Learn about Ahi (Akhi), the trusted merchant guild of Sheikh Edeb Ali

Ibn Battuta entered Bursa. Bursa came under the Ottomans only a few years ago. Sultan Orhan Gazi rebuilt the almost destroyed city within this short period of time. The new capital of the Ottomans was decorated with wide streets, beautiful buildings, beautiful gardens, mosques and hammams. Ibn Battuta came here as a guest of Orhan’s wife Nilufar Khatun. The Sultana herself was waiting at the gate of the city to welcome him. Upon entering the city, Ibn Battuta saw that many young Turks had gathered after hearing the news of his arrival. They move in groups, they introduce themselves as Akhi (Ahi).

Anatalia’s life as an unmarried young man was very complicated. But this table was such that they did not get tired of it. Hard work from evening to noon, sports in the afternoon, going to a Sufi teki (ashram) in the evening for a chat, then gradually sinking into the Sufi music. Then to be engrossed in dhikr, return home after nightfall from dhikr.

Every youth is a member of some fraternity. Each fraternity has its own name. But in general, people call them all Akhi (Ahi). Akhi means brother. Each Sangha has a Sufi Shaykh under whom they live. Ibn Batuta noticed that the merchants here are also strange! He entered the market, but no merchant called out to him to buy his wares.

* First improve the mind of the man, the improvement of the workshops, factories and the companies will follow! ‘
This is the essence of modern total quality management. About 700 years ago, this was the main point of Anatalia’s Ahid. Tasawwuf moves people towards improvement through the improvement of the soul. And better people make better products in their professional life.

The rizq earned by producing improved products is halal rizq. Both buyers and sellers benefit from it. Trade and various technical industries in Anatolia were controlled by individual guilds of merchants. There was a separate Ahi Sangha for each industry. A Sangha might have made pottery, but only pottery was available in their shops.

A guild used to manufacture silk goods again, they only sold silk goods. No non-metal was available for purchase in the shops of those who made metal objects. They were conscious about the quality of their products as everyone sold their own products. Every morning Ahi Shaikh used to go out to visit the shops.

Shaykh used to throw away inferior quality products in any shop. It was very embarrassing for the shopkeeper. The person with whom this incident happened would have no way to show his face to others. Generally, young people interested in learning a technical trade after primary education would be given the opportunity to learn technical science if they contacted any Ahi Teki. First, they were allowed to work in shops after two years of apprenticeship as apprentices.

Three years after that Shaikh used to take an examination of these youths. Those who passed the examination were declared Akhi in a spectacular ceremony. New shops were arranged for them. Akhira used to raise capital for their business and his shop was also known to everyone.

It took ten years or even twenty years to learn some difficult art. The artists of these arts had a special value. Akhid always had to strictly follow certain rules and principles.

It is mandatory for an Akhira to have seven characteristics.
1, Akhi will be honest.
2, Akhi will be the depositary.
3, I will be faithful.
4, I will be kind.
5, I will continue to avoid profit.
6, Akhi will be generous.
7, Akhi will be just.
If one failed to maintain these characteristics, he was expelled from the Ahi Sangha.

In a city, a specific akhisangha completely controlled the production and sale of a specific product. So the expelled Akhi member had no choice but to leave the city. Therefore, it was very difficult for dishonest traders to survive in Anatolia.

Due to Akhi’s honesty and loyalty, the Ottoman Sultanate was becoming financially prosperous faster than any other region. Around 1330, the Ottoman Sultanate became one of the most prosperous settlements in Anatolia. Sultan also had deep trust in Akhid.

Whenever a new area came under Ottoman rule, the Sultan would send akhids there. Akhira used to build the economic structure of that region. Therefore, the economy of the Ottoman Sultanate was a wonderful example of honesty and moral balance. Three Shaykhs were the directors of Akhisangh.

Once or twice in every month Akhid conference was held. There, under the leadership of the Sheikh, they discussed how to improve the quality of their work. If there is any defect in the product, there will be constructive criticism. They had strong cooperative societies of their own. There they used to deposit some money every month, with which the poor and needy were helped.

If any of Akhir’s family was in danger, he would also be helped. Akhi Sangha had influence among women too. Perhaps the first women’s organization in the world was born in Anatalia, the name was Bajian-e-Rum. This organization was created by the woolen women of Anatalia.

Here they practiced self-purification along with business, they also had social welfare associations. Who is making how much profit was not a big issue for Akhid. Since they were Sufis, the general way of life was materialTheir days would pass. What was important to the Akhids was to create the perfect product and satisfy people and get their dua. Therefore adulteration of products, increasing the price to make extra profit was unthinkable for them.

An Akhi never calls out to others to buy his goods. And it was not possible to come to his shop and buy products.

Everything was sold at a fixed price. Each Akhi member had to keep three things open.
1. His door is for guests.
2. His meaning is for his brothers.
3, his dastarkhan – for the hungry.

Each Akhi member had to restrain the three parts of his body from three tasks
1, to his eyes, from obscenity.
2. His face – from the words of sin.
3, his hand- from cruelty.

Each Akhi member was trained in this way after years of hard work under the strict supervision of Sufi Shaykhs.But a major limitation of Akhid was their limited production capacity. As they had a very strict eye on the quality of the product. Therefore, even if they wanted to, they could not supply many products overnight. Because of this, if the population of a region suddenly increased, it would be impossible for the people to supply the necessary goods to the people there. Ahid’s greatest lesson was that money can never be the ultimate goal of man.
Money is only a means to the ultimate goal.

Ibn Battuta observed on his departure from Anatalia that a powerful nation had developed here. He has never seen such hospitable and friendly people anywhere else.

The main strength of a nation is its youth. At the end of the day’s work, entertainment in the evening and worship at night. Accustomed to this simple way of life, a hard-suffering but calm-minded youth grew stronger under the leadership of Orhan, at a time when the Byzantine Empire in the west was slowly sinking into the darkness of decline.

After Sultan Orhan Gazi conquered Nicomedia, the Byzantine economic center in Anatolia, in 1337, the Byzantines had no significant power left in Asia. In the west, after the death of the emir of Qaresi Emirate, when the conflict between his two sons escalated, Orhan took this opportunity to conquer Qaresi Emirate without bloodshed.

As the Qaresi Emirate came under Orhan, the Byzantines were besieged by the Ottomans on two sides. On the other hand, in 1341, Adronicus was tied between Palailagas and Katakujin. Fight for the throne. Katakujin appealed to Orhan for help, promising to marry Princess Theodora to Orhan in return.

Katakuzin allowed the Turks to plunder the churches of Grace to pay for the war. The Byzantine princess came to the other side of the Bosphorus, twenty thousand Turkish horse riders went to the other side. Katakujin sat on the throne with the help of Orhan. But no matter how much you sit on the throne by the power of others, you cannot remain independent.

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