When describing the advancement of Islam, historians cannot ignore Mahmut Ustaosmanoglu, also known as Sheikh Mahmud Effendi. In fact, he is the first figure, not only in Turkey but also in the entire Islamic world, who spread Sunnah and Taqwa in its true meaning and in practical ways.
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, the son of Mustafa Effendi, and his mother, Fatima Hanim Effendi, the 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. While still a young boy, he used to perform prayers in the mosque and placed great importance on extra worship and non-obligatory prayers. From childhood, he was such an influential and inspiring person that people in 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, such as Sarf and Nahv, and Persian from Tesbihcizade Ahmet Hodja Effendi, who was an esteemed scholar in this 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.
Mahmud learned the sciences of Balaghah, Ilm al-Kalam, Tafsir, Ilmul-Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh and other Islamic sciences from Calekli Haci Dursun Feyzi Effendi, head teacher of Sulaymaniyah Madrasah and a distinguished scholar specializing in intellectual sciences and rational. Sciences. Mahmud completed his studies when he was only sixteen years old. He married Zehra Hanim (d. 1993) and was blessed with three children: Ahmad, Abdullah and Fatima. He also married Muserref Hanim in 1993 CE 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 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, knowledgeable of the four main schools of jurisprudence and able to pronounce a Fatwa for each of them. Ali Haydar Effendi used to tell his followers regarding Mahmud Effendi that “there is a soldier here in Bandirma; find it and bring it 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 himself explains that “I have always had, from a very young age, a great affection for scholars and visiting sheikhs. Whenever I hear of a scholar or an Auliyyah, I have visited them”. On one occasion, he finally met Sheikh Ali Haydar.
Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi showed great interest in Mahmud Effendi and had great affection and respect for him. Sheikh Ali Haydar Effendi’s entourage would ask, “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 and left groups, before the coup d’etat of September 12, 1980 CE, Sheikh Mahmud Effendi said to people who came to him: “Let us do Jihad, which is our duty to revive the people by enjoining good and preventing harm, not our duty to kill people”. He tried to calm people down and largely succeeded.
In 1988 CE, Mahmud Effendi visited Damascus and Syria for the first time. In 1992 CE he traveled to England and Germany to convey and deliver the message of Islam. He also traveled to Bukhara and visited the tombs of Islamic scholars there, negotiated with the eminent scholars of these regions and discussed the different contemporary discourses. In February 2005 CE, Effendi traveled to India to visit the tomb of Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Alf-i Sani Sheikh Ahmad al-Farooq al-Sirhindi and various other honorable scholars and spiritual assets of Islam, such as Khaja Baqi Billah, Sayyed Nour Muhammad Badauni, Mirza Mazhar Jan-i Janan and Shah Abdullah Dahlawi. Apart from traveling to all parts of Turkey, Sheikh Mahmud Effendi has also traveled to the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe in an attempt to call people to the beautiful religion of Islam and the truth. He performed Hajj and Umrah several times throughout his life. On his last visit, in April 2011 CE, he performed a spectacular Umrah, with over fifty thousand of his followers – something like this had not been seen for centuries.
Sheikh Mahmud Effendi’s exceptional knowledge of the Sunnah, his deep understanding of the sciences of the Shari’ah and his Islamic behavior as a whole made great impressions on both scholars and learned members of the Islamic world whom he had. met during his travels and on those who came to visit him. Sheikh Mahmud Effendi has rightly been given a leading position in the Islamic world and has been honored with the admiration and affection of people from all walks of life. He chaired many Islamic scientific sessions and symposia and encouraged people to gain knowledge and act according to the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh). The meaning of Tajdid (to revive) acts on the Quran and the Sunnah. It was narrated in Abu Dawud that the Prophet Muhammad (as) said: “Indeed, Allah will raise up a man who will revive the religion for this Ummah at the beginning of every century” [Abu Dawud: 4291].
So, based on this hadith, scholars tried to determine a Mujaddid at the beginning of every century. In 2010 CE, about four hundred renowned and respected scholars came from 43 countries to negotiate on the various discourses and contemporary challenges that emerged in Islamic thought in Istanbul and on this occasion declared Sheikh Mahmud Effendi as the Mujaddid (Reviver ) of the 21st century. and presented him with the “Outstanding Service to Humanity Award”. After devoting his whole life to the service of Islam, this great scholar of Islam left this world on June 23, 2022 at the age of 93.
Mujaddid Sheikh Mahmud Effendi throughout his life encouraged people to acquire knowledge and perform worship not only with words but also with deeds. He never gave up or neglected any form of worship and acted as a source of encouragement and motivation to those who witnessed his constancy. He carried out many works to educate his people in faith, Taqwa, good morals, respect for others and knowledge. Sheikh Effendi has always encouraged people to seek education, act wisely and aim for good.
Mahmud Effendi’s sermons, which he had delivered regularly for over fifty years, covering multidimensional aspects of Islam, were collected and archived by his followers; as a result, six volumes have already been published. The most original and beneficial work of Sheikh Mahmud Effendi is the work of translating the Quran into the Turkish language, named “Quran Majeeid”. Another voluminous work by Sheikh Mahmud Effendi is the interpretation of the Quran in Turkish titled “Rouh al-Furqan”.
Sheikh Effendi has established various religious, social and charitable organizations and foundations including such as “The Mujaddid Mahmud Effendi Foundation”, “The Marifet Association”, “The Federation of Marifet Associations” and the “Ahle Sunnah wa al-Jamaah Confederation” . to offer a much better service to Islam and to all humanity. Its organizations and foundations are at the service of education, culture, scientific research, health, charity and national and international social organizations. He also published a scholarly and cultural monthly called “Marifet”. Mahmud Effendi was keen on developing relations and cooperation, especially between Muslims and their nations, and was in favor of a peaceful world. He has millions of followers and lovers all over the world and he was the most prominent figure in the advancement of Islam in recent history.