Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani (1835 - 1913 CE) the 37th Shaykh in the Naqshabandi lineage, was born in Kikunu, Daghestan. Fifty five years later he and family migrated to Turkey, settling down in the village of Rashadiya, between Bursa and Istanbul. That piece of land where he chose to settle down and built a zawiya was a gift from Sultan Abd al-Hamid, the emperor of the Ottoman Empire who took bai'at from him. Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani together with Shaykh Sharafuddin (his nephew who became the 38th Naqshabandi shaykh) and Shaykh Abdullah al-Faiz ad-Daghestani (the 39th Shaykh) - raised the villagers to be religious with zikir practices. The village of Rashadiya (Gunekoy) became known throughout Turkey as the 'Village of Zikir'.
He was a true inheritor of the physical appearance of the Prophet s.a.w. He was very handsome. He resembled the Prophet s.a.w according to the description of the Prophet in his biographies. He authored a book entitled 'Ya waladi' (My Son), in the tradition of Imam Ghazali who wrote 'Ayyuhal walad' (O My Son).
Once on the 27th of Ramadhan, he was leading the zikir with the whole village. He said, 'Everyone is engaged in zikir. All the animals are doing zikir with us. The worms are doing zikir with us. The birds are doing zikir. Every being in this village is doing zikir with us except one animal that is disconnected from his father and is depressed. God is not happy. The Prophet s.a.w is not happy and the saints are not happy. And this is all because of a childish prank!" He spoke to the owner of the house in which they were doing zikir, 'Go to your son and ask him what he has in the box.' He went to his son and asked, 'What do you have in the box? What animal have you captured?' The boy was confused, 'What box?' I only have a little matchbox in which I put one little worm.' He was told, 'Take that worm and put it back in the earth.' From that, the people of the village understood and raised their children with an understanding that harming any creature, no matter how small, causes unhappiness and earns the displeasure of God, of the Prophet s.a.w and of saints.
Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Madani died in 1913 and was buried in Rashadiya (Gunekoy).
Adapted from: 'Classical Islam and the Naqshabandi Sufi Tradition' by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani.