History of the Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa

Ayni Al Baba Tekke

Several hundred years ago, Shaykh Ayni Ali Baba founded a tekke, or Sufi center, in Kasimpasha (Kasımpaşa), which is now a suburb of Istanbul. It later became known as the Ayni Ali Baba Tekke and was a center of light and learning for many generations. By 1910, however, the tekke (also known as dergah) building had been abandoned and fell into a state of severe disrepair.

Shaykh Muhammad Ansari (a.k.a Mehmet Ensari) was born in the grave of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Geylani in Baghdad. He moved to Erzincan in northeastern Türkiye in the early 1900s. He was a descendent of both Hazrat Abdul Qadir Geylani and Hazrat Ahmed er Rifai and was a shaykh of the Qadiri Tariqa. In Türkiye he met Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi of the Rifai order. Shaykh Muhammad Ansari continued his training for many years in the Rifai way and also the Qadiri way with Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi, who was also known as the Arab Shaykh. After Shaykh Muhammad Ansari strengthened his connection to both the Qadiri and Rifai Tariqas, Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi sent him as a Qadiri Rifai shaykh to establish the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa and revive the Ayni Ali Baba Tekke in Istanbul.

Shaykh Muhammad Ansari
Some time after his arrival in Istanbul, Shaykh Muhammad Ansari came across a soldier who lay mortally wounded. Through his lineage Shaykh Muhammad had received the power to heal, so he cured the soldier by use of his spiritual gift. Upon hearing how the soldier’s life was saved, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, himself a Sufi of the Shadhili order, asked Shaykh Muhammad what he would like as a reward for his act. The Shaykh asked for permission to build a Sufi center on the foundation of the ruined Ayni Ali Baba Tekke. The Sultan consented. Shaykh Muhammad Ansari and his wife, Vesile Anne, went on to rebuild the tekke with their bare hands. Shaykh Muhammad Ansari headed the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa in the Ayni Ali Baba Tekke from 1915 until he passed away.
Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi
Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi

Shaykh Muhammad Ansari’s son, Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, who was born in Erzincan, succeeded him. As qutb of his time, a very high spiritual station, Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari raised 101 khalifas, or representatives, and many thousand dedicated murids (students) all over Türkiye, Germany, and the former Yugoslavia.

In 1978, when Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari passed away, he did not leave a successor as leader in the Istanbul dergah. He left the running of Ayni Ali Baba Tekke to his khalifas collectively.

Before he passed away, Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari was given the privilege to start a tariqa in his own name, called the Tariqat-i Ansariya, or Ansari Tariqa. He appointed Shaykh Taner Tarsusi to start the Tariqat-i Ansariya in the United States under the name Qadiri Rifai Tariqa of the Americas. Then he bestowed his name “Ansari” to Shaykh Taner as a gift. Today we are known as the Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa (AQRT).

Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Vargonen Tarsusi el Ansari er Rifai el Qadiri. and his wife, Es-Seyyida Es-Shaykha Muzeyyen Vargonen Tarsusi el Ansari er Rifai el Qadiri jointly headed the international organization, traveling, healing and teaching together. After passing of Shaykh Taner, Shaykha Muzeyyen, continues to lead AQRT.