Question- I have been feeling low on my spiritual side, there was a time when I felt so close to Allah ta’ala, SubhanAllah that was the most beautiful feeling, but since some days, I do not feel that closeness to Allah ta’ala, I try to listen to the zikrs as much as I can, but I seem to have distant myself from Allah. Please pray for me and help me, what should I do?
I’m going to answer that question first that you say you’ve been feeling low and you’ve been feeling that yourself to be distant from Allah. That’s good. Why is that good? Because you are not taking your faith for granted that time.
So many people, we are seeing also in the west, they are coming into Islam, they have a lot of energy, of course you are going to. Once you enter into Islam, you are going to have a lot of passion. You are going to have a lot of energy. Your veils are going to be open for you. But after that, people lose their passion, they lose their drive, and we see them leaving Islam. Is it because of Islam?
It’s because the person now, he’s expecting the same kind of high that he gets in the beginning as in the middle and the end. Anything that you start doing first, for example, when you first get married or you fall in love, it’s going to be so nice and sweet. Then after that, the reality starts to set in. The aim is not to have that high, that feeling continuously. That’s not the aim. That is a wrong aim. And if you are a believer who is always constantly looking to improve his faith, then you may even question that first feeling. How it was and how sincere that feeling is. Because if that feeling is sincere, then why are we feeling weakness?
Like I said, a lot of energy comes in that is needed. The boost is needed.
Now, you are looking at your faith, Alhamdulillah, and you are measuring it, and you are understanding. Now the faith, like everything else, is going to take work, for you to work at it. Isn’t it?
Just like a marriage, just like a friendship, just like your own work at work. Now you are going to pass through that phase, the initial stage where it’s just a feeling. That feeling will go away. What are you going to be left with now? Is work.
The more that you put into that work, the more benefit, the more rewards, the more satisfaction, the more faith you are going to have. Because now, especially if you are coming into Islam or you come into Tarikat, after you pass through the initial ‘Honeymoon’ period, then they say, ‘now we are going to start working on you.’ Now, welcome to Tarikat. Welcome to the way. Welcome to the way of understanding your enemies inside of you. And to get rid of them.
People are saying, ‘really, that’s my enemy? I thought it was my friend. This feeling, this idea, this thing inside of me, I’ve always been with it. It has always help me.’
But now the guide is going to say, ‘look again. You think it’s a friend. It’s a parasite. And it’s eating away at you.’
Once you start working and you start cleaning yourself and getting rid of all those enemies that are inside of you then that’s the time when your faith is going to be strong and it’s going to be real. It’s not just going to be a fantasy. It’s not going to be a feeling, it’s not going to be just a high, you have something there. How are you going to have that something if it does not involve sacrifice?
No way, no where you are going to reach anywhere without sacrifice. If it’s without sacrifice, then you are going to see thousands and hundreds and thousands of examples of the companions of the Prophet who found the Prophet and they did not sacrifice and they get high stations? Do we hear that?
Or we hear the complete opposite?
Of how they sacrifice everything; their families, their wealth, their children, everything that they have, their influence. Everything. Their lives. And with that sacrifice, then they may put the Prophet (asws) in their heart. With that sacrifice, then they understand submission. Obey Allah and obey His Prophet and obey His rightly guided leaders. Then they go step by step, obeying, until they reach to the obedience to Allah.
So, be busy with Two things. 21st century man is busy with thousands of other things but they are not being busy with two things. Be busy at the door of Shukr, be busy at the door of giving thanks to Allah. And be busy at the door of asking for forgiveness. That time you think you are going to have time for anything else?
Because you are going to sit and you are going to thank Allah. You are going to be sincerely thanking Allah and finding yourself to be happy with Allah. And Allah says, ‘if you are happy with Me, I am happy with you.’ You are going to find reasons to be happy with Allah. Not to be sad.
People, 21st century people, they are always complaining. 24hrs, especially in this country but they have everything. They are not being happy with their Lord and Allah is not happy with them. Slight discomfort, slight annoyance, small disturbance, then it turns the whole world upside down. This is not the characteristics of a believer. The believer is like the Cyprus tree. That if it’s winter or it’s summer, it still stands tall and green. It is not like the squash plant. That when the sun hits, it’s summer time, it grows, it overtakes everything, and when winter comes, it just dies. No, it is not. And to reach to that point, of course you have to have a guide. Of course you have to have a Jama’at. Of course you have to have sohbet.
You cannot do that alone. Try it. No sahabi did that alone. And even if they are physically away from the Prophet (asws), they had complete submission and love and connection to the Prophet, that they are not alone that time, they are more closer to the Prophet (asws), like Uways al-Qarni, then the other ones who is seeing him everyday.
Stand at the door of shukr. Find reasons to be happy with your Lord. Find reasons. And stand at the door of istighfar, asking for forgiveness. Find reasons to ask for forgiveness from your Lord. But if you have arrogance, stubbornness, anger and jealousy, you will not find anything to give syukur to Allah. And if you have arrogance, jealousy, stubbornness and all those wrong characteristics, you are not going to ask Allah for forgiveness. But you are always going to say, ‘why I’m asking for this and this is not reaching to me?’
You want to raise the level of your faith, do this first. Then that time you are going to see sincerity reaching to your heart. Without sincerity, faith will not be raised. Without sincerity, you will not have a high level of faith. InsyaAllah, may Allah make it easy for you. Llike what we said, this Tarikat is based on what? Association.
It is not based on reciting Quran or making a zikir, or because you’ve just prove it, you are praying, you are watching zikr, you are doing everything, but, I know you don’t have sohbet. And you are not having real sohbet. Sohbet is not just also to sit and to listen. It’s when you listen and you put it in your lives. That is when the sohbet is going to work. It’s when you listen and you apply it to your life and you are continuously applying it and listening and applying and using it. That’s the time the sohbet is going to work.
Otherwise, we are just sitting too, putting through one ear, putting out through the other. If you are not going to apply, it doesn’t matter how many sohbets you read too. It’s not going to have any effect on you. It’s like you are training how to be a soldier, you have so much ammunition, when the time comes for you to take aim at the enemy and to shoot, you don’t want to. You say, ‘I don’t feel like it. It is too difficult.’
We have all these weapons, all these ammunitions, everything in front of you, but you are not going to move.
May Allah not put us in that situation. InsyaAllah ar-Rahman, that time, you are going to have your faith to not only increase but it will expand.
Be with the Saliheen. InsyaAllah. That’s important.
SelamAleykum wr wb.
Hoja Lokman Efendi, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
September 6, 2013