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Khanqah

Khanqah

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A Khanqah, Khaniqah ribat, zawiya, or tekke is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa, and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation. In the past, and to a lesser extent nowadays, they often served as hospices for Sufi travelers (salik
Salik
A salik is a person who engaged in Islamic spiritual path or sufism. The word derived from Arabic word sulook, which means to walk a path . To become a salik, one must follow both the outer path and the inner path of Islam virtuously.A salik is also called murid when one becomes a disciple to...

) and Islamic students (talib
Talib
A talib or talibé is a student, particularly a student of Islam, who may study in a madrasah or with a religious teacher....

). Khanqahs are very often found adjoined to Dargahs (shrine of a Sufi saint), mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s and madrasas (Islamic schools). They are found throughout the Persian-influenced Islamic world, especially Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

.

In the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, especially North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, similar buildings are also found, which are known in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as a zawiya or zaouia
Zaouia
A zaouia or zawiya is an Islamic religious school or monastery. The term is Maghrebi and West African, roughly corresponding to the Eastern term madrassa...

 (Arabic: زاوية zāwiya). In Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and other formerly Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 areas like Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 and Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, similar buildings are called locally tekke or tekye (تكيه takiyah). In South Asia, the words Khanqah and Dargah
Dargah
A Dargah is a Sufi shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure, often a Sufi saint. Local Muslims visit the shrine known as . Dargahs are often associated with Sufi meeting rooms and hostels, known as khanqah...

 are used interchangeably for the Sufi shrines.

It is not at all clear when Sufism emerged as a movement within Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, or when the first khanqah was built. Sufis themselves trace their movement back to Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

; academic historians argue for later dates. Jonathan Berkey
Jonathan Berkey
Dr. Jonathan Porter Berkey is Professor of History at Davidson College.He graduated from Williams College, and from Princeton University with a Ph.D.He has become one of the most respected scholars of the history of Islam and the Middle East.-Awards:...

 writes:
One of the characteristic features of later medieval Sufism was the spread of institutions, variously known as khanqahs or ribats, complete with buildings and endowments which housed and supported the activities of the mystics. Their origins are quite obscure, but it is likely that their roots lie in ninth- and tenth-century Iran. (Berkey 2003 p. 157)


Khanqahs later spread across the Islamic world, from Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 to Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

.

Architecture



All khanqahs, regardless of size, feature a large central hall. The daily ritual prayers incumbent on all Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, salat
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

, are held in this hall, as are the specifically Sufi forms of dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

, meditation and celebration of the divine.

Large khanqahs often grew up around the tomb of a tariqa's founder or the mausoleum of a Sufi saint. The Wahhabi ideology may regard these khanqahs as sites of ascribing partners to God almighty due to their hard line stance on these issues. It is argued by supporters that such sites, as long as there is an absence of any Islamically illegal acts, are fully permissible.

Some khanqahs include dwellings for the Sufi sheikh or pir, and his family, or cells for Sufis who wish to pursue their dhikr in quiet and isolation. They may also include lodgings for traveling Sufis and pilgrims and premises for charities such as hospitals.

Sufi movements have been banned in some Muslim-majority countries (such as secular Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Islamist
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, or the Communist and post-Communist states of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

). In these countries, khanqahs have been converted to other purposes, turned into museums or mosques, or allowed to decay. In other countries, Sufism survives and the old khanqahs are still in use.

Notable Khanqah

  • Khanqah Munamia Hasania situated at Khaje Kalan Ghat, Patna City, Patna
    Patna
    Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

    , Bihar
    Bihar
    Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

    , India
  • Khanqah of Baybars II
    Khanqah of Baybars II
    The Khanqah of Baybars II is a medieval building located on historic Muizz Street in Cairo, Egypt. It was built in 1309, in the medieval Islamic Cairo era, to accommodate four hundred Sufis, and children of the Mamluks...

     (Cairo
    Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

    , Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

    )

See also


  • Sufism
    Sufism
    Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

  • Dervishes
  • Gosha-e-Durood
    Gosha-e-Durood
    Gosha-e-Durood is a full time sufi institute like the traditional khanqah where individuals gather for remembrance and recitation of greetings and salutations upon the Islamic prophet Muhammad salallahho alayhi wasalam. This is a unique spiritual retreat and approach for character reformation...

  • Islamic architecture
    Islamic architecture
    Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture....

  • Ottoman architecture
  • Architecture of Iran

External links