Mehmed Refik-efendija Hadžiabdić Sheikh Islam
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.