There are contextual sources from which the poets and prose writers, among the representatives of Islamic Turkish literature feed on and benefit, when they express their ideas. Those sources were used sometimes for strengthening the idea and sometimes for beautifying the wording. We can come across some studies examining what these sources are and whether they were classified or not, despite not being very detailed. Generally speaking, when we investigate what those sources are, we easily come to the conclusion that they are mainly religion-centered –namely-, religious sources. However, when we name a source as a religious one, then there occurs a situation that other sources should be considered non-religious, which seems to be problematic. Therefore, through a scrutiny, it is possible to come to the conclusion that those so-called non-religious sources are not totally far from a religious context, either.
In this study, we will use the relevant terminology in this manner: we will not make a discrimination of a non-religious source, rather, in general, a naming of religious sources from among the contextual sources will be applied. Then those sources will be examined in two sections: direct religious sources – such as the Holy Quran, Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH), historical records of the past Prophets and their miracles, life of the Prophet (PBUH) and history of Islam, exegesis of the Holy Book, Islamic jurisprudence, Ilm al-kalam (a religious discipline which discusses Islamic beliefs and doctrines which are necessary for a Muslim to believe in), Islamic mysticism, and mystic figures – and indirect religious sources (contemporary sciences, historical and legendary personalities, culture and language). Due to the fact that it will be beyond the length of one unique article to examine both titles together; instead, this study will exclusively focus on the Diwan (Poetry Collection) of Sheikh Ghalib, and will try to understand how he used the religious sources accordingly, and thus, we will have established what kind of contextual sources he referred to when he composed his Diwan.
Turkish-Islamic literature has developed under the influence of the Islamic culture and civilization and remained loyal to the values of this area of culture and civilization. Works of literature which were written in line with those values, in general sense, not only reflected the emotions, thoughts and dreams of the era of the author that he lived, but also encompassed the social, political and cultural characteristics, pleasures, perceptions, beliefs and artistic viewpoint of the same era. Therefore, considering the content of a literary work of art, it will be inevitable that there will be numerous factors which play the role of a source for that content.
Up to now, diverse titles have been put forward regarding the contextual sources. However, it seemed appropriate to us to examine those sources under two main sections: “direct sources with religious content” and “indirect sources with religious content”
Most undoubtedly, the Holy Book Quran is the first and foremost direct source of religious content, which comes to mind at once. Because it is a fundamental source in almost all fields, including a number of formal qualities of literature, content and also emergence of some genres. The Hadits (sayings) of the Prophet (PBUH) will be mentioned as a second source, which will take their place in poetry as some principles shaping the belief system of the Diwan poet, as well as governing his way of expression and style. Another source that we refer to is the historical records of the past Prophets and their miracles. As for the other direct religious sources, we can mention the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and history of Islam; exegesis (tafseer) of the Quran which aims to understand, explain and also to elucidate the method of understanding and explaining it; Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) which is based on the Quran and hadiths and which governs the individual and social law; Ilm al-kalam which establishes the tenets of theological discussions; Islamic mysticism which systematized the tenets of an Islamic ascetic way of life (zuhd) snd insight; and also those lives of mystic figures.
As for the indirect religious sources, we can mention the contemporary sciences; historical and legendary personalities and finally, daily incidents such as, month of Ramadan (fasting time), religious days, weddings, school, entertainment, wars, sports, games; briefly all the cultural and social aspects of life, together with the language. It is impossible to consider those sources out of religion or isolate from religion; however, at the same time, it is obvious that those factors do not directly originate from religion.
As it can be inferred from its title, this study elucidates the issue, how Sheikh Ghalib used and benefited from direct religious sources and we will also try to discover in what manner he gave place to those sources in his poety.
Islam has a penetration to every field of life. Thus, it has influenced the Diwan poets and has taken its primary place among the sources which will be effective in the organization of their Diwans. Likewise, Ghalib is one of those of our poets (lived in XVIII. Century) who benefited from those sources to a significant extent. His real name is Mehmed Esad. He was born in Istanbul in 1757-1758. His father is Mustafa Reşîd Efendi, and mother is Emine Hatun. He received his first education from his father and then he learnt Persian language from Neş’et Suleiman who was considered as the master of Persian language in that period. Beginning from early ages, he attended the circles of Mawlawi (a major mystical sect) masters in the House of Mawlawi sect, which was assumed to be a school of literature, music and mysiticism. He read the Diwans of Persian and Turkish poets. In 1784, he went to Konya and underwent a seclusion period at the House of Mawlawi Dervishes. After a while he came to Istanbul and completed the rest of his seclusion period there. He was appointed as the sheikh (chief master) to Galata House of Mawlawi Dervishes in 1791. He functioned as the sheikh for 8 years there. He eventually died in 1799 at the age of 42.
In this study, we established the religious sources of Turkish-Islamic literature and as an exemplary figure we investigated the Diwan of Sheikh Ghalib. It will be naturally understood by the ones who are interested in literature that the poets and prose writers as representatives of Islamic literature, did not /cannot remain independent or far away from religion or religious sources.
Works of poets whose religious aspect is strong and who are especially connected with mysticism, containa rich source of references in terms of religious sources. In this regard, our poet Sheikh Ghalib has such a strong cognition of poetry that he wrote a Diwan at the age of twenty-four. This cognition was at a very high level. He achieved to bring a fresh breath to Diwan poetry in an era in which it began to deteriorate (the XVIII. century). We observe a great deal of religious references in his works. Ghalib, alongside his Mawlawi identity, is a personage who occupied the position of a Sheikh. In his Diwan, he excerpted from the Quran and Hadiths and made implications to them; and also gave a big place to religious disciplines, stories of the Prophets and especially to mystical personalities, which indicates his strength of religious and mystical aspect.