“The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.”
__________________ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

All literature is political.
__________________________LeVar Burton


Uyghur Literature



Early Mystics in Turkish Literature

From : Early Mystics in Turkish Literature is a translation and edition of Mehmed Fuad Köprülü’s (1890–1966) Turkish masterpiece Turk edebiyatinda ilk mutasavviflar, originally published in 1918 and republished numerous times. Focusing on two great medieval poets, Ahmad Yasawi in Central Asia and Yenus Emre in Anatolia, it examines the origin and early evolution of Turkish literature.

1. Pre-Islamic literature

The literature produced by the Turks before their adoption of Islam consisted – with the exception of some insignificant translations made under Chinese, Indian, and Iranian influence – of popular poetry sung to the accompaniment of the saz {a Turkish stringed instrument, see EI2, s.v. “Saz” ( J. Cler)}. In all the social institutions of the Turks at that time, there was, moreover, a primitive genuineness that revealed the spirit and personality of the people in language, religion, ethics, customs, and legal practices. Although the civilizations of China, India, and Iran had begun to have an influence on the Turks in some fields, this {cultural} penetration was very piecemeal and superficial. Because it never spread from the center to the periphery, i.e. from the enlightened elite to the mass of the people, it was not able to have a real effect on society. Thus, the works that constituted the Turkish literature of that time were also, in conformity with the other elements of society, far from foreign influence and genuinely reflected all the attributes of the people. Everyone, from the ruler to the most insignificant person, sensed himself in the {popular} poetry. Poets in that period were uniformly simple men with kopuz {ancestor of the saz} in hand. Wandering from encampment to encampment, they would appear at public or private gatherings and sing the exploits of the old heroes and recite the national epics, or fashion new {folk} songs {s. türkü} about recent events. At the same time, they might also perform magic or do fortune telling with their kopuzes. And the poets were certainly present at national hunting rites, called sıgır {properly, sagır, “royal battue”}, at public banquets or Sölen, and at mourning ceremonies called yog.
All of this poetry was recited in the syllabic meter {hece vezni}, which was natural for Turkish. This metrical system had several varieties depending on the number of syllables, because Turkish syllables, while they are all precise and unvarying in length, naturally divide into groups with distinct pauses or caesuras. The oldest were the simplest, i.e. the ones with the smallest number of syllables. All of the poems of that period, whatever the subject, had a precise form. In these early forms of Turkish poetry, two main features are conspicuous. The first is the paucity and specificity of the forms. The reason for this is that the literarypersonality in those primitive times could not develop freely, but every poet had to respect the existing forms with a kind of religious devotion. Second, in strophes of poetry, which were usually composed of four verses {i.e. quatrains}, only the first three verses rhyme with each other while the fourth rhymes with {the fourth line of } all the strophes. It seems clear that this type of poetry was written to be sung and that the fourth verse always naturally maintained the same rhyme, operating like the refrain of a folk song. In the works of this early period, when music and poetry had not yet been separated, the rules of rhyme were also very simple and basic, so much so that, in the modern sense, it would be more correct to speak of assonance rather than rhyme. For them, it was sufficient for the last syllables of the verses to have a slight similarity, in order to create a rhyme, and this similarity was usually brought about by the inflection of verbs, thus assuring the poets an ample ease of composition. In short, although the literary products of this early period were of limited scope, simple, and basic, they sprang from the spirit of an entire people and expressed their joys and sorrows. This elementary, but lively and heartfelt literature, which spread with vigor and majesty across the steppes of Asia, was rich enough to show the rough and warlike and, at the same time, refined and profound spirit of the Turk in its naked glory.1

2. The Turks and Islam

In the sixth century ce, the Turks known as the Göktürks established a large empire in Central Asia, stretching from Siberia to Lake Baikal, and began, on the one hand, to threaten seriously China and, on the other, the Sasanid rulers. They even held discussions with the Byzantine Empire {about an alliance} against {the Sasanid ruler} Khusraw Aneshirwan. Problems of succession, however, resulted in the division of this empire into two parts, known as the Western and the Eastern Turks, in 581. In the eighth century, it almost seemed that the Eastern Turks, or T’u-Chüe, would be able to re-establish the former Turkish unity, but at that time Arab armies propagating a new religion entered Transoxiana under the command of Amcr Qutaiba {b. Muslim}. Both the Western and Eastern Göktürks resisted the Muslim invasion for a long time. The new religion gradually advanced, however, sometimes by blood and iron and sometimes by peaceful means, and expanded its area {of dominance} toward the east. In order to invade Soghdia and Farghana, the Muslim armies that were marshalled in Khurasan followed the old military road that passed through Marw and Balkh south of the Amu Darya {Oxus} River. Despite the great disorders that the Turkish world then faced, it occasionally struck fairly successful blows against the conquerors. In 712, a Turkish army entered Soghdia and rendered great assistance to the local population, who had risen in revolt after Qutaiba’s return to Marw, and left the Arabs in possession of only the city of Samarqand. Nevertheless, the following year, the Arabs again carried out successful conquests in the region. After the death of Emperor Mo-ch’o {716, the ruler of the Eastern Turks}, the Western Turks again separated from the Eastern Turks. But Su-lu, a leader of the Türgesh, who had formed a strong government and had taken possession of the old provinces of the Western Göktürks between Talas {Taraz} and Tokmak, did not want to give up Transoxiana easily. Consequently, for most of his life, he did not leave the Arabs in Soghdia in peace. Although the conquests of Qutaiba had advanced rather far to the north of the Amu Darya, the Turks, who had previously penetrated deeply into Iran, were able to hold out and entered the region of Gurgan via the corridor between the Amu Darya and the Caspian Sea.
During the period of the Arab Umayyad caliphate, the situation in Transoxiana remained in doubt for a long time. If the plan of Caliph ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azcz {d. 101/720} to build caravansaries and hospitals throughout his domain and establish a just administration, while not taking kharaj {land tax on non- Muslims} from converts, had been properly applied, Transoxiana would have been very quickly Islamized. The tyrannical and selfish policy of the Umayyads prevented this, however, and war against the Turks continued for a long time. During this interval, the Chinese unjustly killed the ruler of Shash {Tashkent}, who had surrendered to them. His son took refuge with the Muslims and sought their help. Although the Chinese dispatched a powerful army with the support of the Ikhshid of Farghana, the army that Abe Muslim sent under the command of Ziyad b. Salih completely defeated it – because of the uprising of the Qarluqs.2 This battle (133/751) then sealed the fate of Transoxiana, which, henceforth, would definitely be Islamized and enter the orbit of Islamic civilization. And, indeed, so it was. 
During the ‘Abbasid caliphate, the Turks were not able to carry out a major operation in Transoxiana, only some minor actions. As in the Umayyad period, there were no formidable masses of Turks to resist the Arabs. After the defeat of the Chinese and the collapse of the Türgesh state, two groups of Turks appeared. The Qarluqs conquered the entire province of Yedi-Su {Semirechy} and the region east of the Syr Darya { Jaxartes} and in 766 took the capital {Seyab/ Ordukent} of the Türgesh. Meanwhile, the Oghuz took the area west of the Syr Darya. These were the remnants of the Western Turks who had scattered after the death of Su-lu. It was these Oghuz who participated in the events of the ninth century, and they should not be confused with the Toquz Oghuz {i.e. Uyghurs} of Eastern Turkistan. Although they were unable to conduct large-scale operations, they occasionally pillaged the countryside, became involved in uprisings in Transoxiana and came to the aid of local rulers or Arabs who had rebelled. Large walls were built around cities like Bukhara and Shash as protection from their depredations. 
Transoxiana became completely Muslim in the Samanid period. Most of the people of that region were probably already Muslim by the reign of Caliph al-Mu‘tatim {d. 247/861} and even carried out military expeditions {ghazA} against the unbelievers in the desert. As the people of Shash had done previously, the inhabitants of Isfcjab, north of the Syr Darya, also converted to Islam a short time after Ner b. Asad, the uncle of the first Samanid ruler Isma‘cl b. Armad, captured that city in 838. Furthermore, Caliph al-Ma’men, as a result of various campaigns, brought members of important local families to the capital of the caliphate {Baghdad} and induced them to convert by bestowing upon them major gifts and other rewards. This sensible policy of Islamization was followed even more vigorously during the reign of al-Mu‘tatim when Turks from the areas of Soghd, Farghana, Ushresana, and Shash were taken directly into the caliph’s imperial guard. Al-Mu‘tatim built the city of Samarra for his Turkish bodyguard troops. After al-Mu‘tatim’s reign, not only did the number and influence of the Turks in Iraq gradually increase, but this situation also contributed to the rapid Islamization of Turkistan.3 In 350 ah {961} nomads of 200,000 tents – Qarluqs, Oghuz, and the remnants of the Western Turks – who lived, without recognizing Muslim rule, in territories on the Muslim side of the fortified frontier between Shash and Farab accepted Islam. This religion also began to be firmly established in the fourth/tenth century in the areas of Kashghar and Balasaghen. During the fifth/eleventh century, at any rate, virtually the entire Turkish world did become Islamized and fell under the influence of Islamic civilization.4

3. The  Sufi movement

As early as the second/eighth century, Islam had begun to differ significantly from its original form. In fact, when various nations {s. millet} who had lived with their own cultures and traditions for centuries in different parts of the world entered the sphere of Islam, they inevitably introduced a great many changes even on the most fundamental points. An old and rich civilization like that of Iran was thus able to defend at least its moral independence against the irresistible force from the desert. Subsequently, because of its rapid spread, Islam also came face to face with civilizations and religions other than Iran. The influence of Indian civilization (even if indirect), Judaism, Christianity (which had completely dominated Syria), intellectual movements that resulted from the translation of the works of the ancient Greek philosophers – these and many other factors affected the development of Islam. Consequently, throughout the Islamic realm there were a great many religious doctrines {s. madhhab} and sects {s. maslak} that clashed sharply with each other.5 The old Sasanid dominion, which was already on the verge of collapse because of steadily increasing Turkish attacks,6 initially submitted to the Arab sword; but then the Iranian spirit {Yrânîlik}, by considering the descendants of lusain {the grandson of the Prophet} to be the inheritors and successors of the Sasanids, struck terrible blows against the Arab nation and the Islamic religion under the screen of “defending the rights of ahl al-bait” {the family of the Prophet}. By insinuating Zoroastrian beliefs in a Muslim guise, the Iranian spirit asserted itself, demonstrating that an ancient civilization could not easily be destroyed.7 In the fifth/eleventh and sixth/twelfth centuries, various religious doctrines and practices held sway throughout the Muslim world and the personal and political ambitions of the rulers gave great scope to their development.8
One of the most striking things in many places in the Islamic world at that time was the spread of mysticism {nefism} and the multitude of mystics {nefcs}. nefism hardly existed in the first centuries of Islam. It took shape under the influence of Iranian, Indian, and Greek ideas, and to some degree Christianity – albeit taking most elements from Islam – and soon spread throughout the Muslim world.9 Beginning with Abe Hashim al-Kefc {d. 161/777–8}, who first took the name nefc and founded the first zAwiya {nefc lodge} in Syria, many great nefcs – including Sufyan al-Thawrc (d. 161/778); Dhe ‘l-Nen al-Mitrc (d. 246/ 861), who grew up in Egypt, which had been the home of the early Christian hermits; Abe Yazcd al-Bistamc (d. 261/874–5 or 264/877–8) from Khurasan; {al-lusain b. Manter} al-lallaj (d. 309/922), about whom all sorts of ideas were advanced; and al-Junaid al-Baghdadc {d. 298/910} – succeeded in spreading their doctrines despite all forms of opposition and imputations. In his famous treatise {al-RisAla al-Qushairiyya}, Abe ‘l-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karcm al-Qushairc (d. 465/1072) tried to demonstrate that the nefc way of life was compatible with Sunnc doctrine. Somewhat later, al-Ghazalc (450–505/1058–1111) succeeded, in many of his works, in convincing the Sunnc establishment that this was the case. Afterwards, al-Suhrawardc al-Maqtel {d. 587/1191}, the author of Likmat al-ishrAq, Shihab al-Dcn al-Suhrawardc {d. 632/1234}, the author of “AwArif al-ma“Arif, ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jclanc (d. 561/1166), and a great many other nefcs who fill the books of UabaqAt al-TEfiyya {nefc biographical dictionaries} gained tremendous spiritual authority among thousands of disciples, as well as the general public, as they expounded their doctrine.10 Many famous religious scholars {“ulamA ”} attached themselves to the great shaikhs, and many rulers and commanders {s. amCr} encouraged this movement – or, rather, were caught up in it – by sponsoring the construction of zAwiyas and tekkes {also nefc lodges}. Thus, shaikhs and dervishes were trained throughout the Muslim world and new social groups were, in effect, brought into being. Moreover, after the death of every great shaikh, he acquired a miraculous aura in the popular imagination. Such flights of fancy fill not only the manAqib works {works of the legendary deeds of nefc saints}, which are replete with superstitions of no historical value, but also those sources that are most valuable for the history of nefism.

4. Sufism in Turkistan

Khurasan, which nourished the ancient traditions of Iran in its bosom, was a primary, perhaps the primary, center of the nefc movement after the rise of Islam. Consequently, after the Islamization of Transoxiana, it was quite natural for this movement to enter Turkistan by the routes that Islam had previously followed. And this is exactly what happened. In the third/ninth century, nefcs were abundant in Herat, Ncshaper, and Marw, while in the fourth/tenth century shaikhs began to appear in Bukhara12 and also in Farghana.13 Indeed, the Turks in Farghana gave their shaikhs the name bAb, or bAbA. nefcs also appeared among the Turks who traveled, in whatever capacity, to and from Khurasan. Murammad Ma‘sheq oesc, whom the famous nefc Abe Sa‘cd Ibn Abc ‘l-Khair {d. 440/ 1049} greatly esteemed, and Amcr ‘Alc ‘Abe were pure Turks.14 In the event, influenced by various factors of this sort, the nefc movement slowly gained strength among the Turks as it spread from the great Muslim centers like Bukhara and Samarqand to the hinterlands, and as dervishes, armed with an ecstatic religious love, introduced new beliefs among the nomadic Turks.15

The spread of Sufism, which claimed roots going back to the Prophet via Abe Bakr {the first caliph} or ‘Ali {the son-in-law of the Prophet and the fourth caliph}; the de facto official recognition that it received from the political powers through the construction of tekkes; and the high regard that a great many notables, statesmen, and even sultans paid to the shaikhs – all these factors gave the shaikhs enormous moral influence. Both the Qarakhanids, who were so observant of {Islamic} religious norms {s. Rukm} that they would not drink wine, and the early Seljuks, who defended Islam with enthusiasm and passion, showed great respect and reverence to religious scholars and shaikhs alike.16 On the other hand, because the Turkish rulers were so devoted to Islamic beliefs, 17 they had accepted lanafism with great vigor and conviction. This tendency, which essentially arose from the social conscience of the Turkish nation, on the one hand hindered the spread of heretical Shc‘c and Mu‘tazilc doctrines within Islam and, on the other, also as a natural result of this, created a profound and sincere harmony between legal religious norms and the nefc ideas that developed in Turkish circles.18
In my view, by the time Armad  Yasawi came on the scene, the Turkish world had already been accustomed to nefc ideas for a rather long time – probably since the fourth/tenth century – and {word of } the legends and miracles of the nefcs had spread not only in the cities but also, to some extent, among the nomadic Turks. As for the dervishes, who recited hymns and poetry, who did many good works for the people in order to please God, and who showed the people the ways to happiness and paradise, the Turks enthusiastically accepted them and believed what they said, likening them to the ozans {troubadour poet-singers} whom they had endowed with religious sanctity since ancient times. In this manner, a number of the dervishes, who were called ata {father} or bAb {spiritual leader}, took the place of the old ozans. Well known among the people were tales of such nefcs as Arslan Baba, who was depicted as a companion of the Prophet; Korkut Ata,19 the famous patron saint of the ozans who, according to legend, went from Turkistan to Arabia in order to learn about Islam and, after meeting with Abe Bakr, accepted the new faith; and Choban Ata.20 It seems certain, then, that, at the time of Armad  Yasawi, there were dervishes trying to spread Muslim beliefs and traditions among the nomadic Turks, who lived along the banks of the Syr Darya and in the steppes, by addressing the people in a language they could understand – simple Turkish. One must assume that Armad  Yasawi was a greater and more powerful personality than the dervishes who preceded him. Still, if the earlier generations had not prepared the way for him, his success could not have been as great.

5. The influence of Iran

Because of their geographical location, the Turks were in continuous contact with China and Iran from very ancient times. The early Chinese chronicles, which are reliable and comprehensive, show the relationship of the Turks with China fairly clearly. The early relationship of the Turks with Iran, however, only enters the light of history – leaving aside the legends in the ShahnAme – at the time of the last Sasanid rulers. After the Turks had lived under the influence of these two civilizations for centuries, Iran, which had accepted Islam, gradually brought them into its sphere of influence.21 Even during the development of the Uyghur civilization, which was the {Turkish civilization} most strongly influenced by China, the attraction of the Turks to Iranian civilization, which had proven its worth in art, language, and thought, was virtually unavoidable, especially after it was invigorated with a new religion.22
Even before it drew the Turks into its sphere of influence, Iranian civilization had had, in fact, a major effect on Islam. With respect to the concept of government and the organization of the state, the ‘Abbasids were attached not to the traditions of the khulafA” al-rAshidEn {the first four caliphs} but to the mentality of the Sasanid rulers.23 After Khurasan and Transoxiana passed into the hands of native Iranian – and subsequently highly Iranized Turkish – dynasties with only nominal allegiance to the ‘Abbasids, the former Iranian spirit, which the Islamic onslaught was not able to destroy despite its ruthlessness, again revealed itself. In the fourth/tenth century, Persian language and literature began to grow and develop in an Islamic form. This Perso-Islamic literature was influenced, to a large extent, by the literature of the conquerors. Not only were a great many words brought into the language via the new religion, but new verse forms, a new metrical system, and new stylistic norms were also adopted in great measure from the Arabs. Indeed, almost nothing remained of the old Iranian syllabic metrical system, the old verse forms, or the old ideas about literature. Still, the Iranians, as heirs of an ancient civilization, were able to express their own personality in their literature despite this enormous Arab influence. They adopted from the “arEQ meters only those that suited their taste. They created or, perhaps, revived the rubA“C form {of verse}.24 They also introduced novelties in the qaTCda form {of verse}, which can be considered an old and well known product of Arabic literature, and in the ghazal {lyric “love song”}.25 Above all, by reanimating {their own} ancient mythology, they launched an “epic cycle” that was completely foreign to Arabic literature.26 These developments were on such a scale that the fifth/eleventh century witnessed the formation of a new Persian literature in all its glory.
The Turks adopted a great many elements of Islam not directly from the Arabs, but via the Iranians. Islamic civilization came to the Turks by way of Transoxiana from Khurasan, the cultural center of Iran. Indeed, some of the great cities of Transoxiana were spiritually far more Iranian than Turkish. Also, the Iranians were no strangers to the Turks, for they had known each other well before the appearance of Islam. For all these reasons, it was the Iranians who guided the Turks into the sphere of Islamic civilization. This fact, naturally, was to have a profound influence on the development of Turkish literature over the centuries.
To be sure, we do not know precisely how and to what extent Persian literature at first influenced Turkish literature, but the earliest Turkish work recognized by the scholarly world as a product of the post-Islamic period, the Kutadgu Bilig written in Kashghar in 462/1069–70 at the time of the Bughra Khans {Qarakhanids}, clearly exhibits Persian influence in many respects. This is not the place to give a fully detailed description of this old Turkish composition, 27 but the Persian influence on it is striking, especially in language, meter, and form.
Linguistically, the Kutadgu Bilig is full of Persian and Arabic words. If one takes into consideration the longstanding relations of the Turks with the Iranians, the many concepts that the new religion introduced, and the new words that were used to express them, then the number of foreign words does not appear to be excessive. As for the question of meter, this composition – despite the mistaken claims of certain European scholars – was not written in the syllabic meter but was modeled directly after the meter of the ShAhnAme and, as in all Persian works of this type, the preferred form was that of mathnawi {rhymed couplets}. The verse is very defective, because the Turkish of that time could not, of course, suddenly accord with the “arud metrical system, which was alien to its structure. This is one of the main reasons why some people considered it to have been written in the syllabic meter. With regard to subject matter, ideas, and metaphors, one encounters the influence, at the same time, of both {Turkish} popular literature and Chinese literature. But in the meter, especially, the strong influence of Persian literature is immediately apparent. Indeed, this influence was so strong that within a short time it eventually was able to drive out all others.

Like all Muslim works, the Kutadgu Bilig begins with a prose preface that includes the tahmid {al-Ramdu li-llAh, praise be to God} and taTliya {TallA “llAhu alayhi wa sallam, God bless him (the Prophet) and grant him salvation}. In the prologue to this work, the author Yesuf Khatt lajib finds the human aptitudes to consist of “justice, ability, comprehension, and contentment.”28 He then animates each one in the form of a person and presents lengthy debates among them. With regard to its subject, this book is a variation on the Persians’ siyAsatnAme {advice for rulers} genre. One of these four aptitudes, Ögdülmish son of Qut {rather, he is the son of Ay-towdi who represents “Fortune” (= Qut)}, describes to the ruler, one by one, all the officials and classes who constituted Turkish society in Kashghar at that time and explains the qualifications they should have and how the ruler should treat them. The book is full of such questions as “How should one be a tapucu, i.e. a civil servant?” “How should one be a subayı or military commander?” “How should one treat the people?” “What should one do for farmers, merchants, doctors, and sorcerers?” “How should one behave toward women?” “What qualities should be sought in a good wife?” “How should the dynasty show respect to the mission of the Prophet?” There is also a kaside in praise of Bughra Khan, following the example of Persian mathnawC writers. Nevertheless, as regards the subject of the work – i.e. portraying the various human aptitudes through personification – as well as the simplicity and specificity of its figures of speech and metaphors, nothing like it can be found in Persian literature. For these aspects, Chinese influence on the one hand and vestiges of {Turkish} popular literature on the other are much more significant. Even the ode in praise of Bughra Khan is closer to the products of early {Turkish} popular literature than to Persian examples.29
This work, which was written in Kashghar in 462/1069–70, should by no means be considered an isolated literary product. Indeed, there are references in the preface that clearly reveal this point. If one considers that the Turks already had {various} scripts before Islam and that they had books composed in these scripts, then it becomes immediately obvious that Muslim works would be written in Kashghar, which was an old center of Turkish civilization, soon after that city accepted Islam, and that one would not have to wait centuries before this occurred. When the Turks adopted Islam, they were not a barbarian people who were strangers to writing, books, and education.30 Thus, we can assert that by the fifth/eleventh century at least, Turko-Islamic works had begun to be written in Turkistan and that they were subject to Perso-Islamic influence. If Iranian influence had made an impact so quickly and vigorously in an eastern region like Kashghar, which was a center of the old Uyghur civilization and had been under continuous and strong Chinese influence, then naturally this influence must have been felt on a much wider scale in regions further to the west and closer to the cities of Khurasan. But unfortunately, ruinous invasions, wars, and a thousand other things over the centuries have destroyed the products of those early periods and virtually nothing remains in our possession. Let me state clearly here, however, that such Turkish works that imitated Persian forms and were written under the influence of Persian literature in Muslim centers were not widespread among the masses. They were only circulated among the learned who received a Muslim education in the madrasas {these colleges of Islamic law began to spread in the fifth/eleventh century}.

6. Popular literature

We know that the Turks possessed a rich popular literature in the fourth/tenth and fifth/eleventh centuries, and we also have some valuable examples of it. These works allow us to explain how, and with what kinds of compositions, the Turks were able to express their literary impulse in the time before Armad  Yasawi. While the Kutadgu Bilig and similar works were read and studied by men educated in the madrasas of the cities of Turkistan, which had become strong centers of Islam, the needs of the popular masses were met, as they had been for centuries, by the simple products of the popular poets.31 Because popular literature, for various reasons, underwent hardly any perceptable change over the centuries, it preserved its basic pre-Islamic features into the Islamic period. Some of the surviving works from that period can be regarded as codes of ethics of a didactic nature. The evil of stinginess and envy, the obligation to gain a reputation for generosity among one’s people, the qualities of the hero, the greatness of God, and the need to respect and obey one’s parents and elders are among the items dealt with in these pieces in a simple and straightforward manner. The most valuable of these works, however, are the lamentationselegies {s. sagu-mersiye}. These elegies were sung during mourning ceremonies or in general assemblies – regarded in pre-Islamic times as only a religious practice but afterwards as more of an aesthetic one – to the accompaniment of the kopuz and were usually rather long. They describe the merits of the deceased, the various stages of his combats, how he attacked the enemy, where the battles occurred, and how grieved all the people were – indeed, all of nature was – because the hero died. The metaphors are simple and primitive but sincere and colorful. Sometimes summer and winter are personified and, as in the Kutadgu Bilig, engage in a debate. We find in them a rapturous feeling, not only toward nature but toward all manifestations of life. Saying that when summer comes the snows will melt, the nightingales will sing, and happy couples will make love, the reciter of the elegy dwells on the joy of life. When he sees a beautiful slave girl, he likens her face to the moon and her neck to the juniper tree. Like all lovers, he speaks of the beauty of his beloved, her cruelty, and her bewitching eyes and he weeps profusely. The beauty of the countryside and the plains, the frosty nights, the wild steppes, the misty hills, the ducks, geese, and small water fowl are all described in these elegies with a lively affection.32
These elegies are expressed in quatrains, each verse having seven or eight syllables. Sometimes the verses of the first quatrain all rhyme {aaaa}, sometimes all but the third rhyme {aaba}. As for the following quatrains, the first three verses rhyme while the fourth returns to the rhyme of the initial quatrain {ccca, ddda, etc.}, thus forming a larger unit, whose rationale I explained above (section A {i.e. that this type of poetry was written to be sung and the fourth verse maintained the rhyme, like the refrain of a folk song}). The other poems, of a didactic nature, are occasionally in the form of quatrains with five, six, or seven syllables per verse, but more often consist of couplets of 10, 12, 14, or 15 syllables per verse {Köprülü is mistaken here. This should be 11 or 12}. Aside from poems, there existed among the people legends or sagas, such as the Oghuz menkabesi {Legend of the Oghuz},33 that had survived from very early times. Although they belonged fundamentally to the pre-Islamic period, a number of these legends acquired an Islamic form and circulated in that fashion thanks to the efforts of the dervish poets who made religious propaganda in the Islamic period. This, then, was the level of literary development of the Turkish people when Ahmad  Yasawi appeared on the scene in the fifth/eleventh and sixth/twelfth centuries.



Chagatai Literature

Name of language
The word Chagatai relates to the Chagatai Khanate, a descendant empire of the Mongol Empire, which was left to Genghis Khan's second son, Chagatai Khan. Many of the Chagatai Turks and Tatars who were the speakers of this language claimed descent from Chagatai Khan.


Chagatai belongs to the Uyghur branch of the Turkic language family. It is descended from the Old Uyghur that served as a lingua franca in Central Asia, with a strong infusion of Arabic and Persian words and turns of phrase. It was developed as a sophisticated written language using the Perso-Arabic alphabet. It can be divided into three periods:

Pre-classical Chagatai (1400-1465)
Classical Chagatai (1465-1600)
Post-classical Chagatai (1600-1921)
The first period is a transitional phase characterized by the retention of archaic forms; the second phase starts with the publication of Mir Alisher Navoi's first Divan and is the highpoint of Chagatai literature, followed by the third phase, which is characterized by two bifurcating developments. One is the preservation of the classical Chagatai language of Navoi, the other trend is the increasing influence of the dialects of the local spoken languages. The Chagatai Turkic language lived its heyday in the Timurid Empire. Chagatai remained the universal literary language of Central Asia until the Soviet reforms of the early twentieth century.

Influence on later Turkic languages
Uzbek and modern Uyghur are the two modern languages most closely related to Chagatai, and Uzbeks regard Chagatai as the origin of their own language and claim Chagatai literature as their own. In Uzbekistan, then a part of the Soviet Union, Chagatai was replaced by a literary language based on the local Uzbek dialect in 1921. The so-called Berendek, a 12th century medieval nomadic Turki people possibly related to the Cumans, seem also to have spoken a language which ultimately was identified as Chagatai.

Ethnologue records the use of the word "Chagatai" in Afghanistan to describe the "Tekke" dialect of Turkmen. Up to and including the eighteenth century Chagatai was the main literary language in Turkmenistan as elsewhere in Central Asia, and had some influence on Turkmen, but in fundamentals the two languages belong to different branches of the Turkic family.

The most famous of the Chagatai poets is Mir Ali-Shir Nava'i, who among his other works wrote Muhakamat al-Lughatayn, a detailed comparison of the Chagatai and Persian languages, in which he argued for the superiority of the former. His fame is attested by the fact that Chagatai is sometimes called "Nava'i's language". Among prose works, Timur's biography is written in Chagatai Turkic as is also the famous Baburnama (or Tuska Babure) of Babur, the Timurid founding the Mughal Empire.

Important works continued to be written in the Chagatai language into the early twentieth century. Among them are Musa Sayrami's Tārīkh-i amniyya (completed 1903) and its revised version Tārīkh-i ḥamīdi (completed 1908), representing the best sources on the Dungan Rebellion in Xinjiang.[1][2]

Chagatai literature is still studied in modern Turkey and regarded as part of the Turkish heritage.



Uygur Literature

The earliest Uyghur script was derived from Sogdian (and, therefore, ultimately from Aramaic), and was written vertically along a 'spine'. From the 11th century the Uyghurs began using an Arabic-based script similar to that used for Farsi and Urdu and adapted to write Turkic. It was later used to write the very Persianised form of literary Turkic known as Chagatai used in Xinjiang and elsewhere. Then, between the 1930s and 1980s there were four reforms of the Arabic-based script including Cyrillic and Roman- (or, rather, pinyin-)based scripts. In 1984 the Chinese reintroduced a modified Arabic form. Since then efforts have been made at Xinjiang University and among Uyghurs to develop a new romanised orthography more compatible with the use of computers. Additionally, all Uyghur children now must study Chinese in school which, with its immense body of non-alphabetical characters and uninflected tonal system, seems to be particularly difficult for Uyghur students, few of whom learn Chinese well enough to enter university. These rapid changes, imposed by outsiders, have had a very disruptive effect on Uyghur life, culture, and literature.

Most of the early Uyghur literary works were translations of Buddhist and Manichean religious texts, but there were also narrative, poetic, and epic works. Some of these have been translated into German, English, Russian, and Turkish. After the general population's conversion to Islam, world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged and Uyghur literature flourished. Among hundreds of important works surviving from that era are Qutatqu Bilik (Wisdom Of Royal Glory) by Yüsüp Has Hajip (1069–70), Mähmut Qeqiriri's Divan-i Lugat-it Türk- A Dictionary of Turkic Dialects(1072), and Ähmät Yüknäki's Atabetul Hakayik. Perhaps the most famous and well loved pieces of modern Uyghur literature are Abdurehim Otkur's Iz, Oyghanghan Zimin, Zordun Sabir's Anayurt and Ziya Samedi's (former minister of culture in Sinkiang Government in 50's) novels Mayimkhan and Mystery of the years.[citation needed] Some Uyghur books have been translated into various Western languages.

Ferdinand de Saussure: "Those who preserved the language and written culture of Central Asia were the Uyghurs."


The Maitreya-samiti and Khotanese

One of the most extensive pieces of religious literature in Pre-Islamic Central Asia is Old Turkic Maitrisimit, which is now found in two versions, one from Sengim and Murtuq in the Turfan oasis and the other from Kumul. One of the colophons of the first version was deciphered in 1916 by F. W. K. Müller and Emil Sieg, who indicated that the Old Turkic (also called Uyghur) version was translated from the Twγry language (which gave rise to the designation of “Tocharian”2) and that it ultimately goes back to the Indic (Sanskrit) original. [Slide Müller-Sieg] The first part of this statement seems to be confirmed through the publication of the fragments of the “Tocharian” version3, while the second part has often been considered suspect. In fact the known Sanskrit versions4 of the Maitreya legend, [Sanskrit versions] the Maitreya-vy¤karaÊa in the Gilgit5 and Calcutta6 manuscripts as well as the Maitrey¤vad¤na, which is the third chapter of the Divy¤vad¤na, the second of the three episode7, originally taken from the MÞlasarv¤stiv¤da-vinaya, BhaiÓajya-vastu, not only are far shorter but also lack some important parts altogether as compared to the 28 chapters (or “acts”) of the Uyghur Maitrisimit (and presumably the Tocharian Maitreyasamiti-n¤Öaka). Moreover, the word samiti occurs in these texts only in the sense of “assembly (of the audience at the sermon of the Buddha Maitreya)”, synonymous to pariÓad, [samiti] while according to Müller and Sieg the author(s) (of the colophons) in the Tocharian-Old Turkic versions understood the Sanskrit title Maitreya-samiti as “Encounter (Zusammemtreffen) with Maitreya”.
Hiroshi KUMAMOTO,University of Tokyo, Paris, 13/12/2002

Turfan Studies

»Turfan Studies«, German »Turfanforschung« is the scientific edition and interpretation of works of art and textual remains that were found in the Turfan oasis and neighbouring sites in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) and that bear manifold witness to the cultures of the ancient Silk Road. The study of the texts is the responsibility of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. In the year 2002 the Berlin Academy together with the Museum of Indian Art and the State Library Berlin, both of which are part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage, will celebrate the centenary of the start of the first German Turfan Expedition, of which there were four in all. These expeditions resulted in the greatest part of the treasures from Turfan being brought to Berlin. The fact that a hundred years after the arrival in Berlin of the first documents from Turfan a large part of the philological work on the texts still remains to be done is due to the character of the collection, the initially unknown nature of many of the languages found therein, the unfamiliarity of many words, and the bad state of preservation of the texts. The scientific gain from work on them for Oriental Studies, the study of Comparative Religions, of Literature and Linguistics has been and is all the greater.

The German Turfan Expeditions

1st Expedition. Leader: Prof. A. Grünwedel; Participants: Dr. G. Huth, Th. Bartus. Route: Kulja - Urumchi - Turfan Oasis (Khocho, Bäzäklik, Sängim, Toyuq Nov. 1902 - March 1903 [paintings, statues, Mir./Uig./Np. manuscripts of the Manichaeans in Man./Uig./Runes, Ind./Chin./Tang. texts]) - northern Silk Road (Toqsun - Kharashahr - Kucha-ruins near Kumtura [paintings] - Kyzil - Aq-su - Tumshuq - Maralbashi - Kashgar). 46 crates of finds.
2nd Expedition. Leader: Dr. A. v. Le Coq; Participant: Th. Bartus. Route: Urumchi -Turfan Oasis (Khocho and surrounding areas, Yar-Khoto Nov.1904 - Aug.1905; Hami Aug. 1905; Turfan) - northern Silk Road - Kashgar (Oct. 1905; there united in Dec. with the 3rd expedition). 103 crates, mainly paintings (Bäzäklik), not so many texts (Christ. texts in Syr., Sogd., Mp., Uig.; Buddh. texts).
3rd Expedition (until June 1906 united with 2nd expedition). Leader: Prof. A. Grünwedel; Participants: A. v. Le Coq, H. Pohrt, Th. Bartus. Route: Kashgar - Tumshuq (Jan. 1906) - Kyzil - Kucha - Kumtura (Febr. 1906, temples of grottoes [paintings]) - temples of grottoes in Kyzil, Kirish (Feb. - May 1906 [paintings]), - Korla/temple complex and caves of Shorchuq [paintings, Buddh. texts] - Turfan Oasis (July 1906) - Urumchi - Hami - Toyuq (Jan. 1907) - Shorchuq (Febr./March 1907) - Turfan, return journey via Urumchi (April 1907). 118 crates of finds.
4th Expedition. Leader: Dr. A. v. Le Coq; Participant: Th. Bartus. Route: Kashgar - Kucha, Kyzil (June - Sept. 1913) - Kirish, Simsim - Kumtura (Nov. 1913) - Tumshuq (Dec. 1913 - Jan. 1914) - Kashgar. 156 crates à 75 - 80 kilos (in particular texts in Sakan and Sanskrit from Tumshuq).
Berlin-Brandenburg, Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Qarakhanid Literature and the Beginnings of Turco-Islamic Culture

Robert Dankoff
The two major Qarakhanid literary monuments were the product of a unique moment in cultural history. The Diwan Lughat at-Turk by Mahmud al-Kashgari, probably completed in 1077, is an encyclopedic lexicon of the Turkic dialects, including citation of proverbs and poetry, with glosses and explanations in Arabic. The Qutadghu Bilig by Yusuf of Balasaghun, written in 1069, is a long didactic poem in the mirror-for-princes genre. The language which Kashgari described and in which Yusuf composed is substantially the same language as that of the Turkic "runic" inscriptions dating from the eighth century; of the vast translation literature in Uyghur Turkic, mainly of Buddhist content; and of the later efflorence of Eastern Turkic Islamic literature known as Chaghatay, with its modern descendants, Uzbek and new Uyghur. Taken together, the two monuments can be considered examples of an attempt by the Turks of Central Asia to lay the foundatios for a Turco-Islamic literary culture.
The Qarakhanid Turks converted to Islam in the middle of the tenth century. Unlike the Seljuks, who began their career as a band of freebooters, and the Ghaznavids, who started out as slaves, the Qarakhanids, led by their Khaqans, preserved much of their Central Asian aristocratic and cultural heritage. They traced their ancestry to the legendary hero Alp Ar Tonga, whom they identified with the arch-enemy of Iran, Afrasiyab. They cultivated Turkic language, and also continued to employ the Uyghur script (which they called "Turkic" script)--a rare example of a Muslim people using a non-Arabic script.

Kutadgu Bilig

The Author
At several points throughout the Kutadgu Bilig, the author talks some about himself; from this we know a certain amount about him.
The author of the Kutadgu Bilig was named Yūsuf, and was born in Balasagun, which at the time was the winter capital of the Karakhanid empire, and was located near present-day Toqmoq in Kyrgyzstan. He was about 50 years old when he completed the Kutadgu Bilig, and upon presenting the completed work to the prince of Kashgar, was awarded the title Khāṣṣ Ḥājib (خاص حاجب), translating as something like "Privy Chamberlain" (Dankoff, 2) or "Privy Councilor." He is often referred to as Yūsuf Khāṣṣ Ḥājib.
Some scholars suspect that the prologue to the Kutadgu Bilig, which is much more overtly Islamic than the rest of the text, was written by a different author—particularly the first prologue, which is in prose, unlike the rest of the text.
The Kutadgu Bilig was completed in 462 (1069/1070 AD) and presented to Tavghach Bughra Khan, the prince of Kashgar. It was well-known through the Timurid era (Dankoff, 3), but only three manuscripts—referred to by the name of the city they were discovered in—survived to give us our modern knowledge of the text:
Herat (Vienna) - A scribe brought the copy to Constantinople in 1474, and it eventually ended up in Vienna. According to Wilhelm Bartoldt, the copy was made in 1439 in Herat. It was written in the Uyghur alphabet.
Cairo - The copy was found in a Mamluk library in 1897 in Cairo; the Mamluk ruler of 1293-1341 is mentioned in the copy, which is written in the Arabic script.
Namangan - The copy was found in Namangan in 1943, and was probably written in the 13th or 14th century.
The content of the three texts, while generally the same, differs in many finer points, such as word choice.
The Kutadgu Bilig is written in the Uyghur-Karluk (Khaqaniye) language of the Karakhanids, often referred to Middle Turkic or Karakhanid. It's similar to the language of the Orkhon inscriptions, in Old Turkic, but in addition to the Turkic base, has a large influx of Persian vocabulary. Aside from specific vocabulary from Persian and Arabic, Dankoff mentions a good number of calques in the language of the Kutadgu Bilig from Persian.
Despite the prevalence of Islamic wisdom (from hadiths and the Qurˀān), Persian calques, and Persian and Arabic vocabulary, there are no specific references to Islamic texts, nor are Persian or Arabic words used for Islamic concepts. This strengthens the argument that Islam came into Central Asia through wandering Sufis.
The author of the Kutadgu Bilig used the Perso-Arabic mutaqārib metre, consisting of couplets of two rhyming 11-syllable lines, often broken down further—the first six syllables forming the first group in each line, and the last five syllables forming another group. This is the earliest known application of this metre to a Turkic language. Content
The Kutadgu Bilig is structured around the relations between four main characters, each representing an abstract principle (overtly stated by the author). Dankoff summarises the specifics nicely in the form of a chart (Dankoff, 3):

Name Translation Occupation Principle
küntoğdı "the sun has risen" / Rising Sun king Justice
aytoldı "the moon is full" / Full Moon vizier Fortune
ögdülmiş "praised" / Highly Praised sage Intellect (or Wisdom)
odğurmış "awakened" / Wide Awake ascetic Man's Last End

Dankoff's translation of the name of each section (bab) follows, with the line numbers of the original text in parentheses:

Verse prologue (1-77)
Prose prologue
1. In praise of God (1-33)
2. In praise of the Prophet (34-48)
3. In praise of the four companions (49-62)
4. Ode to spring and praise of Uluğ Buğra Khan (63-123)
5. On the seven planets and the twelve constellations (124- 147)
6. That man's chief glory is wisdom and intellect (148-161)
7. On the tongue: Its merit and emerit, its benefit and harm (162-191)
8. The author's apology (192-229)
9. In praise of doing good [and the benefits thereof] (230-286)
10. On the virtue and benefit of wisdom and intellect (287-349)
11. On the title of the book and on his own old age (350-397)
12. Beginning of the discourse: On King Rising Sun (398-461)
13. Full Moon comes to serve King Rising Sun (462-580)
14. Full Moon presents himself before King Rising Sun (581-619)
15. Full Moon tells the king that he is Fortune (620-656)
16. Full Moon describes Fortune to the king (657-764)
17. King Rising Sun demonstrates Justice to Full Moon (765-791)
18. King Rising Sun describes himself as Justice (792-954)
19. Full Moon explains the virtues of the tongue (955-1044)
20. On the inconstancy of Fortune (1045-1157)
21. Full Moon gives counsel to his son Highly Praised (1158-1277)
22. Full Moon's admonition to his son Highly Praised (1278-1341)
23. Full Moon writes a testamentary letter to King Rising Sun (1342-1547)
24. King Rising Sun summons Highly Praised (1548-1580)
25. Highly Praised presents himself before King Rising Sun (1581-1590)
26. Highly Praised enters the service of King Rising Sun (1591-1849)
27. Highly Praised gives the king a description of Intellect (1850-1920)
28. The qualifications of a prince (1921-2180)
29. The qualifications of a vizier (2181-2268)
30. The qualifications of an army commander (2269-2434)
31. The qualifications of a grand chamberlain (2435-2527)
32. The qualifications of a gatekeeper (2528-2595)
33. The qualifications of an envoy (2596-2671)
34. The qualifications of a royal secretary (2672-2742)
35. The qualifications of a treasurer (2743-2827)
36. The qualifications of a chief cook (2828-2882)
37. The qualifications of a cupbearer (2883-2956)
38. The rights of the servants over the prince (2957-3186)
39. King Rising Sun writes a letter to Wide Awake (3187-3288)
40. Highly Praised goes to see Wide Awake (3289-3317)
41. Wide Awake debates with Highly Praised (3318-3511)
42. Wide Awake recounts the world's faults to Highly Praised (3512-3645)
43. Highly Praised tells Wide Awake that the next world is won through this world (3646-3712)
44. Wide Awake sends a letter to the king (3713-3895)
45. King Rising Sun sends a second letter to Wide Awake (3896-3970)
46. Highly Praised and Wide Awake debate a second time (3971-4030)
47. The proper manner of serving the prince (4031-4164)
48. How to conduct oneself with nobles (4165-4319)
49. How to conduct oneself with commoners (4320-4335)
50. Associating with descendants of the Prophet (4336-4340)
51. Associating with scholars and Ulema (4341-4354)
52. Associating with physicians (4355-4360)
53. Associating with diviners (4361-4365)
54. Associating with dream interpreters (4366-4375)
55. Associating with astrologers (4376-4391)
56. Associating with poets (4392-4399)
57. Associating with cultivators (4400-4418)
58. Associating with merchants (4419-4438)
59. Associating with stockbreeders (4439-4455)
60. Associating with craftsmen (4456-4468)
61. Associating with the poor (4469-4474)
62. How to choose a wife (4475-4503)
63. How to raise children (4504-4526)
64. How to deal with underlings (4527-4572)
65. The etiquette of going to feasts (4573-4643)
66. The etiquette of inviting to feasts (4644-4679)
67. Wide Awake tells Highly Praised that he has renounced the world and accepted his lot (4680-4933)
68. King Rising Sun sends for Wide Awake a third time (4934-5030)
69. Wide Awake comes to Highly Praised (5031-5034)
70. King Rising Sun meets with Wide Awake (5035-5131)
71. Wide Awake gives counsel to the king (5132-5466)
72. Highly Praised tells the king how to govern the realm (5467-5631)
73. Highly Praised regrets his past life and intends to repent (5632-5720)
74. Wide Awake counsels Highly Praised (5721-5761)
75. Justice for justice, humanity for humanity (5762-5952)
76. Wide Awake falls ill and summons Highly Praised (5953-5992)
77. Highly Praised tells Wide Awake how to interpret dreams (5993-6031)
78. Wide Awake tells his dream to Highly Praised (6032-6036)
79. Highly Praised interprets Wide Awake's dream (6037-6046)
80. Wide Awake interprets the dream differently (6047-6086)
81. Wide Awake gives advice to Highly Praised (6087-6285)
82. Testament tells Highly Praised of Wide Awake's death (6286-6292)
83. Testament consoles Highly Praised (6293-6298)
84. Highly Praised mourns for Wide Awake (6299-6303)
85. The king consoles Highly Praised (6304-6520)
[Ode I] On old age and the loss of youth (6521-6564)
[Ode II] On the corruption of time and the treachery of friends (6565-6604)
[Ode III] The author of the book gives counsel to himself (6605-6645)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Literary achievements of Ali-Shir Nava'i

Under the pen name Navā'i, Mīr Alī Shīr was among the key writers who revolutionized the literary use of the Turkic languages. Navā'ī himself wrote primarily in the Chagatai language and produced 30 works over a period of 30 years, during which Chagatai became accepted as a prestigious and well-respected literary language. Navā'i also wrote in Persian (under the pen name Fāni), and to a much lesser degree in Arabic and Hindi.
A page from the divan of Navā'i, from the library of Süleymân the MagnificentNavā'ī's best-known poems are found in his four divans, or poetry collections, which total roughly 50,000 verses. Each part of the work corresponds to a different period of a person's life:
Ghara’ib al-Sighar ("Wonders of Childhood")
Navadir al-Shabab ("Rarities or Witticisms of Youth")
Bada'i' al-Wasat ("Marvels of Middle Age")
Fawa'id al-Kibar ("Advantages of Old Age")
To help other Turkic poets he wrote technical works such as Mizan al-Awzan ("The Measure of Meters"), and a detailed treatise on poetical meters. He also crafted the monumental Majalis al-Nafais ("Assemblies of Distinguished Men"), a collection of over 450 biographical sketches of mostly contemporary poets that is a gold mine of information for modern historians of Timurid culture.
Navā'i's other important works include the Khamsa (quintuple), which is composed of five epic poems and an imitation of Nezami Ganjavi's Khamsa:
Hayrat-ol-abrar (Wonders of Good People) (حیرت الابرار)
Farhad va Shirin (فرهاد و شیرین)
Layli va Majnun (لیلی و مجنون)
Sab'ai Sayyar ("Seven travellers (planets)", سبعه سیار)
Sadd-i-Iskandari ("Alexander's Dam", سد سکندری , an epic poem about Alexander the Great).
He also wrote Lisan-ol-tayr (لسان الطیر or "Language of Birds", following Attar's Manteq-ol-tayr منطق الطیر or Speeches of Birds), in which he expressed his philosophical views and Sufi ideas. He translated Jami's Nafahat-ol-ons (نفحات الانس) to Chagatai Turkic and called it Nasayim-ul-muhabbat (نسایم المحبت). Hi Besh Hayrat (Five Wonders) also gives an in-depth look at his views on religion and Sufism. His book of Persian poetry contains 6000 lines (beit).
A page of Nava'i from the library of Suleyman the Magnificent Perhaps his most passionate work[citation needed] was his last, Muhakamat al-Lughatayn ("Judgment between the Two Languages"), completed in December 1499. He believed that the Turkic language was superior to Persian for literary purposes, and defended this belief in his work. It was the writer’s last definitive statement on the subject dearest to his heart; the Muhakamat acted as the author's last will and testament. Repeatedly, Nava'i emphasizes his belief in the richness, precision and malleability of Turkic vocabulary as opposed to Persian.
Influence of Nava'i
Navā'ī had a great influence in areas as distant as India to the east and the Ottoman Empire to the west.
Babur (1483-1530), founder of the Mughal dynasty of India, wrote one of the first autobiographies among Islamic rulers, the epic "Baburnama". He was influenced heavily by Nava’i and even includes his respect for the writer in this famous book.
The Ottomans were highly conscious of their Central Asian heritage; Süleymân the Magnificent was impressed by Nava’i and had the Divan-i Neva’i, Khamsa and Muhakamat added to his personal library.[6]
The renowned Azari poet Fuzuli, who wrote under the auspices of both the Safavid and Ottoman empires, was heavily influenced by the style of Nava’i. Further influence can be found in Kazan of Russia, Turkistan/Central Asia, modern day Turkey and all other areas which Turkic speakers inhabit. Navā'ī became one of the most beloved poets in the Turkic-speaking world. With the rise of the great Ottoman poets, the place of Turkish as a classical language of Islam and a major world literature was solidified.

Who is Who

FARABI ____ A great thinker and famous music master. He was born in Farab town by Seyhun river in Turkistan in 870. His real name is Ebu Nasir Muhammed ibn Türkan el Farabi. He made his primary school education in Farab and his high education in Baghdad. He learnt Persian, Arabic, Latin, and Greek. He had great knowledge on logic, philosophy, mathematics, medicine and music. He gave more than 100 books on these issues. Now, only 39 of his books are left. At the same time, he interpreted the books of Aristo. He passed away in 950 in Damascus. He lies at Babüssagir graveyard.
Mahmud Kashgari ____ Mahmud Kashgari is the author of Divan Lugat it-T rk (DLT), completed ca. 1077 AD. This unique Master Piece was discovered during the First World War in Istanbul.
Yusup Has Hajip____ a philosopher and poet, was born at Balasagun in 1019, Kutadghu Bilig" (Knowledge, Source of Happiness). Written in ancient Uyghur and then dedicated to the ruler of Karakhanid Dynasty. He died in 1085 at age 67.
Ali Shir Nava'i ____ Poet in full Mir Ali Shir Nava'i, Navaʾi also spelled Nevaʾi born 1441, Herat, Timurid Afghanistan died Jan. 3, 1501, Herat Turkish poet and scholar who was the greatest representative of Chagatai literature.
Amannisa Khan____ Amannisa Khan was Queen of the Yarkand Khanate or Uyghurstan. She made great effort to collect and study Uyghur 12 MUqams. The only known source mentioning her by name is the History of Musicians (Tavarikh-i Musiqiyyun) by Mu'jiz (Mojize).In the 1990s a mausoleum was built in her birthplace (Yarkand) to honour her contribution to Uyghur culture.
Abduhalik Uyghur____ (9 February 1901 - 13 March 1933) (Uyghur: ئابدۇخالىق ئۇيغۇر) was a Uyghur poet. Abudhalik began his studies in a Madrasah at the age of eight. He studied Arabic, Persian, and Uyghur classics and Chinese literary works. After 1923 he spent 3 years in the Soviet Union. Studying the works of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gorki and other Russian literature. He was executed by Sheng Shicai at the age of 32, on the thirteenth of March, 1933.
Abdurehim Tileshüp Ötkür ____ (1923-5 October 1995) (Uyghur:ئابدۇرېھىم تىلەشۈپ ئۆتكۈر) was a popular Uyghur author and poet. Ötkür was born in Kumul, Xinjiang. He graduated from Xinjiang University in 1942. He then worked as the editor of the newspaper Altay Geziti till 1949. From 1949 till 1980 he worked as an interpreter in various governmental offices—as he knew Uyghur, Chinese, Russian and English all well. From 1980 to his death Ötkür worked as a scholar in the Institute of Literature Studies of the Academy of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Xinjiang. In 1988 was appointed as a Vice Chairman of the Society of Kutadgu Bilig Studies.
Zordun Sabir ____ (1937-13 August 1998) (Uyghur: زوردۇن سابىر) is a popular Uyghur author. His most famous work is the historical novel "Anayurt".
Ziya Samedi____ (Russian: Зия Самеди) (1914-20 November 2000) was a Uyghur author, politician, who emigrated to Kazakstan.
Abduxukur Muhemmetimin ____ (09/28/1933 - 02/27/1995) A famous writer, professor, poet. He published books about Uighur classic 12 muqam, Uighur Philosophical History. He also wrote about 300 articles in different topics of Uighur history and culture. He is the author of more than 1000 poems.


Ehet Turdi


Kerim Hoja


Ibrahim Mut'i