Sabri Husein’s Turbe – Softa boba teke – Temple of Aliani

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Sabri Husein’s turbe also called Grandma Softa teke is a religious Muslim building in Tutrakan. Sabri Husein is a sheikh who lived in XVIII –XIX century. It was built in XIX century on a terrace terrain and looks like a octagonal spacewith a hemispherical dome. Eight corners pass into the space dome that ends without a top opening, the walls of the buildings are solid, built with stones and windows – with iron bars.
The grave of aliani – Softa boba. That is Softa boba’s family tomb which is 3 decares. He is born in Buhara, then studied in Istanbul.He was a dervish and then a spiritual teacher in Tutrakan.
He was buried in the yard of Softa boba teke. The teke itself was constructed later. Costumes, horse gear, hatchet, armor, helmet and other metal that have been there in recent years are stolen mainly by treasure hunters. Because of the ground there the teke is vulnerable and it is often straighten with stones. That stones are often displaced by the treasure hunters.
The teke is supported by Softa boba’s relatives who are growing apricots and plums in the garden. They sell it as well as the rakia that they make from the fruits.
At this location a pilgrimage of Alevi representatives come from the surrounding villages and towns – Bisertsi, Mudrevo, Sevar, Preslavians, Dulovo, Tutrakan and from abroad – Italy, Japan. They come to light candles, pray. They come because of the strength of Softa boba, which was elected the first chief of Alevi.
They come in the summer – from May – when the weather is warm so that they could stay outside. They come and eat lambs for good health. They give away some of the meat to neighbours, eat and go. They don’t stay there during the night. They were coming with presents years ago – candles, towels; in the last years that does not happen very often.
Candles are lit only two days a week. Young and old people believe in the power of the prayers and the candles. They prey for pregnancy, health, wishes and when they want something particular to happen.
Some of the local people believe that Softa boba is in their houses. Medine Ali Ayazar says that Softa lives in his basement and prefers it to be clean. That’s why the family cleans everywhere and when they wash their clothes they only throw the dirty water in the pit. Meline knows that Softa boba is with them because he hears knocking on the door and windows. He dreams of Softa boba as an old man or a young bride.
A lot of people say that Softa boba is in their dreams. They believe that he appears looking different every time. Remzie Elma Ali says that she dreams of him as an old man and she feels him touching her face or when he walks in her house.
Rabie Yaman who powwows and heals people says that she got that gift and powers from Softa boba and he tells her what he sees. He always gives her a sign about what is going to happen.
There are not many Bulgarians who know about the existing of aliani – a closed religious community whose forefathers were spreadaround Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Middle East. They are in Bulgaria at least from 500 years. Today there are at least 50 000 people in Bulgaria who identify themselves as aliani – especially in the Ludogorie and Eastern Rodopi. Their religion is not admitted an official one and that’s why they are so close.
While professing Islamic the aliani practice original set of mystical Sufism characteristic of Shiite Islam beliefs and pagan rituals, preserved from the time of Turkmen shamanism. Among others their religion is one of the most tolerant in the world.
Muharem Aliosman from Zvinitsa who runs the community centre says that their turcik forefathers honoured the spirits of the water stones woods and wind. They bowed to the sun and the moon as appearances of god.
They were united in nomadic communities. Between XI – XIV centurya part of them move from Central to Mala Asia and the Middle East. When they entered the Muslim world they accepted its fate. That is how the folk islam was formed and saved traditions and beliefs of the shamanish. XIII-XVI century they accepted ideas of the Shi’a Islam. Shi’a people honour Mohamed but also Ali ibn Abu Talib, his cousin and son-in-law.
They accepted Ali for the first of 12 imams who are direct descendants of Mohamed and enlightened personalities possessing divine knowledge and understanding not only outside, but also hidden, esoteric side of teaching. Aliani are also called alevii. Both names are connected with Ali. They are also defined and remembered for the red lines they worn on their turbans in the past.
The often conflicts of the Ottoman power with the Shiite Iran is a reason for the persecution of frontier with Iran and Anatolian Alevi, and the reign of Sultan Selim I (1467 – 1520) became the exile of many Alevi in Northeast Bulgaria. Stories tell that after the defeat endured by the prophet Mohammed, Ali walked away from the battlefield wounded in the head (according to another version was red hat) and his opponents shouted after him, “Keep Firecrest(kazablash). Kazablash are the Turkic nomadic tribes in North Iran, where Shiite Islam in the Middle Ages (Alevism) was the official religion. They were at the heart of philosophical and moral-ethical system of mystic order founded by Haji Bektaş Veli /HVv./. A basic principle of the Order is social justice, equality of persons before God, fight evil and confirming goodness and brotherhood. Among the exiles in northwestern Bulgaria Alevi and also by the Janissaries, who after military service are settled here, there were many followers of Bektashism.


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