A Sophisticated Author: Muhammad al-Bakri’s Life, Books and PersonaHüseyin Yazıcı
Two books published in Egypt in 1966 and 2013 are seen to have dealt with Muhammad Tawfīq al-Bakrī, the Egyptian cleric, author, critic and thinker whose lineage goes back to Abū Bakr through one lineage and to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through another; however, no significant research apart from one article is found about him in Turkey. During my research, the 2013 book about him was seen to have been written in more detail and more scientifically than the 1966 book. Because al-Bakrī received the first degree of Nişan-ı Osmanî [Order of Osmanieh] and the Rank of Anatolia from Sultan Abdülhamid II, his visit was clearly an important one. Al-Bakrī was able to receive a good education thanks to his family’s financial means, and he received a diploma (i.e., teaching certificate) from Al-Azhar University at a very young age thanks to this education. This diploma rendered him competent in the religious field. Meanwhile, he was appointed sheikh of the al-Bakrī dervish order, sheikh in charge of the Sufi orders (masīkhat al-mashāyikh al-sūfiyya), and naqīb al-ashrāf [chief of the Prophet’s descendants], whose history is much older than that of the masīkhat al-mashāyikh al-sūfiyya. He was also appointed as a permanent member of the Advisory Board (Meclisu şûra'l-kavânîn) in 1892 and as a permanent member of the General Assembly (al-Jam‛iyyat al-Umumiyya) of the Egyptian Government. Along with these duties, al-Bakri’s close and warm relationship with Khedive Abbās II first and then Lord Cromer, a statesman appointed as the British representative to Egypt and the British consul-general, paved the way for him to become more prominent. When considering al-Bakri’s closeness to Sultan Abdülhamid II, his influence on Egyptian political life for a time, his little-known book al-Mustaqbal Li'l-Islām that was translated into Ottoman, and most importantly his persona as accepted in the literary field and especially in classical Arabic literature, he is undoubtedly a person who definitely needs to be made known publicly. Based on a scan and evaluation of the relevant sources, this article explains the life, books, and scientific persona of al-Bakrī, a man not very well known in Türkiye who lived for 62 years, almost 20 of which were spent in pain but filled with important works.
Çok Sesli Bir Yazar: Muhammed el-Bekrî, Hayatı, Eserleri ve ŞahsiyetiHüseyin Yazıcı
Nesebi Hz. Ebû Bekir'e, diğer bir kanaldan da Hz. Peygamber’e kadar dayanan Mısırlı din adamı, edip, eleştirmen ve düşünür Muhammed Tevfîk el-Bekrî, Mısır’da 1966 ve 2013 yıllarında yayımlanan iki kitapta ayrıntılı olarak ele alınmış; ülkemizde ise bir ansiklopedi maddesi dışında hakkında kayda değer bir araştırmaya rastlanmamıştır. Araştırmalarımız esnasında kendisiyle ilgili olarak kaleme alınan 2013 tarihli kitabın 1966 tarihli çalışmadan daha tafsilatlı ve daha ilmî olduğu görülmüştür. el-Bekrî, mensubu olduğu ailenin maddi imkânları dolayısıyla sağlam bir eğitim görmüş ve bu eğitim sayesinde çok genç yaşta el-Ezher’den icazet alarak dini alanda yetkinlik kazanmıştır. Diğer taraftan Mısır'da önemli kabul edilen bazı şeyhlik makamlarına, nakîbü'l-eşraflığa, Mısır Hükümetine bağlı bazı kurullara atanması, İngiliz başkonsolosu Lord Cromer ve bazı Mısırlı siyasi şahsiyetlerle olan yakın ilişkisi, kişiliğinin öne çıkmasına zemin hazırlamıştır. el-Bekrî’nin, Sultan II. Abdülhamit’ten birinci derecede Nişân-ı Osmânî ve Anadolu Payesi alması 1892 senesinde yapmış olduğu İstanbul ziyaretinin önemli bir ziyaret olduğunu göstermektedir. İfade edildiği gibi Sultan II. Abdülhamid’e olan yakınlığı, bir dönem Mısır’ın siyasi hayatına olan etkisi, Osmanlı Türkçesine aktarılmış ancak pek bilinmeyen el-Müstakbel li’l-İslâm adlı eseri, en önemlisi de edebî alanda ve özellikle klasik Arap edebiyatında kabul gören kişiliği göz önüne alındığında tanıtılması elzem bir şahsiyet olduğunda hiç şüphe yoktur. Bu makalede ülkemizde pek tanınmayan ve 62 yıllık bir ömür sürmüş olan el-Bekrî’nin yaklaşık 20 senesi acılarla geçen; ancak önemli eserlerle dolu olan hayatı, eserleri ve ilmî şahsiyeti gerekli kaynaklar taranıp değerlendirilerek anlatılmaya çalışılmıştır.
The Egyptian cleric, author, critic, and thinker Muhammad Tawfiq al-Bakrī (1870-1932), with lineages dating back to Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), was discussed in two books published in Egypt, one in 1966 and 2013, as well as a handful of articles. As a result of the examination performed here, the 2013 work is seen to be more detailed and more knowledgeable. Not well known in Türkiye, al-Bakrī was able to receive a solid education due to his family’s wealth, and he was admitted into Al-Azhar University at a very young age thanks to this education. Al-Bakri’s family was large family and had been positioned in history with positions at various levels, ultimately ending up with Muhammad Tawfīq al-Bakri’s father, Alī al-Bakrī al-Siddīqī (d.1880). After Muhammad al-Bakri’s elementary education, he went to the al-Aliyye school Khedive Tawfīq had established for his children and learned mathematics, history, and geography, as well as English, French, and Turkish. Due to his solid education and strong determination, he started studying the Qur’an in depth, making use of grammar, syntax, and detailed interpretations, and then started deepening his knowledge in the fields of hadith, fiqh, method, and rhetoric. In 1892, Khedive Abbās II appointed Mohammed Tawfīq al-Bakrī as sheikh of the al-Bakri Sufi sect, the sheikh responsible for all Sufi sects, and naqīb al-ashrāf [chief of the Prophet’s descendants]. Abbās II then appointed al-Bakrī as a permanent deputy to the Advisory Board and General Assembly in the Egyptian Government. As a particular result of being made the sheikh responsible for Sufi sects, many cases and problems were conveyed to al-Bakrī, and he tried to resolve these by taking on the role of an arbitrator in a sense. Al-Bakrī came to Istanbul after a European trip and was highly influenced by Hagia Sophia and its symbolic presence. He also met with the Rifai sheikh Abū al-Hudā al-Sayyādī (d. 1909), who is known for his closeness to Abd al-Hamīd II. Actually, the most important reason behind al-Bakri’s visit to Istanbul from Europe was obviously to meet with Abd al-Hamīd II. During the meeting, Abd al-Hamīd II realized that al-Bakrī was extremely well-equipped for his young age and was quite pleased with him, giving al-Bakri the first degree of Nişan-ı Osmanî [Order of Osmanieh] and the Rank of Anatolia. Such an honor had never been given to an Egyptian scholar before. In 1892, a meeting was held in al-Bakri’s house in which many scholars attended, during which Muhammad Tawfīk al-Bakrī was appointed the head of the Arab Language Institution. In a meeting held in 1893, some decisions were made for al-Bakrī to give a conference on the subjects of translating certain foreign words into Arabic and of common words and traditions between Arabs and the French. However, the Arabic Language Institution, which occurs in sources as the first language academy, was closed shortly afterwards due to the lack of importance the government gave to this initiative. Al-Bakrī was practically an advisory center on many issues, including political ones, and he is seen to have also been on the political scene in addition to the religious and literary fields he’d entered at a very young age. Based on his belief that administrative independence should come after political independence, al-Bakrī demanded the establishment of the House of Representatives. Although al-Bakrī is known to have had generally good relations with Lord Cromer, who was appointed as the British representative and British consul-general to Egypt, al-Bakrī was never a supporter of British occupation. He believed that the Egyptians were able to rule their own country and had the power to do so. Meanwhile, the idea of the Islamic Union was one of the thoughts that occupied him. The idea that al-Bakrī put forward and that perhaps was unlike others was the idea that Egyptians are able to rule themselves and cope with their own problems. This was a significant thought for that time. Khedive Abbās II didn’t like that al-Bakrī was receiving such close attention from Sultan Abdülhamid II, who had told al-Bakrī, “You are my son now” and had given al-Bakrī medals that had never been given to any Egyptian before, and made this situation a problem. After Khedive Abbās II visited Istanbul in 1901, he was seen to try and melt the ice between him and al-Bakrī. Although periodic improvements occurred after al-Bakrī and Khedive Abbās II failed to be on good terms, this situation is understood to have never returned to its former state. Muhammad Tawfīk al-Bakri composed many studies, and the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning him is his authority in the religious field. Al-Bakrī spoke Turkish, French, and English and can additionally be considered a philologist with a knowledge of the finest details of the Arabic language. In his work Fuhūlu'ş-şu'arā in particular, the selections he made from some Abbasid poets show both his literary taste and his high incidence in classical Arabic literature. The existing expressions in sahārīj al-luʾluʾ, one of his most important works, contain the highest-proposed examples of classical Arabic. Al-Bakri was one of the rare users of the form of Arabic that is used in the oldest texts and even in the Qur’an, and which has become the language of literature, poetry, religion, and science over time. Al-Bakrī had an extremely important scientific persona and, in my opinion, was a person who attracted attention as someone with significant weight as an advisory authority in the political, religious, and literary fields. As stated before, when considering his closeness to Sultan Abdülhamid II, his influence over Egyptian political life for a time, his little-known work al-Mustaqbal Li'l-Islām that was translated into Ottoman and banned from entering Ottoman land and most importantly his persona as accepted in the literary field and especially in classical Arabic literature, no doubt exists that he is a person who needs to be introduced. By scanning and evaluating the necessary sources, this article attempts to explain the life, works, and scientific persona of al-Bakrī, someone not well-known in Türkiye who lived for 62 years, almost 20 year of which were filled with pain as well as important works.