Ahmed Yasawh Narrated Life and Wisdom Generated in His Name

Oguz O.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.112, pp.5-14, 2016 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.5-14
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


It has been acknowledged by scientists that, Ahmed Yasawi who is memorialized in his 850th death anniversary in 2016 as part of the UNESCO Program of Commemoration and Celebration Anniversaries lived in 12th century and passed away in 1166 in today's Kazakhstan, Turkestan. However, his historical personality and "prototypical" life don't match up with the extant information on religious anecdotes about his life and poems bearing his name. Efforts for explaining Yasawi's life and wisdom with multi-variants by the help of methods adopted by literary historians haven't led the way to a solution. Because, even though Ahmed Yasawi is a historical figure, he has been transformed into a narrative hero in time by way of about him and accordingly, production of wisdom which is the general name for Yasawi's poems has continued in different regions throughout the centuries. Thoughts forming a basis for his life of religious anecdotes and wisdom turned him into a narrative hero as a "father of spiritual and ethic guide" converting into a certain method and style. Ahmed Yasawi's life of religious anecdotes and wisdom which have been spread over many Turkic speaking regions as an "ecotypic" narrative with Von Sydow's words should be studied in accordance with folkloristics. None of his poems have been proved to have been written or recorded in his lifetime. First versions of poems which, were thought, belonged to him were written after his death, 400 years later. It is certainly not possible for verbal memory to maintain a poet's life and poems much the same for 400 years. These poems introduce a life which was generated, narrated and maintained in reference to Turkic narration style and which also referred as tradition of menakibname, epic tradition and storytelling in new contexts. Therefore, Ahmed Yasawi's narrated life and wisdoms generated in this context shouldn't be dealt with the methods of literary historians such as "person and his/her work" or critical edition; this matter requires the theories and approaches applied on narrative types as religious anecdotes, legends, epic by folklorists such as C. W. Von Sydow, Lord Raglan and Albert Lord.