Otman Baba — One of the Spiritual Patrons of Islamic Heterodoxy in Bulgarian Lands Cover Image
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Отман Баба - един от духовните патрони на ислямската хетеродоксия в българските земи
Otman Baba — One of the Spiritual Patrons of Islamic Heterodoxy in Bulgarian Lands

Author(s): Nevena Gramatikova
Subject(s): History
Published by: Асоциация Клио
Keywords: Otman Baba; Bulgarian lands; unorthodox Islamic tradition

Summary/Abstract: In the article is portrayed the character of one unorthodox Muslim mystic whose cult becomes the foundation for the functioning of Islamic heterodoxy in Bulgarian lands. The personality of Otman Baba is examined on the basis of sources, belonging to the unorthodox Islamic written tradition. Among them the saint’s biography is notable — a description of the life and the miracles of Otman Baba — written by his spiritual follower and disciple Kiutchuk Abdal. The accent is on the elucidation of the religious-mystic specificity of the character of this saint, and also concern the social dimensions in his ideas and propagandazing activity. Attention is paid on his relations with the central and provincial ottoman power. The sources allow us to rank him with the followers of the Horosanic Meliamet tradition. He could be related even more emphatically to the movement of the kalenders, because he carries all features of a dervish-kalender. In the text of the saint’s life, Otman Baba and his disciples are called abdals, but in the ottoman period the dervish-kalenders are also named ‘Abdalan-i Rum’. In the vilayetname is represented the religious soufi doctrine of the abdals-kalenderi, that has taken much of the ideas of Abu Yazid al-Bistami, Mansur al-Hallaj, Abu al-Arabi, of moderate and extreme shiisme. Otman Baba is called in his biography Kutb’ul-Aktab i. e. pole of the poles, which reveals, that he had attained the highest rank in the soufi hierarchy. According to the conception of the author, based on the soufi-abdal doctrine, Otman Baba as pole of the poles make it possible that all things in the Universe may happen. The saint himself claims that he is mastering all secrets of life. He is portrayed as creator of many miracles, which make him get the recognition from some of the Muslim population and from other mystical leaders. The extent of his religious-mystical maturity is showed by the definitions, used for his spiritual achievements. The behaviour and the words of Otman Baba are considered in the light of the soufi conception for the perfect man (Al-Insan al-Kamil). In the biography is constantly emphasized that Otman Baba is the incarnation of the Perfect man. Retracing the life of this Muslim Saint, we indicate the regions, towns and villages that he visits. Attention is paid to the question of Otman Baba’s incarnations in the context of the religious doctrine, which he confesses. The examined problems make it possible to reconstruct more precisely the history and above all, the essence of unorthodox mystic Islam in Bulgarian lands and also to become acquainted with its best-known personal representatives.

  • Issue Year: 2001
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 75-110
  • Page Count: 36
  • Language: Bulgarian