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Ismā‘īl Anqarawī’s Commentary on Book Seven of the Mathnawī: A Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Sufi Controversy

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Ismā‘īl Anqarawī’s Commentary on Book Seven of the Mathnawī: A Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Sufi Controversy

Tasbihi, Eliza (2015) Ismā‘īl Anqarawī’s Commentary on Book Seven of the Mathnawī: A Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Sufi Controversy. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

It is commonly accepted by Rūmī scholars that Rūmī’s Mathnawī is composed of six volumes. However, a few sources indicate the possibility of an extra volume known as “Book Seven” of the Mathnawī. My study particularly focuses on the unpublished commentary (sharḥ) on Book Seven written by Ismā‘īl Anqarawī (d. 1631), the most important Ottoman commentator on the Mathnawī. It is an addendum to his commentary on the Mathnawī entitled Majmū‘at al-Laṭā’if wa Maṭmūrat al-Ma‘ārif (Collection of Subtleties and Hidden Store of Knowledge). Since the commentary and its publication received major criticism from Sufis belonging to the Mevlevī order, it is the aim of this study to explore the reasons for the composition of the commentary. Why did Anqarawī, a respected Mevlevī shaykh who was in charge of Gālātā Sufi lodge and taught the Mathnawīfor several years, devote his energy to writing a separate commentary on a text widely considered to be spurious?
My study is based primarily on the textual analysis and close examination of 45 Ottoman manuscripts of Anqarawī’s sharḥ, which I consulted in the Süleymāniye library, Konya’s Mevlānā Museum, Bursa’s Inebey Manuscript Library, and Ankara’s Mellī Library. I argue that the debate in which Anqarawī engaged can be divided into two parts: First, that the sharḥ encountered heavy criticism within the Mevlevī circle for its falsification and spurious nature, and second, that the subjects discussed in the sharḥ resulted in strong opposition from orthodox ‘ulamā’ on the grounds that it promoted bid‘a (“innovation” or “heresy”). By examining Anqarawī’s introduction, which presents a detailed account of his debate with Mevlevī Sufis and Shaykhs, I argue that Anqarawī claimed authority as the ultimate commentator and Mathnawī-khān (Mathnawī-reciter) among the Mevlevī Sufis, a claim that was bolstered by his closeness to Sulṭān Murād IV (d. 1640).
Given that Anqarawī scholarship is only recently emerging and his monumental commentary has not been studied properly, the present work contributes to the study of Rūmī and reception of his Mathnawī not only in the Persian speaking regions, but also within Ottoman society. This study will shed light on various aspects of the social and religious debates among the ‘ulamā’ in the 17th-century Ottoman Empire. It will also allow for a better understanding of the intellectual milieu of the empire, the social status and political roles of the ‘ulamā’ and the power wielded by official religious institutions and their affiliated scholars.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Tasbihi, Eliza
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Religion
Date:September 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Foltz, Richard
Keywords:Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Ismā‘īl Anqarawī, the Mathnawī, Sufism, Persian Classical Literature, Sufi poetry, Ottoman Literature, Ottoman History,
ID Code:980627
Deposited By: ELIZA TASBIHI
Deposited On:28 Oct 2015 13:05
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51

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