Ahmad Yasawi

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Ahmad Yasawi
Ahmet Yesevi.jpg
Native nameاحمد یساوی
Born1093
Died1166
RegionCentral Asia
SchoolSufism
Main interests
Fiqh and Hadith

Khawaja Ahmad Yasawi or Ahmed Yesevi (Kazakh: Қожа Ахмет Ясауи, translit. Qoja Axmet Yasawï, قوجا احمەت ياساۋٸ; Arabic: أحمد يسوي‎, translit. ’Ahmad Yasawī; 1093–1166) was a Turkic[1] poet and Sufi, an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of Sufi orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world.[2] Yasawi is the earliest known Turkic poet who composed poetry in Middle Turkic.[3][4] He was a pioneer of popular mysticism, founded the first Turkic Sufi order, the Yasawiyya or Yeseviye, which very quickly spread over Turkic-speaking areas.[5] He was an Hanafi scholar like his murshid, Yusuf Hamdani.[6]

Early life[edit]

Ahmad Yasawi was born to Ibrahim in Sayram at the end of the 11th century. He lost his father at the age of seven and was then raised by Arslan Baba [tr].[7] By then, Yasawi had already advanced through a series of high spiritual stages and, under the direction of Arslan Baba, the young Ahmad reached a high level of maturity and slowly began to win fame from every quarter. His father Ibrahim had already been renowned in that region for performing countless feats and many legends were told of him. Consequently, it was recognized that, with respect to his lineage as well, this quiet and unassuming young boy, who always listened to his elder sister, held a spiritually important position.

Yasawi later moved to Bukhara and followed his studies with the Yusuf Hamdani.[8] Upon the demise of Yusuf Hamdani, first ʿAbdullah Barki and then Hassan-i Andākī became the head of Hamdani's khanqah.[6] Yasawi became the head murshid of the Naqshbandi order when Hassan-i Andākī died in 1160. He then turned this position to Abdul Khaliq Gajadwani under Hamdani's advice and moved to Turkistan City in order to spread Islam in Turkestan.[6]

Influence[edit]

Ahmad Yasawi made considerable efforts to spread Islam throughout Central Asia and had numerous students in the region. Yasawi's poems created a new genre of religious folk poetry in Central Asian Turkic literature and influenced many religious poets in the following countries.[9] Yasawi made the city of Yasi into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh Steppe, then retired to a life of contemplation aged 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life. Turkish scholar Hasan Basri Çantay noted that "It was a Seljuk king who brought Rumi, the great Sufi poet, to Konya; and it was in Seljuq times that Ahmad Yesevi, another great Sufi, lived and taught. The influence of those two remarkable teachers has continued to the present."[10] Yasavi is also mentioned by Edward Campbell (writing as Ernest Scott)[11] as a member of the Khwajagan.

Legacy[edit]

The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi[12] was later built on the site of his grave by Timur in Turkistan City. The Yasawi order he founded continued to be influential for several centuries afterwards, with the Yasawi Sayyid Ata Sheikhs holding a prominent position at the court of Bukhara into the 19th century.[13] There is the greatest influence of shamanistic elements in the Yasawiyya compared to other Sufi orders.[14]

The first Kazakh-Turkish university, Ahmet Yesevi University,[15] was named in his honor.

The Naqshbandi Idries Shah mentions Yasawi's lineage in The Book of the Book.[16] Yasawi Sufis are also present in Kashmir.[citation needed]

Yasawi's tomb was refurbished with a new structure by Timur.[17]

Yasawi authored the Book of Wisdom (Turkic: ديوان حكمت‎, Dīvān-i Ḥikmet), a collection of poems, in Turkic.[3] The book was published in 1905 and 1895 in Kazan.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ro'i, Yaacov (2000). Islam in the Soviet Union: From the Second World War to Gorbachev. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85065-403-2., page 373
  2. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica (2007): Related Articles to "Ahmed Yesevi, or Ahmad Yasawi, or Ahmed Yasavi (Turkish author)", accessed March 18, 2007". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  3. ^ a b Book of Wisdom. World Digital Library. Lithographic Printing House of the Kazan Imperial University. 1904. p. 366.
  4. ^ a b "Divan-i Khikmet". Kazakhstan National Commission For UNESCO - natcom.unesco.kz.
  5. ^ I.Melikoff, 'Ahmad Yesevi and Turkic popular Islam' Archived 2006-12-25 at the Wayback Machine., EJOS, VI (2003), No. 8, 1-9, ISSN 0928-6802
  6. ^ a b c The Foundation of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, İslâm Ansiklopedisi, vol. 3, p. 161, İstanbul, 1989.
  7. ^ İz, Fahīr (1960–2007). "Aḥmad Yasawī". Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). ISBN 9789004161214.
  8. ^ Y. N. Öztürk: The Eye of the Heart (Redhouse Press Istanbul 1988), p.49
  9. ^ John L. Esposito, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, Volume 1, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 271
  10. ^ "Hasan Basri Çantay, "Chapter 7: Islamic Culture in Turkish Areas", in Islam — The Straight Path: Islam Interpreted by Muslims by Prof. Kenneth W. Morgan, Published by The Ronald Press Company, New York 1958". Religion-online.org. Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  11. ^ The People of the Secret by Edward Campbell (1983) ISBN 0-86304-038-1
  12. ^ "Yasavi (Shrine of Ahmed Yasavi), ArchNet Dictionary of Islamic Architecture". Archnet.org. Archived from the original on 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  13. ^ Devin Deweese "The Politics of Sacred Lineages in 19th-century Central Asia: Descent groups linked to Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi in Shrine Documents and Genealogical Charters" International Journal of Middle East Studies Vol.31 (1999) pp507-530
  14. ^ "The Sacred Sites of Kyrgyzstan", Cholpon K. Dyikanova, Taalaibek K. Dyikanov, Jarkyn B. Samanchina (eds.), Bishkek, 2004-2005, p. 8, citing Demidov, 1988, p. 3 Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Ahmet Yesevi University Official Site". Yesevi.edu.tr. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  16. ^ Shah, Idries (1976). The Book of the Book. Octagon Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-900860-12-6., page 9
  17. ^ "Tamerlane (1336 - 1405) - The Last Great Nomad Power". Silk Road Foundation. 1997–2000.

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