Khiḍr and the Politics of Place

Ethel Sara Wolper

in Muslims and Others in Sacred Space

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199925049
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980468 | DOI:

Series: AAR Religion, Culture, and History

Khiḍr and the Politics of Place

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This chapter examines the relationship between Khiḍr, the legendary Muslim figure of rebirth and renewal, and the conversion of major monuments in the Islamic world. It addresses the construction of Khiḍr as a symbol of contact and conversion in the Muslim world. Through an analysis of what motivated Ottoman authors to include accounts of Khiḍr in the transformation of the Hagia Sophia into an Ottoman mosque, the chapter traces two major developments in the Ottoman understanding of Khiḍr. The first of these is exemplified by Khiḍr's association with early Islamic sites while the second focuses on a Khiḍr cult worshipped in a series of smaller shrines in the Anatolian countryside. Different developments in the formation and dissemination of Khiḍr attributes were subject to the changing needs and values of different audiences. The relationship between the polyvalent Khiḍr and the never ending process of conversion marked many of the major conquests and population transfers of the middle ages.

Keywords: Khiḍr; Hagia Sophia; Ottomans; rebirth; conquests; population transfers; Anatolia

Chapter.  7578 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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