Islamic scholar (B. 1901, Gönen / Balikesir - D. 1991). Mehmet Öğütçü was his name on the birth registration. He was known among the people as Gönenli Mehmet Efendi, and Gönenli Hodja, Gönenli Baba between the teachers. He is from a family that originated from Crimea. He is the son of Selâmetoğulları Osman Effendi and Fatma. Together with his primary education gave priority to Qur'an education. When he was twelve years old, he completed memorizing Quran under supervision of Hafiz Abdullah. Then he continued his education in different educational institutions. While continuing Medresetü’l Irshâd, he got Serezli Şükrü Ahmad Efendi’s permission for Recitation discipline in 1925.As the madrasahs were closed, he continued his study in Imam Hatip High School and graduated from there in 1927.
He started work officially in Gonen Market Mosque as imam in 1930; he worked there for 3 years then left Gonen for his military service. After that he continued his imam position in several mosques in Istanbul. When Yeralti Mosque imam Ali Üsküdarlı died he was honored as Reisü’l-Kurra in 1976. When he died this honored passed to Beyazid mosque imam Abdurrahman Gurses Hodja.
Gonenli Mehmet Efendi has become well known by his contribution to Quran teaching and all his service as preacher where he worked voluntarily, these two things perhaps was the main reason for all the books written about him, establishing charitable foundation on his name. His contribution to instruct Quran started in 1940 and continued and increased after eighties. His entire student was coming from poor families so he provided their expenses as well.
In all the evaluation regarding him stated that he has not seen his preacher job as a service not a job that was the main consideration why he worked until age of 85 and gave perches in 30 talks in 1 week. Some of his preachers and talks collected together by Rahim Arabacı in 2002 in book called ‘’Gönenli Mehmed Efendi’den Dualar, Menkıbeler, Hikmetli Sözler ‘’
‘’Gönenli hodja has one pocket for himself and another for his students and for all the poor people whom he can reach. He always use first pocket’s Money for his students but he never uses his second pocket for himself.’’ (Prof. Dr. Nesimi Yazıcı)
REFERENCE: Recep Akakuş / İslâm’da Kur’ân Öğretimi ve Reîsü’l-Kurrâ Gönenli Mehmet Efendi (1991) - Gönenli Mehmet Efendi (TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, v. XV, p. 149-150), Mustafa Özdamar / Gönenli Mehmet Efendi (1994), Arif Ay / Dokuz Kandil (1997), Rahim Arabacı / Gönenli Mehmed Efendi’den Dualar, Menkıbeler, Hikmetli Sözler (conversation book, 2002).