By Marc David Baer
This publication tells the tale of the D?nme, the descendents of Jews who resided within the Ottoman Empire and switched over to Islam besides their messiah, Rabbi Shabbatai Tzevi, within the 17th century. for 2 centuries following their conversion, the D?nme have been authorised as Muslims, and through the top of the 19th century rose to the head of Salonikan society. The D?nme helped rework Salonika right into a cosmopolitan urban, selling the most recent innovation in exchange and finance, city reform, and glossy schooling. They ultimately turned the driver at the back of the 1908 revolution that ended in the overthrow of the Ottoman sultan and the institution of an earthly republic.To their proponents, the D?nme are enlightened secularists and Turkish nationalists who fought opposed to the darkish forces of superstition and non secular obscurantism. To their competitors, they have been easily crypto-Jews engaged in a plot to dissolve the Islamic empire. either issues of view imagine the D?nme have been anti-religious, no matter if couched as critique or praise.But it's time that we take those spiritual humans heavily on their lonesome phrases. within the Ottoman Empire, the D?nme promoted morality, ethics, spirituality, and a syncretistic faith that mirrored their origins on the intersection of Jewish Kabbalah and Islamic Sufism. this is often the 1st e-book to inform their tale, from their origins to their close to overall dissolution as they grew to become secular Turks within the mid-twentieth century.
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Extra info for The Dönme. Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks
Second, although Dönme should have been considered Muslims, by this point at the end of the nineteenth century, they were regarded as different from other Muslims. There is no other way to explain how the term for conversion (ihtida) could be used in this case, as if Rabia had been a Christian or Jew changing her religion. The document even notes how the Dönme had not practiced intermarriage with Muslims until now. Moreover, the Avdeti are referred to as living under the cover of Islam. A distinction between Dönme and other Muslims had thus by this point been made, which would have serious consequences for the next generation of Dönme.
They sought to return Dönme religion to its first state, excising all accretions, and they developed ties to the Mevlevi Sufi order. A group of Karakaş denied that Shabbatai Tzevi had been reincarnated in Yakub Çelebi or Osman Baba, and that the latter was the messiah, preferring to believe that only Shabbatai Tzevi had been the messiah. They formed this final group after Osman Baba died around 1720. Osman Baba’s grave, which Introduction Scholem claims, incorrectly, but meaningfully, was located near a Bektaşi lodge,43 became a major pilgrimage site for the Karakaş, who tended to reside in the neighborhood of Salonika, where it was located.
This third group of followers redoubled their messianic belief by also converting to Islam. They found ample justification in Judaism for this double play. 13 As Meir Benayahu concluded after having studied the treatises of the first Dönme and their opponents, “But their religion was not the religion of Islam. . They became Muslim, but not in order to fulfill its commandments and believe in its faith, rather . . ”14 This was a case of apostasy for the sake of redemption. One had to become a Muslim to initiate the process of repairing the order of theÂ€universe to the way it had been prior to Creation and the breaking of the vessels that had contained the sparks of God’s emanation.
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