Birgivi : An Awliya of Smyrna

His real name is Muhammad, but he is known after the name of Smyrna’s town of Birgi, where his tomb is located. He was born in the city of Balıkesir in 1521 and passed away in 1573 in the town of Birgi, Smyrna. History remembers him also by the name of İmam-ı Birgivi and he belonged to the sect of Hanefi.

His father was a muderris, who taught at a madrasa, therefore he had no problem of receiving a solid education at a early age. Then, to proceed in advance studies, he went to city of Istanbul and graduated from the madrasa of Semaniyye. While working as a scholar at various madrasas in Istanbul, he learned the “ilm” of  tasawwuf from Abdurrahman Karamani, who was the sheik of Bayramiye order by then. He was assigned various task in the administrative fields but he wanted to refuse such assignment since his heart had to tendency towards “uzlet”, which is considered as divine solitude, where he wanted to occupy his soul by the remembrance of Allah(j.j) only instead of mundane affairs. However, his sheik Karamani persuaded him to continue his lectures at the madrasa and kept on educating students of “ilm”.

Atâullah efendy, who was the scholar for the Sultan Selim the second, who was in reign of the Ottoman throne by then, observed his success in teaching ilm and gave him the opportunity to build up a madrasa in Birgi. Thereafter, education students and writing books became his only occupation in this world.

Since he knew very well about the importance of staying away from harams and refraining one’s heart from occupation of mundane affairs, his lectured pinpointed the significance of Allah’s(j.j) orders for mankind.

He is known to pray as “O Allah!, you are the best of helpers, you are the shelter for the desperate! O The most compassionate and the most merciful, who conceal our sins and who is generous with tenderness! For the sake of your beloved Prophet Muhammad(saw)  and all other messengers and prophets and for the sake of angels and sahaba of Prophet and their followers, please show mercy upon us and forgive our faults and sins”

Once, he was asked what is tasawwuf and he replied :

Tasawwuf means to cleanse the heart from bad habits and fill it up with good ones. Rectifying and cultivating your heart is more important than anything else. Because the heart is like the sultan in your body, who can reign over every other organ. When the heart performs good, the rest of the body’s organ will follow it.

He wrote many books and taught many students and passed away in Birgi, in 1573.  His tomb in Birgi is visited by many visitors today.




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