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
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
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
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.