Mehmed Refik-efendija Hadžiabdić Sheikh Islam

  • Kasim Dobrača, ef.


 The supreme religious leader of Muslims in Ottoman Empire had the title of Šejhul- islam. His religious position was the greatest one after caliph by whom he was appointed. The above mentioned  Mehmed  Refik was the only  Muslim  Slav who occupied such a position. He was a native of Rogatica a small town in Eastern Bosnia. The position of Šejhul- islam he occupied in the second half of the XIX th century.

He was born in 1813. Gazi Husrev- bey's Medres he finished in his native country   of   Bosnia   in   the   town of  Sarajevo. He attained the  University of Istanbul. During the w hole period of his schooling he showed himself to be an intelligent and bright student and in the early time of his life, he was respected by his professors and in scholarly circles as w ell. A fter the graduation he remained to live in Istanbul. His know ledge as w ell as his moral values and honesty contributed him, to get a job in the Executive Islamic Council (Mešihat)  where he worked long time with a small interruption during his appointment as qadi in Istanbul and later in Varna (Bulgaria).

During his work in Mešihat he first occupied some low er positions and later the higher  ones,  until  he to ok the first place in it, being appointed  Šejhul- islam  in  1866. That  date  w as designated  by  a poet in chronics in   half- verse of the  meaning:  "Allah brought  the  most  learned  lawyer  Refik  to  the  supreme  position  regarding  religious affairs" which points to great reputation of this man of Bosnia. The position of Šejhul- islam he occupied in the period of one year and nine months. After 2- 3 years of that he became ili of typhus and died on A pril 20th 1871 being 59 y eor old. he was buried, according to He was of caliph himself, at the honorable  cemetry  next  to  Sultan  Mehmed  el- Fatih's  (conqueror)   mosque in  Istanbul. From his written w orks the famous one is Nugulu'l- fetava (sources to the work el- Fetaval- feydiye). It  is, in fact, a scientific commentary  in Arabic on the collection of "fetves" (Seriyat-law Solutions). The vvork is printed, together vvith the collection, in 1849 in Istanbul. In his native town of Rogatica, he built a mosque and Mekteb (school for religious beginner's instruction) and he bequeathed a considerable estate for people of his town.


How to Cite
Dobrača, K. (1978). Mehmed Refik-efendija Hadžiabdić Sheikh Islam. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 4(5-6), 99-116. Retrieved from