How do you follow your Sheykh? Not just by watching. You have to do. You have to do. You have to see, ‘he walks like that. I’ll try to walk like that. He thinks like that, I’ll have to think like that,’ every time you try to think yourself differently, you’re going to remember, ‘why don’t I try thinking like that?’
To be in sohbet, to be in communication, in Jamaat, it is important because that is the time you’re going to get the real training too. You coming, you’re trying to learn. As much as you observe, as much as you do, that much you’re going to get. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have to stay here for a long time to get it. The more you observe, the more intelligent you are, the easier you’re going to pick up certain things. Because what? Because you’re not being lazy.
Tarikat, Sufism is not for lazy people who don’t think. Always you have to question. After you question, then you have to put it in your life. You sit and you think. Then that time, closer that you are moving to your Sheykh, more he’s going to train you. Then you come to a time when there are certain things that you do and he is going to guide you, maybe in the beginning, he says, ‘very good.’ Later he says, ‘eh, it’s not so good.’ Then, where is our ego? Our ego is going to say, ‘I’m doing so much and he’s saying it’s not so good?’ But what is he there to do? to praise you or to guide you? He’s not doing it for himself. He’s there to make you to rise to higher stations, to better understanding. And there may be some understandings that you don’t see, you’re trying, trying, trying to logically reason it out, but we are all creatures of habit, no? You think it’s going to be so easy to break the habit just because you think you want to break it? It’s not. Here, we are talking about thought, we’re talking about attitude, we’re talking about behavior, we’re talking about intentions, now. You understand?
It is pretty much a systemic change. Now, later you’ll do something and he may say, ‘everything you do is wrong.’ Then, you have to sit and you have to understand and you have to know. How do you want to do it? You want to do it with yourself, by yourself, then it’s okay. But if you want to do it the way that the friends of Allah do it, it’s not going to be so easy. If you want to do it the way that the Prophets they do it, it’s going to be very difficult. It’s difficult for your ego. You understand? Fasting, for example. We finished the fasting of one month. Fasting, some also, they fast in certain days that we just passed, the days of Kurban. Fast. Because to fast on the day before Kurban, it expiates two years of sins, wrongdoings that you have done, the year before and the year that is coming. Now, fasting, it is to stay away from food and drink and certain other activities from sunrise to sundown. That is the basic level of fasting. Anyone can do that. Correct? Now, that is the fasting of your animal self. You tie up an animal, you don’t give it food and water, that animal is also fasting. You’re just controlling your animal self, that’s all. But we are more than our animal self. We have what is called our nafs as well, our ego, and there is a fasting of the spirit.
Because we are not our animal selves, we are a spirit. We have been sent to assume this form just for a certain number of years in this, but before that, for thousands of years, for maybe millions of years, yes, in a time before time, we existed without this form, and we were not in need of food and drink, and in the future, we are not going to be in need of food and drink, after we pass from this world. So, then there is the fasting of those who say, ‘it is not just staying away from food and drink. Now, I must watch what I speak. I must fast from saying foolish, wrong things, hurtful things, unnecessary things.’ It doesn’t have to be bad. It can also be good, but it’s unnecessary, foolish talk. Because now, this condition of fasting, it is to remember your Lord, to be in remembrance of your Lord. Now, you are going to see, ‘fasting, just food and drink, but if I don’t remember my Lord, then what’s the use of fasting, then?’ So, those ones who have high Himmet, they have high spiritual ambitions, they say, ‘it’s not just about food and drink,’ which so many people they do, then after the sun comes down, they jump into the food and the drink, they have a feast. What’s the use of a feast after you fasted? Isn’t the whole point to curb your ego?
Now, you are going to say, ‘I must fast, I must watch what I speak. Not only that, I must watch what I see. Things that are not pleasing to my Lord, I’m going to be very careful to stay away from. I’m going to fast from what I hear. I’m going to fast from the actions that I’m doing.’ So now, with all those senses, let’s say, you’re trying to stop from doing all the wrong things. But there’s a fast that is higher than that. And that fast, now, if you are forgetting about your Lord, then that fast is not so good. It’s not just being a good person, but it is to always to be in remembrance and in need of your Lord, to be in close sohbet with your Lord. You understand?
So now there are different, different levels. You want to learn manners? Don’t look at what you’re already good at. Look at what you’re bad at. Fix that. Because the enemy does not come through the front door, the enemy always comes through the weakest part of the house; the enemy always attacks the weakest link in the chain. So, look to that. Maybe for some people, ‘it’s when I get arrogant, when I get defensive. I’m not going to listen to anything.’
‘Oh, it happened because I was young, this happened, that happened,’ you can have any excuse that you want but that is a weakness there. Somebody points out that you did something wrong, you’re going to be very defensive and you’re not going to accept anything, even if it were true.
Or your weak point is that you’re a nice person, you’re a good person, but you are not being, say, generous enough to people. Or you are too attached to the things that you love and you don’t share. That happens too. I don’t necessarily mean just money. It can be your time. It can be your clothes, it can be your car, it can be something that you fall in love with, that it’s just, you are attached so much to it, and that becomes a weakness. And the Sheykh now, just like a doctor, is going to read you, diagnose you. He’s going to say, ‘the weakness is here, is here, is here, is here.’ Sometimes he’s going to be straight, sometimes he’s not going to be.
So, once you know that, if you realize that, and this is the Way of subtlety also. Sheykh Effendi is not going to say, ‘you have this, that, this that.’ We all have it. if he talks about proudness of a person or stubbornness of a person, we all share it. Now, it is our responsibility to say, ‘where is my proudness coming from? Where is this heedlessness, I become heedless, I’m just so careless, where is this coming from?’ You look at that, and you fix.
That is when tafakkur enters. Meditation. Not to sit and to pretend that you are someplace else, but to look at your life and to look at your day and to look at your intention and to look at your action. Understand? And that time, look at your action then look at what our Sheykh is showing us. This is also a subtle way, more you are in close contact with your Sheykh, more he is able to adjust certain things. Sometimes he’s going to say, sometimes he’s not going to say. But he’s working on you. May Allah accept our ibadat and our sincere actions, InsyaAllah. We are weak ones. We are not claiming to be anything. But, important, we have to be sincere. We have to try as much as we can. Anything good that is coming is coming from our Lord. Anything that is bad, it is coming from our ego. May Allah forgive us, InsyaAllah. Al Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
14 Zul Hijja 1437
September 16, 2016.