Abdulmejid II

Abdulmejid II (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجید ثانی, romanized: ʿAbdü'l-Mecîd-i sânî; Turkish: II. Abdülmecid;[5][6] 29 May 1868 – 23 August 1944) was the last Ottoman caliph, the only caliph of the Republic of Turkey, and head of the Osmanoğlu family from 1926 to 1944.

Abdulmejid II
Halîfe-i Müslimîn (Caliph of the Muslims)[1]
Portrait Caliph Abdulmecid II.jpg
Official portrait of Caliph Abdulmejid II
Ottoman Caliph
Tenure19 November 1922 – 3 March 1924
PredecessorMehmed VI
SuccessorCaliphate abolished
Head of the Osmanoğlu family
Reign16 May 1926 – 23 August 1944
PredecessorMehmed VI
SuccessorAhmed Nihad
Born29/30 May 1868[2][3]
Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died23 August 1944(1944-08-23) (aged 76)
Paris, France
(m. 1896; his d. 1944)
Hayrünissa Kadın
(m. 1902; her d. 1936)
Mihrimah Bihruz Kadın
(m. 1912; his d. 1944)
(m. 1912; his d. 1944)
Abdul Mecid bin Abdul Aziz
MotherHayranidil Kadın
ReligionSunni Islam


Early yearsEdit

On 30 May 1868,[2][3] he was born at Dolmabahçe Palace, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, to then Sultan Abdulaziz and his wife Hayranidil Kadın. He was the younger full brother of Nazime Sultan. He was educated privately.

In accordance with late Ottoman custom, Abdulmejid was confined to the palace until he was 40. On 4 July 1918, his first cousin Mehmed VI became Sultan and Abdulmejid was named Crown Prince.[2] When his cousin was deposed on 1 November 1922, the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished. But on 19 November 1922, the Crown Prince was elected Caliph by the Turkish National Assembly at Ankara.[2] He established himself in Istanbul[7][8] on 24 November 1922.

On 3 March 1924, six months after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished and the Ottoman dynasty was deposed and expelled from Turkey.[9][10]

As artistEdit

Abdulmejid was given the title of General in the Ottoman Army, but did not have strong military inclinations. He had a more significant role as Chairman of the Ottoman Artists' Society.

He is considered one of the most important painters of late period Ottoman art. His paintings of the Harem, showing a modern musical gathering, and of his wife, Şehsuvar Hanım, reading Goethe's novel Faust, express the influence of western Europe in his elite circle.[11] These were displayed at a 1918 exhibition of Ottoman paintings in Vienna. His personal self-portrait can be seen at Istanbul Modern.

Abdulmejid was also an avid collector of butterflies, an activity that he pursued during the last 20 years of his life. His favourite magazine was Revue des deux Mondes.[11]


Personal lifeEdit

Abdülmecid's first wife was Şehsuvar Hanım, a Turk[4] or an Ubykh. They married on 23 December 1896. She was the mother of Şehzade Ömer Faruk,[12] born in 1898.[13] She died in Paris in 1945,[12] and was buried in Bobigny cemetery. His second wife was Mihrimah Hanım. She died at the Nakkaştepe Palace, on 23 May 1899, and was buried in Nuhkuyusu Mosque, Istanbul.[14][15]

His third wife[4] was Hayrünissa Hanım,[16] a Circassian.[4] She was childless.[16][17] His fourth wife was Mehisti Hanım. She was a Circassian-Abkhazian. Her father was Akalsba Hacımaf Bey, and her mother was Safiye Hanım. They married on 16 April 1912.[14] She was the mother of Dürrüşehvar Sultan (who married Azam Jah, son of Mir Osman Ali Khan), born in 1914.[18] She died in MiddlesexLondon in 1964, and was buried in Brookwood cemetery.[19]

Life in exile and deathEdit

The caliph was nominally the supreme religious and political leader of all Muslims across the world, with the main goal to prevent extremism or protect the religion from corruption.[20] In the last session of the budget negotiations on 3 March 1924, Urfa Deputy Sheikh Saffet Efendi and his 53 friends demanded the abolition of the caliphate, arguing it was not necessary anymore. This was approved by majority of the votes and a law was established. With the same law, it was decided to expel all members of the Ottoman dynasty. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, however, offered the caliphate to Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi, on the condition that he reside outside Turkey; Senussi declined the offer and confirmed his support for Abdulmejid.[21]

Although Abdülmecid and his family were upset about this decision, they did not want the people to revolt, so they secretly went to Çatalca by car from the Dolmabahçe Palace at 5:00 the next morning. Here, after being hosted by the head of the Rumeli Railways Company for a while, they were put on the Simplon Express.[22]

When Abdulmejid II arrived in Switzerland, he was detained at the border for a while, but was admitted to the country after a delay.[23] In Switzerland, he said multiple times that he was upset about the abolition of the caliphate, and that this would bring chaos to the Islamic world, with the rise of extremism. But after the Turkish government put pressure on the Swiss government, Abdulmejid was never allowed to give such speeches in Switzerland again.[24] After staying in Switzerland for a while, he moved to Nice, France in October 1924.[25][6]

Abdulmejid lived a quiet life in Nice, France.[26] At first he was poor, hungry, and almost homeless. His daughter Dürrüşehvar Sultan and his niece Nilüfer Hanım Sultan married the sons of the Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the richest people in the world; thanks to this, his financial situation improved. As he did not seek to restore the caliphate from the Islamic world, he became depressed and focused more on worship, painting and music.[26]

Abdulmejid, who later settled in Paris, used to perform Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque of Paris with other Muslims in the region. After the departure of his very fond grandchildren and son, who left France to marry the Kavala princes of Egypt, he spent painful days alone. He wrote a 12-volume book of memoirs, preserved by his daughter Dürrüşehvar Sultan.

On 23 August 1944, Abdulmejid II died at his house in the 15th Avenue du Maréchal Mounoury, Paris, due to a heart attack.[27] His death coincided with the Liberation of Paris from the German occupation. Despite the efforts of Dürrüşehvar Sultan, the Turkish government did not permit his funeral to be held in Turkey. Subsequently, his remains were preserved at the Grand Mosque of Paris for ten years. Finally, when the mosque could no longer maintain his body, his remains were transferred to Medina where he was buried in the special Al-Baqi' cemetery due to him being a caliph.


Ottoman honours
Foreign honours



Abdülmejid II had four consorts:[32][33][13]

  • Şehsuvar Kadın (2 May 1881-1945). They married on 22 December 1896 and had a son.
  • Hayrünissa Kadın (2 March 1876-3 September 1936). She was born in Bandirma, Turkey. They married on 18 June 1902 in Ortakoy Palace. She died in Nice. Hayrünisa was extremely well educated and a cello virtuoso. She was portrayed by her husband while playing.
  • Mihrimah Bihruz Kadın (24 May 1903-1955). She was born in İzmit. They married on 21 March 1912 in Çamlıca Palace. She died in Istanbul.
  • Atiye Mehisti Kadın (27 January 1892-1964). She was born in Adapadari. They married on 16 April 1912 in Bağlarbaşı Palace and had a daughter. She died in London.


Abdülmejid II had a son and a daughter:[32][34][18]

  • Şehzade Ömer Faruk (27 February 1898 - 28 March 1969) - with Şehsuvar Kadın. Married twice with two his cousins and had three daughters by his first marriage.
  • Hatice Hayriye Ayşe Dürrüşehvar Sultan (26 January 1914 - 7 February 2006) - with Mehisti Kadın. She married an Indian prince and had two sons.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Abdülmecid Efendi". TDV Encyclopedia of Islam (44+2 vols.) (in Turkish). Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, Centre for Islamic Studies. 1988–2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdümecid II". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 23. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  3. ^ a b There are sources that give the 29th as the day of his birth.
  4. ^ a b c d Moralı, Seniha Sami (1978). Meşrutiyet, Dolmabahçe Sarayı ve Ankara'nın İlk Günlerine Dair. p. 60.
  5. ^ "II. Abdülmecid kimdir?". www.biyografi.info (in Turkish). Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Keramet., Nigar, Salih (1964). Halife II. Abdülmecid : yurdundan nasıl sürüldü, sonra nerelerde yaşadı, ne zaman ve nerede öldü, ne zaman ve nerede gömüldü. İnkılap ve Aka Kitabevleri. OCLC 984425856.
  7. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire...
  8. ^ Inc, Encyclopaedia Britannica (1 May 2008). Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. p. 966. ISBN 9781593394929. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ Finkel, Caroline (2007). Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire. Basic Books. p. 546. ISBN 9780465008506.
  10. ^ Özoğlu 2011, p. 5.
  11. ^ a b "The Ottoman caliphate: Worldly, pluralist, hedonistic—and Muslim, too". The Economist. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b Uçan 2019, pp. 256–257.
  13. ^ a b Uçan 2019, p. 261.
  14. ^ a b Uçan 2019, p. 258.
  15. ^ Haskan, Mehmet Nermi (2001). Yüzyıllar boyunca Üsküdar – Volume 1. Üsküdar Belediyesi. p. 298. ISBN 978-9-759-76062-5.
  16. ^ a b Uçan 2019, p. 259.
  17. ^ Bardakçı, Murat (2017). Neslishah: The Last Ottoman Princess. Oxford University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-9-774-16837-6.
  18. ^ a b Uçan 2019, p. 267.
  19. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu Mülkün Kadın Sultanları: Vâlide Sultanlar, Hâtunlar, Hasekiler, Kandınefendiler, Sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. p. 713. ISBN 978-6-051-71079-2.
  20. ^ Özcan 1997, pp. 45–52.
  21. ^ Özoğlu 2011, p. 5; Özoğlu quotes 867.00/1801: Mark Lambert Bristol on 19 August 1924.
  22. ^ Yücel, İdris. "İdris Yücel, Fransız Belgelerinde Son Halife Abdülmecid ve Türkiye'de Hilafetin Kaldırılması, Atatürk Yolu Dergisi, Sayı 61, Güz 2017". Archived from the original on 4 February 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  23. ^ Lord Kinross, The Rebirth of a Nation, Kasım 1966, Sayfa 386, Amerikan Neşriyatı Bürosu için özel basım (ISBN bilgisi yoktur).
  24. ^ "Ayşe Hür, Evvel Zaman İçinde Halifelik Vardı, Taraf gazetesi, 07.03.2010". 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Cengiz Özakıncı, Haremde Beethoven, Sarayda Goethe: Son Halife Abdülmecid Efendi, Bütün Dünya dergisi, Şubat 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Cevdet Küçük, Abdülmecid Efendi, Türk Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  27. ^ Uçan, Lale. "Son Halife Abdülmecid Efendi'nin Hayatı- Şehzâdelik, Veliahtlık ve Halifelik Yılları" (PDF). İstanbul Üniversitsi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü doktora tezi, İstanbul 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  28. ^ a b c d e f Yılmaz Öztuna (1978). Başlangıcından zamanımıza kadar büyük Türkiye tarihi: Türkiye'nin siyasî, medenî, kültür, teşkilât ve san'at tarihi. Ötüken Yayınevi. p. 164.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h Alp, Ruhat (2018). Osmanlı Devleti'nde Veliahtlık Kurumu (1908–1922). p. 324.
  30. ^ Uçan 2019, p. 59.
  31. ^ Uçan 2019, p. 83–84.
  32. ^ a b Adra, Jamil (2005). Genealogy of the Imperial Ottoman Family 2005. pp. 37–38.
  33. ^ Bardakçı 2017, p. xvi.
  34. ^ Bardakçı 2017, p. xiv.


External linksEdit

Abdulmejid II
Born: 29 May 1868 Died: 23 August 1944
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by Last Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
19 November 1922 – 3 March 1924
Head of the Osmanoğlu family
16 May 1926 – 23 August 1944
Succeeded by