Naqshbandi Order in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The country that is now called Bosnia and Herzegovina, informally called Bosnia, is located in the Balkan region of Europe. The modern state became independent in 1992. The capital and the largest city of Bosnia is Sarajevo.

The history of the Naqshbandi Order in Bosnia and other Balkan states is quite old. Many tekkes (khānqāh in Persian) of the Naqshbandi Order are still functional in Bosnia, and followers frequent them for receiving spiritual training and performing dhikr. However, many such tekkes have lost the original methods and teachings of the Naqshbandī masters, and adopted methods of dhikr and other practices over time.

Pre-Mujaddidī branches

Bosnia was conquered by Ottoman Empire in 1463. Very soon, the Ottomans sent scholars and shaykhs of different tarīqas to the newly conquered Balkan lands to spread Islam and Sufism in the local population. The first Naqshbandī tekke in Bosnia was constructed very soon after the conquest, in the same year 1463, by Iskandar Pāshā, who was the governor of Bosnia. It was built in a village near a river bank, on the site where the modern city Sarajevo stands. It was called the Tekke of Shaykh Musāfir.

Probably the first Naqshbandi Sufi master who entered the Balkan states and firmly established the Order there was Haḍrat Mullā ʻAbdullāh Ilāhī (d.896 AH), who was a khalīfa of Khwāja ʻUbaydullāh Aḥrār qaddas-Allāhu sirrahū. After learning the tarīqa from Khwāja Aḥrār, who came to Istanbul where he established a tekke and had many followers, including some from the ruling elites. Soon, he moved on to Greece where he lived and died in Vardar Yenicesi in northern Greece, where his tomb was a place of pilgrimage for the next two centuries (until Greece was recaptured by the Christians).

Mujaddidī Order

One of the most important Naqshbandī masters in Bosnia was Shaykh Husayn Bābā, who founded the Zijcic tekke, about seven kilometers north of the town Fojnica. Shaykh Husayn learned the Naqshbandī Path from Shaykh Ḥāfiẓ Muhammad Ḥisārī (d.1199/1785), who was the then head of the Murdiye tekke in Istanbul. The Murdiye tekke was founded by Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Murād Bukhārī, who was one of the most reputed deputies of Imām Muhammad Maʻṣūm Sirhindī Fārūqī raḍiyAllāhu ʻanhu, son of the Great Mujadd Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī raḍiyAllāhu ʻanhu.

Shaykh Ḥusayn Bābā learned the tarīqah and then traveled to Turkistan and to Bukhārā, where he lived at the noble shrine of Khwāja Bahāʼ ad-Dīn Naqshband Bukhārī raḍiyAllāhu ʻanhu, founder of the tarīqah. He returned first to Sarajevo, and then to his village Zivcic. He only took one disciple, but that disciple was to become the great shaykh and master of this Path in Bosnia. That disciple was Shaykh ʻAbd ar-Raḥmān Sirrī Bābā (d.1263/1846-7).

Shaykh Sirri Baba also established another tekke at Oglavak. He is considered to be the greatest Naqshbandī saint in Bosnia, past and present. His poetry is still famous today and sung widely in spiritual sessions. One of his reputed khalīfas was Shaykh Maylī Bābā who took over Zivcic tekke as resident shaykh, where he died in 1270 AH (1853-54). Shaykh Maylī Bābā was succeeded by his son Shaykh Ḥasan Efendi (d.1316/1888-9).

The Zivcic tekke still serves as one of the well reputed spiritual centers in Bosnia, and regular dhikr sessions are held there. Annual Mawlid celebrations are also held there attended by many.

Khālidī Order

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Khālidī Order (a branch of the Mujaddidī Order) spread far and wide in the Arabic countries and to Turkey and neighboring regions. One of the Khālidī shaykhs established a tekke in Sarajevo. This Khālidī tekke was headed by seven shaykhs consecutively, the last of them was Ḥājī Ṣāliḥ Efendī, who was Mufti of Sarajevo.

Another Khālidī branch was established by Muftī Shaykh Husnī Efendī Numanagic (d.1931) before the first world war, who founded a tekke in Visoko.


  1. Algar, H. (1971). Some notes on the Naqshbandī tarīqat in Bosnia. Die Welt des Islams, 168-203.
  2. Hazen, J. M. (2008). Contemporary Bosnian Sufism: Bridging the East and West. ProQuest.
  3. Ahmed Kulanic (2014). Sufi Orders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Oxford Islamic Studies Online.
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4 Responses to Naqshbandi Order in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. Kashaf says:

    Salaam I would like some information please my friends and I will be traveling to bosnia in February from united kingdom in sha Allah I hope we can meet some sufis.

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