A murid at the Dergah asked Sheykh Lokman a question: You can control my ego and i’m very sure you can do the same thing to other people. How then do you control your own ego?
How I control my ego? I listen to my Sheykh. I have to understand what my ego is. Like I said, I don’t say these things if I don’t understand it myself and I don’t try it myself. Then I say. Not just because the Holy Prophet (asws) is saying, ‘the best kind of knowledge is the knowledge that you experience,’ I’m doing it because of that, but it’s just not because of that. Just because he says, I’m going to say. No. Because it works for me. It may not work for you maybe. What can I do? I cannot speak about knowledge that I have not experience. That is not knowledge. Then that time I cannot give you honey. You understand? I can talk about honey, I can talk about bees but I’m not giving you a taste, any taste, if I’m not making it.
So what I’m speaking is what I’m doing, what I’m trying to do, what I’m struggling with, what I find this is good, this is bad. Now this is good, it works, are you sure? I think. I go in meditation. I ask for help. I look. I sit. They sent. I give. Then I can give. That time you will reach to people’s heart. I’m not reading any books. Because if you do that, you will understand once you speak, I’m not even just talking about sohbet or something, you speak to someone and everyone speak to someone about their own religion or their own spirituality, or their own experience. If you are really listening to yourself, you’ll understand, these words you speak so nice, but they are fake. How do you know? If you are always looking at yourself, then there’s always that check and balance. There is always that testing. There’s always, your heart is always moving because you are speaking and you are watching. You are speaking and you are watching. It’s not just, ‘okay I get something, I speak.’ I watch. I see what is necessary. And I sit and I wait.
So yeah, you say I’m here, you have your ego and I’m fighting against your ego, maybe. But you have to remember, I was there too. I was there where you were. And I’m listening to my Sheykh, I know exactly what you are going through. I didn’t sit with some other Sheykh and I come here. I sit with the same Sheykh and I know what you are going through. I know sometimes the heaviness of the Sheykh is so much, that you fall asleep. I know that. I know that sometimes the heaviness of your Sheykh is so much, he doesn’t have to say anything but you feel like you want to get up and scream and shout and tear your clothes off and run like crazy as if you are in fire. Right? It ever happen to you guys? I know that too. I know how it is on holy days and nights, you get a little bit ‘drunk’, you crashed somewhere, and you like (slap your head) and, ‘why didn’t I think of that.’ Because regular days, you are driving maybe fifty miles an hour, seventy, eighty miles an hour. On Holy days and nights, you are going at two hundred miles an hour. You cannot make a single mistake then that time. Slight thing, you crashed. This I know too.
Now, I’ll see what is necessary. Sometimes explanation is necessary for those who understand. I tried that so many times, I discover so many times, people don’t understand explanation. You explain and they still don’t understand. And you make sure you explain in a very simple way that a child will understand. They (the children) understand but they (adults) don’t understand. You discover so many things about yourself, about people. What is it that you have to do? You explain to a dog, you think the dog will understand? No. You explain to the dog, ‘you need to sit right now. you need to sit. You know why you need to sit? Because my friend is looking at me and I’m telling you to sit and you are not sitting, it’s making me look very bad. So I’m telling you, ‘Sit. Please sit.’ Talk to the dog. The dog is going to understand? No. It’s not going to. So many people’s ego is at that level.
I understand watching myself, watching our Sheykh and watching everyone. Yes, I’ve watched a lot. I look at myself and I look at others. Isn’t that the Holy Command and order that Allah is ordering us, not recommending, ordering us to what? To think. To think. ‘Why are you not thinking?’ This is for man of understanding. Why are you not thinking with the alternation of the light and the day, the night and the day, you are supposed to think. You will understand the signs then.
So, if you find the hizmet that you are supposed to offer, easy. Very easy. Understand? If you are still not serving, very difficult. I’m giving you a very big secret on this night, which in some ways it is not a secret, I’ve spoken about this for years. But the way that I’m putting things together. Those who are still thinking, ‘I’m just going to come in and out. Tarikat, I have my life.’ And tarikat is another life, in and out. Just, you know, nice, get blessings, go to live…da..da…da.. then you are like ibn Salama. Isn’t it? You are like ibn Salama. You have your own life, and then there is a life of the Prophet. Pretty soon, one day you are going to say, ‘what? Hoja is saying this to me? To do this to me?’ just like ibn Salama saying to those emissaries of the Prophet to collect zakat. He was living in the Prophet’s masjid. Day and night, living in the Prophet’s mosque. Cleaning, worshipping with the Prophet, making zikr day and night. Years. But his heart started to feel the pull of the dunya. In his mind he is saying, ‘I’m going to help Islam.’ But you know what? It is not what you think. It is what your Prophet thinks. It is not what you think, it is what your Sheykh thinks. If you know how to think properly, that time why you are following your Sheykh? Others will follow you. Yeah, that time you will be responsible to a lot of things too.
So ibn Salama, he wanted to go out, he wanted to earn some money, he wanted to get his life started. Prophet (asws) looked at him and said, ‘Ya ibn Salama, don’t you want to be poor like your Prophet?’
He said, ‘Ya Rasulullah, you know if I earn money I can help so many of the poor brothers. I can help them, I can feed them, I can help so many….’ Millions of Muslims are saying this. But the state of the Muslims is falling deeper and deeper into a crab hole, every single day.
He asked one time. Prophet gave an answer. Second time, third time, Prophet raised his hand, because now you are pushy, that is also an edep. Tarikat, edep. Edep Ya Hu. We are teaching you the manners of the Prophet. You don’t push. You don’t put your will on top of the will of your Prophet. You don’t put your will on top of the will of your Sheykh. You say, ‘as you like. Whatever you think is best.’ Real. Not to say, ‘I want this, I want this, I want this but whatever you think it’s best. As you like.’ That time you are playing games too. If we are not saying, if we are saying this is good for you, you say, ‘but this, this, this, this, this and this, and this,’ wait. We are still warning you. We are saying, ‘watch out. Don’t do that.’ Then I back up and I explain this is the reason why I’m asking you to do it like this, like this, like this. You understand. I make people to understand. The time will come when I won’t be given permission to do that anymore, because it takes a toll on me too.
So, ibn Salama pushing the Prophet second time, third time, Prophet’s says okay. Because they don’t fight. If I tell you no need, and you say but this and this. I say, ‘okay. Go ahead.’ But you know where my heart is. You cannot now later when something happens and you say, ‘but he gave me permission.’ According now to your station, you don’t even have to say it. Your heart is going to know. And he may even look at you and just say, ‘yes. Do it.’ But you know where his heart is and you know where your heart is. And later when you do it, and things don’t work out, you cannot go to him and you say, ‘ but you gave me permission.’ This is the subtlety of Edep.
So ibn Salama saying that. Prophet opened his hand. Whatever Prophet ask, Allah gives. Before you know it, somebody gave ibn Salama a sheep, a couple of sheep, they gave twins. Then it started to breed very quickly. Before you know it, he has a small flock. No longer he’s staying in the Prophet’s masjid every day. He doesn’t have time. He started to spend more time outside a little bit, to take care of his flock. For the sake of the Muslims, for the sake of Islam, he started to take care. He’s still convincing himself that. Although the Prophet says, ‘it is not for you Ya ibn Salama. Outside is not for you. Maybe for others, but not for you.’ This is not to say people are not going to work outside. But it is whoever is going to decide, that Sheykh that is going to decide. Not you.
For some, they want to stay at the Dergah and give up everything, the Sheykh says, ‘don’t. that is forbidden to you.’ They don’t listen, they end up in very big mess. For some they say, ‘No. you cannot work outside, you have to stay forever.’ Some for certain amount of time. Some, for now, later you are going to change. But everyone who has lived in the dergah and later they go outside, you know what you are missing.
So ibn Salama, he started now going to the Prophet’s masjid instead of everyday, once a week, for Jumma. His rizq (provision) starts to increase. Like so many muslims, when they get a lot of money, they get very happy. They say, ‘I’m so blessed.’ They never think, this is a big responsibility. They never think, ‘wait a minute, dunya is my enemy right? My enemy is giving me this. Maybe I should think a little bit.’ When it comes (they said happily), ‘Alhamdulillah.’ Believers, you have to think differently.
Once a week now he comes to jumma. Then it started to grow and grow. And now he had to move all his flock outside of Medina, to the outskirts, to the suburbs. Now he comes once a month. After some time, Holy Prophet (asws) looked around (to see) who is attending the namaz and he is saying, ‘where is ibn Salama?’ he knows. Just like so many times, Allah ask the question, Prophet ask, the Sheykh ask, to see if you know, to see how many of you know. And what is it that you know. They put down their heads and said, ‘you know better ya Rasulullah.’ They weren’t going to complain about their brother too. Prophet knew.
Then later the ayat came, to collect zakat which is obligation. Now the Prophet sent two Sahabis to go collect zakat to this area, this area, this area and this area. One of the areas that they have to go was ibn Salama. Now he had thousands of sheep. So many things happened, unusual. Then those ones came to ibn Salama and they said, ‘this is the order from the Prophet (asws). From every forty parts you are going to give one part for the sake of Allah.’ Ibn Salama listened, he looked at his sheep. Then he looked at them and he said, ‘is there anyone else that you are collecting zakat from?’
They said, ‘yes. There’s another one. We have to go to another valley.’
He said, ‘go there first. When you are coming, on your way back, come around me. I will give you an answer.’
They looked at each other, and they said, ‘EyAllah.’
They went to one of the Sahabi that the Prophet said, ‘now go out.’ And that Sahabi didn’t want to. Prophet said, ‘this is an order. You go out, earn this dunya for the way of Allah.’ When the two Sahabis that collect the zakat went to him, he’s saying, ‘what? Prophet wants Zakat? Take everything.’
They said, ‘no. order is, every forty parts, just one.’
‘Okay, then take the best.’
They said, ‘no. it’s not the best. We have to do it very fairly.’
They collected, and he said, ‘please send my salams. Kiss the hands and the feet of the Prophet for me. And tell him, I’m dust under your feet. Everything that I own, my life belongs to you.’
So they came back to ibn Salama. They came and they looked at him, they repeated the order. Ibn Salama quietly looked at them and said, ‘what? Now Muhammad is asking for a bribe?’
They were very shocked. They left. They came back to Medina, Prophet (asws) was sitting outside the masjid, he saw them coming from a long way, he knew who they were, he shook his head and he said, ‘Ya ibn Salama. You have lost. And you have lost. And you have lost.’ Three times he said that. When Prophets they say three time, there’s a meaning in every one of them. They came back, they told the Prophet. Prophet said, ‘how many of you that he helped,’ they all put their heads down.
Later, Prophet (asws) passed. Ibn Salama, he woke up a little bit. He wanted to give zakat. He woke up. Understand, did he change his religion? No. Was he praying? Yes. Was he doing everything? Yes. One order, because the dunya then confused him, and we all had dunya that confuse us, he disobeyed. He tried to give the zakat to Hz Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr Siddiq Hz said, ‘whatever the Prophet did not receive, he refused to receive, I will not receive.’ So he lost. Later when Hz Abu Bakr passed and Hz Umar became the Khalifah, he went to Hz Umar, and he said, ‘this is the zakat that is owed.’ Hz Umar took out his sword, and he said, ‘if you come here one more time, I will cut your neck off. You think I’m going to receive something that Abu Bakr or the Prophet did not receive from you?’ See, now even his money becomes what? Forbidden. Haram.
So now, we understand a little bit because we have been, I’m still there. I’ve missed those day. I think about it very often. I missed those days when I’m sitting down and I’m listening to the Sheykh. So many people they have dreams, right? It’s okay, it’s Holy night. We open a little bit. So many times they dreamt Sheykh Effendi came back and I’m there next to him and I’m so relieved and happy because I gave everything back to him. I can’t wait for those days, but it’s not going to be so easy too. He’s going to take accounting of everything that I’m doing too. And I don’t have confidence in what I’m doing because I understand that everything that I’m doing can always be improved, because I’m comparing myself with who? With him. If you compare yourself with him, everything that you do is wrong. Then you have to fight against that other side of sheytan and your ego fooling you, ‘ah! Give up. You are never going to be like that…da..da.. you are no good.’ Then you have to keep a balance always.
So, you have your fight, I have my fight. But all these is nonsense anyway because like I said, if you find the hizmet, that service that you are going to give , even if it’s cooking or cleaning or giving or fixing and you concentrate on that, so many things will open for you, it will be easy for you. But be very sincere with that hizmet. Don’t be like ibn Salama. In the way of Allah, don’t count. Don’t count your dollars, don’t count your pennies in the way of Allah. You understand? It is not how much you give, it is what is coming from the heart.
So many people are giving. I’m not taking. So many people giving, I’m not putting it here. I’m giving it to someone else. Because I know it’s not coming with sincerity. I know. I cannot touch it. Sheykh Effendi has taught me that for very hard lessons. His way with me is so subtle and he’s so particular. One time I got washed up because somebody who discovered that we are going to build maqams decided to give Sheykh Effendi some donations. I’m not talking about a big sum. Just a little bit. And he found out about that maqams and he started to give that donations because I said to him. Not that I said, ‘give donation,’ I said, ‘we are building something.’ Sheykh Effendi looked at me and said, ‘you told him?’ Immediately I knew that person should not be. I should have known.
So this is the mentality. Everything that we are doing wrong, is not, ‘oh, I didn’t know.’ Everything that you are doing wrong, you said, ‘I should have known.’ And so many times, I knew, yet I didn’t. I knew because Allah is speaking to my heart right now. I know what is right and wrong because Prophet is speaking, the Angels are speaking, the awliyaAllah they are speaking to you right now but you decide to listen to the voice of sheytan and your ego. How can you not know. But if you are attitude, you said, ‘I should have known, astarghfirullah, I’m going to fix it.’ Like this, like that, easy they can erase it. They can change it. May Allah may it easy for all of us. It’s still easy, don’t you know? We have no difficulty. We have no difficulty. We say, Syukur Alhamdulillah. Fatiha.
Sohbet by Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz,
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
June 2, 2015