Tributes pour in after the death of influential Turkish scholar

6/28/2022 5:01 PM
Sheikh Mahmud Effendi

Influential Turkish scholar Sheikh Mahmud Effendi has passed away at the age of 93.  

Sheikh Effendi, who was well known for his emphasis on the sunnah, died on Thursday in Istanbul having been in intensive care for a few weeks due to kidney disease.

“His Excellency Mahmud Effendi, my grandfather, has reached Allah,” his grandson announced on Twitter.

His funeral was held at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul on Friday after Jumuah prayer.

Sheikh Effendi was the leader and founder of the İsmailağa community, one of Turkey's most prominent religious communities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led with the tributes.

"May God have mercy on Mahmoud Effendi, a spiritual guide in our country. He dedicated his life to Islam. I wish patience to his family, students and all his fans. Let him rest in peace," he tweeted.

Other prominent Muslim figures from around the world also talked about Sheikh Effendi's significance.

"May Allah have mercy on Shaykh Mahmud Effendi, forgive him and elevate him. What a loss for the Ummah. A man I always felt had a secret with His Lord that was manifest in his face," tweeted Imam Omar Suleman.

"Do you know how you can tell a real scholar and walī of Allah?" tweeted Yasir Qhadi.

"It is the fact that Allah has written the love of this person in the hearts of millions of righteous people from different backgrounds. The death of the Turkish scholar Sheikh Effendi shows such a love والله حسيبه."

"Innā li-Llāhi wa inna ilayhi rāji'ūn. Saddened to learn of the passing of Shaykh Mahmud Effendi of Turkey. He revived Islam & Sunnah at a challenging time, inspiring millions of people in #Turkey & around the World. A great loss for the Ummah," said Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Who was Sheikh Mahmud Effendi?

Sheikh Mahmud Effendi, also known as Sheikh Mahmud Ustaosmanoglu, was born in Turkey’s northern Trabzon province. He became a hafiz by the age of 10 and continued his madrasa education, gaining his ijazah by 16.  

In 1954, he was appointed imam of the Ismail Agha mosque in Istanbul where he remained until retirement in 1996.  

Sheikh Effendi has written a tafsir of the Quran in Turkish called Ruhu'l Furkan.

He founded numerous religious, social, and charitable organisations, including the Marifet Association, the Federation of Marifet Associations, and the Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaah Confederation.  

In his later years, he moved to the suburbs of Istanbul, but his followers were still mostly in the Fatih area of Istanbul, easily identifiable by their traditional dress.

He was ranked at number 34 in the 2022 edition of 'The Muslim 500,' the annual publication by the Jordan-based Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, which looks at the most powerful Muslims globally.