Crimean Muslim Heritage. Crimean Tatar Prominent Scholars of XIV— XIX

Crimean Muslim Heritage. Crimean Tatar Prominent Scholars of XIV— XIX
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Information on numerous brilliant scholars of the Islamic world of Crimean Tatar origin, some of them playing leading roles in Jerusalem, Makkah and Madinah, is far from being well-known. Please find below the biographies of most famous scholars of Crimean Tatar origin.

Zieddin Qirimiy (? - 1378, Cairo), a profound specialist in Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, oratory and other disciplines. Acknowledged teacher, shaikh and poet. Taught at the most famous schools in Cairo after having moved to Egypt. Got the “Shaikh of Shaikhs” title and his place in rank of famous scholars.

Mevlana Rukneddin Ahmed bin Muhammad Abdul-Muumin (? - 1382, Cairo), Acknowledged scholars, teacher and mufti. Served as a qadi (judge) in Crimea for more than 30 years, and then moved to Egypt where he got famous while performing his duties of mufti and a teacher. Wrote numerous works in Islamic studies.

Mevlana Recep bin Ibrahim (? - 1392, Bursa), a prominrnt Qur’an elocutor, famous for his ”Shaikhul-Qurra” (professional Qur’an reciter) title.

Mevlana Sherefeddin bin Kemal (? - 1443, Turkey), one of the Faqih (Fiqh scholars). Wrote a commentary on the classical book of Fiqh “Manar” (by famous scholar Abu al-Baraqat Hifidhuddin an-Nasafiy, died in 1310). This commentary was considered the best for a long time.

Mevlana Qirimiy Seyid-Ahmed bin Abdullah (? - 1474, Istanbul). Prominent scholar, teacher and a poet. Gained acceptance in Istanbul, where he taught at the most famous medreses. Earned favour of Ottoman sultan Mehmet Fatih. A number of his works, namely in Sufism, came down to us.

Qirimiy Hajmaddin Ishak bin Ismail (? - 1476), moved to Egypt where he was appointed as Qadi-asker. At the same time he worked as a teacher at Cairo “Qaitbay” Medrese. Famous scholar.

Kefeviy Taqiuddin Abu Baqr (? - 1562), one of the most famous Qadiri Tariqat Shaiks in XVI century Crimea.

Kefeviy Mahmoud bin Suleiman (1520, Qafa - 1581, Sinop), acknowledged scholar and poet. Was a student of Taqiuddin Abu Baqr, performed different religious activities first in Crimea (Qafa), and then in Turkey (Istanbul and Sinop). It’s worth mentioning his famous book “Kataib Alami-l-Ahyar min Fuqaha-i-Mazhabi n-Numani-l-Muhtasar”, where he depicted biographies og 809 Hanafi scholars. He was a poet, too, known for his verses in Turkish and Arabic.

“Tatar Shaikh” Ibrahim bin Aq-Mehmed (? - 1592, Istanbul), one of the outstanding Crimeans of XVI century. He was the private counsellor of Crimean Khan Devlet-Geray I and taught his son, the future Khan Gazi Geray II, both played favourites with him. Was dubbed as “Tatar Shaikh” after having moved to Istanbul. He was the Shaikh at the dervish lodge “Küçük Aya-Sofya”, and wrote numerous works in the fields of Sufism, Tafsir, Hadith and other religious disciplines. His son Afifeddin and grandson Abdulaziz also became famous Shaikhs (see information below).

Usein Kefeviy (? - 1601, Jerusalem). Acknowledged scholar, literator and poet. He worked to improve the existing system of education when he moved to Istanbul in 1577, and taught at the most progressive medreses. Appointed Qadi of Makkah in 1598, and then Qadi of Jerusalem next year. He was a very fruitful scholar and writer. He wrote both many literary works and studies of Hadith and other religious disciplines. A range of his works came to us, too.

Baba Qushiy Abdurrahman (? - 1575), the Holy Qur’an interpreter and Faqih.

Seyid Musa Kelimiy (1583 - 1644, Qafa), Mufti of Qafa (Theodosia), scholar, writer, historian and poet. Started his education in the native town and finished it in Istanbul. Performed the functions of Mufti for many years after he returned to Qafa (the existing Mufti-Jami Mosque in Qafa was founded by him. His tomb, now destroyed, was situated near the mosque). Began science and literature studies after he retired. His several verses and his work “The Sun of history” remained to our days.

Abu-l-Baka Muhibuddin Ayub Kefeviy (1619, Qafa - 1682, Istanbul), son of Seyid Musa Kelimiy (see above). Performed duties of the Mufti of Qafa for some time, and then appointed to Istanbul where he became famous as a great scholar. Wrote several books, including Dictionary of Islamic Terms “Al-Qulliyat” where he interpreted their meanings. This book got wide-famous and was re-edited for several times.

Afifeddin Abdullah bin “Tatar Shaikh” Ibrahim (? - 1640), famous Mufti of Qafa. Built a teqqiye (dervish lodge) in Syid-Ali village near Qafa and ruled it as its Shaikh.At the same time, he was a poet as well, and several of his verses remained until our time.

Abdulaziz bin Afifeddin Abdullah (1611 - 1694, Hijjaz). One of the most famous Shaikhs of Crime, son of Afifeddin Abdullah mentioned above. Lived at dervish lodge in Syid-Ali village. At the same time, performed duries of Qadi-asker of Crimea. Went to perform Hajj near the end of his life, and died during the pilgrimage. Concrete place of death is unknown. As well as his father, he was a poet and several of his Sufi verses remained until our time.

Habibullah bin Devlet-Shah Qirimiy (1641, Bakhchisaray - ?, Turkey). Acknowledged statesman, warden of Zynjyrly Medrese. Wrote several researches.

Haydar-zade Muhammad Feyzi (? - 1645), acknowledges Shaikh and Historian, author of a number of works on Sufism and Crimean History.

“Tatar” Ahmed (? - 1743), one of the Naqshbandi Tariqat Shaikhs. Improved his education in Istanbul, where he became a Shaikh at famous teqqiye “Emir Bukhariy”. Whote a number of Sufi works. His grave is situated at the “Emir Bukhariy” Mosque Cemetery.

Selim Baba (? - 1757, Bosnia, a famous Shaikh of Qadiri tariqat. Performed duties of Qadi and Shaikh both in Fatherland and in the Balkans. Wrote Sufi messages and verses, some of them remained until present.

Mehmed Fahriy (? - 1760ies, Belogorsk) Great ancestor of fabulous Writer, interpreter, poet.

Abdul-Gaffar bin Hassan (XVIII century), historian and Islamic scholar. Wrote numerous researches on Crimean History, Hadith and Law.

Salih Mehmed (? - 1762, Istanbul), son of Abdullah Efendi-zade Yahya the Crimean. Received primary education in Crimea and then moved to Istanbul. Performed a variety of functions after improving his education, namely a teacher in Galata and Syria (Damascus), mulla in Madinah, Qadi in Istanbul (for 2 times) and Qadi-asker in Anatolia. Finally became Ottoman Shaikh-ul-Islam in 1758.

Mehmed Lyayyih (? - 1748, Turkey), a scholar and a teacher. Had served as Mulla in Izmir, Edirne and Makkah, and then was appointed Qadi in Istanbul for two times. He was also appointed Qadi-asker in Anatolia. He was a very educated man, a poet and a calligraphist.

Kefeviy Muhammad (? - 1772, Jerusalem), appointed Qadi in Madinah and Jerusalem. Wrote a range of Islamic researches.

Othman Efendi (? - 1762)having moved to Turkey, worked as a teacher, Qadi of Bursa and the Head of Fatwa department at the Shaikh-ul-Islam office.

Abdullah Tatarjik (1737 - 1797, Istanbul), son of Othman Efendi, the Head of Fatwa department at the Shaikh-ul-Islam office (see above). Ramous statesman abd religious figure. Worked as a teacher in Turkey, appointed inspector of Makkah and Madinah, Qadi of Jerusalem, Egypt and Madinah, Qadiasker of Anatolia (2 times), Qadiasker of Rumelia. Private counsellor of sultan Suleiman III.

Abdul-Halim Efendi (? - 1796, Makkah) teacher and the Head of Enderun (Istanbul Ottoman Palace Academy). Appointed inspector of Makkah and Madinah, Head of Fatwa department, Mulla in Edirne and Madinah.

Ahmed Kyamil (? - 1821, Istanbul), born in Crimea, but lived and died in Turkey. Was a teacher, a palace mu'adhdhin, head of mu'adhdhins, second sultan imam, mudarris, first sultan imaam, Qadiasker of Anatolia, Qadiasker of Rumelia (2 times), and, finally, became reis-ul-ulema (head of Ottoman scholars).

Hijabiy Abdul-Baqi (1838, Bakhchisaray - 1822, Amasya, Turkey), statesman during the Crimean Khanate times (Qirim Geray and Selim Geray II), Shaikh of nakshbandi tariqat. Performed duties of Shaikh and died in Turkey. He was burried near the Ziereh teqqiye (dervish lodge) he had built near Amasya, Turkey. Wrote several books on the Sufi way of life.

Ferruh Ismail (? - 1840ies, Istanbul), a poet and one of the most prominent scholars of his time, a thinker, educator, teacher,author of Tafsir for the Holy Qur’an, interpreter and poet.Appointed official Ottoman ambassador in France during 1797 - 1800. Became a founder and one of the most active members of “Beshiktash Jemiet-i-Ilmiesi”, the Turkish oldest Academy of Science. Followed the Mevlevi tariqat.

Abdusettar Efendi (? - 1886, Turkey), a famous Faqih and author of numerous works in that field.

Fazyl Mehmed Pasha (? - 1882), teacher and educator. Was a kaymakam of Bosnian sayyids and sharifs, appointed mulla of Belgrad. Famous poet. Followed the Mevlevi tariqat.

Qirimiy-zade Reshid Ahmed (? - 1862, TUrkey), acknowledged Faqih, author of a very popular book of Fiqh “Qirimiy collected works”.

Abdul-Baqi (? - 1591) famous poet of the XVI century (used pen-name Baqaiy). Born in Qafa, where he served as a religious figure for some time. Left for Egypt after having completed his education in Qafa. Met Ibrahim Gulshaniyyah and joined the Mevlevi tariqat. Returned to Turkey, travelled around Anatolia. Moved to Syria, where he became the “Mesnevi” reciter in Mustafa Pasha teqqiye (dervish lodge).His literature discussions with Hynalzade Hassan Chelebi are well-known.

Selim Divane (? - 1757), signed his manuscripts as “Selim al-Qirimiy”, accentuating his Crimean origin. Was a prominent spiritual quide of Qadiri tariqat. As a young man went to Istanbul where he received education and training. Appointed Qadi in Bosnia after having completed his education. Proposer leading role in tariqat after gutting Sufism. Wrote numerous verses and works.

Mehmed Fazyl (? - 1882), born to the family of Abu-l-Beqa from Qafa. Signed his verses as Fazyl. Well-educated, he became a teacher himself. Appointed deputy main Ulem of Bosnia, in 1833 became a mulla in Belgrad. Moved to Istanbul under the wing of Ali Pasha. Served for Shaikh Kurretullah-efendi, head of mevlevi teqqiye (dervish lodge) in Galata. Wrote a number of verses and religious works.

Mustafa Rahmiy efendi (? - 1751), official palace historian, islamic scholar and poet. Wrote a range of works on History of Crimea and History of Ottoman Empire. Born in Bakhchisaray. Appointed for state service in Istanbul after having completed his education. Ahmed Pasha referendary. Appointed official ambassador in Iran in 1747, was favoured by Giritli Aji Ahmed. He described everything he saw in this country in his “Book on a Trip Around Iran”.Author of indexed collection of verses, used pen-name “Rahmiy”.

Abdullah Ramis Pasha (1744 - 1813), son of Crimean Qadiasker Feyzullah-efendi. Went to Istanbul to complete his education, appointed for state service. In different times has been Main Secretary of Mehmet Pasha’s Court, deputy Qadiasker in Army in Egypt. Deputy paymaster general during the rule of the military. Appointed for capudan-psaha, i.e. Supreme Commander of All Ottoman Navy. At the same time, he was a talented poet who wrote a large collection of verses. Followed the Mevlevi tariqat.

Abu Bekir Rifat Efendi (? - end of 1830ies), gained fundamental knowledge in Istanbul, Son of Musa Pasha, the Minister of Finance in the Safweti Ottoman Government. Worked as a secretary for Hejip-Pasha,head of several Ottoman Ministries; as a secretary, was responsible accountant for gifts and donations sent to Makkah and Madinah. Acknowledged profound poet and writer, collection of his poems remained until today. Went to Makkah for performing Hajj in late 1830 ies where he died.

Wejihiy (? - 1660), born in Bakhchisaray. Some sources say his real name was Ussein, some say it was Asan. Moved to Turkey where he gained prominence. Was one of the secretaries in the Sultan’s Divan. Kara Mustafa-Pasha’s private secretary and referendary, one of the most prominent scholars and historians of his time.

Mudamiy (? - 1540), poet and author of theological works. Born in Crimea, real name Mustafa. Lived in Qafa, that’s why also referred to as Kefeviy. Known for his collection of verses “Menaqib-i Emir Buhariy” containing 780 beyts. He devoted most of the verses to Emir as he felt the Sultan appreciated the latter greatly.

Kelimiy (? - 1644), real name Seyyid Mustafa, born in Qafa. Went to Istanbul as a young man and received theological training there. Returner to Qafa to become its Mufti. Buried in durbe he built himself near the Qafa Juma Jami Mosque. Poet Shahimiy said that Kelimiy’s collection of verses had once existed.

Nariman Abdulwaal
Source: “Diniy sözler ve anlatuvlar luğaty”, Akmescit, 2004

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