List of Sheikh-ul-Islams of the Ottoman Empire

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The following is a list of Sheikh-ul-Islams of the Ottoman Empire. After the fondation of the Ottoman empire around 1300, the title of Sheikh-ul-Islam, formerly used in the Abbasid Caliphate, was given to a leader authorized to issue legal opinion or fatwa. During the reign of Sultan Murad II, (1421-1444, 1446-1451) the position became an official title, with authority over other muftis in the empire. In the late 16th century, Sheikh-ul-Islam were assigned to appoint and dismiss supreme judges, high ranking college professors, and heads of Sufi orders. Prominent figures include Zenbilli Ali Cemali Efendi (c1445-1526), Ibn-i Kemal (Kemalpasazade) (1468-1533) and Ebussuud Efendi (c1491-1574).[1]


During the existence of the office (from 1424 to 1922), there were in total 131 Sheikh-ul-Islams. The longest-serving officeholder was Ebussuud Efendi for 29 years, the shortest was Memikzade Mustafa Efendi for 13 hours.[2][3]


  1. ^ Yurdakul, İlhami."Şeyhülislam (shaykhulislam)". Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Alan Masters, eds. Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, pp. 524–25. Facts on File, 2009.
  2. ^ Yakut 2005, p38
  3. ^ For a list of şeyḫülislāmları, see Yakut 2005, pp. 242–247


  • Yakut, Esra. Şeyhülislamlık: yenileşme döneminde devlet ve din. Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2005. For a list of şeyḫülislāmları, see pp. 242–247.
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