The Transformation of Christian and Islamic Ascetic Life in the 13th Century: Massification and Social Dimension in Asceticism in the Context of Friars and Qalandar Movements
Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Ankara/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Franciscans, Dominicans, Qalandars, Asceticism, Mysticism.
The early 13th century marked an important transformation in both Christian and Muslim asceticism. These new ascetic movements, represented by the Franciscans and Dominicans in Europe and by the Qalandars in the Islamic World emerged almost synchronously differing from their own traditions but showing great similarity in many points without any determined connection. First of all, both traditions played a major role in spread and gaining a massive dimension of asceticism. Franciscans and Dominicans carried Christian asceticism from the narrow scope of monasteries, distinguished with their closed, dull and rural identity, to the newly developing cities through their own teachings. On the other hand, the Qalandars played an important role both in carrying the Islamic asceticism, which was at the beginning of the organizational phase, to both large and especially rural areas, in accordance with their teachings. But the main change was manifested itself in the principles of asceticism they represented. These principles which are the most typical and also the most obvious common aspect of them were based on absolute poverty and begging. It is also possible to include the practices of travelling and preaching into the list. These ascetics who acted with the world-denying tendency would also make the ideals of service to humanity their priority although its weight and priority were different. Franciscans and Dominicans attracted attention with their activities of preaching the Gospel, inviting people to the path of God and working for the benefit of people with the idea of imitating the life of Jesus and his apostles. Perhaps the new ascetics of the Islamic world did not have such a tendency at first, however, in time, the ideal of service to humanity would take place among their teachings, and they would become active figures in many public works.