ANQARAVĪ, ROSŪḴ-AL-DĪN ESMĀʿĪL B. AḤMAD, (also known as Rosūḵī Dede) (d. 1041/1631), a shaikh in the Mawlawī order and author of the most important traditional commentary on the Maṯnawī of Jalāl-al-dīn Rūmī. He was first affiliated to the Bayrāmī order but was subsequently initiated into the Mawlawīya; he came to succeed Bostān Čelebī (ʿAbdī Dede) as shaikh at the Iskandar Pasha Mawlawī tekke in the Kapikule district of Istanbul. During his tenure in this position he composed his vast commentary, in Turkish, on the Maṯnawī, and it quickly became authoritative among the Mawlawīs. Mawlawī “licenses” (eǰāt) to teach the Maṯnawī frequently specified that such instruction be based on the commentary of Anqaravī. R. A. Nicholson, also recognized the primacy of Anqaravī’s work among the commentaries on the Maṯnawī, and made extensive use of it in his own notes on the Maṯnawī (GMS 4, VII, VIII). There were, however, those who disputed its excellence, objecting to Anqaravī’s acceptance of the false ascription to Rūmī of an alleged seventh book of the Maṯnawī, and other criticisms have been raised in modern times (see A. Gölpınarlı, Mevnâ’dan sonra Mevlevîlik, Istanbul, 1953, p. 143).

Anqaravī consistently interprets the Maṯnawī in terms of the philosophy of Ebn ʿArabī; his commentary may thus be taken as one more indication of the permeation of post-7th/13th century Sufism by the powerful influence of the great Andalusian master. His interest in Ebn ʿArabī is further attested by the commentary he wrote on Foṣūṣ al-ḥekam. Among his other works (almost all in Turkish) may be mentioned: a commentary on Šehāb-al-dīn Sohravardī’s Hayākel al-r; an explanation of some of the more obscure lines in the Maṯnawī (all-e moškelāt-e Maṯnawī); and an exposition of the principles and practices of the Mawlawī order (Menhāǰ al-foqarāʾ), probably the most important of his works after the commentary on the Maṯnawī. He also composed poetry, in both Persian and Turkish, under the pen name of Rosūḵī. He died in 1041/1631 and was buried in the forecourt of the Kapikule tekke. The present state of his tomb dates from 1236/1820-21, when it was covered with marble by Ḥālet Efendi, then shaikh at the tekke.



See also: B. M. Ṭāher, Osmanlı Müellifleri, Istanbul, 1333/1915, I, pp. 24-25.

J. von Hammer-Purgstall, Bericht über den zu Kairo im Jahre D.H. 1251 (1835) in sechs Foliobänden erschienenen türkischen Commentar des Mesnewi Dschelaleddin Rumis, Vienna, 1851. (Despite its title this work hardly addresses Anqaravī’s commentary; it is a little more than a synopsis of the Maṯnawī itself.)

Š. Sāmī, Qāmūs al-aʿlām, Istanbul, 1306/1889, I, p. 439.

Anqaravī’s commentary has been twice published under the title of Mesnevi-i Şerif Şerhi: Cairo, 1251/1835, 6 vols., and Istanbul, 1289/1872, 7 vols.

The Istanbul edition is prefaced by an anonymous twelve-page sketch of the life of Anqaravī that lays particular stress on his disputes with various contemporaries. Extracts from his commentaries were translated into Arabic by Jangī Yūsof Dede under the title al-Menhāǰ al-qawī fī šarḥ al-Maṯnawī, Cairo, 1289/1872.

A complete Persian translation of the commentary is now in progress: ʿE. Sattārzāda, Šarḥ-e kabīr-e Anqaravī bar Maṯnawī-e Mawlawī, Tabrīz, 1348 Š.-/1969-. Of Anqaravī’s other works, only Menhāǰ al-foqarāʾ appears to have been published, Būlāq, 1256/1840.

(H. Algar)

Originally Published: December 15, 1985

Last Updated: August 5, 2011

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