İskilipli Mehmet Atıf

Din Bilgini, Yazar

24 Şubat, 1926
Dârülfünûn Department of Theology (Istanbul University)

Writer, religious scholar (B. 1876, Tophane Village / İskilip / Çorum – D. February 24th, 1926, Ankara). He was the son of Mehmet Ali Ağa who was one of the leaders of Akkoyunlu tribe and from İmamoğlu dynasty. His mother was Melek Hanım, the granddaughter of Arap Dede, one of the sheiks of the clan of Benî Hattab that migrated from Mecca to Central Anatolia. Atıf who was orphaned when he was six months old, grew up under the guard of his grandfather Hasan Kethüda Efendi. He took private courses from the well-known teachers in İskilip (1891) after completing his primary education in his village. He went to Istanbul and completed his madrasah education there (1902) despite the opposition from his family. In the same year when he completed his madrasah education, he started the Theology Department of the Dârülfünûn (Istanbul University), Atıf Hodja graduated from this faculty with the first degree in 1906 for the second time. Then, he was appointed as the Arabic Teacher of the Kabataş İdadisi (Kabataş High School).  He was exiled to Bodrum when his work to troubleshoot the grievances of the lecturers working in the Department of Meşihat (Department of Shaykh al-Islam) was not tolerated by the Shaykh al-Islam while he was serving in this duty. From there, he went to Crimean and then to Warsaw with the passport of İbrahim Tali, he could only return back from the exile a week before the declaration of the Second Constitutional Monarchy (1908).

Mehmet Atıf Bey was appointed to the duty of Medâris (madrasahs) Inspectorate in 1910. He aroused a considerable interest with the solutions he suggested for the dilemma of the Islamic world and thought with the articles he wrote in “Sebilü’r-Reşad” and “Beyanü’l-Hak” which were the influential publications of the period. He was awarded a commendation by the Ministry of War upon the publication of and the interest aroused by his work “Nazar-ı Şeriatta Kuvve-i Beriye ve Bahriyyenin Ehemmiyeti ve Vücubu” in order to help and support the newly founded Navy Association. Atıf Hodja, who remained in detention for a week innocently during the March 31st Events (April 13th 1909), served a sentence of exile for one and a half years in Çorum, Boğazlıyan and Sungurlu with the argument of being involved in the act of murder of Mahmut Şevket Pasha in order to prevent him to be a deputy from Çorum due to being an opponent of the ruling İttihat ve Terakki. Then he was excused by saying that “he fell a victim to a mistake” and was allowed to return to Istanbul.

Mehmet Atıf Hodja did not take much official duties during the 1st World War (1914-18). He was appointed as the Tafsir-i-Sharif lecturer of the Department of the Dârü’l-Hilâfetü’l-liyye Madrasah by the elimination of İttihat and Terakki from power, as well as the teacher of Medresetü’l-Kudât Hikmet-i Teşriiyye. Atıf Hodja was given the duty of General Directorate of İbtida-i Dâhil Madrasah with a command of the sultan published on January 1st 1919 and scholars from all around the Islamic world came to Istanbul and requested help from him for guidance after the spread of his reputation to whole Islamic world because of his outstanding service. In these years, he rejected the proposals with high ranks that came from the Kosovo, Skopje, Plevne Muslims regions and Crimea Ministry of Foundations by stating that he couldn’t leave his service for his state and nation by saying “I work nowhere other than my country”. He was the president of the Müderrisler Cemiyeti (T.N. Association of the Lecturers) that he founded with Mustafa Sabri, Mustafa Saffet and Said Nursi and the Association of Teâli-i İslâm, its successor (1919).

The Association of Teâli-i İslâm opened many branches in Istanbul and Anatolia and greatly served for informing the peasant children with thousands of books distributed free of charge. Again this Association raised the first protest voice against the Greek occupation of Izmir. Atıf Hodja prepared a book Küçük İlm-i Hâl” and a history book “İslâm Yolu” in behalf of this association and had them pressed and distributed. Atıf Hodja who participated in the Peace Courses in the month of Ramadan in 1922 as the “addressee” was a staunch advocate of the idea of ​​Islamism with the articles he wrote in magazines such as “Alemdar” and “Mahfil” as well as with his services as a director and lecturer. He didn’t sign a statement that was against the National Struggle and thrown in Anatolia by the Greek aircrafts, despite the pressure from his colleagues, he even objected to it and warned them about their mistake. Atıf Hodja, who clearly supported the War of Independence, participated in this war with his pen and properly carried out his commitment and services for his nation and country.

Atıf Hodja started the publication of a new series with the title “Atıf Efendi Kütüphanesi Neşriyatından” with books “Tesettür-i Şer’î” published in 1923 and “Din-i İslâm’da Men-i Müskîrât” written in 1924. On one hand he made attempts for publishing in order to make a living for his family and on the other hand he started a scholarly and Islamic service for the young Republic and its people that started forming. He was sending his books to the Ministry of Education definitely at first, and then he had them published with a license received from there.

His articles were published in “Sırat-ı Müstakim”, Sebilürreşad”, “Beyan-ül Hak” and “Mahfel” magazines. He was arrested after the Hat Revolutions and was delivered to the Independence Court on the grounds that he objected to this revolution in his work “Frenk Mukallitliği ve Şapka”. He was executed by hanging along with the Mufti of Babaeski, Ali Rıza in the Karaoğlan Market in Ankara/Samanpazarı on February 24th 1926 upon the decision of the Ankara Independence Court announced on February 3rd 1926, without considering that the work was published one and a half years before from the Law of Hat. His grave in Ankara was moved to the İskilip Gülbaba Cemetery at the beginning of 2009 from the park where it previously had been and presented to the public at the beginning of 2010. Süleyman Nazif has a book titled as İmana Tasallut - Şapka Meselesi” which he wrote about the “Frenk Mukallitliği ve Şapka”. The life of İskilipli Atıf was the subject of the film “Kelebekler Özgür Uçar” directed by Mesut Uçakan.


Nazar-ı Şeriatte Berriye ve Bakiyenin Ehemmiyeti ve Vücubu (the importance of and the requirement for the land and sea forces in terms of Islamic Law 1910), Mir’atü’l-İslâm (1911), İslâm Yolu (1919, with Latin Letters, 1959), Din-i İslâm’da Men’i Müskirat (1920), Tesettür-i Şer’i (1920), Muina’l-Talebe (1920), Medeniyyet-i Şer’iyye ve Terakkiyât-ı Diniyye (1920, simplified by Sadık Albayrak with the title Şeriat Medeniyeti, 1975), Frenk Mukallitliği ve Şapka (1924), Frenk Mukallitliği ve İslâm (prepared by Sadık Albayrak, the publication of the articles that were not included in a book and some of his books, 1976). 

REFERENCE:  İsmail Kara / Türkiye’de İslâmcılık Düşüncesi (1. cilt, s. 241-270, 1986), İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 3, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Tahirü’l-Mevlevi / Matbuat Alemindeki Hayatım ve İstiklâl Mahkemeleri (1991), İskilipli Atıf Hoca Niçin İdam Edildi? (1994), Ankara İstiklâl Mahkemesi Zabıtları 1926 (Haz: Ahmet Nedim, 1993), İskilipli Atıf Hoca / Frenk Mukallitliği ve İslâm (Sad: Sadık Albayrak, 1975), Sadık Albayrak / Son Devir Osmanlı Uleması (1996) - TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (c. 22, 2000), Atatürk’ün Sırdaşı Kılıç Ali’nin Anıları (Der: Hulusi Turgut, 2007), Mehmet Sılay / İskilipli Atıf Hoca 1876-1926 (2016).


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