His Ministry and Activities

    Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan (k.s.) was the 33rd chain of the line of Seyyids (descendants of the Prophet) and he was also involved in internal divine enlightenment and completed his Sufic inner journey under the guidance of Salahuddin ibn-i Mevlana Surajeddin (k.s) who was 9th greatest master of the line and the 32nd chain in it. Due to the strength of the divine transfigurations happening to Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan, his mentor handed him to the spiritual care of Imam el-Rabbani, the Renewer of the 2nd millennium. Being the 33rd and the last chain of the Golden Line, Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan has led many people from the pit of infidelity and misguidance to the enlightenment of faith and piety and still continues to do so. The Murshed-e Kamils (Sufi Guides of highest order) continue to exert their spiritual power even after they die. Their spirituality freed from the cage of their bodies, like unsheathed swords, will be much sharper and more powerful. This fact, well known among Sufis, was manifested gloriously after the death of this great person.

    Süleyman Efendi devoted his life to teaching the Qur’an and educated youngsters who learnt and practised the holy book. His students belonged to the Sunni schools with regard to creed and the law. The majority of his students followed Hanafi tradition in Islamic law and in matters of creed they followed Imam Mansur Maturidi. In Sufic tradition they belonged to the Naqshabandi order. Süleyman Hilmi Efendi was spiritually aligned to Imam el-Rabbani, the greatest representative of the Naqshabandi order, and was a Murshed-e Kamil, fully authorised to guide people along his path. That is why there is neither a sect nor an order that Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan set up himself which is labelled as Süleymanism.

    Here are some of the features of Süleyman Hilmi Efendi’s ministry.

      The aim of his life has been; to revive the forgotten practices (Sunnah) of the Prophet, reinstatement of the lost elements of Islamic knowledge along the Sunni tradition. He trained all his students fully adopting the Sunni faith. He taught the basics of Islamic creed from the textbooks of “Emali” and “Nasafi”. He used the book “Sharh-e Aqaid” to introduce the sects and schools that went astray to his students and to warn them from falling into the trap of misguidance. None of his students ever strayed from the Sunni path.

      Due to the material and spiritual power God bestowed on him, he was able to cram into and teach in 2 years the sciences and disciplines that used to take 20-30 years to study. At a time when Islamic knowledge and scholars faced extinction, he educated hundreds, even thousands of learned men of religion and sent them to all parts of the country. He opened and got others to open Qur’anic Courses and Student Hostels, taught and got other to teach. Like the water of life, he came to the help of a nation which was dying due to spiritual thirst

      Instead of teaching Islam through translated works, he taught in Arabic and used the textbooks in that language adopted by the Ottoman medresses.

      “Elif Cüzü” is his most noteworthy written work, that teaches how to read the Qur’an in the shortest time.

      He preferred to lead an Islamic life in the society rather than shunning interaction with people. He adopted the principle of “Outwardly with the human beings, inwardly with God”.

      He used to follow the world current affairs closely. Every morning he ordered a copy of the “Yeni Sabah” daily newspaper and got someone to read the important news items and the commentary of the foreign editor regularly. In this respect he made a motto for himself of this saying of Imam el-Rabbani: “The one who does not grasp the affairs of his time cannot know God”

      He used to follow daily news and events affecting the Muslim world closely and if appropriate used to voice them in the mosque pulpit. At that time many preachers did not dare to speak about current affairs in the mosque. But he would occasionally even warn the state leaders of the time. In 1956 when the Algerian Muslims were fighting for their independence from the French, the government of Turkey had sided with France in the United Nations. Calling it a very big misjudgement, Süleyman Hilmi Efendi called on the congregations in the mosques to “at least pray for our Algerian brothers and sisters”. And because of this he was questioned several times by the police.

      He attached great importance to the flourishing of Islamic publications. He helped Necip Fazil (a Turkish Islamist poet and writer) spiritually as well as financially to publish the magazine Büyük Dogu (The Great East). He even sold his one and only house and spent the money on this magazine.

      He always praised his books and helped them reach wider circles. Likewise almost every work or publication that was Pro-Islamic at that time received his help and support. Publications ranging from the magazine “Ahl-e Sunnah” put out by Abdurrahim Zapsu to the magazine “Hür Adam (Free Man)” published by Sinan Omur.

      He used to send his students to the outstanding scholars and dersiams of the day, in order that they could test them and feel joyful that the religious knowledge was being revived. Among the dersiams he used to send his students to were Ali Haydar Efendi and Hasan Basri Chantay.

      He used to communicate with Said Nursi (another Islamic leader of the time) and inform him of his activities. On his part Said Nursi appreciated Süleyman Efendi’s services and said this about him: “Today our main duty is to preserve the faith. That’s what we are trying to do. We are not teaching Islamic sciences. The teaching of the Qur’an, which constitutes the basis of Islam and is the source of material and spiritual salvation is carried out by my brother Süleyman Efendi and the Qur’anic Schools he has set up, and they achieve to teach it in a short time. The Islamic sciences that used to be taught in a span of 10 to 15 years formerly are now taught in these Qur’anic Schools within one or two years. They are training Islamic scholars, jurists and commentators. This is a miracle of the Qur’an.”

      He publicised the great Sufi Master Imam el-Rabbani in Turkey. Rabbani’s work “Mektubat” which is only third in importance after the Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet, were published in Turkey in two volumes by his students.

      He demolished the lazy attitude that regarded the Sufic tradition as a tool of jolly chats and instead turned it into a tool of excitement that mobilised the masses.

      He never gave credit to miracles that might occur through him. He avoided revealing such happenings to others and advised his students to do the same. He used to say: “The biggest miracle is to advise the people to follow the right way.”

      He made efforts to revive the religious practice of giving the Ashr (Tithes) in Turkey.