ḤEKMAT BEY (Hikmet Bey), ʿĀREF, Ottoman šayḵ-al-eslām (supreme authority in religious matters) from 1262/1845 to 1270/1854 and poet in Turkish, Arabic, and Persian, one of the last major exponents of classical Turkish poetry (b. Istanbul ?1201/1786; d. Istanbul, 1275/1859). He was the son of Ebrāhim ʿEṣmat Bey, who served as qāżi al-askar (chief military judge) and naqib al-ašrāf (representative at Istanbul of the Prophet’s descendants) during the reign of Selim III. ʿĀref Hekmat’s date of birth is not known for certain, although sources (e.g. Mantran) have suggested the date of 1201/1786.

In around 1229/1814, ʿĀref HekmatBey performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, after having completed his education. Upon his return, he served as a qāżi (judge) in Jerusalem (1231/1816), Egypt (1236/1820), and Medina (1239/1823). In 1244/1828, he was appointed as the qāżi of Istanbul. ʿĀref Hekma talso served as a senior administrator in Rumelia in 1245/1829 to superintend the census that was being taken. After his return in 1246/1830, he dealt with the affairs of the Prophet’s descendants as the naqib al-ašrāf. In 1250/1834, he resigned from this post, and later, in 1254/1838, he served as the qāżi al-askar (chief military judge) of Anatolia. In 1255/1839, ʿĀref was appointed to the Majles-e Wālā-ye ʿAdliya, a law-court established to deal with cases involving high-ranking officials. Finally, on 2 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1262/21 November 1845, he was appointed šaiḵ-al-eslām, a position which he held for some seven and a half years. During his retirement ʿĀref Hekmat devoted himself to his studies at his well-stocked personal library. He decided to move to Medina in his old age and even arranged for the transfer of his entire library to a new building that he had specially constructed there for this purpose. However, he died in Istanbul before making the move to the Hejaz himself, on 16 Šaʿbān 1275/21 March 1859. The library is still located in Medina, some twenty-five kilometers away from the Gate of the Archangel Gabriel (Bāb Jebril), towards the direction of Mecca from the Mosque of the Prophet (al-Masjed al-nabawi). It contains numerous important works in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.

ʿĀref Hekmat knew Arabic and Persian well enough to write poetry in both languages. As one of the last representatives of traditional poetry, his work shows the influence of predecessors such as Nafiʿ (d. 1044/1635), Nabi (d. 1124/1712), and Nadim (d. 1143/1730).

Works: 1) Divan. His collected poems in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish have been compiled by Moḥammad Ziver (Istanbul, 1283/1867). 2) Majmuʿat al-tarājem: ḏayl lil-Kašf al-ẓonun. Although the original work has not survived, ʿAli Amiri’s Arabic copy can be found at the Millet Library (ʿAli Amiri, Tāriḵ, no. 788). It presents the biographies of scholars, religious figures, and poets in alphabetical order. 3) Taḏkera-ye šoʿarāʾ. This work, which was never completed, consists of the biographies of 203 Turkish poets who lived between the years 1000/1592 and 1252/1837, listed according to their pseudonyms. The sole manuscript of this work can be found at the Millet Library. 4) Ḵolāṣat al-maqālāt fi majāles al-mokālamāt. This is a collection of his father’s speeches (Istanbul University Library, TY, no. 5832). 5) al-Aḥkām al-marʿiya fi’l-arāżi al-amiriya, the regulations for title deeds dated 1263/1847. A copy can be found at the Istanbul University Library (İbnülemin, no. 2958), and it has been published three times in Istanbul (1265/1848, 1267/1850 and 1269/1852). 


Fatma Aliye. Ahmet Cevdet Paşa ve Zamanı, Istanbul, 1913, pp. 31-33, 43, 50-55, 104.

Šehāb-al-Din Maḥmud Alusi, ʿĀref Ḥekmat: ḥayātoho wa maʾāṯeroho, Beirut, 1403/1983.

Mustafa L. Bilge, “Arif Hikmet Bey, Şeyhülislâm,” and “Arif Hikmet Kütüphanesi,” in Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Istanbul, 1991, III, pp. 365-67.

İsmail Cerrahoğlu, “Şeyhülislâm Arif Hikmet ve Medine-i Münevvere’de Kurduğu Kütüphane,” Ankara İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi 30, 1988, p. 111 ff.

Davud Fatin, Taḏkera-ye ḵātemat al-ašʿār, Istanbul, 1271/1854, pp. 70-71.

E. J. W. Gibb, A History of Ottoman Poetry, London, 1905, IV, p. 350.

ʿĀref Ḥekmat, Divān-e ʿĀref Ḥekmat Bey Efendi, ed. Moḥammad Ziver, Istanbul, 1283/1867.

İlmiyye Salnamesi, Istanbul, 1334/1915, p. 590.

İbnülemin Mahmud Kemal İnal, Son Asır Türk Şairleri, Istanbul, 1937, I, pp. 636-46.

Mustafa İsen, “Arif Hikmet Tezkiresi,” in Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Istanbul, 1991, III, pp. 367-68.

Jawdat Pāšā, Balāḡat-e oṯmāniya, Istanbul, 1303/1885, p. 171.

Idem, Tāriḵ, Istanbul, 1309/1891, II, pp. 102, 133, 137.

R. Mantran, “ʿĀrif Hikmet Bey,” EI2 I, p. 630.

Osmanlı Müellifleri. Vol. II, p. 327.

Mehmet Süreyya, Sicill-i Osman I, p. 130; II, p. 274.

Fevziye Abdullah Tansel, “Arif Hikmet Bey,” İA I, pp. 564-68.

(Tahsin Yazici)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 22, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 2, p. 150

Cite this entry:

Tahsin Yazici, “ḤEKMAT BEY,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, XII/2, p. 150, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/hekmat-bey- (accessed on 30 December 2012).