Kaşgarlı Mahmut

Kasgarli Mahmud, b. 1008 – d. 1105, (East Turkestan) 11th century lexicographer known for his works on Turkic languages. He was born in the town of Opal, 45 km southwest of Kashgar. He was a man of duty, or rather a man of duties. He grew up in Kashgar, the westernmost point of Xinjiang in what is now China.

Throughout the twentieth century, we thought of the Tiyan Shan or Tian Shan region as the fault line of the Chinese and Soviet Russian region. In the eleventh century; It was a region where Islam, Buddhism, and Animism, the religion of the nomads, clashed.

Kashgari was a good Muslim, so he found himself in Baghdad, where the caliphate was severely weakened. But he was also a Turk and very sensitive about it. This gave him his first assignment. He lived in the eleventh century. He is the author of Divan-ı Lügatit Türk. This work is a comprehensive guide on Turkish language and oral literature. A masterful treasure in terms of linguistic, anthropological and social content, Kasgari’s work was written to bring Turkish culture to the same status as Arab and Persian in the Islamic world.

“O son, take my advice and ask virtue

(Thus) you become the chief of the people and distribute wisdom and virtue to them. (p.372)


Boy i leave it to you

Inheriting virtue and manners

When you meet a wise man

Stay with him (and because of his wisdom) (p.434)

“the head of virtue: the head of the virtue – the person who knows how to speak well is respected.” (p. 260)

“Do not refuse your mother’s advice when you hear your father’s words

When you get rich and successful, don’t be arrogant, hold back

and know your limits. “(p. 337)


“Take the word of the wise man as counsel

(Because) if you know how to live in it, the beautiful word (as wisdom) to your heart

grows roots. ” (p. 477)


“When the vulture sees its prey, it goes down from the high air

The wise man’s prey is advice, when he hears it (memorizes and) understands. “(p.717)


“I thank my god (for they bestowed)

I increase my competence [wisdom] (by his grace)

I knots my heart (with this)

(Because) my heart is surrounded by virtue. “(609)

“If there is a sign (irem) in the steppe, the road is not confused, if the person has reason, his word is not wrong.” (p.618)

The wise man is also a man who is fond of his freedom. He both deserves this and takes care to protect it. The wise is not an ordinary person, nor is one of the herd:

“It is better to be a calf’s head than an ox’s foot. This proverb is used to indicate that self-direction is better than obeying another person.” (p.373)

Wisdom is not something that contradicts wealth. The wise man is not someone whose hair and beard are intertwined, who is miserable, who wanders lazily. The true wise is someone who supports his wisdom with wealth as much as possible. Perhaps this way, his wisdom will be able to reach a wider audience and have a positive impact on a larger number of people.

This is clearly stated in the following strings:

“I looked for [wisdom]

(And I supported him) with wealth [with victory]

I reached my wish

(Thus my wealth and) my animals are plundered. ”(P. 704)

Although wisdom and virtue do not contradict wealth and can, on the contrary, support them, they are much more valuable than mere wealth without these qualities. Therefore, spending when necessary for the sake of wisdom and virtue and all kinds of sacrifices should not be avoided.

As a result, to leave the last word to Kaşgarlı or to the wisdom in Turkish poetry that he conveyed to us, virtue and wisdom are among the most valuable treasures that a person can have, bequeath to his children, and present to his nation and humanity. Indeed, wisdom is even more valuable to the 11th century Turk than the “white mane horse”, perhaps its most precious asset – and we wish it always remains so:

“I sought knowledge and wisdom (wisdom)

I chose [to be] the wise person

(Therefore) I separated myself (from the people)

(On my way of striving) my horse with a white mane becomes free. “(P. 211)

In the Divan it is assumed that wisdom is closely related to virtue and that wise people are virtuous; It is recommended to learn virtue and wisdom from the wise men, and especially to the youth. Those who are wise without being wise are criticized and warned that the tests to be made will easily reveal their foya.

The true wiseman is an ideal person who knows how to use his mind well, who has extensive knowledge and vast experience, who does not deviate from virtue in his behavior and actions, who is fond of independence and freedom, who supports his wisdom with wealth if possible, and who does his best to pass the treasure of wisdom to future generations. is depicted.

Knowledge in Divan-ı Lugat it Turk

Kaşgarlı Mahmut seems to have undertaken the function of the Irkul Bilge in the Oğuz Kağan epic with his book Turkish Dictionary. He constantly gives advice, and the ancestors record his words. The remarkable function here is to give information a social function through a dictionary and to put information into the service of the society. This dictionary is written in such a way that it can be passed down from generation to generation through rhymes and lines.

The book has functions far beyond a dictionary. We can say that it was prepared as a handbook of the Turks, the ideal of putting Turkishness and Turkish before Arabic and Persian is constantly evident in the book. The information written by Mahmut of Kaşgar in his book on this subject also confirms this claim.

It requires a society to discuss issues that are of particular interest to itself, first in writing. Whether a person’s views find support in the community (at the time when the opinion was first introduced, or later) is not the most important issue.

Turkish writer Kaşgarlı Mahmut, who lived in the 11th century and wrote the book Türk Sözü (Divan Lugat at-Turk) to teach Turkish to native Arabic speakers, gave the following words that touch on this subject:

(Doing work that will weaken the Alp person, then wounding him).

What matters is that the debate of thought continues constructively and openly within a society. Kaşgarlı Mahmut states that this discussion should not be without roots and sources in a stanza:

 (In the old days, the righteous were like the mountains.

they said, they gave advice. His heart to remember them

makes clear).

This way, the most useful thoughts for a society will be chosen by the community:

(Do not kick Knowledge with pride; seek and learn.

if he suggests, apology is revealed when tested).

The requirements brought by Bilgi will be put into effect by the society and their applications will be started:

(Honor the wise person, heed his word;

and learn your attitude, put what you’ve learned into practice).

Every person’s words are not words of wisdom:

(If there are disruptors in society, your mind will go astray;

where there is, no more work to dry mouth).

Such people are also seen and distinguished by society:

It is not good for society to stop and rest unless it is constantly taking care of and finalizing their own affairs:

(Repeat my word, tell the sages: the mare, but his foal is the adult horses

when mixed between it can be rested).

Kashgarlı Mahmut’s advice and warnings are not only valid for one generation, but for all generations to come:

(Son, listen to my advice, get rid of ignorance; his ace is molasses

train; like this, the clever one listens to advice and enriches).

As can be seen in these examples, one of the most important sources in Turkish history, the book Türk Sözü (DLT) should be considered among the must-read books.

Like every thinker who had to repeat what he said in order to convey his words to his society, maybe Mahmut of Kaşgar had some patience. While giving an example of a saying, he made his explanation with the following quatrain:

(My anger hit me, I roared like a lion;

I chopped it, who’s holding me now?).

Source: Hasan B. Paksoy. Turkish history, Maya of Societies, Civilization. (Izmir: Mazhar Zorlu Holding, 1997)













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