Bektashis and Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Dervish order (or sect) of bektashis had a certain significance in the religious, socio- political and cultural life of the Southern regions of Yugoslavia — in Macedonia and Kosovo, and particularly in districts predominantly inhabited by Albanians. This tarikah was represented in a lesser degree in Serbia and more lesser in Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Reasons that bektashism has not been so much spread and had not continuity on the soil of Bosnia and Hercegovina author sees in the fact that the Sunni orthodox Islam had already been strengthened in the XVth century, at the time when the process of islamization began in this area.
Ottoman governors in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Ottoman feudal society, as well, systematically carried out the policy of protection and support to Sunni Islam and they also used to establish the tekkes (monasteries) o f orthodox dervish orders - such as: mevlevi, halveti, nakšbandi, Kadiri, etd., giving material assistance to them in order that they serve and act also as a counter- balance to the struggle with heterodox brotherhoods ans sects.
Expanding of bektashism in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and in Bosnia and Hercegovina took place at the time when this tarikah had been formed on turco-anatolian traditions and other's in XV th and X V Ith centuries in the definitive form w hich Balim Sultan (d.1516) gave to it. As a result of social developments and its spe- cial evolution in the XVIIIth and the XIX th centuries, bektashism was expressed not only as a religious movement, but Albanian national sentiments were also cultivated through the bektashi tekkes. National aspirations of Albanians w ere developed and also originated from bektashi lodges. Having in view of this and other circum stances, we may understand that bektashism as a Turk tarikah, w as accepted not only by the Turks but also by Albanians in Macedonia, Kosovo and in Albania, and much lesser by subjects of other nationalities. However, it is unnecessary to exaggerate when it is spoken about the importance of bektashism in creating and propagating of local national aspirations adopted orthodox Islam were also inclined to that. The members of this tarikah were recruited mainly from middle classes of the society (handicraftsmen, small shopkeepers, petty landowners — begs and free peasants). A few great landlords who made use of it for the strengthening of their influence and their authority, as fo r example, in western and centrai Macedonia and in Albania also belonged to this tarikah.
It is too necessary to point o ut the fact that there are not informations in accessible sources which wuld refer to the bektashi influence on the janissaries o f Bosnia and Hercegovina, as, for instance, the influence of mevlevies, halveties, nakšbandies, kadiries, to what certain sources refer. Bektashism, otherwise, was a short- lived and ephemeral phenomenon in Bosnia and Hercegovina, therefore it could not be established as a tradition, or to make cosiderable influence on spiritual life o f this region, as it made in Macedonia, Kosovo, and in Albania.
It is ture that "aristocratic form o f Islam" was cultivated in Bosnia and Hercegovina, if we can say that, a kind o f cosmopolitan form o f islamic culture, or orthodox Sunni Islam, which w as represented not only in urban centres but also in rural districts. By the way, it can not be denied the fact that "people's form of Islamic religion", represented by dervish orders and sects, has been developed, but never been so strong and predominant. It has always been in the background, it has always had m inor significance and in such form it existed in the structure of the islamic life of the Muslims of Bosnia and Hercegovina.