LIFE, WORK AND SUFISM INTERPRETATION OF SÜLEYMAN ŞEYHİ EFFENDI FROM KYUSTENDIL
Süleyman Şeyhi Effendi from Kyustendil, as the subject of our thesis, was an Ottoman author and a Sufi, scholar, man of letters, lawyer and local administrator who lived in Kyustendil city of Bulgaria between late 18th and early 19th century (1163/1750 1235/1819-20)
He was the son of a noble and wealthy family. His father passed away when he was at the age of two. He grew up under the auspices of his older brother Chalabi İbrahim Effendi, who served as the chief of Kyustendil. According to the information currently available to us, he completed his madrasah education at Kyustendil by his own means. He joined Şamizade Mustafa Effendi, who was a Naqshbandi sheikh, by means of his brother Chalabi İbrahim Effendi who became his second teacher in time. He successfully completed his seyr-ü sülûk (special training of a religious order) under the supervision of his teachers in a short time and distinguished himself as a Naqshbandi sheikh devoted a lot to his order and teacher. Süleyman Seyhi Effendi, who received the position of guiding people to the true path when his teacher was still alive, devoted the majority of his almost seventy years long lifetime to guiding people to the true path within the framework of this order. Our author, who experienced the life through the window of waḥdat al-wujūd (unity of being) deeply felt the unity and renewal existent in the universe and expressed this feeling of his through this expression which has become a piece of common use: yevm-i cedid and rızk-ı cedid (a new day and a new livelihood).
Our author, who had two divans one of which is lost, penned a mediocre poetry in accordance with the literary understanding of his era. He was more successful in prose. Süleyman Şeyhi Effendi, who lived in an era infertile and stressful in terms of original copyright works, took his place within our world of thought as the second most productive author grew up in Bulgaria after Bali Effendi from Sofia. He produced works in primarily Sufism and numerous other fields.
Süleyman Şeyhi Effendi was not indifferent to the problems of his era. He struggled a lot to find a solution to the ongoing dispute among the representatives of two extreme ends the heretic of Sufism and the radical of external interpretation- and bring together these two at a common point and he drew attention to the central and decisive position of the Sharia for the solution of the problem. Our author, who is understood particularly from his correspondence to be right at the centre of the spiritual atmosphere of his region, paid attention to any problem of the people around him with a deep understanding of social responsibility. In this regard, he served as a means to cure the patients by applying the recital of religious prayers as almost the only method against many diseases due to the impossibilities of the era by exposing his own health to danger bearing the spirit of a self-sacrificing medical during epidemics in addition to his main responsibilities of guidance to the true path and lecturing.
He served as a public officer at two different positions. One of them was that he served as the chief and tax collector at Kyustendil, which was the profession of his family. He probably led some public work activities within the town during this period. However, he quitted this worldly duty after a short while due to its negative impact on the process of special training of the religious order and devoted him completely to guidance to the true path and lecturing. Another responsibility of him was to work at the courts of Istanbul for a while. This position, which required a profound knowledge, provided him a mission of law. He produced his book titled Sakk-ı Şeyhî as a fruit of this duty.
Süleyman Şeyhî Effendi was highly respected by people from all walks of life living in and around Kyustendil in return for his material and spiritual services. He passed away bequeathing as a perpetual charity more than forty work such as Bahrül-Velâye, Lemeât-ı Nakşbendiyye, Sübhatül-Levâyih and -some of which are very important and renowned-, many successors and a dervish lodge which guided people to the true path quite actively following his departure.
Keywords: Süleyman Şeyhî Effendi from Kyustendil, Bahrül-Velâye, Lemeât-ı Nakşbendiyye, Sufism, Religious order, İbnul-Arabî, Waḥdat al-wujūd, Naqshbandi order.