Haji Bektash Veli was a Muslim mystic, humanist and philosopher from Nishapur in Khorasan, Persia (modern-day Iran),who lived and taught from approximately 1209 to 1271 in Anatolia. He was one of the figures who flourished in the Sultanate of Rum and had an important influence on the Turkoman nomads of Asia Minor.

Not much is known about him, his origins are shrouded in mystery and much of his biography is based on legends. While some sources claim - or at least suggest, as in the Encyclopaedia Iranica - that he was of Persian (or Iranian) descent, and belonged to a group of Iranian migrants in Anatolia who had left their homeland during the Mongol conquests, others claim that he was Turkish.The name attributed to him by his followers can be translated as "The Pilgrim Saint Bektash." The Hajji title implies that he had made the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina to perform Hajj. He is the eponym of the Bektashi Sufi order and is considered as one of the principal teachers of Alevism. According the to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the "center of his teachings" was Ali ibn Abu Talib, uniting him "with Allah and Muhammad into a trinity" while also "acknowleding the twelve Shia Imams" and "holding Jafar as-Sadiq in high esteem". Despite his Shia belief and his unorthodox teachings, he is considered a renowned figure in the history and culture of both, the Ottoman Empire and the modern nation-state Turkey.