An Underexplored Author and a Famous Ode: Ispartalı Zeynelābidin Bey and His Translation of Kaʿb ibn Zuhayr’s Qasīdah al-Burdah Titled Hadīqa-i Samaratu’l-FuʾādÖmer Said Güler
One of the most widely commented upon and translated works of Islamic literature is Kaʿb ibn Zuhayr’s (d. 24/645?) Qasīdah al-Burdah, also known as Bānat Suʿād [Suʿād has departed] due to its opening words. Kaʿb ibn Zuhayr presented this poem to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in person and received his praise and benevolence, and this poem has been highly regarded for its spiritual and literary value by all Islamic states. It remained a prominent text in literary circles during the Ottoman period, consistently being translated and commented upon in Turkish. In this regard, Qasīdah al-Burdah had started to being the subject of the translation and commentary tradition in Turkish and managed to maintain its place of interest without being neglected until the final years of the Empire and even into Türkiye’s Republican Period. This study introduces Ispartalı Zeynelābidin Bey’s 1928 prose translation of Qasīdah al-Burdah, which he titled Hadīqa-i Samaratu’l-Fuʾād [garden of the fruit of the heart], the first and only printed Turkish translation of the ode in Arabic script, and publishes the text in order to make it available within the relevant literature. Additionally, the study attempts to present the biography of a prolific but lesser-known writer who lived through both the Ottoman and Republican periods through his interesting autobiography titled Ben Kimim? [Who Am I?].
Meçhul Bir Muharrir, Meşhur Bir Kaside: Ispartalı Zeynelâbidin Bey ve Hadîka-i Semeretü’l-Fuâd İsimli Kasîde-i Bürde Tercümesi*Ömer Said Güler
İslami edebiyat mahsulleri arasında, üzerine en fazla ikincil metin (şerh, tercüme, nazire, tahmis vb.) yazılan eserlerden biri Kâ‘b b. Züheyr’in Kasîde-i Bürde’sidir. İlk kelimelerinden ötürü Kasîde-i Bânet Su‘âd olarak da tanınan bu eserin cazibesi, bizzat Hz. Peygamber’e sunulup onun övgü ve ihsanına mazhar olmasından ileri gelmektedir. Gerek bu manevi özelliği gerekse edebî kıymeti dolayısıyla bütün İslam devletlerinde büyük bir ilgiyle karşılanan bu manzume, Osmanlı devrinde de edebî muhitlerin takip ettiği bir metin olmayı sürdürmüştür. Bu vesileyle tercüme ve şerh geleneğine Türkçe olarak da konu edilmeye başlanan Kasîde-i Bürde, devletin son yıllarına kadar, hatta Cumhuriyet döneminde dahi ihmale uğramadan gündemdeki yerini korumayı başarmıştır.
Bu çalışma kapsamında söz konusu kasidenin Arap harfleriyle basılan ilk ve tek müstakil Türkçe tercümesi hüviyetindeki bir eserin, Ispartalı Zeynelâbidin Bey’in Hadîka-i Semeretü’l-Fuâd (1928) isimli mensur tercümesinin bir tanıtımı yapılarak eserin metni neşredilmiş, ilgili literatür dâhilindeki bir eser daha istifadeye sunulmuştur. Bu esnada, iki devri idrak etmiş
velud ancak meçhul bir müellifin hâl tercümesi, kaleme aldığı Ben Kimim? isimli ilgi çekici otobiyografisi üzerinden takdim edilmeye çalışılmıştır.
One of the most widely commented upon and translated works of Islamic literature is Kaʿb ibn Zuhayr’s (d. 24/645 ?) Qasīdah al-Burdah, also known as Bānat Suʿād [Suʿād has departed] due to its opening words. Kaʿb ibn Zuhayr presented this poem to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in person and received his praise and benevolence, with the poem having since been highly regarded for its spiritual and literary value in all Islamic states. It continued to be a prominent text in literary circles during the Ottoman period and was consistently translated and commented upon in Turkish. In this regard, Qasīdah al-Burdah managed to maintain its place on the agenda without being neglected until the last years of the Ottoman Empire and even into Türkiye’s Republican Period.
One of the most recent Turkish translations of Qasīdah al-Burdah belonged to an apparently unknown author named Zeynelābidin Bey from Isparta. Published in 1928, this prose work was titled Hadīqa-i Samaratu’l-Fuʾād [the fruits of the walled garden of the heart] and according to our findings is the first and only independent Turkish translation of Qasīdah al-Burdah printed in Arabic script.
As far as can be seen, no independent study has yet occurred regarding Zeynelâbidin Bey of Isparta. However, he was a person who’d witnessed many important events in his period and was also a prolific author who wrote many works. Zeynelābidin Bey served under the command of famous Ottoman pashas such as Djemal Pasha (d. 1922), Kāzim Karabekir Pasha (d. 1948), Fakhri Pasha (d. 1948), and Ali Fuat Cebesoy (d. 1968) on critical fronts such as Gallipoli and al-Ḥijāz and wrote his important memories about his experiences on these fronts in his remarkable autobiography titled Ben Kimim? [Who Am I?]. This text is understood to have been prepared in the late 1930s and is a valuable resource that can shed light on the political, military, and scientific fronts of the period as it presents his education and duties, the fronts where he fought, the pashas he served, the people he contacted, his adventures in the National Struggle, his ideas about society, his library he said he’d created with great care, and a comprehensive breakdown of his 100 works, both those that were published and those only prepared for publication. In terms of the purpose of its writing, Who Am I? brings to mind the attempt of a person who’d been accused of certain allegations in both periods he lived in (i.e., the Second Constitutional Monarchy and the Republic) to express, defend, justify, and thus maintain his hold by revealing his past with all the documents in his possession.
According to this autobiography titled Who Am I?, Zeynelābidin Bey had been born in Isparta in 1308 AH (1890-1 CE) and completed his education in the most popular classical and modern educational institutions of the period, graduating from the Faculty of Theology at Dārülfünūn. During these years, he also worked as a teacher in some educational institutions in Istanbul, including Galatasaray High School.
In light of the information he generously provided about himself, Zeynelābidin Bey appears to have led a very troublesome life filled with ordeals, and he survived largely through his scholarly, literary, and social engagements. The author’s sorrowful life did not prejudice his faith or beliefs, and he was committed to the idea of Pan-Islamism unity, keeping his distance from active political life as much as possible and carrying out his services and activities mostly through these scientific and social activities. He is also portrayed as a pious man of action who made significant contributions to the National Struggle movement with his sermons and writings from Rumelia. However, his autobiography reveals that he’d spent his years as a person who could not find the environment he sought or expected in the new order, and thus was unable to connect.
By listing his works one by one in his autobiography, Zeynelābidin Bey appears as an extremely prolific author who has prepared some 100 works, 13 of which had already been published and 86 of which are in preparation for publication. These works cover a wide variety of subjects, ranging from tafsir, psychology, fiqh, and sociology to hunting and archery. One of the most important texts among these works, which include some remarkable texts such as Hicaz’ı Nasıl Kaybettik? [How We Lost Hidjāz], Isparta Tarihi [The History of Isparta], Vehhâbî Mezhebine Reddiye [Refutation to the Wahhābism], Şeyhülislamlar Tarihi [History of the Shaykh al-Islāms], is his Turkish prose translation of the famous poem Qasīdah al-Burdah, which the Companion Kaʿb b. Zuhayr presented to the Prophet to ask for forgiveness and for which the Prophet wrapped him in his mantle as a gift in return. This translation was titled Hadīqa-i Samaratu’l-Fuʾād and published in 1928, the year of the Alphabet Reform; it is probably one of the last works to be published in Arabic script. The translator, who had originally intended a more comprehensive translation and commentary but had to settle for a short translation due to health problems, noteworthily reported that his work, of which a significant number of copies (6000) were printed, had sold out within 10 years. In addition to being an important example of a literary text translated with literary care, the work is also of particular importance due to the organized information it contains on the constructed and periodical characteristics of Topkapı Palace on the occasion of the Khirqa-i Saʿāda [Prophet’s cardigan], which is related to the ode. Technical details such as the Arabic text of the qasidah having been proofread by İsmāil Sāib Sencer (d. 1940) and the full text at the end being written in Mustafa Halim Özyazıcı’s (d. 1964) calligraphy reveal the scholarly and artistic quality of the work, as well as its value as an edition.
The study makes within its scope a brief analysis of Hadīqa-i Samaratu’l-Fuʾād, including a translation of the text, and attempts to outline a biography of the author through his work titled Ben Kimim?. Zeynelābidin Bey is expected to become the subject of new and more detailed studies due to him having been a witness to his era, as well as for the many works he wrote.