Vol.15, No.1 | [Article] The Circular Model of Existence Reflected on Writings of the Akbarian Sufis in the Ottoman Empire (Kotoko Madono)



This paper aims to examine “the circular model of existence” called “devir” in Turkish. There are various Sufi writings based on the concept of devir, which are called “devriyye” in the terminology of literary studies in Turkey. Originally, devir means the way that all beings have been manifested from Oneness and come back to Him, and has been imagined as a circle. Although devir is theoretically based on the Unity of Existence (Ar. Waḥdat al-wujūd), devriyye has not been analyzed enough from a philosophical perspective. In this paper, firstly I reveal the definition of devir through one of Niyâzî-i Mıṣrî (d. 1694)’s works, Risâle-i Devriyye (Treatise of Devriyye). Mıṣrî is known as a Sufi poet positioned in Akbarian tradition taken from Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn al-‘Arabī (d. 1240) renowned by the title of al-Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest master) and his followers. Secondly, to explore the positioning of devir as a Sufi terminology, I analyze other descriptions of devir in the commentary on Mıṣrî’s poems written by a representative Sufi Shaykh in 19th century Anatolia, Muḥammed Nûrü’l-‘Arabî (d. 1888).