An Evaluation of Müneccimbaşı Ṭarsūsīzāde’s (1821-1896) Translation of Risāla fī Uṣūl al-HadīthMustafa Celil Altuntaş, Azamat Zhamashev
Müneccimbaşı [Chief Astrologer] ʿOsmān Kāmil Efendi, also known as Ṭarsūsīzāde, received his early education in ̱ mosques before attending a madrasa. After graduating from the madrasa, he successfully passed the ruʾūs examination and served as a professor in many madrasas. He held the title of müneccimbaşı during the reign of ʿAbdülhamīd II. ʿOsmān Kāmil Efendi was assigned as a professor at the Madrasa of Maḥmūdiyya in Medina for almost six years between ̱ 1274-1280 AH and translated the Risāla fī uṣūl al-ḥadīth, attributed to al-Birgivī, during this time. The current article publishes this translation for the first time. At the same time, the article has also scanned and recorded the archives and registers in order to construct ʿOsmān Kāmil Efendi’s biography. This article additionally attempts to identify the works ̱ on the methodology of ḥadīth that were written in Turkish during the time of the Ottoman Empire. These works can be considered as a step toward a clearer understanding regarding the writing of uṣūls on ḥadīth works during the Ottoman era.
Münecccimbaşı Tarsûsîzâde’nin Risâle fî Usûli’l-hadîs Tercümesi ve DeğerlendirilmesiMustafa Celil Altuntaş, Azamat Zhamashev
Tarsûsîzâde diye meşhur olan Müneccimbaşı Osman Kâmil Efendi, erken yaşlarından itibaren cami derslerinde ilmî eğitimini almaya başlamış ve medreseden mezun olmasının ardından ruûs imtihanında başarılı olup birçok medresede müderris olarak görev yapmış bir âlimdir. Müneccimbaşı unvanı onun II. Abdülhamîd döneminde bu görevi yapmasından dolayıdır. Osman Kâmil Efendi, 1274-1280 yılları arasında yaklaşık altı yıl Medine Mahmûdiye Medresesi’nde müderris olarak bulunmuş ve bu süreçte Birgivî’ye atfedilen Risâle fî usûli’l-hadîs isimli eseri tercüme etmiştir. Bu makalede söz konusu tercüme ilk defa tespit edilerek yayımlanmıştır. Aynı zamanda Osman Kâmil Efendi’nin hayatı da arşiv ve sicil dosyaları taranarak kayda geçirilmiştir. Bunların yanında Osmanlı döneminde Türkçe yazılmış hadis usûlü eserlerinin tespiti yapılmaya çalışılmıştır. Bu eserler, tespit edilecek yeni eserlerle Osmanlı dönemi hadis usûlü yazıcılığının daha net olarak anlaşılması için önemli bir adım olarak değerlendirilebilir.
Müneccimbaşı [Chief Astrologer] ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi, also known as Ṭarsūsīzāde, received his early education in mosques before attending the madrasa. After graduating from the madrasa, he successfully passed the ruʾūs [chief] examination and served as a professor in many madrasas. He held the title of müneccimbaşı during the reign of ʿAbdülhamīd II, and between 1274-1280 AH, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi was assigned as a professor at the Madrasa of Maḥmūdiyya in Medina for almost six years, during which he translated Risāla fī Uṣūl al-Hadīth, a work attributed to al-Birgivī. The current article publishes this translation for the first time and simultaneously has scanned and recorded the archives and registers in order to construct the biography of ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi. This article also attempts to identify the works regarding the methodology of ḥadīth that were written in Turkish during the Ottoman Empire. These works can be considered as a step toward a clearer understanding of how the uṣūl of ḥadīth works had been written during the Ottoman era.
Muḥammad Rāshid Efendi’s son, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil, was born in 1236/1821 and died in 1313/1896. ʿOs̱mān Kāmil was also well known as Ṭarsūsīzāde. At an early age, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil attended lectures in Istanbul mosques and was very well regarded by the famous teachers of his period. After completing his studies in the madrasa, he passed the ruʾūs exam in 1258/1842 in Meşīhat. When he was 21, he was tasked with being a professor, and after completing his work in the madrasa he was promoted to the rank of Anadolu Każʿaskerliği [Ottoman chief judge]. In addition, he was also a member and chairman of some councils such as the Meclis-i Tedḳīḳāt-i Şerʿiyye [Assembly of Religious Inquiries]. However, one of his main tasks was undoubtedly as the müneccimbaşı [chief astrologer]. As Sultan ʿAbdülhamīd II’s müneccimbaşı, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi must have been attracted to this duty especially under the influence of the lessons he’d received as a teenager from the Crimean Selim Efendi. ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi held this post until his death in 1896. Between 1274-1280 AH, he served at the Maḥmūdiyya Madrasa in Medina as a professor, during which he translated the Risāla fī Uṣūl al-Hadīth attributed to al-Birgivī. ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s translation was discovered recently, and this article publishes it for the first time. Before teaching the ḥadīth of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī to students at the Maḥmūdiyya Madrasa, he wanted to start with a brief introduction to ḥadīth methodology, and for this reason translated the Risāla fī uṣūl al-ḥadīth. As such, this translation is the work of a professor who wanted to teach ḥadīth to his students.
This article has also written an extensive biography of ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi by collecting information from various sources; this has also been enriched by his writings in the Ottoman Archive at the archive of Meşīhat. This article should also be mentioned as the first academic research on ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi. During the six years he stayed in Medina, he often came to Istanbul and repeatedly demanded an increase in salary due to a lack of funds.
This article has identified and presented a list of works on the methodology of ḥadīth that were written in or had been translated to Turkish during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. The article also evaluates the place and importance of ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s translation among these other listed works. In his translation, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi used and often referenced Dāvūd-i Ḳārsī’s commentary on the Risāla as his main source. This was a general characteristic of translations during the Ottoman period, and ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s translation also bears this characteristic. ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi must have based his translation on the text of Dāvūd-i Ḳārsī, which had been printed during ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s time. With the exception of translations made for printing, some works such as ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s translation appear to have not received wide distribution nor to have found their way into circulation after being written. This likely related to how well known the translator was, how many students he had, or how close he was to them. At the same time, the competence of translators or authors in their written field also directly affected the recognition of their works. The only copy of this translation that this study has been able to identify is the one in the Konya Regional Manuscript Library. The scribe was Sayyid Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Rüşdī Efendi. Ṣāliḥ Rüşdī Efendi was one of Bayezid Mosque lecturers and probably copied the translation while he was in Istanbul.
The importance of ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi’s translation is an indicator of the increased study of the ḥadīth methodology in the 19th century AD. At the same time, when looking at the biographies of scholars from this period, one can see that the ḥadīth lessons given by the Dersiʿāms in mosques had increased and the tradition of giving ijāzah [permission] at the end of the courses became widespread. Apart from this growing interest in Istanbul, the environment or the duties of the author or translator also influenced the creation of the work. For example, Dāvūd-i Ḳārsī wrote his commentary while in Egypt. Similarly, ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi wrote his translation not while in Istanbul but while in Medina during his tenure as a professor. This may be due to the fact that ḥadīth education was more widespread along the Hijāz-Damascus-Cairo line in relation to Istanbul as well as the writing of ḥadīth works being more common there. Therefore, scholars or professors who went to the Hijāz or Damascus from Istanbul were more interested in the science of ḥadīth because of the scientific environment there, and this situation led to an increase in the creation of literature on ḥadīth.
ʿOs̱mān Kāmil Efendi began his work with two short prefaces in Arabic and Turkish. At the end of the Arabic introduction, he dedicated his work to Sultan ʿAbdülʿazīz (1830- 1876 AD). In the Turkish preface, he spoke about the need to write a basmala at the beginning of the book and gave a small parable about the basmala. Apart from the source he only quoted in the introduction, the scholars he quoted as the source of the ḥadīths he used were the sources and names used in the commentary by Dāvūd-i Ḳārsī. Therefore, one can say that, except for one quotation, the translation had been written with the help of Dāvūd-i Ḳārsī’s commentary.