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is a socio-religious leader in the Alevi
The Alevi are a religious and cultural community, primarily in Turkey, constituting probably more than 15 million people....
community. The institution of dede is the most important of all the institutions integral to the social and religious organization of the Anatolian Alevis. Although much weakened as a result of the socio-economic transformation experienced in Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...
towards the end of the nineteenth century, and particularly due to accelerated migration from the rural to the urban areas after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, it played a primary role in the survival of Alevism until today.
The institution of dedes is based on a three tiered hierarchy:
Murshid is Arabic for "guide" or "teacher". Particularly in Sufism it refers to a Sufi teacher. The term is used by other branches of Islam as well, e.g. by the Nizaris, the main school of Ismā‘īlī Shiites....
In Alevism, a Rehber is a rank of Dede. A Rehber assists the Mursid , provides information to the newcomers and prepares them for commitment to the Alevi path or Tariqat....
In some regions this hierarchy is modified in such a way that the Pir and Murshid change places. This is exclusively a functional hierarchy, as all involved come from a dede family. They fulfill functions that are complementary in nature, and would be meaningless in isolation from each other. The dede families, all of them called 'ocakzades', have distributed these duties among themselves.
According to the books of the Buyruk
Buyruk may refer to:*Buyruks the sacred writings of the Alevi*Buyruk the sacred book of the Shabak...
which include the basic principles of the Alevi faith, and the traditions that survive among the Alevis, a dede must have the following qualifications:
- To be a descendant of the Prophet (ocakzade).
- To operate as an educator and a moral guide (mürebbi) for the community.
- To be knowledgeable and exemplary in his character and manners (insan-i kamil).
- To follow the principles written in the Buyruks, as well as the established traditions of Alevism.
The main functions of the dedes can be summarized as follows:
- To guide and enlighten (irşad) the community in social and religious matters.
- To lead the religious rituals.
- To punish the criminals, and to serve as an arbiter between conflicting sides.
- To lead ceremonies during occasions such as a wedding or a funeral.
- To fulfill certain legal and educational functions.
- Provide health provisions.
- Provide socio-political leadership.
- In some exceptional cases, such as in the Dersim province, dedes share the leadership position with the large landowners, the Agas.
For Alevis, “YOL” [path] is a very important concept. The pedigrees of the dedes consistently emphasize this by saying “Yol cümleden uludur” [the Path is the most exalted of all]. What is important is the “Yol” and not the personal desires and needs of an individual Alevi. All the latter are possible only in conformity with the former. Otherwise, the institution of düşkün would be activated. In other words, an Alevi would become a düşkün if he tries to satisfy his desires and needs without regard for the “Yol’. As Prof. Yusuf Ziya Yörükan noted “…Dede declares one a düşkün by saying to him ‘may your face be darkened’. Any more that person is deprived of the law of men….”
The following are major crimes that lead one to the state of düşkün:
- killing a person
- committing adultery
- marrying a divorcee