Anatolian DervishesAnatolian Dervishes

"Come, come, whatever you are, it doesn’t matter whether you are an infidel, an idolater or a Pagan, still come. Come, our convent is not a place of dispair. Come, even if you violated your swear a houndres times, come again."
Mevlana

The Organisation of Akhi and Akhism

Akhi and Akhism

One of Institutions which has been effective in attaining Anatolia's cultural unity as referred before is the Organisation of Akhi (Ahilik). The Akhis who came in Anatolia together with Yesevi Dervishes settled themselves in urban areas rather than rural areas since they had a profession to work on. Organisation of Akhi, being a professional organisation, is an Interior (Batini) Establishment.

Ahi Evran Veli, one of Khorasan Dervishes as Haci Bektas-i Veli, ensured that Akhis of Anatolia become an organised power. Wife of Ahi Evran had been known as Fatma Baci Kadin Ana and established Organisation of Baciyan-i Rum which was the first women organisation in the world. Akhis who had assembled in 13th Century in Ankara and Kirsehir under the Sheikhship of Ahi Evnan spread out shortly to Seljuk Cities. In foundation of the Ottoman Empire Akhis had played rather important  role, and according to some sources they had attached  Osman Gazi who was the founder of Ottoman Empire, his son Orhan Gazi and Murad-I the 3rd Sultan to their sides.

General basic principle in Akhism (Ahilik) is absolute equalities of those who are the member of the Organisation. All members are brother of one another. However, there are an eternal respect hierarchically from young to older members. A candidate for membership is to be proposed by one of members in the Organisation. Those who are engaged in degrading works, known in the vicinity as unfavourable, thought to bring defaming words against the Organisation cannot be Akhi. For example those who killed somebody, killed animal (butchers), thieves, those whose adultery was proved cannot participate in the Organisation.

Entrance into the Organisation is performed through a special ceremony like membership to the Organisation of Bektasilik. In this ceremony a special kind of belt (Sed) is worn by candidate of Akhi and advised that he must show love and respect to all humanity, and be true and honest. The organisation requires that all members have absolute loyalty and endless obey towards the Organisation. Atheists can never be a member to the Organisation, however devoted religious persons are not also allowed to participate in the Organisation.

As was the case in the Organisation of Bektasi, members are subjected to such phases as to get knowledge, patience, purification of soul, loyalty, friendship, tolerance, etc. In addition to have such features six important principles of Akhism are:

  • Keep your  hand open,
  • Keep your dining-table open,
  • Keep your door open,
  • Keep your eyes tied,
  • Control your waist,
  • Hold your tongue.

Whoever praying patience with devout in God
Came to us is our member.
Whoever working with wisdom and moral
Exceeded us is our member.

Certain phases are applied in Akhism. In these phases disciple is taught professional skills, mysticism and religious information, reading and writing, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, music, mathematics and  information about military as well as "Fütüvvetname" of a nature as the constitution of the Organisation of Akhi (Brotherhood). There is a system with nine ranks in the Organisation of Akhi, namely:

  1. Valiant,
  2. Assistant,
  3. Apprentice,
  4. Foreman,
  5. Master,
  6. Akhi,
  7. Caliph,
  8. Sheikh,
  9. Sheikhulsheikh.

Although Organisation of Akhi has ceased to exist today, it has been celebrated officially with the Week of Akhi Cultural Celebration on the second Monday of the Month of October every year.