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Haci Bayram Veli was born and grew up near Ankara, central Anatolia, in a small village Zülfadl, nestled on the banks of the Çubuk stream. There is no record of the exact date of his birth. However, the year 1352 as the year of his birth had been decided upon and as widely accepted, hence that was included in his biographies.

That was based on the number of historians who claimed that he was born two years after the death of Dawud al-Qaysari, and it must have been the 753rd Hijri year [1352. AC]. However, some other historians claimed that he lived for 90 years, which meant that he was born in 740 (1339-40).

The original name he was given at his birth was Num’an. The name Bayram-i was given to him by Hz Abu Hamiduddin (Somuncu Baba) because their first meeting took place during the Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha). After their first meeting, he became the disciple of Halwati Shaykh Hz. Ebu Hamiduddin Aksarayi (d. 810/1408), from whom he received instruction in Tasawwuf.

Haci Bayram Veli was educated in the fields of religious sciences such as the interpretation of the Qur’an, hadiths and Canon law. as well as in the natural sciences practice in his time. His desire for knowledge took him across the Ottoman lands, from Ankara to Bursa to Damascus, where he attended lectures by various eminent Sheikhs. Eventually he returned to Ankara and settled down in his home village, From then on, he dedicated himself to the education and upbringing of his students at the Black Madrasa in Ankara, which was the legacy (hayr deed) of Adila Melîka Hatun, Princess of Seljucs. In a short time, at the beginning of his career as a young teacher (Khoja) he became known, respected and loved by the people, and highly respected among his colleagues and superiors in the Black Madrasa.

Haji Bayram-i Veli was a great Shaikh and teacher, as well as a writer and poet. He used to write his works in Turkish, thus significantly influencing the usage of Turkish in Anatolia. He is the founder of the Bayramiye tariqa, which quickly spread throughout Turkey and into the Balkans and Egypt.

He founded a school in Ankara, as well as the Dervish Lodge of his Bajram-i Order. Both were widely known and sought after, and with their curriculum they attracted students from far and wide.

In time, he became a personal adviser to the Ottoman Sultan Murat II. By his famous edict, Sultan Murad Khan exempted the disciples of Haci Bayram-ı Veli from taxes and military service so that they could engage only in science. An episode that happened during one of Haci Bayrami’s working visits to Sultan Murat became legendary.

The topic of the consultations was, among other things, the possible conquest of Constantinople, which they failed to conquer during few earlier attempts. Sultan Murat II, who desperately wanted to conquer this famous city from the hands of the Byzantines, asked Haci Bayram for his opinion. Haci Bayram looked in the direction of the Sultan’s younger son Mehmet, still a small baby, who was not far from them.
Then he turned back to the Sultan and told him that he would not conquer Constantinople, but that the conquest is in the destiny of his son Mehmet. Thus, he famously and accurately predicted that the Sultan’s son Mehmet Fatih would conquer Constantinople, after which he received the nickname “Conqueror”.

Hacı Bayram-ı Veli worked to spread Islam until the end of his life. He died in Ankara in 1429 (H. 833). His tomb is adjacent to the Hacı Bayram Mosque, which is named after him.



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Erlik Khan (Erleg Han) – the second son of “Father Heaven” (Gök or Kök Tengri / Tenger Etseg) and his wife “Mother Earth” (Gazar Eej – Etugan), the core deities in Mongolian shamanism.

According to the Mongolian myth of creation, there were three realms, the “heavenly world” and the “earthly world” (each having 9 levels) and the “underground world” (with 9 rivers “); These realms were connected by the colossal “Worlds’ Tree” (Turge) which they considered the center of the worlds. The World Tree supported the sky and thus connected the heavenly world, the earthly world and, through its roots, the underworld. – [“Altan Tobchi” (Golden Abstract), a 17th century Mongolian chronicle]

Kök / Gök Tangrı is believed to be an eternal blue sky, the supreme being and creator of everything, who assigned power to the Khagans, who created and maintained balance in the universe, the nature, the weather and the seasons. While his wife, Mother Earth (Gazar Eej – Etugan) provided support and nourishment on the grounds below.

They had two sons: Ulgen Khan, Lord of the spirits of the upper world and the creator of the world (land) and Erleg Khan, the Lord of the sprits of the lower world. While Ulgen ruled the Realm of Light, Erleg ruled the Realm of Darkness, and they were associated with the black and white shamans, respectively.

Erlik Khan – the deity of evil, darkness, Lord of the Underworld and judge of the souls of dead people, symbolized a destructive aspect of the Universe, as well as wickedness, greed, ambition and all sorts of evil.

He was also the ruler of the Red Hell (Kizil Tamu), the place where the souls of sinful people go to be punished after they die, and where the enemies were sent to dwell in there eternally. According to the Mongolian belief, some of those souls would be reborn again after a time, some would be elevated to the 3rd level of Heaven (Sky) after enduring their punishment, but extremely evil ones would be extinguished forever.

According to Mongolian Tengrism, Erlik Khan does all kinds of malicious things to people, infects humans and animals with epidemics, and sends grasshoppers to destroy crops. Camel, pig, insects, snake, lizard and some evil spirits are his creations, according to the “Myth of the Creation”. He catches spirits of the people killed or the souls of those still wandering the world of the living, and takes them underground to make them his own servants.

By doing these, he forces people to make ritual sacrifices for him. It is believed that if sacrifices were made and if he is satisfied, he will leave people alone for a while.

While sacrifices are made, the head of the animals being sacrificed to Erlik must be turned to the west, because the Gate to the Underworld has the appearance of a crack in the Earth and is situated to the west. He prefers a black bull, or infirm, weak and sick animals to be sacrificed. A horse is never sacrificed to him, but occasionally the Black Shamans (Kara Kam) would sacrifice a black horse to please him.
In addition, if a person is sick and is at the death door, a Shaman performing shamanic ritual will descend into the underworld traveling along the World River (named Dolbor or Engdekit) or by some other mean, to negotiate with Erlik Khan to bring the person back to life. If negotiations fail, the person will die.

Erlik Khan had nine sons, called Karaoğlanlar (“black boys”), and each of them was a deity of some aspect of the Underworld:
1. Karash Han: The god of darkness.
2. Matır Han: The god of courage and bravery.
3. Shingay Han: The god of chaos.
4. Komur Han: The god of evil.
5. Badysh Han: The god of disaster.
6. Yabash Han: The god of defeat.
7. Temir Han: The god of iron and mining.
8. Uchar Han: The god of informants.
9. Kerey Han: The god of discord.
[Türk Söylence Sözlüğü, Deniz Karakurt]


How Erlik Khan ended up being the Lord of the Underworld is explained in the work “Mongol Creation Myth”, as per Ewenki people:

“Long ago Father Heaven had two sons, Ulgen Tenger and Erleg Khan. Ulgen became the lord of the upper world and Erleg Khan became the lord of the lower world.

At that time the earth was covered with water, there was no land. Ulgen Tenger asked the loon to bring up mud from below the water to create land. But, the loon was not able to do so, and he was punished by having his legs broken so he could not walk.

Then, the goldeneye duck was called next to bring up mud for the land. The duck created a small piece of land that Ulgen was able to lay on. Erleg Khan seeing that his brother had fallen asleep on the new land, tried to pull the land out from under him, but instead the land stretched out in all directions as he pulled it.

Next, Ulgen Tenger created animals and humans out of mud and he spread them out to dry. He created the dog to keep watch over the bodies of the new humans while he was gone.

Erleg Khan, unhappy to see that his brother was creating humans, came to see the new bodies. But, the dog would not let him come close.
At that time the dog could talk but had no fur. It was cold, and snowing, so Erleg Khan tempted him, saying that if the dog allowed him to see the humans’ bodies he would give him a beautiful fur coat. The dog agreed, and was given a shiny beautiful coat. Erleg Khan then spat on the bodies so that humans would have diseases and not be immortal.

When Ulgen returned he saw that the dog had fur and that the humans had been damaged, so he punished the dog by making his coat smelly, taking away his voice, and by making the dog follow humans in order to get its food.

However, Erlik Khan has been forgiven, but because of his jealousy and evil ambition, was sent to the underworld to rule there”

References used and for further readings:

• “The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the 13th Century”
• “Türk Söylence Sözlüğ”, Deniz Karakurt:
• “Altan Tobchi” (Golden Abstract), a 17th century Mongolian chronicle

By Melisa Dirilish
Copyright © 2020 Melisa Dirilish (™) All Rights Reserved.


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Osman Gâzi (1299 – 1324)

“Because the one with the fear of Allah, the Creator, has no fear of the created.”
– Osman Gâzi Hân

By Melisa Dirilish

Osman Bey, the first Ottoman Sultan who ruled for 45 years, the founder of the Empire and the dynasty that were named after him, was also known by the names of: Kara Osman, Fahruddin and Muinüddin.
His life, although much shorter than his father’s, since he passed away aged 67 [the exact age of Ertuğrul Gazi when Osman was born], has been an extraordinary one, marked with many achievements and which inspired many legends.

Osman descended from the Kayı tribe of the Boz-Oklar branch of the Oğuz Turks, to which his father Ertuğrul Gazi also belonged, and from which the future Ottomans will emerge. While, his mother Halime Sultan has descended from the Kınık, the Üç-Oklar branch of Oğuz Turks, from which the Seljuks originated. That claim later became part of the official Ottoman genealogy and it was eventually incorporated into the Turkish nationalist historical tradition.

Osman Bey was born in 1258 in Söğüt or Osmancık. He came very late into Ertuğrul’s and Halime’s life. When he was born, Ertuğrul Gazi was about 67 years old, and because Halime Sultan was also older, at an age when women no longer give birth, Osman was considered to be a miracle sent by Allah.

Osman’s birth coincided with a time when “the world of declining empires” was desperate for a new leader.

He was only 23 years old when in 1281, upon the death of Ertuğrul Gazi, he took over the leadership of Kayı Boyu {clan} and the principality of Sögüt, what was then known as the province of Bithynia.

And, from then on, “the roots of the Platanus tree (Çınar) that rose from Osman’s chest, and whose majestic branches would extend across the seas and the lands, the continents and states, began to spread in the soil. So much so that, all humanity lived under the shadow of this Platanus for six centuries, in a way that they couldn’t have even imagined seeing it once again after the age of Bliss (Asr-ı Saâdetten).” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil, “the Kayi XI”; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]

With many conquests he carried out, he extended his territory in a short time, and gradually turned it into an independent principality, then into an independent state.

Firmly controlling the region around the town of Söğüt, he launched his raids from there and waged a slow and persistent war against the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. Osman appears to have followed a strategy of increasing his territories at the expense of the Byzantines, while at the same time he avoided conflicts with his more powerful Turkmen neighbours, until his State become strong enough to deal with them too.

He extended his lands from Marmara coast in the north, to the mouth of Sakarya River and Kutahya in the south. These boundaries included Söğüt, Karacahisar, Yarhisâr, Eskişehir, Harmankaya, Inegöl.
In the years preceding the conquest of Karacahisar fortress, Osman suffered two great private loses which caused him a great grief. His young nephew, Bey Hoca, the son of his brother Savci, was martyred in 1285 in the ambush during the Ermeni Beli battle, and sometime later his brother Savci also died in the struggle before the conquest of Karacahisar. [KemâlPaşa-zâde Tarihi]

After he conquered Karacahisar, Yarhisar and Bilecik, he transferred the centre of the Beylik to Bilecik. Years later, in 1301, he founded town of Yenişehir near Bursa and transferred the Sultanate’s headquarters there.

He then gave the governing of the Eskişehir to his brother Gündüz Bey, of town of Sultânönü to his son Orhan Bey, Yarhisâr to Hasan Alp, Bilecik to Sheikh Edebali and Inegöl to Turgut Alp, and took Edebali’s grandson Ala’addin (his son) with him.

Afterwards, he continued to increase his territories, and as per today’s Mülkî Taksimat (state’s office assets records), the lands of Osmanli domain [Osmanoğulları’nın ülkesi] at the time of Osman Khan’s death covered the districts of Bilecik, Eskişehir (administrative centre), Sarkaya with the attached Geyve, Akyazı and Hendek, Kütahya-Domanic and the province of Bursa, encompassing districts of Mudanya (including the port), Yenisar and Inegöl. [Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil, – Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]

When the Seljuk State was brought to an end by the Ilkhanid’s ruler Ahmad Ghazan in 1308, the Osman’s Principality became completely detached.

During his amazing life, Osman Gazi has been addressed by the titles of Emir and Bey. And, at his death he was titled Khan and Sultan, the 1st Sultan of Ottomans. Because, by the end of his life he had become The Bey of Principality, in his own right.

He first became a semi-independent governor, when the Seljuk Sultan Gıyaseddin Mesūd II recognised his rule in 1284, and sent him an envoy with a Mehterhane (military band), the Tuğ (the Tugh – symbol of duty, office and sovereignty) and a Sancak (Sancak/Sanjak – a military flag) as a gift, and also his decree that Söğüt and its environs were allocated to him. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]

The first legitimation of Osman’s rule on the part of the Seljuk Sultan, happened during the siege of Karachahisar, when the next Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III, summoned him and said that he displays many signs of success [bliss], adding “You and your family are unique in their kind. My prayers, Allah’s help, the Evliyaullah’s support [Allah’s aleem/ulamā’/wise men] and Muhammed’s miracles are with you”. [Âşıkpaşa-zâde]

And then, several years later, on 27 January 1300, Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III sent him an edict, along with another Tuğ, Sancak and a drum (as the symbols of his sovereignty), by which Osman Bey became an independent Principality Bey.
After gaining his independency, he proceeded to mint his own coins (Akce) with the inscription “Minted by Osman, son of Ertuğrul”, and had Jummah prayers recited in his name only.

Osman’s last campaign, before dying, was against the Byzantines in the city of Bursa. He masterminded and put in motion the siege of Bursa, which would last for 9 years (1317-1326), and then he left the battlefield under the command of his son, Orhan.
However, since he was long suffering from Nikris (goutte) disease, his health deteriorated towards the end of the siege, and he passed away in February 1324, before seeing the fall of Bursa.

He was buried temporarily in the graveyard next to Ertuğrul Gazi’s tomb. But Osman last request addressed to his son on his deathbed was that Osman re-bury him in Bursa, after he conquers it. So, 2.5 years later his remains were taken from Söğüt and re-buried in in the old Eastern Roman chapel, known as “Gümüşlü Kümbet”, in Bursa, in 1326. [Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı]

With the conquest of Bursa, on April 6th 1326, which heralded the founding of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Turks have finally established themselves as the major power in Asia Minor. And Bursa, in later history recognized as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire, became the new Ottoman capital until the conquest of Adrianople (today known as Edirne) in 1362, by Osman’s grandson, Sultan Murad I.

The physical and spiritual foundations of the State he left after his passing, were so strong that only 150 years later it would became a superpower and eventually one of the greatest world’s Empires, which lasted for more than six centuries and spread across three continents.

“If this smallest of unions (beyliks) among the Anatolian principalities, has made claim back then, that they would be the ones who would ensure the Turks’ unity and that they would defeat many states in Europe and Asia and dominate in these regions, no one would have believe them, they would say: ‘You are dreaming!’. However, this distinguished Turk’s hero, surrounded by the Sufi masters, and backed by his Gazi-Alps and many valiants ready to sacrifice their lives for this cause, has believed in this and strived hard for this great birth.” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Kayı XI; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]]

The subject of Osman Gazi is really huge, with a lot of material to cover. It could not fit in just one or two articles, as can be seen from this one, so I will write it as a series of articles, as the show “Osman, the Founder” goes on.
And, as always, I won’t use any of the foreign sources which are full of subjective information, but the Turkish sources and archives which are well documented and include more facts than legends.

By Melisa Dirilish
Copyright © 2020 Melisa Dirilish (™) All Rights Reserved.


By Melisa Dirilish

Copyright © 2020 Melisa Dirilish (™) All Rights Reserved.


Continue Reading