Molla Sadik – A Commemoration in Velence, Hungary

On May 22 the 130th anniversary of the passing away of Molla Sadik (1836–1892) was commemorated. The event was attended jointly by the Local Authority of Velence (Fejér County, Hungary), the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Vienna, the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States in Budapest and the Yunus Emre Institute in Budapest.

During the commemoration, Mehmet Karakoyun, Müftü of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Budapest, said – quoting from the Koran (Qur’an) – his prayers (du’á) for the spiritual salvation of the Muslim scholar. Speeches were delivered by Ákos Gerhard, the mayor of Velence (Fejér County, Hungary), H.E. Ambassador and Turkologist János Hóvári, the Executive Head of the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States and his staff, Muradilla Rikhsiboyev, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Vienna, as well as Turkologist and a senior researcher at the Institute of Ethnography, Dávid Somfai Kara.

In his remarks, János Hóvári noted that the Hungarian and Uzbek peoples have ancient ties, their historical origins are intertwined, and the historical relations between the two peoples were restored in the 19th century as a result of the friendship between Ármin Vámbéry and Molla Sadik.

Molla Sadik (his original name was Ishak, the son of Ibrahim, Iskhaq Ibrohim)) was born into the family of an evlijá of Sufism in the town of Kongrat (Qongurat) in Karakalpak Land (formerly North Chorasmia, today in Uzbekistan). Later he was studying in the famous Medrese of Bokhara, and then he moved to Khiva (Muhammad Aminbek Madrasah). This was where he met Ármin Vámbéry in 1863 who he got to know as a dervish from Turkey, alias Reshid Haji. Vámbéry accompanied Molla Sadik (Iskhaq Chagatay, Csatagaj Izsák, in Hungarian) to the town of his birth, Kongrat, after which they paid a pilgrimage to the sacred places of Transoxiana (Sogdia), Bokhara and Samarkand. Later Molla Sadik walked together with Vámbéry as far as Istanbul, so that he could travel further to Mecca to the Hajj. Finally, they arrived in Pest–Buda in 1864 together. Molla Sadik, trusted to the care of Turkologists József Budenz and Áron Szilágyi, translated into the dialect of Kongrat – with the assistance of Budenz – the poem of János Arany, A Legend on the Wonder Deer (1865). The manuscript of the original translation was kept in the Eastern Collection of the Academy of Sciences of Hungary where Molla Sadik was working for many years as a librarian. On the basis of the manuscript, the translation by Molla Sadik was interpreted into contemporary Uzbek language by Dávid Somfai Kara who noted that the Uzbek scholar contributed to the development of Hungarian Turkology through his lifework, and thanks to him the ties of friendship between the two peoples are inextricably linked.

The trilingual (Hungarian, Kongrat and literary Uzbek) volume was published at the initiative of Sándor Lezsák in Lakitelek in 2018. After the book was published, Orientalists István Sántha and Dávid Somfai Kara promoted the life and work of Molla Sadik during their visit to Kongrat which was realized with the support of a Klebelsberg scholarship. This was the moment when the idea that the new mosque in the town of Velence should bear the name of Molla Sadik. The mosque was completed last year, and today it has the name of the dervish from Kongrat who had become a Hungarian.

It was also at the initiative of Sándor Lezsák that the tomb of Molla Sadik has been restored. Molla Sadik died of a heart condition in the town of Velence on May 22, 1892 (other data show May 10). He was laid to eternal rest in the local cemetery of the Reformed Church. At the intervention of Vámbéry, the Imam of the Bosniak unit of the joint Austro–Hungarian army buried him with a Muslim ceremony. The epitaph on his tomb says:“Here lies Turkish monk Molla Sadik from Asia. Blessings and Peace to his Ashes.” (To put it more precisely, Dervish Molla Sadik from Central Asia/Karakalpak Land). He received the name Molla Sadik, which means loyal Molla, from his friend, Ármin Vámbéry.

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