AFLĀKĪ ʿĀREFĪ, ŠAMS-AL-DĪN, b. between ca. 685/1286 and 690/1291, author of texts on the virtues of Jalāl-al-dīn Rūmī and his disciples. The pen name Aflākī was apparently derived from his work as an astronomer (Ṯāqeb Dede, Safina III, p. 5), while the nesba ʿĀrefī was taken by him from his shaikh Awlā ʿĀref Čelebī. His place of birth and the names of his parents remain unknown. According to Aflākī his father was a distinguished man or scholar at the court of Awrang Khan (r. 712-41/1312-40), overlord of the Golden Horde; on his death he left a great many books and considerable wealth. Aflākī must have come to Konya from elsewhere, since he makes no mention of having been born or having spent his childhood there. In Konya Aflākī studied with Serāǰ-al-dīn Maṯnawīḵᵛān (“maṯnawī-reciter”), ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen Tūqātī, and Neẓām-al-dīn Arzanǰānī (Manāqeb I, pp. 272, 559; II, p. 897). On the completion of his studies, he seems to have spent some time carrying out astronomical research and working as a druggist. He then attached himself as a disciple of Awlā ʿĀref Čelebī, to whom he remained devoted until the latter’s death and in whose company he visited many of the towns of Anatolia, Tabrīz, and Solṭānīya. After the death of his shaikh (719/1319), he followed his successors, ʿĀbed Čelebī (d. 739/1338) and the prince ʿĀdel Čelebī (d. 769/1368). During this period he occupied himself with writing his book. He died on 30 Raǰab 761/17 June 1360.
Apart from a few Turkish ḡazals attributed to him, Aflākī wrote two works, both of which are devoted to the life of Mawlānā Jalāl-al-dīn Rūmī and his disciples. His inclination was towards prose rather than poetry; in his books, he cites the poetry of others but never his own. Aflākī began the composition of Manāqeb al-ʿarefīn wa marāteb al-kāšefīn in 718/1318 on the orders of Awlā ʿĀref Čelebī, and completed it in one year. It contains biographies of eight individuals from Solṭān-al-ʿolamāʾ Bahāʾ-al-dīn Walad to Awlā ʿĀref Čelebī. The author refers to this text as being condensed (for mss., see Manāqeb [no. 2] I, foreword, pp. X-XIV; for an anonymous Turkish translation, see Istanbul kütüphâneleri Tarih-Coğrafya yazmalari katalogari I, Istanbul, 1943, p. 538).
Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn is a fuller version of the first work based on further information collected from various sources and discussing events which he himself had seen or heard. He drew on Bahāʾ-al-dīn Walad’s Walad-nāma (or Ebtedā-nāma), the Maqālāt of Šams-al-dīn Tabrīzī, the Maṯnawī, the complete Dīvān, letters of Rūmī, and notations written in the margins of various books. Apart from its biographies of Rūmī and his disciples, the Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn is of interest from the standpoint of history, sociology, psychology, art history, mysticism, and literature. (See C. Huart, “De la valeur historique des mémoires des derviches tourneurs,” JA, onzième serie, 20, 1922, pp. 308-17; Fuad Köprülü Anadolu, “Selçuklullari tarihinin yerli kaynakları,” Belleten 7, 1943, pp. 422ff.) The Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn has been published by the present author on the basis of the oldest and most reliable copies. It was translated into Turkish by Zāhed b. ʿAref Čelebī in 802/1400-01; Gūrakzāda Ḥasan Afandī (d. 1216/1801) in 1210/1797-98; and the present writer, under the title Ariflerin Menkıbeleri. A condensation was produced by ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb b. Jalāl-al-dīn Moḥammad Hamadānī (q.v.) and translated into Turkish by Kamāl Aḥmad Dede (d. 1026/1617) and Darvīš Ḵalīl (see H. Ritter, “Maulana Ğalāl al-dīn und sein Kreis,” Der Islam 26, 1940, p. 134; Istanbul kütüphâneleri Tarih- Coğrafya yazmaları katalogarı I, pp. 470, 518).
Aflākī, Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn, ed. T. Yazıcı, 2 vols., Ankara, 1976.
Translation: C. Huart, Les saints des derviches tourneurs, Recits traduits du persan et annotés, Paris, 1918-22.
Translation: John O’Kane, The Feats of the Knowers of God: Manāqeb Al-ʻārefīn, Leiden, 2002; rev. A. Schimmel, Journal of Islamic Studies 14/2, 2003, pp. 224-25.
See also Storey, I/2, p. 938.
Ṯāqeb Dede, Ṣafīna-ye nafīsa-ye mowlawīān, Cairo, 1283/1866-67, III, p. 5.
A. Gölpınarlı, Mevlana Celâleddin, Istanbul, 1952, p. 32.
A. Taneri, Türkiye Selçuklulari kültür hayati (Manâkibü’l-arifin’in değerlendirilmesi), Konya, 1977.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: March 4, 2013
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