GÖLPINARLI, ABDÜLBAKI, Turkish scholar noted in particular for his studies of the Turkish Sufi orders (b. Istanbul, 10 Ramażān 1317/12 January 1900; d. Istanbul, 25 August 1982; Figure 1). Golpınarlı’s father, Ahmed Ãgâh Efendi, had migrated to Bursa from the region of Ganja in Azerbaijan and eventually became a noted journalist working for the newspaper Tercüman-ı Hakikat. His mother, Aliye, was of Circassian origin. When Gölpınarlı was born, his father, remembering that his previous children had died in infancy, thought it wise to name him Abdülbaki (ʿAbd-al-Bāqi), in the hope that the quality of baki (Ar. bāqi, “lasting”) would be reflected in the child. Ahmed Ãgâh died in 1914, and as a result the young Gölpınarli was unable to complete his inter mediate education and was obliged to take various jobs in Istanbul in order to support his family. He later worked for a time as a primary school teacher in the area of Çorum but returned to Istanbul in 1923 to continue his education. After graduating from the Edebiyat Fakültesi (Faculty of Letters) at Istanbul University, he taught literature at various high schools in Anatolia. In 1939, he was appointed a lecturer at the Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi (Faculty of Language, History and Geography) of Ankara University. In 1942, he returned to the University of Istanbul to teach the history and literature of Sufism, especially in its Turkish expression, at the Edebiyat Fakültesi. However, he was accused of leftist tendencies, imprisoned for a while, and compelled to resign his post. He devoted the rest of his life to research on Sufism and the Sufi orders. He died in 1982 and was buried in the Shiʿi graveyard at Seyitahmet Deresi in Üsküdar.

A man of sensitive and unusual character, Gölpınarlı joined many Sufi orders without remaining in any of them for long. His greatest interests were in Shiʿism and the Mevlevi (Mawlawiya) order. It is said that the clay tablet on which he placed his forehead in prayer, in accordance with Shiʿi precepts, would always be moistened with his tears, and the mere mention of Jalāl-al-Din Rumi would similarly suffice to bring tears to his eyes. He had an excellent command of Persian, probably acquired in the first instance from his father, and an extensive knowledge of all the Sufi orders with which he had come into contact. Of the more than fifty works that he authored, only those connected to some degree with Persian and Persian-influenced figures and movements will be discussed here.

Original works: Melâmîlik ve Melâmîler (Istanbul, 1931), devoted primarily to the biographies and ideas of Turkish Malāmi Sufis; Yunus Emre: Hayatı (Istanbul 1936), an investigation of the little-known life of the Turkish poet Yunus Emre, whose fine work was clearly inspired by that of Rumi; “İslâm ve Türk İlerinde Fütüvvet Teškilâtı ve Kaynakları,” İstanbul Üniversitesi İktisat Fakültesi Mecmuası 11, 1949-50, pp. 3-354, text and translation of one Arabic and five Persian handbooks of fotowwa; Mevlânâ Celâleddin: Hayatı, Felsefesi, Eserlerinden Seçmeler (Istanbul, 1951), an account that contains much new information on Rumi and his circle despite being inspired in part by a similarly entitled work by Badiʿ-al-Zamān Foruzānfar (q.v.); Mevlânâ’dan sonra Mevelevîlik (Istanbul, 1953), an important history of the Mevlevi order and its practices, which has been translated into Persian by Tawfiq Sobḥāni (Mawlānā Jelāl-al-Din: zendagāni, falsafa, āṯār wa gozida-i az ānhā, Tehran, 1984); “Faḍlallāh-i Ḥurufi’nin Wasiyyat-Nāma’si veya Wāsāyā’si,” Şarkiyat Mecmuası 2, 1957, pp. 53-62, an edition of the testament of Fażl-Allāh Ḥorufi; Mevlevî Ãdâb ve Erkânı (Istanbul, 1963), a detailed account of Mevlevi terminology, rites of initiation, and the order’s musical ceremonies; Ca’ferî Mezhebi ve Esasları (Istanbul, 1966), a translation of a treatise on Shiʿite feqh by Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Kāšef-al-Ḡeṭāʾ; Sımavna kadısıoğlu Şeyh Bedreddin (Istanbul, 1966); Mevlânâ Müzesi Yazmalar Kataloğu, 4 vols., Ankara, 1967-94), the descriptive catalogue of manuscripts in the Mevlânâ Museum in Konya; Hurûfîlik Metinleri Kataloğu (Ankara, 1973), a descriptive catalogue of manuscripts pertaining to Ḥorufi Sufism in the libraries of Istanbul; Târih Boyunca İslâm Mezhepleri ve Şîîlik (Istanbul, 1979), on the position of Shiʿism vis-à-vis other schools of Islamic thought.

Gölpınarlı also edited the poetry of Fożuli (q.v.; Fuzûlî Divanı, Istanbul, 1948) and translated a number of texts from Persian into Turkish, including Neẓāmi ʿArużi Samarqandi’s Čahār maqāla (q.v.; tr. with S. Ünver as Çiharı Makaleden İlm-e Tıp ve Meşhur Hekimlerin Mahareti, Istanbul, 1936); Rašid-al-Din Ṭabib’s Tansuq-nāma (Tansuk-nâme-i İlhan der Fünunu Ulûm-ı Hatâî Mukaddimesi, Ankara, 1939); the poems of Ḥāfeẓ (Hafız Divanı, Istanbul, 1944); Shaikh Maḥmud Šābestari’s Golšan-e rāz (Gülşeni Râz, Istanbul, 1944); Farid-al-Din ʿAṭṭār’s Manṭeq al-ṭayr (Mantık al-Tayr, 2 vols, Istanbul, 1944-45); and the divān and quatrains of Rumi (Dîvân-ı Kebîr, 7 vols., Istanbul, 1957-74; Rubâîler, Istanbul, 1964).



Ömer Akün, “Gölpınarlı, Abdülbaki,” Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi XIV, Istanbul, 1996, pp. 146-49.

Sadettin Nuzhet Ergun, Türk Şairleri, 3 vols, Istanbul, 1936-45, II, pp. 724-26.

İbnulemin Mahmut Kemal İnal, Son Asır Türk Şairleri, 12 vols., Istanbul, 1930-41, I, pp. 160-62.

M. Kaplan, “Abdülbâki Gölpınarlı,” Milliyet Sanat Dergisi 56, 15 Eylül 1982, p. 31.

Atilla Özkırımlı, Türk Edebiyatı Ansiklopedisi II, Istanbul, 1984, pp. 546-47.

Tawfiq Sobḥāni, “Moḵtaṣar-i dar bāra-ye zendagāni wa āṯār-e Ostād ʿAbd-al-Bāqi,” NDA Tabriz, nos. 128-29, 1983, pp. 127-36.

Server Tanilli, “In Memoriam Abdülbâki Gölpınarlı,” Turcica 16, 1984, pp. 7-9.

(Tahsin Yazıcı)

Originally Published: December 15, 2001

Last Updated: February 14, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 1, pp. 100-101