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Sufism in Jerusalem under the Ottoman Rule

By: Zaki Hasan Nusseibeh

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Sufism in Jerusalem under the Ottoman Rule

By: Zaki Hasan Nusseibeh


Jerusalem has always been one of the holiest places in the world and has a great religious and spiritual importance in the hearts of all believers from the three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For Moslems, It is the third holy city after Mecca and Medina. Prophet Mohammed had stated the basis of the Islamic religion in the Arabian peninsula, but Jerusalem was chosen by our mighty God, as it is believed to be the nearest point to heaven, to be the place from which Prophet Mohammad had ascended to heaven in "Al Mi'raaj" after he was brought to Jerusalem in his miraculous journey " Al-Israa''.

Taking this spiritual side of Jerusalem, Sufism (Mysticism in Islam) has been a prominent aspect in Jerusalem especially during the Ottoman rule (1516-1917), when the Ottoman Sultans had supported the Tasawwuf in all parts of their Empire including Jerusalem.

This paper studies Sufism in Jerusalem under the Ottoman Rule by going into its history and institutions. Let us first start with defining the term Sufism.

"Tasawwuf" ( Mysticism in Islam)

The muhadith (Traditional) Ahamed Zarruq who lived in the fourteenth centaury, said that the Tasawwuf has over two thousand definitions, all of which go back to the sincerity of one's self application to Allah. Each one definition corresponds to his state and extent of his experience, knowledge, and taste, upon which he will ground his saying. (1) Among those two thousand definitions I have chosen three. The first is the definition that was said by Iben Taymiyya, one of the greatest scholars of Islam. He was born in Bhran in the year 1262 AD, studied his religious sciences in Damascus, and accepted the Tasawwuf in condition that it follows the Sharia'h (Islamic law based on the Quran and Sunna). He said: "Tassawuf has realities and states of experience which they talk about in their science. Some of it is that the Sufi is that one who purifies himself from anything which distracts him from the remembrance of Allah and who will be so filled up with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind to the point that the value of gold and stones will be the same to him. And Tasawwuf is safeguarding the precious meanings and leaving behind the call to fame and vanity in order to reach the state of Truthfulness, because the best of humans after the prophets are the Siddiqeen(Truthful Ones). And the Sufi is in reality a kind of Siddiq, that Siddiq who specialized in zuhd(the self-denial or abstention from the worldly life.) and worship. Some people criticised Sufi and Tasawwuf and they said they were innovators, out of the Sunnah, but the truth is they are striving in Allah's obedience "(2)

The second definition is for Abu al-`Ala' al-Mawdudi (d. 1978 AD) the most famous contemporary Islamic thinker of the Indian subcontinent and author of a Qur'anic commentary in Urdu and English. He wrote in his "Mabadi' al-Islam" (Principles of Islam): "Fiqh addresses only external actions: "Did you perform them according to what is required"? The condition from your heart is not taken under consideration. As for the science that investigates the states of the heart and its conditions: it is Tasawwuf. The questions asked by Fiqh are: Did you complete your ablution correctly? Did you pray towards the Qibla? Did you fulfill the pillars of prayer? If you do all your prayer, it is correct according to the rules of fiqh. On the other side tasawwuf, asks questions about your heart such as: Did you repent and turn to your Lord in your prayer? Did you empty your heart of the preoccupations of the world in your prayer? Did you pray in fear of Allah knowing that He sees and hears you? If you did all this and other things, then your prayer is correct according to Tasawwuf, otherwise it is defective... Tasawwuf is the establishment of the Law of Islam to the utmost point of sincerity, clarity of intention, and purity of heart. (3)

The third definition was written by Abu Hamid al-Tusi al-Ghazali, the Reviver of the Fifth Islamic century, scholar of - fiqh (jurist) and author of most well known work on Tasawwuf, Ihya ulum al-din (The revival of the religious sciences). He says in his autobiography "al-Munqidh min al-Dalal" (Deliverance from error): The Sufi path consists in cleaning the heart from whatever is other than Allah ..It concluded that the Sufis are the seekers in Allah's Way, and their conduct is the best conduct, and their way is the best way, and their manners are the most sanctified. They have cleaned their hearts from others than Allah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run, carrying knowledge of Allah. (4)

The term Sufism or (Tasawwuf)

The contemporary Shaykh Hisham Kabani the leader of the Naqshabandi Sufi Order in North America, said in an interview with Joseph Roberts at the "Commom Ground Magazine" (August 1996), that the term "Sufism" came from four different Arabic sources. The first "Ahlu al -Sufa": The people of the bench. During the time of the Prophet, there were many people who were attracted to him and were trying to achieve spiritual advancement. The Prophet used to meet with them in the evenings, and after he left, his followers would stay behind, sitting until morning on benches in the mosque located near his house, trying to recite and memorize what he had told them trough the day. The second source is: "Safa" (very clear like crystal, and transparent like water). The third source is "Sufatul Kafa": the bath sponge, which describes the soft heart of a Sufi. The fourth source is "Sufi", meaning wool, after robes worn by followers who went to caves for seclusion to connect themselves with their Lord.. (5)

The history of the Tasawwuf

The Tasawwuf history can be divided into four stages: the first stage was in the first two Islamic centuries (622-814 AD), In his essay entitled al-Sufiyya wa al-fuqara' and published in the eleventh volume (al Tawassuf) of his Majmu`a fatawa al Kubra, IbnTaymiyya states:The word sufi was not well-known in the first three centuries but its usage became well-known after that. More than a few Imams and shaykhs spoke about it, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Sulayman al Darani, and others. It has been related that Sufyan al-Thawri used it. Some have also mentioned that concerning Hasan al Basri. Tasawwuf's place of origin is Basra in Iraq where the great Imam (Generally the leader of the congregational prayers) al-Hasan al -Basri lived. He was famous for his immense knowledge, his austerity and asceticism, his fearless remonstrance of the authorities, and his power of attraction both in discourse and appearance. Hasan left behind a white cloak (jubba) made of wool which he had worn exclusively of any other for twenty years, in winter and in summer, and that when he died it was in a state of immaculate beauty, cleanness, and quality.(6) This stage was characterized by its Islamic roots, the Sufis of which strict to the Sharia'h.

The second stage was from the third to the sixth Islamic century(815-1202 AD) . It was the stage in which the Tasawwuf became one of religious sciences, it had its own terminology, and its own places out side the mousq were the Sufis used to meet to hear (Sama') the poems and songs that tells about the love of the human to his Mighty God. The Tasawwuf at this stage gets far from the Islamic Sharia'h and was affected by other cultures, religions, and philosophy especially Christianity, and the Greek philosophy. Two elements characterized this stage: First, most of the great names of the Tasawwuf history appeared at it. Second the Tasawwuf became unaccepted by part of the Islamic scholars because what was known later by innovation (al-Beda').

The third stage was from the seventh to the eleventh Islamic centuries (1203-1686 AD), the seventh century can be described as the Golden Age of the Tasawwuf as at this stage it expanded all over the Islamic world, in the middle of the sixth Islamic century and reached Andalusia "Since the invasion of the Iberian peninsula by the Moors in 711 AD, the southern half of Spain had been 'Arabised' under Islamic rule and Arabic became the common language of all educated people". In 'al-Andalusia' Muhammed Ibn 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi was born in Murcia in 1165 AD, at the time of the flowering of the Hispano-Arab culture. The third stage characterized by the division of the Tasawwuf in to two schools. The first was the one started by the reformer Imam abu-Hammed al-Ghazali who extirpated the Greek thoughts so as to remove their effects from Muslims' minds, and return the Tasawwuf to its Shariah' and Suna origins. The second was the school that continues to be affected by the philosophy.

The fourth stage started by the late Middle Ages, it was strongly supported by the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, who helped the Sufis to build their institutions in the most parts of the Empire and gave them the money to distribute among their followers.

The Tasawwuf in our time is a target that is attacked by the Salafi group who believe that the Tasawwuf is innovation which entered Islam from other religions and that the true Moslem must fight it. The Saudi Islamic scholars lead this attack, while Sufis, especially those who emigrated to the west, defended it.


As I have mentioned  Jerusalem has always been one of the holiest places on earth. It is written in our holly Qur'an:

"Glory be to Him who did take His servant for a journey by night from the sacred (Haram) mosque to the farthest (Aqsa) mosque whose precincts We did bless, -in order that We might show him some of Our signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things)"

(Qur'an, Surat al- Israa' :1).

So, from Jerusalem the prophet saw some of His Mighty signs, which means that this new religion gave a special spiritual importance to Jerusalem. For this reason most of the great Sufis in the Tasawwuf history had visited the city, part of them died and was buried in it, others spent part of there life in this holly city.

Rabi'a Adawiyya 717-801 A.D. One of the great Sufis, visited Jerusalem and lived the rest of her life in it, and was buried in al-Tur (Mount of Olives), and Muslims still visit her grave there. "As the mystical side of Islam developed, it was a woman, who first expressed the relationship with the divine in a language we have come to recognize as specifically Sufic by referring to God as the Beloved. Rabi'a was the first human being to speak of the realities of Sufism with a language that anyone could understand. Though she experienced many difficulties in her early years, Rabi'a's starting point was neither a fear of hell nor a desire for paradise, but only love. "God is God," she said -for this I love God... not because of any gifts, but for itself- her aim was to melt her being in God. According to her, one could find God by turning within oneself". (7)

There are a lot of Sufi sheikhs graves in Jerusalem. Great part of them was buried in the Islamic cemetery in the west side of the city "Mamela". In his book (Islamic Mausolea and Cemeteries In Jerusalem) Dr. Kamel L Asali mentioned the names of about 35 great sheikhs of the Sufis who were buried in Mamela through the history, some of them was buried in what is called in Arabic (Housh) which is a small part of the cemetery, where the followers of his Sufi Tariqa (order) were buried around his grave. The other part of the graves was divided between the other two Islamic cemeteries: al-Sahera out the northern side of the walls of the old city, and Bab al-Asbat out side the eastern wall.

Sufis institutions

Other graves are distributed in different parts of the city especially inside the walls of the old city, where they became what are known in Arabic as (zawya), one of three Sufi institutions around the world.

Zawya: Internet Encyclopedia of the Orient defined it as a shrine, stating: ".these shrines are found in vast numbers all over North Africa, and is a central part of Islam, and do in some cases challenge the position of mosques, and in some other cases, zawyas and mosques coexist inside the same building. Some zawyas have even been turned into mosques."

"The zawya is built around the residence or the grave of a holy man, waly or woman, walya. A clear majority of zawyas is simple in their shape and interior, normally in order to reflect the ascetic lifestyles of the holy man or woman commemorated. The people for whom the zawyas have been built have been ascetics, Sufi leaders, teachers, people who have returned from pilgrimages (like hajj), learned men, people with whom a miracle is connected or former rulers" The zawya is used also as schools to teach people the spiritual studies, and to do hearing (Sama'), which we will explain later.

Al-Ribat The second Sufi institution is known by the name (al-Rebat) which means the "border forts." In war time these places were used as camps for the Moslem soldiers, but when there was no war, they where used by the Sufi as schools for teaching their spiritual studies and as libraries where they use to keep their books. In the late middle Ages they were used also as guest houses or shelters where the poor people can stay.

Khaniqah (guest-houses) The third Sufi institution is the "Khaniqah": a Persian word which used to name the buildings where the Sufis used to stay to worship, study and sleep. In the late middle ages, under the Ottoman rule, a new name "Tkiyya" was used in stead of the "Khaniqah". It became one of the government institutions; the government chose the head of the "Khaniqah" and payed his salary.

The similarity in the function of the three institutions cause confusion in using those names, especially by some of the historians and the Travelers who visited the city, some of them used the name Khaniqah for a place that was known as zawya.

Although the golden age of the Tasawwuf in Jerusalem was under the Ottoman rule, the history of the Tasawwuf in the city goes back to the early days of Islam as mentioned before, when the Tasawwuf became part of Islamic studies. Since the second Islamic century, a great number of Sufis visited or lived in the city, and a lot of Sufi institutions were built. The first Sufi institution was "al-Khaniqah al karamia" built by the Sufi Mohamed ibn- karam (died 868 AD). He came from Sagistan in Asia, used to wear leather and taught at al-Aqsa mosque, but the people left his lessons when he started to say that the human being can be a believer in God only by saying and without a need for doing, which means without a need of worshiping God. He and his followers used to do "dhikr" (where a name of God or a short religious phrase is repeated over and over again) in that Khaniqah.(8)

Most of the Sufi Khaniqahs were built on the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, under the Mamluki rule and the reason for that was because the Mamluki Sultan Barkuk (1382-1398 AD) encouraged to merge the Sufi studies with other academic studies and he used to pay for the shaikhs who share the daily dhikr in addition to the payment that they had paid for being teachers at the Khaniqahs. (9)

The institutions were divided according to what is known in the Sufi by the name of (Tariqa) which means: The Way of those shaikhs to call people to Allah's Divine Presence and obedience to the Prophet. Those shaikhs are guides, and each guide has his own method (Tariqa) in calling people to the Prophet's ways. The founders of most of those Tariqas used to live in the Middle Ages in different parts of the Islamic world their followers continue their order through the centuries; some of the followers renew in the Tariqa, or started a new one. In the seventeenth century there were seventy Sufi institutions in Jerusalem, every one of them refers to different Sufi Tariqa. Between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century Sufis occupied most of the buildings that were around the two mosques in the Haram. (10). Part of them were built by the Ottoman governors, and others were built before the Ottomans.

Two sources provided us with information about the Tasawwuf and the Sufis in Jerusalem under the Ottoman rule: First is the old record of the legitimate Moslem court in East Jerusalem, and the second are the books that were written by Travelers who visited the city at that time. The most famous of them was: Abed al-Ghane al- Nabulsi he was one of the greatest Sufis at that time, his visit to the city in the year 1690 AD, and the book he wrote (al-Hadra al-Unsia fi al-Rehla al-Maqdesia) which means: the nice assembly-dhikr in the journey to Jerusalem. This visit draws a good picture of the city in general and of the Sufis and Tasawwuf in particular. Through his book and other source we will start our journey to Tasawwuf and Sufis in Jerusalem, visiting some of the zawyas at that time, having some information about the buildings, that most of them are still exist till now, learning something about the Tariqas that characterize the zawya and joining part of the ceremonies that al- Nabulsi joined before more than 300 hundred years ago.

The Indian Zawya

Entering Herod's gate at (Bab al-Sahera) to the old city, the first thing that you face after the two small shops in front of the gate are the steps that led to Saadyya quarter up the hill there are two buildings, the first in the front is new used as an UNROW clink, the one on the back is an old building used as a guest house for the Indian Moslems who visited Jerusalem. This place used to be zawya for the followers of er Rifa'I tariqa which was established by shaikh Ahmed er Rifa'i (1118-1181AD) he was borne in Basra, Iraq. His followers use to stamp them selves with knives and swords without being hearted according to the beliefe that their shaikh had a spiritual power to heal them as he did near the tomb of the prohet, they tell this story about his mericals: "In the year 1160 AD Ahmed er Rifa'i went on pilgrimage, and in Medina he went to see our Prophet (pbuh). The guard didn't want to let him in because he was not traveling in his Sayyid clothes that would have shown that he was a blood relative of the Prophet. When the guard didn't let him in, he was sad and yelled towards our Prophet's tomb and said "Eselamu-aleyke ya jeddi" ("Peace be on you, my ancestor") and then our Prophet answered saying "Aleykesselam ya veledi" ("And peace be on you, my son") and our Prophet's hand came out of the tomb and he kissed our Prophet's hand. And when people saw this miracle, they went into a state of vejd (ecstasy) and began stabbing themselves with their swords and knives. When the ecstasy moment passed, there were people lying wounded all over the floor with lots of blood. So Ahmed er Rifa'i went around and healed them all back to their normal health. After that, Ahmed er Rifa'i was known to have this gift and this is known as a Rifa'i miracle." (11) The followers of this Tariqa forbid hearting the animals. There was another zawya for the followers of er Rifai' in Jerusalem near one of the Haram gates: al-Ghwanema gate.(12 The Maylawiyya zawya Not far from the last one, at the Islamic quarter there is a zawya, which was established in the year 1543 AD by Khawandek Karbek the Ottoman governor of Jerusalem at that time. The Ottoman Sultans gave a special position to the shaihks and the followers of the Maylawiyya Tariqa through the history, before building the zawya in Jerusalem Sultan Salim named the shaikh Akhfash Zada as the shaikh of the Tariqa in Jerusalem and he order his government to pay him a great amount of money monthly (500 Uqja). (13) "The Maylawiyya Tariqa which was established by Jalaluden Rume who was born in 1207 A.D in Balkh in what is today Afghanistan. At an early age his family left Balkh because of the danger of the invading Mongols and settled in Konya, Turkey, which was then the capital of the Seljuk Empire. His father Bahauddin was a great religious teacher who received a position at the university in Konya.

Jalaluden early spiritual education was under the tutelage of his father Bahauddin and later under his father's close friend Sayyid Burhaneddin of Balkh. The circumstances surrounding Sayyid's undertaking of the education of his friend's son are interesting: Sayyid had been in Balkh, Afghanistan when he felt the death of his friend Bahauddin and realized that he must go to Konya to take over Jalaluden 's spiritual education. He came to Konya when Mevlâna was about twenty-four years old, and for nine years instructed him in "the science of the prophets and states," beginning with a strict forty day retreat and continuing with various disciplines of meditation and fasting. During this time Jalaluden also spent more than four years in Aleppo and Damascus studying with some of the greatest religious minds of the time." (14) His most important work, the ``Mathnawi'' or ``Spiritual Couplets,'' fills six volumes, and their impact on Islamic civilization was so great it gave rise to his title, Mevlana, meaning ``the teacher.'' (15) "Rumi was a sensuous poet as well as a religious thinker, offering great insight into the struggle of the mystic with physical existence."(16)

On Wednesday 16th of April 1690 A.D al-Nabulsi visited Maylawiyya zawya. In his book (al Hadra) he described it: a three floor building in front of the first floor there was a great courtyard, he climbed the second steps which led to the second floor there he reached another courtyard smaller than the first one, then he climbed the steps to the third floor, " here we nearly reached the sky" small courtyard was in front of the third floor. He entered a great room (Diwan) the stony seats were all around covered with mattress and pillows a small pool with fountain was in the middle of the room, the roof of the room was built of stone. From its windows he sows all the parts of the city. As a Sufi gust they made him a special Sama' ceremony "the word Sama' comes from a root meaning to listen, suggesting an occasion when music is used to uplift the soul. The form that Sama' and whirling took in Rumi's day was probably informal and ecstatic, consisting of long nights of dhikr, music and poetry. After his death and under the guidance of his dutiful son, Sultan Veled, the Sama' took on a more ceremonial form, as a kind of embodied cosmology" (17). it is important to know that the Miliu zawya was the most wealthy zawya under the Ottoman rule, a lot of property in the city were owned in the name of it as investments to cover payments. The Bistami Zawya There were two Zawwiyas for the followers of the Bistami Tariqa: The first was in the same Islamic quarter (Sadia') it was established by the shaikh Abdullah - al-Bistami (died in the year1391 AD), he came to from Baghdad with his shaikh Aladdin Ali, he was also his teacher who taught him at the Nezammia school there, they came together to Jerusalem and settled tell they died (18)

al-Bistami is a name of Sufi Tariqa (order) according to the one who established it: "Bayazid's grandfather was a Zoroastrian from Persia. Bayazid made a detailed study of the statutes of Islamic law (Sharea') and practiced a strict regimen of self-denial (zuhd). All his life he was devoted to in the practice of his religious obligations and in observing voluntary worship.

He urged his students (murids) to put their affairs in the hands of Allah and he encouraged them to accept sincerely the pure doctrine of tawhid (the Oneness of God). This doctrine consisted of five essentials: to keep the obligations according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, to always speak the truth, to keep the heart free from hatred, to avoid forbidden food and to shun innovations (bidca). Bayazid died in the year 874" (19)

al-Nabulsi mentioned in his book that he met there a carpenter his nam was Isma'el living with his family at the zawya near the tomb of al-Bistami he said that the man told him that he lost his sight and he wrote a complement poem in the name of prophet Mohamed and his sight return back, he added that all the shaihks of the Tariqa used to call them selves Bistami the family name of the founder of the Tariqa. He said also that there was special part at Mamela cemetery where all the shaikhs of the Tariqa are buried. al-Nabulsi did not mention any ceremony at the Bistami Zawya.

The Turkish Traveler Olia Jalabi who visited Jerusalem in the year 1670  mentioned that the second Bistami Zawya was in the east side of the Haram courtyard, were the followers of the Tariqa used to meet every Thursday night to join the dheker ceremony.(20)

The Qyrami zawya

This zawya is in the Islamic quarter not far from the Haram, it was built by the sheikh Shams Adin Mohamed al- Turkmeni he was born in the year 1386  and died in the year 1420 his tomb on the zawya.(21)

On Saturday 19th of April 1689AD sheikh al-Nabulsi visited the zawya. He wrote that he met there with a man who told him that Shams Addin was his ancestor, and told him about the gnosis and the knowledge of the unseen of Shams Addin. He told him also how his ancestor allowed women to share the "dheker" ceremonies. Al-Nabulsi stood near the grave, prayed and seeked his blessings.

The Wafa'i zawya

The location of the zawya is near one of the Haram's gates, it was built in the fourteenth century, and was used by the followers of the Wafiyya' Tariqa which is a part of the Shadhli tariqa established in the thirteenth century by Abu-al-Hassan al-Shadhli who was born in Tunis in the year 1196 AD. He was one of the great saints of the Community, and he said about tasawwuf: He who dies without having entered into this knowledge of ours dies insisting upon his grave sins (kaba'ir) without realizing it. (22)

The Adhamia zawya

Adhamia zawya was out side the old city walls near the now- existing central bus station. It was built in a cave in the year 1358 AD by the Mamluki governor of Damascus. It includes some graves of sheikhs (22). al-Nabulsi visited it with company and said that after they left the old city they walked between the gardens till they reached it, and he described it by saying that alive people are living under dead ones, which means the zawya was built above the Islamic al-Sahera cemetery which was up the hill.

Entering the old city from Bab al-Asbat: Saint Stevens' gate, going from the east towards the west through the Way of the Cross (via-Delarosa), there were many zawyas some of which are:

The Mehmazia Zawya (23)

Mehmazia was built through the Mamluki rule. Inside the Zawya there is a tomb of one of the Sheiks: Khiera'den Mehmazia (d 747 H- 1347 A.D).

The Naqshabandi Zawya

Going straight towards the west in the same road we reach The Naqshabandia or Uzbakia zawya, which was established in the fourteenth century by Muhammad Bahauddin Uways al-Bukhari the founder of the Tariqa. Behind the word Naqshaband stand two ideas: "naqsh" which means (engraving) and suggests engraving the name of God in the believer's heart, and "band" which means "bond" and indicates the link between the individual and his Creator. This means that the Naqshabandi Sufi initiates practices, prayers and obligations according to the Divine Revelations and Inspirations. The Imam of the Naqshabandi Tariqat without peer was Muhammad Bahauddin Uways al-Bukhari, known as Shah Naqshaband.He was born in the year 1317 AD in the village of Qasr al-Arifin, near Bukhara. After he mastered the shariah sciences at the tender age of 18, he kept company with the Shaikh Muhammad Baba as-Samasi, who was Master of Traditions (imam al-muhaddithin) in Central Asia at that time. (24)

Shah Naqshaband performed Hajj three times, after which he resided in Merv and Bukhara. Towards the end of his life he went back to settle in his native city of Qasr al-Arifin. His teachings became quoted everywhere and his name was on every tongue. Visitors from far and wide came to see him and to seek his advice. Shah Naqshaband said: "The Naqshabandi School is the easiest and simplest way for the student to understand tawhid. ...It is also free from all innovations and deviations and exaggerated statements and dancing and dubious recitals (sama'a). It does not demand of its follower's perpetual hunger or weakness. That is how the Naqshabandiyya has managed to remain free from the excesses of the ignorant and the charlatans (mushawazeen). In sum we say that our way is the mother of all Tariqats and the guardian of all spiritual trusts. It is the safest, wisest and clearest way. It is the purest drinking-station, the most distilled essence. Naqshabandiyya is innocent from any attack because it keeps the the way of the blessed Sunnah."(25)

Naqshabandi zawya was renewed in the year 1625 AD. The poor Moslem visitors from Bukhara and other Asian countries used to stay in it through there visit to Jerusalem. Inside the zawya there are three tombs, a mosque, and many rooms for the guests.

The Afghani zawya

Behind the Naqshabandi zawya there is another one. It was established by the followers of the Qadiriyya Tariqa in the year 1633 AD. This Tariqa was established by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir Al-Jilani, who was born in the Iranian district of Giilaan, south of the Caspian Sea, in 1077-8 AD. At the age of eighteen, he left his native province to become a student in the great capital city of Baghdad .After studying traditional sciences, he encountered a more spiritually oriented instructor in the saintly person of Abu'l-Khair Hammaad ad-Dabbaas .(26)

Then, instead of embarking on his own professorial career, he abandoned the city and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer in the desert regions of Iraq. He was over fifty years old by the time he returned to Baghdaad, in 1127 AD, and began to preach in public. (27)

In the words of Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak Efendi: "The venerable 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani passed on to the Realm of Divine Beauty in. 1166 AD., and his mausoleum in Baghdad is still a place of pious visitation. He is noted for his extraordinary spiritual experiences and exploits, as well as his memorable sayings and wise teachings. (28)

The dheker in this zawya is still going on weekly every Thursday night.

There used to be another Qadiriyya zawya in Jerusalem. It was built before the year 1703 AD by Mohamed Pasha the Ottoman ruler of Jerusalem at that time, but Dr. Kamel L Asali who mentioned that in his book " Mausolea and Cemeteries In Jerusalem Islamic" did not give the location of this zawya, and did not say if it still appears.(29)

The Salaheia Khaniqah

The last Sufi institution that I want to mention here is al-Khaniqah al- Salaheia, which was built by "Salahidden al Ayyoubi" the Moslem leader who liberated Jerusalem from the crusaders. He built it in the year 1187 AD in the record number 95, which was written in the year 1613 AD. The Ottoman court rewrote the endow script that was written by Salah-iddin 426 years ago. After he described the properties that he endowed, including those that will be rented to spend on the Khanqah, he wrote: I endowed it to the old and the young sheikhs of the Sufis, the residents, and those who came from aboard (Arabs and non Arabs), to stay in it, in condition that all of them meet after the afternoon prayers and read some verses from the Quran and make dheker ceremonies and ask god to bless the man who endowed the property and to bless the Moslems all around the world. (30)


Because of the spiritual status of Jerusalem and because the Ottoman Sultans supported the Tasawwuf in all parts of their Empire including Jerusalem, many Sufis visited Jerusalem, lived in it, some died and were buried in it. Many Zawias (Sufi institutions) were established and many Tariqas (mystical orders) were followed. Most of the people in Jerusalem used to follow one of the Sufi Tariqas. Many Sufi sheikhs came from Three families: Dejani, Alami and al-Waffa' al-Husseini. Becoming a Sufi shaikh required a written permit (Ejaza) from the Shaikh of the Tariqa.

However, there is one thing that should be added here. It is that the bad economic situation and ignorance of people at that time made simple people become Sufis, the matter that negatively affected the Tasawwuf and made it loose its essence. Any strange person doing strange things was according to those people a "Mabrouk" (blessed), and they tried their best to make him happy. Most of the tasawwuf at that period did not come from the same roots of purifying the mind and the heart to worship god, but a kind of business to make living.


1-from the website:http://sunnah.org/tasawwuf/scholr.htm

2-Ibn Taymiyya the Sufi Shaikh Answer to Shaikh Adly, response by Hisham Mohammed Kabbani

3- Abu al-`Ala' al-Mawdudi Mabadi' al-Islam p. 114-117.

4- al-Ghazali, al Munqidh min al dalal, p. 131.

5- an article from the internet titled: Sufism : The Way of Hart, by Joseph Roberts

6- Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-safwa 2(4):10 (#570)

7- Helminski Adams Camille. Women and Sufism- JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SUFISM- internet site

8-Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.301)

9- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.302)

10- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.302)

11- from the website: from the website:http://www.qadiri-rifai.org/rifai.html

12- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.310)

13- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.310)

14- from the website: from the website:from the website:http://www.sufism.org/books/dayex.html

15- from the website: from the website:http://www.sufism.org/books/dayex.html

16- from the website: from the website:http://www.sufism.org/books/dayex.html

17- from the website: from the website:http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/thzarcone/suite.htm

18- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem (p.358)

19-from the website:http://www.naqshbandi.org/chain/6.htm

20- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem (p.366)

21- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem (p. 360)

22-from the website:http://sunnah.org/tasawwuf/scholr19.htm

23-Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem(p.350)

24- from the website:http://www.naqshbandi.net/ haqqani/Islam/ traditions.html

25-from the website:http://www.naqshbandi.net/ haqqani/Islam/ traditions.html

26- From the website:http://www.al-baz.com/islam/abdalqadirjilani/ futuh-7.html/

27- From the website: http://www.al-baz.com/islam/abdalqadirjilani/ futuh-7.html/

28- From the website:http://www.al-baz.com/islam/abdalqadirjilani/ futuh-7.html/

29- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem (p.303)

30- Dr. L Asali K. Mausolea and Cemeteries in Islamic Jerusalem (p.332)

More About Sufis:

Sufi Music
Sufis and Suffism


More about Religion

Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Bahai Holidays History of Islam and the Arabs  ;Islam and the Concept of Martyrdom Jew, Jews and Jewish - Sense and nonsense about Judaism An Introduction to Islam by Khaled Nusseibeh An English Translation of the Qur'an (Koran) - Complete - with an Introduction The Druze - an Introduction by Hammud Quteish


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