Conveyor of adab, the power of 'ilm: the legitimacy of poetry in the mukaddime of meşâirü'ş-şu'arâ
Ekiz, Ahmet Barış
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Focusing on the introduction (mukaddime) of Meşâirü'ş-Şu'arâ, a biographical dictionary written by Aşık Çelebi, this thesis deals with the text‘s description and discussion of the legitimacy of poetry with reference to the conception of adab. Firstly, in order to interpret the theoretical framework given for poetry in the introduction, I summarized the historical contexts and the usage areas of adab. Among these contexts, I determined that the introduction puts forward the understanding of adab as a set of literary skills needed for religious scholarship, which was prevalent in 'the post-Sunni revival'. Interestingly, Âşık‘s introduction to his tezkire, whose form and content were determined according to this specific meaning of adab, differs from its Iranian and Ottoman predecessors in that it often refers to the 'ulema, recounting chronologically from the eponymous founders of Hanafi and Shafii schools to Ottoman Shaykh al-Islams. Additionally, I propose that by defining the role of poetry as an auxiliary tool to comprehend Quran, the introduction reflects a scholar-centered vision. Related to this, I try to interpret the relationship between poetry and Quran through the Quranic studies, which starting with al-Zamakhshari take rhetorics as a basis for approaching the holy text. By doing so, I aim to show how the key rhetorical concepts fesahat (clarity of expression) and belagat (eloquence) were able to connect the 'literary' and the 'religious'. Apart from promoting the harmony between şi'r (poetry) and şer'(Islamic law), one of the main intentions of the introduction is to demonstrate that poetry has not only a passive but also an active part in the practice of Islamic law. That the introduction has Ebussuud Efendi in its center as a model of scholar-litterateur type exemplifies this active role. By attributing Ebussuud‘s superiority over other Islamic scholars to his eloquence, the introduction reinforces its main message: On condition that poetry conveys adab, it provides a thorough (and thereby supreme) knowledge of religion. Finally, I offer an autobiographical reading in an attempt to explain the scholarcentered point of view reflected in the introduction. To support my arguments, I refer to Meşa'irü‟ş-Şuara as well as his poetry collection (Divan), especially the point in the introduction in which the author, Âşık Çelebi gets involved in the text as a pupil of Ebussuud to show that his master‘s eloquence seen in his fatwa was partly thanks to him. Moreover, by examining these autobiographical fragments which provide elements to establish the author‘s identity, I aim to show how the content of the introduction becomes in a way the author‘s 'natural legacy'.