It is to have awareness. Awareness of yourself. If you start to become aware of yourself, you start to become aware of Allah swt. You are aware of yourself, first you are going to see yourself then you are going to look at yourself not according to your own eyes too, but according to the people that matter to you. Majority of the times now, people are looking at themselves through the eyes of those people that don’t matter to them, or the eyes of those ones that they are trying to impress, but in reality those ones they don’t even know they exist. You are trying to impress them and they don’t care about you but you want to be like them. So once you start to become aware, then you can fix. If you are not aware, you cannot fix. But how do you come to this situation where you are going to be aware? This is when you need a guide, you need a mirror to make you to become aware.
How many times we are saying, you can be aware of the whole world but the eyes, wherever the eyes see it may be thousands of miles, maybe you can see all the way to the horizon, you can see all the way to the sky, you can see everything, you can see, with the microscope, all the way to the smallest particles, but these eyes you cannot see yourself. With these eyes you cannot see yourself. The limit that you can see also is maybe everything around you but importantly, you cannot see your face. The eyes cannot see your face. Maybe it see a little bit of your nose, it can see your hands, you can see the front, the back not too interesting, but you cannot see your face. And the identity of a man is in his face. It’s in the face. And from the face, the identity and the light comes not from the tongue, not from the nose, it comes from the eyes.
So now, you have to learn how to see yourself. You have to learn how to be aware. This is what Tarikat is going to teach you. Why is that important? Once you are aware of yourself, you are starting then to become aware of how you look to Allah, to the Prophet (asws), to the Evliyaullah. You are going to become aware of the time, you are going to be aware of the space, you are going to be aware of the air, when it starts changing you know that something is happening, ‘now instead of moving, jumping, doing something, I must pull back and I must watch. Because something is happening, I must pull back.’ Ego says, ‘you have to do something. There’s something…’ You said, ‘No. I have to sit.Because this is very unusual time.’ You start to become aware.
Awareness. We are not going to talk about the principles of the Naksibendi Order. But from this small sohbet, we can understand a little bit of what it means to be aware. So you are going to become aware through the eyes of the Evliyaullah. Not through your own eyes too. First step is to be aware with your own eyes. Yes, definitely. Because before you accept a guide, you are aware that you need a guide. Do you understand? That awareness of needing a guide has to come from you, it cannot be forced. There are so many they are born in Tarikat, but we are looking, they are not following a guide. They are not following their Sheykh. They are not following their Mursyid. They are just born in Tarikat. Because their father follows a Sheykh, their grandfather follows a Sheykh or they themselves they belong to that lineage, so they continue and they continue, generations after generations, but you see, they are not moving with guidance and they are not moving with the secrets. It becomes like a ritual, a tradition but there is no Sirr.
So your question (Sheykh speaks to a murid), saying that in that Hadiths of Jibrail (as) where the Holy Prophet (asws) is saying, when Jibrail (as) came to teach him his religion, that he said to the Sahaba e-Kiram, not to teach the Holy Prophet (asws), but to teach the Sahabis and to teach us. Make no mistake, Jibrail (as) is not there to teach the Prophet (asws), and he is asking a series of question, which we are not going to go into it so much, and the last question is, ‘what is Ihsan?’ and the Prophet (asws) is saying, and I’m going to change a little bit about your question and the answer, he is saying, ‘to worship Allah as if you see Him. And if you cannot see Him, to know that He is seeing you.’ And you say, how do you move to that point of Ihsan? To that point of beauty? To that point of sincerity? Not at that point where we are seeing Allah. Because if we have reached to that point, we cannot speak about it. Those who have reached to that point, they cannot speak about it. They can only speak to those ones who have seen Allah. We may speak about doing and worshiping, knowing that Allah sees us. But you are saying, it is very difficult station to do everything knowing that Allah is watching us. Correct?
What is that station that knowing that Allah is watching us all the time? That is the station of what? Taqwa. That is Taqwa. So how do we reach to the station of Taqwa knowing that Allah swt is watching us all the time?
“BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Faz-kuruni az-kurkum – Remember me and I will remember you.” Remembering Allah. This is the general answer people are going to give. If you remember Allah then you are going to be having taqwa, knowing that everything you do, Allah is watching. And you are behaving and living as if you are in Divine Presence, correct? Because Allah is looking. His Tajalli is looking at you. Of course Allah swt if He puts in you, if He puts one Divine look in the mountain, the mountain will turn to dust. If He puts one drop of love inside to one of His servant, His servant will just go crazy if he cannot carry it, which none could. Remember the story of Hazreti Isa? And that man who is worshiping and asking for just a drop of love, and coming back, the man is completely lost, makhzub. Because this circuit (Sheykh points to the brain) they cannot carry that kind of Divine light.
So how are we going to get Taqwa now? General answer, ‘yeah, just La Ilaha Ilallah. Just remember Allah, Allah, Allah, and then everything you do, you are going to remember Allah.’ There is a zikir of the tongue, there is the zikir of the heart, there is a zikir just counting the names of Allah and repeating the names of Allah, then there is the zikir of knowing Allah. Just as there are different looks of Allah swt. We are not asking Allah swt to put His Divine look on us because we know we cannot carry. We are such weak creature, we are such dirty creatures, we cannot carry that Divine Look. Because if Allah swt were to look into our hearts with that Divine Look once, and if He does not see Himself in our heart, we have committed shirk. Correct or not? That is very heavy. That’s why Tarikat it is saying, step by step we will teach you, we are going to work towards that understanding, you cannot just jump. The intention is La ilaha ilallah, but the way is Muhammadur Rasulullah. With the way of Muhammadur Rasulullah, we may reach to La ilaha ilallah. So how are you going to reach to this level of taqwa, knowing that Allah is looking at you. Let me give you a story.
There was once a Sahabi and he wanted the secret of the Zikrullah to be opened, not the secret that Allah is watching us and being with us to be opened, but the secret of everything in creation is remembering Allah swt. You understand? Long story short, that was stopped for him for some time. He was asking, asking, and finally it was opened to him. He was in a state where he needs that, because this is sohbet we cannot go into too much details about it because there is edep of that, and he needed to use that to clean himself, pebbles. When he picked up to clean himself, that secret is opened to him and that pebbles started saying, ‘Allah.’ He dropped it. He picked up another pebble and it says, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah.’ He dropped it. Now everything around him is remembering Allah. Now he’s stuck. He cannot clean himself, and everything that he touches that remembers Allah it is too pure, too holy for him to use. Then he ran to the Holy Prophet (asws), he is saying, ‘please close this for me. Because I cannot carry it.’
So my question to you, you want to be aware of Allah all the time, why? Are you ready to carry that? No, you are not ready to carry it. Now people are going to misunderstand me and they’ll say, ‘look, this Hoja is saying we should not remember Allah, we should not be aware of Allah?’ If you think that way, you are free.What can I say? Then you don’t understand what I’m trying to say.
If you say for instance, you want to go into the presence of the Khalifah, because you love the Khalifah so much and you want to be in his presence, like so many people they love the Holy Prophet (asws) so much, they want to be in his Holy Presence, right? Then I’m going to ask you, why? Majority will not be able to answer that. They are just saying, ‘oh, because it’s such a blessing.’ So it’s still a desire. Why do you want to go there? ‘You know, I love it, it’s nice feelings.’ So you are still at the very low level of faith where your relationship to Allah and His Prophet is just to make you feel good. Just to make you feel good. Majority is like that. They enter to Tarikat, they do zikr, because of that, just to make them feel good. It is just another high. ‘Because I’m a lover. I love Allah. I want to feel love.’
Love is sacrifice. Love is to serve. So now, when you enter into the presence of the Sultan, what are you entering into the presence as? I give you all the leads, all the hints to that, now you know the answer. But before, how are you going to enter? Because as a person who loves the Khalifah, but you have no prove of that and you have no example of that, it’s just an emotion. It’s just a feeling. Now if you say you are going to enter into the presence of the Prophet (asws) as a servant, then we are going to tell you, what is a servant doing in Divine Presence, or Divine Presence of the Prophet? What is the servant doing? What is a servant doing in the court of a Sultan? For what?
No, servant is not in the presence of the Sultan. Servant has to go back. Correct or not? In reality, the servant does not approach to that presence until he is what? Until he is ordered, until he is called. So if you want to be in the presence of your Prophet (asws) or your Sheykh or your Khalifah, what are you coming as and what do you want to take away and why? This you’ve got to understand first. Then if you are really convince that you have to go to Divine Presence or Holy Presence, then we are going to ask you, are you ready? And you know you have to get ready. This is not theoretical question. Are you ready? You have to be ready, correct? If you want to go up to the sky, you have to be ready. If you want to go deep into the ocean, you have to be ready, you have to prepare yourself. Now you enter into the Holy Presence, you have to be ready. What do you have to do? Let’s talk about why later. What do you have to do? What do you have to do to enter into their presence?
You have to leave yourself behind. Which is why those who enter in the presence of just as a lover to his beloved, then you are saying, same level. You understand? ‘You are beloved, I’m a lover,’ same level. But if you enter into the presence properly, you are going to say what? Just as our Grandsheykh A Bayazid al-Bastami (ks) is saying, knocking on the door of Divine Presence, Allah swt is saying, ‘Who is there?’ A Bayazid al-Bastami is saying, ‘it is I.’ Allah swt, Divine voice is saying, ‘There is no room here for you and Me.’ He had to go back. He had to approach again after such a long time, knocking on the door, a voice is saying, ‘Who is there?’ And he says, ‘You.’ Now with this, so many people is going to misunderstand, we are not going to talk to those squarehead people, meaning, we are here, we are trying to be nothing. This is our aim. ‘La.’ La ilaha. The only being that is calling itself and Ilah, it is our ego. La ilaha ilallah.
So if you are not understanding your ego, you can never come into the Presence. Then you are going to come into the Divine Presence with your ego, that time you make what? Shirk. Not even sheytan in Divine Presence make shirk. He disobeyed Allah but he never claim that he is also an ilah. So now yes, easy we are saying, alright, you want to enter into Divine Presence, because these days so many people are making, has turned into such a big joke, ‘oh, when you wear one silver ring you are already in Divine Union. You carry any sunnat, you are already in Divine union.’ We are in union with our ego. We are not in Divine union. If it is so easy, then there are 2 billion Muslims, then everyone is in Divine union, mashaAllah, then this place, this earth should be more than Paradise. It is not. Everyday it is turning into a Hell. Because we are getting wrong understandings. We bring Allah down. We make it very cheap.
When we are saying things like this, other people blame us, ‘oh you make it to be so difficult. You make it to be so difficult. Tarikat is not difficult, you know?’ I say, since when? Since when Tarikat is not difficult? Which Tarikat you belong to? They know how to study so much, they know how to quote classical scholars and saints, and every scholars and every saints are saying, be careful from entering into this way. So many they have tried and so many can get injured and they die before they reach. They warned, correct? ‘don’t enter because this is the way of sacrifice, this is the way of hardship, this is the way of broken heartedness. This is the way where you have to break this, you have to break this over and over again, like rubaiyat, you have to break that vessel, that clay jar again and again.’
Allah is closer to us than our jugular vein. We are very far away from Him. Now, we have the intention that we want to remember Allah. Are we aware of the dirtiness that we are carrying? If we are aware and we know it’s very difficult to get rid of it, sometimes it is impossible, sometimes we see, ‘Allah, even when I pass from this world, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get rid of it unless Prophet (asws) gives shafaat.’ I’m being sincere, I’m being honest. Correct? Of course this is not to those ones who say, ‘no, no, no. I can get rid of my hidden ilah. I can get rid of my bad habits. So easy.’ Then we say, you can get rid of the habit but you still have arrogance in your heart. So now, are we aware of all that dirtiness? Yes, we are. Our concentration must be to make today better than yesterday. Just that. Don’t look at the end goal. Our today must be better than yesterday, tomorrow has to be better than today. There is mercy in that too.
Prophet (asws) did not just stop with saying, our today has to be better than yesterday. He says our tomorrow has to be better than today. Because there are so many times, we are trying our today to be better than yesterday, but it’s worse than yesterday. Correct? But there is still tomorrow. You see the mercy there? There is still tomorrow. So we make the intention at least. ‘Ya Rabbi, today I fail again. But tomorrow, I’m making intention for it to be better than today.’ Are we wrong in that intention? No. Are we going to be rewarded for the intention? Yes. And if we know, ‘today I messed up by this, this, and tomorrow I’ll try not to do that,’ is Allah going to deny us His mercy? No, He is not going to. Maybe tomorrow we make new wrong things that we are doing. Then there is another occasion, another chance for us to ask for tauba, and to make again tomorrow better than today. And it goes on and on.
The Dergah it is important. Only if you have that awareness. If you don’t believe and you are not aware that your Sheykh is always looking at you, or if you block, knowing that your Sheykh is looking at you but you are blocking it and you are putting it aside, in the Dergah if you become more aware of that, then that time, slowly you are going to have taqwa. Then you are going to say, ‘at least once a week, in the sohbet, I’m going to pay attention. My ego and my sheytan is going to play tricks on me, I’m going to knock them out, I’m going to force myself not, at least during the zikir time, I’m going to put my heart to it, I’m not going to care so much.’ At least you are going to find so many at least to say, ‘I cannot have that taqwa 24 hours, I cannot carry it, but at least I’m going to find the zikr, the sohbet, the jumma. Then you are going to move, at least the fajar. Then you are going to say, ‘at least every night, at least for the prayers, at least for this.’ Then you start doing it, pretty soon then you’ll find the majority of your time is just concern on how you look to Allah swt. Because you are concentrating on the words of your Sheykh. And the words of your Sheykh is nothing but teaching you, Muhammadur Rasulullah.
That’s why I get very upset with people 24 hours they are working in the dunya, seven days a week, one day a week that they are going to sit and just to remember Allah. We are not talking one hour, we are not talking five hours, we are talking about half and hour. Just to sit, just to say, ‘Ya Rabbi, You are never forgetting me but I’m always forgetting You. I just want to sit down here and I just want to be with You. Just to call You, just to be with You.’ And there are so many who can’t even carry that. They don’t want to. That’s why we don’t enter into this kind of sohbet often. Because it puts the responsibility on you, do you understand? Then we are saying, Holy days and Holy nights. If you cannot make it, at least make it for holy days and holy nights. Oh Murids, they have so many excuses, dunya is calling, ‘oh I have to go to this. My cousin is coming. This one is getting married. This one is this.’ Dunya is calling. But you are here to remember Allah. You have been created to know Allah. ‘Ohh, I can go to the wedding and still remember Allah.’ You are only fooling yourself. You understand? So easy. People are saying, ‘die before you die.’ What happens when you die? You are going to be with your cousin? You are going to attend wedding? You are going to go to places? No, when you die, what happens? You are alone. No matter how much your family loves you, your love ones love you, they are going to leave you and you’ll be alone, just with yourself.
Oh, the way of the Sufi, to die before you die. Eh, you cannot even cut yourself off for one two hours once a week. Or one two hours once every thirty days, forty days. So now, coming back to your question, how do we get this? We are nowhere near this. Don’t ask for it. Because if that look is on you, you cannot get away with it. So many people maybe they can get away with so many wrong things, but because they are looking at you, you cannot get away with it. You understand?
May Allah forgive me. May Allah bless all of you. That’s why, when our Sheykh was here physically, I respect and admire people who can be with him so much. Because I cannot. You know how it is. Imagine when you are doing something, you are eating for instance, then you see someone is staring at you, you feel comfortable or not? And the person you don’t even know. What if you are eating and you notice that, you are eating with, say, forty people, everyone is looking at you, do you feel comfortable? No.What if you are eating and your Sheykh is looking at you? You cannot eat that time. Because now that eating, you have to eat, but now he’s watching every step. He’s watching every beating of the heart. correct? If my Sheykh is watching me eat, the first thing I’m going to say, ‘oh, I didn’t say BismillahirRahmanirRahim with every mouthful. I’m not chewing with Allah, I’m not swallowing with Alhamdulillah, I’m in ghaflat.’ Do you understand? Yeah, maybe you can carry it maybe for five, ten minutes, but you definitely cannot carry it everyday. If you can carry that in that very simple action, do that for forty days, then you may ask for more. Then you may ask for more Taqwa.
I mentioned just two things. Because Sheykh Effendi, the Evliyaullah they mention two things. What are they? Eating and worshipping. That’s all. If you know how to eat properly, you know how to worship properly then it’s okay. Everything in between is nothing. We cannot even do that. I’m watching when people are eating at the Dergah, what they are doing, what they are busy with inside, what they are busy with, outside. Or they are dead, new style. Dead. With the nikmat of Allah, they eat, I’m looking even my chicken they have more appreciation of Allah, that they find something they get very excited. But regular people they are eating food, they become very sad when they are eating. Worse thing that you can do. The nikmat of Allah.
You see, so many things to think about. We are doing this everyday. Who thinks about that? Men or women. Ohhh, women when they start eating, Allah knows. Men too. It gets even worse. Sometimes they gossip sometimes they slander, sometimes they look and , ‘I don’t like this, I like this person, why is this person…’ so many things to think about. Do you understand? Now when you start thinking about those things and those actions, you don’t have to ask. You are going to know. You are going to feel. Even if you are eating, with whole bunch of people, you will feel that someone is staring at you. Right? You can feel that right? Good, we have not train ourselves to know that Allah is there with us. How can we not? We must have deaden our hearts.
So make your heart to become alive first. Remove all of that rust. Do you understand? Then be careful and pick the proper situation to have that. Otherwise this (sheykh points to the brain) will not be able to carry it. If you are not fixing it properly, if it’s too rusty so much power coming, it’ll just Zzzp…finish. WaminAllahu Taufiq. AlFatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz,
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
15 Zul Qaida 1437
August 18, 2016.