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ÇELEBI, SÜLEYMAN (1351-1422); GASHEVIC, HAFIZ SALEH EFENDI (Translator), (1855-1934); DZEMALUDDIN CAUSEVIC (Published by) (1870-1938).

Islamska Dionycharska Shtamparija, Sarajevo, AH 1354 = [1937].

Original greenish wrappers. Roy. 8vo. (24 x 17 cm). In Arebica (Bosnian with Arabic letters). 16 p.

Lithography. Exceedingly rare early Yugoslavian edition of this first Arebica translation of the “Mevlidi Serif”, one of the most important texts of the Islamic world, also the most famous “mevlid” of other 62 mevlids, which is a eulogy recited to celebrate the birth of the prophet Muhammad. Mevlid was and still is a widely celebrated Islamic text in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The pamphlet was translated by Hafiz Salih Gashevic (1855-1934) who is known among Bosnians as the first translator of Süleyman Çelebi's Mawlid. Hafiz Salih Gashevic was born in 1855 in Nikšić. After the Montenegrin occupation of Nikšić, he migrated to the Šahovići district, during the Šahovići massacre (of the Muslim population of the Yugoslav village of Šahovići (modern-day Tomaševo in Montenegro) and neighbouring villages in the region of the Lower Kolašin, committed on 9 and 10 November 1924 by a mob of 2,000 Orthodox Christian men from Kolašin and Bijelo Polje that sought revenge for the earlier murder of Boško Bošković, governor of the area, it was also committed by Montenegrin Greens), Lower Kolašyn region and became the district governor there. This translation by Gašević was published in dozens of editions and is the most widely read study of this genre among Muslim Bosnians in the Balkans.

DZEMALUDDIN CAUSEVIC: Mehmed Džemaluddin Effendi Čaušević published this edition of mawlid. He was a Bosnian Muslim theologian, thinker, educator, reformer, journalist, translator, and linguist, the fourth Grand Mufti (Reis-ul-Ulema) in the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He was one of the most significant and influential Bosnian Muslim personalities of the 20th century. He was sent to Istanbul at the age of seventeen to receive a higher education in Islamic studies. Upon graduating from the Mekteb-i Hukuk, in 1901, Čaušević departed from Istanbul and returned to Bosnia. Making his residence in Sarajevo, he served as an instructor of the Arabic language in the city’s Great Gymnasium. In September 1903, he was elected to be a member of the distinguished Meclis-i Ulema, the managerial body of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Islamic Community. In 1909 Čaušević accepted a position as professor in Sarajevo’s Sharia school, an institution dedicated to higher Islamic learning and which was, built and financed by the Austrians. Always true to his reformist ideals, Čaušević never ceased to declare and strive to implement them. Soon his reputation for dedication and distinction in the field of education spread throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and when Hafiz Sulejman Šarac (1850-1927) resigned from his position as reis-ul-ulema in 1913, Čaušević was selected a year later to be his successor. Thus, he was presented with the highest and most prestigious religious rank within the Islamic community of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Following his retirement from this post in 1930, Čaušević continued to be an active participant in Islamic intellectual discourse through contributions to literary papers (some of which he established). Together with Hafiz Muhamed Pandža, he also translated the Qur’an into Croatian language and attached his forward-looking exegesis to it.

MAWLID TRADITION: Written by Süleyman Çelebi in Bursa in 1409, Vesîletü'n-Necât (Means of Salvation), also known as Mevlid-i Serif. It is the first and most famous of the Turkish-written mawlids on the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Süleyman Çelebi's mawlid consists of 16 parts and 770 couplets. Süleyman Çelebi, when he served as an imam at the Ulu Mosque (1399-1421), decided to write Vesîletü'n-Necât, according to one narration, with the advice of Emir Sultan, or according to another narration, after listening a preacher, who said that he had not considered the last prophet (the Prophet of Islam) superior to other prophets, during a sermon in the Ulu Mosque, thus the tradition started. The manuscript, written in mathnawi (a kind of poem written in rhyming couplets, or more specifically a poem based on independent, internally rhyming lines) type, in a plain and pure Turkish and aruz prosody, is in the Topkapi Palace Library. Today, mawlid ceremonies are organized for social practices, important events, rituals and feasts (engagement, wedding, birth, circumcision, after the death of one's relatives (especially on 7th, 40th, and 52nd days), when welcoming pilgrims, when sending one for obligatory military service, Hidrellez, etc. celebrations) in the mosques, homes, village squares, wedding venues, etc; and tahini halvah, rock candy, pancakes, pilaf with meat, pilaf with chicken, cantik, Turkish delight with walnuts, milk, flour halva are distributed after the mawlid recited by the mawlid reciters or hafizes (those who memorized whole Qur'an).

AREBICA TRADITION: Arebica is a variant of the Arabic script used to write the Serbo-Croatian language. It was used mainly between the 15th and 19th centuries and is frequently categorized as part of Aljamiado literature. During Austro-Hungarian rule, there were unsuccessful efforts by Bosnian Muslims to grant Arebica equal status alongside Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Apart from literature, Arebica was used in religious schools and administration, though less than other scripts.

The final version of the Arebica alphabet was devised at the end of the 19th century by Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević. After WWII, the Bosnian Muslim press in Arebica was not supported by Tito’s government.

Okiç pp. 41.; Kemura - Glasnik VIS 5/6 (1969), pp. 120-123.; As of January 2024, we couldn’t trace any copies in the OCLC and KVK.