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Symbolism of Numbers in Ahmed Yasawi’s Aphorisms
It is known that people have used symbols since the early ages. In the process of time, with oral and written traditions, symbols have become an inseparable element of myths, legends, epics, social and religious culture, literature and poetry. Poets use a symbolic language in expressing their emotions and ideas. One of the elements of symbolic language is numbers. The origin of symbolism of numbers date back to Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations and it has developed with the effect of various cultures, and therefore has had an influence on Turkish and Islamic cultures. Being in almost all fields from the most primitive/unreasoning beliefs to scientific studies, numbers are a kind of source referred not only in numeric fields, but also in social sciences. While some of the numbers are especially used more frequently in different cultures, other numbers are used less. For instance, the fact that numbers such as three, four, five, seven, nine and forty are given special meanings in Turkish culture and they are considered holy makes itself evident in fairy tales, epics, stories, proverbs and in superstitions. Pîr-i (Father of) Turkistan Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, who is the founder of Yasawiya sect that bears importance in terms of being the first ever sect to be founded by Turks in Anatolia and who acted as a spiritual leader for the spreading of Islam in Anatolia and who is a guide for both Islamic-sufistic circles and for all cultures via the universal messages he gave, and who has great importance for being the author of the work named Diwan-i Hikmat, used this symbolic language in this work. It is seen when the work is examined from the beginning to the end that he greatly gives place especially to symbolism of numbers, which is the subject of this study. In particular, numbers such as one, five, seven, eight, forty draw attention in Yasawi’s poetry.

Symbolism, symbolism of numbers, Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Diwan-i Hikmat, literature.

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