Sheikh Mahmud Effendi, Türkiye’s most influential Islamic scholar popularly known as ‘Efendi Hazretleri’, breathed his last in Istanbul, after having been in intensive care for two weeks due to kidney infection, on 23 June 2022. He was 93. His death was announced by his grandson Muhammed Fatih Ustaosmanoğlu on his social media account.
Born in a village called Mico (Tavsanli) in the district of Trabzon, a northern province of Türkiye, on 1 January 1929, Mahmut Ustaosmanoğlu, also known as Mahmud Effendi, memorised the Qur’an with his parents, Ali Effendi and Fatima Hanim Effendi, at the tender age of 6.
After receiving primary education from his parents Mahmud Effendi travelled to Kayseri where he learned Islamic studies and the basic rules of Arabic language like Sarf and Nahv and Persian, from Tesbihcizade Ahmet Hodja Effendi, an esteemed scholar in that region. After remaining in Kayseri for a year, he returned to his home village and studied Qira’at from the most renowned Qira’at scholar Mehmed Rusdu Asikkutlu Hodja Effendi. He learned the sciences of Balaghah, Ilm al-Kalam,Tafsir, Ilmul-Hadith,Usul al-Fiqh, and other Islamic sciences from Calekli Haci Dursun Feyzi Effendi, a senior Professor of Sulaymaniyah Madrasah, and distinguished and specialised scholar of intellectual and rational sciences. Mahmud Effendi completed his studies with appreciation when he was just sixteen years old, when he obtained Ijazah (permission granted to on the line of the tariqah) from his madrasa.
In 1952, Effendi met Ahıskalı Ali Haydar Efendi (Gürbüzler), a Naqshbandi Sufi sheikh, who became his murshid. Ali Haydar Efendi appointed him Imam of the Ismail Agha Mosque in 1954.
By the year 1960, Effendi’s life had its greatest turn after Ali Haydar Efendi’s demise and he became the leader of the path (tariqa), the Ismaila Society of Naqshbandi – the Khalidiyya Tariqah. In 1996, he retired as the imam of Ismail Agha Masjid.
Sheikh Mahmud Effendi spent all of his life in the service of Islam, humanity and peace and in a 50-year timeframe, he revived Islam and the Sunnah in Turkey and taught thousands of Ulama and Huffadh.
Effendi emphasised the Sunnah and is well-known for having revived many of the Sunnah practices. He began delivering Islamic lectures and guidance in 1960 following the death of his Shaikh Ali Haydar Effendi. He devoted three weeks every year to teaching people across Turkey and made several educational tours in several countries, including Uzbekistan, Germany and the United States. He has a Qur’ān tafsir (commentary) named Ruhu’l Furqan in Turkish.
Sheikh Effendi has millions of followers and established many charitable, social and religious organisations, including the Marifet Association, the Federation of Marifet Associations, and the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaah Confederation. Based on sincerity, he stressed service to humanity.
Mahmud Effendi was included in the list of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world for the year 2022 for the Royal Centre for Strategic Research, which is based in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
His funeral prayer was offered after Friday prayers in the courtyard of the Sultan Mehmed Al-Fateh Mosque in Istanbul on June 24. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated in the funeral prayer for the Turkish Islamic scholar. In addition to the Turkish president, thousands of mourners, including a number of Turkish officials also attended the funeral.