The founder of our Order is Pir Nureddin al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, may his soul be sanctified. He was born the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the year 1089 Hijrah (c. May 4, 1678), in Istanbul, Turkey.
He was an extremely gifted child and from a very early age he was educated by the best scholars of Istanbul. 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, 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. Across the street from his uncle’s house was the principal dergah of the Halveti branch of the Khalwati order. The sheikh 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 Sheikh ‘Alauddin Kostendili, the sheikh, who had never seen him before, greeted him personally: “Welcome my son Nureddin!”. Young Nureddin was immediately aware that the sheikh knew things that were hidden to others. And the ceremony of dhikr after the salat affected him so deeply 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 sheikh 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 parents’ 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 a religious retreat. Afterwards he was permitted to return to his home to lead a simple life of devotion and to follow his sheikh, which he did for seven years.
In 1115 Hijrah (1703-4), at the age of twenty-six, he was declared a sheikh. There are many stories concerning his work and miracles, but that would be too much information for this short introductory page.
His appearance had been announced three hundred years previously in the book Ranks of Saints, by Sheikh Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Uthman Sharnubi, the khalifah and son in law of the Qutb Hadrat Pir Ibrahim Dusuqi. A handwritten copy is in Fatih Library (#3286). The section in question reads: “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”.
On a Monday evening, ‘Id al-Adha, in 1133 Hijrah (c. July 28, 1721), at the age of forty four years, he left this world to meet his Lord.
He is buried with his head at the feet of his mother, according to the hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammed, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) that says: “Paradise is under the feet of the mothers”.