Who is Kashgarli Mahmud?
Unfortunately, there is no detailed information about the life of Mahmud of Kashgar, the founder of Turkology (Turkology) and the father of Turkish lexicography, who brought us Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk, which helped to rewrite the history of the Turkish language and illuminates many issues of Turkish in the dark.
It is understood from the records in Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk that Mahmud of Kashgar, whose information is not found in historical sources and does not give much information about himself in his work, came from a noble family and was a very well-educated prince. Kasgarli Mahmud, who prides himself on being the most eloquent, clear narrator, the best educated, the most rooted in lineage, and the most successful pike thrower, writes that he traveled to all the cities and regions where Turkish communities lived.
It is understood from the information that Kasgarli Mahmud had very detailed information on the vocabulary of Turkish from the information he gave while explaining the way he would take on the vocabulary he would take for his work. Knowing the Turkish written languages of the period very well; His knowledge of the meanings, types and various features of the words he compiled from the Turkish communities, as well as his knowledge of the old vocabulary of the Turkish language, reveals that Mahmud of Kashgar had a very good language education and raised himself.
Where and when was he born?
Although he is known as Kaşgarlı Mahmud, it is thought that his birthplace is Barsgan, based on the fact that he gave the information that his father was from Barsgan in his work. Mahmud, who does not refer to himself with names like Kashgarî, al-Kâşgarî (Kâşgarlı) anywhere in his work, on the other hand, constantly praises Kaşgar for his air, water and nature; The fact that the khakan described the settlements as Adıg, Kası and Opal in the vicinity of Kaşgar as his own province, and the fact that he was raised in Kaşgar, which was a cultural center at that time, enabled this great linguistic scholar to be called Kaşgarlı.
While explaining the name of his father’s homeland Barsgan, Kaşgarlı Mahmud states that this name comes from the name of Afrasiyab’s son, and that he named the city he founded after himself, and states that his father’s hometown is Barsgan. Kasgarli Mahmud, who also evaluates a different information about the history of Barsgan, writes that this name comes from the Uyghur khan’s groom named Barsgan. Legend has it that the groom used to raise his horses in this region, where he liked the weather. Over time, when this place turned into a settlement, it became known by its own name.
According to another rumor, Mahmud of Kashgar was born in the village of Opal, in the southwest of the city of Kashgar. Indeed, from a recording in Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk, we see that Kaşgarlı defines the word Opal as a village from his own province. It was later revealed that the name read as Abul by those working on the work was Opal. Mahmud of Kashgar, who expressed his affiliation to Kashgar by mentioning the village of Opal with the words “The name of a village in our province”, however, did not specify Opal as the place where he was born.
However, the fact that Adıg and Kası, which he defines as “the name of a village in our province”, “the name of a place in our province” in Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk, are settlements near Opal, clearly reveals the interest of Mahmud of Kashgar with this region. puts it.
Although there are different opinions, it is accepted that he was born in 1008.
Where did he study?
Kasgarli Mahmud took lessons from well-known teachers in Hamidiyye and Saciyye madrasahs in Opal, where he received his primary education and spent his youth. One of his teachers is Sheikh Imam ez-Zahid Hussein bin Halef al-Kashgari, whose name is also mentioned in Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk.
While mentioning himself in the first pages of his work, Kasgarli Mahmud states that his father’s name is Hüseyin and his grandfather’s name is Muhammed. Later, while explaining the name of Uighur, he brings the word to his ancestors. He states that his ancestors were called Hamîr, that this name was based on the word amir ‘amir’, and that his family was known as Hamîr, with a sound change that occurred as a result of the derivation of /h/ in the prologue, since the Oghuzs could not say amir.
After this information, Kaşgarlı Mahmud states that his ancestor took the Turkish provinces from the Samanoğulları and was called Hamîr Tegin. The spelling of this name in the manuscript has led to the emergence of different ways of reading. It is accepted that this name, which has different reading suggestions such as El-Amîr Bahr Tekin, Beherkin, Bahir Tekin, Hamîr Tekin, should actually be read Nasr Tigin, and that this person is Arslan İlig Nasr bin Ali, the conqueror of Transoxiana and Bukhara, also known as Nasr İlig Han.
Later researches revealed different information about the genealogy of Kasgarli Mahmud and a disastrous event that his family experienced. These events have led to various comments on the obscure points of how a comprehensive work like Dîvânu Lugâti’t-Türk was prepared. In the conditions of the eleventh century, Mahmud of Kashgar traveled all over the Turkish world, and the language, literature and culture of the peoples of Turkish descent.