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"Kizil-bash", ENCYLOPAEDIA OF ISLAM, E. J. Brills First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936, Edited By Mt Th. Houtsma, A. J. Wensinck, T. W. Arnold, W. Heffening and E. Levi-Provençal, p. 1053-1054.

  • (Oryantalist (Şarkiyatçı, Doğubilimci) bilim adamları, misyonerler ve gezginlere ait araştırmalar, içerilerinde bilinçli veya bilinçsiz olarak sunulmuş yanlış bilgiler olmasına karşın yararlanılması gereken araştırmalardır. Bu tür yazıları sitemiz ziyaretçilerine sunacağız ve sonunda varolan yanlışlıklara ilişkin genel bir değerlendirmeyi de editörlerimizin kaleminden yayınlanacaktır. - These quotations are sometimes have wrong information. Later our editors will write an analysis on these orientalist' articles. )

KIZIL-BASH (T. “Red Head”), the name given by the Turks to the confederation of seven Turkoman tribes, Ustadjlu, Shamlu, Tekelü, Baharlu, Dhu’lkadr, Kadjar and Afshar, who placed the shaiks of Ardabil on the throne of Persia and helped Shah Ismail to found the dynasty of the Safawids (q.v.). The latter had given them as a head-dress the red turban worn by the disciples of his ancestors.

This name was taken by J. Morier for the title of one of his novels, The Kuzzilbash, a tale of Khurasan, 3 vols., London 1828, the period of which is the reign of Nadir-Shah.

The name of a religious sect found throughout Asia Minorand regarded as Shii by the Muslims; it is closely connected with the Nusairis of Syria. Its adepts call themselves Alawi, i.e. followers of Ali. Some are Kurds; the others are for the most part Turks and only speak Turkish. Unlike the Muslims, they do not shave the head and let their beards grow freely; they do not observe the canonical prayers (salat) or ablutions. They drink wine and do not observe Ramadan. They fast for the first twelve days of Muharrem and lament the deaths of al-Hasan abd al-Husain. Ali is an incarnation of God who had already manifested himself in other carnations, such as Jesus. God is one in three persons; below him are five archangels, intermediary between the divinity and man, twelve ministers and forty saints. They have a reverence for the Virgin Mary and recite litanies in her honour. They celebrate a service during the night. The priest who officiates sins prayers in honour of Ali, Jesus, Moses and David, accompanying himself on musical instruments. He holds in his hand a willow wand which he steeps in water; this consecrated water is then distributed among the houses. During the ceremony those precent publicly confess their sins; the priest imposes penances, such as fines in money or kind. The lights are then extinguished (hence the Turkish expression cerag-söndüren, “extinguisher of torches” by which they are popularly known) and they abandon themselves to lamentations and weeping for their sins. The lights are again lit; the priest pronounces the absolution (which may be refused, at least for a certain time); he takes pieses of bread and a cup of wine or similar liquid and after consecrating it steeps the bread in the wine and distributes it among those present. Those whose neighbours cannot report favourably upon them are excluded from it. Among the Kurds a sheep is also sacrified and its flesh is distributed at the same time as the bread and wine.

They have a hierarchy at the head of which are two partriarchs regarded as descendants of Ali and invested with divine power; one of them is the Shaikh of Khubyar near Sivas, who lives in a tekke built in the wilds. He is recognised as Sufi Shaikh by the government. Below him are bishops and at the bottom of the hierarchy, priests (dede), intermediaries between God and man. The Kizil-bash observe several Christian festivals, Easter, which falls on the same Sunday as that of the Armenians, preceded by a week’s fast, and that of St. Serius celebrated on February 9th. They do not permit divorce. Like the Muslims they have a religious veneration for certain trees; they reverence the sun, moon and the sources of rivers. Their principal sanctuaries are the tekke of Khubyar, those of Sewidji, Pir Sultan-li Yalindjak and Hadjdji Bektash. Their religion seems to consist of survivals of pagan beliefs mixed with forms of Christianity covered by a cloak of Islam. They seem to number over a million (Kurds of Dersim, Malatya, Terdjan, Erzindjan, part of the wilayets of Siwas and Bitlis, Turks of the wilayets of Mamuret al-Aziz, Siwas and Angora.

In Afghanistan, the name is given to immigrants of Turkoman stock who form with the Tadjik and Hindki the principal representatives of the bourgeois class; they came from Persia in the train of Nadir Shah who settled them in Kabul and several other towns as garrisons. They keep themselves aloof from the rets of the population; at Kabul the court and government officials are recruited from them; at Herat they are engaged in commerce and industry. They speak Persian, while using Turkish among themselves. Their number isput at 75, 000.


F. Grenard, in Journ. As., Xth ser., vol. iii., 1904, p. 511-522.

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