The Scribe and his Sons — Saláh-ud-Dín. Yaziji-oghli Mehemmed

While Báyezíd the Thunderbolt was winning and losing kingdoms and while his sons were rending the Turkish lands with civil war, a quiet student known as Kátib Saláh-ud-Dín or ‘Saláh-ud-Dín the Scribe’ was busy, most probably in the city of Angora, compiling a book the like of which had not yet been written in the Turkish tongue. This book, a full analysis of which is given by Von Hammer, was called by its author the Shemsfye or ‘Solar (Poem).’ and is a versified treatise on the prognostics to be drawn from meteorological phenomena such as eclipses, halos, rainbows and shooting-stars, according to the month of the solar year in which they appear. The information it contains is said to have descended from the ancient prophets and sages Noah, Daniel,1 Plato and Loqmán.2 The book, which is dedicated to a certain Qassáb Ἅlí, or Ἅlí the Butcher, though the author mentions Hajji Pasha (presumably the well-known physician)1 as his patron, was finished in 811 (1408–9), and contains five thousand couplets. The style, according to Von Hammer, who has a high opinion of the value of the contents of the work, is quite without literary merit.2

The Ottoman historians have very little to tell us concerning this versifier or his book. Not one of the Tezkirewriters says a word about him; a brief notice in ῾Άlí, a doubtful line or two in the Crimson Peony, a short entry in Kátib Chelebi, and a few words in a later redaction of the poet’s own work, are our only sources of information. ῾Άlí says that the Scribe Saláh-ud-Dín was the father of the writers Yaziji-oghli Mehemmed and Yaziji-oghli Ahmed-i Bíján, that he was well versed in the science of the stars, and compiled a great book on the prognostics deducible from terrestrial and celestial phenomena, and that he was most probably born in Angora or some other town of Rúm. This Scribe Saláh-ud-Dín of ῾Άlí is probably identical with the Sheykh Saláh-ud-Dín whom Tash-köpri-záde connects with the town of Boli and makes a friend and disciple of the great mystic Hajji Beyrám whom we have already met as the teacher of Sheykhí.3 Kátib Chelebi enters the Scribe’s book, not under his own title of Shemsíye, hut under that of Mulhime, and says concerning this, that it was first versified by Saláh-ud-Dín, and afterwards altered and improved by a poet of his (Kátíb Chelebi’s) own time called Jevrí. There is a MS. of Jevrí’s version in the British Museum,1 in the preface to which that poet says that in former times a maker of verses named Sálah-ud-Dín had translated this Mulhime from Persian into Turkish, but that as that version is inadequate and the language obscure, he has remodelled it at the request of a friend.

And this is all we know of Sálah-ud-Dín the Scribe.

Our information concerning the two brothers Mehemmed and Ahmed, if not quite so vague, is scarcely less meagre. We have seen that ῾Άlí makes these writers sons of Saláh-ud-Dín the Scribe; and it is not unlikely that he is correct,2 as the patronymic Yaziji-oghli, which is given to them, certainly indicates that they were descended from someone who was emphatically known as the Scribe.3 We are further told that they flourished during the first half of the fifteenth century, and that they studied under Hajji Beyrám at Angora.

Sheykh Mehemmed, the elder of the two, is the last notable poet of the First Period. His life seems to have been uneventful; on completing his studies at Angora, he settled at Gallipoli where he built himself a little oratory looking out upon the sea. His brother either accompanied him to Gallipoli or joined him there; and in that town the two spent their lives, dividing their time between devotional exercises and the composition of their literary works.

These few facts are all that we can glean from Latífí, Tash-köpri-záde and ῾Άlí, who alone among the earlier writers mention Yaziji-oghli Mehemmed. It is not easy to say why he is omitted by ῾Άshiq and Hasan. These two biographers seem to have deliberately ignored most of the old religious poets; ῾Άshiq Pasha is not so much as mentioned by either, while Suleymán, the author of the Birthsong, is referred to only by ῾Άshiq Chelebi, and that in the most perfunctory manner.

In a brief anonymous notice of the author’s life prefixed to the edition of his great poem which was lithographed in Constantinople in 1280 (1863), a few further particulars are given; but as no authority is mentioned, we are left without guarantee for their authenticity. It is there said that Mehemmed was born at Qadi-Köy,1 that after studying under Hajji Beyrám and before settling at Gallipoli, he journeyed into Persia and Transoxiana in order to perfect his knowledge by conversing with the learned men of those lands, and that he was intimate with the Sheykhs Zeyn-ul-῾Areb and Hayderí Kháfí.2 So strict was the poet’s asceticism, according to this writer, that during seven years of the time he passed at Gallipoli he never ate anything that had been cooked, living wholly upon fruits and such like.

The year 855 (1451) is generally given as that of Sheykh Mehemmed’s death; but the writer of the notice just referred to says the poet died four years after the completion of his work, and as he himself tells us that his poem was finished in 853 (1449), this would place his death in 857 (1453). The date of Ahmed’s death seems to be quite unrecorded; but it cannot have been earlier than 857 (1453), as there is extant an abridged translation of Qazwíní’s Ἅjá῞ib-ul-Makhlúqát or ’Marvels of Creation’ made by him in that year.1

The brothers, and especially Mehemmed, whose famous poem is still popular in Turkey, enjoyed a great reputation for sanctity. Legends have grown up round Mehemmed’s name. ῾Άlí tells us how in his day it was believed that when the poet was engaged on his great work the mysterious prophet Khizr2 used to come from the Unseen World and provide him with the solutions of the difficulties he encountered, a story which may perhaps account for the name Khizr u Ilyás Maqámi or the ‘Place of Khizr and Ilyás,’ given to the little mosque he built.3

The same historian further informs us that such was the fervour of the poet’s love and yearning for God that once when he was writing the word ‘sigh’ in his book he sighed so ardently that a hole was burned in the margin of the page on which he was writing,4 which hole ῾Άlí declares he has himself seen in the autograph manuscript of Mehemmed’s work. This autograph manuscript is still preserved in the poet’s mausoleum at Gallipoli, and is mentioned by the late Habíb Efendi in his interesting book on celebrated Eastern calligraphists and miniaturists.1 According to this author, the manuscript in question, which is written in an exceptionally beautiful ta῾liq hand,2 was at one time in some place in Constantinople which was burned down; after the conflagration the manuscript was recovered, when it was found that though the margins of the pages were singed, the text had escaped uninjured. Perhaps in this story we have a more historical explanation of the marks of burning which ῾Άlí accounts for in so highly imaginative a way.

῾Άlí has yet another story which he brings forward as an instance of the piety and trust in providence which distinguished Sheykh Mehemmed. This holy man was very poor, and he and his family were often hard put to for a meal. On one such occasion his wife went out to the bath with their young children after telling her husband to watch the pot in which all the food they possessed was being cooked. While she was out, a beggar happened to pass by the house, and seeing through the open door the pot boiling, prayed the saint to give him somewhat for the love of God. Mehemmed not liking to send him empty away, gave him the pot and all it contained. When his wife returned and looked for the pot, the sheykh told her what had happened, whereupon she flew into a rage and began to revile him, saying, ‘Shame on thee, thou cruel man! what are these little children to eat to-night? even suppose we be content to go without, how should they be so?’ Assailed by the abuse of wife and children, Mehemmed withdrew into his oratory and there prayed God to provide his family with food. While he was still praying, some one knocked at the door of the house, and when his wife came to tell him of this, he said, ‘What is come is the gracious provision of God which thou desirest and which thou hast made me shame myself by asking.’ And indeed when they went out they saw that a messenger from the cadi was there bringing them ten different sorts of delicate foods. For it had so happened that that night a pursuivant from the Sultan had come with some message to the cadi of the town, which pursuivant being a pious man and having heard of the fame of Sheykh Mehemmed, had asked the cadi concerning him. But the cadi, who was a worldling, had spoken slightingly of the holy man, saying to his guest, ‘Heaven forefend thou should praise hypocrites such as he!’ Whereupon the pursuivant, being vexed, had declared that he would eat nothing of the delicacies provided for him unless the sheykh partook of them likewise. So the cadi, knowing it would be useless to invite Mehemmed to his house, had sent him a portion of all that was prepared. And thus, adds ῾Άlí, was exemplified what is said in the Koran, ‘Whoso bringeth a good work shall receive ten like unto it.’1

With regard to the younger brother Ahmed, the Crimson Peony tells us that he owed his surname of Bíján or ‘the Lifeless’ to the fact that the fire of asceticism had so wasted his frame that he became frail and fragile as one who is scarce living.2

The most important literary works of the two brothers are an Arabic religious treatise entitled Maghárib-uz-Zemán or ‘The Setting-points1 of Time,’ by Mehemmed; a Turkish prose translation of the same, which is called Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín or ‘Lights for Lovers,’ by Ahmed; and a Turkish metrical version, known as the Muhammedíye, by Mehemmed himself.

The history of how these three books came to be written is told by Ahmed both at the beginning and end of the Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín in almost identical words.2 He says: ‘I had a brother, Mehemmed by name, who was a man of learning, a gnostic, perfect and excellent, the friend of God, and the chief of the attainers,3 and who was moreover the familiar of the Pole of the World Hajji Beyrám, and the sterling coin of the saints, and the perfect heir of the Prophet4 — may God Most High keep him safe in the here and the Hereafter, and apportion him and his in the Paradise of Eden! And I, poor Ahmed the Lifeless, did ever say to him, ‘O brother, the world hath no permanency and fortune no constancy; let it be that thou draw up a remembrance that shall be read in the world.’ And he, in compliance with my words, drew up the book named Maghárib-uz-Zemán; and whatsoever there be in the world of Koranic commentaries and elucidations and ensamples, alike exoteric and esoteric, he culled from many books and from the mouths of many perfect gnostics and learned traditionists; and from the books of the Sheykhs (mystics) comments on the Koran and on the Traditions Divine and Apostolic.1 In short, he gathered the pith of the twelve sciences into one place. Thereafter he said to me, ‘Ahmed the Lifeless, lo, in compliance with thy word, have I gathered the subtleties, the laws, the verities of existing things together into one place; now come thou and turn this book, the which is the Maghárib-uz-Zemán, into the Turkish tongue, that these our countrymen likewise may gain advantage from learning and from the light of knowledge.’ So in compliance with his blessed words, poor I completed this book, which I have named Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín, ‘Lights for Lovers,’ in the fairest of towns, the seat of the holy war,2 Gallipoli. Now this my Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín and my brother’s poem the Muhammedíye both have issued forth from the Maghárib. That book (the Muhammedíye) is in verse, this book (the Enwár) is in prose. Thus it hath so fallen that they3 have written this matter after two fashions; on the one hand they have versified it that it may be sweet, on the other they have written it in prose that it may be easy to be understood. And both fashions are good, and esteemed of those who are worthy of them. Thou wouldst deem the Encircling Ocean1 had risen and overflowed on either side and had exposed whatsoever of pearls there be. If thou seek the ‘hidden pearl,’2 read the Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín; if thou seek ‘the hire ungrudged,’2 read the Muhammedíye. Praise be to God that we two brethren have compiled these two books; and we have borne these many toils upon this road that the folk may say, Mercy be upon the sons of the Scribe!’

From this statement, which, as has been said, occurs twice in almost identical terms in the Enwár, and which, as we shall see, is also found in substance in the epilogue to the Muhammedíye, we gather that the Maghárib, which Mehemmed compiled at his brother’s suggestion, and which forms the source of the two Turkish books, is a collection of commentaries and other explanations, exoteric and esoteric, on certain Koranic verses and Traditions Divine and Apostolic. And such is in fact the substance of the Muhammedfáye and the Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín.

To confine our attention to the former3 which alone directly concerns us, we find that this poem consists of a series of explanations by different authorities on certain passages in the Koran and the Traditions that refer to certain subjects. In plan the book falls into three great divisions which deal respectively with the Creation, the Mission of Muhammed, and the End of the World. The scriptural texts concerning these subjects are arranged according to the order of the events, each being followed by the Turkish metrical paraphrase of the expositions offered by the several commentators and traditionists. The subjects themselves are treated in considerable detail. Thus in the first division, that dealing with the creation of the universe, the poet commences by giving the mystic-philosophic account of the beginning of all things by the passage of phenomena from potential to actual existence; after which he takes up the legend of the Light of Muhammed, and tells how all subsequent beings were created therefrom. Then we get the traditions as to the creation of the Ἅrsh and the Kursí, the Eight Paradises, the Seven Heavens, the Seven Earths, the Seven Hells, and so on;1 after which comes the story of Adam and Eve, in whose appearance creation culminates. A rapid enumeration of the Prophets who succeeded Adam and kept alive the Faith brings us to the second division of the poem, that which treats of the life and work of Muhammed. Here, as in Suleymán’s Birthsong, the historical and the legendary elements in the story are blended together and presented to the reader as of equal value. The section is extended to cover a short account of the first four Khalífas and the Prophet’s grandsons Hasan and Huseyn. The last section, which has for subject the end of the world, opens with a description of the signs, such as the appearance of Antichrist, and the irruption of Gog and Magog, that are to herald that event; after which it gives a detailed account of the order of procedure which will be observed at the Last Judgment, and finishes with a description of the life of the blessed in Paradise. The section is followed by a few mystic cantos, after which comes the epilogue.

In the canto ‘Touching the Reason of the Writing of the Book,’ which, as usual, occurs at the beginning of this poem, Yaziji-oghli Mehemmed tells how one day when he was seated in his cell at Gallipoli engaged in devout meditation, the ‘Lovers’ of the town came into his presence and asked him why he did not publish to the world the glories of the Prophet, to which he replied that there were already many books thereon. His friends then proposed that he should write a work dealing with the commentaries, and this he consented to do, so God should help him.1 One night he saw in a vision Muhammed seated, the centre of a radiant circle formed of his Companions. But all of them were veiled so that their faces were invisible, and before them were set china cups filled with water. The poet asked someone who was there what this meant, and was answered in these words, ‘For whom should their veils be withdrawn? and who they who should be distraught by their beauty? or to whom should their wine be given? who they who should be the inebriates of this feast?’ When the poet heard this he wept bitterly and rent his garments; for ‘how could any heart bear this estrangement? could even the hard flint endure such woe?’ But when the Prophet saw his anguish, he laid the balm upon his wound, saying, ‘Raise the veil from before thine own heart and seek the radiance of my beauty in thine own soul.’ The Apostle then bade him give his people the wine of wisdom to drink, and publish his words abroad to all the folk, so that all nations may know the wonders he has wrought and that his words may reach to every land. When the poet thus received the Apostolic command, he besought God to aid him and set to work, and the result is the Muhammedíye.

In the epilogue, the author, after thanking God for having enabled him to complete his work, goes on to say that three times during the course of its composition the Prophet had appeared to him in his dreams. The first occasion is that already described in the prologue; on the second the Prophet had addressed to him some words of encouragement, bidding him be of good cheer. On the third he had beheld the Apostle surrounded by a circle of saintly mystics; and this time, when the poet, who had his book in his hand, had knelt down, the Prophet had looked upon him and promised to teach him. On another occasion, when he was offering thanks to God and praying for the success of his book, his old master Hajji Beyrám appeared before him and promised him God’s aid and acceptance of this book in which he has written all that is and all that will be. The saint went on to compliment him on the style of his poem, and assured him that the book would become famous and would remain unrivalled, and that its perusal would bring blessings to its readers. The poet offered his thanks to the saint, through whose spiritual influence, he says, he has won success. Some of the poet’s friends then entered the room, and told him that as his book is unique, he should present it to the King of Persia, or to the Sultan of Egypt, or to the Sultan of Rúm, namely, Murád the son of Mehemmed.1 This opens the way for a prayer for the welfare of Sultan Murád and of his son Mehemmed who is now seated on the throne. The poet then proceeds to eulogize the Vezir Mahmúd Pasha bin-Qassáb (i. e. Mahmúd Pasha the son of the Butcher),1 who, he says, had been very kind to him, and under whose protection he had settled at Gallipoli.

Mehemmed then proceeds to tell the story of his own and his brother’s works in almost the very words twice used by Ahmed in the Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín. Mehemmed says, ‘I had2 a brother, named the Lifeless, who used to encourage me, saying, ‘O my Soul, thou knowest how fortune hath no constancy; leave that which shall be a remembrance after thee.’ In compliance with these words, O beloved, I made the book named Maghárib (the like of) which none had seen; I found whatsoever there be in the world of Koranic commentaries, and of each of these I took the pith. * * * * In the Maghárib I wrote of the beginning and of the end of the world. I said to the Lifeless, ‘Come, now, as I have drawn up this book, do thou turn it into the Turkish tongue that it be spread abroad in country and in town.’ In compliance with these words, he completed it (i. e. the translation); he finished it at Gallipoli. Likewise this (present) book of mine hath been drawn up, and set in order like (a string of) pearls. So both of these (i. e. the Enwár and the Muhammedíye) have come forth from the Maghárib. The Sea hath risen and overflowed on either side. Hthe former be (regarded), it is the ‘hidden pearl;’ if the latter be, it is ’the hire ungrudged.’ Praise be to God that we two brethren have published abroad these two books. We have borne toil upon this road for this that they may say: Mercy be upon the sons of the Scribe!’

We are then told that the book was finished in the Latter Jemadi of 853 (July–Aug. 1449).1 After which the poet relates how on its completion he was summoned in the spirit into the presence of the Prophet to whom he offered his book and whose blessing he implored for Gallipoli, its people and magistrates, and for himself, his parents and his brothers, and for his teachers Zeyn-ul-Ἅreb and Hayderí Kháfí. In the third couplet from the end he says that he has called his book Er-Risálet-ul-Muhammedíye or ‘The Muhammedan Treatise.’

The author does not say why he gave this title to his poem, but Tash-köpri-záde is probably right in saying that he so named it because it deals chiefly with matters connected with the Prophet, and was written at his command. Certainly the poet has contrived to make his work into what is practically a long panegyric on the Apostle by his insistence on the tradition that the creation of the world was brought about because of the Creator’s love for the Light of Muhammed and was accomplished through the medium of that Light.2 The full title, Er-Risálet-ul-Muhammedíye, is hardly ever used; the book is almost always called simply ‘the Muhammedíye.’

The form of the Muhammedíye is very peculiar, the poem being written in a series of sections in alternate monorhyme and mesneví At first the monorhyming sections are arranged in regular alphabetical order, exactly as the ghazels in a díwán; but when the whole alphabet has been gone through once, the strictness of this rule is relaxed, and only an approximation to alphabetical order is observed. The sections are interrupted at irregular intervals by a couplet introduced by way of refrain. This couplet is repeated about half a dozen times and is then replaced by another. In prosody the poem shows yet greater diversity; several metres are employed, the author himself says that he has made use of seven varieties.

The changes from monorhyme to mesneví and vice versa seem to be quite arbitrary; no principle or method is apparent; it looks as though the writer had, when he got tired of the one, passed into the other, heedless of all considerations outside his own fancy; He does not wait till he has finished a subject, or even a particular exposition of a subject, to make this change, but jumps from the one form to the other in the middle of a paragraph, sometimes almost in the middle of a sentence.

Of the poetic value of the Muhammedfye it is not possible to speak very highly. The subjects of the book — the legends concerning the beginning and the end of all things, and the mission of the Prophet — might in the hands of a great poet, a Dante or a Milton, have been moulded into some splendid epic; but not even a great poet could have fashioned from them a work of art, keeping to the lines laid down by Mehemmed. Artistry and poetry alike are outside the question when a writer sits down to paraphrase one after another all the commentaries he can find on a series of texts. But to do Mehemmed justice, his aim was neither artistry nor poetry, but simply to convey instruction in a pleasant way; ‘they have versified it that it may be sweet,’ says Ahmed. And that this aim has been abundantly realised is shown by the great popularity which his work has always enjoyed and still enjoys, especially among the less highly educated, and more particularly with old ladies.1 Mehemmed is as a rule quite simple in his language, except in the case of the rhyme-words in the monorhyming sections, which are often very unusual Arabic terms. So difficult are many of these that in a great number of cases it has been thought necessary to explain their meaning on the margins in the popular lithographed editions.

Latífí bears witness to the esteem in which the Muhammedíye was held in his time when he says that it is much appreciated by teachers of the commentaries and traditions on account of its accuracy and lucidity. The biographer himself had a high opinion of the work, the study of which, he declares, is fraught with advantage for the faithful. He specially praises a qasfda which he says contains many veiled allusions to the Súfí mysteries.2

A commentary on the Muhammedíye, entitled Ferah-ur-Rúh h or ‘The Joy of the Soul,’ was written by Isma῾íl Haqqí who also commented on the Koran, the Mesneví and other famous works, and who died in 1137 (1724–5).

It is said that a Persian translation of the poem was made by the contemporary Persian writer who is best known under his surname of Musannifek or ‘the Little Author.’1

Tash-köpri-záde and ῾Άlí tell us that Sheykh Mehemmed is the author of a commentary on Muhí-ud-Dín bin-Ἅrebí’s famous work the Fusús-ul-Hikem or ‘Gems of Philosophy.’2 But of this production the former critic does not speak very favourably, as he says that the sheykh passes over the real difficulties in the work he is professing to elucidate. A commentary on the Fatiha is mentioned in a note to the Crimson Peony; which commentary, it is there said, is directed specially against the heretical sect called Vujúdíye.

Ahmed-i Bíján is credited with two cosmographical works named respectively Durr-i Meknún or ‘The Hidden Pearl’ and Ἅjá῞ib-ul-Makhlúqát or ‘The Marvels of Creation;’ the latter, as already said, is merely an abridged translation of Qazwíní’s well-known work of the same name, and was finished about the time of the capture of Constantinople, i. e. 857 (1453).

In the following passage,3 which occurs at the beginning of the Muhammedíye, the author has versified the mysticphilosophic account of the origins; his subject is the passing of what are usually called the Essences (Máhiyát), but by him are called the Verities (Haqá῞iq),1 from Potential to Actual existence.

According to the theory here followed, the Essences of all things are the result of the working of the Divine Faculties, here called Names. But the existence of these Essences, or Verities as the poet prefers to call them, is in two degrees, firstly Potentiality (Subut), secondly Actuality (Vujúd). When the Essence passes from the former into the latter, it is said to be actualised (mevjúd). The absence or presence of the ásár, that is ‘works’ or ‘properties,’ is held to determine whether existence be ‘potential’ ot ‘actual.’ Thus the fire in an unstruck match is in ‘potential existence,’ as the ‘properties’ of fire, i. e. light, heat, etc. are absent; but when the same match is struck, the fire has sprung into ‘actual existence,’ as is evidenced by the presence of heat, light and the other ‘properties’ of fire. In this poem the Essences or Verities are represented as still in Potentiality and as craving to be passed into Actuality.

From the Risále-i Muhammedíye. [66]

   The Kingdom His! the Praise, the Thanks! for His the Generosity!

Creation His! and His Command! Aid His! and Liberality!2

   All self-sufficing was The Truth; His Being the sheer Absolute;

The Names, they were the Attributes, merged yet in His Ipseity.3

His Name is thus His Self; epiphany His Actual Being is;1

Yet He is higher than the twain: know thou this glorious subtlety.2

The Attributes were things desirable, the Names degrees therein,3

The Verities resulted thence;4 and all of these cried prayerfully: —5

   ‘How long, how long, do we remain here in the stores of the Inane!

‘Hid in the Unity’s domain, in nothingness, in cecity!

‘Yea, truly high-enUtroned are we! what lords of lofty might we be!

‘But yet the Most Hid Secret we; our need, it is epiphany!

‘’Tis ye who are our prop and stay; ’tis ye who are our kings to-day;

‘’Tis ye who are our inward ray. Vouchsafe to us existency!

‘If we be manifested, ye shall likewise manifested be;

‘And shown will be the glorious Law, and known the bright Sagacity.’6

   Soon as the Names heard this they flocked together, to one place they came,

And cried, ‘O Lord! reveal us now without or stint or secrecy!’

So firstly all the Names besought the Name Creator to this end;

It said, ‘The Name the Able seek, to fashion is its property.’


‘The Attributes of God are not identical with His Self,

‘Neither are they other than He that they should be separable from Him.

‘The Name is not other than the Named

‘With them of Insight, noble of lineage.’

The Name the Able said, ‘Revealment with the Name the Willer lies;

‘The actual is at its command; to show, in its authority.’

Then cried they to the Name the Willer, ‘Do thou manifest us now!

It made reply, ‘’Tis by the Name the Knower must be signed this plea.‘1

The Name the Knower said, ‘Your revelation is well-understood;

‘But learn ye that the Name the Self compriseth all the Names that be.‘2

   Then all the Names together flocked, and to the Name the Self they said,

‘Orders upon thy order rest; things are in thy authority.’

Then said the Name the Self, ‘I am indeed that Most Great Name,3 so I

‘Do point unto the Naméd who is God who doth as willeth He.

‘Exempt His Self from aught of contradiction and from aught of flaw!

‘Aloof His Nature that thereto should e’er reach perspicacity!

   (O King Most Great to whose Perfection declination ne’er may win!

   To whose fair Beauty for whose Glore imagination ne‘er may win!)4

‘Do ye without His Glory’s veil abide while I before Him go

‘And see how He will order since ye cry with importunity.’

   It went before the Very Self, and said, ‘My Lord! and O my Lord!

‘As Thou the Knower art of secrets, there is naught concealed from Thee.’

The Self replied, ‘I am that Self the independen t of degrees:

‘From Actual and Manifest nor hurt nor profit is to Me.

‘But since the Verities implore and earnest pray of all the Names,

‘And since Our Names desire that thou should grant this thing they crave of thee,

‘Go now, command the Names, and let these straightway the command obey,

‘Thus let the Verities come forth in untold multiplicity.

‘Let every Name bestow on every Verity that seeks therefor

‘Such virtue as its strength may bear: Wrought through all worlds be this decree!’1

   What time the Prototypes2 to come to realised existence sought.

They cried, ‘We fear lest there should overtake us dire calamity!’

So then the Name the Schemer came, and said, ‘First, Name Sustainer! list!3

‘Let the Contingents’ order stand; that naught destroy it do thou see!’

When heard of this the Name of Self, it made two Names vezirs, and these,

The Schemer and the Executor which achieves all things that be.

* * * * * * * * * *

The author here passes off into the legend of the Light of Muhammed, and tells how this was the first thing created and became the medium through which all subsequent beings came into existence.

1 Daniel is looked upon as the patron and greatest master of the occult sciences. The creation of geomancy or divination by dots on sand (῾ilm-i reml) and of the science of the interpretation of dreams (῾ilm-i ta῾bír) is attributed to him.

2 There would appear to have been two (Sir R. Burton thinks three) distinct persons who bore the name of Loqmán; but they are generally confounded in the popular mind. The first, the Loqmán mentioned in the chapter of the Koran (xxxi) called after him, was surnamed the Sage (Hakím), and is said to have been a contemporary of David and to have been related to Job. The second, also called the Sage, was an Abyssinian negro slave, and was as ugly as he was wise; he is the reputed author of a collection of fables, and is thought by many to be identical with the Æsop of the Greeks. Sir R. Burton‘s third Loqmán was a prince of the ancient Arab tribe of Ἅd, and was so strong that he could dig a well with his nails.

1 See p. 260, n. 1.

2 I have never seen this work, of which, so far as I know, there is no copy in England.

3 See p. 299, n. 1.

1 Or. 1170.

2 Kátib Chelebi describes the elder as Mehemmed the son of Sálih.

3 Yaziji-oghli (pronounced Yaziji-ōlu) is the Turkish; Ibn-Kátib, the Arabic form of ‘the son of the Scribe.’

1 Isma῾íl Haqqí, in his commentary on the Muhammedíye, says that thé poet waS born at Malghara.

2 This statement is borne out by a passage in Me-hemmed’s poem where he mentions Zeyn-ul-῾Areb and Hayderí Kháfí as teachers of his.

1 See the British Museum Catalogue of Turkish MSS. The Ἅjá῞ib-ul-Makhlúqát is a well-known cosmographical work written in Arabic by the famous old geographer Qazwíní who died in 682 (1283–4).

2 See p. 172, n. 1.

3 Tash-köpri-záde says that Mehemmed himself gave this name to his mosque and quotes in evidence the following quatrain which he attributes to the poet: —

‘This is the Place of Khizr and Ilyás;

‘Pray here and offer salutation.

‘Yaziji-oghli saw those (i. e. Khizr and Ilyás) here,

‘Therefore he built this lofty place.’

Khizr and Ilyás (Elias) are often confounded with one another and with St. George.

4 It must be remembered that sighs are always represented by the Eastern writers as the fumes arising from a heart that is on fire with love or anguish.

1 Khatt u Khattátán or ‘Calligrapby and Calligraphists,’ published by Ebu-z-Ziyá Tevfíq Bey in 1306 (1888–9).

2 The ta῾líq is a beautiful variety of handwriting formerly mucb used for copying books of poetry.

1 Koran, vi, 161.

2 ῾Άlí mentions a report that Ahmed had spent his youth in dissipation; but one day, having realised the wickedness of the life he was leading, he had gone to his brother and told him of his repentance, and had expressed his regret that while he (his brother) had composed so many books that would ensure for him the blessings of posterity, he himself had nothing to show; whereupon Mehemmed wrote the Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín in his brother's name. It is impossible to accept this story in face of the positive statements of both Mehemmed and Ahmed concerning the composition of the book in question.

1 Maghárib is the plural of Maghrib which means the setting place or time of a heavenly body.

2 The Enwár-ul-῾Άshiqín has heen printed several times: in Constantinople in 1261 (1485), in Kazan in 1861, and twice at Búláq, the second edition being dated 1300 (1882–3); it was also lithográphed in Constantinople in 1291 ( 1874–5).

3 i. e. those who attain to God, who pierce through phenomena and reach the Goal.

4 This expression is probably an echo of the Hadís  ‘The learned are the heirs of the Prophets.’ In another similar Hadís the Prophet says,  'The learned of my people are as the Prophets of the children of Israel.’

1 As we have seen more than once, a Tradition (Hadís) is said to be Divine when God is the speaker, to be Apostolic or Blessed when the Prophet is.

2 As Constantinople was still in the hands of the enemy, Gallipoli was at this time one of the outposts of Islam; so Ahmed calls it dár-ul-jihád or ‘the seat of the holy war.’ ῾Άlí says that it was because Gallipoli was thus an outpost of the Champions of the Faith that Mehemmed chose it for his home.

3 Nowadays an author would write ‘we have written’ for Ahmed’s ‘they bave written.’

1 See p. 38. Here the Encircling Ocean is intended to suggest the Maghárib.

2 The two expressions, durr-i meknún ‘hidden pearls’ and ejr-i ghayr-i memnún ‘hire ungrudged,’ are Koranic. The first is used in lii, 24, where speaking of the youths of Paradise, it is said, ‘And round them shall go boys of theirs, as though they were hidden pearls;’ and again in lvi, 22, where speaking of the houris, it is said. ‘And bright and large-eyed maids like hidden pearls.’ But in both these passages the word used for ‘pearl’ is lu῞lu῞ while that employed by Ahmed is durr. The second expression occurs three times, in xli, 7; lxxxiv, 25; and xcv, 6, where speaking of ‘those who believe and act aright,’ it is said that ‘for them is a hire ungrudged.’

3 The Muhammedíye was edited by Kázim Beg and printed at Qazan in 1848. It has been three times lithographed in Constantinople, in 1258 (1842–3), 1270 (1853–4) and 1280 (1863–4). The 1258 edition of Haqqí’s commentary thereon contains the complete text of the poem. There is a complete MS. of the poem in the British Museum (Or. 1040), also an imperfect copy (Add. 6536).

1 As described on pp. 34–9.

1 Perhaps this is a poetical version of Ahmed’s suggestion.

1 The Muhammedíye is not dedicated to any patron.

1 Possibly this Qassáb or Butcher, the father of Mahmud Pasha, is the Qassáb Ἅlí or Ἅlí the Butcher to whom, according to Von Hammer, the Shemsíye is dedicated.

2 It is curious that Mehemmed and Ahmed speak, each of the other, in the past tense, ‘I had a brother,’ as though the brother in question were dead. But such was not the case; Ahmed in the same sentence prays that Mehemmed may be kept safe in the here and the Hereafter, which shows that the latter was still alive; while we know that Ahmed himself lived for some years after 853, the date of the completion of the Muhammedíye.

1 Mehemmed here says distinctly that his Muhammedíye was finished in 853; he has just spoken of his brother’s Enwár as ‘completed;’ but Ahmed himself says that he finished his book in 855. How are we to explain the discrepancy?

2 See pp. 34–5.

1 Elderly ladies of a devout turn of mind often hold meetings for the reading of the Muhammedíye. On such occasions they assemble at the house of one of the wealthier of their number. After performing an ablution, each wraps a white cloth over her head (as women always do when saying the canonical prayers); a prayer or two is then repeated, and when these are over, and all present have seated themselves, the most learned among them opens the Muhammedíye and intones therefrom a passage of greater or less length. This performance is repeated time after time till the whole poem has been gone through, when it may be recommenced if the party is so minded. That these pious souls do not always understand everything they read or hear, in no way detracts from their satisfaction.

2 This qasída opens with the lines: —

‘O Leader of the lovely ones, from Whence to Whither dost Thou go?

‘Upraise the twyfold veil therefrom, and whiles Thy beauteous Visage show!’ The ‘twyfold veil’ of the second line probably refers to the hijáb-i núrání or ‘veil of radiance,’ and the hijáb-i zulmání or '‘veil of darkness,’ spoken of by the mystics, terms which may be taken to mean respectively good and evil as manifested in phenomena, for all phenomena are yeils interposed between the human soul and the One.

1 This surname was given to the celebrated scholar Ἅlá-ud-Dín Ἅlí on account of his having begun his literary career at a very tender age. He was born in Persia in 803 (1400–1), and settled in Turkey in 848 (1444–5), where he died in 875 (1470–1).

2 See p. 60, n. 2.

3 This passage, it may be remarked, is unrepresented in the Enwár-ul-῾Ἅshiqín.

1 They are what some would call the Fixed Prototypes (p. 55), what others would describe as the Word (i. e. Thought) of God.

2 This couplet, which in the original is in Arabic, is merely interjectional, having no direct connection with what follows.

3 The poet here declares that the Divine Names and the Divine Attributes are identical, and merged in the Divine Ipseity (see the passage from Sheykh Ἅbdulláh translated on pp. 60–1). By the Divine Attributes are meant qualities inherent in the Divine Nature, such as Love, Power, Wisdom and Justice (see p. 61). In the first of the following couplets from an Arabic poem we have the opinion of the Mutekellimín or Scholastics on the nature of these, and in the second we have that of the Súfís: —

1 Epiphany (tejellí), that is, the Divine self-manifestation through phenomena, is here said to be the Actualised Existence (Vujúd) of God.

2 He Himself is higher than His Self and higher than His Actualised Existence, in that He embraces both.

3 The Attributes were thus desirable, i. e. good, noble things (qualities); and the Names are now defined as ‘degrees’ therein, a definition the reason of which will appear a little farther on.

4 Here the poet tells us that the Verities (i. e. the Essences) result from the (nature of the) Names, which themselves mark degrees or stages in the series of the Attributes, which in their turn were merged in the Divine Ipseity.

5 The next four couplets are the prayer of the Verities, still in Potentiality, to be clothed with Actuality. They complain of the length of time they have remained in Potentiality, unrealised, and although lying in the very bosom of God, they cry for manifestation, that is for Actualised Existence. The prayer is addressed immediately to the Names.

6 i. e. the Law and the Wisdom of God.

1 The several Names (Knower = Ἅlim: Willer = Muríd: Able = Qádir: Creator = Bárí), each that of a Divine Attribute, mentioned in these couplets indicate the series of faculties necessary for the making or creation of anything. If we would make or create anything, we must first have the Knowledge how to do so; but the Knowledge alone is not enough, we must also have the Will; but Knowledge and Will are insufficient without Ability; then, when we have these three, we begin our work of Creation. These steps, Knowledge, Will, Ability, indicate what the poet mean. in the fourth couplet when he speaks of the Names being' degrees' in the series of the Attributes.

This passage further teaches us that what is last in result is first in intention The intention which started the activity among the Names was Creation, the result in which it ended was Creation.

2 The Name of Self (Ism-i Zat) is simply Alláh i. e. God; but as God comprises in Himself all His Attributes, so does the Name of God comprise in itself all the Names of His Attributes. The word Alláh is thus defined:

 ‘the necessarily Existent who compriseth the totality of the Attributes of Perfection.’

3 For the expression ‘the Most Great Name’ see p. 379, n. 2.

4 This couplet again is simply interjectional; it occurs several times, by way of a burden or refrain, in the earlier pages of the Muhammed4íye. It forms no part of the Name Self4’s speech.

1 The Divine order is that every Name shall bestow on every Verity that desires it, such Divine grace as that Verity is capable of receiving; and that the Names shall carry out this command through all the (Five) Worlds (see pp. 54–6) which, already potentially existent, are on the verge of being actualised.

2 Here the author uses for the first time the term A῾yán ‘Prototypes’ to describe what he has hitherto called the Verities.

3 On passing from the Potential to the Actual, the Verities, now Actualities, have become in the fullest sense contingent beings; their nature therefore lies between true existence and non-existence. To save them from the latter, some additional strength must be given to the former; so the Name Sustainer (Ism-i Rabb) is first summoned, and the contingent creation made over to its charge.

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