The Book of Muhammad


This Ottoman Turkish manuscript covers the life and attributes of the Prophet Muhammad. The author, Yazicioglu Mehmet (also seen as Yazicioglu Muhammad, died 1451), and his younger brother Ahmad Bican Yazicioglu (died circa 1466), were educated by their father, Yazici Salih. Both became adherents of influential Sufi master Haji Bayram Wali (died 1429 or 1430). Yazicioglu Mehmet later formed a school or retreat for Sufi study and practice and wrote a treatise in Arabic on the Prophet Muhammad entitled Magharib al-zaman (Sunset of time). The work presented here, Muhammediye (The book of Muhammad), is a poetic translation of the treatise into Turkish. It is written in a simple style composed of couplets in groups of varying length and arranged thematically. Some of the verses are biographical and cover, for example, Muhammad’s hijrah from Mecca to Medina, his battles, and similar topics; others deal with eschatological matters, for example Gog and Magog, the sun rising in the West, and the Day of Resurrection. There are also explanations of Qurʼanic verses and a drawing of Muhammad’s liwa’ (flag). The work ends with couplets of praise to the author’s mentor, Haji Bayram Wali, and to other contemporary figures. The numerous manuscript copies of the work, some of which are sumptuously decorated, attest to its popularity. The work was printed in the 1860s in a lithographed edition. Some of the poems have been adapted for musical performance. In this manuscript dating from 1558 or 1559, an unknown reader has provided notes and reference terms in the margins. The title, guide words, and ownership by one Madin Vaqf are indicated in a different, much shakier hand than the main text, which is in a naskh Turkish Arabic script.

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278 leaves ; 30 x 21.5 centimeters



  1. Hamdi Kiziler, "Osmanlılarda ilk yerel manevi olusum: Hacı Bayram Veli ve Bayramiyye ekolunun Anadolu’ya etkisi." Osmanlı Tarihi Araştırma ve Uygulama Merkezi Dergisi OTAM [Journal of Ankara University, Ottoman History Research Center] 32 (2012).
  2. “Yazidji-oghlu,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, first edition (Leiden: Brill, 1913−36).
  3. “Yazicioglu, Mehmed Efendi,” in Islam ansiklopedisi (Ankara: Diyanet Isleri Bashkani).

Last updated: February 2, 2016