Question: Some people have a stronger will power than others to step on their ego. It is effortless for them to step on their ego. How is it that some people have stronger will power than others? What makes us weak in carrying the same thing?
In the first place, it is never the same thing. All of our egos, they are the same, only the manifestation of that ego it is different; how it gives form, how it gives shape, how it gives actions. You have an ego? the Awliya Allah, they also have egos. But Awliya Allah, they have their egos under their feet. We have our egos on our shoulder. We are carrying our donkeys. We have an ego, the thieves has an ego, the murderer has an ego, the liar has an ego, the lazy man has an ego. Everyone has it. The murderer’s ego is pushing him to murder. That is the thing that makes him to be most happy, most pleasing to his ego. The greedy man, he doesn’t take too much pleasure in murder. He has not desire for it. He likes to collect money. But the murderer doesn’t care for money. The murderer may even be zahid, living with no attachment to the world. Does that make him a zahid? No. you understand? The vain person, he doesn’t care for killing, he doesn’t care for money. He just wants to look good.
So, what is fuelling all these different manifestations, all these different actions, different things to come out? The Awliya Allah, through the guidance of the Holy Prophet (asws), they have narrowed down four characteristics: Anger, Arrogance, Stubbornness and Jealousy. And through these four basic characteristics, hundreds and thousands of branches comes out.
So, maybe for one man, it is not difficult for him to fast, because he is so used to it, he doesn’t like food too much, he doesn’t eat too much. So, fasting for him is easy. But to a man or woman, who loves to eat, then that fasting becomes very difficult. But the blessings and the rewards that comes to the second one who finds it very difficult, is more than the first one. Because he’s doing what? He is fighting against to his ego. The whole idea now is not just to say, ‘I have my ego under my control,’ but to understand which part of your ego it is that is the most difficult for you to control and to take control of it. That is most important.
So, we have to understand that the four basic characteristics, everyone has. But for some people, whatever it is that they are most attached to, and no one is attached to the same thing, that is what they have to be working. Because now, when we talk about the ego too, it is not just bad characteristics of lying cheating, etc…etc. Man can be good. praying five times a day but he has arrogance in his heart, definitely he has to get rid of it. For this man who prays five times a day, who does everything good, he doesn’t drink liquor, he doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t lie, but he’ s very arrogant. You understand?
In terms of spirituality, if you find a man who drinks, who lies, who cheat but he’s not arrogant, it is easier for him to stop from lying and cheating and drinking liquor. It is easier for him to do that than man who does all these good things and he has arrogance in his heart. Because now we are talking about hidden things that’s in your heart, that you need a surgeon to take it out. You understand? That’s why Allah swt loves the generous man. There is more mercy reaching to a generous man who is a sinner, than a believer who is stingy.
So, to get rid of all these spiritual diseases, you must find a Sheykh and the Sheykh is going to wash you up, yes. So, you have to find out what your strength and your weakneses are . Same thing when you go to a doctor. You go to a doctor of the heart, he will be able to let you know and he’ll start working on it and they’ll go to the root of the problem. It’s not the surface problem. It is the root of the problem. The root is where all the life is. You understand? That a man can come here, they will not be able to fool the Sheykh. He can come here looking very holy, but inside his heart it’s just filled with arrogance and stubbornness. And the Sheykh knows. If that one has taken beyah, he’s going to work very hard on them. Or a man can come here looking very arrogant and stubborn, but his heart is sincere, in reality, the Sheykh is not going to get fooled by that either. And each according to their own level, he is able to then handle it and to bring them to higher station. InsyaAllah.
Wa minAllahu Taufiq Fatiha
Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
October 4, 2014