Question: If someone came to you, sitting in the association, and asked about Taqwa and how to praise Allah, His Rasul (asws), and our Sheykh, how would you praise him?
I would praise Allah, His Prophet and our Sheykh the way that I’m taught how to praise them. I’m not going to go beyond that, I’m not going to go thinking this is my own opinion or my way. That is what is call Sunnat; something, a tradition that has been set and others they are following, and within that tradition you can go as deep as you want and as high as you want. It doesn’t live with you. It opens things and it shows you the way.
So, how would I praise the Holy Prophet (asws), how would I praise our Sheykh, and how would I praise our Creator Allah swt, is according to how my Sheykh taught me. Now a religion it’s all about that. Islam is how to give the rights of Allah and His Prophet and the Holy ones, and the rights of others too.
There is no difference between an Arab and the Ajam. Meaning there is no difference, no one is higher or lower except for what? Taqwa. And what is Taqwa? Taqwa is to be so close to Allah swt, to know that Allah is watching you at all times. And how are we going to learn taqwa?
First, we understand that the Prophet (asws) is Hazir and Nazir. He is everywhere and he is always giving us a warning. And if we are aware of the Prophet (asws) presence in our life, we will be able to have taqwa. How are we going to have the presence of the Prophet (asws) in our life? Just to sit and to cry all day? Then later to backbite? To have conversation, imaginary, with the Prophet? To see lights and this and that, then later you are the most angry person, or the most ghaflat person or the person who takes away others rights, or the most lazy person?
No. that’s not how you are going to have love for the Prophet. To be aware of the Prophet’s (asws) presence, then that time you have to learn his lifestyle, his sunnats. But who is going to teach us the way of the Prophet (asws)?
The best teachers are the ones that he has appointed and he says, ‘these are my inheritors. These are my waris. These are the ones who will teach you about me after I have passed.’
And this is what Tarikats are. And especially in the Naksibendi Tarikat, in the Osmanli Naksibendi Tarikat; I’m speaking just for our jamaats, I cannot speak for other jamaat, we are concentrating on the discipline of the sunnat according to the waris, according to the Khalifah, according to the Sheykh that has been appointed to be over us, and that is our Sheykh, SahibulSaif Sheykh Abd Kerim Kibrisi al-Rabbani, that he has been appointed by Sultanul Awliya, to be over us, to teach us, and who has been commanded, ordered to follow him and we are following him.
So that time, when you are following him, now you are going to understand, we are going to understand the sunnat and the awareness, the sunnat and the taqwa of Prophet (asws) that will lead us to the sunnat of Allah swt and the taqwa of Allah swt. First looking at that one who is teaching us and we are going to go according to the way that he wants us. Not according to the way that we understand or we read, or television is showing or movie is showing, or new things from scholars they are saying, or new fatwas they are saying, or even our own common sense.
Like I just said, now we are getting deeper into the edep and the sunnat. Now, so many people, like we have said before, they have good intention, but because they are living in ghaflat, they are heedless, they are not looking out to see how the enemies is going to attack inside or outside, they are not looking at their ego, but they have good intention, their actions can cause Fitnah. To that person, ‘I’m just trying to help.’ Good intention, ‘I’m just trying to help.’ But in that action, others will say that action you are doing that and this, is causing so much confusion because you should not be talking to that person, or you should not even be helping. Who are you to help?
Now, even this ghaflet is not innocent. Ghaflet is never innocent. Because if you are in Tarikat, someone coming to me and asking me about taqwa and how to praise and to follow, praising is not just to sit and to praise Allah, His Prophet and our Sheykh. They don’t need our praises. They don’t need us to magnify them or to glorify them. They want us to be thankful. They love us and they want us to be with them and to return that love, we say, ‘we will give whatever that you have given us back to you. Our own identities we are giving it back to you. Our own faith we are giving it back to you. Our own will, we are giving it back to you.’ Then that time you start reflecting from your Sheykh, from the Prophet. You start reflecting. Then that’s the time when Allah swt say through the mouth of the Prophet (asws), ‘there are certain men, you see them in this world, they will remind you of Allah.’ Not to say that you look at them and they look like God. Tauba Astarghfirullah. They will remind you of Allah because they are already Ahle Zikr. They are always in remembrance of Allah, they are always with Allah and Allah is with them. Because they are always with Allah, when you see them, they will remind you of Allah.
So once you start giving back whatever that is entrusted to you, then that time you will have a taqwa, yes, of your Sheykh. To feel his awareness, to be aware of his presence always. Because he is teaching you not about him. He is teaching you about the Prophet. And Prophet (asws) is teaching us about Allah. So that time, step by step, you will have taqwa of Allah. Otherwise, it’s only imagination. And it’s only ego. Once you start doing that, you will move away from praises, and you will fall into what?
The greatest examples to us are the Sahabai e-Kiram. They did not just sit and praise Prophet (asws). They don’t just sit and they praise Allah swt. They gave service. They gave their families, their wealth, their youths, their whole life to the way of Allah swt, to the way of the Holy Prophet (asws). So now you move away from praise and you enter into Hizmet, you start to serve. When you start serving, you may get the title that the Holy Prophet (asws) said, ‘this is my favourite name. That title is Abdullah.’
InsyaAllah ar-Rahman, one day we will be given that title. We are Allah’s weak creatures, His weak servants and we are trying very hard, like this or like that, to be following our Sheykh. Of course we are not perfect. Of course we make mistakes all the time but may Allah keep our intentions clean and pure and for us not to fall into Ghaflat.
SelamAleykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu
Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
September 20, 2014