The development of the islamic culture among albanians during the XX icon

The development of the islamic culture among albanians during the XX


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Hoxhe Muglica
The martyr of Albanian education



The year1915 marked the death of Hoxhe Muglica, another martyr killed by Serbian soldier’s bullets in Ara e Sheremetit of Muglica. He died calling “Long live Albania! Long live Albanian people”. His calling drove crazy Serbian soldiers who had made numerous efforts to entrap the eloquent imam who fought for his religion and his nation.

Hoxhe Mugica was born in the village Okshtun of Golloborda in 1856. He was an outstanding propagator of national education, Albanian books and education in the area of Dibra. He took part in the congress of Dibra (1909) and in the second Congress of Manastir (1910). Hoxhe Mugica was one of the supporters of the first secondary school, which he often supplied with a great number of students from Golloborda, Okshtuni etc. He established a teaching centre in Dibra area and taught the students the written Albanian language.

Many of the renaissance activists among them Abdyl Frashri who were persecuted by Turks had formed a safe refuge in his house.


^ Hoxhe Voka

The distinguished personality - Rexhep Voka.

The distinguished personality Rexhep Voka was born in 1847 in the village of Shipkovice of Tetova. He received his primary education from imam of the village, while the secondary one in Tetova. Later on he continued his studies in Istanbul where he received the diploma of muderiz. Because of his excellent results he was appointed lecturer in the same faculty he use to study.

In 1895 Rexhep Voka returned in his birthplace and gained a great reputation there. He was appointed the mufti of the Manastir's vilajet in 1903. As many other patriots Rexhep Voka supported the new Turks of at the beginning. He participated in the gathering of Bucharest side by side Ismail Qemalit in Ferizajt gathering in 1907, and in the congress of Dibra.

In one of his articles issued in "Shqypoja e Shqiperise" of 1910 he mentioned his mistake regarding the alphabet case. Rexhep Voka saw the alphabet dilemma from the point of view of New Turks. He perceived it as something related to religion. Therefore he favoured the option of using the Arabic alphabet for writing Albanian. According to Hasan Kaleshi in March 1910 Rexhep Xhudi the son of Nureding Voka presented a treatment to the leadership of Janina in which he recommended the Arabic alphabet for the writing of Albanian language. 19 having the same opinion Rexhep Voka after completing the Albanian alphabet composed of Arabic letters wrote a primer that was titled "Abbeja skip". The primer was published in Istanbul on 1990 and was composed of 20 pages. In 1911 Rexhep Voka also published "Gramatiken elementare Shqipe" ("The elementary Albanian grammar") together with a religious textbook "Ilmihali I hollesishem Shqip", in which Islamic principles were treated.

For understanding the personality and stand of Rexhep Voka the content of his work "Mendime" ("Thoughts") published in Istanbul in 1910 20 should be first taken into consideration. The work was written according to the Tetova dialect. Of special interest are the parts such as "Disa fjale vellezerve shqiptare" ("Some words for the Albanian brothers"), "Din e Dije" - a poetry ("Religion and knowledge"), "Mesime" ("Teachings") etc. In this work Rexhep Voka expressed the view that "The school must be opened and if we don't have the possibilities for building big schools we will gather the children and teach them in huts instead", "It is a shame for us Albanians to remain in a position lower than other nations". Similar views are common and numerous in this work.

In the page of Albanian press of Kosova and Macedonia its difficult to find any other figure more discussed that that of R. N. Voka. To his patriotic and Islamic Albanian education activities an entire chapter is dedicated in the voluminous book ""Mesuesit per kombin Shqiptar" ("The Albanian teachers").

Rexhep Voka was very much tied to religion and motherland in the same time. He called all Albanians "to write in order to give knowledge and education to the nation". He was t not a dogmatic and evaluated critically and objectively his stand. It was this objectivity which made him renounce his first opinions. He preferred to give away all the privileges he had and to die poor but faithful to the religious and national ideals.

From a critical point of view the work of Rexhep Voka had a positive influence in the spreading of Albanian education, Islamic culture and a proper Albanian language study not influenced from Slavism. Rexhep N. Voka died on 1917 (?) in deep miserable conditions in Istanbul. A monument is built in Shipkovica in his remembrance. Many activities and symposiums are organised in which famous personalities of culture and religion have shed light on the pedagogical, philosophical and social views of R. Voka. The work of R. Voka and its language values have been unexposed internationally by the Slavic communist prejudices.

Rexhep Voka had published many articles during his stay in Istanbul but which are not studied yet by researches.


^ Kadri Luftullah Prishtina

A national unity warrior

Kadri Luftullah Prishtina 21 played an important and multi-dimensional role in the first quarter of the 20th century Albanian history. K. L. Prishtina who was renowed for his struggle for national unity has finished the theological studies in Istanbul. He continued his further advance studies together with the faculty of Justice in the university of Istanbul.

His ideas as a leader were pro an Ethnic and democratic Albania.

He leaded the comity for national protection of Kosova (Komiteti per Mbrojtjen Kombetare te Kosoves), represented Kosova as a deputy in the first Albanian parliament (1921) and was appointed the Minister of Justice in the Albanian Cabinet (1921) which was leaded by Hasan Prishtina22. As a jurist Kadri Luftullah Prishtina was distinguished for his strong principles. As a publicist and theologian he directed the magazine "Udha e s'vertetes" ("The path of truth") in which he expressed his political, social, philosophical and social ideas. 23

He elaborated further this concepts in the magazine "Bashkimi I Kombit" in which he mentioned that "it is the responsibility to advise our religious brothers, teach them the basic religious principles, save them from the total destruction, elevate their social relationship, give birth to the respect for the religious intellectuals and give an mentally advancement to all nation till we gain a stronger acquisition in the field of philosophy, sociology and politics."24.

Kadri Luftullah Prishtina tried to create a positive social opinion regarding religion, seeing it as a unity element, as doctrine which in no way obstructs the scientific advancement and as a power "Which safeguards the order and discipline among people"25

By the mean of articles he published and forums he directed or participated he touched actual points related to the development of education. It should be noted that he treated those points from a social - political standpoint. In 1920 he requested that the elementary school should be obligated and the half secondary school are not obligated but free of charge. To this project the building of hostels for remote area students was added. As far as the administration of different levels is concerned he advocated the opinion that the elementary schools should be administrated by the local administrative councils while the high school together with the universities should be administrated by the state. He placed at the basic of educational work the patriotic education, practical aspect of the knowledge acquire and the independent capabilities of students.


^ Vildan Faik Dibra

The defender of Albanian alphabet

Reka of Dibra is one birthplace of many important national movement figures. They were brave not only using their guns nut also their pens. One of them was Vildan Faik Dibra from Rimnica of Reka.

Vildani completed his elementary and secondary education in Dibra a place well known for its advance education in Turkish, Persian and Arabic language. Illustrious Albanian personalities such as Haxhi Vehbi Dibra, Said Najdeni (Hoxhe Voka of Dibra), Maliq Tanusha, Abdurrahim Dauti (propagator and teacher of Albanian language) and other have also completed their education in Dibra.

Vildan Faik Dibra continues his further studies in Istanbul and as many other Albanians he finished with excellent results. Because of his high intellectual achievements he was appointed professor in the high medrese of Yskydarit. The Istanbul of that time especially during the first decade of the 20th century was a heaven for many Albanians. Later on Albanian school was opened there, called "Kosova:" and was attended by the children of Albanian refugees. Vildan Faik Dibra was very active with the national movement in the beginning of 20th century and he fully accepted its program. He was a member of "Bashkimi" club in Istanbul and represented in the Congress of Manastir on 1908.26

His pro or con regarding the alphabet of Istanbul in this congress had a great importance. Many of the participants waited for his opinion. Vildan Faik Dibra expressing his views based on the Qur'anic principles stated that: "The religion and Qur'an have nothing to do with the alphabet. There is absolutely no problem using the latin alphabet for learning Albanian language.". Taking into consideration the practical aspect he had the opinion that learning Albanian would be easier by using the Latin alphabet.

He is the author of several literary and philosophical books written in East languages. He is also the author of several monographs in the field of justice (shariah). Vildan Faik Dibra delivered a chain of speeches during 1906 in some Albanian cities as a representative of Istanbul Community. The speeches show clearly his erudition patriotic paths and his professional eloquence. He died in Istanbul in 1925.


^ Hoxhe Hasan Vogli

"We will protect Albanian language even if it costs our blood"

The first quarter of century's history of education and culture in Tirana carries the name of Hoxhe Hasan Vogli27 among others. The use of Istanbul's alphabet, the opening of "Ylli" school in Tirana, the heroic resistance against the patriot's persecution by Shefqet Durgut pasha and Esta Toptani, the establishment of the orphanage in Tirana together with many beneficent actions made the name Hasan Vogli very honourable among people.

Hasan Vogli comes from a Tirana family with strong patriotic traditions. He finished his elementary school in Tirana while he completed the secondary one in pedagogical school ""Darul-muslim" of Shkodra. According to some dates he continued his further education in Istanbul where he became well versed in theology. Since the beginning he engaged himself in the patriotic movement. As a guiding principle of his social activity sewed his saying: "I'm Albanian, talk Albanian and will write my language even with blood if necessary", 28

He never derived from this principle. Hasan Vogli worked as an elementary school teacher in an Albanian school in Tirana directed by Filip Hashiku. He started to work since 1901. Ate the same time he served as a teacher in other Turkish schools. He continued his work as a teacher in several Tirana schools even after the independence till he died. In the age of 5829 he taught theological and general knowledge subjects.

In 1910 and later on with the coming of the rebels of Esat Toptani in Elbasan - as Ibrahim Dalliu describes then in his book "Patriotizma ne Tirane" - he (Vogli) was persecuted in the most inhuman ways until he become invalid.

Hasan Vogli was one of those people with a strong character who don't yield to the violence and injustice. He was the first to go to the mosque and the last to get out of it. Hasan Vogli was one of the pioneers who accepted the verdicts of Lushjna's Congress and supported the followers of the government originated from the Congress. He didn’t any work but his words were very influential in mosque and in teaching enviorments alike. 30

Hasan Vogli was the living example of a devoted Muslim. He would engage himself in every activity related to helping the poor. Many orphan girls had a joyful marriage thanks to his help. After his death the olive-grove owned to him passed by his will to the orphans.


^ Haxhi Ali Elbasani

The representative of national unity

The life and activity of Haxhi Ali Elbasanit extends from his last half of the 19th century till the first quarter of the 20th. He experienced painful happening such as: battles, the country's cutting up, emigrations, the miserable condition of the people, the disunion coming as a result of Slavic and Greek propaganda etc.

Having a great theological potential, a result of his study in the University of Istanbul and inspired by national ideals he gained a considerable popularity among people and was elected as a deputy and later as a member of senate. His trip to perform Haj (pilgrimage) enriched his worldview with noble feelings.

Haxhi Ali Elbasani was especially distinguished as a publicist, social activist and patriot. During his stay in Turkey he directed the newspaper "Zemra" ("Yrek") which was published in Albanian (using Arab alphabet) and in Turkish. This newspaper became a tribune of ideas related to the need for organisation in Albania. Haxhi Ali Elbasani was the headmaster of the club "Bashkimi" ("Unity") which issued its newspaper "Fjala e drjete".

The Haxhi Ali Elbasani's idea regarding education, understanding between the believers of different and others are part of the renaissance activist's ideas. He propagated the tolerance in opinions in the basis of which he preached the co-operation of Muslims with Christians: "Muslims should become closer to Christians because this strengths the Albanian nation."

In 1913 -1914 he directed "Komitetin e zgjimit dhe the Beses Shqiptare" ("The Committee of Albanian awakening and faith" with headquarters in Elbasan.

Because of his stand, education as a muderis and his experience joined when serving in the legislative organs in Turkey, Ali Elbasani gained a great reputation not only in Elbasan but even in the entire Middle Albania zone. He died in 1928.


^ Qamil Bala

The first headmaster of Tirana medrese

In the 20th the establishment of a religious contemporary school was seen as necessary. The initiators and supporters of the establishment of this school were illustrious political personalities of that time. With the fall of Khalifat the opening of such school was regarded as an emergency matter, the group of the main intellectuals was represented by figures such as: Vehbi Dibra, senator Sali Vuciterni, Qamil Bala31, Mehdi Frashri, Ferit Vokopola and others.

The will be medrese aimed to educate clerics with contemporary theological, philosophical and scientific knowledge.

Q. Bala was appointed as its headmaster. Qamil Bala born in Bala of Gjilan (KOSOVA) and educated in Istanbul had a long pedagogical experience as a teacher in the gymnasiums of Janina, Salanika and Manastir. He had also been the headmaster of Jerusalem' gymnasium and education director in Damask and Elbasan. Participated in the Educational Congress of 1922 and was also a member of the "Mbrojtja Kombetare e Kosoves" ("National Protection of Kosova") Comity.

He was appointed as the headmaster of Tirana Medrese on 1 March 1924. Qamil Bala presented the syllabus of the medrese which contained the following subjects: Qur'an, Fikh, Arabic language, Albanian language, French language, Albanian history, Geography, Science, Math and Geometry, Hygiene and other subjects (Drawing, physical education and music).

The medrese was in the same level as far as the syllable was concerned with other contemporary gymnasiums. Many brave clerics, researches, writers and even academicians were graduated from this medrese.


^ Mehmet Akif Ersoj

The Albanian-Turkish personality

One of the Albanians who had made a name for themselves in the literary world of Osmanli empire is Mehmet Akif Ersoj32. He came from an honourable family (his father was a muderis) of Peja.

Mehmet A. Ersoj began to write in a early age although the fact that he studied veterinary. He graduated in 1836 although many material difficulties he faced (taking into consideration the death of his father).

Since in the secondary school he was influenced in Arabic (the language of Qur'an) and in Persian (the language of Osmanli literature). Later on he learned French in Paris, it should be noticed the fact that Mehmet Akif had an excellent knowledge of Albanian which was his native language…""

"After 1912, for around four years he worked as a veterinarian in Rumeli an especially in Albania (Two years in Kosova) including here his hometown Peja, which he visited aiming to meet his family"33

he was rewarded as a poet. In 1895 his famous poetry “Kur’an-a Hitap” was published later. One year later he started issuing the magazine “Resimli Gazete”. In 1908 the “Sirati-I-Mustafakim” magazine was published. Mehmet Akif was the chief editor of this magazine and published some of its poetries there by the pen name “Sa’di”.

One of the most important works of M. Esroj is that titled “Asimi”, which was published in a period of 1919-1924.

Other important works are “Bir Gece”, “Bir Aziz”, “Ne Eser”, “Ne de Semer”, “Dervic Ahmet”, “Sa’di Pasa Imami”, etc.

Mehmet Akifi reflected in his poems the tragic events of the time. He has written elegiac poems related to Balkan’s War 1912-1913 and to the First World War 1914-1918. Mehmet Akif fought not only through his writings but also through his speeches in the mosques in Kastamonu and other vilajets."34

Mehmet Akif is also known as the author of Turkish national anthem, winning over 700 other poets. For this initiative he was encouraged by some of his friends and the Minister of Education Hadullah Suphiu. The national anthem was officially accepted in 1 March 1921, and was made known everywhere through the newspapers, postcards etc.

Mehmet Akif was an outstanding personality of culture and education in Turkey. He has also exercised the post of the minister for a period of time. "He was a patriot and a democrat who hated the imperial despotism together with western imperialism, the so-called "civilisation". M. Akif was a pan-Islamist. He hated and criticised the pan-turanists or pan-Turks ... the Ittlat-Terakki party which came to power with the revolution of 1908"35 The private Turkish-Albanian gymnasium nowadays in Tirana is Named after him.


^ Haxhi Vehbi Dibra (Agolli)

The best commentator of Qur'an in Albanian language

Haxhi Vehbi Agolli (Dibra) was born in Dibra e madhe on 12/03/1867. After completing his education in theology, being specialised in the field of Islamic philosophy, logic, Jurisprudence etc. He was appointed the mufti of Dibra and exercised this position till 1912. In 1909 he participated in congress of Dibra and was elected its chairman. In 1912 he was send as a delegate in the historical gathering of Vlora, was elected the head of Senate (Consultative organ helping the Temporary Vlora's government) and substituted Isamil Qemal when he was not present.

He had a good knowledge of Arabic and Turkish languages. Haxhi Vehbi Dibra was appointed the mufti of Albania after the independence. He remained in that position till 1929. During his time as a mufti the Islamic Congregation solved a big number of problems. It systematised and evidenced the Waqfs properties with the proper documentation, normalised the religious services in the cities and villages, completed several centralised reforms especially in the aspect of sanctuaries and clerics dependence etc. Haxhi Dibra was the initiator of the idea of status formulation.

The congregation which was in a juridical way recognised started the publication of weekly magazine "Zani i Nalte. It influenced the establishment of "Medrese se Nalte" in Tirana. In this way the authority of the Islamic Congregation become popular something reflected in its establishment of connections with many Islamic countries. In 1935 H. V. Dibra goes for the second time in Mecca in order to perform the pilgrimage and was affirmed as an Islamic Scholar of that time.

H. V. Dibra was one of the most excellent commentators of Qur'an in Albanian language. His speeches delivered in the mosques are published in the magazine "Zani i Nalte". In 1993 the complete version is published in USA from imam Vehbi Ismaili entitled "C'urdheron Kur'ani?" ("What does Qur'an order?").

All the qualities of an Islamic theologian were personified at V. Dibra who was an imam and haxhi, head mufti, and the head senate, vaiz and commentator of Qur'an. Apart from being for years the chairman of the most distinguished Albanian theologian he invited the people with his progressive ideas to use their intelligence.

In one of his comment of some Qur'anic verses he says:" To choose the best and the proper one and appoint him, then he must think rationally justly...." 36

In the political arena Haxhi Vehbiu was a remarkable propagator who always worked for the nation's advancement. He saw the unity of all Albanians as the only way for further advancement. He said in the National gathering of Vlora in 28 November 1912 that the Christian and Muslims are inseparable Albanian brothers"37 "The enemy of our nation slows his peace if he sees us united for a noble aim." "The advancement of a nation depends on the international security. If the stability is absent the industry, trade and other economical resources cannot advance.

As an Albanian Islamic thinker Haxhi Vehbiu understanded clearly the first difficulties the Islamic Congregation faced. He understood that Islam in Albania should have followed a new way in order to continue its development role. He stressed that: "We cannot justify our ignorance with our old age not even with the lack of scholars in Albania... because we are ordered to study till we die and travel even in the most remote countries in order to search for knowledge." According to Haxhi Vehbi Dibra the Islamic inheritance, which was transmitted to us by our predecessors should continue in order to reach the same level of the modern advancements. "By expanding the limits of knowledge even beyond the most for limits our scholars and theologians ever perceived to be".

Every time to the fate of Albania was endangered the Prophet’s saying, “Love for one’s country is a part of religion” inspired him everytime the fate of the nation was endangered. He died in Tirana in 1937.


^ SALI NIAZI DEDE

The world leader of the Bektashis

Sali Nazi Dede is one of the most important figures of Albanian Bektashi movement. He leaded the Kryegjyshaten (Bektashi headquarters of Congregation" of Tirana immediately after its establishment by Keshilli Gjyshnor i Shqiperise (Albanian Bektashi Council)

He was educated as a dervish and as a higher cleric in Anadoll in the Teqe of Haxhi Bektashit.

In his birthplace Storje of Kolonja he had completed only the elementary education. He returned for the first time in Albania on 1908 and also for the second time on 1932 - the time he was appointed as the leader of the Bektashi headquarters38.

S. N. Dede successfully directed the Kryegjyshat which gained a big reputation and enriched by the many other distinguished personalities.

S. N. Dede was also renowed for his poetic talent. He fell victim of unknown conditions and died on 1942.


^ MULLA HASAN MASURICA
The innovative imam.

Mulla Hasan Masurica39 is the son of a big Kosovar family from Frileva of Kamenices. He finished the elementary education in Gjilan and the secondary education in Hasan Masurica School of Skopie. Since a student in the secondary school he was distinguished for a rich fantasy, a creative imagination, a phenomenal memory and a great application capabilities. He had knowledge of Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages, which enabled him to study the Islamic literature.

During the time he was a student and even later he was found of religious and scientific literature. He red passionately every book related to physics, math or technical sciences. He was especially interested in astronomy. The astronomy together with astrology inspired his fantasy dreams to create. He drew all his ideas in white papers and looked for collaborators.

Apart from performing his prayers and other religious duties he delivered different speeches to his students. Among other things he also mentioned in his speeches since 1900 that man only in a short period of time will be able to reach in other planets, invent different kind of apparatus which will speak and communicate between remote distances, etc.

Hasan Mansurica was gifted with a wonderful inventor's intuition. He started to work with a great zeal for constructing a balloon and asked for the help of blacksmith of the village. He used poplar's planks and wax painted cloth for the construction. In 1899 in the presence of the Zabrica villagers he tested the balloon by putting in it his 12 years old son. The balloon travelled in a distance of four kilometres in a altitude of 50-70 meters. 41

Hasan Mansurica was a real Edison but being limited by that time conditions he was confirmed only in the projection, construction and applications of some apparatus which remained as relics showing the Albanian genius. Hasan Mansurica also built the village's windmill, watermill and coffemill. He later projected a kind of gun which was loaded and emptied several times. For this invention even the Sultan was informed. The activity of Hasan Mansurica was multidimensional. It covered the religious area as an imam and teacher together with his educational efforts for the establishment of Albanian schools. He was the owner of a very reach library.

In 1916 he fought against the Bulgarian invaders who set in fire his house by burning in this way his library together wit one of the calendar describing the position of the planets. He reworked again on the calendar, which was started in 1911 and finished in 1925. His funeral was transformed into a massive gathering.


^ ISMAIL NDROQI

An entire life dedicated to Islam and national cause

The Albanian Diaspora in Istanbul was very active during the end of the 19th century and in the first decade of 20th century. The renaissance movement there was supported by the numerous students who studied in the schools and faculties of Istanbul universities. Tens of students continued their studies majoring in religion, medical, jurisprudence, military subjects and others as well. During this period Islmail Ndroqi42 followed by his secondary and further education.

After New Turks revolution many graduated students and Albanian intellectuals returned in Albania full of ideals and decided to fight for independence. One of them was Islmail Ndroqi graduated from the high medrese of Istanbul. He returned in Albania in 1908 overwhelmed by the desire to serve for his nation. He worked for five years as a teacher in Tirana medrese.

As an intellectual apart from religious arena he was also active in political life. His students and big number of people learned from him the Albanian language and history. He did this secretly. He engaged himself with the national movement and soon became one of the most active members in the Tirana zone.

In 1912 he supported completely the initiative of Ismail Qemali. Ismail Ndroqi was one of the firsts who hoisted the national flag in Tirana and worked for the realisation of the temporary government's 43 objectives by offering to help Ismail Qemali. All these activities prompted the hostility of Esat Pashe Toptani who order to obstruct Ndroqi's activities became a factor for his transfer as a mufti of Shijak (1913-1914) and later on in Kavaja (1914-1915). Besides his transfer his popularity become so big he was appointed as a mufti of Tirana 1916.

His high level of theological knowledge together with his organisational capabilities showed during 1908-1916 period were important factors for his election as the head of the Tirana Town Hall. During this time as the head of the Town Hall he made efforts for establishment of Albanian schools organised the voluntary battalion of Tirana which was involved in Vlora's war and supported the government of Sulejman Delvines. He was also an opponent of esadist movement. In April of 1920 he requested from the Peace Conference the acknowledgement of Ethnic Albanian leaders. The written request was signed personally by him on the behalf of 30000 participants in the gathering. Consequent with his ideal of an Ethnic

Albania he sent once more telegram to the European governments in 1921, in which he stressed that Albanian people will not recognise any diplomatic verdict that will infringe the Albanian borders 44

As a high Muslim cleric and as a true intellectual he opposed the obscurantism and fanatic believers. In 1928 he withdrew from the political life and was totally concentrated on the religious services. During the 1928-1939 period he held the post of the Durresi mufti. He was distinguished for his high quality sermons. For the people of Middle Albania who considered him as one of its most honourable sons his death was a great lost.


^ HAFIZ YMER SHEMSIU

Prishtina 1895 - Sazli 1945

Ymer Shemsiu45 the offspring of a intellectual family of hafiz and haji followed his secondary education first in Prishtina and later on in Skopie46 but he didn't complete it because of several important reasons. He studied in an autodidactive way. He became a excellent learner of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, German and Serbian languages. Apart from studying foreign languages he spent a great deal of time with literary and especially philosophical studies by fulfilling in this way the features of a time Muslim intellectual. He was graduated as a hafiz in the presence of the public in xhamija e boshnjakeve (Bosnian mosque)47. Ymer Shemsiu activities are multidimensional. He was an imam, poet, fighter, activist and a teacher. During the First World War he established an Albanian school in Sarli village. This school unfortunately had a short life. It was closed by Bulgarian invaders who chained Hafiz Ymer and imprisonment him in Feriza prison.

Inspired by Islamic worldview which respects and fights for freedom he engaged himself in the service of Comity for liberation of Kosova and became a member of Albanian Muslim political party "Bashkimi", which was led by Ferhat Draga48. Ymer Shemsiu also collaborated with the national liberation fighting units, sang with çifteli (two string instrument) songs which evoked the glorious pas, wrote ilahi (religious songs) and poetry of different metrics where the folkloric verse dominated.

Another aspect of Ymer Shemsiu's activity is the secret organisation of Albanian language teachings. He established the community of Kosova in the mosque of Talimoc where he worked as an imam. During the time he taught secretly the Albanian language and also directed the mejtep. He taught in the school build and sponsored by people themselves from year 1934 till 194149. Hafiz Ymeri expand his pedagogical work beyond the limits described in the syllabus. Apart the writing of oriental languages he taught his students reading and writing the Albanian language together with useful materials about everyday's life.

An important place in his activity has his creativity as a talented rhapsod. His talent was associated with his virtuosity as an excellent dancer. He composed song and danced his songs, using the characteristic Albanian movements. The themes and protagonists of his rhapsodies were the heroes of the nation battles and different heroism, giving in this way a realistic picture of that time. One of his distinguished works is the poem "Nazmi Gafur".

Because his talent he was called by the researches "Bord i Kosoves"50 "Bordi i Kosoves challenged the Serbian police by teaching Albanian language to people and his students, by writing and printing in Albanian. He composed around 30 Albanian ilahies (religious songs", which contain around 1000 verses and transmitted the Islamic message to his students and people. Ymer Shemsiu had a clear stand and a lucid opinion regarding the unification of people, the national and religious disunion." To protect the Islamic faith in that time was to protect Albanian nation. To protect Albanian language was a national heroism. To struggle for freedom to support the Albanian resistance against the denationalisation of Kosova, against the expulsion of Albanians was a patriotic war and a sacrifice for the nation." Ymer Shemsiu was for the ethnic Albania. He was active in the efforts for the realisation of the idea, by raising in this way the Serbian hostility toward him. He died in a painful but graceful way, which is best, described in his words. "Farewell my people. For you i gave what ever i was able to give, my wealth, my family and myself. Better days will come for you."


^ ARIF SHALA

Brothers don't abandon Drenica


Arif Shala is the son of Dernica in Kosova. He was born in 1909 and since an early age when he was still pupil in the Mulla Rifat's mejtep he was distinguished among the others for his intelligence, braveness and strong character. He memorised Qur'an since in a early age and was outstanding for his beautiful recitation. In 1927 he graduated from Gjakova medrese and followed his studies in the Tirana gymnasium. Apart from other subjects he also taught secretly to his students Albanian language in the Koratice e Eperme village where he worked as an imam. Shocked by the atrocities committed by Serbian gendarmarie against Albanians he sent a protest letter in 1933 to Pjeter, the Serbian king. In 1935 through a pamphlet he invited the people of Kosova to boycott the election. But ht thing, which made him popular, was his call directed to Albanians of Kosova not to shift in Turkey. Thanks to his activity no family from Drenica emigrated in Turkey.

Imam Arif Shala opposed the Italian Fascism. He took part in the liberation of Prishtina and Ferizaj. Arif was a man with strong character, clear Islamic worldview, patriotic devotion and an indescribable love for Kosova. He was a real democrat. Arif couldn't accept the discriminative anti Albanian Slavic politic. He becomes an outlaw and a member of fighting units to fight for freedom of his nation. He was skirmished several times with the UDB patrols. In 1st January he was spotted, surrounded and later on killed in a barbaric way by the Serbian polices. The population of Miron entombed him with great respect although the Serbian polices opposition.


^ BABA ALI TOMORRI

One of the communist victims


Baba Ali Tomorri was born in Shala of Tepelena at the end of the 19th century. He is one of the new writers and historians of bektashizm. His writing can even be found undersigned by the name Vrafe Ali Prishtina or by the pen name "Turbani". His publishing's are of bektashi religious content. Some are of the most well known are "Bektashite e Shqiperise" ("The Bektashi of Albania") Korca, 1921. "Leteratyra e Bektashizmes" ("Bektashi literature") - without date and place of publishing, ""Histori e Bektashizmes" (The Bektashi History) Tirana 1929, “Nefese dhe Gazele Bektashiane” (without date and place of publishing).

He also published much other writings and specific poetry in the press of that time. One of his poetry “Flamurit te Shqiperise” is dedicated to the Albanian flag.

B. Ali Tomorri was one of the main organises of three Bektashi Congress. The first Bektashi Congress was held in Prishtina where the first office of his teqe was located (1922). The Second Congress was organised in Gjirokastra (1926) and the third one in Faram of Korca (1929).

In 1921 B. Ali Tomorri issued the “Reforma” informational notebook. In 1947 was sentenced to death by the communist court and was executed accused of collaborating with English.


^ MA’RUF AL – ARNAUTI

The famous Arab writer with Albanian origin (1892 – 1948)


One century and a half before, the Albanian family of Hasan Age Meulan Jysufi emigrated in Beirut, which was in that time a part of Osmanly Empire. Hasan Aga gained the trust of the authorities with his braveness and fidelity and was appointed as the military companion of the head Town hall, Halil Pasha.

The people of Beirut nicknamed Hasan Al-arnauti. This nickname was used even by his son ahmeti and by his grandson Maërufi who was educated in a devoted Muslims environment. In his formation as a Muslim he was very much influenced by his mother who was a good knower of the history and the life of the Prophet a.s.

Maërufi completed his primary education in a private school in Beirut. These kinds of schools were very common in that area in the beginning of 20th century. The West European powers had shown great deal of interest about the area and aimed the penetration of their culture there. It should be noted that the European culture was the danger of Arabisation .

The good luck of Maeruf was that his teacher was Hasan El-Habalin a illustrious pedagogue well known for his religious knowledge, his sympathy for Osmanly Khalifat and his pedagogical finesse. Hasan El-Habalin was at the same time the director of “Ebabil” newspaper had a great impact in the character and the educational background of Maëruf. Maeruf memorized parts of Qur’an and gained a great theological knowledge.

Being a knowledge lover and having a very good knowledge of Arabic, Turkish and French he enrolled as a student in the Islamic Faculty of Osmanly, which was director by famous theolog Ahmed-Ab-Bas El-Ezmeri. The lecturers of this faculty were distinguished for their Islamic, freedom-loving views. One of the lecturers who were especially respected by the students was Jusuf Harfushi kecturer of French language. Through his comments on the French and East Islamic classics he inspired his students with love for religion, truth, the Arab’s war for independence and encouraged them to study the revolutions in the Western World.

Maërufi was soon distinguished among his faculty’s friends for his intelligence, talent and behavior. He was an excellent orator.

Since 16 years old he made his first debut of his first poetries in front of a Turkish –Arab intellectuals audience and soon became well knwn. This event was a starting point for his career as a poet, writer publicist, and translator.

The newspaper and magazine considered a honor the publication of his writings

Maëruf Arnauti was a perfect honour of Arabic, Turkish and French written languages. But had did he know Albanian language? Unfortunately truth remains unknown. What we know is that he was grand of his Albanian origin and preserved the meaningful surname Arnauti-Albanian.

Maëruf Arnauti became famous mainly in Syria and Lebanon. His writings were advertised in the book showcases of Damascus and Beirut.

With the beginning of World War I in 1914 Maëruf was recruited nizamë. He was sent in the Bosfor coast. Going often in Istanbul was introduced to intellectual Turkish circles and poets.

One of the things he took from home was the Holy Qur’an advice from his mother.

Being aware of the fact that Osmanli Empire was loosing the war Maëruf understood Turkey wouldn’t be anymore the center of Islamic Khaliphat. He decided to go back in Arab land where the secret movement for revolt with the center in Hijaz had already started. Without waiting the end of the war Maeruf left the army in 1916. Turkey was in a deep chaos. “I left war sad of its consequences – wrote Maeruf - I predicted the fall of Khaliphat with its loose. It was a very painful thing because I loved the Khaliphat as much…”.

After many post-war roaming Maeruf arrived in Zheleh tired and desperate. His desperation becomes ever greater when he didn’t find his father alive. Ahmet Al-Arnauti had passed away while his son Maeruf was in the front.

Maeruf Al-Aranuti started his independent life. He joined the army of Sherif Hysejn who in 1918 entered victorious in Damask.

After the war Maeruf entirely concentrated on his intellectual work especially on the press. In the collaboration with the remarked Syrian publicist Kasim Uthman he published the magazine “El Istinal el-Arabi” and later on “Ej-lim al-arabi”. He worked especially with “Felah Arab” magazine being the director of it till he died.

Maeruf Arnauti, “the Albanian, with his numerous publications was part of the famous writers and poets of Middle and Near East belonging to the first half of 20th century.

He was one of these Albanians distinguished in the fields of science, culture, theology and art. Well known remain the name of many Albanians such as Architect Kasemi, Alexander Moisiu, Mehmet Ali Pashe Misiri (the founder of Egyptology, Qyprily generations, Karl Gega (the builder of Semering railway) and others. In our time the name of Maeruf Arnauti is known in the entire east. He is considered a great poet, writer and publicist.






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