From childhood, he was such an influential and inspiring person that the people of his village called their children “Mahmud” in the hope that they too would be like him.
In the contemporary Muslim world, when describing the advance of Islam, historians cannot ignore Mahmut Ustaosmanoglu, also known as Sheikh Mahmud Effendi, in fact the first figure, not only in Turkey but also in all Islamic world, who propagated the Sunnah and Taqwa in its true meaning and practical ways because he was the “man of Taqwa” in the 21st century.
Mahmud Effendi lived in Istanbul and spent his whole life in the service of Islam, humanity and peace. He worked with such ambition and enthusiasm that it was almost impossible for others to keep up with him. He was born in 1929 CE in a village called Mico (Tavsanli) in the province of Trabzon in Turkey. His father, Ali Effendi, son of Mustafa Effendi, and his mother, Fatima Hanim Effendi, daughter of Tufan Effendi, were highly respected people known for their spirituality and piety. Mahmud Effendi under the guidance of his parents memorized the Quran when he was only six years old, although he was still a young boy, he used to perform prayers in the mosque and gave great importance to additional worship and non-obligatory prayers. From childhood, he was such an influential and inspiring person that the people of his village called their children “Mahmud” in the hope that they too would be like him.
After receiving primary education from his parents, Mahmud Effendi traveled to Kayseri for Islamic studies and learned the basic rules of the Arabic language like sarf and nahv and Persian, from Tesbihcizade Ahmet Hodja Effendi, who was an esteemed scholar in that region. After staying in Kayseri for a year, he returned to his native village and studied Qira’at under the most famous Qira’at scholar of that period, 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 CalekliHaci Dursun Feyzi Effendi, head teacher of Sulaymaniyah Madrasah, and a distinguished scholar specializing in intellectual sciences and rational. Sciences. Mahmud Effendi completed his studies with satisfaction when he was only sixteen years old. After compiling his studies, he married Zehra Hanim (d. 1993) and was blessed with three children, Ahmad, Abdullah and Fatima. He also married Muserref Hanim in 1993 after the death of Zehra Hanim, the daughter of Sheikh Mansur Baydemir Effendi, a notable and highly esteemed person from Qahramanmarash.
In June 1952 CE, Mahmud Effendi went to Bandirma for his military service; it was during this time that he met his spiritual master (Murshid) Sheikh Ali Haydar Ahiskhavi al-Naqshbandi al-Khaledi (d. 1960) who was one of Turkey’s great scholars, and spiritually a sound and knowledgeable person well the four main sects and was able to issue a Fatwa for each of them. Ali Haydar Effendi used to tell his followers who had surrounded him about Mahmud Effendi, that “there is a soldier here in Bandirma, find him and bring him to me”. Heeding this call, they started looking for the soldier in Bandirma. But it was a very difficult task, because this soldier had neither name, nor first name, nor address. Mahmud Effendi himself explains that “I have always had, from a very young age, a great affection for visiting scholars and sheikhs. Whenever I hear of a scholar or an Auliyyah, I visit them”, and on one occasion he finally met Sheikh Ali Haydar. Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi had shown great interest in Mahmud Effendi and he had great affection and respect for him. Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi’s entourage sometimes asked, “Why do you place such value on a soldier you don’t even know?” Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi replied: “By the protection of Allah, no sin has yet been recorded in his book of deeds.”
After completing his military service in 1954 CE, Mahmud Effendi was appointed official Imam of the Ismail Agha Mosque in Istanbul, where he remained until his retirement in 1996 CE in 1960 CE after the death of Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi, a new era with glorious responsibilities began in the life of Sheikh Mahmud Effendi. He was busy working with the community as an imam, as well as being involved in the Islamic education of students and spiritual direction duties. Many scholars in the Muslim world took lessons and advice from him. During the continuous conflicts between right-wing and left-wing groups before the September 12, 1980 coup, Sheikh Mahmud Effendi told people who came to him: “Let’s do Jihad, and it is our duty to do revive people by ordering good and preventing evil, it is not our duty to kill people”. He tried to calm people down and succeeded to a large extent. ( To be continued)
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