Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

“Only a Thorn Springs from the Milkvetch”: Al-Suyuti’s View of the Ulema and Politics

Jalâl al-dîn al-Suyuti (d. 911/1505), who lived in Cairo during the reign of Mamluks, is said to have written about five hun-dred works on intellectual and religious topics, which spread all around the Islamic world due to their popularity. Al-Suyuti paid attention to scholarly responsibilities in social life and participated in many social-political debates during his lifetime. He tried to demonstrate the ideal political attitude of a scholar according to Sunnah by means of the treatises he wrote concerning the relationship between the rulers and the ulemâ. The literatüre on al-Suyuti’s works shows that he wrote twenty treatises on politics, one of which was his Ma rawah al-asâtin fî adam al-majii ilâ al-salâtin, which was a compilation of narratives that regulate the relation between rulers and scholars. The author also prepared and presented to the sultan a summary of this treatise under the title of al-Risala al-Sultaniyya. It was read before the sultan, who then felt a great sorrow due to both the narratives and the Suyuti’s attitude. Moreover, the treatise argued that for scholars forming a close relationship with the sultan is against the Sunnah, and explained it with the examples taken from Suyuti’s own life, Based on these accounts, this article establishes Suyuti’s political biography. It also discusses the content and the sources of this work, and provides information on the whereabouts of the copies of this short treatise. Finally, it contains a full translation of the work. A. Taha İMAMOĞLU
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