Question: How do you remember death everyday?
BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Destur. You are asking because this also relates to the Khutba. Remembrance of death. How do you remember death everyday? In reality there are millions of reminders of death. Let’s look at it in a very big way, in a very big scale of things.
In reality there are millions of way to remember death, because everyday that you are living in this world there are millions of reminders of death.The wisdom, the secret, is taking that reminder and putting it in your life. Why am I saying there are millions of reminders? Is this hidden knowledge? No. Why do I say there are millions of reminders? In the news all the times, there’s death everywhere, especially death that is specific to Ahir Zaman, where Prophet (asws) is saying, ‘one of the signs of the Ahir Zaman is when the one who is killed, he doesn’t know why he is being killed, and the one who is doing the killing, he doesn’t know why he is doing the killing.’ Correct? I’m not just talking about, say, Muslims, I’m not talking about just terrorist, I’m talking about people who belong to regular army, soldiers. They don’t know why they kill and they don’t know why they are being killed. But there are millions. This is one of the big thing. Everyday you turn, everyone now is more hooked on to the news then we were say five years ago or ten years ago. Correct? Everyone has this in their hand (Sheykh shows a smartphone), checking. This is the death of human, people. If it is not war, it is terrorism, by everyone, by regime, by government, by groups, by religious people and by non religious people. No one has a monopoly on terrorism. It’s everyone who is doing it.
Sickness, are we getting, you are a doctor (Sheykh points to a murid) everyday you are reminded of sickness. Because that is your profession, isn’t it? But let me ask you now, how does the one, for example, who is dealing with death all the time, say you a doctor, how do you not remember death when it is there? I’m picking an extreme example, you can take it from there. Because now, you have to agree with me. There’s reminders of death everywhere. Just by the news, sickness, wars, what else that we have? Conflicts that we have, accidents, what else that we have? Through the selfish desires of people, by tyrannical regimes, the destruction of this world. Now when we talk about death, it’s not just human, death of this planet. We are not slowly killing this planet, we are very fastly killing this planet. The humans, people, when they smoke, you destroy the lungs. And Science have said that if you stop for twelve hours this is what is going to happen to you. You stop smoking, your lung starts to rejuvenate. You stop smoking for twenty four hours, this is what is going to happen. Seven days, forty days, seventy days, things start healing itself, the lung is very important, correct? What is the lungs of this planet? The Rainforest. It’s getting destroyed every single day. Don’t just say, ‘oh it is because of the third world countries that they are cutting the Rainforest.’ Who are they selling their woods to? Their own poor people? If there is no demand for it, they are not going to do it. If they are not put in a situation where they have to do that, they are not going to do it. So we destroy the lungs of this world, of this planet. We destroy the water. We destroy.’
So now, when you look at death, death is everywhere. You say, ‘maybe this is remembrance of death if I’m an adult person who thinks. If I’m a child, I don’t know.’ No you know. The food that you eat it has to die for you to eat. Chicken, everybody loves chicken. Chicken has to die. Hamburgers, it comes from the beef. They have to die. Everything now in reality it has to die for you to eat, for you to consume, to give you life. But what makes for example, the kids who are growing up not to remember death? As what makes a doctor not to remember death although there are thousands and millions of signs screaming to him everyday. What is that?
Speak only from your personal experience because Prophet (asws) is saying, the best kind of knowledge is the knowledge that you experience, it’s not knowledge that you read, it’s what you experience. That time you can share to people and they can taste it. So now it’s not because the death is there but you have put veils in front of you. You put a veil. You understand? They don’t want to remind death to this kids. They don’t want kids to be reminded of death. They say, ‘we eat chicken.’ But they never see that the chicken actually is not the chicken you find on your dinner table. It’s not those chicken cutlets. Chicken is not even the raw chicken that you get from the supermarket. Chicken is a live animal that you have to cut. But when the kids are not exposed to death, to understand what it sacrifice to give us life, you’ve already put a veil between them and the real world from a very young age. Speak about them. So now you say chicken is a chicken breast. Chicken is not this chicken. So when you see later on in your life, animal being killed, you get very messed up. Because they don’t want our kids to remember death, to understand that, because once you understand that, now if you celebrate killing something, you know that you are an evil person.
Doesn’t matter which religion you come from, if you like killing something, you are an evil person. Doesn’t matter if it’s human or an ant, it is forbidden. Then you see how your kids are growing up. Forget about that, from a very young age, we gave them games that is all about killing. All this computer games that gets into their head, gets into their mind, it’s all about killing. Used to be, maybe they kill zombies, now they kill people. Now they have games that kill other people. Now they have games, of course they have so many games out there where the enemies are muslims and you are shooting up muslims. So what are you teaching now your kids? Although they are seeing death everyday, their hearts become more and more and more veiled, more and more and more dead.
So the thing is not whether the reminder is there or not. The thing is to remove the veil. We are up here, Alhamdulillah. Today, it’s a little bit warm, little bit humid. In a few more months, it’s going to be white everywhere. It’s cold, snow everywhere. In a few more month, green everywhere. We have four seasons, Alhamdulillah. It changes. I like it, that kind of temperate climate. I like it because it teaches us what? The cycle of life, and the cycle of death. How do you take away this veil from you? Number one, you remind yourself what it is. For some situation, you have to put a veil to deal with the problem. If you are dealing with death everyday, you have to put a veil because your work is more important than how you feel. If you are a person who is already veiled from that, your problem is to remove the veil. How are you going to remove the veil?
Two things Prophet (asws) said, Sheykh Effendi said so many times, what are they to remind us of death? Let’s see if anyone remembers. (Murid answers:) ‘Visiting the maqams.’ Visiting cemetaries. Because maqam is different, you go there to remind you of the afterlife, to get more power, to get more energy. But you go visit the cemetery,that we have up here, it’s cemeteries, it’s not maqam, maqam, it’s a cemeteries, for you to sit and for you to understand, ‘I know this person. I ate with him, we pray together, we had a friendship and he is here. I buried him. I dig up the earth with my own hands and I put him there and I covered it. That is also my place. One day I’m going to be there.’ Before we talk about prisoner between two breaths, let’s talk about what happens after the prison, entering into the grave. One is visiting cemeteries, to go to visit. Visit with your heart, visit with intelligence, visit with Tafakkur. Visit, to go there (saying to yourself), ‘this will be me one day soon. Maybe it is today, maybe it is tomorrow. This is real.’ Then you start to wake up a little bit. Do you understand? And what was the other thing that he said to go, to do? Visiting the sick people. But our society, especially in the west is being so shielded from any death, any remembrance of death, anything that reminds you of death, whether it’s animal or humans, nothing, everything is just life. Fake life. That you live in reality, your whole life fearing death, running away from it but it is something no one can run away from. That means you don’t prepare.
If you don’t prepare, how good can your life be? This is for believers who believes that there is going to be a life, the reality that there is going to be a life. This is nothing, our real life is going to start. Those who don’t believe will say, ‘yeah, yeah, we believe in death but nothing is going to come, so we have to live it up.’ These words are not for them. I will say other words for them. If you don’t believe that there is going to be another life, then don’t even sleep. Don’t sleep, you must stay up the whole time, you must enjoy yourself, let your ego to run wild, taste everything, do everything, because you only get one chance. But after that, everything is finish. That means that it turns to nothing. This is what Hz Ali (kw) is saying, because people ask him, they said, ‘how do you know there’s going to be life after death? We are all going to die. Maybe everyone is going to die and everyone is just going to be nothing. Maybe there is nothing.’ And he said, ‘if it is nothing, we live our life the way that makes us happy.’ Because that one is saying, ‘why are you torturing yourself worshiping and doing all these things? Live it up. Enjoy yourself because you are young only once, you may die tomorrow.’ So Hazreti Ali is saying, ‘we are doing what we love doing. This is our life for us. If we pass from this life and there is nothing and we stop at nothing, then it’s nothing. But for you, you spend your whole life just chasing after your ego but that becomes nothing too. So we are the same. At least for us, we are living according to our spirit.’ Because if you live according to your animal characteristics, you are just going to end up destroying everything around you before you die. This is what you do. So you have to remove the veil.
These are the two things, simple things that you can do. You don’t do it, you cannot do it. In the old days, this is built into our lives, built into our society, visiting graves or visiting sick people, understanding death, being reminded of death, this is built into society, Muslim or non Muslim. In our own families, children, our mother used to give birth to so many children. Some made it, some didn’t make it. From a very young age, you know, you understand what death is. You step out your house, you see poor people, you see sick people, you see people who are dying, you are reminded. But in this kind of society, they remove everything. They remove all the undesirable things that reminds us of death.
In the old days, where do they build the cemetery? Somewhere in the corner for nobody to see? No. They build the cemetery right in the center of the city. Everyone passing, to look, to remind. We have one cemetery here, correct? How many times you pass by it in a week? How many time you just take a split second just to remind us. I don’t mean to like, haah…suddenly fall into meditation and to think. No, just a split second, ‘look, they are buried.’ At least for you to renew your Shahadat. Are we saying you are going to remember death and you are going to get so fearful, you are going to get so depressed? No, not like that too. You cannot carry that. But the idea of death is what? That there is going to be accounting. That there’s not going to be anymore chance for us to go back. How are you going to remember death? These are the ways. Then understand what is it that makes us to put a veil between us and the remembrance of death. What is it?
One thing, let me tell you what the Holy Prophet (asws) said, that nobody seems to be doing these days because everybody loves to do it, Muslims and non Muslims, twenty four hours, if it’s up to them they want to do this twenty four hours. What is that action that it kills and it deadens your heart? Laughing. Yes, laughing. Ha..Ha..Ha..Ha..Ha…Ha.. twenty four hours. Happiness is something else, laughing is something else. Prophet (asws) has said, ‘if you know what I know,’ and if you are an Evliyaullah, you should know at least a little bit of what he knows, correct? He said, ‘if you know what I know, you are going to laugh little and you are going to cry a lot.’ Why are you going to cry? Because you know, you understand, you think, you meditate.
You go through work like this, okay for example, what are you doing? You are a construction worker, you construct. If you have intelligence, what you are constructing for anyone, say for example you are hired to do some work, you’ll realize and say, what a difficult life this people are living. Life is easy but look, how much difficulty they are making. You have to build this, do this, put this, put this, put this. You have to lay the foundation, you have to put this and you have to put all the lines and you have to put the insulation and you have to do this. It’s so much. And when we die, what do we do with it? Is this going to save us? You bring death into it. And it’s true. It’s not a stretch, you are not stretching it. Because I remember one time I was working, and it was for this very big house. I was helping out someone. The house was huge. It was like four floors, in Long Island, it was a very big house, one of the living room is as big as this masjid, I’m not kidding you. As big as this masjid and it’s four floor. A woman was building it for her husband. Husband died. Now she’s continuing to build it. And I’m saying, what is this for? What is this for? Oh, she wants to leave it to her family. It’s good. The family will also die. Then you leave it to who? Oh, to the next family, to the next family. But in reality, you bring nothing with you to the grave. That’s why in Islam, you don’t get buried with anything. Just with a piece of cloth, a white piece of cloth, you wrap up and you put. We came into this world with nothing and you are going to leave this world with nothing. Correct?
Alexander the Great, Iskandar, not Dzulqarnain, Iskandar, when he passed from this world, he was the conqueror of the two east and the two west. Allah has given the ruling of this world only to very few people. Anyway, Iskandar he said, ‘when I passed, when I die,’ he said, ‘display my body, cover my body with the white sheet but make sure that my arms stick out like this. Not close like this, stick out like this, holding up to the sky. As a reminder to the people, to know that even if I conquer this whole world, when I die, I have nothing in my hands.’
We passed from this world with nothing, except with our good intentions and our good actions. ‘Pray your prayer as if it is your last prayer.’ So at least five times a day, as believers we are under the obligations to remember death at least five times. And the Prophet (asws) says, ‘if you remember death forty times a day, if you die that day, you’ll die as a martyr, as a Syahid. You will not be questioned.’ So remove the veil. One, yes, too much laughing. Cos Muslim now, they say that you must laugh twenty four hours. It kills the heart. ‘What do you mean it kills the heart? It’s no good to laugh? What are you saying? You have to be miserable and serious all the time?’ I say, no. but there are different ways of enjoying, different ways of happiness, different ways of understanding and tasting, without laughing. Because the action itself, laughing, you know how it is, you laugh and you laugh and you laugh at something funny, you try to find something funny in everything. Even when something is not funny, you will laugh. Even when something is tragic, you say it’s funny. Even when something is very serious and something is evil, you’ll find it funny. Why? Because you have not tasted it. If you have experience that pain, that tragedy, you are not going to find it funny. Now we have Muslim stand-up comedians and that is forbidden to do that. Especially for a man to stand up and to make fun of people and other people and everyone to laugh. It kills the heart. One full hours, just laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing. Doing everything without thinking, without tafakkur.
So now, we come into Tafakkur, we come to meditation. Meditation it is everything. Meditation, Tafakkur it’s how you are going to remove the veil. So now you are doing your work, if it’s working, Tafakkur. You are eating, eating Tafakkur. Of course you can do that. You are outside looking at the animals, you are walking, Tafakkur. Everything that you are doing now, you are going to connect things together. You understand? Then what do you do? Remember death. It may come, you renew your Shahadat, at least. You are going to say astaghfirullah at least, you are going to look at what is important. What is not important, you should not let it to bother you, because when you don’t remember death, everything becomes important. Isn’t it? Because you want to make your life to be Paradise. And for your life to be Paradise, even a little bit of wrong, it is very very very serious to you. Like Sheykh Effendi is saying, ‘you cannot fight with everything, they make you to fight with your own self, fight with your clothes.’ You find everything to be miserable about.
So insya’Allah ar-Rahman, we must find ways to remove the veil. We must find ways to understand and to think. This is what Quran is saying, ‘Think.’ Allah is saying, ‘think. You must think. Even in the passing of the day and the night, there are signs in it, for man of understanding.’ How can you watch the passing of the day and the night, or the passing of the sun, or the passing of the season, without being reminded of death, without being reminded of the Creator of death, without being reminded of Allah swt, do you understand? So important think is what? Tafakkur again. When you have the Tafakkur, whatever that you are doing in this world, in this life, you will tie it with the afterlife. You will tie it with Allah swt. You will. All you have to do is to sit and think a little bit.
May Allah forgive us, insya’Allah. For us, murids, especially for us that went through the veiling of our Sheykh, it’s not that difficult, isn’t it? It’s not that difficult to remember death. All we have to do is to remind ourselves of our Sheykh, and if we are doing that, and we know that he has passed, then that remembrance of death is just a start off point, a jumping off point for us to do other things. You cannot be stuck there too, just remembering death. Remembering death is just the beginning. It just starts the engine. Once the engine is started, then you are going to go somewhere. May Allah forgive me. Al-Fatiha. Amin. SelamAleykum.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz,
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
9 Zul Qaida 1437
August 12, 2016.