Fethullah Şirvanî

Fıkıh Bilgini, Kelam Bilgini, Astronomi Bilgini, Matematik Bilgini

Diğer İsimler
Fethullah b. Ebi Yezid b. Abdulaziz b. İbrahim el-Şaberanî el-Şirvanî el-Şemahî

Scholar of kalam, fiqh and astronomy (B. ?, Şirvan / Siirt – D. 1486, Şemahî / Şirvan / Siirt). His full name was Fethullah b. Ebi Yezid b. Abdulaziz b. İbrahim el-Şaberanî el-Şirvanî el-Şemahî. He received his first education from his father and then received basic religious education in Anatolia and went to Şirâz and received lessons from Seyyid Şerif Cürcanî. He continued his education in Serahs and Tus. He went to Samarkand in the mid 1435 and in the Samarkand Madrasah, he received lessons of mathematics, astronomy, kalam (justification of religious principles through rational evidences) and language sciences and received ratification (competency, diploma) on September 13, 1440 from Musa Kadîzade. During his education in madrasah, he is guessed to have joined astronomy studies, especially the observations, in the Samarkand Observatory.

It is seen that, “Şerh el-tezkire fî 'İlm el-Heye” of Nizamuddin el-Nisaburî, which is among the works he read from Kadîzade, has an important place both for Samarkand Madrasah and for the education of Şirvanî. While he was in Samarkand, he also prepared a sharh (commentary) to “el-Envar li-a’mal el-ebrar” of Camaluddin Yusuf b. İbrahim el-Erdebilî on Shafii fiqh and submitted to Ulugh Beg, the Timur Emperor.

After giving lessons in the Şirvan madrasahs for some time, he came to Anatolia during late years of the Sultan Murad II period (1421-51) upon the advice of his teacher Kadîzade. Since he was complemented by Çandaroğlu İsmail Bey in Kastamonu, he began to give lessons in the madrasahs there. He educated many students who have spread the mathematical sciences in line with the “Samarkand School” throughout the Ottoman country and especially in Anatolia. In January-February 1453, he went to Bursa and dedicated his work on commentary (interpretation of Koran) to Ottoman grand vizier Çandarlı Halil Pasha. Again in those days, he submitted Fatih Sultan Mehmet, his work named “Mecelle fî el-musikî”. However, within the changing political climate after conquest of Istanbul, Şirvanî lost his protector upon execution of Halil Pasha and returned to Kastamonu. Afterwards, he wrote a haşiye (T.N. marginal notes) named “el-Ferai’d ve el-Fevai’d” to “Şerh el-Mulahhas fî 'ilm el-Heye” of Kadîzade and submitted it to Fatih Sultan Mehmed and thus he wanted to come close to the Ottoman palace but he couldn’t.

Şirvanî stopped by Iraq during his pilgrim's journey and gave lessons at the madrasahs there. After completing pilgrimage, he stayed in Mecca for a while (1467) and gave lessons there. On the way back, he stopped by Cairo and then came to Istanbul. In Istanbul, he mostly dealt with compilation and teaching. However he couldn’t attract sufficient interest in Istanbul and returned to his hometown Şirvan and died in Şemahî in February 1486.

Şirvanî, who was an expert and produced works on literature and linguistic besides religious and rational sciences, was a scholar who transferred and spread the knowledge of Samarkand School regarding especially the fields of mathematics and astronomy, into Anatolia and Istanbul, together with Ali Kuşçu. He presented some of his works to sultans such as Fatih Sultan Mehmed and Sultan Bayezid II and to notable statesmen such as Çandarlı Halil Pasha. Şirvanî wrote six works in the fields of language, literature and commentary, usul-i fiqh (doctrinarian law). Regarding kalam (justification of religious principles through rational evidences), he made three separate studies on “el-Mevakıf fî’ilm el-Kelam” which he had read from his teacher Kadîzade. Especially, the long hasheyah (justification) he wrote to Seyyid Şerif el-Curcanî’s sharh of this work was notable. The sharh he wrote to “Tehzib el-Mantık ve el-Kelam” of Mesud al-Teftazanî showed that his interest on both logic, the language of science of the period, and the issues on kalam was continuing. Considering that these works incorporate the topics such as metaphysics, mathematics, astronomy and physics, it can be concluded that they are important for determining theoretical and metaphysical understanding of Şirvanî regarding these topics. 

Şirvanî wrote an important work in the field of music, which was being accepted as the sub-branch of mathematical sciences in his period, called “Mecelle fî el-musikî”. The work was written by benefiting from the thoughts of renowned Islamic music theorists like Safiyyuddin el-Urmevî and Abdulkadir el-Merağî and Avicenna and Nasiruddin el-Tusî besides the opinions of Greek philosophers, within a broad historical perspective. This work was facsimiled and published by Fuat Gezgin (Frankfurt 1986).

Şirvanî’s most noteworthy work on astronomy is doubtlessly his sharh on the important work of Nasiruddin al-Tusî named “el-Tezkire fî’ilm el-Hey’e”. Şirvanî, who read the sharh on this work of Tus el-Curcanî and listened the sharh of al-Nisaburî from his teacher Kadîzade in Samarkand during early studentship years, placed importance to this work both during his studentship and during teaching years. Thus, in the foreword to his sharh to the work, he has attracted attention to the place and importance of the work in his life. He particularly emphasized that he wrote such a sharh considering the needs of the advance skilled students to whom he was giving lessons in the field of astronomy. In this work he completed on January 11, 1475, he benefited from the previous sharhs as well as the lecture notes of his teacher Kadîzade and from his own experiences.

Şirvanî, comprehensively handled the ilm el-hey’e system described by Nasiruddin el-Tusî in his sharh, and determines its geometrical bases. He delivered comprehensive information about older calendar systems, especially the Turkish calendar. While delivering these information, he both benefited from the previous sharhs of this work and combined the related approach of Samarkand School with his own opinions. He carried out the “İlm el-hey’e” understanding largely within the system of İbn Heysem, where mathematical and natural perspectives are handled together; he did not try to clear the Aristotleist physics and metaphysics principles from astronomy, as done by Ali Kuşçu, who was his contemporary and grew in Samarkand as himself.

Şirvanî had continued the theoretical astronomy studies represented by Samarkand School, within the framework of the methods and problems of that school; he contributed to details and the body of thought he represented were spread throughout various places of Ottoman country, especially in Anatolia, by means of education and work compilations. The technical contributions of Şirvanî to the astronomy of Semerkand School is still waiting to be investigated.


el-Mevakıf fî ‘ilm el-Kelam Şerhi, Tehzib el-Mantık ve el-Kelam Şerhi, Mecelle fî el-musikî, Kadîzade’nin Şemseddin el-Semerkandî’nin Eşkal el-Te’sis Şerh’ine Haşiye, el-Ferai’d ve el-Fevai'd fî Tavzih Şerh el-Mulahhas, Nasiruddin al-Tusî’nin el-Tezkire fî’ilm el-Hey’e Şerhi. 

REFERENCE:  Bursalı Mehmet Tahir / Osmanlı Müellifleri (III, s. 392, İstanbul 1915, Latin harfleriyle 1972), Cemil Akpınar / “Fethullah eş-Şirvani” (Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi (c. 12, s. 463-466, 1995), Ramazan Şeşen - Cevat İzgi - Cemil Akpınar - İhsan Fazlıoğlu / Osmanlı Astronomi Literatürü Tarihi (Editör: Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, I, s. 42-45, 1997), Fethullah Şirvani (ihsanfazlioglu.net, erişim 18.12.2011), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüler Ansiklopedisi, c. 2, 2013) -  Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (Cilt 12, 2017).



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