Many saints have lived in Anatolia over the centuries. Of Christian saints the most noteable will be the Virgin Mary, who spent her last years in high in the hills above Ephesus (near today's Selcuk, and St John who's tomb is in the ruins of the great basilica in Selcuk.

Of the Sufi saints the foremost of course has to be Jalaluddin Rumi in Konya and his friend and teacher Sadruddin Konevi who is also buried in Konya.

Uftade and Aziz Mahmud Hudai, and later Ismail Hakki Bursevi and his teacher Osman Fazli are less well known, but they all played a vital role in preserving and developing the knowledge of oneness in the later years of the Ottoman Empire.

Here below is the story of how two of these great saints met for the first time.

The story of Uftade and Hudai

From the life of Uftade
(translated by Christopher Ryan from the Turkish publication 'Bursa Saints and Historical Buildings'


Aziz Mahmut Hüdai joins Hazret Uftade:

In the Hisar District of Bursa there lived a man who one year had resolved to perform the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).

But actually it was not in his power to go, and this fact caused him much sorrow.

For several years it continued like this.

Every year when the season for the Pilgrimage came round he was grief stricken.

It was at such times that his relationship with his wife became strained.

As the matter had become public knowledge, the neighbours and relatives decided that Uftade should be informed of the affair. This person went to Uftade, and weeping, told him of his predicament.

'Go to our friend Mehmet Dede, the rag and bone man', Uftade said, 'Give him our selaams. He will take you to the Holy Land.'

The man goes to Mehmet Dede, gives selaams from Uftade, and reveals his plight.

Mehmet Dede took the man who had come to him into his shop and by means of the phenomenom of 'tayyi mekân'(rolling up time and space), conveyed him to Mecca.

They performed the sacred duties of the pilgrimage. Afterwords they met with pilgrims who had come from Bursa.

They bought some presents and then took their leave of them.

Then they were returned to Bursa.

With Mehmet Dede's permission, the man went home, but he wasn't allowed in. His wife accused him of lying and he was sent away.

The man went to Mahmut Hüdai, Bursa's famous judge of that time, and sought by legal means to obtain his wife's submission.

The court assembled. Plaintif and defendant were heard. However, because the pilgrims who would be witnesses had not yet come back to Bursa, the Judge Mahmud Hüdai adjourned the case until their return in order that they could be heard.

According to what is related by popular tradition, when the pilgrims were still on the road, Hüdai, in order to prevent any false testament, went out to meet the pilgrims on the road, and satisfied himself that the event had happened as stated.

At the assembled court, after hearing that the pilgrims had been with the plaintiff at Arafat, he judged that the man's pilgimage had been possible, and that his marriage was not invalidated. The man and his wife went home.

The judge Hüdai Efendi, by these powerful proofs and convincing explanations, was able to exonerate Mehmet Dede from any imputation of falsehood. But although he had acquired this much information he could not at all fathom this event. He thought about this matter all day long. In the course of time his soul became oppressed. Finally he made up his mind. He went to Mehmet Dede. But the latter said:

'Your 'nasib' (what is allotted to one by God, one's portion) is not from us, it is from Hazreti Uftade. Go and apply to him.'

The judge ordered his horse to be prepared. Dressed in his gold embroidered kaftan and his official turban, he mounted his waiting horse, and together with his groom, set out on the road to Uftade. The road to the east of Molla Fenari Mosque is today such that it doesn't seem possible for a horse to go that way. The horse got stuck right up to its pasterns. Judge Hudai pulled hard on the reins, but it was impossible for the horse to go forward. However much he struggled it couldn't go on. Finally the renowned judge with his splendid robes dismounted from the horse. (Today there are still four hoofprints, one worn down, belonging to a horse which was going in the same direction on this steep rocky hillside.) These imprints are ten centimetres in depth, and the foreman who was laying the road paving stones said the hillside wasn't to be broken up, saying the forms (of the imprints) were not to be spoilt and that what occurred here should not be forgotten, and that he hillside was to be left as it was. With his silk kaftan sweeping over the paving stones of Uftade's street, he embarked upon the way to the tekke.

The judge arrived on foot beneath the tekke to find Uftade, an old cloak upon his back, hoeing in the field. Beholding Uftade, the judge Hüdai mumbled:

'We used to think we were in control of the land, but in whose care is it really?

Uftade glanced at the judge and understood everything. 'It is a pity, Judge Efendi,' he said

'You knocked on the wrong door. Here is the door of non-existence. We are the slaves of the gate of non-existence. As for you, you are a person of the door of existence. We two would not be able to get along together.

You have knowledge and learning, fame and honour, wealth and property - yours is a prosperous life. Slaves such as us do not have anything at all other than God.'

Just then, two lines of tears began to flow like strings of pearls from the eyes of Mahmud Hüdai, who said:

'I have abandoned everything I possess outside your door. It is enough for me to be your pupil.'

At this, Uftade commanded:

'Throw away those clothes, quit your post of judge, and go and sell offal. Everday you will take three livers to the Tekke.'

The sheykh's word was decisive. From that day on, the judge did not appear at court.

Calling out through the districts of Bursa, he sold the livers which he fixed to poles carried over both his shoulders.

On his return to the tekke, the women and children by the stream which defines Uftade's hillside between them, made fun of the Kadi calling out his wares.

Sheykh Uftade asked, 'How did the selling go?'

'The children tagging along behind and throwing stones didn't bother me a bit, but coming up the slope, the women's laughter really got to me.' Describing all this to Uftade he was suddenly moved to exclaim, 'I have abandoned them!"