Question: What should one do when they want to follow a Tarikat or Sheykh but has doubts on which one to follow? What signs should they wait for?
Before you look for signs, use your intelligence, correct? Before you look for the signs, use your intelligence. Prophet (asws) is always teaching us to use our intelligence first. Because if you don’t have intelligence, signs will come to you and you will misread them. You don’t have intelligence, you don’t know the tricks and traps of your ego, a sign right in front of your eyes and you will misunderstand it. You have intelligence, maybe that time you don’t need a sign. Just by the intelligence you will know.
You want to follow a Tarikat or a Sheykh and you don’t know which one to follow? First ask yourself what is it that you want. What do you want? Why you want to follow a Sheykh? Why you want to follow a Tarikat? For what reason? Don’t be surprised, so many is saying, ‘because I want to be a Saint. That’s why I’m following a Tarikat.’ Wrong reason. Some saying, ‘because I want mystical knowledge.’ Wrong reason.
Why you want to follow the Prophet (asws)? Because Tarikat is a Prophet’s way. A Sheykh is the inheritor of the Prophet. So why do you want to follow the Prophet (asws)? Why the Sahaba e-Kiram they follow the Prophet (asws)?
Because they want to serve him. It’s simple. They want to serve him and they want to get rid of their wrong characteristics. So if you are clear why you want to follow a Sheykh or a Tarikat, then you will find that one who is going to fit to what you want. Everyone will find what they are looking for. You are looking for wrong things, you will find it. You are looking for right things, you will find it. But you must be very clear what you want and don’t take easy answers, just like that. Dig deeper. Dig deeper. Dig deeper.
So use your intelligence, what do you want?
You want mystical knowledge, so many Sheykhs out there, they can give you mystical knowledge. Although it is not mystical and it is not knowledge. You want to be a Saint, so many they are promising you that, saying, ‘if you just follow one Sunnat, you become a Saint. You keep a silver ring on your finger, you become a Saint. Not only a Saint, you have union with Allah.’ Allah, Allah. So cheap, so easy. One simple thing we are doing, we have union with Allah?
But if you want to know yourself, if you want to know your ego, if you want to know the tricks and the traps of your ego, and you want a guide that is always going to be there guiding you, not giving you a break so that you will get rid of your bad characteristics in a real and realistic way, to become a better person, to serve Allah and those whom He love and creation, there are Sheykh that are available for that too. But this kind of Sheykh, they are not very popular. How can they be popular? You become popular because you give people what they want. Those kind of Sheykh, very few, that is going to train you. So if you find one, stay with it.
Listen to the ayat, you want a sign? I give you a sign. I give you an ayat. Ayat is a sign isn’t it? Our Sheykh is saying over and over again from Surahtul Yasin, what is that? The ayat is saying, ‘BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Follow those who ask you no fee and they are in a station of safety.’ They don’t want anything from you.
So, may it be easy. Use your intelligence. Follow your heart. Look and observe.
Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
January 30, 2015