Question: Is dancing allowed in Tasawwuf and is there a limit to the type of dance, provided it is not vulgar?
The way of Tasawwuf is something that is not open. It is something that is underneath. It is something that is hidden. Just as this body, inside of it, it’s the spirit and the spirit it is hidden. So there is a zahir form in Islam, and there’s a batin form in Islam. And the batin, the spiritual, it is the way of the Holy Prophet (asws) that he has brought us 1400 years ago and this is called Tasawwuf. It was a reality without a name at that time. As the Awliya Allah they are saying, now it is a name without a reality.
We don’t like to use the words Tasawwuf, Sufi, Sufism. Because everyone is using it these days. And those who are using and being very proud with it, we are looking, their way is not our way. And because the way it is hidden, Tasawwuf in its history has always been blamed, has always been slandered, has always been maligned, has always been misunderstood. By who? By good people. By religious people. By people who don’t understand, who cannot see the batin, the spiritual. And all they can see and judge, is just the external. And there is a danger in that. Because if you are judging according to the external, the external is not real. The external, it is holding something which is real. It is the spirit that brings life to the body. The body does not bring life to the spirit.
So there are many things in Tasawwuf that people are not understanding, people have never understood, since that day up till today. Those things, even from the time of the Sahaba e-kiram, because there are certain things that should not be open up to everyone, either everyone is going to abuse it or they are not going to understand it and they go into deviation even more. But it doesn’t mean that Tasawwuf it is wrong. Tasawwuf it is the spirit. It is the essence of Islam. Now when we come into certain practices in Tasawwuf, and dancing is one of the practices, we have to understand first what are these practices for? What is the intention of these practices? Who put them in there? What is your original intention? And what is the effect that comes out from these practices.
For example: Zikr. Zikr it is something that you cannot argue. That zikr is something which is sunnat. To praise the Holy Prophet (asws) in whichever form is something that you cannot argue about because Allah and His Angels praise the Prophet (asws). So now, there are certain practises in Tasawwuf. If the practices, they are according to what the Prophet (asws) brought and it is for the intention of praising Allah and giving salawat to the Holy Prophet (asws), in which forty tarikats, real Sheykhs, real Tarikat that they are bringing certain practises, we cannot have a tongue to say anything about them because our knowledge has not reach nowhere to judge them. Nowhere. If you think knowledge of Islam, or knowledge of the Hadiths of the practices of the Prophet (asws) is only contained in six books, then something must not be right in your head. How can one man’s work, his whole life be contained in just six books? Your own life, if you write down everything that you do and you think about, will not be just six books. It is more. What about that one who is the Habib of Allah swt?
There are those, if they want to consult whether it is a sunnah or not, they open a book and they check it. And there are those that if they want to understand whether that is sunnah or not, all they have to do is close their eyes and make the Rabita to the Holy Prophet (asws) and the answer is given to them right away. Because there are those that the Prophet (asws) taught physically, through the zahir method and there are some that he taught through the batin, through the heart. And the zahir will always have problem with the batin. Not the other way round. The batin will not have the problem with the Zahir. You know why? Because once, like what Sheykh Effendi, Sheykh Maulana says, ‘once we free the spirit and the spirit covers the body,’ because right now, the spirit is a prisoner inside the body. Once we make the body a prisoner inside the spirit, then that time Tai al Makan; Tai al Zaman: there is time inside of time and space inside of space. That time the body will not be a slave to the laws of physical creation. Because now the body is a prisoner inside the spirit. And the spirit, it is boundless.
So there are certain practices even during the time of the Holy Prophet (asws), understand this, even in his time, that only certain sahabis they know, other sahabis they don’t know. That there was knowledge that was given at that time that certain sahabi said, like who? Like Hz Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, like Hz Abu Hurairah and some others that they say, “if I open up this knowledge that the Prophet taught to me, they will cut my neck off.” Who? The Sahabis. The other ones are going to cut their neck off. Meaning, there are some teachings that you have to be prepared, you have to have a ground work, you have to have an understanding. Because if the teachings are just out there, people are just going to say, ‘what is this?’ they don’t understand it because there is no foundation. And they will say, ‘this is wrong.’
Now when we come to certain practices in Tasawwuf, in Tarikat, and one of the practices, say: dancing, we have to know that this is not dancing. It is a form of worship. It is not Sema, it is not music, it is a worship. It is not poetry, it is a worship. These are different ways to worship. Easily people are saying, ‘Oh! is this sunnat?’
What do you know about sunnat? What do you know that are in the books? What do you know that is not in the books? What if I tell you, it is sunnat to: on one leg, jump up and down and to praise the Prophet. What if I were to tell you that? So many are going to say, ‘of course this is not, what a ridiculous behaviour it is, jumping up and down on one leg!’ ‘What a foolish thing it is to go turn around and around and around, nobody ever did this. Prophet did not do this.’ Then that is already showing to you that you have so little knowledge of open hadiths. Written Hadiths, if you don’t have that knowledge, we cannot even sit down to speak to each other. We cannot, because you will not understand. All you have in front of you is just your ego. It is not to try to understand. It is just your ego, and if forty Prophets come in to try to convince you, you are going to say they are all wrong. For your information, yes, that’s what they did. Who did? Jafar E Tayyar Hazretleri. And there were two others in that room with the Holy Prophet (asws). When he praise them, something overtook them that they start jumping up and down circling around the Prophet. Tawaf and saying his praises.
This is only very little. We are not gathering here as an academic class. We can find all this out if you know how to check your facebook, you can understand how to find this. It’s very easy. Turning around and around, that was Hz Abu Bakr Siddiq. I said this story so many times. So there are certain kinds of movements, certain kinds of movements which people say, it’s dancing and these movements, if they have been allowed by the Pir of that Tarikat, if they have been allowed by the Grandsheykh of that Tarikat, it is something that is mainstream in that Tarikat, you have to understand, Tarikat, Tasawwuf is part of Ahle Sunnat wal jamaat. It is not a deviation from it.
This is Ahir Zaman. People misunderstand so many things. In the time of the Ottomans, Sufism and Tasawwuf was a belief of a whole empire. But because the Ottoman fall, now wahabism became the mentality of the whole Islamic nation. Even when they call themselves ahle Sunnat, they have wahabbi tendencies. They see something they don’t understand, first thing they say, ‘that one is wrong aqidah.’ Wrong aqidah, is calling that one a kafir. I’ve seen people looking at certain videos of our GrandSheykh and some people they are dancing a little crazy. This showing, number one, you think you are very superior. You are so arrogant and you have no shame to look at eighty year old man with a long beard, you don’t know him for nothing, all you did was just to judge. Based on one thing and you don’t even understand why that was happening. So you have some crazy people coming in and they are jumping up and down in front of him, they are making some weird movements in front of him. Do you know who these people are? That he picked up from the jungles outside, just one day ago that they are jumping up and down in discos, and now at least they are jumping up and down and saying Allah. That we are now entering into the second jahiliyyah and like it was in the first jahiliyyah, the first thing that has to be taught is: La ilaha illallah. To make people to say Allah.
Do you have enough wisdom? enough intelligence? and enough heart to look? Or are you just judging? Huh, majority they are judging! There’s no ahle sunnat left. It’s finished. There’s no ahle sunnat scholar left. It’s finished. Now, Islam has just become something which is private, individual or community or just one nation. It is no longer an ummat. How can it be? When the keeper of the ahle sunnat way, when the protector of the ahle sunnat way was brought down hundred years ago. Are we understanding history? of how people who are calling themselves Ahle Sunnat but because the dunya is shackling them everywhere and they start fighting with each other, and although there was a Khalifah that time, nobody was listening to him. Are you understanding what the Ummawis and what the Abbasid they were doing? That the wrong teachings of shiism started to overtake everywhere, that it wasn’t until the Seljuks who came to re-established ahle sunnat, otherwise ahle sunnat aqidah will be completely gone. And who came after the seljuks to bring up and to uphold the ahle Sunnat way and the spiritual ahle Sunnat way, which is Tasawwuf? The Osmanlis. The Ottomans. And they held that high.
For six hundred years they held that high and when the ummat says, ‘we don’t want ahle sunnat way,’ when that came down, so now everyone is broken into a thousand pieces and everyone is thinking they are still following ahle sunnat way, but it’s broken from each other. Broken from everything. Broken from the ahle sunnat way.
So these teachings in Tarikat, so many teachings you don’t understand, you may not understand. Be busy with yourself. Don’t be busy judging them. Don’t be busy making fatwas to one another. Are there certain things that people from Tarikat that they are doing that is deviation, that is wrong? Yeah, why not? Are we saying Tasawwuf it is perfect. Who said that? But if you are going to judge because a few people are doing it wrongly, and you are going to say everything it is wrong, then we say, congratulation, you are behaving exactly how certain squarehead non-Muslims that they are also saying and doing. Saying a couple of terrorist, they say, ‘Allahu Akhbar’ and they do things that is not according to Islam and because they are doing that, the whole muslim ummat, they are being blame for that. You are doing exactly what they are doing. You are not different from them. Judging the whole group from the actions of a few, but not even understanding what the actions of a few, not even understanding what that group is!
So, you are following a Sheykh. Follow that one. We are following a Sheykh. There are certain practices that is in our Tarikat, that he is approving and there are certain practices that he is not approving. In our jamaat, the loud zikr that we are doing, is very strict. The silent zikr it is very strict. If there is a hadrah that is going on, that’s a different story a little bit. If it is just people feeling very good and feeling very happy, and they are celebrating Bayram or celebrating some Holy day and they are jumping up and down and saying Allah, and they are moving a little bit, we say, on those circumstances, because of the circumstances and because it is protected, those circumstances, it may be okay only for those circumstances.
InsyaAllah, people with intelligence will understand. Those who have no intelligence will not understand nothing. Like what Nasruddin Hoja is saying, ‘you can bring a hundred scholars to me and I can defeat them in argument, but bring one idiot in front of me and I will lose.’ So this world now is filled with idiots. May Allah protect us from becoming idiots. We are spending too much time just trying to defend ourselves, that we don’t have time to do what we are supposed to do. Our job, is not to defend ourselves so much. It’s to defend Truth.
WaminaAllahu Taufiq al-Fatiha
Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
19 Jamadilakhir 1436H
April 9, 2015