Mahmud Esad Coşan was a Turkish academic author, preacher, professor of Islam and a leader of the sufi Naqshbandi order.
Cosan had an interesting connection with Australia; he was born in Canakkale (Gallipoli), Turkey in 14 April 1938 and he died in Sydney, Australia in 4 April 2001.
He attended the department of Arab-Persian languages of the Faculty of Arts in the University of Istanbul and obtained his B.A. in 1960 by having four certificates from Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Language and Literature, the History of Middle Ages and Turkish Islamic Arts.
In the same year, he joined the Faculty of Theology of Ankara University as a research assistant in the department of Classical Turkish Religious Texts. In 1965, he received his Ph.D. by completing a dissertation on the fifteenth Century Poet Hatipoglu Muhammad and his writings. In 1967-68, he taught Turkish and humanities at the Ankara Advance Architecture and Engineering Private Institute.
In 1973, he became Associate Professor with his thesis on the Makalat of Hajji Bektashi Veli (The Articles of Haji Bektashi Veli) and became the head of Turkish Islamic Literature department. In 1977-78, while teaching at the theology faculty, he also taught Turkish Language and Literature at the Sakarya Government Architecture and Engineering Academy.
In 1982, he became full Professor. In order to devote more time to his considerable social and cultural activities, he asked his retirement and left the university in 1987.
He took his early Islamic education in his family. His father Halil Necati Efendi is a respected person who has inner vision and who studied from such scholars and Sheikhs (Sufi Masters) like Cirpilali Haci Ali Efendi, Serezli Hasib Efendi, Kazanli Abdulaziz Bekkine Efendi and Mehmed Zahid Kotku Efendi. He was a very close friend and student of Sheikh Mehmed Zahid Kotku who is being regarded the most influential Islamic figure of Turkey in the late Twentieth Century. Having being so close to spiritual environment Prof. Cosan too at his youth attended to the talks and teachings of Scholars and Murshids and received their material and spiritual blessings.
Upon completing his spiritual education (training), Sheikh Mehmed Zahid Kotku asked him to give hadith lessons at Iskenderpasha Mosque (the centre of the tariqah) in Istanbul in 1977. Mehmed Zahid Kotku appointed him as his caliph (successor) while he was alive. He undertook all of the responsibilities of the jamaat (the Naqshbandi Khalidi tariqah of Mehmed Zahid Kotku r.a.) when Mehmed Zahid Kotku passed away in 1980.
After his retirement from university in 1987, Cosan focused on conferences, books and community works. In his time, interest of listening the hadith lessons increased considerably so much so the Iskenderpasha mosque was expanded and enlarged five or six times. In addition to this, new periodic Hadith lessons were introduced in the cities of Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Sapanca, Izmit and Eskisehir.
He migrated to Australia in 1997 escaping the military pressure on Turkish religious communities.
Cosan died in a car accident on the night of February 4, 2001 in Dubbo, NSW. His son-in-law Ali Yücel Uyarel, who was driving the car, also died in the accident.
He was buried in Eyup Sultan Cemetery after a funeral service in Fatih Mosque on February 9 2001 in Istanbul.
Fluent in Turkish, Arabic, Persian, English and German, Cosan was one of the most prominent Turkish religious leaders of 20th century.
A non-partisan Islamic scholar, Cosan advocated “clean politics” and advocated the principles and methods of electing truthful, moral, religious, competent and educated public officers from local mayoral candidates to prime minister and president of a country. He believed that only the administrators with these qualities could deliver justice, peace and prosperity to a country and humanity.
The Kotku Naqshbandi order has influenced political leaders like Turgut Ozal and Muhsin Yazicioglu.
1. Printer Ibrahim Muteferrika and his Risalai Islamiyah
2. Haji Bektashi Veli and Makaalat
3. Our Aim
4. Message of Islam
5. New Horizons
6. Amongst children
7. The principles of success
8. Turkish Language and Culture
9. The Purification of Self in Islam and introduction to Sufism (Tasawwuf)
10. Australia discourses 1
11. Australia discourses 2
12. Australia discourses 3
13. Australia discourses 4
14. New duties in the new era
15. The virtues and subtleties of Hajj
16. The Path and Fundamentals of Victory
17. Islam, Love and Tasawwuf
18. Organisation and Success in Social Activities
19. Methodology in Islamic activities (Dawah work)
20. The Power of Love in the Path of Success
21. Family’s Morality Guide
22. Yunus Emre and Tasawwuf
23. Haji Bektashi Veli
24. The Jewels of Wisdom from our master Hz. Ali r.a.
25. Current Issues 1
26. Current Issues 2
27. Women in social activities
28. Ramadan and the Acquisition of Piety
29. Dawah activities
30. Islam, Tasawwuf and life
31. Come to Service (Khidmah)
32. Subtleties of Education in Islam
33. What is Tasawwuf?
34. The wrath and pleasure of Allah
35. Protection of faith and Islam