Suleiman the Magnificient's Poetry. The Work of a Perfect Ruler.Suleiman the Magnificient (Kanuni - the Lawgiver) provided a new spirit for the poets, scientists and authors. This ruler poet of the XVI century sponsored an army of artists, religious thinkers and philosophers that outshone the most educated courts of Europe. Suleiman himself actively participated in the development of Ottoman poetry by writing poems under the name Muhibbi (the lover, true friend) and his love poetry is among the best in Islam. Suleiman's poems are highly ritualized and belong to Divan poetry.[1: Clot, André. "Preface." In Suleiman the Magnificent: the man, his life, his epoch. London: Saqi, 1992. 4-5.]
From the Persian poetry that largely inspired it, Divan poetry mingles the mystical Sufi thought with profane and erotic elements. It also inherited a wealth of symbols whose meanings and interrelationships are prescribed. The nightingale, for instance opposes the rose, and the world opposes the rose garden. The pairing of "the nightingale" and "the rose" suggests two different relationships: between the fervent lover ("the nightingale") and the inconstant beloved ("the rose") and between the individual Sufi practitioner (a lover) and God (the ultimate source and object of love). Similarly, "the world" refers simultaneously to the physical world considered as the abode of sorrow and impermanence, while "the rose garden" refers literally to a garden and to the garden of Paradise. [2: Renard, John. "Poetry and Mysticism in Islam: The Heritage of Rumi.." The Journal of the American Oriental Society, January 1, 1997.]
However, human physicality belonging to the physical world is never desecrated. It is rather praised, just like in the European tradition of courtly love. The best example is Roxelana. The romance between Suleiman and a golden-haired Ukrainian slave girl sent to the harem is the subject of a hundred novels and poems. Roxelana became Suleiman's favorite, replacing the mother of Mustafa, Suleiman's son and heir. She was one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history and a prominent figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women. The beauty of Roxelana's body is well expressed in one of Suleiman's poems, which resembles the Old Testament Song of Solomon:
My wealth, my love, my moonlight...the most beautiful among the beautiful,my springtime, my merry-faced love, my daytime,my sweetheart, laughing leaf...my woman of the beautiful hair,my love of the slanted brow,my love of eyes full of mischief...I'll sing of your praises forever-I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi,of the tear-filled eyes,I am happy.[3: "POETRYREPAIRS 13.02:020." POETRYREPAIRS 13.02:020. http://www.poetryrepairs.com/v13/020.html (accessed June 11, 2014).]Love in the Divan poetry is a mandatory emotion and the poet should put himself in the lover position. The superiority in the lyrical poems of Divan is, not surprisingly, the dominance of the loved one above his...