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Bektashi humour


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Here are a few choice Bektashi jokes...enjoy

note - raki is a cheap countryside version of ouzo (aniseed-flavoured liquer) and a hodja is a teacher or scholar

One day a Bektashi came to the city to run some errands. The first thing he did was to look for a place to tie his donkey. He made for the mosque thinking that would be the most secure place to leave a donkey. “O my God, I entrust this animal to You,†he said while tying his donkey to the hitching post, “You know how precious it is to me.†With that he quietly went about his errands. When he came back to the mosque later that day he found his donkey gone.

“My God!†he shouts, “I really can’t comprehend this! If you can’t even keep my donkey, how can you run the whole universe?!â€


One day a Bektashi baba went to the hammam. The hammam was not only a place for bathing, but it was also a place favourable to solitude and contemplation. In the middle of the hammams there was typically a huge marble slab beneath which the water was heated. This marble slab stayed hot and it caused men to perspire. While stretched out on such a hot marble slab, the baba was reflecting, “O my Lord! Your work is so ingenious and refined that it is certain that human beings cannot comprehend all of it.â€

Suddenly a cockroach appeared. “For example,†though the baba, “this cockroach which I now see. Of course you created it, but why have you made it crawl in such places, wedged here in between marble and stone? Why have you made cockroaches crawl in dampness whereas the other bugs crawl in the fields, on trees, or among flowers? And moreover, while one can say that other insects have a purpose that justifies their existence, this cockroach, what’s it really useful for?â€

This moment of meditation soon finished, and the Bektashi, being washed, put his clothes on and went back to his tekke. The following morning, he started to feel itching on his buttocks. Eventually the more he itched the more the area became inflamed and it soon became so sore it was impossible for him to sit. He called upon the local doctors and the ointments they gave him did nothing. After several days on his belly, the baba was in really bad shape, since not only did his buttocks hurt but he was completely incapacitated by the pain. News of his plight spread throughout the neighbourhood. Many friends of baba came to visit him. Among them was a close friend who asked, “How did this irritation start?â€

“A while back,†answered the baba, “I went to the hammam. The next day I started to itch and here I am.â€

“But you called for the doctor didn’t you,†asked the friend.

“Of course†responded the baba, “but it was of no use.â€

At this moment, his friend said to him, “Well I know a drug that can certainly cure this itch.â€

“What is it?†pleaded the baba, with tears welling up in his eyes from the pain.

“Have somebody go to the hammam you were at and collect all the cockroaches he can find; then mash them in a bowl to make an ointment. Rub this ointment on your buttocks and you will see that the sore will pass, inshallah,†explained the friend.

The baba immediately called one of his disciples and said to him, “Go in that hammam and bring back to me all the cockroaches you can find!â€

After the disciple returned with the cockroaches they made the ointment and applied it to the buttocks of the baba. Immediately his itching and soreness vanished.

A few months later the baba took a boat to visit a Bektashi tekke which was on an island. Half way through the boat ride a storm blew up and all the passengers panicked. As everyone was beseeching God to let the storm pass, the captain saw the baba sitting at the back of the boat drinking a glass of raki. Astonished by this captain approached baba and shouted, “You scoundrel! Do you not fear God! Everyone on this boat is praying that Allah put an end to this storm and you! You sit here and drink this cursed liquor!â€

After the baba took note of the captain’s irate words he smiled and said, “Listen to me brother. I interfered once in Allah’s business, and it cost me many pains and sorrows, without even mentioning that I had to sit on my ass for several weeks. This vast sea belongs to Him, in fact, everything belongs to Him. If He wants to sink this boat or not, that’s His business! I, for one, am not going to interfere in that again!â€


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?â€

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

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Bektashi was originally a sufi shaykh who is seen as the spiritual founder of the Bektashi tariqat or path/order. Those who are initiated into the order are referred to as Bektashis. They exist in Albania, Turkey, Iran and to a lesser degree in Iraq, Egypt, Macedonia, Bosnia, among others.

The best website on them is www.bektashi.net which gives extensive articles, interviews, histories and photos in english.

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