Although current sources state that Sheikh Gümüşhânevî assigned the duty of khilafa to one hundred and sixteen people , this figure is obviously more. Gümüşhânevî, who according to sources had a million, or even more followers, procured the spread of the Halidiyya branch of the Naqshbandi tariqa and Islam, and offered a universal service to humanity by sending various khalifa to many parts of the world including the Balkans, Caucasus, Kazan, Damascus, Baghdad, Hijaz, Egypt, China, the Comoros Islands.20
Ahmed Ziyâeddin Efendi, the thirty-second link in the chain of the Naqshbandi order known for the importance he gave to knowledge; his devotion to the creed of Ahl al-Sunnah, his perspective based on understanding the Qur’an and practicing the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and beliefs free from innovation (bid’a), was born in 1813 in the Emirler district of Gümüşhane. His father’s name was Mustafa and his grandfather was Abdurrahman Efendi. In relation to his birthplace, he became known as “Ahmed Ziyâeddin Gümüşhânevî (From Gümüşhane).”1
Sources record that he learned the Qur’an at the age of five, completed Qasāid, Dalāil al-Khayrāt and Hizbi A‘dham and received the ijaza (diploma) at the age of eight.2 He studied fiqh, sarf and nahw under scholars such as Sheikh Osman Efendi and Sheikh Khalid as-Saidi in Trabzon, where his family moved to in 1822 for trade. He did not refuse his father’s request for him to become involved in the business, so while he weaved and sold sacs on one hand, he also studied to acquire knowledge.3 He came to Istanbul for trade with his uncle in 1831. When he learned that his brother had returned from military service and was going to help his father, he decided to remain in Istanbul rather than returning to Trabzon, and began to study here. He was taught by famous scholars of the time such as Muhammed Emin Efendi and Abdurrahman al-Harpiti in the Bayazid and Mahmud Pasha Madrasas. In sources, it is stated that he studied the exoteric sciences under the teachers of the sultan and the palace, and on behalf of his teachers he began to teach his friends before he received his ijaza to teach.4 When he received the ijaza for all his studies in 1844, after thirteen years of study, he was thirty one years old.5
After receiving his ijaza, Gümüşhânevî, who began teaching at the Bayazid and Mahmud Pasha Madrasas, also began to search for a murshid (spiritual guide).6 During a spiritual gathering in 1845, Gümüşhânevî met Abdülfettah el-Akrî (d. 1281/1864), one of Maulana Hâlid-i Bağdadî’s famous successors known as “the Mufti of Tripoli,” and although he wanted to follow this spiritual guide, Akrî informed him that he would meet someone in the future who will be commissioned with this duty, and told him that he should wait. Later, by divine favor, he met the Halîdî sheikh Ahmed b. Süleyman el-Ervâdî who came to Istanbul on the spiritual command of Maulana Hâlid-i Bağdadî at the Alaca Minare dervish lodge, and began to follow him as his spiritual guide. Ahmed Ziyâeddin, who hosted his sheikh in his room at the Mahmud Pasha Madrasa, went into khalwa (spiritual seclusion) on order of his sheikh. Ervâdî disappeared for a while, and like Shamsi Tabrizi’s separation from Maulana Rumi, this had a great impact on Gümüşhânevî. After a year of separation, Ervâdî returned in 1846 and taught hadith lessons in the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Gümüşhânevî also attended these classes and received ijaza from Ervâdî for all the sciences that his own teachers had qualified him in, including fiqh, hadith, tafsir and tasawwuf.7
In 1848, Gümüşhânevî again entered khalwa (spiritual seclusion) together with his sheikh Ervâdî, and following this second khalwa (seclusion) his sheikh granted him khilafa (duty of dervish guide) in the Naqshbandi, Qadiri, Suhrawardi, Chishti, Kubrawi, Khalidi, Khalwati, Badawi, Rifa‘i, Shadhili and Mujaddidi tariqas.8 On his return to Tripoli after completing his mission, Sheikh Ervâdî, who came to Istanbul on spiritual command of Maulana Hâlid-i Bağdadî and taught Gümüşhânevî, recommended that his student followed Abdülfettah el-Akrî as his spiritual leader.9
Between 1845-1875, Ahmed Ziyâeddin Effendi, whose students were increasing every day, began to promote the tariqa and compile books after he was given the khilafa by Süleyman el-Ervâdî, wrote fifty-two Arabic books in the fields of fiqh, aqida, hadith, kalam, tasawwuf, and akhlaq, and also taught these sciences and gave ijaza to his talented students.10
Gümüşhânevî continued his activities in teaching, writing and spiritual guidance from his room in the Mahmud Pasha Madrasa, and when his number of students and followers began to increase, he needed more space. In view of this, in 1859 he acquired the Fatma Sultan Mosque, that was built by Fatma Sultan, daughter of Sultan Ahmet III but was now deserted, and where only the dhur and asr prayers were performed towards the mid-19th century, as a dervish lodge. When Gümüşhânevî’s close friend and follower Hasan Hilmi Efendi from Kastamonu volunteered as muezzin of the mosque, it was opened for the five daily prayers and also became a dervish lodge, a place of gathering where the dervishes performed hatm-i hacegan (collective dhikr). In 1875, when the separate harem (living quarters) and selamlık (gathering quarters) were built in the Fatma Sultan Mosque located opposite the Bâbıâli (Sublime Porte), it now boasted an architectural plan necessary for a dervish lodge, and was referred to by names such as the “Gümüşhânevî Dervish Lodge,” “Fatma Sultan Dervish Lodge” and “Hâlidî Dervish Lodge.” In the mosque/gathering section, the five daily prayers were performed, teaching activities were held, and group dhikr were held on a weekly basis and on holy days and nights. The sheikh and his family resided in the harem section, while the library and rooms of seclusion were located in the selamlık section.11 Sources record that Sultan Abdülmecid, Sultan Abdülaziz and Sultan Abdülhamid II attended Sheikh Gümüşhânevî’s lectures from time to time, and that he was particularly close to Sultan Abdülhamid.12
In 1863, Sheikh Gümüşhânevî set out on the journey to hajj on a ship allocated by the palace.13 This was recorded in a document in the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office dated 1862. As preparations for hajj began months in advance at that time, and not everyone was allocated a ship, this document bears great importance in terms of comprehending the respect and reverence shown to Sheikh Gümüşhânevî because this was included in state records.14 In 1877, he married Havva Seher Hanım, daughter of Mehmed Emin Pasha. Later, he traveled to Batum via Trabzon and participated in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878), also referred to as the ’93 War with his students. On the battlefront, Sheikh Gümüşhânevî boosted the morale and motivation of the soldiers, and also continued teaching and activities of spiritual guidance; he traveled to Of when the war subsided for a while and gave lessons on hadith during the month of Ramadan. He taught Ramuz al-Ahadith to more than 280 students and gave the khilafa to many of these students after sending them into khalwa (seclusion).15 After the war, he returned to Istanbul and traveled to Hijaz the following year with his family, leaving Hasan Hilmi Efendi as his deputy of the Fatma Sultan Dervish Lodge also known as the “Gümüşhânevî Dervish Lodge”. He gave lessons on hadith in Mecca and Medina. After completing hajj, he traveled to Egypt where they stayed for three years. Here he also gave hadith lessons; he issued ijaza to many students and gave khilafa to five of his Arab students.16 On his return to Istanbul, he continued his duties of teaching and spiritual guidance. The great scholar of hadith, Gümüşhânevî, who demonstrated great care when it came to teaching religious knowledge, implementing the Sunnah and avoiding bid‘a, considered the study of hadith sciences in his dervish lodge as an indispensable part of his tariqa; he gave lessons on the book titled Ramuz al-Ahadith that he wrote and compiled, and taught thousands of students. This dervish lodge, that was classified as a dār al-hadīth (institution for the teaching of hadith), challenged the degeneration that was common in the dervish lodges of its time, and acted as a mediator in reconciling disagreements among scholars and sheikhs.17 Taking into consideration that many scholars and state officials attended his lessons on a regular basis, and that many of those who attended his classes were appointed high positions such as scholars who attended and held Lessons of Huzur (tafsir discussions held in the presence of the Ottoman Sultans during Ramadan), and also teachers who taught hadith and gave lessons on Islamic law at the Darü’l-Hilafeti’l-Aliyye Madrasa, we clearly see how influential he was as a scholar .18
Although current sources state that Sheikh Gümüşhânevî assigned the duty of khilafa to one hundred and sixteen people19, this figure is obviously more. Gümüşhânevî, who according to sources had a million, or even more followers, procured the spread of the Halidiyya branch of the Naqshbandi tariqa and Islam, and offered a universal service to humanity by sending various khalifa to many parts of the world including the Balkans, Caucasus, Kazan, Damascus, Baghdad, Hijaz, Egypt, China, the Comoros Islands.20 Some of his head khalifa were: Hasan Hilmi Efendi from Kastamonu, İsmail Necati Efendi from Safranbolu, Ömer Ziyâeddin Efendi from Dagestan, Mustafa Feyzi Efendi from Tekirdağ, Mehmed Eşref Efendi from Lüleburgaz, Hafız Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Efendi, Zeynullah el-Kazânî, Hasan Hilmi b. Ali el-Kevserî, Yusuf Bahri Efendi from Ünye, Hasan Ziyâüddîn Efendi from Nallıhan, Hafız Es’ad Efendi from Trabzon, Mujteba Efendi from Crimea.21 The khalifa who received ijaza from Gümüşhânevî were also engaged in spiritual guidance and teaching; they taught many students. For example, one of the famous among them is Muhammed Zâhid el-Kevserî, one of the last of Ottoman scholars who received his initial teaching from his father Hasan Hilmi b. Ali el-Kevserî and who received tariqa lessons from Gümüşhânevî, and later from Sheikh Hasan Hilmi Efendi of Kastamonu who was the sheikh of the dervish lodge. Kevserî, who was a teacher at the leading madrasas of the Ottoman Empire and appointed positions such as member of the Sheikh al-Islam Board of Education as well as Deputy Sheikh al-Islam, traveled to Egypt in 1922, where he continued his teaching activities. Kevserî, who taught many students and wrote many books on tasawwuf, hadith, fiqh and kalam, gained the admiration of many both with the books he wrote and his activities; he was a scholar renowned in the Islamic world whose life and works was the topic of many doctoral and master dissertations.22
Osman Niyazi Efendi, who procured the spread of the Naqshbandi tariqa in the Black Sea region, continued his duty as spiritual guide by establishing a dervish lodge in his hometown of Güneyce, Rize and was a trustee and inspector of Gümüşhânevî’s foundation libraries, taught scholars such as Haji Ferşat Efendi, Haji İlyas Efendi and Haji Ahmed Efendi.23 After receiving khilafa from the Gümüşhânevî Dervish Lodge, Yusuf Şevki Efendi from Of (d. 1321/1904) traveled to Mecca, Medina, Egypt and Mosul where he also spread the teachings of Ziyâiyya and taught students.24 Haji Ferşad Efendi (d. 1929), who was given tariqa lessons by Yusuf Şevki Effendi and later married his daughter, was a trustee of the libraries Gümüşhânevî established in Of, Rize, and Bayburt and was a scholar who greatly influenced the spread of Naqshbandi Khalidi tariqa in the Black Sea region.25
Sheikh Zaynullah Rasulev, who was also taught by Sheikh Gümüşhânevî according to the principles of Naqshbandi’s Khalidi tariqa, returned to his birthplace of Troitsk and built a complex consisting of a madrasa, hospice, masjid and library. This madrasa, which was known as the Rasuliyya Madrasa and that was one of the most famous Muslim educational institutions in the lands under Russian rule, provided an educational program that included religious sciences in addition to positive sciences. Its graduates assumed a significant role in spreading Islam and the Naqshbandi tariqa by travelling to various regions of Russia as imams and teachers.26
On purchasing a large printing house for his lodge with contributions of his followers, Sheikh Gümüşhânevî had his books on knowledge printed, and distributed free of charge in various regions of the Islamic world. He made great efforts to spread the knowledge of Islam by establishing a library in his dervish lodge, and libraries in Bayburt, Rize and Of that had the capacity of housing eighteen thousand books.27 In order to prevent people from becoming involved in interest by applying to the newly established banks for loans, he set up a charity box similar to an avariz box in his lodge ensuring that savings intended for disposal both at home and at the workplace, were collected in the lodge so that his followers in need could borrow from this on a “qard al-hasan” (interest free loan) basis.28
Sources state that Sheikh Gümüşhânevî was a white bearded man of average height, with a white face, a well-shaped nose, deep forehead, dark eyes, long eyelashes, and a black birthmark under his right eye. He used to wrap a white imama around a headpiece attributed to the Naqshbandis; he wore a cloak, waistcoat and long robe. He preferred to dress in white in the summer and green in winter.29
It was reported that Gümüşhânevî, who became ill during the last days of his life, grew so ill that he was bedridden and was unable to eat, drink or speak. There are reports that he passed away on a Sunday around ten o’clock; he was lying on his right side as usual, he suddenly opened his eyes and said “O Almighty! I want it all”, then he passed away.30
Ahmed Ziyâeddin Efendi, who passed away on May 13, 1893 (H. Thu al-Qa’da 7, 1311), was buried next to the tomb of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman within the burial area of the Süleymaniye Mosque, on permission of Sultan Abdülhamid II.31 His dear wife, who passed away after him in 1911, was buried beside him.32
Sheikh Gümüşhânevî’s tombstone inscription begins with this verse:
“Nazar kıl çeşm-i ibretle makâm-ı ilticâdır bu
Erenler dergâhı bâb-ı füyûzât-ı Hüdâ’dır bu”
Look with prudent eyes for this is the station of refuge
This is Allah’s gate of abundance, the lodge of saints
Sheikh Gümüşhânevî, who introduced himself as “Hanafi by madhhab, Naqshbandi by tariqa, Shadhili by disposition,”33 established the Ziyâiyya branch named after him, with the new perspectives, methods and effects he brought to the Halidiyya branch of the Naqshbandi tariqa.
Hasan Hilmi Efendi of Kastamonu assumed the position of sheikh after him. The sheikhs who served in the Gümüşhânevî Dervish Lodge until the lodges were closed in 1925 were Ahmed Ziyâeddin Efendi (1859-1893), Hasan Hilmi Efendi from Kastamonu (1893-1911), İsmail Necati Efendi from Safranbolu (1911-1919), Ömer Ziyâeddin Efendi from Dagestan (1919-1921) and Mustafa Feyzi Efendi from Tekirdağ (1921-1925).
His major works include: Jāmi’ al-Usūl, Rūh al-‘Ārifīn, Majmū‘a al-Ahzāb, Rāmuz al-Ahādīth, Lawāmi’ al-‘Uqūl, Gharā’ib al-Ahādīth, Latā’if al-Hikam, Hadīth al-Arba‘īn, Najāt al-Ghāfilīn, Dawā’ al-Muslimīn, Natā’ij al-Ikhlās, Jāmi’ al-Mutūn, al-‘Ābir fī al-Ansār wa al-Muhājir.
1. İrfan Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn (K.S.) Hayatı, Eserleri, Tarikat Anlayışı ve Hâlidiyye Tarikatı, İstanbul: Seha Neşriyat, 1984, p. 11.
2. Mustafa Fevzî b. Nu’man, Hediyyetü’l-Hâlidin, İstanbul, 1313, p. 17; Hüseyin Vassâf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, prep. Ali Yılmaz & Mehmet Akkuş, İstanbul: Seha Neşriyat, 1999, p. 341.
3. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 19; Vassâf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 341.
4. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 30.
5. Gündüz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhânevî’nin Hayatı, Eserleri ve Tesirleri”, Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhanevî Sempozyum Bildirileri, prep. Necdet Yılmaz, İstanbul: Seha Neşriyat, 1992, p. 22.
6. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, pp. 13-18.
7. Muhammed Zahid b. Hasan Kevseri, İrgâmü’l-Merid, Cairo: al-Maktabatu’l-Azhariyya li’t-Turath, 2000, p. 71; Arafat Aydın, “"İcâzetnâme (Sebet): Ahmed b. Süleyman el-Ervâdî’nin Kendi Kaleminden Ahmed Ziyâeddin-i Gümüşhânevî’ye İcâzetini Verdiği İlimler, Eserler ve Tarikatlar", Uluslararası Gümüşhânevî Sempozyumu, 1-2 June 2013, İstanbul: Bağcılar Belediyesi, 2014, pp. 264-283
8. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 32; Vassaf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 341; Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, pp. 31-34.
9. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 42.
10. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 34.
11. M. Baha Tanman, “Gümüşhânevî Tekkesi’nin Tarihî ve Mimârî Özellikleri”, İlim ve Sanat, May-July 1998, p. 117; Necdet Yılmaz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn-i Gümüşhânevî”, Doğu’dan Batı’ya Düşüncenin Serüveni: Osmanlı’da Felsefe ve Aklî Düşünce, ed. Bayram Ali Çetinkaya, v. 8, pp. 1081-1083.
12. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 65; Süleyman Zeki Bağlan, “Gümüşhaneli Zinciri”, Keşkül Dergisi, 2011, no. 20, p. 37.
13. Vassâf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 342.
14. Osman Gördebil, “Ahmed Ziyâeddin-i Gümüşhânevî’nin Toplumsal Hayata Yönelik Padişaha Gönderdiği Mektubu”, Uluslarası Gümüşhânevî Sempozyumu, 1-2 June 2013, İstanbul: Bağcılar Belediyesi, 2014, p. 224. (BOA, A.MKT.NZD 382/95)
15. Gündüz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhânevî’nin Hayatı, Eserleri ve Tesirleri”, p. 32.
16. Vassâf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 342.
17. Gündüz, “Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâeddin”, İstanbul, DİA, 1996, v. 14, pp. 276-277; Gündüz, “XIX. Asır Tasavvuf ve Hâdis Âlimlerinden Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâeddin Hz.”, Keşkül Dergisi, 2011, no. 20, p. 33.
18. Vassaf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 345; Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 65.
19. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 34.
20. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 34; Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 141.
21. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, pp. 140-166.
22. Yusuf Şevki Yavuz, “Zâhid Kevserî”, İstanbul, DİA, 2013, v. 44, p. 77-78; Mehmet Emin Özafşar, “Muhammed Zâhid el-Kevserî’nin Yetişmesinde Gümüşhânevî Dergâhı’nın Katkısı”, İlim ve Sanat, May-July 1998, no. 48, pp. 95-98; Faruk Ermemiş, “Kafkas Göçmeni Düzceli İlim Adamı Muhammed Zahid Kevseri’nin Yetiştiği Sosyo-Kültürel Çevre ve Bu Çevrenin Tarihsel Arka Planını Anlama”, Düzce’de Tarih ve Kültür, ed. Ali Ertuğrul, Düzce: Düzce Belediyesi Kültür Yay., 2014, pp. 122-123.
23. İshak Güven Güvelioğlu, Yasemin Baki, Rize’de Tasavvuf Kültürü: Tarikatlar, Tekkeler, Şeyhler, İstanbul: Dergâh Yayınları, 2013, pp. 109-117; İsmail Kara, Gümüşhanevî Halifelerinden Şeyh Osman Niyazi Efendi ve Güneyce-Rize’deki Tekkesi, İstanbul: Dergâh Yayınları, 2009; Dündar Alikılıç, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhânevî’nin Karadeniz Havâlisindeki Dinî Faaliyetleri”, I. Uluslararası Geçmişten Günümüze Trabzon’da Dini Hayat Sempozyumu, 8-10 October 2015, v. II, p. 819.
24. Hür Mahmut Yücer, “Oflu Yusuf Şevki Efendi ve Doğu Karadeniz Bölgesindeki Tesirleri”, I. Uluslararası Geçmişten Günümüze Trabzon’da Dini Hayat Sempozyumu, 8-10 October 2015, v. I, p. 103.
25. Yusuf Şevki Yavuz, “Ferşad Efendi”, İstanbul, DİA, 1995, v. 12, pp. 413-414.
26. Hamid Algar, “Volga-Ural Bölgesinin Son Büyük Nakşibendî Şeyhi: Şeyh Zeynullah Resulev”, trans. Ethem Çebecioğlu, Ankara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, 1997, v. 37, no. 1, pp. 131-149; İbrahim Maraş, “Zeynullah Resûlî”, İstanbul, DİA, 2013, v. 44, pp. 372-373.
27. Gündüz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhânevî’nin Hayatı, Eserleri ve Tesirleri”, p. 28.
28. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 50.
29. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 46-49; Vassâf, Sefine-i Evliyâ, p. 345.
30. Fevzî, Hediyye, p. 60-61; Kevserî, İrgâm, p. 99.
31. Gündüz, “Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâeddin”, İstanbul, DİA, 1996, p. 276; Gündüz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn Gümüşhânevî’nin Hayatı, Eserleri ve Tesirleri”, p. 60; Yılmaz, “Ahmed Ziyâüddîn-i Gümüşhânevî”, p. 1086.
32. Gündüz, Gümüşhânevî Ahmed Ziyâüddîn, p. 75.
33. Ahmed Ziyâeddin Gümüşhânevî, Lawāmi’ al-‘Uqūl, 1875, v. I, p. 30.