BAHĀʾ-AL-DĪN SOLṬĀN WALAD, MOḤAMMAD, 7th-8th/13th-14th-century Sufi shaikh and poet, son and eventual successor of Mawlānā Jalāl-al-Dīn Rūmī (Mawlawī). Bahāʾ-al-Dīn was born on 25 Rabīʿ II 623/24 April 1226 to Gowhar Ḵātūn at Lāranda (modern Karaman), where Jalāl-al-Dīn’s father Bahāʾ-al-Dīn Walad, and later Jalāl-al-Dīn himself, were madrasa professors. The family moved to Konya when Bahāʾ-al-Dīn was three years old and there he spent most of his life. Bahāʾ-al-Dīn grew up amidst scholars and Sufis, consciously modeling himself upon his father and also much influenced by the latter’s mentor Borhān-al-Dīn Moḥaqqeq Termeḏī (Walad-nāma, pp. 3-4, 179). By the age of twenty he was a key member of the fraternity, and may already have acquired the honorific name of Solṭān Walad. He faithfully served Rūmī’s three closest intimates, Šams-al-Dīn Tabrīzī, Ṣalāḥ-al-Dīn Zarkūb, and Ḥosām-al-Dīn Čalabī, until they died. Solṭān Walad brought back Šams-al-Dīn after he had been driven from Konya in 644/1246 (Walad-nāma, pp. 47-50). After Šams’s disappearance the following year, Jalāl-al-Dīn instructed Solṭān Walad to take Ṣalāḥ-al-Dīn Zarkūb as shaikh; Walad followed him exclusively (Walad-nāma, pp. 97-98) until Zarkūb’s death in 657/1258. He married Zarkūb’s daughter Fāṭema, and later two other wives, named Noṣrat and Sonbola. Altogether Solṭān Walad had four sons (including Jalāl-al-Dīn Amīr ʿĀref, his successor as shaikh) and two daughters. When Rūmī himself died in 672/1273, Ḥosām-al-Dīn Čalabī, who had succeeded Ṣalāḥ-al-Dīn as Rūmī’s successor (ḵalīfa), urged Solṭān Walad to take his father’s place but was persuaded by him to assume this position (Walad-nāma, pp. 122-24). Acclaimed once more as rightful head of the Order on the death in 683/1284 of Ḥosām-al-Dīn, the humble Solṭān Walad finally accepted, but still regarded Karīm-al-Dīn Baktamūr (d. 690/1291) as his master.
Under the leadership of Solṭān Walad, the Order was for the first time formed into an organized group like other Sufi fraternities. One part of the ritual samāʿ later became known as the dawr-e waladī, but the precise extent of Solṭān Walad’s role in formalizing the Mawlawīya rites and institutions is unknown. While lacking Jalāl-al-Dīn’s unique visionary genius, Solṭān Walad possessed not only saintliness but also practical abilities, energy, and a clear sense of purpose. He found it necessary to cultivate good relations with the Saljuq and Mongol rulers and other notables. In his Rabāb-nāma (ed. ʿAlī Solṭānī Gerdfarāmarzī, Tehran, 1359 Š./1980, pp. 35-38), Walad recounts how he defended himself against a disciple’s criticism for composing verse in praise of such unworthy men. Authorized representatives were sent to numerous parts of Asia Minor and elsewhere to propagate and establish the brotherhood (Walad-nāma, pp. 155-56). By the time of his death on 12 Rajab 712/13 November 1312, Solṭān Walad had set on secure foundations the Mawlawīya, which was to become one of the major Sufi orders.
Solṭān Walad followed his father in composing ḡazals and longer poems as well as giving discourses. Aware that many disciples had difficulty in understanding Rūmī’s writings, he re-interpreted them in simpler language. Walad’s writing lacks intensity, fluency, or new ideas and modes of expression; but its simple didactic clarity is some compensation. In another respect, however, Solṭān Walad is an innovative and important poet. He was the first in Asia Minor to compose a considerable body of verse in Turkish: 129 bayts in the Persian Dīvān, 162 in the Rabāb-nāma, and 80 in the Walad nāma (studies are listed in T. Yazıcı, “Sultan Veled,” in İA XI, pp. 28-32).
Works. Not all of Solṭān Walad’s writings have been published. For mss., see M. Önder et al., Mevlâna bibliyogrufyası II, Ankara, 1974, pp. 304-24 and H. Ritter, “Philologika XI: Maulānā Ğalāluddīn Rūmī und sein Kreis,” Der Islam 26, 1942, pp. 229-38. His extant works are: 1. Dīvān, comprising over 12,700 verses. Many poems are naẓīras in emulation of ḡazals by Rūmī; as in the latter’s Dīvān, no fewer than 29 meters are used. Besides the Turkish bayts, there are a few molammaʿāt (poems in which more than one language is used), and verses in Greek. Editions are: Dīvān-e Solṭān Walad (Persian), ed. F. N. Uzluk, Istanbul, 1941, ed. with introduction S. Nafīsī, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959. Dīvān-e torkī-e Solṭān Walad (Turkish verses), ed. Kilisli R. Bilge, Istanbul, 1341/1922. M. Mansuroğlu, Sultan Veled’in Türkçe manzûmeleri (superior ed.), Istanbul, 1958. 2. Walad-nāma (ed. J. Homāʾī, Tehran, 1315 Š./1936), also known as Ebtedā-nāma or Maṯnawī-e waladī, in about 10,000 bayts. Begun and completed in 690/1291, this poem contains a wealth of biographical and other information about Rūmī and his circle, as well as teachings on Sufism. 3. Rabāb-nāma, a maṯnawī, written in 700-01/1301, is largely didactic and elucidates diverse aspects of Sufism and some passages from Rūmī’s works. 4. Entehā-nāma (in ms.), Solṭān Walad’s last maṯnawī, is devoted to teachings on Sufi doctrine and practice. Like the Rabāb-nāma, it comprises about 8,000 verses. 5. Maʿāref, a compilation of Solṭān Walad’s discourses. In their written form, at least, these are far more structured and less spontaneous than those preserved in the Fīhi mā fīhi of Rūmī or the Maʿāref of Bahāʾ-al-Dīn Walad. A French translation by E. de Vitray-Meyerovitch has been published (Maître et disciple: Kitab al-maʿarif, Paris, 1982).
Primary sources: Sources on Solṭān Walad’s life and work are relatively copious. They include his own writings, particularly Walad-nāma. Contemporary and generally reliable is Farīdūn b. Aḥmad Sepahsālār’s Resāla dar aḥwāl-e Mawlānā Jalāl-al-Dīn Mawlawī, ed. Saʿīd Nafīsī, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946. More hagiography than history, but still significant, is Aḥmad Aflākī’s Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn, ed. T. Yazıcı, 2 vols., Ankara, 1976, II, pp. 784-824.
Secondary sources. The best general study on Solṭān Walad’s life and work is in Turkish: A. Gölpınarlı, Mevlânâ’dan sonra Mevlevîlik, Istanbul, 1953, pp. 29-64.
On the Turkish verses and their importance, see: E. J. W. Gibb, A History of Ottoman Poetry I, London, 1900, pp. 151-63 and M. F. Köprülü, Türk edebiyatında ilk mutasavvıflar, 2nd ed., Ankara, 1966, pp. 197-206. Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 155-56.
B. Forūzānfar, Taḥqīq-e aḥwāl o zendagānī-e Mawlānā Jalāl-al-Dīn Moḥammad mašhūr be Mawlawī, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1332 Š./1953.
Ḵayyāmpūr, Soḵanvarān, p. 274. Nafīsī, Naẓm o naṯr I, pp. 160, 199; II, p. 760.
Rypka, Hist. Iran Lit., pp. 180, 242. Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III/2, pp. 705-12 and index.
(M. I. Waley)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 23, 2011
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