Rare indeed are those who wrote on the presence of Bektashism in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Most of those writers that make do make mention of Bektashis do so in various works on the general history of the Bosnia-Hercegovina, so that one can only count two or three works that are fully dedicated to the Bektashis of this region. Primarily there is the text of the late Džemal Čehajić published in his book Derviški Redovi na Jugoslovenskim Zemljanima and another article published in the Anali Gazihusrevbeg. In these works, Čehajić gives a rather general view of Bektashism, its origins, its relations with the Janissaries and the Kizilbaş based on the works of Turkish authors such as Fuad Köprülü, Halil Inalcik and others. The presentation of Bektashism in Bosnia is rather minute. Another text that also deserves to be mentioned is the one by Riza Muderizović, published in the newspaper Jugoslovenska Posta in 1931, which was one of the first articles to mention a Bektashi presence in Bosnia. There is also a text of Senad Mičijević, published lately in an Islamic magazine Zamzam, which is a study today’s Bosnian Bektashis and provides much information. In addition scholar, Alexandre Popović, references them in his piece on the Islamic mystical orders of the Balkans in Muslim Mystical Brotherhoods.
Each one of these authors has asserted that the Bektashis never achieved any lasting successes in Bosnia and that they disappeared shortly before the Austrian occupation of Bosnia [in 1878]. On the other hand, the Bektashis were very numerous in Albania and in ‘old Serbia’ because, as Riza Muderizović states, “inhabitants of these regions were always liberal in thought.” Scholars who point out any Bektashi zikr ritual are also very rare. Džemal Čehajić, for example, doesn’t mention it at all in the above articles, whereas he mentions other rituals such as the Ayni Ikrar and the Ayni Cem. On the other hand, Muderizović affirms that this order does not have the same regular zikr that other Sufi orders practice, but keep a private zikr. According to him, and according to Senad Mičijević, there exist two ways of zikr: a main and collective zikr, called the Gülbenk and an individual zikr.
Senad Mičijević is one of the exceptional authors to mention all the symbols associated with Bektashis in Bosnia. After having described the features of the ranks of baba (or halife) and dede, the author mentions the symbolic of colors: the green, the red, the white and the black. He also mentions various insignia of the Bektashis, such as the tiğbent (waistband tied with three knots which represent Allah, Muhammad and Ali); mengüş (the earring that every Bektashi who has made the vow of celibacy wears); the nefir, made of a cow horn that was used as a form trumpet and served to frighten animals while in the mountains and forests; the teber, a type of pole arm used in defense and on jihad; and the keşkul, a leather bowl in which the dervish eats and drinks water during a journey.
The outward signs of the baba were the hirka and the cubbe (a style of dress) as well as the tac, headgear representing with twelve gores symbolizing the Twelve Imams and which makes a Bektashi readily recognizable to outsiders. The existence of Bektashi tekkes mentioned in popular tradition is also uncertain. Nedim Filipović has found, for example, the name of a Bektashi tekke and its shaykh, Džangudaz, from a defter of the nahije of Bosanski-Brod, for the year 1489, but I must confess that I could not recover this document for personal examination. The existence of the tekke of Golobrdica, a district of Sarajevo, is mentioned by Džemal Čehajić, but it does not exist any longer. It is mentioned in the siccil #81 for the year 1845, which is preserved in the Library of Gazibeghusrev, Sarajevo.
There is still further mention of Bektashi tekkes that have existed in Bosnia in the past: two in Sarajevo, (the one of Golobrdica and the one of Atmejdan), one in the eastern Bosnian town Čajnica (according to Evliya Çelebi). The famous tekke of Blagaj (near Mostar) was most likely at one time a Bektashi tekke based on certain evidence: a tradition concerning Sari Salik and his tomb situated nowadays in the türbe the tekke, as well as the bas-relief representing teslimi taş, a Bektashi symbol, and the absence of mihrab, would be some of the signs. This tekke, which is dated from the 15th century, has belonged over the centuries to several orders: Halveti, Qadiri and recently Naqshibandi, is still active.
In his article Riza Muderizović mentioned the names of two Bosnian Bektashis: the father of a certain Mehmed Kantardžić, and his son-in-law Abdullah Ljutika.