Question: I benefit from the Sheykh’s sohbet and zikr immensely. I would like to take bayah but am afraid. Why do I have fears to take bayah?
It’s a good question, you should ask yourself why you have a fear. But maybe I should share something from my own experience, because the Holy Prophet (asws) says, ‘the best knowledge is the knowledge that you experience.’ That’s why, in the way of Tasawwuf, it is forbidden to even speak about things, in reality that you have not experienced. You cannot speak.
When I met our Sheykh, it took me a while to take bayat, to have a pledge of allegiance, to be initiated. I was hesitant. There was some fear there. The initial fear of, ‘oh, are you sure this is the right one? What if it’s a…’ everything, all those things are answered very easily. Then you discover that this fear, a lot of it is not deep, is not real, because to find the answers to those questions, it’s very simple and it’s there.
But is your fear just based on something that you just don’t want to let go, it’s something else. If your fear is based on just your own experience and paranoia, then that’s something else. But if your fear is based on something that is real, what is real is in front of you. ‘What if the person cheats me?’
Is there proof? Look. And the Quran e-kerim is speaking, saying, ‘follow those who ask you no fee.’ It’s a very simple but very profound verse. ‘Follow those who ask you no fee and who themselves they are rightly guided.’ Sheykh Effendi opening it up saying, ‘they have reached to the station of safety.’ So not only those who ask you no fee, and fee doesn’t mean just money, it means that they are asking you and they are demanding your loyalty or your love. Meaning they need something from you and they want something from you. Don’t follow those.
But the second part is, ‘they have reached to the level of safety.’ So, that’s simple. They’re asking a fee, is he needing, is he wanting? Is he saying, ‘you have to do this,’ so many, in that first, that most basic idea of fee, they have already failed, because these days everything they ask for a fee. You want spirituality there is a fee. You want conference there is a fee. You want meditation there is a fee. Oh, administration fees, this fee, that fee, doesn’t matter, there is a fee. But that is, like I said, the lowest form. The understanding of that, that one is not in need of it and does not want. His need is only from Allah or from his Prophet or from his Sheykh. So, look at that and answer truthfully. Because those ones, their foreheads are open and they’re showing everything.
Then what else is his fear about? For me, that fear was knowing that my whole life is going to change, if I am sincerely wanting to follow, my life has to change. I know, not deep, deep, down inside. It’s just surface level. I know my life has to change. Because when you look at the one you’re going to follow, whether it’s a teacher or a professor or a master at a skill or an art or a profession, when you first meet him, you already know how much you want to follow. There is a pull there. And as much as you follow that one, you know that there are certain things that you have to lose, your identity, you knowledge, in order to get the identity and the knowledge of that one that he is holding.
So, it took me a while, because I know that my whole life has to change and I don’t know if I am ready for that or not and I’m not the kind of person who is going to commit to something like that and then later I say, ‘aah, this is too hard,’ and to drop it. This is just me.
So, it took me a while. But then I discover that fear, that hesitation, that trepidation, it’s not really real anyway. It’s not true. I’m not being realistic. I’m not being sincere. Because, I know the way is good. I know his teachings are good, Sheykh Effendi is teaching me to become a good person, and trying to be a good servant to Allah. I know my hesitation, my trepidation is not real because I’m taking to long to decide. Whereas, to follow someone else, something else, a desire, to make the wrong decisions in my life I didn’t even hesitate for one second sometimes. I didn’t need to sit down, to consider, and those decisions that I took that were wrong, it definitely changed my life.
So, what am I afraid of? Then, slowly I start to understand the ego that is inside that is going a little bit panicky, because now, you’re starting on this journey of what? Submission, when you put your trust in someone, you get on that boat and you say, ‘I’m not rowing this. I’m going to sit now. I tried to row this all my life, I’m not reaching anywhere. I nearly drowned, capsized many times. Now, I’m giving you the oars and I’m just sitting down here.’ Of course people may say, like I said before, ‘oh, just to give up trust like that is difficult, it’s understandable,’ but how many times have we give our trust to complete strangers?
How many times we’re giving our trust, not even thinking that we’re trusting? How many times we trust that when we enter into that airplane or that train or that bus we trust that it will take us from point A to point B, that we trust that the person in front there, he is legitimate, that he can bring us to destination? How many times? But there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee that that person is going to take us from point A to point B. So many times in the world, people don’t even reach to their destination.
So, now, if I know something is good, why I am hesitating? Oh, because the ego does not like. Sheytan certainly doesn’t like. When it’s something that my ego is attracted to, I don’t hesitate, ‘why not? It’s fun, it’s great, doesn’t matter.’ But if it something good, I hesitate. So, we take leaps of faith in matters of the desires, but we don’t take the leap of faith to follow someone that is good, that we know is going to bring us to goodness. There is something wrong there. So I said, ‘no. I have jumped so many times, let me jump now too.’
Of course, I’m not trying to be macho to my ego to say, ‘I’m doing the right thing, I’m going to destroy you, I’m going to,’ no. Sheykh Effendi has put in my heart that I know a little bit of myself, I say, ‘no, no, no, no, no, let’s just try this. If you don’t like it, you can leave it.’ I kept telling myself, although I’ve made the commitment because if you tell your ego, ‘no. That’s it. No more,’ the ego is going to go crazy.
The ego is saying, ‘what? All these ten, twenty, thirty years I’m your master, directing you. Suddenly you’re going to take over just like that? Haah, I’m going show you.’ That why some people they become too gung-ho like that, their ego hits back and they leave everything, because they don’t know how to fight against to that enemy. You cannot fight against to that enemy if you don’t have the proper training and the proper arms to engage that enemy.
These are some of the fears that I had. I’m not saying everything and I’m not surprised if you say you recognize maybe a little bit of what I went through, it’s what you are going through but there is, we are not here to collect people and we are not here to try to convince people. We have something to offer from our Sheykh, if you like, come, stay. Welcome to those who come, farewell to those who leave. Asalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
6 Zul Hijja 1437
September 8, 2016.