The Sanctity of Sword In Turkish Culture

Ottoman Sword

Sword had been a sacred item among Pre-Islamic Turks, due to its material – iron – also to be sacred. The sword that was believed to have a soul had been used in various religious rituals. Another point reflecting the sacredness of sword is the cultural behaviour of swearing on swords. This imputed sanctity continued in various examples even after the adoption of Islam. The tradition of engraving verses, prayers or hadiths on swords became an Islamized reflection. Also, various tales (menakip) record that wooden swords had been given to Gallant Warriors by leading religious personalities, in order to magnify their power. These swords to dervishes and veterans are one of the most important elements of power in tales. The sanctity of sword is also recorded in the classical literature.

In the classical literature, new concepts with combination of “sword verse” and “sword prayer” have been used. Moreover, some swords, especially the swords of the Prophet Muhammad and Zulfikar, had been sanctified items leaving their traces on our culture.

Sword has symbolic meanings of dominance, obedience, submission, power and might apart from these, but the purpose of this article is to analyze mentioned examples about the sanctity of sword and examine roots of this sanctity in our culture.

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