HUSAM AL-DIN CHELEBI
After Salah al-Din, the goldsmith, passed away, Husam al-Din Chelebi became the companion and deputy to Rumi. The family of Husam al-Din Chelebi, who is described by Sipehsalar as the person in whom divine light is manifested, teacher of secrets of truth and knowing God, a personality of whom saints on the Muhammadi path are proud, was originally from Urumiyeh, but migrated to and settled in Konya. Husam al-Din Chelebi was born in Konya in 1225. One might think that Husam al-Din was related to Rumi since Rumi's descendents are also called Chelebi. Here "Chelebi" co notates a polite, sophisticated person, and it is a title used by the public for generally loved and respected people. Other than Chelebi, Husam al-Din also had the honorific "Ahi Türko?lu" (The Brother of the Turkish Dynasty). Husam al-Din Chelebi's real name was Husam al-Din Hasan. His father's name was Muhammad, and his grandfather's name was Hasan.
Husam al-Din Chelebi's grandfather was a great saint, Shaykh Taj al-Din Abu al-Wafa, who was Kurdish and died in Baghdad in 1107. Although this great saint was illiterate, he was a gnostic. Some members of the community who only valued educational levels, high positions, wealth, and physical appearances asked him to preach to them in order to embarrass this great saint. Shaykh Abu al-Wafa al-Kurdi replied; "God willing, I shall preach tomorrow. Be present. " That night he supplicated sincerely to God, performed the ritual prayer, and went to bed. In his dream he saw the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet gave good news to this illiterate Kurdish saint: "God manifested Himself to him through His names of Alim (All-Knowing) and Hakim (All-Wise).” The next day when he sat on the kursi, or chair, to begin his sermon in the mosque, his first sentence was: "I slept as a Kurd at night and got up as an Arab in the morning.” He gave a very beautiful, very scholastic, and gnostic sermon that surprised everybody.
Since Husam al-Din's father was the head of the ahi group living in and around Konya, he was called "Ahi Turk,” and Husam al-Din was called as "Ahi Tiirko?lu. " The institution of this was an organization that embraced all small craftsmen and business people. The way of his was called fotuwwat (chivalry). Since Husam al-Din Chelebi's father was the head of the ohi organization in and around Konya, he was respected widely. All of the ah?s?n Konya were raised under the supervision of his father and mother and were mentored by them. Therefore, they were all in the service of Chelebi's father.
When Husam al-Din Chelebi's father passed away, they wanted him to replace his father as leader. But this great man, realizing that fame, fortune, and high position really did not give anything to a person, gathered all of his followers and intended to make Rumi the new leader. He put his head on Rumi's threshold. Husam al-Din Chelebi asked his men to continue whatever work, craft, or business they were doing and to bring him his share, and he gave away all his possessions to Rumi until he no longer possessed anything. His tutor complained to him: "No means of income or wealth remained.” Then he said to sell off everything in his house. A few days later, his servants came to him and said that there was nothing left in the house except for them. Upon hearing this, Husam al-Din Chelebi said: "Praise be to God. It became possible for us to follow the Tradition of our Prophet at least in appearance. For God's sake and for Rumi's love, I free you all. Go and find a new business. "
Rumi, too, was just as attached to this very generous lover of God who sacrificed his everything for Rumi. When Husarn al-Din Chelebi was not present, it was not possible for Rumi to be joyful in that assembly. As Aflaki writes in his book Manaqib al-Arif?n one day Muin al-Din Pervane arranged a big whirling ceremony in his palace. Rumi, great shaykhs, and distinguished scholars were invited. Rumi was quiet in that gathering because Husam al-Din Chelebi was not present in that congregation. When they realized this, with Rumi's permission, they invited Husam al-Din. When Chelebi arrived, he stood up and greeted him saying: "Welcome, O my spirit and faith, welcome, O my light and my master, welcome, O the beloved of God and the Prophet.” After this, Vizier Muin al-Din Pervane started showing great respect toward Husam al-Din Chelebi.
Whatever Rumi received he would pass it to Husam al-Din Chelebi without even touching a penny of it, and Husam al-Din Chelebi would distribute it to everyone according to how much they deserved. One day Amir Taj al-Din Mu'tazi Khorasani sent Rumi a large sum of money and asked him to give a feast for dervishes with that money. Whirling ceremonies were to be held, and the dervishes were to pray for him. When Rumi gave all this money to Husam al-Din Chelebi, his son Sultan Valad was uncomfortable and complained: "There is nothing at home. Whatever comes you send it directly to Chelebi. What are we going to do?" Rumi replied: "Baha al-Din, by God, by God, by God, if hundreds of mature ascetics were facing death because of starvation and we had a loaf of bread, we would still send it to Chelebi.” And thereby he wanted to remind his son Valad how reliable, how compassionate a person Chelebi was and how much he cared for the poor. One day Rumi saw a man with a basket on his back carrying food to Husam al-Din Chelebi's house. He told the man: "I wish I was in your place and you were in mine.” He took off his robe and gave it to that man.
Husam al-Din Chelebi was such a noble-spirited and perfected human being that, Rumi had not given love and compliments to anyone as much as he did to Chelebi. He held him in such high esteem that one would think that Husam al-Din Chelebi was Rumi's shaykh. The expression of praise and love that Rumi uses for Husam al-Din Chelebi in the Mesnevi at every occasion is rather surprising. Just as the holy light, the light of love that manifested itself in these two insan al-kamil (perfect human beings) captivated them seven centuries ago, that same holy light that transcends centuries illuminates the hearts of poor servants like us who love Rumi and his writings, and it increases our admiration of them. If Rumi had not taken Husam al-Din Chelebi as a friend of God, if he had not seen the truth in him, if he had not been attached to that truth, today humanity would have been without a peerless work like the Mesnevi.
It is also true that if Rumi had not existed, neither Shams of Tabriz, nor Salah al-Din, the goldsmith, nor Husam al-Din Chelebi would have been remembered. As is the case in every age, who knows how many more Shams', goldsmiths and Ahi Turks came to this old world, lived, illuminated hearts, and educated disciples. Some of them were mentioned in the books about saints while others were never known, and no books cited them. A Prophetic Tradition to which Rumi refers is very interesting: "There are some saints of God who are concealed. Their hair becomes like felt due to lack of care, their faces dusty. When they want to see a person of high position, they are not allowed in. They are not seen in public, they are not sought after, when they are not present at an assembly, they are not called. When they get sick, nobody asks them how they are. Nobody comes to check on them. When they die, nobody attends their funerals. They are not known on the earth, but in the heavens, they are famous. " Similarly Yunus Emre mentioned such saints when he said:
May they say a stranger has died
May they hear it after three days
May they wash (my corpse) with cold water
Just a homeless wanderer like myself.
The most beautifiil memento of Rumi's days of friendship with Husam al-Din Chelebi is without a doubt his work, the honorable Mesnevi. If Husam al-Din Chelebi had not been there, this great and peerless Sufi text would not have been written, and the Islamic world would have been deprived of the most read masterpiece after the Qur'an and Prophetic Traditions. People would not have been able to receive spiritual joy and abundant blessings from this divine wonder that has been translated into many languages. The only reason for such a great divine blessing and for the spiritual Mesnevi to be presented to the lovers of God is Husam al-Din Chelebi.
It is narrated that Husam al-Din Chelebi saw that Rumi's devotees and lovers of God were reading the Hadiqa of Hakim Sanai (d. 1131) and Mantiq al-Tayr of Farid al-Din 'Attar (d. 1230), and his heart was not content with that. He was regretful, as he believed that Rumi was reciting many beautiful odes, and his divan (collection of poems) was growing every day with new odes, but Rumi had not formulated yet books like those of Sanai and Attar that explained the Path, Truth, and intricacies of Sufism. One night Husam al-Din found Rumi alone. Mentioning to him about the high number of his odes, he asked him to tell also Sufi tales to guide dervishes like the stories of Sanai and Attar. Rumi wanted to let the seekers know the truth through tales that everybody could understand, and so he reached a decision in this matter. Upon these words of Chelebi, he immediately took out a piece of paper from his turban. On this piece of paper, the first eighteen couplets of Mesnevi were written. "Chelebi, " he said, "if you write it down, I will dictate it. " Husam al-Din Chelebi agreed to this joyful suggestion enthusiastically. So the writing of the honorable Mesnevi began. Exactly when did the writing of Mesnevi begin? We do not know exactly when the writing of the Mesnevi began. However, Rumi continued to write the Mesnevi until the end of his life.
After Rumi reached the decision to write the Mesnevi, his days and nights were filled with this activity. Especially at night when everyone had gone to sleep, in the silence of the night, Rumi would dictate without taking paper and pen in his hand. And Husam al-Din Chelebi quickly wrote it all down. Around the time the first volume was finished, Husam al-Din Chelebi's wife passed away. Therefore, the second volume could not begin immediately. After two years, Rumi began the second volume, and the process continued in the previous way. Some nights, the writing of the Mesnevi continued until the morning. Chelebi kept on writing with joy and enthusiasm, without growing tired or bored. The spiritual joy and excitement Rumi felt during dictation allowed him to forget his tiredness. It was as if God created Husam al-Din Chelebi for the purpose of writing this holy book; He predestined him for this blessed duty Rumi was also ready for this unique book to be created, recited, and written. No Sufi other than Rumi would have been able to produce such a vast and magnificent work because Rumi was educated by his father and his shaykh Sayyid Burhan al-Din. He had a deep knowledge from the countless books he had read, a strong memory; and a superior talent. He possessed a contemplative nature that was able to recognize subtleties that no one else would notice, and he expressed them in a very pleasant and sweet manner. His keen sense of observation and perception, his deep feeling of sorrow and sensitivity were among the rarest. Beyond all these attributes, he had a great faith and an infinite love. God had filled the heart of his dear saint with knowledge, love, and gnosis.
Beginning with the Prophet of Islam, he loved all saints and all human beings. He had an attitude of infinite lenience and tolerance that saw no fault in human beings created by God. Furthermore, for Rumi to become Rumi, God had bestowed him with friends of God and mirrors of heart beginning with Shams. When Rumi was a very ascetic Sufi, Shams of Tabriz removed this dry asceticism from him and threw him in the realm of divine love and attraction. Salah al-Din, the goldsmith, took him from the world of transient to tranquility with his quiet nature and caution. Husam al-Din Chelebi helped Rumi to become a spiritual sun for all the lovers of God and for all humanity by spreading Rumi's knowledge and gnosis after he had become settled, had matured even more, and had attained perfection.
Husam al-Din Chelebi became Rumi's companion and his deputy five years after Salah al-Din had passed away. But Husam al-Din Chelebi was among the very close friends of Rumi even when Shams of Tabriz was there. I could not help but mention a few compliments that Rumi made about his last friend of heart and the reason for the materialization of the honorable Mesnevi as he was dictating it to Husam al-Din Chelebi. In the second volume, he proclaims: "Husam al-Din, the light of God, once again changed the direction of his reins from the heights of the heavens and started die Mesnevi again. " In the third volume, he writes: "O Husam al-Din, the light of God. Make this third volume come forth, because it is a Prophetic Tradition to do something three times... O Husam al-Din, your power leaks and comes from the power of God. " In the fourth volume, Rumi reveals: "O Husam al-Din, the light of God. You are such a man that the Mesnevi was enlightened with your light. " He also says: "You are the reason of the Mesnevi's writing in the beginning. If it increases and lengthens, it is you who is increasing and lengthening it. Now that you will so it means God, too, wills so. God grants the wishes of the pious... O Husam al-Din, spread holy light in the fourth volume because the sun rises in the fourth heaven and fills the universe with light. "
In the fifth volume, he tells us: "Shah Husam al-Din, light of the stars, wants the fifth volume to begin... O light of God! The generous Husam al-Din, you are teacher to the teachers of those who rescue people from blurred vision and bring them to clarity. Had the people not been behind a curtain, were their hearts' eyes open and their understanding not limited, I would have begun to praise you spiritually, and I would open my mouth to utter words other than these words. It is not appropriate to praise you to those in prison. I shall praise you in the assembly of the spirituals (angels) and spread your praises there.
It is unnecessary to tell the people of the world about you. I am keeping you secret as the secret of divine love. "
In the sixth volume of his Mesnevi, Rumi praises his friend of God who was the reason for the Mesnevi to be written by calling the Mesnevi "Husam-name": "O Husam al-Din, the life of hearts! Long you have wanted the sixth volume to be written. Husamname is rotating with the attraction of a learned man like you... O spiritual man! I am dedicating this sixth and last volume of the Mesnevi to you. " The above praises and the fact that the Mesnevi was delayed for two years after the completion of the first volume because Chelebi was unable to participate due to the passing away of his wife show us that if it had not been for Husam al-Din Chelebi, the Mesnevi never would have been written.