [2]’, DBİA, vol. 4, pp. 74–75; Klaus Kreiser (ed.), Zâkir Şükrî Efendi: die istanbuler Derwischkonvente und ihre Scheiche (Mecmu'a-i Tekaya), Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1980, p. 77.

21 ‘İstanbul Tekkeleri Nüfus Vukȗ‘atı Defteri’, in Ahmed Nezih Galitekin (ed.), Osmanlı Kaynaklarına göre İstanbul: Cȃmi, Tekke, Mekteb, Türbe, Hamam, Kütübhȃne, Matbaa, Mahalle ve Selȃtîn İmȃretleri, İşaret Yayınları, Istanbul, 2003, p. 368.

22 ‘İstanbul ve Bilȃd-ı Selȃse'de Mevcut Tekke, Zȃviye ve Türbelere Muhrremiyye Nȃmıyla Haremeyn Hazinesi'nden Verilen Meblağı Gösterir 1272 Yılına ait Müfredȃt Defteri’, in ibid., p. 423.

23 ‘1273 Yılına ait Müfredȃt Defteri’, in ibid., p. 439.

24 ‘1275 Yılına ait Müfredȃt Defteri’, in ibid., p. 455.

25 ‘1277 Yılına ait Müfredȃt Defteri’, in ibid., p. 487.

26 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun 1492/35, 27 October 1805.

27 Bandırmalızade es-Seyyid Ahmed Münib-i Üsküdari, Mecmu‘a-ı Tekaya: Muharrer ve Mürettebi, ‘Alem Matba‘ası, Istanbul, 1889/90, p. 6. Faizullah's tombstone at the Üsküdar tekke also had his name recorded as ‘Feyzullah Hindi’. For references to the two lodges as ‘Hindular’ (i.e. not ‘Hindiler’) tekkes, see Mustafa Özdamar, Dersaȃdet Dergȃhları, Kırk Kandil, Istanbul, 1994, pp. 82, 231. The conservation arm of the Republic of Turkey continues to refer to the defunct lodges as the ‘Hindular’ tekkes.

28 Schimmel, Annemarie, ‘Turk and Hindu: A Poetical Image and its Application to Historical Fact’, in Vryonis, Speros Jr. (ed.), Islam and Cultural Change in the Middle Ages, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1975, pp. 107127 Google Scholar.

29 Ernst, Carl W., Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History, and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1992, pp. 2237 Google Scholar.

30 Alam, Muzaffar and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, ‘Witnesses and Agents of Empire: Eighteenth-Century Historiography and the World of the Mughal Munshī ’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient vol. 53:1/2 (2010)Google Scholar, pp. 406 et seq.

31 For programmatic efforts towards a re-evaluation, see the excellent collection of essays in Gilmartin, David and Lawrence, Bruce (eds), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 2000 Google Scholar.

32 On the influence of the ‘Indian style’ (sabk-i Hindī) of Persian verse on Turkish poetry, see Andrews, Walter G., Black, Najaat, and Kapaklı, Mehmet (eds and trans), Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1997, pp. 147148 Google Scholar.

33 Sabahettin Küçük (ed.), Bâḳî Dîvânî: Tenkitli Basım, AKDTYK Türk Dil Kurumu Yayınları, Ankara, 1994, p. 36. Baki himself owed his line to a variation on a stanza by his more illustrious Persian predecessor, Hafiz, whose composition is quoted in Schimmel, ‘Turk and Hindu’, p. 109.

34 Farooqi, Naimur Rahman, Mughal-Ottoman Relations: A Study of Political and Diplomatic Relations between Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire, 1556–1748, Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, Delhi, 1989, p. 170 Google Scholar, n. 73. Farooqi reached this conclusion from ‘internal evidence’ present in the Ottoman petition, and he further suggested that ‘numerous other Ottoman documents designates the Sumatrans as Hindi (Indian)’.

35 Zarcone, ‘Hindiler Tekkesi [2]’, p. 74.

36 Namely, and in chronological order from the death of Faizullah-i Hindi: Şeyh Bereket Efendi el-Hindî (n.d.); Şeyh Emanullah el-Hindî (n.d.); Serguruh-ı Şeyh Rahimullah-ı Şah el-Hindî (d. 1779–80); Şeyh Mehmed Sultan el-Hindî (d. 1787–88); Pir Seyyid Mehmed Efendi (d. 1792/3) (who succeeded his father and was perhaps born in Istanbul, which is one reason why he might not have been counted as an ‘Indian’); and Şeyh ‘Abdullah Yar el-Hindî (d. 1822–23); see Kreiser, Mecmu'a-i Tekaya, p. 77.

37 For an overview, see Algar, Hamid, ‘ Tarîqat and Tarîq: Central Asian Naqshbandîs on the Roads to the Haramayn’, in Papas, Alexandre, Welsford, Thomas, and Zarcone, Thierry (eds), Central Asian Pilgrims: Hajj Routes and Pious Visits between Central Asia and the Hijaz, Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Berlin, 2012, pp. 21135 Google Scholar.

38 The reliance on oceanic routes was especially common before the advent of rail and steam technologies. For more on the Uzbek Sufi lodges, see Zarcone, ‘Histoire et croyances’, pp. 137 et seq.; and the significant recent intervention by Can, Lâle, ‘Connecting People: A Central Asian Sufi Network in Turn-of-the-century Istanbul’, Modern Asian Studies vol. 46:2 (2012), pp. 373401 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39 For a survey of Qadiri and Naqshbandi Sufism in India, see Athar, Saiyid Rizvi, Abbas, A History of Sufism in India, vol. 2, From Sixteenth Century to Modern Century, Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1983, pp. 55150 Google Scholar, 174–263; for the dissemination of Indo-Naqshbandi influences to Ottoman lands, see Gall, Dina Le, A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandīs in the Ottoman World, 1450–1700, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2005, pp. 90105 Google Scholar; cf. as well, Zarcone, Thierry, ‘Turkish Sufism in India: The Case of the Yasawiyya’, in Françoise ‘Delvoye, Nalini’ (ed.), Confluence of Cultures: French Contributions to Indo-Persian Studies, Centre for Human Sciences, New Delhi, 1995, pp. 8292 Google Scholar.

40 It has been gauged that some 47 per cent of the eighteenth-century Ottoman ‘ulema were Naqshbandis, and thus dwarfed their nearest counterparts comprising the 18 per cent of Mevlevi scholars. But in the lodges of Anatolia, Naqshbandi (roughly 15 per cent) and Qadiri (10 per cent) affiliates stood second and fourth respectively after the predominant Halvetis (or Khalwatis). See ‘Grafik 1’ and ‘Grafik 2’, in Ramazan Muslu, Osmanlı Toplumunda Tasavvuf (18. Yüzyıl), İnsan Yayınları, Istanbul, 2003, p. 747. For further reflections on Naqshbandi political prowess, see Hamid Algar, ‘Political Aspects of Naqshbandī History’, in M. Gaborieau, A. Popvic, and T. Zarcone (eds), Naqshbandis: Historical Developments and Present Situation of a Muslim Mystical Order, Isis, Istanbul, 1990, pp. 128–130. It is also useful to recall that, with its long connections to the imperial Janissary troops, Bektaşi Sufism remained prominent with respect to the state. Yet this order might have taken a turn for a culture less grafted to state politics and more oriented towards civic forms of sociability in the late eighteenth century. Above all, this owed to the increasing military irrelevance of the elite conscripts. See Çaksu, ‘Janissary Coffee Houses’, pp. 125–127.

41 Alam, ‘The Mughals, the Sufi Shaikhs’, p. 162.

42 Zarcone, Sufi Pilgrims, pp. 28–32.

43 M. Baha Tanman, ‘Özbekler Tekkesi’, DBİA, vol. 6 (1994), pp. 199–202; M. Baha Tanman, ‘Özbekler Tekkesi [1]’, TDVİA, vol. 34 (2007), pp. 121–123; Tanman, ‘Özbekler Tekkesi [2]’, in ibid., pp. 123–124.

44 Thierry Zarcone, ‘Afganîler Tekkesi’, DBİA, vol. 1 (1994), p. 86; Tanman, ‘Mimari’, in ibid., pp. 86–87; Thierry Zarcone, ‘Afganiler Tekkesi’, TDVİA, vol. 1 (1988), p. 400.

45 Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, Osmanlı Mi‘mârîsinde Fâtih Devri, 855–886 (1451–1481), vol. 3, Baha Matbaası, Istanbul, 1973, p. 418; A. Hâki Demir et al., Fâtih Câmileri ve Diğer Târihî Eserler, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı Fâtih Şubesi, Istanbul, 1991, p. 280.

46 Bandırmalızade, Mecmu‘a-ı Tekaya, p. 5; Yeşilzâde Mehmed Sâlih, ‘Rehber-i Tekâyâ’, p. 246, and ‘Tekâyâ ve Zevâyâ’, p. 525, in Galitekin, Kaynaklarına göre İstanbul.

47 Yeşilzâde, ‘Rehber-i Tekâyâ’, p. 249; ‘Nüfus Vukȗ‘atı Defteri’, p. 368.

48 Bandırmalızade, Mecmu‘a-ı Tekaya, p. 6; ‘Tekâyâ ve Zevâyâ’, p. 527.

49 For a biographical note, see Crane, Garden of the Mosques, pp. xvii–xix.

50 With some changes, this passage relies on Crane's translation: ibid., p. 241; cf. el-Ayvansarayi, Hadikat ül-Cevami‘, vol. 1, p. 219.

51 Eventually, ‘Hindi’ would be eclipsed in favour of more ‘standardized’ and ‘nationally’ oriented demonyms for ‘Indian’. But still, older meanings lingered. Compare, for instance, the annotations on ‘Hind’, ‘Hindi’, ‘Hindȋ’, ‘Hindu’, and ‘Hintdi’ in the late nineteenth-century Turkish-English lexicon: Sir James Redhouse, Redhouse Yeni Türkçe-İngilizce Sözlük, Redhouse Yayınevi, Istanbul, 1968, p. 485.

52 ‘Nüfus Vukȗ‘atı Defteri’, p. 299. This particular ‘census’ from Istanbul's tekkes is crucial. Unlike other such human inventories which list names of sheikhs simply with their onomastic titles, as for example ‘el-Hindi’, this index moreover designates places of origin. Thus ‘Kashmiri’, ‘Indian’, and, as with the case of other Istanbul tekkes it takes into account, ‘Âsitâneli’ (Istanbulite).

53 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 82/4092, 8 September 1799.

54 İstanbul Müftlüğü Meşîhat Arşivi, Meclis-i Meşâyıh Mazbata Defterler, Numara 1762, as cited in Osman Sacıd Arı, ‘Meclis-i Meşâyıh Arşivi'ne göre Hicrî 1296–1307 (Miladî 1879–1890) Yılları Arasında Osmanlı Tekkelerinde Ortaya Çıkan Problemler’, Masters thesis, Istanbul University, 2005, p. 117.

55 Green, Nile, ‘The Hajj as its own Undoing: Infrastructure and Integration on the Muslim Journey to Mecca’, Past & Present vol. 226 (2015), p. 193 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

56 Bayly, C. A., Origins of Nationality in South Asia: Patriotism and Ethical Government in the Making of Modern India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1998 Google Scholar.

57 Bayly, Susan, Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 4448 Google Scholar.

58 Faroqhi, Suraiya, The Ottoman Empire and the World Around It, I.B. Tauris, New York, 2004, pp. 176177 Google Scholar; Tezcan, Baki, ‘Ethnicity, Race, Religion and Social Class: Ottoman Markers of Difference’, in Woodhead, Christine (ed.), The Ottoman World, Routledge, New York, 2012, pp. 159170 Google Scholar. And more broadly, Tezcan, Baki and Barbir, Karl K. (eds), Identity and Identity Formation in the Ottoman World: A Volume of Essays in Honor of Norman Itzkowitz, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 2007 Google Scholar.

59 Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü, A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2010, p. 25 Google Scholar.

60 See Qureshi, Ishtiaq Husain, ‘Tipu Sultan's Embassy to Constantinople’, in Habib, Irfan (ed.), Confronting Colonialism: Resistance and Modernization under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, Tulika, New Delhi, 1999, pp. 6978 Google Scholar; Husain, Iqbal, ‘The Diplomatic Vision of Tipu Sultan: Briefs for Embassies to Turkey and France, 1785–86’, in Habib, Irfan (ed.), State and Diplomacy Under Tipu Sultan: Documents and Essays, Tulika, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 1965 Google Scholar; Hasan, Mohibbul, History of Tipu Sultan, World Press, Calcutta, 1971, pp. 128138 Google Scholar. An important but incomplete account by a news-writer (wāqi‘-nawīs) who was part of this embassy is also available in recension: Qadir, Khwaja ‘Abdul, Waqā’i‘-yi Manāzil-i Rūm: Diary of a Journey to Constantinople by Khwaja Abdul Qadir, Hasan, Mohibbul (ed.), Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1969 Google Scholar.

61 Muzaffar Alam and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, pp. 313–327. For another study from the perspective of travel writing, see Brittlebank, Kate, ‘From Tadri to Basra: The Journey of Khwaja Abdul Qadir as Recounted in the Waqai-i Manazil-i Rum’, South Asia Research vol. 25:2 (2005), pp. 201215 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

62 See also in this context Marshall, P.J., ‘“Cornwallis Triumphant”: War in India and the British Public in the Late Eighteenth Century’, in Freedman, Lawrence, Hayes, Paul, and O'Neill, Robert (eds), War, Strategy, and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992, pp. 5774 Google Scholar.

63 Alam and Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels, pp. 326–327. For Ottoman excursions into the Indian Ocean, see Casale, Giancarlo, The Ottoman Age of Exploration, Oxford University Press, New York, 2010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; for the military problems of the eighteenth century, see Aksan, Virginia, ‘War and Peace’, in Faroqhi, Suraiya (ed.), The Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. 3, The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603–1839, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009, pp. 97107 Google Scholar.

64 Brittlebank, ‘Tadri to Basra’, pp. 205–208.

65 BOA, Cevdet Hariciye 5/233, 9 September 1787. Incidentally, the number of people in the embassy had significantly dwindled by this point, owing to illness, desertion and the ravages of travel. With the caveat that it should be taken as an impressionistic number, taking little or no regard of the servants, bearers, and other hangers-on, the total in the group present in Iraq was reportedly 320 people: see BOA, Cevdet Hariciye 62/3075, 15 September 1787.

66 Alam and Subrahmanyam, Indo-Persian Travels, pp. 316–327; Brittlebank, ‘Tadri to Basra’, pp. 202–203.

67 For the epistolary exchanges, see the pioneering essay by Bayur, Hikmet, ‘Maysor Sultanı Tipu ile Osmanlı Pâdişahlarından I. Abdülhamid ve III. Selim Arasındaki Mektuplaşma’, Belleten vol. 12:47 (1948), pp. 617654 Google Scholar.

68 Hasan, Diary of a Journey to Constantinople, p. 61.

69 Selçuk Akşin Somel, Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, 2003, p. l.

70 BOA, Cevdet Hariciye 82/4063, 26 January 1788.

71 Headgears were prominent markers of social and cultural status in the early modern Ottoman empire such that they were also used to tell apart visiting foreigners (müste'min). Faroqhi, Suraiya and Neumann, Christoph K. (eds), Ottoman Costumes: From Textile to Identity, Eren, Istanbul, 2004.Google Scholar

72 British Library, London, United Kingdom, IO Islamic 2100, Untitled Persian MS [‘Letters of Tipu Sultan’], ‘26 Yūsufi, Sāl-i Jilau, Az maqām-i Patan ba-nām-i Ghulām ‘Alī Khān’, fo. 73r.

73 ‘Abdul Qadir, Waqā’i‘-yi Manāzil-i Rūm, p. 97.

74 The gravestone stele reads:

hüve el-huld ve el-baki

merhum [ve] mağfur

Mehmed Imam Serdar

‘asker elçi-i Tepu Sultan Hindi ruhuna

fatiha sene 1202 Hicri

‘He [God] is perpetual and eternal/The late and absolved/Muhammad Imam Sardar/military ambassador of Tipu Sultan ‘Hindi’/Pray for his soul year 1202 of the Hijri.’

75 But for a critique, see the introductory remarks in Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 2012.

76 Bilmek istersen eğer meslek-i dervişanı / Sevenin bendesiyiz sevmeyenin sultanı’, as quoted in Mustafa Kara, Din, Hayat, Sanat Açısından Tekkeler ve Zaviyeler, Hareket Kitapları, Istanbul, 1977, p. 39.

77 For the role petitions played in propelling the Hajj, see Pierce, Leslie, Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 8183 Google Scholar.

78 See another case in ibid., p. 48.

79 Rothman, Brokering Empire.

80 Ibid., pp. 42–60.


81 The legal status of an Ottoman subject was deeply rooted in their confessional status. As such, Indian Sufis would have fallen under the cluster of Muslim subjects, rather than its obverse, the zimmi or ‘People of the contract’. Even so, such legal categories were not stringently enforced; see Masters, Bruce, ‘Millet’, in Ágoston, Gábor and Masters, Bruce (eds), Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Facts on File, New York, 2009, pp. 383384 Google Scholar.

82 The literature is extensive, but see the synthetic overview in Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 4250 Google Scholar.

83 Mardin, ‘Some Notes’, p. 259.

84 Philliou, Christine, ‘Communities on the Verge: Unravelling the Phanariot Ascendancy in Ottoman Governance’, Comparative Studies in Society and History vol. 51:1 (2009), pp. 151181 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

85 Itzkowitz, ‘Eighteenth Century Ottoman’; Findley, Carter Vaughn, Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789–1922, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1980, pp. 5868 Google Scholar; Rifa‘at ‘ Abou-El-Haj, Ali, Formation of the Modern State: The Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 2005, second edition, pp. 1118 Google Scholar, passim.

86 Dina Rizk Khoury, ‘The Ottoman Centre versus Provincial Power-Holders: An Analysis of the Historiography’, in Faroqhi, Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. 3, p. 144.

87 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 430/21766, 21 December 1729.

88 Silverstein, Brian, ‘Sufism and Governmentality in the Late Ottoman Empire’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East vol. 29:2 (2009), pp. 171185 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

89 BOA, Ali Emȋrȋ Tasnifi III. Ahmed 218/21093, 30 September 1723.

90 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 191/9506, 23 February 1776.

91 Yusuf Küçükdağ, ‘Konya'da Söylemez Zâviyesi ve Vakfiyeleri’, in Yusuf Küçükdağ (ed.), Yeni İpek Yolu Konya Ticaret Odası Dergisi, vol. 1, Özel Sayı, Konya, May 1998, pp. 155–156.

92 Ibid., p. 158.


93 Ibid., p. 159.


94 For a late Ottoman lore on the origins of the Indian Sufi lodge in Bursa, see Kamil Kepecioğlu, Bursa Kütüğü, vol. 2, Uludağ Yayınları, Bursa, 2009, p. 184.

95 Mehmed Şemseddin, Bursa Dergâhları: Yadigâr-ı Şemsȋ, vols 1–2, Mustafa Kara and Kadir Atlansoy (eds), Uludağ Yayınları, Bursa, 1997.

96 Ibid., p. 591.


97 Ibid., p. 592. It is likely that ‘Abdurrahim had arrived from early colonial western India, or had spent some time there. While in Bursa, he called for the removal of not only the British, but, revealingly, the Zoroastrian (Mecusi) community from the lands of Islam. Şemseddin adds that he managed to convince very ‘reasonable men’ with such propositions. Incidentally, Şemseddin's own counterpart and contemporary as postnişin at the Bursa Hindi Kalendarhane was ‘Abdullah Efendi (d. 1930), who was a Qadiri from Lahore. See Kara, Mustafa, Türk Tasavvuf Tarihi Araştırmaları: Tarikatlar, Tekkeler, Şeyhler, Dergâh Yayınları, Istanbul, 2005, p. 350 Google Scholar.


98 See generally, Pierce, Morality Tales; Baldwin, James E., ‘Petitioning the Sultan in Ottoman Egypt’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studie s vol. 75:3 (2012), pp. 499524 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and G.L. Lewis, ‘‘Arḍ Ḥāl’, Encyclopaedia of Islam.

99 For courier and pilgrim routes, see Faroqhi, Pilgrims and Sultans, p. xii.

100 Faroqhi, Suraiya, ‘Political Initiatives “From the Bottom Up” in the Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Empire: Some Evidence for their Existence’, in Majer, Hans Georg (ed.), Osmanistische Studien zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte: In Memorium Vančo Boškov, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1986, p. 26 Google Scholar.

101 Baldwin, ‘Petitioning the Sultan’, p. 503.

102 This was necessitated too by the multilingual make-up of the Ottoman empire, so, for example, an Arab-Ottoman in Egypt would have to communicate with Istanbul through a Turkish scribe. This and other aspects of the life of an average petition are discussed in rich detail in Baldwin, ‘Petitioning the Sultan’, pp. 505–511.

103 For vakıf as imperial ‘social welfare’, see Boyar, Ebru and Fleet, Kate, A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Chapter 4.

104 Singer, Amy, Constructing Ottoman Beneficence: An Imperial Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2002, p. 151 Google Scholar.

105 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 377/19125, 26 May 1797. Suraiya Faroqhi has recently noted that the petition was a bureaucratic genre unto itself. See Foroqhi, S., Approaching Ottoman History: An Introduction to the Sources, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, pp. 2223 Google Scholar.

106 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 89/4406, 29 March 1769.

107 BOA, Cevdet Maliye 591/24357, 9 July 1795.

108 BOA, Hatt-ı Hümayun 211/11368, 29 August 1791.

109 Baldwin, ‘Petitioning the Sultan’.

110 Singer, Constructing Ottoman Beneficence.

111 Though unlike miri or imperial lands, not all vakıfs entailed direct state involvement. I am grateful to Suraiya Faroqhi for this clarifying note.

112 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 414/20962, 29 October 1799, doc. 1/2.

113 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 573/28921, 19 January 1787.

114 Many petitions therefore identified particular candidates for the office of sheikh as ‘ecnebis’—‘outsiders’ or ‘foreigners’. Yet the word most likely designated those who stood outside the agnatic lineages that the trusteeship of a vakıf usually maintained. See its use in BOA, Ali Emȋrȋ Tasnifi III. Ahmed 218/21093, 30 September 1723; Cevdet Evkaf 191/9506, 23 February 1776; and Cevdet Evkaf 430/21766, 29 January 1730. For a note on ecnebis in endowment-related petitions, see Ergene, Boğaç A., Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankırı and Kastamonu (1652–1744), Brill, Leiden, 2003, p. 144 Google Scholar.

115 BOA, Ali Emȋrȋ Tasnifi I. Abdülhamid 76/5329, 12 October 1787.

116 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 446/22563, 6 May 1789.

117 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 226/11279, 23 April 1813.

118 BOA, Cevdet Evkaf 226/11280, 23 April 1813.

119 ‘I have tried every possible thing on earth to bring you to your senses . . . I brought a piece of stone from Merkez Efendi; I gave your underwear to be read . . . I sewed the muska . . . I took decanters of water to the Hindiler Tekkesi to be read . . . and made you drink of it; but still you didn't come to your senses . . . Every night I made you drink of its water, still there was no effect on you’: Hüseyin Rahmi, Şıpsevdi, as quoted in Sönmez, Emel, ‘Turkish Women in Turkish Literature of the 19th Century’, Die Welt des Islams vol. 12:1–3 (1969), p. 54 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

120 Seventeenth-century English merchants, for instance, regularly petitioned for the favour of the Ottoman state; see İnalcık, Halil, Osmanlı’da Devlet, Hukuk, Adâlet, Eren, Istanbul, 2000, p. 49 Google Scholar.

121 Few Mughal waqf deeds have survived. Historians have been unable to locate, for example, the endowment documents for the most famous of Mughal monuments, the Taj Mahal. It has been argued, however, that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries other grants were viewed in much the same light as waqf endowments. Many were also established during early colonial rule. See Kozlowski, Gregory, ‘Imperial Authority, Benefactions and Endowments (Awqāf) in Mughal India’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient vol. 38:3 (1995), pp. 355370 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

122 Bayly, Empire and Information; see as well the special forum in O'Hanlon, Rosalind (ed.), ‘Knowledge in Circulation in Early Modern India’, Modern Asian Studies vol. 44:2 (2010)Google Scholar.

123 Raman, Bhavani, Document Raj: Writing and Scribes in Early Colonial India, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Chapter 6.

124 Mikhail, Alan and Philliou, Christine, ‘The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn’, Comparative Studies in Society and History vol. 54:4 (2012), p. 743 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

125 The formulation is from Barkey, Empire of Difference, p. 41. [Emphasis in original.]

126 Alavi, Seema, ‘“Fugitive Mullahs and Outlawed Fanatics”: Indian Muslims in Nineteenth-century Trans-Asiatic Imperial Rivalries’, Modern Asian Studies vol. 45:6 (2011), pp. 13371382 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

127 Aybek, ‘Hindîler Tekkesi’, p. 96; and Jalal, Ayesha, Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008, pp. 217218 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

128 Zarcone, Sufi Pilgrims, pp. 104–107.

129 For engaging studies of the colonial Hajj, see Bose, Sugata, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Chapter 6; and Eric Tagliacozzo, The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Oxford University Press, New York, Chapters 5–8.

130 Vambéry, A., ‘Pan-Islamism’, The Nineteenth Century and After: A Monthly Review vol. 60 (1906), p. 548 Google Scholar; and Vambéry, A., ‘Pan-Islamism and the Sultan of Turkey’, The Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review and Oriental and Colonial Record vol. 23: 45–46 (1907), p. 5 Google Scholar.

131 Alavi, Muslim Cosmopolitanism.

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