Question: During Prayer and Zikr, other thoughts come to my mind. I want to be able to focus more on my Prayers and Zikr. What can I do to stop other thoughts from coming into my mind during Zikr or Prayers?
Discipline. Discipline. Is it through love? I’ve never heard that before. I went to a couple of places, Sufi places, everything is love. Love, love, love. Say selams with love, make a wudhu and offer it with love, make the prayer with love, love, love, love. But I see this ones they love too much each other, outside of that few hours of being Sufi, they also carry on that love.
If the whole world is talking about love, we have to talk about the opposite. Because now is the time, black is white and white is black. So, how are you going to stop it from coming into your mind? You’ve got to have the discipline. You are not just going to have a rabita with your Sheykh. What is that rabita meaning anyway? Hmm? What, you’re just going to picture your Sheykh like a cartoon in front of you? Astarghfirullah. The Sheykh is, how are we going to describe, you cannot say your Sheykh is like a person in front of you, or a big huge one in front of you. You have to picture yourself, you are a ring drop into an endless desert, and this desert is your Sheykh. Or you are a fish swimming in an ocean. Your Sheykh is not this whale, your Sheykh is the water. He’s surrounding you. That is what your Sheykh is. Rabita. But how are you going to start connecting?
People can imagine, they can put themselves, but once they come and they see their Sheykh and their Sheykh does certain things to them, test them a little bit here and there, they say, ‘ah! This is the kind of Sheykh that I love so much? He’s yelling at me for no reason. He’s just so upset. He’s just so angry.’ Hmm, so that means your love is just imagination. Your rabita is just your imagination. It is not real.
So, you are talking about khyusu’, you are talking about concentration, how are you going to concentrate from other thoughts entering into your mind? Go slowly. Before you start concentrating on your prayer, on your zikr, on your ibadat, concentrate on your work. When you are doing something, in life, when you are eating, concentrate on eating. Say BismillahirRahmanirRahim and eat. Don’t think about something else. When you are doing work, say, in the barn, concentrate on doing the work properly. Don’t do work and you are saying salawat to yourself and the work falls and your salawat is halfway through. You are not making ibadat, you are not making hizmet now. You understand? So many are saying, ‘Allahuma Sali ala sayidinna Muhammad,’ we are seeing you’re not really doing that anyway at home. You are just making a show when you come here. But we see, because you are making the salawat so much, the work that is in front of you, that is the most important thing for you to do maybe at that time, you are not doing it properly. So you think your salawat has value then that time?
Say, you are supposed to give a glass of water, but you are saying salawat so much that instead of giving water, cold water or warm water, but instead you fill it up with hot water for people to drink. And they drink it and they burn their lips. You think that time, your salawat, your zikr, your work is going to mean? It will not. So concentrate. Sheykh Effendi, oh I’m sorry this is another part of discipline, Sheykh Effendi is saying for years: Don’t be in heedlessness. Don’t be in ghaflat! How are you going to combat against ghaflat? Through discipline.
Through discipline. To know you are sitting down, you are doing one thing and your mind gets distracted by another thing, by another person, by a thought, all these is heedlessness, I’m being heedless, I’m being brought into a different direction, I’m being in ghaflat, I cannot do that, I have to stop this. I have to stop this, I have to stop this. I have to concentrate. The same way when you are first driving your car, isn’t it? When you first drive your car, you cannot even listen to conversation, correct? You just have to concentrate on that because you cannot afford to be what? Heedless. All concentration is on that. When you concentrate and you do it well, then that time you may talk, you may listen to music, some people they even reaching back through their hands to get one pizza and to come out and to eat. So many things that you can do. I don’t recommend you doing that. Yeah. But you can do that. Which means that now, once you have the concentration, once you have the focus, there’s so many things that you can do. But first, you have to have that focus. So start with the things that you are doing in life.
I don’t want to use all these western terminologies: ‘Be in the moment,’ just ‘Be present.’ We can use those things but it doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. I like to say simple words by, not broken English, reformed English that out Sheykh is using to make everyone to understand. There is a reason for that. Everyone speaks like they are in a lecture. We run away from that. We speak like we are really speaking. Everyone speaks perfect English, we are going to break it up, so that people will understand better.
So, once you start concentrating and understanding with that work, ‘oh, my mind flies over there.’ Why it flies over there? I have to stop it. I’m doing my work. I’m cleaning dishes. I’m doing something else. Instead of concentrating, I’m thinking…why I have to do that? I have to stop it. Once you start having that discipline, you can apply that to so many things. You can apply that to your prayers. You’re praying, you’re concentrating, some thoughts came, ‘astarhgfirullah,’ you stop it. Astarhgfirullah, you stop it. You are making a zikr, some days you can concentrate, some days you cannot, you say, ‘astarghfirullah,’ that time it will be easier. InsyaAllah ar-Rahman. But you don’t have to take my answer.
Maybe you go to other people, they are going to say, ‘no need for focus. Just have love. With more love you can have more focus.’ Like one time, Sheykh Maulana, people were meditating, Sheykh Malana says, ‘yeah, mashaAllah. Yeah, people are closing their eyes and meditating. But this one is meditating on his car, this one is meditating on his job. This one is meditating on his woman. This one is….’ So what are you meditating on? That is the thing.
For us, we want to concentrate on the sohbet of our Sheykh. That is our meditation. Because in that sohbet is hadiths, in that sohbet is riwayat, in that sohbet is seerah, in that sohbet is Quran, in that sohbet is Tarikat, in that Sohbet is Shariat. Everything is in that sohbet for what we need. We take that and we put it, we start thinking, doing our work. If you start doing your work then you’ll say, ‘subhanaAllah, with the work that I’m doing, this part of the sohbet is coming true.’ Doesn’t it happen to you? I’m reminded, Sheykh Effendi says like this, like this, and through just this worldly work that you are doing, the sohbet comes. That’s the time you are making then that time, concentration or focus, khusyu’, rabita. It is not imagining what someone is speaking to you. It’s being very connected. This is the first step. WaminaAllahuTaufiq. Al-Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs), OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
19 Rajab 1436H
May 8, 2015