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ERLIK KHAN (ERLEG HAN)

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Erlik Khan (Erleg Han) – the second son of “Father Heaven” (Gök or Kök Tengri / Tenger Etseg) and his wife “Mother Earth” (Gazar Eej – Etugan), the core deities in Mongolian shamanism.



According to the Mongolian myth of creation, there were three realms, the “heavenly world” and the “earthly world” (each having 9 levels) and the “underground world” (with 9 rivers “); These realms were connected by the colossal “Worlds’ Tree” (Turge) which they considered the center of the worlds. The World Tree supported the sky and thus connected the heavenly world, the earthly world and, through its roots, the underworld. – [“Altan Tobchi” (Golden Abstract), a 17th century Mongolian chronicle]

Kök / Gök Tangrı is believed to be an eternal blue sky, the supreme being and creator of everything, who assigned power to the Khagans, who created and maintained balance in the universe, the nature, the weather and the seasons. While his wife, Mother Earth (Gazar Eej – Etugan) provided support and nourishment on the grounds below.

They had two sons: Ulgen Khan, Lord of the spirits of the upper world and the creator of the world (land) and Erleg Khan, the Lord of the sprits of the lower world. While Ulgen ruled the Realm of Light, Erleg ruled the Realm of Darkness, and they were associated with the black and white shamans, respectively.



Erlik Khan – the deity of evil, darkness, Lord of the Underworld and judge of the souls of dead people, symbolized a destructive aspect of the Universe, as well as wickedness, greed, ambition and all sorts of evil.

He was also the ruler of the Red Hell (Kizil Tamu), the place where the souls of sinful people go to be punished after they die, and where the enemies were sent to dwell in there eternally. According to the Mongolian belief, some of those souls would be reborn again after a time, some would be elevated to the 3rd level of Heaven (Sky) after enduring their punishment, but extremely evil ones would be extinguished forever.

According to Mongolian Tengrism, Erlik Khan does all kinds of malicious things to people, infects humans and animals with epidemics, and sends grasshoppers to destroy crops. Camel, pig, insects, snake, lizard and some evil spirits are his creations, according to the “Myth of the Creation”. He catches spirits of the people killed or the souls of those still wandering the world of the living, and takes them underground to make them his own servants.

By doing these, he forces people to make ritual sacrifices for him. It is believed that if sacrifices were made and if he is satisfied, he will leave people alone for a while.

While sacrifices are made, the head of the animals being sacrificed to Erlik must be turned to the west, because the Gate to the Underworld has the appearance of a crack in the Earth and is situated to the west. He prefers a black bull, or infirm, weak and sick animals to be sacrificed. A horse is never sacrificed to him, but occasionally the Black Shamans (Kara Kam) would sacrifice a black horse to please him.
In addition, if a person is sick and is at the death door, a Shaman performing shamanic ritual will descend into the underworld traveling along the World River (named Dolbor or Engdekit) or by some other mean, to negotiate with Erlik Khan to bring the person back to life. If negotiations fail, the person will die.



Erlik Khan had nine sons, called Karaoğlanlar (“black boys”), and each of them was a deity of some aspect of the Underworld:
1. Karash Han: The god of darkness.
2. Matır Han: The god of courage and bravery.
3. Shingay Han: The god of chaos.
4. Komur Han: The god of evil.
5. Badysh Han: The god of disaster.
6. Yabash Han: The god of defeat.
7. Temir Han: The god of iron and mining.
8. Uchar Han: The god of informants.
9. Kerey Han: The god of discord.
[Türk Söylence Sözlüğü, Deniz Karakurt]

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How Erlik Khan ended up being the Lord of the Underworld is explained in the work “Mongol Creation Myth”, as per Ewenki people:

“Long ago Father Heaven had two sons, Ulgen Tenger and Erleg Khan. Ulgen became the lord of the upper world and Erleg Khan became the lord of the lower world.

At that time the earth was covered with water, there was no land. Ulgen Tenger asked the loon to bring up mud from below the water to create land. But, the loon was not able to do so, and he was punished by having his legs broken so he could not walk.

Then, the goldeneye duck was called next to bring up mud for the land. The duck created a small piece of land that Ulgen was able to lay on. Erleg Khan seeing that his brother had fallen asleep on the new land, tried to pull the land out from under him, but instead the land stretched out in all directions as he pulled it.



Next, Ulgen Tenger created animals and humans out of mud and he spread them out to dry. He created the dog to keep watch over the bodies of the new humans while he was gone.

Erleg Khan, unhappy to see that his brother was creating humans, came to see the new bodies. But, the dog would not let him come close.
At that time the dog could talk but had no fur. It was cold, and snowing, so Erleg Khan tempted him, saying that if the dog allowed him to see the humans’ bodies he would give him a beautiful fur coat. The dog agreed, and was given a shiny beautiful coat. Erleg Khan then spat on the bodies so that humans would have diseases and not be immortal.

When Ulgen returned he saw that the dog had fur and that the humans had been damaged, so he punished the dog by making his coat smelly, taking away his voice, and by making the dog follow humans in order to get its food.

However, Erlik Khan has been forgiven, but because of his jealousy and evil ambition, was sent to the underworld to rule there”

References used and for further readings:

• “The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the 13th Century”
• “Türk Söylence Sözlüğ”, Deniz Karakurt:
• “Altan Tobchi” (Golden Abstract), a 17th century Mongolian chronicle
• http://www.face-music.ch/bi_bid/historyoftengerism.html
• http://deity-of-the-week.blogspot.com/2011/11/tengri.html
• http://www.zeluna.net/fairy-list-SiberiaMongolia.html
• http://aton.ttu.edu/OLD_TURK_DEITIES.asp
• http://www.hunmagyar.org/turan/tatar/turk.html.



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WHO IS OSMAN BEY

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WHO IS OSMAN BEY IN HISTROY?

Osman Gâzi (1299 – 1324)

“Because the one with the fear of Allah, the Creator, has no fear of the created.”
– Osman Gâzi Hân

By Melisa Dirilish

Osman Bey, the first Ottoman Sultan who ruled for 45 years, the founder of the Empire and the dynasty that were named after him, was also known by the names of: Kara Osman, Fahruddin and Muinüddin.
His life, although much shorter than his father’s, since he passed away aged 67 [the exact age of Ertuğrul Gazi when Osman was born], has been an extraordinary one, marked with many achievements and which inspired many legends.

Osman descended from the Kayı tribe of the Boz-Oklar branch of the Oğuz Turks, to which his father Ertuğrul Gazi also belonged, and from which the future Ottomans will emerge. While, his mother Halime Sultan has descended from the Kınık, the Üç-Oklar branch of Oğuz Turks, from which the Seljuks originated. That claim later became part of the official Ottoman genealogy and it was eventually incorporated into the Turkish nationalist historical tradition.



Osman Bey was born in 1258 in Söğüt or Osmancık. He came very late into Ertuğrul’s and Halime’s life. When he was born, Ertuğrul Gazi was about 67 years old, and because Halime Sultan was also older, at an age when women no longer give birth, Osman was considered to be a miracle sent by Allah.

Osman’s birth coincided with a time when “the world of declining empires” was desperate for a new leader.

He was only 23 years old when in 1281, upon the death of Ertuğrul Gazi, he took over the leadership of Kayı Boyu {clan} and the principality of Sögüt, what was then known as the province of Bithynia.

And, from then on, “the roots of the Platanus tree (Çınar) that rose from Osman’s chest, and whose majestic branches would extend across the seas and the lands, the continents and states, began to spread in the soil. So much so that, all humanity lived under the shadow of this Platanus for six centuries, in a way that they couldn’t have even imagined seeing it once again after the age of Bliss (Asr-ı Saâdetten).” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil, “the Kayi XI”; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]



With many conquests he carried out, he extended his territory in a short time, and gradually turned it into an independent principality, then into an independent state.

Firmly controlling the region around the town of Söğüt, he launched his raids from there and waged a slow and persistent war against the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. Osman appears to have followed a strategy of increasing his territories at the expense of the Byzantines, while at the same time he avoided conflicts with his more powerful Turkmen neighbours, until his State become strong enough to deal with them too.

He extended his lands from Marmara coast in the north, to the mouth of Sakarya River and Kutahya in the south. These boundaries included Söğüt, Karacahisar, Yarhisâr, Eskişehir, Harmankaya, Inegöl.
In the years preceding the conquest of Karacahisar fortress, Osman suffered two great private loses which caused him a great grief. His young nephew, Bey Hoca, the son of his brother Savci, was martyred in 1285 in the ambush during the Ermeni Beli battle, and sometime later his brother Savci also died in the struggle before the conquest of Karacahisar. [KemâlPaşa-zâde Tarihi]



After he conquered Karacahisar, Yarhisar and Bilecik, he transferred the centre of the Beylik to Bilecik. Years later, in 1301, he founded town of Yenişehir near Bursa and transferred the Sultanate’s headquarters there.

He then gave the governing of the Eskişehir to his brother Gündüz Bey, of town of Sultânönü to his son Orhan Bey, Yarhisâr to Hasan Alp, Bilecik to Sheikh Edebali and Inegöl to Turgut Alp, and took Edebali’s grandson Ala’addin (his son) with him.

Afterwards, he continued to increase his territories, and as per today’s Mülkî Taksimat (state’s office assets records), the lands of Osmanli domain [Osmanoğulları’nın ülkesi] at the time of Osman Khan’s death covered the districts of Bilecik, Eskişehir (administrative centre), Sarkaya with the attached Geyve, Akyazı and Hendek, Kütahya-Domanic and the province of Bursa, encompassing districts of Mudanya (including the port), Yenisar and Inegöl. [Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil, – Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]

When the Seljuk State was brought to an end by the Ilkhanid’s ruler Ahmad Ghazan in 1308, the Osman’s Principality became completely detached.



During his amazing life, Osman Gazi has been addressed by the titles of Emir and Bey. And, at his death he was titled Khan and Sultan, the 1st Sultan of Ottomans. Because, by the end of his life he had become The Bey of Principality, in his own right.

He first became a semi-independent governor, when the Seljuk Sultan Gıyaseddin Mesūd II recognised his rule in 1284, and sent him an envoy with a Mehterhane (military band), the Tuğ (the Tugh – symbol of duty, office and sovereignty) and a Sancak (Sancak/Sanjak – a military flag) as a gift, and also his decree that Söğüt and its environs were allocated to him. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]

The first legitimation of Osman’s rule on the part of the Seljuk Sultan, happened during the siege of Karachahisar, when the next Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III, summoned him and said that he displays many signs of success [bliss], adding “You and your family are unique in their kind. My prayers, Allah’s help, the Evliyaullah’s support [Allah’s aleem/ulamā’/wise men] and Muhammed’s miracles are with you”. [Âşıkpaşa-zâde]

And then, several years later, on 27 January 1300, Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III sent him an edict, along with another Tuğ, Sancak and a drum (as the symbols of his sovereignty), by which Osman Bey became an independent Principality Bey.
After gaining his independency, he proceeded to mint his own coins (Akce) with the inscription “Minted by Osman, son of Ertuğrul”, and had Jummah prayers recited in his name only.



Osman’s last campaign, before dying, was against the Byzantines in the city of Bursa. He masterminded and put in motion the siege of Bursa, which would last for 9 years (1317-1326), and then he left the battlefield under the command of his son, Orhan.
However, since he was long suffering from Nikris (goutte) disease, his health deteriorated towards the end of the siege, and he passed away in February 1324, before seeing the fall of Bursa.

He was buried temporarily in the graveyard next to Ertuğrul Gazi’s tomb. But Osman last request addressed to his son on his deathbed was that Osman re-bury him in Bursa, after he conquers it. So, 2.5 years later his remains were taken from Söğüt and re-buried in in the old Eastern Roman chapel, known as “Gümüşlü Kümbet”, in Bursa, in 1326. [Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı]

With the conquest of Bursa, on April 6th 1326, which heralded the founding of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Turks have finally established themselves as the major power in Asia Minor. And Bursa, in later history recognized as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire, became the new Ottoman capital until the conquest of Adrianople (today known as Edirne) in 1362, by Osman’s grandson, Sultan Murad I.

The physical and spiritual foundations of the State he left after his passing, were so strong that only 150 years later it would became a superpower and eventually one of the greatest world’s Empires, which lasted for more than six centuries and spread across three continents.

“If this smallest of unions (beyliks) among the Anatolian principalities, has made claim back then, that they would be the ones who would ensure the Turks’ unity and that they would defeat many states in Europe and Asia and dominate in these regions, no one would have believe them, they would say: ‘You are dreaming!’. However, this distinguished Turk’s hero, surrounded by the Sufi masters, and backed by his Gazi-Alps and many valiants ready to sacrifice their lives for this cause, has believed in this and strived hard for this great birth.” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Kayı XI; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]]



The subject of Osman Gazi is really huge, with a lot of material to cover. It could not fit in just one or two articles, as can be seen from this one, so I will write it as a series of articles, as the show “Osman, the Founder” goes on.
And, as always, I won’t use any of the foreign sources which are full of subjective information, but the Turkish sources and archives which are well documented and include more facts than legends.

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OSMAN BEY – THE DREAM

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Divine Signs – Osman Bey’s Dream
By Melisa Dirilish

“For time immemorial, the eternal State is yours”
– Sheik Edebali



Osman Gazi, who used to spend a lot of time at Sheik Edebali’s Dergah (Dervish house) during his growing up years, has been known to experience strange visions from time to time, which then prompted him to visit old Sheik’s house even more often. One particular night while he was staying overnight at Edebali’s house (Dergah), he experienced another, a very visionary dream..

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Indeed, one night when he was a guest at the Dergah, he chatted with his friend until late at night. As the night grew old, they decided to call it a night and go to sleep. His friend then wished Osman good night, and retired to his room.
As Osman was a very pious person, he performed Salat and offered the following Dua/prayer to Allah we Ta’āla, before retiring for the night:

““Ey, my Lord!
If my efforts can cause the birth of the righteousness, enlighten my night and my day! May I be granted to always stand up for the Right.
May the glow of Dîn-i mübin-i İslâm (the True Religion of Islam) be clearly manifested.
May all the enemies of the faith perish alive under the ground! May the armies of unbelievers be ravaged by my strength!
May my sword be a shining beacon on the way of religion, and a guide to those who fight on the path of the Truth.
May I be granted to carry a clean, an unblemished name and to be victorious.
Grant me such an end that I may be able to reach Your Divine Grace.
Ey, my Almighty Lord, the Most Benevolent, the Most Generous.
Guide me so that I may attain your approval!
May the word of our Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (savs) be my guide.
Bestow upon me the blessings and pleasure of the Holly Struggle.
Amin.”



After the dua, left alone in his room, Osman Gazi was just about to lie down and go to sleep when his eye caught the sight of the Qur’an in a secluded enclosure.
While the Eternal Word of Allah (al—Kalam al—Qadim) stood there, he could not very well stretch his feet and lay down. And so he, very humbly, sat kneeling with awe and decency all night.
He took the Qur’an and began to read it. That night he recited the Qur’an for 6 hours non-stop, until dawn (Fajr).
And since Osman Gazi Khan showed such great respect for the Divine Wisdom of the Qur’an, he was blessed with 1 century of rule for every hour that he recited Qur’an that night. Thus the Ottoman dynasty held dominance over 7 regions (on 3 continents) for 6 centuries. [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Ertuğrul’un Ocağı]

As the Adhan’s time approached, he was finally subdued by fatigue and sleep began to overwhelm him. Osman fell into a sweet doze, still holding the Qur’an in his hands.
At that moment, a voice came from the Almighty Allah (SAW) that said: “O Osman, because you have glorified my Word and treated it with the utmost respectability… I have made you and your offspring, and those connected to you and all that belong to you, for ever sacred and revered and honourable in the Realm.” [Büyük Osmanlı Tarihi Cilt 1]

And then, while Osman was dozing, he had that strange vision, that prophetic dream.

In his dream he was lying next to Sheikh Edebali. A Crescent moon rose from Edebali’s bosom. Then, it grew little by little, and when it became a full moon, it entered Osman’s own bosom.
Then a tree sprung out of his navel (waist) and began to grow steadily. It was a Plantanus tree (Çınar). As it grew, its greenness and beauty were intensifying too.
The shadow of its branches covered the whole world; they surrounded the lands and seas all the way to the ends of the three continents’ horizons.



Next to the tree he saw four mountain ranges: the Caucasus, the Atlas, the Taurus and the Balkans. The mountain ranges looked like the four pillars that were supporting the sea of green leaves above.
The four rivers: the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Nile, and the Danube sprang from the roots of that great tree, and countless large ships floated on them, as if they were on seas.
The Earth was lush, the Sky a deep blue. The fields were full of crops, the trees were full of fruit, and the mountains were covered with large forests. The fertile waters, the fresh springs were coming out of these mountains and flowed into the Rose and Cypress Groves.

Under the shadow of the great Platanus, happy and cheerful people were going to these springs, walking arm-in-arm. Some of them were watering the gardens, some were drinking from them like from Ab-ı Hayat (Adam’s Ale or Water of life), some were harvesting crops in their vineyards, some were making Hayr-fountains, and some were living in the Meadows.

In the meadows, there were towns decorated with numerous domes, obelisks, columns, and latif minarets and towers that were visible from afar.
As crescent moons that were planted on the top of all of these great buildings brightly shone, the muezzins read the Adhans from their minarets. The call to prayer mingled with the tunes of countless Nightingales sitting on the tree’s branches.



At one point the leaves of the great Platanus (Çınar) began to grow in the shape of swords. Then a strong wind broke out and the fresh and fragrant leaves of the great Platanus spread over all the cities of the world.
And a number of them especially turned towards Constantinople (Istanbul).
The city of Constantinople (Istanbul) resembled a glittering diamond of a ring, set between the two azure turquoise and two green emeralds at the confluence of two seas and two continents. And the ring on which that precious gemstone was embedded encompassed the whole world, as if it were all just one huge country.

And just as he was about to put this glittering ring on his finger, Osman Ghazi Khan finally woke up.

As soon as the inhabitants of the Dergah stirred up, Osman Gazi went to find Sheik Edebali and described his dream to him.
After a brief contemplation, Edebali replied:
“O son. You’ve been given auspicious tidings!” he said. “The Noor (the light; moon) that came out of my breast represents my daughter, Bala Hatun. The ring is a sign that you’re getting married…
As for the tree, you will build a great and long-lasting State. Your offspring will rule with Justice. Many Sultans will come from your descendants and gather many states under one roof.
Allahu Wa Ta’ala will guide you and your descendants to honour people with Islam…”



Excerpt:
“Now, the opportunity and the help of Allah are yours
The blessing of walking (reaching) the True Path is yours
By the blessings of good fortune, you have been given the throne.
For time immemorial, the eternal State is yours”
*[excerpt from Aşık Paşazdde Tarihi; translated by Melisa Dirilish]

Original text:
“Artık fırsat ve nusret senindir
Hidayet menzili nimet senindir
Sana verildi taht düşmesin baht
Ezeli ta ebed devlet senindir.”

And as a consequence, Osman Gazi was finally able to marry Bala Hâtûn, the daughter of Sheikh Edebali.He was just nineteen years old at the time, and their Nikkah ceremony was performed by Edebali’s disciple named Turgut. [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Neşri Tarihi, Abdülaziz Efendi,]

Tin addition to its predictive meaning, “this dream story may also have served as a form of agreement: just as Almighty Allah promised to provide Osman and his descendants with sovereignty, it was also implicit that it was the duty of Osman to provide his subjects with prosperity”. [Kafadar, Cemal]



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WHO IS HACI BAYRAM VELI

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Haci Bayram Veli was born and grew up near Ankara, central Anatolia, in a small village Zülfadl, nestled on the banks of the Çubuk stream. There is no record of the exact date of his birth. However, the year 1352 as the year of his birth had been decided upon and as widely accepted, hence that was included in his biographies.

That was based on the number of historians who claimed that he was born two years after the death of Dawud al-Qaysari, and it must have been the 753rd Hijri year [1352. AC]. However, some other historians claimed that he lived for 90 years, which meant that he was born in 740 (1339-40).

The original name he was given at his birth was Num’an. The name Bayram-i was given to him by Hz Abu Hamiduddin (Somuncu Baba) because their first meeting took place during the Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha). After their first meeting, he became the disciple of Halwati Shaykh Hz. Ebu Hamiduddin Aksarayi (d. 810/1408), from whom he received instruction in Tasawwuf.



Haci Bayram Veli was educated in the fields of religious sciences such as the interpretation of the Qur’an, hadiths and Canon law. as well as in the natural sciences practice in his time. His desire for knowledge took him across the Ottoman lands, from Ankara to Bursa to Damascus, where he attended lectures by various eminent Sheikhs. Eventually he returned to Ankara and settled down in his home village, From then on, he dedicated himself to the education and upbringing of his students at the Black Madrasa in Ankara, which was the legacy (hayr deed) of Adila Melîka Hatun, Princess of Seljucs. In a short time, at the beginning of his career as a young teacher (Khoja) he became known, respected and loved by the people, and highly respected among his colleagues and superiors in the Black Madrasa.

Haji Bayram-i Veli was a great Shaikh and teacher, as well as a writer and poet. He used to write his works in Turkish, thus significantly influencing the usage of Turkish in Anatolia. He is the founder of the Bayramiye tariqa, which quickly spread throughout Turkey and into the Balkans and Egypt.

He founded a school in Ankara, as well as the Dervish Lodge of his Bajram-i Order. Both were widely known and sought after, and with their curriculum they attracted students from far and wide.



In time, he became a personal adviser to the Ottoman Sultan Murat II. By his famous edict, Sultan Murad Khan exempted the disciples of Haci Bayram-ı Veli from taxes and military service so that they could engage only in science. An episode that happened during one of Haci Bayrami’s working visits to Sultan Murat became legendary.

The topic of the consultations was, among other things, the possible conquest of Constantinople, which they failed to conquer during few earlier attempts. Sultan Murat II, who desperately wanted to conquer this famous city from the hands of the Byzantines, asked Haci Bayram for his opinion. Haci Bayram looked in the direction of the Sultan’s younger son Mehmet, still a small baby, who was not far from them.
Then he turned back to the Sultan and told him that he would not conquer Constantinople, but that the conquest is in the destiny of his son Mehmet. Thus, he famously and accurately predicted that the Sultan’s son Mehmet Fatih would conquer Constantinople, after which he received the nickname “Conqueror”.



Hacı Bayram-ı Veli worked to spread Islam until the end of his life. He died in Ankara in 1429 (H. 833). His tomb is adjacent to the Hacı Bayram Mosque, which is named after him.

 
 
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OSMAN GAZI – THE WARRIOR

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“You follow my way and protect Din-i-Muhammadi,

the believers and your followers.

Respect the right of Allah and His servants.”

 – Osman Gâzi Hân



Osman Gazi, along with his contemporaries [his people and his followers] “lived as authentic Muslims, since they practised its righteousness and, as a result, their adherence to Islam fully continued throughout the early years of the conquests.” [Akgündüz; Öztürk; citation translated by Melisa Dirilish].

Adhering to the Sunnah, taking the Noble Qur’an as their guide, they have set an example, that many were all too eager to follow, either Muslims or non-Muslims. There were many Gazies among his ranks that were born as Christians, but then later joined him in faith, came to share his believes, and some even formed blood ties with his family.

Before 1300’s, as most historians agree, Osman was simply one among many of the Turkmen tribal chieftains in the Sakarya region, but very clever and much more charismatic then the rest. Unsurpassed in his skills as a horseman, swordsman and warrior, an expert in battle strategies, an expert at making both war and peace, a complex and formidable commander, he was “very much a warrior in the mould of other great warriors of the Medieval times (like Genghis Khan used to be before he built his great empire).” Becoming famous across the Islamic world over the years, for his generosity, for his protection of the poor and vulnerable, his steadfastness and bravery, as well as his sense of justice, he compelled many people and many tribes to join his cause.



Osman Gazi was aware that due to two major issues, he could not expand throughout the entire Anatolia and establish his dominance over the region. On the one hand, he was surrounded by much larger principalities, more powerful Turkmen Beyliks that could easily swallow him up. On the other, there were the Mongols, who were terrorizing and vandalizing all of Anatolia.

He also could not break into Rumelia because of the Byzantine Empire, the longstanding rulers and military power in that region.
He was also aware that his rule was essentially preserved only by the Seljuk’s Sultan, the Sultan who himself was not very stable on his throne.

Nevertheless, Osman Gazi was able to bypass all that and to keep expanding further and further, by devising and employing several clever strategies. Sticking to his primary strategy “Peace with Muslims, war with infidels” and to his second strategy that stemmed from his faith and which has been summed up in the famous utterance: “Osman [Ottomans] loved the poor” (Oruç Beğ – “Tarihi”), he then followed his third strategy of increasing his territories at the expense of the Byzantines.

His early tactics were to test the Byzantine defence by launching small night invasions into Byzantine Anatolia, and to wage a slow but relentless war against that great neighbouring Empire. It was only towards the end of Osman’s life that they began employing the art of siege-warfare, with the nine-year long siege of the city of Bursa (1317-1326), being their 1st.

The siege itself took so long because of their inexperience in this new kind of warfare. Osman Gazi masterminded and put in motion the siege, but he assigned the command and control of this siege to his son, Orhan Alp. However, Osman Gazi succumbed to his long-standing Nikris (gout) disease and passed away, 2,5 years before the fall of Bursa. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]



Pinning Byzantine rulers against each other, this hitherto unknown chieftain of one minor Anatolian tribe would render them incapable of withstanding his assaults. Osman and his followers would then concentrate on taking their fortified townships, one at a time. Thus, in turn they gradually weakened that once-great Empire, crushing its morale in the process.

Initially, these raids gained Osman and his followers a great support from other Turkmen Beys in the vicinity of his small Beylik. But, soon enough, other Turks running away from the Mongols’ invasion began to settle in these lands that were by then poorly defended by the Byzantines. And, due to that fact, and due to his great diplomatic skills he was eventually able to attract people and to raise vast numbers of troops.

As the Turks began taking chunks of land from the Empire, they were regarded as saviours by the people of Byzantine’s Anatolia, Christians and non-Christians alike. They became known for their just administration… known to bring justice and fairness as per the teachings of Islam, to advocate religious freedom, to support a multicultural background and establish new, more efficient and lively trade routes in every newly conquered land, … all of which people have been only too ready to accept. They brought relief to people who had lived under a lot of strain, due to the severe burden of heavy tax policy and military expenses that the Emperor has imposed on them. So, many of them soon converted to Islam, thus further destabilizing the Byzantine’s power.



In consequence, with the weakening Byzantine’s defence on its eastern frontier and its declining morale, and also aided by the fact that Byzantine’s funds were greatly exhausted due to the Emperor’s great spending, the Turks led by Osman Gazi quickly gained the upper hand and continued to slowly advance along and beyond the western Anatolian border, deeper into Byzantine territory. [Mufassal Osmanlı Tarihi I. Cilt]

It was a long and slow progress, and they too had a lot of martyrs. But, due to their deep sense that the homeland is where the martyrs’ blood was spilled, where their graves were, Osman Gazi and his contemporaries never turned back from their path.
So, fighting fiercely to keep a firm hold on every acre of land he conquered along the way, Osman has opened the way for the spread of Islam… and the emergence of the greatest Empire began to gather momentum.

 

In support of this just administration of Osman, a renowned historian, Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil, quoted one of the first Ottoman historians, Ahmedi, who, in the introduction to his Chronicle: “Dastan and Tevarih-I Mülilk-I Al-I Osman” stated:

” When the mask of law and order is dropped over oppression
The public would easily then pass it for justice.
The story of the Masters of oppression has been told and re-told,
Now, is the time tell the story about the Masters of Justice, the Ottomans.
Those are both, Muslims and Just,
So, let’s get to know and celebrate these rulers.”
– [Ahmedi, “Dastan and Tevarih-I Mülilk-I Al-I Osman”, c.1390;]
– [translated by Melisa Dirilish]

*** Original text:
“Zulüm, hukuk ve düzen maskesi altına alındığında,
Halk tarafından kolayca adalet düşündü.
Bu zulmün ustalarının hikayesi çok aktarıldı,
Şimdi, Adalet Efendilerine, Osmanlılara söyleyelim.
Hem Müslüman hem de Ddil,
Bu yöneticileri tanıyalım ve kutlayalım.”
– [Ahmedi, “Dastan and Tevarih-I Mülilk-I Al-I Osman”, c.1390. / transmitted by Ahmet Şimşirgil]



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OSMAN GAZI – THE FIRST LOVE

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Osman Gazi and his first love Bala Hatun

“To forgive is the zakiat of victory, so be the forgiver.”
[Sheikh Edebali al-Karamānī]



Just as the early victories and exploits of Osman Gazi were favourite topics of Ottoman writers, so were the love stories of his wooing and winning the fair Bala Hatun. These legends have been romanticized by the poetical pens who recorded them in later years. The Ottoman writers attached great importance to this legendary, dreamlike conception of the founder of their Empire. But, here is how the story unfolded as recorded in historical manuscripts.

İlk Aşk – The first love

As Osman, Ertuğrul Gazi’s youngest son, was growing up, he was becoming a swarthy, handsome and daring young lad. Due to his jet-black hair and eyebrows, people nicknamed him “Kara Osman”.

Since his other sons were already grown-up men, Ertuğrul Gazi has now started taking the youth with him everywhere, but especially when he went visiting Sheik Edebali. Ertuğrul Gazi wanted his son, who has become fascinated with Edebali during his childhood years, to continue his conversations and lectures with the wise Sheik whenever there was an opportunity.

Thus, Osman used to spend a lot of time in Edebali’s house in the village Kozağaç of Sultânönü (Eskişehir), district of Bilecik.
*[The house became known as the Dergah, the place where dervishes met.]

Sultanönü -Kozağaç (Eskişehir - Karaağaç)

Sultanönü/Kozağaç
( Today: Eskişehir/Karaağaç )

At some point, however, Osman became immersed in subtle thoughts. He became pensive and absent-minded, and sometimes would wander on horseback for hours on end. The reason for his condition was Bala Hâtûn, the daughter of the Sheikh Edebali… Bala Hâtûn, who has been graced with a high morality and all the delicate beauties, pleasing to the eye. For, one night, during one of Osman’s visits, he happened to meet Edebali’s daughter, and fell hopelessly in love with her. That prompted him to visit the Sheikh’s Dergah even more frequently. And, with each subsequent visit his unrequited love grew even more.

Eventually, Kara Osman felt that he could no longer resist the intense longing that this love has instilled in his heart. So, one day he went with a sure step to the Sheik’s house to ask for Bala Hâtûn‘s hand in marriage. He was fully convinced that the good Sheik he grew up with would never refuse him and would not break his heart.



Yet the answer he’s got was not what he had expected. By saying: “Now is not the time,” the old Sheik has rejected his petition, and threw him into the fire of agony. [Aşıkpaşazade: Menâkıb-ı Âli-i Osman ]

The reasons for Edebali’s refusal to consent to their marriage were his lack of confidence in the true wishfulness of Osman, Osman’s immaturity and hastiness of his actions, as well as the social disparity that existed between this youth and his daughter.

Edebali was not an arrogant man, on the contrary he has been known as a very humble person. And as such, he was far from considering social status as inequality between people. But he felt that if they were to marry, this could lead to unpleasant situations in their marriage at some point in their lives, or at least cause some hurt feelings on Osman’s part.

Kara Osman felt dejected as he sorrowfully left the Sheik’s house. But, what can he say to his teacher, how he can convince him otherwise…

*****

Osman, feeling very disconsolate opened up his misery to some of his friends and neighbours. One day, this topic came up while he was in conversations with the Bey of Sultanönü (Eskişehir Beğ). Eskişehir Bey consoled Osman and replied that he would personally take interest in this matter and would act as an intermediary in this case. So, true to his word, he promptly went to visit the old Sheik Edebali who was at that time living in the village of Itburnu of Sultanönü, which was situated in Eskişehir Bey’s province [Sancak].

However, the real purpose of Eskişehir Bey was very different from what he has told the young man. His intent was to ask Sheik Edebali for this girl’s hand in marriage for himself, instead for Osman. So that he could take advantage of the power this influential Sheik possessed.

He was so sure of himself that it didn’t even cross his mind that he might be rejected as well. However, the negative answer he got from Edebali: “No, absolutely not!!” was like a slap across the face of this hypocritical Bey. Eskişehir Bey left the place burning with anger. He then conceived a dirty plan in his head. If he was not able to take the beauty in the nice manner, then he would take her by force.[ Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]



However, fearful of Eskişehir Beğ’s revenge, Sheikh Edebali didn’t waste time, but early next morning he left the territory of Eskişehir Bey by crossing the bordering waters and settled in the lands of his friend Ertuğrul Bey.
Şeyh’s migration to Ertuğrul Bey’s lands has made the Eskişehir Bey even more angry. He started to burn with jealousy and revenge. He swore that he was going to eliminate Osman at the first opportunity.

*****

One day, Osman along with his brother Gündüz Alp, was in the fortress of İnönü’s Beği, who was his neighbour and Muhibbi (dear friend), enjoying a friendly chat.

But, all of a sudden, the Eskişehir Beğ (Bey) showed up there as well, together with the Tekfur Köse Mihal, who was an ally and the Judge of the Harinankaya fortified area at the foot of Mount Keşiş [Uludağ] and east of Adrenus.

As a matter of fact, as soon as the Eskişehir Beğ (Bey) got word that Osman and his brother Gündüz, along with several friends, were in the fortress of İnönü, he rushed there with his men and besieged the stronghold. He sent a man to Tekfur of İnönü and asked for Osman’s surrender. They were offering arms to the înönü Tekfur in return for handing Osman over to them. Inonu Tekfur refused to violate the hospitality in this way. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]



Meantime, Osman Bey, his brother Gündüz Alp and his comrades quickly left the fortress, and swiftly launched a surprise attack in a way that Eskişehir Bey could not understand what was happening.
So, after the first blows, the Bey and his men began to run towards Söğüt in astonishment. But, soon they consolidated, and went after Osman. Seeing this, Osman and his comrades retreated and tried to open the gap to make their escape. At the same time they sent for help from their associates in the surrounding area.

However, seeing that the chasing forces of Eskişehir Beğ have broken apart in an attempt to surround them, Osman made a comeback with his friends once again, and gave them a great chase. As a result of the violent collision between the two sides, the men of Eskişehir Bey were easily defeated and they all started to flee. [Neşri Tarihi, 1, s. 75-77]

However, one of them, Harmankaya Tekfur, Köse Mihal wasn’t able to make his escape and he was caught and brought before young Osman Bey.
Osman then looked Köse Mihal up and down. This gallant man stood before him like a valiant. He recalled Edebali’s words: “To forgive is the zakat of victory, so be the forgiver.” [A. Şimşirgil · Kayı 1: Ertuğrul’un Ocağı]

Thus, Osman told him that he was free to go, that he could go wherever he wanted.

When Köse Mihal saw that he has been pardoned and freed by the very Türk who originally meant him harm, took Osman’s hand with joy and said: “From now on, I will be your closest aide and friend, please have trust in me,” After saying that, Köse Mihal, whose raids would shake Europe in the future, greeted Osman and his comrades and walked away. [Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti; Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]

Osman thus gained a dear friend and aide among the Greeks; but he did not gain the girl he fell in love with.

*****

Two years had passed. Two long years, during which young bahadir Osman was torn by doubts and anguish. He became withdrawn; and overwhelmed with his deep longings he would often disappear and take long solitary rides.



Nevertheless, in spite of the awkward situation that aroused due to his unsuccessful proposal, Osman Bey did not allow his dignity or a moment of hurt pride to come between him and his teacher Sheikh Edebali. So, not wanting their earlier bond to be broken, he continued to visit and to maintain the same relationship with the old Sheik, as if nothing unpleasant has passed between them. And he continued to take part in long conversations at the Dergah and to attend the lectures.

At some point, during the nights he stayed at Sheik’s Dergah [Dervish Lodge], young Osman began experiencing some strange dreams, which then prompted him to come to the dervishes’ Lodge even more often.

On one particular night, two years after he was initially rejected by the Sheik, Osman had experienced that momentous dream heralding the rise of the Ottoman Empire, after which the wishes of his heart have finally been fulfilled. . [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil: Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]



As soon as the morning came, Osman related that particular dream to his teacher and asked him for an explanation.

After a little silence, Sheik Edebali told him: “Osman, my son! It is a favourable sign. Allah, may He be Exalted, has bestowed sovereignty on you and on your descendants. May you indeed be blessed. All the world will be under the protection of your sons, and my daughter will be the wife to you.”
[Aşıkpaşazade: :Menâkıb-ı Âli-i Osman”, the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]

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OSMAN GAZI – THE MAN THAT CHANGED HISTORY

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“Because the one with the fear of Allah, the Creator, has no fear of the created.”
– Osman Gâzi Hân

Osman Bey, the first Ottoman Sultan who ruled for 45 years, the founder of the Empire and the dynasty that were named after him, was also known by the names of: Kara Osman, Fahruddin and Muinüddin. His life, although much shorter than his father’s, since he passed away aged 67 [the exact age of Ertuğrul Gazi when Osman was born], has been an extraordinary one, marked with many achievements and which inspired many legends.

Branch of The Oghuz Turks

Branch of The Oghuz Turks

Osman descended from the Kayı tribe of the Boz-Oklar branch of the Oğuz Turks, to which his father Ertuğrul Gazi also belonged, and from which the future Ottomans will emerge. While, his mother Halime Sultan has descended from the Kınık, the Üç-Oklar branch of Oğuz Turks, from which the Seljuks originated. That claim later became part of the official Ottoman genealogy and it was eventually incorporated into the Turkish nationalist historical tradition.



Osman Bey was born in 1258 in Söğüt or Osmancık. He came very late into Ertuğrul’s and Halime’s life. When he was born, Ertuğrul Gazi was about 67 years old, and because Halime Sultan was also older, at an age when women no longer give birth, Osman was considered to be a miracle sent by Allah.

Osman’s birth coincided with a time when “the world of declining empires” was desperate for a new leader.

He was only 23 years old when in 1281, upon the death of Ertuğrul Gazi, he took over the leadership of Kayı Boyu {clan} and the principality of Sögüt, what was then known as the province of Bithynia.

And, from then on, “the roots of the Platanus tree (Çınar) that rose from Osman’s chest, and whose majestic branches would extend across the seas and the lands, the continents and states, began to spread in the soil. So much so that, all humanity lived under the shadow of this Platanus for six centuries, in a way that they couldn’t have even imagined seeing it once again after the age of Bliss (Asr-ı Saâdetten).” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil, “the Kayi XI”; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]



With many conquests he carried out, he extended his territory in a short time, and gradually turned it into an independent principality, then into an independent state.

Firmly controlling the region around the town of Söğüt, he launched his raids from there and waged a slow and persistent war against the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. Osman appears to have followed a strategy of increasing his territories at the expense of the Byzantines, while at the same time he avoided conflicts with his more powerful Turkmen neighbours, until his State become strong enough to deal with them too.

He extended his lands from Marmara coast in the north, to the mouth of Sakarya River and Kutahya in the south. These boundaries included Söğüt, Karacahisar, Yarhisâr, Eskişehir, Harmankaya, Inegöl. In the years preceding the conquest of Karacahisar fortress, Osman suffered two great private loses which caused him a great grief. His young nephew, Bey Hoca, the son of his brother Savci, was martyred in 1285 in the ambush during the Ermeni Beli battle, and sometime later his brother Savci also died in the struggle before the conquest of Karacahisar. [KemâlPaşa-zâde Tarihi]

Karacahisar Castle

Karacahisar Castle

After he conquered Karacahisar, Yarhisar and Bilecik, he transferred the centre of the Beylik to Bilecik. Years later, in 1301, he founded town of Yenişehir near Bursa and transferred the Sultanate’s headquarters there.

He then gave the governing of the Eskişehir to his brother Gündüz Bey, of town of Sultânönü to his son Orhan Bey, Yarhisâr to Hasan Alp, Bilecik to Sheikh Edebali and Inegöl to Turgut Alp, and took Edebali’s grandson Ala’addin (his son) with him.

Afterwards, he continued to increase his territories, and as per today’s Mülkî Taksimat (state’s office assets records), the lands of Osmanli domain [Osmanoğulları’nın ülkesi] at the time of Osman Khan’s death covered the districts of Bilecik, Eskişehir (administrative centre), Sarkaya with the attached Geyve, Akyazı and Hendek, Kütahya-Domanic and the province of Bursa, encompassing districts of Mudanya (including the port), Yenisar and Inegöl. [Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil, – Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]

When the Seljuk State was brought to an end by the Ilkhanid’s ruler Ahmad Ghazan in 1308, the Osman’s Principality became completely detached.



During his amazing life, Osman Gazi has been addressed by the titles of Emir and Bey. And, at his death he was titled Khan and Sultan, the 1st Sultan of Ottomans. Because, by the end of his life he had become The Bey of Principality, in his own right. He first became a semi-independent governor, when the Seljuk Sultan Gıyaseddin Mesūd II recognised his rule in 1284, and sent him an envoy with a Mehterhane (military band), the Tuğ (the Tugh – symbol of duty, office and sovereignty) and a Sancak (Sancak/Sanjak – a military flag) as a gift, and also his decree that Söğüt and its environs were allocated to him. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]

The first legitimation of Osman’s rule on the part of the Seljuk Sultan, happened during the siege of Karachahisar, when the next Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III, summoned him and said that he displays many signs of success [bliss], adding “You and your family are unique in their kind. My prayers, Allah’s help, the Evliyaullah’s support [Allah’s aleem/ulamā’/wise men] and Muhammed’s miracles are with you”. [Âşıkpaşa-zâde]

Minted by Osman, son of Ertugrul

Minted by Osman, son of Ertugrul

And then, several years later, on 27 January 1300, Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III sent him an edict, along with another Tuğ, Sancak and a drum (as the symbols of his sovereignty), by which Osman Bey became an independent Principality Bey. After gaining his independency, he proceeded to mint his own coins (Akce) with the inscription “Minted by Osman, son of Ertuğrul”, and had Jummah prayers recited in his name only.



Osman’s last campaign, before dying, was against the Byzantines in the city of Bursa. He masterminded and put in motion the siege of Bursa, which would last for 9 years (1317-1326), and then he left the battlefield under the command of his son, Orhan. However, since he was long suffering from Nikris (goutte) disease, his health deteriorated towards the end of the siege, and he passed away in February 1324, before seeing the fall of Bursa.

He was buried temporarily in the graveyard next to Ertuğrul Gazi’s tomb. But Osman last request addressed to his son on his deathbed was that Osman re-bury him in Bursa, after he conquers it. So, 2.5 years later his remains were taken from Söğüt and re-buried in in the old Eastern Roman chapel, known as “Gümüşlü Kümbet”, in Bursa, in 1326. [Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı]
With the conquest of Bursa, on April 6th 1326, which heralded the founding of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Turks have finally established themselves as the major power in Asia Minor. And Bursa, in later history recognized as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire, became the new Ottoman capital until the conquest of Adrianople (today known as Edirne) in 1362, by Osman’s grandson, Sultan Murad I.

GUMUSLU KUMBET

GUMUSLU KUMBET

The physical and spiritual foundations of the State he left after his passing, were so strong that only 150 years later it would became a superpower and eventually one of the greatest world’s Empires, which lasted for more than six centuries and spread across three continents.

“If this smallest of unions (beyliks) among the Anatolian principalities, has made claim back then, that they would be the ones who would ensure the Turks’ unity and that they would defeat many states in Europe and Asia and dominate in these regions, no one would have believe them, they would say: ‘You are dreaming!’. However, this distinguished Turk’s hero, surrounded by the Sufi masters, and backed by his Gazi-Alps and many valiants ready to sacrifice their lives for this cause, has believed in this and strived hard for this great birth.” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Kayı XI; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]]



The subject of Osman Gazi is really huge, with a lot of material to cover. It could not fit in just one or two articles, as can be seen from this one, so I will write it as a series of articles, as the show “Osman, the Founder” goes on.
And, as always, I won’t use any of the foreign sources which are full of subjective information, but the Turkish sources and archives which are well documented and include more facts than legends.

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