May His Secret Be Sanctified
The originator of the line of Jerrahiyyah of the order of Khalwatiyyah is Pir Nureddin al-Jerrahi, may his soul be sanctified. His honorable father was Sayyid `Abdullah ibn Muhammad Husamuddin, of Istanbul, and through his father he was a descendent of Hadrat Imam al-Husayn (r.a.a.). Through his mother he was also a descendant of Hadrat `Ubaydah ibn Jarrah (r.a.a.), one of the ten Companions whose inclusion in Paradise was announced in this world by the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
He was born before noon on a Monday, the twelfth of Rabi` al-Awwal, in the year 1089 Hijrah (c. May 4, 1678), in his family's mansion, Yagcizade Konagi, which still exists today in a ruined state across from the main gate of the mosque of Cerrah Pasa in Istanbul. The Shaykh al-Islam of the time, Mehmet Molla Efendi, personally arranged for the education of the extremely gifted child. From a very early age he was educated by the best scholars of Istanbul. It is related that very early in his schooling he learned the art of recitation from the famous wise man Yusuf Efendi, and the writing of poetry from the illustrious poet Nabi.
At the age of nineteen, in the year 1108 Hijrah (1696-7), he finished law school with honors, and was appointed to be Chief Justice (Qadi) to Egypt, which was then an Ottoman province. On the day of his departure to Egypt by boat, a terrible storm broke out. Thus delayed, he went to visit his maternal uncle, Hajji Husayn Efendi, who was a high official in the Ottoman court.
Hajji Husayn Efendi lived in a mansion on the hill called Toygar in Uskudar. Across the street from this house was the principal dergah of the Jalwatiyyah branch of the Khalwati Order, established by Hadrat Pir Selami, may his soul be sanctified. the shaykh of the time was al-Hajj `Ali `Alauddin al-Khalwati Kostendili. To encourage young Nureddin toward the path of Sufism, that evening his uncle proposed to take him to the dergah across the street.
When the young man entered the presence of Shaykh `Alauddin Kostendili, the shaykh , who had never seen him before , greeted him personally: “Welcome, my son Nureddin!” Young Nureddin was immediately aware that the shaykh knew things that were hidden to others. And the ceremony of dhikr after the salat affected him so strongly that he left his place among the guests and joined the circle of dervishes. During the dhikr he experienced total ecstasy. An immense love and desire to attach himself to the shaykh caused him to throw himself at his feet and beg to be accepted as his dervish.
Hadrat `Alauddin Kostendili ordered him to leave the world behind, and Nureddin sent his steward, Yusuf Efendi, to return the royal orders that had appointed him Chief Justice of Egypt. Then he sent word to his wife to move to his parent's house. He asked that everyone consider him as dead, and that his property be distributed among his heirs. After taking off his worldly clothes and performing ablution, he put on the garb of the dervishes.
The young dervish was put into seclusion, where he spent forty days fasting and performing the religious exercise of “chille.” Afterwards he was permitted to return to his home to lead a simple life of devotion and to follow his shaykh, which he did for seven years.
In 1115 Hijrah (1703-4), at the age of twenty-six, he was declared a shaykh. His master gave him the crown, robe, and staff of the order and sent him to teach in Karagumruk in Istanbul, where the principal tekke of the Jerrahi Order is today.
Hadrat Pir Nureddin al-Jerrahi was also given two dervishes as companions, both of them much older than he, Hadrat Sulayman Waliuddin, and Hadrat Muhammad Husamuddin.
At about this time, Ismail Efendi, muezzin of the Canfeda Hatun Mosque in Karagumruk, dreamed a dream. In it the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) announced the coming of Hadrat Pir and the opening of a dergah, whose day of meeting would be Monday. (Meetings were on Mondays until the opening of the new dergah.) He asked Ismail Efendi to build a seclusion chamber in the mosque. The muezzin had the chamber built and took to waiting for Hadrat Pir Nureddin on the street.
Hadrat Pir took the boat from Uskudar to the landing in Balat, which was then one of the Jewish quarters of Istanbul, and with his two companions he walked the long distance to Karagumruk. As he passed in front of the Canfeda Hatun Mosque, Ismail Efendi saw him. “Are you not Nureddin al-Jerrahi?” asked the muezzin, recognizing him.
“Yes,” replied Hadrat Pir. “And are you not the muezzin Ismail who has been waiting for us?"
Ismail Efendi gave him the key to the seclusion chamber, and there Hadrat Pir and his two companions spent many days in fasting and retreat.
(Canfeda Mosque is adjacent to the present Jerrahi dergah. The seclusion chamber was on the right side of the entrance. It was once customary for the Jerrahi shaykhs to lead `Id prayer in that part of the mosque. Later it became the women’s section; during Ramadan, Jerrahi women would do tarawih prayers there.)
When Hadrat Pir and his dervishes left their seclusion to attend congregational prayers, as was customary, large crowds would form around them. In the evenings, many people would attend dhikrullahs.
Hajji Molla Efendi, an ex-prime minister, lived across the street, and was very dedicated to Hadrat Pir. He used to send over meals for fast-break. But next door to the mosque garden was the mansion of Tahtabasi Bekir Efendi, who complained publicly of “the shouts and screams of the dervishes.” And one Friday, after the congregational prayers, he was loud and insulting to Hadrat Pir.
Hadrat Pir listened and then quietly withdrew into seclusion. The same day, Tahtabasi Bekir Efendi fell down the stairs of his house and was paralyzed. As soon as he came to himself he realized the cause of his misfortune. He sent word to Hadrat Pir to come and pray for hi,m. Pir Nureddin came selflessly to the rich man, who begged his forgiveness. He forgave him and prayed for him. As he was leaving, Bekir Efendi asked whether, in the event of his death, Hadrat Pir would give him his final ablution and conduct his funeral prayer.
He died three days later, and in accordance with his last wish, Pir Nureddin prayed at his funeral. “O congregation,” he said, "I have forgiven this man, and I witness now that he has become a good man. I ask all of you to declare the same.”
Molla Efendi, the ex-prime minister, responded, saying, “O you who are the Qutb of the world, if you vouch for this poor man, we also bear witness that he is a good man.”
(Molla Efendi had read the Tagaqat al-awliya’ of Imam Sharnubi, written some three hundred years before, which predicted the coming of Hadrat Pir.)
Upon Bekir Efendi's death, his heirs put up the mansion for sale by auction, and Hadrat Nureddin sent word to the auctioneer that he would pay the final price for the building, no matter how much it was.
That night Sultan Ahmet III dreamed that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered him to buy this mansion as a dergah for Hadrat Nureddin. The same night, the Keeper of the Sultan's Harem, al-Hajj Bashir Agha, dreamed that Hadrat Pir asked him for this mansion. In the morning the Sultan and Bashir Agha told each other their dreams. The Sultan decided to send three hundred gold pieces for the purchase of the house. The money was given to Yahya Efendi, one of the royal imams, who brought it to Hadrat Pir.
In the presence of Hadrat Pir, Yahya Efendi was awestruck. Immense love surged in him. Hadrat Pir lifted the edge of the sheepskin upon which he was sitting, and showed the emissary a great pile of gold. “As you see, we are not in need of any money,” he said. "We only wish our dergah to be opened.”
Yahya Efendi returned the gold to the palace, resigned as royal imam, and became a dervish of Hadrat Pir.
The house of the bad neighbor was bought and torn down. The dergah that stands today was built by the Sultan. At its inauguration, Hadrat Pir recited the hadith:
Man adha jarahu warrathahu Llahu diyarahu
“If someone torments his neighbor, Allah will give his neighbor his house.”
This hadith can be found engraved facing the main door of the tekke today.
The inauguration of the dergah took place on a Thursday, the day of Mi`raj, the twenty-seventh of Rajab in the year 1115 Hijrah (c. December 6, 1704).
During the same year, by divine inspiration, Hadrat Pir received the Divine Names, recitations, and prayers particular to him, the wird-i kabir-i sabahiyyah and the wird-i saghir-i masa’iyyah, the adab, and the rules of his particular branch of the Khalwati Order.
The honor granted Hadrat Pir was announced three hundred years previously in the Tabaqat al-Awliya’ that had been read by Molla Efendi. This book, Ranks of Saints, was written by Shaykh Imam Ahmad ibn `Uthman Sharnubi, the khalifa and son-in-law if the Qutb Hadrat Pir Ibrahim Dusuqi. A handwritten copy is in the Fatih Library (#3286). The section reads:
Wa minhum sayyidi Nuruddin al-Jarrahi sakin al-stambul al-`ulya yati bi `ammi khamsata
`asharata wa mi’ata ba`dal-alfi ya`ishu min al-`umri arba`ata wa arba`ina sanatan wa min
karamatihi inna Llahu ta`ala yakatakarramu `alayhi yawma mawtihi yadhkhulul-jannata
wa minha annahu sa’ala Llahu ta`ala ma buwa fi `alam al-ghayb inna Llahu yukrimu
zuwwarahu fastajaba Llahudu`a ahlihi.
“Sayyid Nureddin Jerrahi is from Istanbul and will appear in the year 1115. He will live forty-four
years. One of his miracles is that he will see his station in heaven while in this world, and will enter
Paradise directly upon his demise. The prayers of those who visit him and of those who pray in his presence
are accepted by Allah."
The sign that Hadrat Pir Nureddin al-Jerrahi is of the people of Paradise is that he is buried with his head at the feet of his mother. In a hadith it is said:
al-jannatu tahta aqdam il-ummaht
“Paradise is under the feet of mothers.”
On a Monday evening, `Id al-Adha, in 1133 Hijrah (c. July 28, 1721), he left this world to meet his Lord.