M.Es'ad Cosan (Rh.a)
(May Allah be well pleased with him)
He supported work in the fields of education, culture, art, social services, and publishing. He pioneered a number of new endeavors in these fields, and authored numerous books and articles.
Professor Mahmud Esʿad Coşan was born on 14 April 1938 (13 Safar 1357 in the Hijri calendar) in the village of Ahmetce, located near Ayvacık in the district of Çanakkale, Turkey. His father’s name was Halil Necati Efendi and his mother’s name was Şadiye Hanım. His parents were distant cousins. His grandfather was descended from Husayn, son of Ali and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and it was he who moved the family to Çanakkale from Bukhara in modern day Uzbekistan. He completed his education in one of the madrasas attached to the Fatih Mosque Complex in Istanbul, after which he served and died in World War I. His great grandfather, Molla Abdullah Efendi, was also educated in Istanbul and was close to Gümüşhâneli Ahmed Ziyâüddin Efendi, who was one of the famous sheikhs in that period.
Mahmud Es’ad Coşan Hocaefendi’s father Hafiz Halil Necati Efendi moved to Istanbul in 1942 for his children’s education. Es’ad Coşan attended the Eminönü Vezneciler Elementary School, from which he graduated in 1950. During his time at the school, his father introduced him to Serezli Hasib and Abdülaziz Bekkine Efendi, both prominent scholars and intellectuals of the period. He frequented the talks they gave on religious subjects during his time as a student, and continued to do so in later years as well.
After completing his elementary education, Es’ad Coşan attended the prestigious Vefa High School, where he completed middle school in 1953 and graduated from the sciences branch of the high school itself in 1956. After high school, Es’ad Coşan pursued his undergraduate education in the Department of Arabic and Persian Philology at the Istanbul University Faculty of Literature, from which he graduated in 1960. While there, he also obtained certificates in Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Language and Literature, the History of the Middle Ages, and Turkish-Islamic Art. In his final year at the faculty, he married Muhterem Hanimefendi, the youngest daughter of Mehmet Zâhid (Kotku) Efendi, a prominent Muslim thinker and sheikh.
After graduating from university, he joined the faculty of the Ankara University Divinity School as an assistant in the Department of Classical-Religious Turkish Texts.
While there, he worked as a secretary on the faculty’s publication committee for two years, and in 1965 obtained his doctorate of theology with his study on the life and works of fifteenth-century poet Hatiboğlu Muhammed. Alongside his work as an instructor at the Divinity School, he taught a class on the Turkish language and the humanities at the private junior college Ankara Yükseliş Engineering and Architecture School between the years 1967 and 1968.
In 1971 and 1972 Esad Coşan completed his national military service as an officer in the Turkish Armed Forces. In 1972, he returned to Ankara Divinity School and was promoted to associate professor with his study on Hacı Bektaş Veli and his works. The following year he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Turkish-Islamic Literature there, and one year later he became head of the department. He remained at Ankara Divinity, where he ultimately served as the head of the School of Islamic History and Art until his retirement in 1987.
He taught classes in Turkish literature and the humanities at the Sakarya State Academy of Architecture and Engineering between the years 1977 and 1980.
He was promoted to full professorship with his study on “Matbaacı İbrâhim-i Müteferrika and Risâle-i İslâmiyye” in 1982.
From the time he first began working at Ankara University until his retirement he worked as a member of various commissions in the Turkish Ministry of National Education and the State Planning Organization. At the same time, he carried out research and attended international meetings and conferences in a number of countries, including Germany, Austria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
As a professor at Ankara Divinity School, he taught classes on Turkish-Islamic literature, Turkish composition, and the Ottoman, Persian, and Arabic languages. He also served as an adviser on seven doctoral theses and numerous master’s theses.
Though Es’ad Coşan led a successful and productive academic life, he made the decision to retire from his position at the university in 1987 in order to devote more time to his work in the religious, social, and cultural fields.
After his retirement, Es’ad Coşan took up a number of the roles formerly carried out by his father-in-law Mehmet Zâhid Efendi, who had passed away in 1980, especially those related to promoting Islam and offering religious guidance. He continued the hadith classes which his predecessors had established in a number of cities in Turkey, and opened new classes in other cities as well. He supported work in the fields of education, culture, art, social services, and publishing. He pioneered a number of new endeavors in these fields, and authored numerous books and articles.
Due to the great interest with which his talks, programs, and conferences were met, he traveled around the world to bring his message to as many people as possible, organizing educational programs in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Australia on numerous occasions.
On 4 February 2001 (10 Dhu al-Qa’dah 1421), while in Australia on a trip to preside over the opening ceremony of a mosque, Es’ad Coşan was tragically killed in an automobile accident. His remains were returned to his home country of Turkey, the land in which he had been born and raised, where his funeral was held at the Fatih Mosque on 9 February 2001. Hundreds of thousands of friends, admirers, and former students attended the funeral and the prayer ceremony that followed it. He was laid to rest in the “Naksh Field” section of the Eyüpsultan Cemetery in Istanbul.