Hazrat Abu-l Fārūq Sulaymān Hilmi Tunahan Quddisah Sirruhu (May Allah sanctify his soul) Silistrawī was born in 1888 (1305 AH) in the village of Ferhatlar, from the town of Hazergrad (today called Rezgrad) in the province of Silistra, which today lies within the borders of Bulgaria. His father, Hocazāde (Khawaja zādah) (2) Osman Fevzi (Fawzi) Efendi (1845-1928) was a well-known Dars al- Ām (3) of the time who completed his studies in Istanbul. He taught, for many years at Satirli and Haci Ahmed Pasa (Haji Ahmed Pasha) Madāris (4). His mother was Hatice (Khadijah) Hanim (5). His grandfather Mahmud Efendi passed away near the age of 110. He was known as Kaymak Hafiz.
This noble family, known as Khawajazādah’s, descend from Sayyid Idris Bey (6). Idris Bey was a personality who was appointed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (the conqueror of Istanbul, formerly Constantinople) as a governor for the Tuna Region. He was married to the Sultan’s sister.
Hazrat Sulayman Efendi (Q.S.) used the epithet Khawajazādah, as did his father. With the introduction of “The surname act”, he adopted “Tunahan” as his surname. He was also known by his attributive name of “Abu-l Fārūq” due to his son Fārūq who passed away at a young age.
When his father, Osman Efendi was studying in Istanbul, he had a remarkable dream. In his dream, he saw that a piece from his body detached, then rose to the sky and illuminated the entire world. He interpreted this dream as having a child born to him in future who will spiritually illuminate the entire world.
On his return to Silistra, he got married. From this marriage, he had four sons born to him: Fahim, Sulayman Hilmi, Ibrahim and Khalil. From among the four, he saw on Sulayman Hilmi the potential of possessing the qualities related to what he saw in that dream. For that reason, he paid special attention for the education of young Sulayman Hilmi.
(1) Silsilah Sādāt literally means the chain of the masters. It is a term used to describe the mashāyikh in the Naqshabandi order.
(2) Hocazāde (as in its Turkish spelling) is a Persian compound which literally means son of a scholar.
(3) A term used for scholars during the reign of Ottomans who specialize in most branches of Islamic sciences.
(4) A term used for ladies, in Turkish.
(5) A term used for men, in Turkish.