The act of just cutting the animal, sacrificing, it is very easy to do. But the meaning of it, we have to understand that before we commit that action, when we are doing it and after, because if we don’t understand the meaning of Kurban, it becomes just another ritual. When it becomes just another ritual, a ritual, something that used to have meaning, but that meaning is lost, people are just doing it continually out of habit.
That’s exactly what is happening now. There’s a great spiritual lesson to be learned from the sacrifice, from the Kurban, from Eid ul-Adha. We just heard the Khutbah. That is just the tip of the iceberg of what the Kurban is. Because if we just look at it as just taking an animal, cutting it, and distributing the meat, it is something that is so trivial, something that is so simple that why do you have to do it on that day? You can do it on any day. Or some too intelligent Muslims saying, ‘why do we have to cut animal? We can just give it to charity, the money.’
So, if there is no connection, first, to the history, if you’re not connected to your history, this is our history, this is not just the history of Hz Ibrahim (a.s.). This is our history. If you’re not connected to your history, because we are the product of history, we didn’t just come like that, we came from them, then anything that you do, even if it is something that is Holy, something that is sacred, if you’re not connected to the history, you don’t know the meaning, it just becomes empty. You’re just doing it for empty reasons.
What is the meaning, that the animal is sacrificed? Let me give you a small understanding of that. We are not scholars; we are not claiming to know so many things, but we are following Friends of Allah, and we’re here trying to understand what they understand because they understand what the Holy Prophet (asws) understands. So, what is the meaning, now, of that sacrifice? If we look, on that day itself, when Hz Ibrahim (a.s.), with Hz Ismail, his firstborn son, Hz Ibrahim was sacrificing his son for the sake of Allah. Hz Ibrahim who has been worshiping, who is a Friend of Allah, Khalilullah, Close Friend of Allah, who is the father of Prophets, who is one of the highest Prophets that Allah swt has ever sent, that his whole life was made to be a sacrifice, because when he was born and Nimrud, who had a dream, it’s a long story, but let me give you just a short version.
He had the dream that this presence, this star was going to come, and it’s going to cover all the other lights with that light, and he asked his magicians and his sorcerers what the meaning is and everyone is just saying, ‘oh, it’s you,’ praising him, but he knew there was something not right there, and someone told him, ‘the meaning of that is someone is going to be born, and that one is going to take away your kingdom and bring you down.’
So, Hz Ibrahim (a.s.), when he was born, he was born at that time when Nimrud gave the order that every child that was born in that period of time is to be completely killed, sacrificed, and his mother, who was very old at that time too, she was guided by Hz Jibril (a.s.) to walk, and she gave birth in a cave in Damascus, very far away, although it looks like it’s just a few minutes walk. The time and the space is folded. She gave birth, that whole cave became her garden. Angels were there to instruct him. He grew up understanding and knowing his Lord.
So, later when his father, but not his father-father, that was his uncle, because no Prophets become from parents who are unbelievers. No Prophets. And in our tradition, they also call the uncle the father, especially someone who is raising you. His uncle was a maker of idols and, long story, he cut all the idols, one he couldn’t cut because it was made of gold and silver, he put the axe there and people come in after their carnival, drunk, and they say, ‘who did this to our idols?’ and he says, ‘why don’t you ask him, the golden idol that has the axe in his hand?’ then, word reached, ‘this is going to be, this is the child that is going to challenge Nimrud.’ Hz Ibrahim (a.s.), at that time, he was young. He was not fifty. He was young. He was a teenager, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old. And he had no one. He was alone. He had no one. They made the fire, they threw him inside; the fire turned into a piece of Jannat.
So, looking at that act of cutting that animal, the meaning of Hz Ibrahim’s life and his sacrifice which, later on, Hz Ibrahim’s life when he got married, later when he was traveling in Egypt, certain events happened and he got Hz Hajar and she was coming from royalty. But she was caught, captured, and made to serve in the Firaun’s house. Because at that time too, even the Firauns and the Kings and the royalty, in the old days, their servants are royalty. It is not common people. Their servants are royalty. Captured from here and from there.
So, that was made, she was gifted to him, he took, and he was very, he was approaching very old age, and him and his wife, Hz Sarah, when the young one was given, Hz Hajar, and his prayer was answered, and his prayer was to have progeny, to have children, for what, for himself, for his family? To further his tribe, to further his ambitions? His only prayer was to have children and grandchildren to continue his mission, which is to call people to Allah.
Then Allah swt gave him a son. Then the order came. ‘Sacrifice your son.’ You understand how difficult this is? ‘Sacrifice your son.’ And Ismail (a.s.), Sheykh Effendi has said that he was sacrificed around the age of seven years old. And at that age, the little boy becomes like a copy of the father and the love between the two is very strong. Everything the father does, he’s going to copy. Sitting like that, he sits like that. He’s like a little man already.
So, after leaving them, Hz Hajar and Hz Ismail when he was born, leaving them there, visiting them, losing his son, then the order finally came to kill his son, to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah, and he did not question. So he took, and when he took the knife that he had sharpened, and he placed it on Hz Ismail’s throat, because he was facing, he put the son in front of him like that, face up, and he was cutting and Hz Ismail says, ‘my father, turn me around, because I know that you cannot bear to look at me when you are sacrificing me, so turn me around and go from the back, you’re in the back, cut my throat. So that way you’re not going to be so hurt.’
And Hz Ibrahim (a.s.) he took the knife and he cut Hz Ismail’s throat. He cut. It wasn’t, as some people are saying, ‘oh, it’s just a test, ok, ok,’ no, no. He cut. But the knife did not cut. Can you imagine what he had to go through? The torture and the sacrifice, which so many people today, they have to go through so much torture and sacrifice for their children, for their loved ones. He pulled it didn’t cut. And he cut again it didn’t cut. Every year, we cut animals up there. You understand how painful it is just to watch if someone is cutting and the knife is not sharp enough to cut, correct? Imagine it is your child. This is real. Your child and you’re cutting, it’s not cutting. He pulled it again. He cut it again. But it didn’t cut seventy times.
So, this sacrifice, it is not the spilling of blood. The sacrifice is emptying this heart of any love except for Allah. After he pulled it seventy times and it didn’t cut, in his frustration, he threw the knife and the knife landed on a piece of boulder, a big rock, and it split the rock in two and that was when the sheep, the ram was brought from Paradise, from the time of Hz Adam (a.s.), from the time of Habil and Qabil, when Habil offered the best ram for the sake of Allah, and Qabil was taking care of the and the gardens and produce from the ground, he just gave whatever is lying on the floor for the sake of Allah. So when we talk about Hz Ibrahim (a.s.) and what to do for Kurban, the story, it didn’t even begin there, there’s a story beyond them, before them. And we are continuing that story.
So that ram came, there was a time when, what we are reciting, ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La illaha ill Allahu Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa illah il-hamd,’ because Ibrahim (a.s.), when he was going to pull the knife, he says, ‘Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.’ And Ismail (a.s.) then replied, responded, ‘La illaha ill Allah, Allah Akbar.’ Then, the angel came with that ram, ‘wa illah il-hamd.’ And that ram was then made, from the time of Adam (a.s.), to be a sacrifice in place of his Hz Ismail. And the ram that we’re sacrificing, the sheep, the animals we are sacrificing is just a copy of that copy.
Understand properly. Sheykh Effendi said, Awliya Allah they are saying, ‘Allah swt with His Mercy, if he did not substitute Hz Ismail with that ram from Hz Habil, as his millet, as his nation, until judgment day we’ll have to follow his sunnat of sacrificing our first born son.’
So, now, we think we are sacrificing, we are doing something for the sake of Allah. But Allah is reminding us of His Mercy, that what we think we’re sacrificing, that we are giving up, it’s not that we are giving up something. He is giving us. When we are sacrificing our heart, kicking out all those idols, as Ibrahim (a.s.) he finished all those idols, that when he built the Ka’aba, the Baitullah, that this heart is our Baitullah, that we are building it, the day of Kurban must make us to understand that this is our purpose. And that just to cut the animal that is just a small sign, small sign.
Of course I’m not saying it’s trivial. But I’m saying there’s so many signs, this is just one sign that must make us to understand and realize what we are sacrificing to take away the idols, and what we are building for the sake of Allah, to return to him. So, what is it that we have to do for Kurban? First you have to understand this. How many are understanding this? But you never heard something like this before. We never did until we met Sheykh Effendi. Of course it’s not coming from us, it’s coming from him.
So now, your whole understanding of just taking an animal and cutting and distributing it, that is just a small sign of something that is really huge. So, now you’re not going to ask questions like, ‘why can’t you just give money, give charity?’ Then you are going to understand that you are part of a very huge Divine History and you’re part of a very huge Divine Future. You feel yourself connected. And when you start to prepare yourself for all of this, with this, there are so many things to prepare, but with this kind of understanding you’re going to approach these days and then act with a completely different understanding and heart and attitude, everything it’s different. Your hajj is going to be different too. The actions that you’re going to make will be filled with, what we talked about earlier? Tafakkur.
Because you can just take the animal and cut. You can just run mindlessly from Safa to Marwa. You can just mindlessly go around the Ka’aba. Or, if it’s not mindless, you’re just thinking different things, or you can be thinking you love Allah too. But if you’re not making the proper connection, not the proper blessings are going to come for you to understand. Because the reality is, a person has to return from the Holy Land to become what? To become Holy. But we see millions going, millions returning, but the world is becoming worse. I don’t mean things that are just controlled by geopolitics. I’m talking about households. Communities, towns. It’s not becoming better because they’re looking at these things as just rituals. Ritual means you can substitute one for the other. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a thing; it’s just an action.
So, we said this so many times. Just to understand, in these days of Kurban that we have to sacrifice our ego, first we have to destroy the idols that is in our heart. Then we have to sacrifice our ego. That is enough for a believer, for him to think for the rest of his life what that means, and what is that idol that he is destroying and what is his ego that he sacrificed. Do you understand?
So, I’m not going to tell you what are the actions that you are going to do about Kurban, or the zikr that you’re supposed to do or the ghusul, the putting on surma, or this or that, that you can find anywhere. But all those again, they are actions. I’m not saying that these actions they are not important. They are important. You should do that. You must do that. But if it doesn’t have meaning, you don’t know why you’re doing it, it becomes very empty. It becomes empty. Millions are going to go to stone the sheytan. You think sheytan is there? They are doing that at the spot where, when Hz Ibrahim (a.s.) with Hz Ismail they were walking and then sheytan tried to talk to both of them, to convince them that, ‘this is a wrong decision. The voices that you heard, how do you know that it is your Lord? Why is your father bringing you somewhere? He’s probably going to do something terrible to you.’ And they didn’t listen. So they took some stones and they threw it. And don’t think that what they threw is just those stones too.
They threw at three different spots. Now, millions are going to go there, thinking that sheytan is there. And they are throwing, to destroy sheytan. Sheytan is inside of you. He is not so stupid to stand there waiting to be stoned. Are we understanding that the sheytan that is inside of us that we want to stone, that we want to get rid of, that we want to repel? So many people say, ‘what, me? I have sheytan inside of me? Astarghfirullah.’ They’re going to get very offended if you say, ‘sheytan is inside of you.’ Correct? Majority of the people, you go up to them and you tell them, ‘sheytan is inside of you,’ they’re going to get very offended. But this is not Sufi talk. The Holy Prophet (asws) says, ‘sheytan flows in the veins of the children of Adam.’ If you don’t identify that first, that sheytan and your ego inside of you, to repel that, to prepare yourself, to kick that, to stone that, then that action is just empty.
Like what Sheykh Effendi said, when you throw, you must think, ‘this is the sheytanic quality that I have to throw, that I have to get out from myself. When I get angry, I get drunk and I want to destroy,’ take that anger, throw it out from you. ‘I get greedy, I don’t think about anything else. I just want what I want,’ take that out. Make that intention, and be serious, to throw it out from you. Which means, for the hajj, you have to prepare your whole life for it. In the old days, they prepare their whole lives for the hajj. They don’t give a couple of hundred dollars to go to a package orientation, or training camp for hajj, to be trained for the hajj. They spent their whole lives. Because we are going to Baitullah.
As Sheykh Mawlana is saying, yes, of course Allah’s presence is there. You are saying, ‘how can He say, ‘come to My house’ and He is not there?’ Of course His presence is there. It’s not empty. But what are you going to come with? What are you going to bring with you to the presence of your Lord? How many are thinking? If you ask them, ‘have you prepared yourself for the hajj?’ They say, ‘yes,’ ‘what have you prepared?’ ‘I’ve brought my credit cards, I have my ihram, I have everything, I have my cell phone,’ definitely, because hajj is now time for taking selfies.
They are more concerned at how other people look at them than Allah. Selfies everywhere, and usually, when they take selfies, they are in front and the Ka’aba is behind. They are in front and the maqam of the Prophet is behind. They are – always them, ego is in front, and the Holiness it is behind them, they standing, showing their back to it and taking and showing to the whole world, but they don’t care what Allah is seeing, what His angels are seeing, how the Prophets are there and they are seeing and the Awliya Allah they are seeing.
So, now the whole time, before the hajj, you’re not prepared, what kind of hajj that’s going to be, and what kind of Hajji you’re going to be when you come back? You’re going to become even more donkey. Some they just get drunk. Because you are at that level. You just want to be drunk with the love and the closeness of Allah. Prophet (asws) was never drunk. Even when he’s in Kaaba Kausain, he was not drunk. He came back to do what? To bring his ummat back.
So those who think, ‘oh, Hajj is just feeling very good, and I miss, I need to go back there,’ then you’re not following your Prophet. Because your Prophet (asws) he came back. But not from the hajj. From the Miraj, from Divine Presence, to come back and to bring the Ummat and to show the way.
So, there are things that we need to prepare ourselves for. Then that time, when we take off the ihram, when you take off the ihram, when you sacrifice and you take off the ihram, when you wear your regular clothes again, a regret must come to you that you’re coming back to this asfala safileen, to this lower world again. But, now, you’re not going to carry the ihram around. You’re going to carry it inside. You are going to understand this and you’re going to carry it inside of you. Your shroud. If people are doing this properly, the light that each Hajji can bring from the Haramain, it will destroy every darkness in this world. Just by their own shining example of a one who was there in the presence of his Lord, who says labbaik, and who was there in the presence of his Lord and he comes back and when he shows his face everyone says, ‘this one was in the presence of his Lord.’ And they take from that.
People are stuck with ritual. People are saying, ‘you should go, everyone should go, should go, should go, should go,’ for empty. May Allah accept our weak service. Wa min Allahu Taufiq. Al Fatiha. Selam Aleykum.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
7 Zul Qaida 1437
September 9, 2016.