Katip Çelebi

Born on 1609

Died on 1657

Muṣṭafa ibn ‘Abd Allāh;

(مصطفى بن عبد الله), generally known as Kâtip Çelebi (كاتب جلبي, “Gentleman Scribe”; variants: Kātib ÇelebiKatib Tchélébi‘Abdallāh Kātib JelebiChalabiMuṣṭafa Ben Hājī KhalīfahHâcci Halfa (Turkish: Hacı Halife) (حاجي خليفة), Haji KhalifaHajji KhalifehHazi HalifeHadschi ChalfaKhalfa and Kalfa), (*1017 AH/1609 AD – d. 1068 AH/1657 AD) was a celebrated Ottoman-Turkish polymath and a leading literary author of the 17th-century Ottoman Empire. He compiled bibliographic, geographic and historical encyclopaedias, in addition to writing many treatises and essays. Regarded a “a deliberate and impartial historian… of extensive learning”, Franz Babinger claimed him to be the greatest encyclopaedist among the Ottomans.

With equal facility in Alsina-i Thalātha – the three languages of Ottoman imperial administration, Arabic, Turkish and Persian – he wrote principally in Arabic and then in Turkish, his native tongue. He also collaborated on translations from French and Latin. His magnum opus, the famous bibliographic encyclopaedia, Kaşf az-Zunūn ‘an ‘asāmī ‘l-Kutub wa-l’fanūn (كشف الظنون عن أسامي الكتب والفنون), or simply Kaşf az-Zunūn, was published in seven volumes under the Latin title Lexicon Bibliographicum et Encyclopaedicum by the German orientalist Gustav Leberecht Flüge. The great compendium, Bibliothèque Orientale by the French orientalist Barthélemy d’Herbelot de Molainville was principally a translation of Kaşf az-Zunūn with additional material. He combined a complete acceptance of Islam with adherence to Ishrāqī (Illuminationist philosophy).

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