Bilim İnsanı, Mutasavvıf

Diğer İsimler
Muhammed bin Hamza, Ahmed, Akşeyh, Akşemseddin

Sufi, scholar, spiritual conqueror of Istanbul (B. 1372, Damascus- D. 1459, Göynük / Bolu).His full name is Muhammed bin Hamza and according to some sources it is “Ahmed” too. His nickname is Akşeyh. His father Şeyh Hamza-I Şamî, who was known as Kurtboğan Saint, was living in Damascus and then came to Kavak district of Amasya (nowadays it belongs to Samsun). He comes from the lineage of Şihâbüddîn Sühreverdî. This lineage reaches until Hazret-i Ebubekir. It is narrated that he was called “Akşemseddin” since he dressed white clothes (T.N. Ak means white in Turkish language).

Akşemseddin memorized the Holy Koran at an early age. He originally came from a scholar family. He acquired his knowledge from scientific environments of the period, which are the madrasahs. After the death of his father he continued his education in Osmancık and Amasya, studying sarf (linguistics, grammar, and philology), nahiv (syntax), logics, meânî (signification), belâgat (rhetoric), fıkıh (Islamic law), akâid (that two wills are explained in harmony with each other for a legal decision), hikmet (making a judgment about any topic) and completed his education.

Starting from early ages Akşemseddin was interested in science and arts, and aside from religious sciences he also received a medical education. After completing his scientific education he became a lecturer in Osmancık. Thanks to his superior intelligence and understanding and his unyielding efforts he dedicated himself to books. He became a famous scholar of his times in primarily Islamic sciences but also in medicine, astronomy, biology and mathematics. He served in Ottoman madrasahs for long years and raised hundreds of students. He produced important works about epidemic diseases in the field of medicine. He obtained a great fame after receiving education in madrasahs of Amasya. He was one of the greatest Sufis of 15th century and a sophisticated religious scholar.

As a result of his researches he wrote Maddet-ül Hayat about the medical sciences in Turkish language and Hall-i Müşkilât and Risalet-ün Nuriyye about Sufism in Arabic language, which are his most famous works. In Maddet-ül Hayat he wrote about medicine in Turkish he wrote the sentence “It is wrong to believe that diseases occur one by one at people. Diseases pass to other people through seeds which are so small not to be seen by eyes” which was one of the first theories on germs. He is known as the first scientist to mention microorganisms and father of microbiology.

Within time, under direction of Divine Love he found himself in a Sufi quest. “Since he could not forget the taste of esoteric sciences” he went to Iran and ma wara'un-nahr in order to find a mature sheikh. When he could not find a guide he imagined he returned to Anatolia. The struggle to find a guide in Anatolia also did not seem to end. One of the Kazaskers (military judges) of Beyazıt II period İmam Ali Efendi recommended him Ankara Kara Madrasah’s former lecturer Hacı Bayram-ı Veli. However, even if he intended this, he did not go to him. Because Akşemseddin did not regard it correct that he went to the streets with his followers to collect aid for poor people.

Akşemseddin went to Aleppo to attach himself to the founder of Zeyniyye Order Şeyh Zeynüddin Ebu Bekir el-Hafi. He wanted to meet Zeynüddin-i Han in Aleppo. During the first night he stayed there he had a dream. In his dream they bound a chain to his neck and leave him to the door of Hacı Bayram-ı Veli at Ankara. He saw that the person who held the chain was Hacı Bayram. Akşemseddin under the influence of his dream suddenly returned. He went to the father of İmam Ali Efendi and told him his dream, who told him that his destiny in his spiritual path was Hacı Bayram-ı Veli. Together they went to him. Meanwhile Hacı Bayram-ı Veli and his followers were busy with vetch pool. Akşemseddin was not met with respect there. However, without waiting too long he joined the followers and started to work with them. During the noon there was a pause and launch was served. Yoghurt and wheat soup was brought with vessels and distributed to tables. Even dogs were served meal. Nobody showed any special interest to Akşemseddin. When the launch started Akşemseddin went to dogs and prepared to eat with them. While he was longing his hand to the meal Hacı Bayram-ı Veli told him “Oh beardless, you burnt us” and invited him to his table. Hacı Bayram narrated the conduct shown to him in following words: “The guest which was welcome with chains is hosted like this.”

Akşemseddin after this encounter became a follower of Hacı Bayram and attached himself to him. With him he obtained a disciplined spiritual education and received his proficiency from him. He gained his real fame after this. After Hacı Bayram-ı Velî passed away, he replaced his position as the lead(1429). Later he left Ankara, went to Beypazarı, from there to Evlek village of İskilip and finally to Göynük (Bolu). He had a mosque and a mill built there and got engaged in the education and training of his followers. With his works afterwards he became an Ottoman mudarris, in today’s terms a professor.

After his important success in the field of science he also proved himself in the field of Sufism. Later upon the order and will of Murad II, he was appointed teacher of Fatih Sultan Mehmed. On the other hand Akşemseddin and his students participated to the conquest of Istanbul together with other Sufis of the period such as Akbıyık Sultan. He contributed to the spiritual power of the army. He was the imam when the first Friday prayer was done in Hagia Sophia. After the conquest he stayed in Istanbul for a while and gave lectures in the madrasahs.

Akşemseddin made great service during the conquest of Istanbul and encouraged the young Sultan Mehmed, contributing to the victory greatly. During the most important days of the conquest he discovered the tomb of Ebu Eyyûb el-Ensarî and increased the spiritual power of the army. Akşemseddin who did not attach importance to worldly things was also respected and loved by Fatih Sultan Mehmed to a great level.

Entrance of Akşemseddin and Fatih Sultan Mehmed to Istanbul turned into the following story after being narrated from one person to another:

Fatih Sultan Mehmed on his white horse who walked in front of his army entered Istanbul with his educator Akşemseddin aside him. People of the city, who welcomed the Muslim Turkish Army, were aside the road and wanted to present their flowers to the Sultan. However people thought that Akşemseddin with his white beard and dignified stance was the Sultan and they wanted to present their flowers to him. Akşemseddin with drew his horse and showed at Fatih with his eyes; wanted to say “He is Sultan Mehmed, give the flowers to him”. Fatih Sultan Mehmed on the other hand pointed at his teacher Akşemseddin to people who wanted to present him flowers and told them “Give the flowers to him. I am Sultan Mehmed but he is my teacher”. Thus Akşemseddin entered the city as the first.

Akşemseddin stayed in Istanbul for a while after the conquest but then returned to Göynük and passed away there. His tomb is Göynük district of Bolu, which was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1464. Each year there are memorial ceremonies in the name of Akşemseddin in the district on the 29th of May (last Sunday of May) which was the day of the conquest. In İskilip there are also tombs of his child Nurulhuda and other relatives of him. It is written that he built the mosque in Evlik village, which was constructed without pounding a single nail. Akşemseddin is also known as the spiritual conqueror of Istanbul.


Risâletü’n Nûriy e (the original version is Arabic and it was translated by his brother Hacı Ali into Turkish. It is an answer to people who criticize Sufism and Sufi people.), Risale-i Şerh-i Ahval-i HacıBayram-ıVeli, Def’ü Metain, Risale-i Zikrullah, Hall- i Müşkilât, Mâddetü’l-Hayât, Def’u Metâinü’s-Sûfiyye, Makâmât-ı Evliyâ (Places of Saints), Maddet-ül-Hayat (Material of Life), Nasihatname-i Akşemseddin (Recommendations by Akşemseddin), Kitab-ül-Tıb (Book on medicine, in the library of Feyzullah Efendi), Hall- i Müşkülat (Overcoming difficulties), Telhîs-i Metâin (Summary of texts). 

REFERENCE: Bursalı Mehmed Tahir / Osmanlı Müellifleri (c. I, 1972), Orhan F. Köprülü / “Akşemseddin” (TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, c. II, 1989), Ali İhsan Yurt / Akşemseddin - Hayatı ve Eserleri (1994), Cevat Alparslan / Akşemseddin Hazretleri - Hayatı, Eserleri, Şiirleri ve Bolu Erenleri (1998), Hüseyin Algül - Mustafa Kara / Osmancık’ta Bir Müderris Akşemseddin (2000), Ahmet Özdemir / Hacı Bayram Veli ve Eşrefoğlu Rumî (2002), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 


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