Philanthropist (B. 801? –D. 861, Baghdad). A Turkish mother who lived like a legend in caliphate palaces. After Caliph el-Vasık’s death, el-Mutasım’s son Ebu el-Fadl Cafer became the caliph under the laqab (nickname in Arabic) “el-Müvekkil Alellah” by the request of el-Vasık’s Turkish general Vasıf et-Turki and by the unhesitating support of other Turkish high military officials. El-Mütevekkil era (847-861) was probably the era when the Turks were at their most powerful state, perhaps at their peak, in terms of military and administration of caliphate. Again in this era, aside from Turkish military and administrative staff that rose to high positions in the caliphate, there were many worthy Turkish mothers, who made themselves accepted with their distinguished personalities. The most important one of them is Şuca Hatun, who was always a star that will forever shine upon the caliphate skies with her life, character and her distinguished personality.
Şuca Hatun was a Turkish mother, who lived in the early periods of the Abbasids and who had a distinctive place in Turkish Islamic history with her name, fame, different manner of life, religious life and influential personality in the Abbasid society and caliphate palaces and with her prestige in caliphate circles. She married with el-Mutasım, the son of Maride Hatun. She and Mutasım had a son, whose real name was Cafer and who was later going to become the caliph under the name el-Mütevekkil Alellah. After Harun Reşit’s wife Seyyide Zübeyde, she was the first and only woman to receive the title “Seyyide Hanım Sultan”, which was the symbol of the highest prestige and honor a woman could ever achieve in the caliphate in that period. In the Abbasid era, aside from the aristocratic Turkish commanders and statesmen, many worthy Turkish mothers lived and they devoted all of their wealth and assets to charities for the benefit of the society. With some part of their wealth, they founded big hospitals and they devoted most of their wealth to cover the expenses of these hospitals. Among these Turkish mothers, who gained everyone’s appreciation by their services that set an example in Abbasid era, Şuca Hatun, the mother of el-Mütevekkil and Şağab Hatun, mother of el-Muktedir were the most significant ones.
Şuca Hatun, who lived during the caliphate of Harun Reşit (789-809), caliphate of her husband el-Mutasım (833-847) and the caliphate of her son el-Mütevekkil (847-861), was one of the most worthy and venerable Turkish mothers, who was always remembered with respect both in her time and after she died. When all the mothers of caliphs and all the famous women of the Abbasid palaces –whoever- were to be put on one scale with only Şuca Hatun on the other scale, Şuca Hatun would weigh a lot more in charity and virtue than all of them combined.
In fact, Şuca Hatun was a Turkish mother who set an example to everyone in charities and goodness in the Abbasid era. Although she never directly had a hospital built, the revenues of the foundation, which she established for charity with a huge amount of cash and all of her wealth, covered the expenses of many hospitals in Baghdad. Hence, these institutions became more efficient in their service to human health. By this way, Şuca Hatun had in sense founded and supported not only one but also many hospitals.
Şuca Ana, was a venerable Turkish mother, who cut a figure in caliphate palaces during the caliphates of el-Mutasım and el-Mütevekkil (847-61) and who lived like a “sahabah” (Muslims who saw, talked to and believed in Prophet Muhammad in person) with her religious life, influential character and her fondness of worship and obedience (observance, complying with the divine orders). Throughout her life during the reign of Abbasid caliphates she lived in complete piety (devoting oneself completely to religion), worship and piousness (standing clear of sin) and did goods in the name of Allah. Allah and Prophet, Koran and Sunna was a divine light that enlightened her path of life. She strived to give all of her wealth to the poor and almsmen and to lend a helping hand to the needy. No one could compete against her in doing charity works and almsgiving.
The money and gifts that Şuca Ana gave to the poor and almsman out of charity when she set off to pilgrimage in 850 could only be carried by a caravan of camels. When she reached Kufa she gave thousands of dinars to everyone from the lineage of Prophet Mohammed, i.e. Ahl al-Bayt and people from the linage of Abbas, without discriminating between women and men or poor and rich and she gave considerable amounts of money to everyone from the lineage of Muhacir and to Hashemite. In this manner she gave money and alms by handfuls throughout the whole pilgrimage season in Mecca and Medina.
In the end of 850s in Mecca there was a huge drought and Maşaş Spring, that provided the drinking water of the folks, dried up. Not only the people but also the animals had a close brush with death because of drought. When Şuca Hatun heard this she sent a big part of her wealth for water to be brought to this city and she saved people and animals from a certain death. On top of that, she founded an official foundation to use her limitless wealth in charity works and she handed over her entire wealth to this foundation. In the following years, the income of this foundation was used for current expenditures of some hospitals in Baghdad as stated above and also for pilgrimage roads and to meet the water need of the pilgrims and to help the poor and almsmen including the people of Mecca and Medina.
REFERENCE: Zekeriya Kitapçı / Mukaddes Çevreler ve Eski Hilâfet Ülkelerinde Türk Hatunları (Konya 1996), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Kadınlar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 6, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).