History of the Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa
Several hundred years ago, Shaykh Ayni Ali Baba, a Rifai, founded a tekke, or Sufi center, in Kasimpasha, 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 was born in Baghdad and moved to Erzincan in northeastern Turkey in the early 1900s. He was a descendent of both Abdul Qadir Geylani and Ahmed er Rifai and was a shaykh of the Rifai Tariqa. In Turkey he met Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi of the Qadiri order.
Sometime 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, himself a Sufi of the Qadiri 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 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 his death.
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 Turkey, 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, and our living Pir (leader) is Shaykh Taner Ansari Tarsusi er Rifai el Qadiri.