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Feedback on a visit to a Bektashi tekke in Albania


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I'd mentioned I was venturing to Albania to meet with the Bektashi tariqat over there, so here is a little feedback.

I crossed the border and stayed in Gjirokastra, an important and historic town close to the Greek border. The Bektashian tekke was on the outside of the town beautifully placed on a hill overlooking the valley and snowy peaks. I then met with Muhip Mikail, an initiate who is working toward becoming a dervish (an interesting process in itself). The order has historically taken on both muslim and christians as disciples by the Bektashi Babas. With the help of a few local english speaking intellectuals invited by Mikail, we discussed certain things and exchanged a few ideas, then shown around the tekke (dervish lodge) which is 300 years old and turbes. Many interesting things were seen, yet alike one of the rooms in the lodge itself, certain things are only privilage to those at a dervish's level.

What was also nice to see are the relations held by the Bektashis with other traditions in Albania. The Bektashis have always worked for inter-faith harmony and understanding. Photos on the wall were testimony to functions attended by prominent representatives of the Albanian orthodox church, the sunni representatives along with politicians.

I shall hopefully post both images and information about the tekke and it's lineage later.

please see www.bektashi.net for an excellent website based more on the Albanian Bektashi tariqat.

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good sense of humor....

A Bektashi undertook a voyage on a sailing ship, like those of olden times. Once the ship had reached the open sea a storm rose and caused the ship to rock violently to and fro. The Bektashi became petrified. Of all the passengers on the ship he was perhaps the most afraid. Also on board was a hodja, and as is their habit, he began to engage the Bektashi in a conversation about faith.

“Why do you fear my friend?” asked the hodja. “Don’t you know Allah is the Most Generous of the generous?”

“That’s exactly why I’m terrified,” cries out the Bektashi. “He’s so generous that He can feed the fish with our corpses!”


One day, the weather grew very hot. Burdened with thirst, a Bektashi dervish decided to buy a watermelon with some change he took out of his pocket. With watermelon in hand, he found a beautiful shade tree to sit under where he proceeded to slice up his watermelon with great appetite. However, after putting the first piece into his mouth, he found it so sour

that it was difficult to eat. He began shouting complaints to the Creator,

“Alas my God! Are you so stingy that you can't even put a little sugar in this watermelon. You always bestow favors on Your servants, but never with what is really needed!” Thus swearing, he finished off the watermelon in spite of its tartness and threw the rinds to the side.

After a while he saw a poor waif, half dead with hunger and thirst, approaching. Not wishing to be bothered, the Bektashi sat still and pretended to be asleep. The poor man came close, saw the watermelon rinds and began to eat them. Discreetly, the Bektashi observed

the poor man out of the corner of his eye. He saw with astonishment how each time the poor man took a bite of rind he exclaimed, "My God, many thanks to You! You nourish me in spite of everything with this watermelon rind. You have ensured my subsistence!"

Hearing this, the Bektashi became furious and rose up. He shouted, “Enough of this! I ate the inside of that melon even though it was bitter and torturous and believe me, I let Allah know it. But you! You eat the foul-tasting rind and you thank Him for it? It’s this kind of cheap flattery that encourages Him to keep making poor quality watermelon!”


One day, a Bektashi decided to go to the mosque. Not having found a place to attach its donkey or somebody with

whom he could entrust it, he left it in front of the mosque saying: “My God I entrust my donkey to You.” When he

came out of the mosque, he could not find his donkey.

“Alright!” he shouted, “who just prayed for a donkey? Cause Allah gave him mine!”

Some of these are really good..lol .

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