Abdurrahman Hıbri
(b. May 1604 - d. 1658 or 1659)
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A.H. was the son of the müderris Habbazzade Hasan Efendi (d. 10 Ramadan 1039/23 April 1630), nicknamed salbaş (lit. “with a tittering head”). Another son of Hasan Efendi was Abdülqadir (d. 1087/1676), who served as a qadi in several Anatolian towns. Due to a confusion created by Şeyhi, the careers and dates of death of Abdurrahman and Abdülqadir Efendis have been widely purported in the research literature and catalogues, before they were corrected by Mücteba İlgürel. A.H.’s son Feyzullah Efendi (d. 1123/1712) completed the picture of an archetypically provincial family of ulema by entering the path of the ilmiyye.

A.H. was educated in his native Edirne and Istanbul. Despite the lack of information on his formal studies in the Ottoman capital, it appears that he adopted Hibri (lit. “knowledgeable, learned”) as his nom-de-plume when he started composing poetry as a young man. He taught until the end of his life as müderris in a number of colleges in Edirne. His professional life was only interrupted for the performance of the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1041/1632 and a short residence in the nearby Didimoticho (Dimetoqa), where he was posted in 1046/1636-37 at the Medrese of Oruç Paşa. A.H. also accounts his visits to sanctuaries and hot springs in the hinterland of Edirne and in eastern Thrace.

His teaching positions in Edirne differed in degree from the low ranking Medrese of Emir Qadi (with a daily stipend of 40 aqçe daily) via the medreses of İbrahim Paşa (Jumada I 1049/August 1639), Sarraciyye (Zilhijja 1052/January 1643), Eminiyye (Jumada I 1053/August 1643), Taşlıq or Ali Bey (Safer 1054/April 1644), Eski Cami (mid-1056/ca. August 1646) up to the more prestigious schools of Üç Şerefeli (Shawwal 1065/August 1655) and Darü’l-hadis (10 Jumada II 1068/6 March 1658). A.H. emphasizes that he followed in three appointments the scholar Baba Halilzade Mehmed [?] Efendi (d. 1045/1635?), probably a former tutor, and reports that his father had already been the head of the Medrese of Taşlıq.

During A.H.’s lifetime Edirne suffered a considerable relapse in intellectual life and economic prosperity, which deteriorated due to a destructive flood in 1033/1623-24. Since the town was neglected by the Ottoman court after the reign of Ahmed I (r. 1012-26/1603-17) the inhabitants noted with satisfaction the visit of Murad IV (r. 1032-49/1623-40) in the third year of his reign. A.H. was among the local literati who had the occasion to respond to the welcome qasida of the celebrated Nefii (d. 1044/1635) with their own pieces of poetry (nazire).

The year of A.H.’s death as 1069/1658-59 is confirmed by the inscription on his gravestone in a cemetery of the Yıldırım neighborhood of Edirne.


A.H.’s most important contribution to Ottoman literature is a historical, topographical, and biographical description of Edirne with its environs divided into 14 chapters (fasl) entitled Enisü’l-Müsamirin (‘Friend of the Evening Entertainments’). Since Enis was terminated in 1046/1636, later marginal notes in the manuscripts cannot be attributed to the author.

Judging by his enumeration of numerous smaller townships which traded with the regional center, A.H.’s understanding of Edirne as a regional unit appears to be economic rather than administrative. Six of these towns (qasaba) are in a distance of one day’s journey (menzil) and deserved for this reason a more or less detailed description: Didimoticho, Ergene Köprüsü (Uzunköprü), Hafsa (Havsa), Cisr-i Mustafa Paşa (Svilengrad, Bulgaria), and Çirmen (Ormenion, Greece).

A.H. states in his foreword that, while Persian and Arab authors had written special histories of their towns, learned Ottomans did not follow this tradition. He states that he decided to compile a history of Edirne from the time of the Ottoman conquest (which he dates erroneously as 760/1358) to his lifetime to fill this gap. A.H. justified his neglect of the pre-Ottoman epoch with reference to the ignorance of “the historians” with respect to the events in this period. It is noteworthy that he does not make use of the so-called Saltuq-name compiled in the 1470s and mentions the Hikaye-i (or Risale-i) Hekim-i Beşir Çelebi written in the early 16th century only incidentally in Chapter 4 in a paragraph on the Hıdırlık sanctuary. Both narratives contain “pagan” elements in the foundation myths of Edirne and other legendary tales from pre- and post-Islamic times. The chapter on dervish lodges provides information on mainstream and heterodox brotherhoods. While including the more popular saints with obscure history, A.H. seems to keep a professional distance to all sorts of Işıq, Melami, and Meczub in his account. He also leaves out the non-Muslim population and their buildings almost completely with few exceptions such as the Roman-Byzantine fortification.

The material for A.H.’s narrative comes from unnamed history books (kütüb-i tevarih) such as the anonymous chronicles of the House of Osman, Mehmed b. Mehmed Edirnevi’s (d. 1050/1640) Nuhbetü’l-tevarih ve’l-ahbar, Sadüddin’s (d. 1008/ 1659) Tacü’t-tevarih and Mustafa Ali’s (d. 1088/1599) Künhü’l-ahbar. He also made use of bio-bibliographical dictionaries such as Taşköprüzade’s (d. 968/1561) Şaqa’iq and its Turkish translation and continuation Hada’iqu’ş-Şaqa’iq by his fellow citizen Mehmed Mecdi (d. 999/1591), Sehi Beg’s (d. 955/1548-9) anthology Heşt Bihişt and Aşıq Mehmed Çelebi’s (d. 968/1562) Tezkiretü’ş-şuara. The fact that both Mecdi and Sehi, pioneers of the bio-bibliographical genre in the Ottoman world, were born in Edirne flattered A.H. who was so firmly rooted in his birthplace. In addition to these standard sources, A.H. drew on divans of local poets, inscriptions of buildings and gravestones, and completed these written materials with a considerable number of personal recollections and observations. In search of the biography of a certain sheikh not known by Taşköprüzade, for instance, A.H. refers to a defter or a document with the signature of a judge, which he has seen.

In the short first section A.H. summarizes the events before the conquest of Edirne as an effort of Lala Şahin Paşa (d. >789/1388) and his Rumelian gazis. Chapters 2-8 provide reliable information on buildings and settlements, while Chapters 9-12 focus on classes of learned men, sultans and poets. The last two chapters have the character of an anthology with accounts of remarkable events (in prose) and poems. Approximately two thirds of Enis is written in a style closer to the tezkire genre with a local focus rather than to a history of events. It is debatable whether the topographical chapters are more than a preface to the biographies of rulers, learned men, and poets. The chapters on the physical fabric of the town are linked with firsthand information on many personalities, most of whom lived in the early 17th century.

In Chapter 7, A.H. emphasizes the wretched state of Edirne and the poverty of its population: There is nothing special but rosewater and quince, no new baths were constructed after that of Soqullu Mehmed Paşa (d. 987/1579). These pessimistic remarks keep Enis distant from the şehrengiz (“city thriller”) literature. According to A.H., the virtues (faza’il) of Edirne lie in the piety and learnedness of his Muslim representatives and its glorious past. While its simple prose ties Enis to the local chronicles of the Arab “classical age,” the work is also linked to the structure of universal histories with its mixture of prose and poetry.

Since the “classical” Ottoman historiography produced only a very limited number of urban histories, Enis, as the earliest and most reliable specimen, became the main source for all successive historians of Edirne such as Mahmud Örfi (d. 1192/1772), Ahmed Badi (d. 1326/1908) and Tosyavizade Rifat Osman (d. 1933), the latest Ottoman chronicler of Edirne. The same is true for the universal historian Katib Çelebi (d. 1067/1657), who used Enis copiously. The dependence of the so called Ta’rih-i Cevri Çelebi on Enis was already remarked by Franz Babinger.

Contents: All manuscripts are organized in sections (fasl) and comprise the following scheme 1) short prehistory of the Ottoman conquest; 2) city walls, markets (including 2 bedesten), palaces (Yeñi Saray, Mamaq Sarayı), gardens; 3) mosques, imarets etc., beginning with the Selimiyye and the other imperial mosques, descriptions include chronograms, mention of servants such as Friday preachers; 4) medreses (24 in total), darü’l-qurras (3 in number), dervish lodges (hanqah, zaviye, 20-30 in number), and surprisingly in this chapter descriptions of public baths in the hinterland (ılıca, qaplıca), connected with sanctuaries (Osman Baba, Qanber Baba, Nefes Baba) and a “sacred fountain” (ayazma); 5) economic structures such as hans (18 in number) and ribats (7-8 in number); 6) bathhouses (22 active hammams, 11 in ruins), with a special paragraph on “completely ruined bathhouses” which mentions even places where no trace of the building survives; 7) waterways (3 rivers), bridges, fountains, gardens; 8) townships (qasaba); 9) graves of sheikhs, ulema and qadis; 10) biographies of sultans who stayed in Edirne, their life and works until the accession of Mehmed IV in 1058/1648; 11) the succession of qadis in Edirne, which was the highest ranking position after Istanbul (there were 8 qadis born in Edirne); 12) poets born in Edirne and samples of their works; 13) remarkable and curious events until 1033/1624 (ahval-i acibe ve veqai-i garibe); 14) poems praising Edirne.

Defter-i Ahbar

The “Register of Traditions” is a narrative of the general Ottoman history from its beginnings up to the period of Murad IV, even though the introduction gives the death of Ahmed I as the final date (1026/1617). The work is divided into six chapters (defter) and a conclusion (hatime). The first defter is a very short synopsis, whereas the second part of the manuscript goes into the details of the political history after the conquest of Bagdad with copies of the correspondence between the Shah and the Ottoman Sultan. The last pages are filled with columns of the names of grand viziers (tertib-i vüzera) from Hayrüddin Paşa (d. 789/1382) to Gürcü Mehmed Paşa (d. 1062 /1651-52), şeyhü’l-islams, qadis, and other officials. This “concise book” (kitab-ı muhtasar) is written in a more ambitious, at times ornate style compared to the more prosaic phrases of Enis. The only existing manuscript is carefully executed.

A work with a similar character is the Rivayat-ı Fütuhat-ı Al-i Osman, a compilation by an anonymous author, who attributes this “work” (maqale) to the “late Hibri.” It continues the narrative until the reign of Mahmud I (r. 1143-68/1730-54), and makes extensive use of the town descriptions in Enis.

Menasik-i Mesalik

Of higher originality is the report on the religious rites and ceremonies to be performed during the pilgrimage based on his own pilgrimage in 1041/1632. A.H. describes all halting places between Edirne and the Holy Sites in the Hijaz on the customary route via Istanbul, Qonya, Aleppo, and Damascus with distances, particularities of the route, facilities for pilgrims, and sanctuaries. The longest part of the text deals with the collective ceremonies and prayers in Mecca. The special features of this treatise are short portrayals of towns and their main buildings (emphasizing constructions and repairs by the Ottoman dynasty) and observations of the organisation of the pilgrims’ caravan.

A longer excursus is devoted to the occurrences (havadisat) which happened during his pilgrimage. A.H. focuses on four events: 1) the execution of the grand vizier Hafız Ahmed Paşa (d. 1041/1632), a week before his arrival in Istanbul; 2) the rebellion in Balıkesir of İlyas Paşa (d. 1042/1632),who was brought to Istanbul and executed there; 3) the disputes between the pilgrims’ caravan and the nomad tribes from Damascus to Mecca; 4) the disputes between the Ottoman authorities and the various families competing to become şerif of Mecca.

A.H. wrote on Ottoman history, literature, and religious themes, he translated from Persian, and produced a divan. Some of his works show that he was eager to record contemporary events such as the troubled situation in the provinces, while Murad IV’s conquests of Erevan (1045/1636) and Bagdad (1048/1638) encouraged him to write short chronicles of theses campaigns.

The account of his pilgrimage to Mecca contains valuable historical details. A treatise on determination of time (Risale-i evqat) is a proof of his astronomical interest. The title Hada’iqu’l-cinan of a unique manuscript on the fluid genre of Muhadarat reveals nothing on the content. Another non-historical work is his translation of Husayn Vaiz’s (“Kaşifi”, d. 910/1504-5) well known Persian commentary on the 40 Hadith collections.


(1) Enisü’l-Müsamirin 
Manuscripts: (1) Ankara, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Kütüphanesi, Ismail Saib Sencer Kitapları, no. 5200; [TBC]. (2) Cairo, Dar al-Kutub (formerly Kutubhana al-Hidiviyya), [TBC] (Ali Hilmi al-Dagistani, Fihrist al-kutub al-Turkiya al-mawjuda bi’l-Kutub-hana al-Hidiviya al Misriya, vol. 1 (Cairo 1306/ 1888-89), 164, 231). (3) Istanbul, Private Library of Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi; [TBC] (4) Istanbul, İstanbul Üniversitesi Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 451; 100 fol., 25 lines, nesih. (5) Istanbul, Millet Kütüphanesi, Ali Emiri, no. 68; 93 fol., 19 lines, nesih. (6) Istanbul, Millet Genel Kütüphanesi, Ali Emiri, no. 69; 63 fol., 19 lines, nesih. (7) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Library, Reşid Efendi, no. 0061; [TBC]. Chapter 14 missing. (8) Istanbul, Yapı Kredi Sermet Çifter Araştırma Kütüphanesi, Türkçe Yazmalar, no. 599/8; fol. 176s-247s; 19 lines, nestalik. (9) Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Mixt. 21a-b; 194 fol., 19 lines, nesih. (Gustav Flügel, Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Kaiserlich-königlichen Hofbibliothek zu Wien, vol. 2 (Vienna, 1865), 259-260, no. 1052.)

Mehmed Tahir and Babinger refer to four additional manuscripts: (10) Berlin, Private Library of J. H. Mordtmann, [TBC]. (11) Edirne, Private Library of Salaheddin Efendi, Mevlevi Sheikh; [TBC]. (12) Edirne, Private Library of Şevket Beg, Mayor of Edirne; [TBC]. (13) Serres/Siroz, [TBC].

Editions: (1) Sevim İlgürel. Abdurrahman Hibrî ve Enîsü’l-müsamirîn. Unpublished PhD dissertation (Istanbul Üniversitesi, 1972). Based on Ms. Üniversite Kütüphanesi, TY no. 451. (2) Ratip Kazancıgil. Abdurrahman Hibrî. Enîsü’l-Müsamirîn. Edirne Tarihi 1360-1650 (Edirne, 1996). Facsimile of Ms. Reşid Efendi. According to S. İlgürel, last chapter is missing. Extremely careless modernized Turkish edition.

(2) Defter-i Ahbar 
Manuscripts: (1) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Veliyüddin Efendi, no. 2418; 73 fol., 25 lines, nesih. Mehmed Tahir refers briefly to reports on Murad IV’s campaigns. The only evidence in library catalogues of Ta’rih-i Feth-i Revan and Ta’rih-i Feth-i Bagdad (dated 1068/1657-58) are that they are “amongst the books of Badi Ahmed Efendi in the Selimiye Library of Edirne.”

(3) Menasik-i Mesalik 
Manuscript: (1) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Library, Lala İsmail, no. 104/3; fol. 87-149, 15 lines, nesih. Written by “Ahmed bi-Şehir Katib Çelebi sakin-i Qasım Paşa,” Zilkade 1088/December 1677.

Edition: Sevim İlgürel. “Abdurrahman Hibrî’nin Menâsik-i Mesâlik’i.” Tarih Enstitüsü Dergisi, 6 (1975), 111-128; Tarih Dergisi, 30 (1976), 55-72; Tarih Dergisi, 31 (1978), 147-162. Includes map of itinerary to Mecca.

General Bibliography:
Bursalı Mehmed Tahir. Osmanlı Mü’ellifleri (Istanbul, 1342/1923-24), vol. 3, 97-8. Franz Babinger. Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke (Leipzig, 1927), 212-214. Osman Nuri Peremeci. Edirne Tarihi (Istanbul, 1939) [cover 1940], 130-2, 167-68, 252-3 and passim. Rifat Osman. Edirne Sarayı (Ankara, 1957). Agâh Sırrı Levend. Türk Edebiyatında Şehr-Engizler ve Şehr-Engizlerde İstanbul (Istanbul, 1958). Tayyib Gökbilgin. “Edirne Hakkında Yazılmış Tarihler ve Enîs-ül Müsâmirîn.” Edirne: Edirne’nin 600. Fethi yıldönümü Armağan Kitabı (Ankara 1965), 77-117. Victor Ménage. “Hibri.” EI, vol. 3 (1971), 351-352. Sevim İlgürel. “Hibrî’nin Enîsü’l-Müsâmirîn’i.” Güneydoğu Avrupa Araştırmaları Dergisi, 2-3 (1974), 137-158. Klaus Kreiser. “Beşîr Çelebi - Hofarzt İbrâhîm Qaramans und Vertrauter Mehmeds II. Fâtih.” Islamkundliche Abhandlungen aus dem Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des Nahen Orients an der Universität München. Hans Joachim Kissling zum 60. Geburtstag gewidmet von seinen Schüler. Ed. Hans Georg Majer (München, 1974), 92-103. Klaus Kreiser. Edirne im 17. Jahrhundert nach Evliya Çelebi. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der osmanischen Stadt (Freiburg, 1975). Ata’i, Nevizade. Hadaiku’l-Hakaik fî Tekmileti’ş-Şakaik. Ed. Abdülkadir Özcan (Istanbul, 1989). Şeyhî. Vekayiü’l-Fudalâ. Ed. Abdülkadir Özcan (Istanbul, 1989), vols. 1-2. Stephane Yerasimos. Légendes d’Empire: La fondation de Constantinople et de Sainte-Sophie dans les traditions turques (Istanbul - Paris, 1990). Aydın Oy. “Risâle-i Beşir Çelebi, Menâkıb-ı Medine-i Edrene.” Edirne: Serhattaki Payıtaht. Ed. Emin Nedret İşli and M. Sabri Koz (Istanbul, 1993), 71-101. Rıdvan Canım. Başlangıçtan Günümüze Edirne Şairleri (Ankara, 1995). Mücteba İlgürel. “Enîsü’l-Müsâmirîn.” Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul, 1995), vol. 11, 243-244. Cemal Kafadar. Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State (Berkeley, 1995). Sevim İlgürel. “Hibrî, Abdurrahman Efendi.” Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi, 17 (1998), 426-428. Richard Stevens Humphreys. “Ta’rikh: The Central and Eastern Lands 950-1500.” EI2 (Leiden, 2000), vol. 10, 276-280. Gottfried Hagen. Ein osmanischer Geograph bei der Arbeit. Entstehung und Gedankenwelt von Katib Çelebis Ǧihannüma (Berlin, 2003). Abdurrahman Sağırlı. “Mehmed b. Mehmed Edirnevî.” Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi, 28 (Istanbul, 2003), 495. Hüseyin Yazıcı. “Muhâdarât.” Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi, 30 (Istanbul, 2005), 391-392.

Klaus Kreiser
February 2007