The Life of Sheykh Ahmed Yesevi (QS) II


The books of legends {manaqib} agree in stating that Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi (QS) went to Bukhara for a while on the advice of Arslan Baba Hazretleri (RA) and attached himself to Sheykh Yusuf Hamadani (QS), that city’s most renowned spiritual guide, and that after his passing from this world, he spent some time in Bukhara carrying out religious invitation {halke davete mesgul} and then, commending all of his companions to Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq Ghujduwani (QS), went to Yasi on the spiritiual direction of the Prophet (ASWS). While recounting successively, in a Sufi manner, the kinds of spiritual manifestations that he exhibited between ages seven and fifty, Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi says in the Diwan-i Hikmat “that he fell in love {spiritually, i.e. with God} at age twenty-six, that he fought on behalf of the divine countenance {didar} like Mansur al-Hallaj (QS), that he suffered various torments because he was not able to find a pir, and that he finally found a pir at age twenty-seven and that he escaped from his torments, and that it was then that he could be worthy of that dervish convent.” Indeed, one of the hikmats {religious poems} has the following refrain: “My great teacher, I came to take refuge with you” {Zate ulu hoca’m, sana signip geldim}. One could guess that this refers to Sheykh Yusuf Hamadani (QS) and that Ahmad Hazretleri attached himself to him at age twenty-seven.

Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi (QS) was occupied continuously with teaching and providing guidance in the town of Yasi. The number of disciples who gathered around him increased daily and his fame gradually spread throughout Turkistan, Transoxiana, Khurasan, and Khwarazm. He was superior to all the saints of his time in both exoteric and esoteric knowledge. He lectured to his disciples on both types of knowledge. He spent {virtually} all his time worshipping God and doing pious acts. In his free time, he carved spoons and ladles and sold them to earn a living. He always kept company with Khidr (AS), who had been his father’s old companion. Indeed, one day, Khidr (AS) said to Ahmad (QS), “I travel the seven climes seven times a day searching for a companion and there is no companion more capable and finer than you.”

Khwaja Ahmad (QS) would not accept a single morsel from the endless gifts and votive offerings that were donated to his tekke. Every day {word of} his saintly karamats (miracles) spread a little further among the people. It is reported that the celebrated khwaja {master} had an Ox. It would go about the city market with a saddle bag {on its back} in which spoons, ladles, and begging bowls were visible. Those who wanted to purchase them would take a certain amount {of these goods} and leave what they cost in the saddle bag. The ox would wander about every day until nightfall. Then it would go to the khwaja. He would take the contents {of the bag} in his blessed hand. If someone were to take something from the saddle bag without paying for it, the ox would follow him and would not go to another quarter {of the city} until that one had returned the merchandise or paid for it.”

– “The Legendary Life of Ahmad Yasawi” – Early Mystics in Turkish Literature, Mehmet Fuat Koprulu (2006)