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Oghuz Literature

Based on the research carried out by Burkov, which has met with the approval of other Turkic scholars, in the central and eastern Asia, parallel with the development of Qarakhanid literature, there came into being an Ughuz literature within an Islamic milieu. Though this literature came to leave a deep mark on the Chagatai literature, the true manifestation of this Ughuz literature came into light in the 6th century AH in the works of men of letters hailing from Anatolia, Azerbaijan, Khurasan, and even the interior regions of Iran, all of whom were impressed by Persian letters and the shared heritage of Islamic literature. Examples of the works of these eastern Turkish poets in the 7th century AH (13th cen. AD) include the poems and mulamma`at of Jalal al-Din Rumi and a collection of some 400 couplets of Baha’ al-Din Sultan Walad (d. 712 AH), which are imbued with a Sufi outlook on Islam similar to the view adopted by a wide range of Persian works of poetry. 

A major work of the period less influenced by Persian literature is the Charkh Namah of Ahmad Faqih (d. 618 AH), which at least in terms of style may be considered as a continuation of the Qarakhanid style. The Charkh Namah is an ethical work. In spite of the fact that its faqih author has been thoroughly familiar with Sufi and mystical teachings, his overall way of expression is more in tune with methods of shari`ah and in affinity with the parlance of Qarakhanid poets. The work is predominated by such Islamic ideas as a call to repentance, which is the foremost advice given by the poet, an exhortation to being watchful of drowning in the materialism of the worldly affairs, a theme which runs through the Charkh Namah, counseling against negligence and a call to action, providing reminders of the Judgment Day and depicting the tremendous events taking place prior and during its occurrence, an invitation to adherence to the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and an exhortation to keeping in mind one’s religious brother. The Charkh Namah also contains numerous references to the Qur`an and prophetic traditions. The 56th verse of the Surah of Dhariyat, “I have not created jinn and mankind except to serve and worship Me,” is interpreted by the poet as implying that the ultimate objective in the creation of the world and its creatures is the worship and service of God, which is then combined with the sense of several hadiths which indicate that the world was created for the sake of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). 

The story of Yusuf (Joseph) and Zulaykha (Potiphar’s wife) is a mathanawi composed by a certain `Ali in 630 AH (1233 AD). Though the framework-story is the Qur`anic-traditional tale of Prophet Joseph, both in terms of poetic style and meter, it has close affinity to the divan of Ahmad Yasawi, so much so that Bertholus considers it as a continuation of the latter’s divan. However, Hasan Ughli (Pur Hasan) Isfarayini, a Khurasani Turkish poet of the 7th century AH, who is characterized by Dulatshah Samarqandi as a mystic and religious man, has a style of poetry resembling that of Persian-speaking poets, and the reflection of Islamic teachings in his works must be viewed in the same light. 

The blending of national Ughuz epics with Islamic conceptions is another characteristic of this literature, a development which dates from the period of the rise of the Ottoman power. A prominent specimen of this genre is the story of Dadah Qurqut, whose protagonists are of ancient origin, which according to some accounts date back specifically to the 5th century AH. The date of the surviving version of the story is fixed by most scholars in the later half of the 9th century AH, though others, such as Faruq Sumar in his latest opinion, push the date forward by some hundred years. The attempt in the introduction of the work to establish a link between the Ottoman rule and a mythical Ughuz khanate makes it likely that the existing text of Dadah Qurqut originates in a period during which the Ottoman reign in Anatolia was recognized as a dynasty rather than a caliphate (726 – 922 AH / 1326 – 1516 AD). 

Ibn Dawadari (died after 736 AH) is explicit about the fact that during his time there existed a redaction of the Dadah Qurqut collection among the Oghuz. Qurqut, the main protagonist of the tale, is depicted as a wise sage and a divine instructor, who, on the one hand, may be viewed as representing the personality of the all-knowing master in the ancient wisdom culture of the Turks and, on the other hand, as one appearing in the garb of a divine prophet within the context of the Islamic religion. The character of Qurqut is described as a sage in possession of bilig (bilchi) and an admirer of ardam, especially when he is introduced as counselor to Ughuz Khan, where some of the elements of his personality come to resemble those of other mythical sages, such as Barmaklugh Jusun. His appellation of Dadah (father) is another means of driving home his similarity with the sages of ancient history. The introduction of the work is marked by a distinct Islamic influence, where reference is made to the fact that prior to the advent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) there had been nations with prophets of their own (Ibrahim, 14: 4), and where Qurqut is implicitly depicted with the characteristics of a divine prophet. At the outset, Qurqut is said to have been a contemporary of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), during the time of his divine mission, and to have been providing his people with the news of the Unseen, which he received through divine inspiration. 

Qurqut’s teachings – e.g. remembering God and beginning every undertaking with the invocation of His name, belief in the fact that without His assistance no man would come to any wealth, and that unless an affair has been predetermined by divine command it will never come to pass – are all reminiscent of Islamic ideas. The point in the story where an explicit link is established between Qurqut and his belief in Islam is where he gives news of the Last Day and the divine appointment of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and goes on to mention a number of events that are to occur after his death. Qurqut lauds the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as a friend of God, praises Imam `Ali (PBUH) as the king of men and the crusader for the sake of God, and makes reference to the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (PBUH) in Karbala (p. 6), in spite of the fact that the existing version of the story indicates a Sunni orientation. 

In the 9th – 11th centuries AH (15th – 17th cen. AD), there rose a limited sphere of literary activity among the Salar Ughuz of the eastern part of Turkistan, whose surviving works, such as Worship (`Ibadat) and the Story of Qurban (Qissi-yi Qurban), are imbued with religious concerns. 

In recent centuries, poets and authors of various Ughuz dialects, such as Azeri, Ottoman, Khurasani and Turkmen, have given rise to a large body of literary works, which in terms of their Islamic orientation are more inclined towards the Sufi and mystical works belonging to the shared literature of Muslim peoples. They include poets like Nasimi, Fuduli, Burhan al-Din Siwasi and Makhdum Quli. A genre that is especially prominent in Azeri literature is that of elegy, devoted to the sufferings of Imam Husayn and other Infallible Imams (PBUT), an important example of which is Kanz al-masa’ib by Muhammad Taqi Qumri Darbandi. 

 source: Pakatchi , Ahmad "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.498- 499

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