DĀʿĪ, pen name of AḤMAD b. Ebrāhīm b. Moḥammad, Turkish scholar and poet who wrote in both Persian and Turkish. From the little information found in taḏkeras and Dāʿī’s own work, it is known that he lived during the latter part of the 14th century and the first half of the 15th century. Some authors (Sehī, p. 56; ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf, p. 85; Qenālīzāda, I, p. 139) reported that he was from the province of Getmīān, the present-day Kütahya in Turkey, others (Ṭawīl [Uzun] Ferdowsī, Solaymān-nāma, Süleymaniye kütüphanesi, Istanbul, ms. no. Hacı Mahmud 271) that he lived in the principality of Aydınoğlu near Izmir. He received the traditional education of his time, studying tafsīr, Hadith, feqh, and astronomy. He also appears to have been well versed in Sufism. He was a qāżī (religious judge) by profession and, according to his ʿOqūd al-jawāher (see below), also tutored the young Ottoman prince Morād (later Sultan Morād II; 824-28/1421-44, 850-55/1446-51).
Two of Dāʿī’s works in Persian are known. He composed a small dīvān, which is extant in a manuscript in the author’s own hand dated 816/1413 (for a facsimile ed., see Ertaylan, pp. 273-88). The poems are mostly in praise of the grand vizier Ḥājī Ḵalīl Pasha, to whom the manuscript is dedicated. Various sections of the dīvān give the impression that it is a selection from a much larger collection. A second work, ʿOqūd al-jawāher, is a versified Persian dictionary rendered from a Persian prose translation by Rašīd-al-Dīn Vaṭvāṭ (d. 573/1177) of the anonymous Arabic text Noqūd al-zawāher wa johūd al-jawāher to help the young prince Morād learn Persian. The earliest manuscripts are preserved in the Süleimaniye library in Istanbul (Bağdatlı Vehbi ms. no. 1949; H. Hüsnü Pas…a ms, no. 1102/3; Murad Buhari ms. no. 321/61; for a facsimile ed., see Ertaylan, pp. 265-72).
Dāʿī also translated several works from Persian. At the request of Karacabey, a vizier of Morād II, he rendered ʿAṭṭār’s Taḏkerat al-awlīāʾ into Turkish; the unique manuscript is in the Süleymaniye library, Istanbul (Serez no. 1800). On the other hand, several copies of his translation of Sī faṣl dar taqwīm, a work on astronomy and astrology by Naṣīr-al-Dīn Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274), survive (Laleli ms. no. 2735; Hacı Mahmut ms. nos. 5715, 576; Esad Efendi ms. no. 3569/5, all in the Süleymaniye library; facsimile ed. in Ertaylan, pp. 314-21). He also translated another work by Ṭūsī, Jāmāsb-nāma (facsimile ed. in Ertaylan, pp. 147-54). Tarjama-ye taʿbīr-nāma, a Turkish rendering of the Persian translation of Abū Bakr b. ʿAbd-Allāh Wāseṭī’s Arabic work, was commissioned by the Germiyanid prince Yaqʿūb II (790-92/1388-90; mss. in the Millet Kütüphanesi, Istanbul, Hekimoğlu Ali Pas…a ms. no. 588, and Atatürk Kitaplığı, Istanbul, Muallim Cevdet ms. no. 26).
Dāʿī’s works in Turkish include the following: a dīvān of five qaṣīdas and 199 ḡazals in praise of Čelebī Moḥammad (complete edition in the National library [Dār al-kotob], Cairo; see Kortantamer, 1977b; ed. in Ertaylan, pp. 13-144, without two sections of his naẓīras [parallels] on the poems of other Turkish poets); the unsigned Serāj al-qolūb, consisting of questions posed to the Prophet Moḥammad, ʿAlī, and the Companions, as well as their answers, attributable to Dāʿī on the basis of language and style; a short maṯnawī entitled Wasīyat-e Nūšervān-e ʿĀdel be pesaraš Hormoz-e tājdār (Ertaylan, pp. 300-08); Čang-nāma, a maṯnawī on the attributes of the čang (harp) in mystical language (facsimile ed. Ertaylan, pp. 155-262); Wasīlāt al-molūk fī ahl al-solūk, a short commentary on the Koran verse 2:255 (Ertaylan, pp. 323-29); Tarassol, the first collection of Turkish monšaʾāt (examples of epistolary writing) written in Anatolia, surviving in a single manuscript in the Muradiye library in Manisa (for the introductory section, see Ertaylan, pp. 325-28).
Finally, Dāʿī also translated three works directly from Arabic: Meftāḥ al-janna, by an unknown author (facsimile ed. in Ertaylan, pp. 405-21); Tarjama-ye ṭebb-e nabawī, comprising sayings of the Prophet concerning medicine, by Abū Noʿaym Eṣfahānī (d. 301/1038), abridged by Abū ʿAbbās Aḥmad Yūsof Tīfāšī (d. 651/1253); and Dorar al-jawāher, a translation of Tafsīr al-Qorʾān by Abu’l-Layṯ Samarqandī (d. 373/983), including the first known Turkish translation of the Koran in Anatolia (extant in several manuscripts).
ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf Čelebī (Laṭīfī), Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, Istanbul, 1314/1896.
ʿAlī (attributed), Konh al-aḵbār, Istanbul, 1277/1860.
G. Alpay, Ahmed-i Daʿi and His Çengname (An Old Ottoman Mesnevi), Cambridge, 1975.
A. Ateş, “Burdur-Antalya ve havalisi kütüphanelerinde bulunan Türkçe Arapça ve Farsça bazı mühim eserler,” Türk dili ve edebiyatı dergisi 2/3-4, 1948, pp. 171-91.
A. Bombaci, Storia delta letteratura turca, Milan, 1956, p. 297.
İ. H. Ertaylan, Ahmed-i Dáʿí. Hayatı ve eserleri (Külliyát), Istanbul, 1952.
E. J. Gibb, A History of Ottoman Poetry I, London, 1900, pp. 225-59.
İ. Hakkı Uzunçaṛşılı, Anadolu beylikleri, Ankara, 1937, pp. 11-12.
J. von Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches, 10 vols., Pest, 1827-35; tr. J. Hakkı Uzunçaṛşılı as Osmanlı tarihi I, Ankara, 1988.
Idem, Geschichte der osmanischen Dichtkunst I, Pest, 1836, p. 72.
F. İz, “Dāʿī,” in EI2II, pp. 98-99.
M. F. Kūprīlīzāda (Köprülüzade) and Š. Solaymān, Yenī ʿoṯmanlī tārīḵ-e adabīyātī, Istanbul, 1332/1914, p. 191.
T. Kortantamer, “Ahmed-i Dâ’î’nin mutayyabât adıyla tanınan eseri üzerine,” Türkoloji dergisi 7, 1977a, pp. 157-70.
Idem, “Ahmed-i Dâ’î ile ilgili yeni bilgiler,” Türkoloji Dergisi 7, 1977b, pp. 103-38.
Qenālīzāda Ḥasan Čelebī, Taḏkerat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. İ. Kutluk, I, Ankara, 1978.
Sehī Bey, Taḏkera, ed. M. Šokrū, Istanbul, 1325/1907.
S. de Sugny, La muse ottomane ou chefs-d’oeuvre de la poésie turque, Paris, 1853 (confuses Aḥmad Dāʿī with Aḥmadī).
Moḥammad (Meḥmed) Ṯoreyyā, Sejell-e ʿoṯmānī I , Istanbul, 1308/1890-91, p. 190.
Bursalı Moḥammad (Meḥmed) Ṭāher, ʿOṯmanlī moʾelleflerī II, Istanbul, 1343/1925, pp. 171-72.
F. Timurtaş, “Ahmed-i Dāʿī ve eserlerinin Türk dili ve edebiyatındaki yeti,” Türk dili 3/31, 1954, pp. 426-30.
Türkiye diyânet vakfi Islâm Ansiklopedisi II, Istanbul, 1989, pp. 56-58.
Originally Published: December 15, 1993
Last Updated: November 11, 2011
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Vol. VI, Fasc. 6, pp. 593-594