New Findings Concerning a Medieval Anatolian Sūfī: Was Āybek Bābā a Sheik or an Amīr?
Keywords: Āybek Bābā, conversation, Ilkhanid, Mongol, Middle/Medieval Age
The article undertakes the erroneously composed biography and certain activities of a Medieval Anatolian sheik, Āybek Bābā. The Turkish sufi Āybek Bābā, who lived during the last quarter of the 13th century, is claimed to be a "tekke sheik," a "political persona," a "murshīd who guided the Ilkhānidʿulemā to Islam" as well as a "spy of Ilkhān Abaqa situated in Anatolia;" a "spy" that had enabled Ilkhān Abaqa to uncover the secret correspondences between the Mamlūk Sultan Al-Zāhir Baybars and the Vizier of the Sultanate of Rum Muʿīn al-Dīn Parvāna which had (in the end) lead to the execution of Parvāna. Some modern historians also assert that Āybek Bābā had established contact with the Ilkhān Abaqa and that he was the one to introduce Ilkhān Abaqa to Islam. Modern historians such as Mehmed Fuad Köprülü have used Ḥüseyin Ḥüsām el-Dīn's work, Amāsya Tārīhi (The History of Amāsya) as the main reference for Āybek Bābā's life and religious activities, however, the information on the biography of Āybek Bābā revealed in Amāsya Tārīhi, was largely incorrect due to a spelling error that was made in a copy of ʿIqd al-Jumān fī Taʾrīkh Ahl al-Zamān's manuscript. This mistake has been repeated for a century in articles written in Turkey involving the sufi sheik whose name does not appear in any of the Ilkhanid sources pertaining to the era. The aim of this article is to clarify the main cause of the 'misinformation' in relation to the story of Āybek Bābā as well as explain the other factors that have contributed to and reinforced such a misconception to take root by making use of the information derived from contemporary Arabic and Persian sources.