The most recited poem in Turkish
Süleyman Çelebi’s only surviving literary masterpiece, Mevlûd is the most read Turkish poem ever.
The Mevlûd, consists of 770 lines and written in 9 parts. The poem tells the story of the Prophet Muḥammed’s birth, life, and death; his miracles; and his journey to heaven.
Mevlûd was written in plain 14th century Turkish and it is largely intelligible by modern Turkish speakers. Unlike many other Turkish-Islamic literary works, the poem does not include many Arabic or Persian noun compounds.
There are 63 recorded Mevlûd poems in traditional Turkish literature however Süleyman Çelebi’s Mevlud is the most known and most read one.
The poem owes its popularity to its simple, direct, and straightforward tone.
Süleyman Çelebi’s Mevlûd was translated into other languages of the Ottoman Empire, especially in the Balkans where the translations became just as popular.
In popular culture
In Turkey, this poem is often recited in popular religion during happy or painful events in life. The events include anniversaries of death, birth, circumcision, weddings, welcoming pilgrims, and farewell ceremonies to soldiers.
During the recital, sherbet and sweet treats are offered to attendees. Unlike a prayer at a mosque, Mevlûd ceremonies attract a reception of incredible abundance as it is more of a cultural celebration than a religious one.
Süleyman Çelebi, also known as Süleyman Of Bursa was born shortly after the conquest of Bursa by Orhan Gazi.
Süleyman Çelebi came from a family of scholars. His father Ahmed Paşa served as a minister in the court of Sultan Murad I.
Süleyman Çelebi joined and became a master in the Khalwatīyah dervish order. He served as a minister in the court of Bayezid I. After Bayezid’s death, Süleyman Çelebi became the chief Imam at Bursa Ulu Cami Mosque. He died in 1429 in Bursa.
Süleyman Çelebi lived during an interesting time where Anatolian-Turkish culture was newly being formed at the intersection of Central Asian Turkic, Multi-cultural Roman & Anatolian as well as Balkan culture.
Süleyman Çelebi’s peers were also influential names in Turkish-Islamic history. Upon completing his masterpiece in 1409, Suleyman Celebi first shared it with Somunju Baba. It was Somunju Baba who encouraged Suleyman Celebi to read the poem in the presence of Amir Sultan – both stellar names in Turkish-Islamic history.