Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Erol
His Highness Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Erol was born in 1930 in the village of Siyanus, part of the Baykan region of Siirt in Turkey. He was generally known by the titles of "Seyda" and "Sultan."
His grandfather Sayyid Muhammad was a grand scholar brought up in the madrassas. He received authorization and confirmation as the Nakshibendi caliph.
His father, Gaws-i Bilvanisi Sayyid Abdulhaqim Husseini, was another eminent Naqshibandi figure.
His Highness Seyda, whose grandfather and father were learned members of the sect, was a Bilvanis sayyid descended from our Prophet (saas). Since he was descended from Hazrat Hussein (as), he is known as "Al-Husseini."
His Highness Seyda’s teaching work began on the death of his father Gaws on June 1st, 1972 and lasted 21 years, 4 months and 19 days.
His Highness Muhammad Rashid Erol received his initial education from his father. After this initial education, he studied further subjects such as Arabic, logic and rhetoric, and well as the hadiths and Islamic jurisprudence from such well-known teachers in the southeast of Turkey as Muhyiddin, Nasir, Ramadan and Abdulbaki.
With the permission of his spiritual teacher, Ahmedi Haznevi, Seyda migrated to the village of Bilvanis and married a Sayyid woman named Sekine in that village. From that marriage were born five sons, Sayyid Fawzeddin, Sayyid Abdulgani, Sayyid Taceddin, Sayyid Mazhar and Sayyid Abdurrakib, and eight daughters, Hasine, Muhsine, Hasibe, Rukiye, Munevver, Mukaddes, Mumine and Hediye.
His Highness Seyda’s most distinguishing characteristics were his fortitude, modesty and humility.
He never offended or hated anyone.
Even though there were thousands of people around him, he never displayed any trace of pride or insensitivity.
He never ordered anyone to do this or that. He treated everyone in a smiling and pleasant manner.
Since His Highness Seyda was the son of Sayyid Abdulhakim Hussein Hodja, he occupied himself with madrassah activities as well as learning for himself and training students. He was very fond of serving, and people who served. In the event there were not enough people to serve his guests in his house, he would serve them personally. He would personally light the fire for the soup, serve guests, insisted on feeding and welcoming his guests before allowing them to depart, and would refuse to eat unless his guests were doing so.
He was a man of few words, and generally preached the word through his exemplary moral values and behavior.
Everyone seeing his fine moral values would quickly regret their misdeeds and immediately wish to repent. Rapid moral changes were observed in all those who approached him.
He showed great respect for the children of previous eminent Naqshibandi, great or small.
His Highness Seyda addressed everyone on the basis of their understanding and intelligence. He would speak with the poor, ask how they were doing, and respond to their needs if necessary. In order to forestall any strife he would always forgo his own rights if subjected to an injustice and was patient in the face of adverse events. He attached no importance to worldly goods, helped the needy as much as he could and personally assisted widows and orphans.
ALTUG BERKER: There was a photograph of Muhammad Rashid Erol; if you want to see.
ADNAN OKTAR: Let me see it; masha’Allah. His spiritual power and guidance was amazingly influential. He became instrumental in the guidance of millions of people - notice that I do not say thousands, or tens of thousands of people. His discourses, lasting only for ten minutes, filled hearts with guidance. A person becomes amazing, very mature. His entire world changes and he becomes very modest. They do not get involved in politics. They are meticulous about the unity of the state. They are against anarchy. They advocate a unitarian state. They want Turkey to grow and become stronger. They consider the unity and integrity of the country to be of vital importance. They never get involved in political polemics. They are very well brought up, blessed people. It is a very blessed society. Very precious people. May Allah grant them long lives, insha’Allah.
The Menzil Dervish Lodge was a major center of enlightenment in his day. Under his influence, members never fell out and would always ask forgiveness for the slightest error. People began to learn about Islam and live in peace and brotherhood.
He never abandoned the mosque and the community even in times of sickness. He spent little time sleeping at night, and would engage in religious observances until sunrise.
Although the village of Menzil (which is near the town of Kahta in Adiyaman province) was far from any major settlements, it always resembled a busy town as people continually visited, by Allah’s leave and the spiritual power and abundance of our Prophet, Rasulullah (saas). Not only from Turkey, but from other Islamic countries and even from Europe, people would come, repent and join.
His Highness Seyda received authorization as Caliph in1968, and began teaching novices in 1972 and received great numbers of visitors from both inside and outside Turkey. This led to his having to move to the island of Gokceada in Canakkale province on July 18th, 1983.
Having been first sent to Adiyaman, and then to Adana and from there to Gokceada, His Highness Seyda was transferred to Ankara on January 30th, 1985 because of difficulties and the effect of the island’s climate on his health.
Having spent 16 months under observation there, he returned to Menzil with the permission of the Central Administration.
He continued preaching the word and teaching. In 1991, an attempt was made on his life with a syringe containing insecticide during the Ramadan Festival greeting ceremony. The poison entered his hand and began working. His Highness Seyda was swiftly taken to the emergency department, where this threat to his life was resolved.
His Highness Seyda passed away at the age of 63, two hours after Friday prayers on October 22nd, 1993. He was buried the next day alongside his father in Menzil, in a funeral ceremony attended by tens of thousands of his followers.
Like other great Islamic scholars, His Highness Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Erol was awaiting the Hazrat Mahdi (as). Around the year 1975, His Highness Sayda stated that Hazrat Mahdi (as) was alive and that he was still a young boy. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Yasin Bursevi, who had been in the service of His Highness Muhammad Rashid Erol for years, relates a speech of His His Highness Sayda that he had witness thus:
Ahment Yasin Hazretleri: His Highness Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Erol said that in 1975 Hazrat Mahdi (as) was only a child, that he was a mere young boy.
His Highness Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Erol,
The entire community had known about this incident…
I witnessed His Highness Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Erol. People came to him saying that, according to the portents that they had witnessed, he was Hazrat Mahdi (as).
I was right next to him. He answered that he was not Hazrat Mahdi (as) and that there was still time for his coming.
He stated that he would not see those days and even added that, by Allah’s will, I would see him.
Gaws-i Bilvanisi Sayyid Abdulhaqim Husseini, the father of Sayyad Muhammad Rashid Erol, stated the following about Hazrat Mahdi (as):
Islamic orders, which are the schools for educating awliyas, have become schools for preserving the faith. In the past, people used to go around for years and had looked for sheikhs for themselves whereas now sheikhs go from one door to another and call Muslims to faith. His Highness Ahmad Al-Haznavi (ra) struggled to keep the faith of the ummah of our Prophet (saas). In this time there is no Islamic orders in the true sense of the word. Now what we are doing is merely distraction. The purpose is to keep faith. The utter guidance will occur in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as).
A person asked His Highness Gaws:
Master; we have so many people who trance in the love of Allah, people having a deep love of Allah and who constantly pray to Allah. Now all of them have weakened and got into laziness. Why does it happen so?
His Highness Gaws stated:
‘Yes, it is because guidance no longer exists. What we do in this time is preserving the status quo; something like a deception, because utter guidance is in the hands of Hazrat Mahdi (as). He will guide people in the true sense of the word. We, on the other hand, deceive people, entertain people just as how kids are entertained.