Who is Nasreddin Hodja? Did Nasreddin Hodja Really Live?

Who is Nasreddin Hodja? Did Nasreddin Hodja Really Live?
Who is Nasreddin Hodja? Did Nasreddin Hodja Really Live?

Nasreddin Hodja (Birth date. 1208, Hortu – Death date 1284, Akşehir) is a legendary person and humor hero who lived around Hortu and Akşehir during the Anatolian Seljuk State.

Although there are debates about whether Nasreddin Hodja, who is known for his stories, which is mostly reflected as a sage who has a wit and sense of humor, he lived in reality, and if he did, what his real personality was, there are also some documents showing that he was a real historical personality. According to the information obtained from these documents, Nasreddin Hodja was born in Hortu village of Akşehir in 1208, after receiving his basic education there, he received his education in a madrasah in Sivrihisar and assumed the duty of village imam in his hometown, where he returned after his father's death. After a while, Nasreddin Hodja migrated to Akşehir, one of the centers of mystical thought of the period, and became a member of the Mevlevi, Yesevilik or Rufai order as a dervish of Mahmud-i Hayrani. Nasreddin Hodja, who undertook civil duties in Akşehir and was thought to have been in the regions around Akşehir for a short time, died in Akşehir in 1284 and was buried in today's Nasreddin Hodja Tomb.

The legendary personality of Nasreddin Hodja, which developed with the stories told in his name, emerged within the same century as his death, and the written narratives considered to be Nasreddin Hodja have increased from the numbers expressed with them to thousands over the centuries. In addition to the stories in which he is mostly reflected as a quick-witted scholar, there are also stories in which Nasreddin Hodja speaks meaningless words, is presented as a mentally deficient person and has different personality traits. This variation of the story, which has many different personality traits from a scholar to a madman uttering nonsense, is explained by the possibility that anonymous narratives may have been linked to the name of Nasreddin Hodja over time. Although the oldest known narrative of Nasreddin Hodja's written culture, which has a bibliographic value today, is found in Saltuknâme, which was copyrighted in 1480, the Povest o Hoce Nasreddine series is the Nasreddin Hodja compilation with the highest sales of 1.5 million. Anecdotes compiled from these works have been examined in different contexts such as the messages they contain, their features and mythological elements, and are also used in education and training in many countries.

Stories about Nasreddin Hodja, who have a place in folk beliefs such as the burial of a newborn baby in the mausoleum of the baby tie, and the newlyweds visiting his shrine for the first time, have taken place in different societies such as Arabs, Bulgarians, Chinese, Persians, Hungarians, and Russians as well as Turkish peoples. Naara Suoks is intertwined with the narratives of local heroes such as Jiyrenşe Sheşen. Due to its spread over a wide geographical area, many works have been given about Nasreddin Hodja in the fields of art and popular culture. Among them, Nasreddin Hodja's Mansibi, written between 1775-1782, is the first known theatrical play; Nastradin Hoca i Hitar Petar, which was released in 1939, is also the first known film. In addition, 1996 was celebrated as the Year of Nasreddin Hodja all over the world by UNESCO, and today, festivals, competitions and scientific meetings are held in the name of Nasreddin Hodja.

Opinions on whether he is really alive 

The issue of whether Nasreddin Hodja really lived or not is discussed by folklorists and different opinions are put forward. German orientalists Albert Wesselski and Martin Hartmann claimed that there was no one named Nasreddin Hodja in reality. supported this idea. While the Azerbaijani folklorist Hanefi Zeynallı was skeptical about the treatment of Nasreddin Hodja as a historical figure, Tehmasib Ferzeliyev; He defended the view that Nasreddin Hodja's real personality is unimportant and that he is the common hero of every culture in which he is a typist. 

Some researchers have approached Nasreddin Hodja as a folkloric imagination and tried to associate him with historical personalities. Developing one of these approaches, İsmail Hami Danişmend, Nasreddin Hodja II. He claimed that he was the son of Yavlak Arslan, who lived during the Mesud era, and the deceased Nasîrüddin Mahmud, who was killed in Kastamonu in 1300. Danishmend made this claim based on a Persian selcuknâme he discovered in France; however, the opinion was not accepted in the scientific world due to the lack of solid foundations. Naci Kum, in his article on this subject, claimed that there was a tombstone with the name Nasreddin and the title of teacher on it, which is in the Kayseri Archeology Museum, and that Nasreddin Hodja's death took place in Kayseri at the beginning of the 13th century (1284 years before the accepted 72). Although İbrahim Hakkı Konyalı made a reading on the relevant tombstone, he determined that Emirüddin Hoca was written on the stone, not Nasreddin Hodja. Azeri folklorists Mammadhuseyn Tehmasib and Mammadaga Sultanov also wrote together Mullah Nasreddin's Latifâları In his book, Nasîrüddin Tûsî lived in the time period which is accepted as Nasreddin Hodja, Nasreddin Hodja is called Nasîrüddin in some manuscripts, Nasîrüddin Tûsî includes anecdotes in one of his works, Nasreddin Hodja ridiculed the astrologers in some stories and this kind of behavior However, it can be expected from people who have knowledge about stars like Nasîrüddin Tûsî, Nasreddin Hodja's appearance before Timur as the representative of his country, Nasîrüddin Tûsî's being sent to Hülagü by the Alamut ruler, Nasîrüddin Tusi's name being Hasan, and Nasreddin Hodja' in one anecdote. They argue that the teacher was originally Nasîrüddin Tûsî, making similarities such as the fact that one of his names was Hasan. However, Tehmasib acknowledges that the data they put forward cannot be considered as solid evidence, and that their conclusion is only an assumption. In addition, Azad Nebiyev, an Azeri folklorist, also criticized these claims of Tahmasib and Sultanov. Iraqi Turkmen researcher İbrahim Dakuki claimed that Nasreddin Hodja was a Persian from Isfahan and his real name was Meşhedî. In Uzbekistan, there is a belief that Nasreddin Hodja was born in Bukhara and was born with a tooth in his mouth. Although there is such a belief among the people, some Uzbek researchers admit that Nasreddin Hodja was not Uzbek. Medieval historian Mikail Bayram also wrote that Nasreddin Hodja was originally Ahi Evran, Mevlânâ Celâleddîn-i Rumi. MasnaviHe claims that the person he refers to as Cuhâ in his book was originally Nasreddin Hodja. 

Folklorist İlhan Başgöz, who argues that Nasreddin Hodja was a historical figure, states that there is no doubt that such a person lived in the 13th century. Again, folklorists Saim Sakaoğlu, Ali Berat Alptekin and Fatma Ahsen Turan state that Nasreddin Hodja lived in the 13th century and show him as one of the peaks of Anatolian Turkishness, along with Yunus Emre and Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli. Folklorists Pertev Naili Boratav and historians Mehmet Fuad Köprülü and Tuncer Baykara are among those who argue that Nasreddin Hodja is a historical figure. 

Documents on Nasreddin Hodja and his relatives[change | change source]

İbrahim Hakkı Konyalı, working on the birthplace of Nasreddin Hodja, Akşehir, City of Nasreddin Hodja In his book II. In the genealogy accepted to be the contemporary of Mehmed's contemporary, Hızır Çelebi, the fact that Hızır Çelebi's father, who was the judge of Sivrihisar, was a descendant of Nasreddin, was used as a source of information that the teacher was born in Sivrihisar. This genealogy appeared in sources written in the late 15th century. Lâmiî Çelebi, the author of one of the oldest Nasreddin manuscripts, gives the same genealogy for Sinan Pasha, one of Hızır Çelebi's sons. According to this, Sinan Pasha is the grandson of Nasreddin Hodja from the sixth navel. 

One of the important data that enables inferences to be made about Nasreddin Hodja's life is the six-line inscription that Mehmed, a cavalryman of Bayezid I, who visited the Nasreddin Hodja Tomb, engraved on the columns surrounding the tomb: 

Original Translation
El hatt-i bakî ve'l-ömr-i fani
Ve'l-abd-i âsi ve'l-Rabbi-i âfi
Ketebetü'l Hakîr
Mehmed an Cema'at-i Sipah-i Hazrat
Yildirim Bayezid
On this date the year 796
Writing is eternal, life is ephemeral,
The servant is a sinner, God is forgiving.
This is from the soldiers of Yıldırım Bayezid
despised Mehmed
He wrote in 796.

The year 796, in which Sipahi Mehmed made a note, is according to the Hijri calendar and corresponds to 1393 or 1394 in the Gregorian calendar, and is considered as an important document for the determination of the date range in which Nasreddin Hodja lived. 

Although the Nasreddin Hodja Tomb does not have an inscription, the tombstone erected later has the year 386 Hijri. It is known that this year was wrong, since the Oghuzes had not yet come to Anatolia in this year, which coincided with the year 696 Gregorian. Various researchers have suggested that the year was written backwards in accordance with Nasreddin Hodja's wit and was originally 683. On the other hand, Saim Sakaoğlu and Ali Berat Alptekin, referring to the fact that the writing on the tombstone contains semantic errors, said that the master who prepared the tombstone, which was written with the Arabic alphabet in which the letters are written from right to left but the numbers are written from left to right, did not know this rule and Nasreddin Hodja's death year was written backwards because he did not know this rule intentionally. have suggested. Folklorist Mehmet Önder stated that although he was the first to state that the writing on the tombstone contains semantic errors, it becomes meaningful when it is arranged as follows: 

Original Organized Translation Organized
Hazihı't-türbetü'l deceased
al-Magfur to abdehu
al-gafur Nasru'd-din
To the spirit of the master
Fatiha year 386
Hazihı't-türbetü'l deceased
al-maghfur al-needec ila Rabbihu
al-gafur Nasru'd-din
To the spirit of the master
Fatiha year 683
This shrine is for the deceased and the repentant
in need of forgiveness
It belongs to Nasreddin Efendi
Fatiha for your soul
year 386
This shrine is forgiving
in need of his Lord
Nasreddin is the tomb of the deceased
Fatiha for your soul
year 683

Folklorists agree that the year on the tombstone is intentionally or unintentionally written backwards, and they agree that the year 1284, which corresponds to the year 1285 or 683, is correct.

In addition to these, the tombstones found in 1957, belonging to Nasreddin Hodja's daughter and thought to be his son Ömer, were re-examined in 2013 and new information was obtained, and this information was obtained by Mehmet Mahur Tulum as “New Findings of Nasreddin Hodja and His Family in Sivrihisar. ” was shared with the public at the conference titled. According to this, it was claimed that Fatima, who was thought to be the name of Nasreddin Hodja's daughter, was wrong and his real name was Hatun. In the readings made on the tombstones, it was determined that the real name of Nasreddin Hodja was Nasrüddin Nusrat and that his father, who was thought to be Abdullah, was also named Şemseddin, and it was also confirmed that he was born in Sivrihisar. This new information about the names of Nasreddin Hodja's father and daughter has not been confirmed by other researchers and is open to discussion.

The presence of the tomb inscription of his daughter Dürrü Melek at the foot of Nasreddin Hodja's tomb in Akşehir and the records of the Nasreddin Hodja Tomb in the ilyazıcı book of 1476 are considered as other proofs that the Hodja really lived.

real personality

Nasreddin Hodja's birthplace was not known clearly before. Although there are claims that he was born in the village of Sivrice in Akşehir, especially by İbrahim Hakkı Konyalı, it was accepted that he was born in the village of Hortu of Sivrihisar. With the latest researches, it has been confirmed that Nasreddin Hodja was born in Hortu. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, he was born in 1208 as the son of Abdullah and Sıdıka couple, according to the information transferred from the old registry in the work of Sivrihisar Mufti Hasan Efendi called Mecmûâ-i Maârif. Nasreddin Hodja received his basic education from his father, who was a village imam, and went to Sivrihisar for his madrasah education. Upon his father's death, he returned to Hortu and assumed the duty of village imam inherited from him.

In the period of Nasreddin Hodja, who lived in a time when the Anatolian Seljuk State was in political turmoil, the effectiveness of Sufi thought and sects began to increase under the influence of names such as Muhyiddin İbnü'l-Arabî, Mevlânâ Celâleddîn-i Rûmî, Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, Yunus Emre. In this environment, Nasreddin Hodja, who immigrated to Akşehir, one of the centers of mystical thought, leaving a man named Mehmed to be the imam of the village in 1237 or 1238, according to Mecmûâ-i Maârif, according to the oldest document in which his name is mentioned, Mahmûd-ı Hayrânî He became the dervish of the . Although there is information in Mecmûâ-i Maârif that he also received mystical education from Hacı İbrahim Sultan, this information does not match with historical facts because there is a difference of one hundred years between the two. On the other hand, there is a possibility that Nasreddin Hodja received education not from Hacı İbrahim Sultan, but from his grandfather of the same name. It is thought that Nasreddin Hodja, due to his sheikh Hayrani, belonged to the Mevlevi, Yesevî or, less likely, Rufai order. In addition, although it is stated that Nasreddin Hodja is Naqshbandi according to Tabibzâde Mehmed Şükrü's silsilename, this information does not match with historical facts.

Nasreddin Hodja, along with the education he received, took civil duties in Akşehir and served as a judge or regent, possibly also in surrounding settlements such as Kayseri, Ankara, Afyonkarahisar, Kütahya, Bilecik. He died in 1284 in Akşehir, where he spent most of his life.

In the anonymous collections of Lâtâ'if-i Hâce Nasreddin, the oldest of which dates back to the 16th century, Nasreddin Hodja is sometimes shown to be contemporary with Timur and sometimes with Alaeddin Keykubad I. Evliya Çelebi, on the other hand, mentions Akşehir in the second volume of his Seyahatnâme and mentions Nasreddin Hodja, stating that he lived during the periods of Murad I and Bayezid I. Despite these different narratives, today, in the light of documents on Nasreddin Hodja and his relatives, it is accepted by the majority of researchers working on the subject that Nasreddin Hodja lived in the 13th century and cannot be contemporary with Timur, Murad I or Bayezid I. On the other hand, the possibility that the figure of Timur in the narratives in which he is shown as contemporary with Timur may actually be Keygatu, the Mongolian prince who encamped in Akşehir for eight years, is emphasized.

Legendary personality

There are various narratives derived from jokes that show Nasreddin Hodja as a saint, scholar, quick-witted, crazy and reflecting many different personality traits. The decrease in the number of his anecdotes towards the written works of the past strengthens the possibility that some anonymous anecdotes may have been linked to the name of Nasreddin Hodja in time and makes us think that the legendary Nasreddin Hodja personality diversified in this way. According to an anecdote in Saltukname, Sarı Saltuk, a disciple of the same sheikh, came across Nasreddin in Akşehir. Nasreddin offers Saltuk food in gold and silver plates. In the face of this show, Sari Saltuk said to himself, "I wonder if this man inherited all this wealth from his father or did he himself? kazanwas it?” he asks. Sensing the thoughts of his guest, Nasreddin says: “All this is inherited from my father. These are the three objects that I brought when I came into this world and will one day take with me when I leave this world.” Saltuk's "What are these three objects?" Nasreddin Hodja's answer to the question "I have two balls with one dick." It is possible. These rude words go to the strangest of Sari Saltuk, but he did not dare to express his thought aloud and said to himself, "Such a wise man does not say meaningless things, there is probably a hidden meaning in his words. What did he mean?" he thinks. Nasreddin senses the thoughts of his guest and says: “Don't worry about it for nothing, let me tell you; My purpose is from these three things: The first is faith, the second is deed, and the third is sincerity.” This anecdote is a kind of mystical interpretation of Nasreddin Hodja's personality, and it is seen that two centuries after his death, completely different qualities such as discovering the thoughts of the other person were attributed to his personality.

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