Prominent sufi leader Shaykh Nazim Haqqani passes away

Shaykh Nazim

Controversial Muslim scholar Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani has passed away at the age of 92 in Northern Cyprus.

Shaykh Nazim had been receiving intense care since April 17 after suffering from respiratory problems and heart failure.

He was the leader of the Naqshibandi-Haqqani Sufi order which traces its roots back to the 11th-century Sufi leader Abdul Qadir Jilani and the 13th-century mystical poet Jalaluddin Rumi.

Having lived in Turkey, Syria and the United Kingdom, Shaykh Nazim then settled in his hometown in Northern Cyprus. He had millions of followers all over the world.

Born in Larnaca, on the southern coast of Cyprus, Shaykh Nazim became an influential figure throughout the 1950s and 1960s in Turkey, known for his active opposition to the ban on the azan (call to prayer) being recited in Arabic.

Many top government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, called him during his convalescence in order to convey their wishes for his speedy recovery.

Having completed secondary education in 1940 at the age of 18, Haqqani moved to Istanbul, where he studied chemical engineering. While advancing his non-religious studies, he continued his education in Islamic theology.

At some point during his first year of life in Istanbul, Haqqani met his first spiritual guide, Suleyman Erzurumi, who was a spiritual leader in the Naqshbandi Sufi order.Shortly after obtaining his degree, he went to Damascus to study under another Naqshbandi leader.

In the 1970sHaqqani began visiting Western Europe, travelling every year from the Middle East to London where he attracted many western followers.

More controversially, Haqqani has taken several political positions which have raised eyebrows.

In the 2000s, he declared that George Bush and Tony Blair had achieved sainthood in Islam due to their efforts in “fighting tyrants and evil and devils.”

Starting in the 1980s, he also made a number of Doomsday predictions which failed to happen.

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