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The archaeological expedition led by Professor Gafar Jabiyev of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences has completed its research at the Omar Sultan Shrine in the Avakhil village of the Shamakhi region. Archaeological research was carried out with the support and special project of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. As a result of the research, the tomb of Pir Omar Avakhili Shirvani, the founder of the Khalwatiyya Tarikat, an important branch of Azerbaijani Sufism, was discovered and studied.
Archaeological research was carried out with the support and special project of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. As a result of the research, the tomb of Pir Omar Avakhili Shirvani, the founder of the Khalwatiyya Tarikat, an important branch of Azerbaijani Sufism, was discovered and studied.
The tomb, measuring 5x5 meters, is built of river and rock stones. The relatively well-preserved northern part of the tomb is 2.1 meters high and 0.9 meters thick. The tomb chamber, which runs east-west along the southern side of the tomb, is 0.9 meters wide and 2.1 meters long. The tomb chamber is covered with large pieces of rock. The floor to the north of the tomb is 1.9 meters wide and 3.2 meters long. A special chair has been built along the northern edge of the floor for visitors to sit and recite. In the center of the southern wall of the tomb there is an arched niche 0.5 meters wide and 0.8 meters high in the surviving part. A memorial stone depicting an altar on the outside of the throne, in front of the southern wall, bordered by a Seljuk chain, also belongs to the tomb of Pir Omar.
The western wall of the tomb is surrounded by a rotting walnut ward. From time to time, the roots of the tree crushed the western and northern walls of the tomb. During the research, the expedition did not touch the tree, given the scientific value of the widespread legends about the mention of Pir Omar in the ward of such a tree. For this reason, the western wall of the tomb was not fully opened. From there, it was only possible to pick up the tomb inscription, which was lying face down. The inscription on the north-west corner of the tomb shows that the floor inside the tomb is connected with it, as well as the presence of a floor reminiscent of a paved sidewalk on the west side of the tomb.
During the research, very important scientific artifacts related to the Khalwatiyya Sufi Tarikat and its founder Pir Omar were discovered inside and around the tomb. Among these finds, the tomb and tomb inscription are particularly interesting. It is known from the tomb inscription that Pir Omar died in July 1409. The book states that Pir Omar was the founder of the Khalwatiyya Sufi school of secrecy and dear to the owners of the sect. The book also addresses Pir Omar with such epithets as "Sheikh", "Zahid", "Abid". It is interesting that the Arabic-language inscription, written in a simple suls, also contains expressions in Azerbaijani.
Several other inscriptions were found around the tomb. One of these inscriptions belongs to Sheikh Jalil, a descendant of Sultan Bayazid, and the other to Allahvermish, the son of Sheikh Jalil. According to historical sources, Sultan Bayazid was one of the caliphs of Pir Omar, Bayazid Pirani. His descendant, Sheikh Jalil, is a follower of the Khalwatiyya Sufi school of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This proves that the Avakhil Khalwatiyya Sufi khanagah, which was formed in the middle of the 14th century, continued to function until the beginning of the 19th century.
Numerous Muslim graves were found in the area during the excavation. In the inscription of one of the graves, the 16th verse of Surah “Ghafir” of the Holy Quran is engraved: “Whose authority is it today? Allah, the One, the Irresistible”.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered other artifacts inside and around the tomb that are believed to be part of the rituals associated with the practice of Khalwatiyya Sufi teachings. Examples include stoneware, ceramics, and coins.
As it is known, the Khalwatiyya Sufi teaching, which was initially formed in Avakhil and passed to Shirvan and all of Azerbaijan, later spread to Europe, Asia and Africa. As a clear example of the multicultural values of medieval Azerbaijan, the Khalwatiyya Sufi school, which was supported by the Shirvanshah state during its formation, was later protect by the great states of the time, such as Teimurid, Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu, Ottoman and Egyptian Mamluks. As can be seen, the Khalwatiyya Sufi teaching covers a wide geographical area of our modern world, and its thousands of adherents remain today.
We are grateful that on May 25, President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva visited the Pir Omar Sultan Shrine during their visit to Shamakhi region and inquired about archaeological research there. Mr. President gave instructions and recommendations to the relevant authorities on the continuation of research and conservation of the monument at the Shrine of Pir Omar Sultan. We believe that the discovery and conservation of the tomb of Pir Omar, the installation of a monument on the existing archaeological remains and the improvement of its surroundings will further increase the interest of the Turkic and Islamic world in Azerbaijan.