Şeyh Edebali was born in Merv in 1206. His full name was İmâdüddin Mustafa b. İbrahim b. İnac el-Kırşehrî. He was the contemporary of Şeyh Sadrettinin Konevi and Mevlana Jalaluddin-i Rumi who were the renowned scholars of the Seljuk period. Şeyh Edebali had his first education in Karaman. He became the student of the Hanafi lawyer Necmeddin ez-Zahidî. Later he went to Damascus and had an education of religion from the well-known scholars of that period such as Sadreddin Süleyman b. Ebu’l-Îz and Cemâleddin el-Hasîrî. When he returned to his country from Damascus, he focused on Sufism. After founding a zawiyah in İtburnu Village near Eskişehir, he started to give spiritual guidance to people about Sufism. It was told that Asikpasazade (zawiyah) had always been engaged in something and Edebali was trying to meet all needs of every poor people and also for this purpose, he kept a herd of sheep for those people.
Osman Gazi, whose clan was given the plateaux of Söğüt and Domaniç as a spring and winter pasture by the Seljuk State, frequently stayed as a guest in the zawiyah of Edebali. Osman Gazi, who had a great respect for scholars and Sufis due to a number of characteristic features they brought from Central Asia, went to the zawiyah in holy days and received the opinions of Edebali in religious and administrative matters.
The dream which Osman Gazi saw during the night he stayed as a guest in Edebali’s zawiyah was thus; A moon came out of Şeyh Edebali’s chest and entered into Osman Gazi’s chest and a tree grew out of his chest. It was such a big tree that the branches of the tree spread all over the sky and the root spread all over the world. And the tree casted shadow everywhere on earth. People gathered under the shadow of that tree. The gigantic mountains and the exuberant waters flowed out of these gigantic mountains were all shrouded in shadow of this tree.
Osman Bey told his dream to Şeyh Edebali. Şeyh Edebali’s interpretation on the dream was like this ; “Congratulations my son, Osman! Allah the Almighty bestowed sovereignty upon you and your generation. My daughter will be your wife (and the whole world will be under the protection of your children.)’ Upon this interpretation of Şeyh Edebali, Osman Gazi married Malhun Hatun (Rabia Bala Hatun).
It is believed that Edebali, a Babai Şeyh, was also the leader of the Ahi organization. Because his brother was the leader of Ahi organization in that time. After the conquest of Bilecik by the Ottomans, he moved his zawiyah here and carried on his religious guidance in the same way. After the death of Osman Gazi, Şeyh Edebali, in his last years, settled in Bilecik with his daughter and grandson Alâaddin Bey and the tithe and revenue of Kozağaç (now Karaağaç) were given to Edebali and his daughter Rabia Hatun consecrated this village given to their family to a tekke. Şeyh Edebali died in Bilecik in 1326 (726 according to Hegira Calendar) after a long life and his body was buried in his chamber used as a masjid.
Şeyh Edebali was the first Ottoman judge and mufti besides being a Sufi. He carried on his studies in cooperation with many scholars of that time, got courses from them and trained a large number of students. Dursun Fakih, one of the most prominent students and also his son-in-law, became the second mufti and judge of the Ottoman Beylik after Edebali. It is reported that Suleyman Celebi, the writer of the Mevlid-i Sharif, who was the second generation of Mahmut Pasha was the grandson of Şeyh Edebali.
Şeyh Edebali’s Tomb
Şeyh Edebali’s Tomb is one of the most important historical heritages in Bilecik. It is on the hilly area above Orhan Ghazi Mosque. The date of construction is unknown but thought that it was built during the reign of Orhan Gazi.
Together with Şeyh Edebali, there are six large and four small cists from the sheikh's generation. It is reported that besides Şeyh Edebali, his wife and daughter, Molla Hattab-i Karahisari who is one of the prominents of that time and some other relatives whose names are unknown were buried with him. According to archive documents, it is thought that Şeyh Mahmud, the son of Şeyh Edebali, Şeyh Mehmed, the son of Şeyh Mahmud and Dervish Pasha and Dervish Mahmud, the sons of Şeyh Mehmed were also captivated with Islamic Sufism here. Those whose names are mentioned above all became sheikhs in the same order.
In addition to this cist room, there are two other rooms. His tomb and dergâh were renovated during the period of Sultan Abdülhamid II and lastly in 2012. There is also another tomb which is thought to be built in the same periods with Şeyh Edebali’s tomb and with a cist room where the cists of Osman Gazi's wife, Bala Hatun and his mother were found.