For Muslims, for believers, before we begin anything, we say, ‘Auzu billahi minashaitanir rajim.’ What that means is we seek refuge in our Lord, in our Creator, and we are calling our Lord and our Creator Allah. There’s not two Lords, or three Lords, or ten Lords, or one Lord fighting against another Lord. There’s only One Creator, as there is one human race. People may see the Creator with different eyes, they may have different names. Like Shakespeare says, ‘a rose by any other name smells just as sweet.’ So, we’re calling Him Allah. He is the same Lord that has created you and me, same Lord that has created Adam and Noah, and Ibrahim (Abraham), and Ismail and Isaac and Moses and Jesus. He is the Creator of everything in creation.
And in Islam, we say, ‘we seek refuge in our Lord, we run to our Lord from sheytan, from sheytan the accursed.’ I heard, for many centuries people are saying, as it is today, they are saying, ‘Islam is a religion of Satan, of the devil.’ I don’t hear any religion of the devil say, ‘I run to my Lord from the devil.’ It doesn’t make sense. But people who are stubborn and they are arrogant they usually don’t make sense. When you try to talk some sense into them, they say you are the devil. Because suddenly their reason comes and they say, ‘yeah, you know what? You may be right.’ ‘No, no, no, it cannot be. I’m not going to listen to you.’ They close off their ears.
Then, we say, ‘BismillahirRahmanirRahim.’ To begin anything, we must say, ‘in the name of our Lord, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.’ Our Lord, Allah swt, same Lord for you and for me. He has so many Names. Some of His Names is describing His characteristics. And it is said through us, through Sufism, through Tasawwuf, through the spirituality and the essence of Islam that Allah swt, He has one thousand Names. Three hundred Names mentioned in the Torah, in the Taurat. Three hundred Names is mentioned in the Zabur, in the Psalms of David. Three hundred Names mentioned in the Evangel, the Injil of Isa (a.s) and one hundred, ninety-nine, they are mentioned in the Quran e-Kerim, in the last Book, the last Testament. That Allah has sent to this world one hundred and twenty-four thousand Prophets that came to every race, every community, every people, bringing the same message, that there is only One Lord, and you are one people. This world is just a stopover, you came from a reality and you are going to return to that reality. Don’t get stuck in this world because this world does not have mercy on you, it will grind you.
And that same Lord, through different Prophets, different tongues, different languages, He has sent 104 Books. Not only four. Four major Books, like we mentioned, the Taurat, Zabur, Injil and Furqan, but one hundred what we call suhuf, leaves, pages, that He has sent to different Prophets at different times.Some Prophets, they were not given revelation, Books, or leaves. They take from what was left from them, from the previous Prophet, to teach. Some Prophets they have a handful of followers, some they may have thousands. But each was sent only to their people. But with the last Prophet, Muhammad (asws), he was sent to every people.
He was sent for the person in the east and to the west, north and to the south, the black and the white. He was not only sent to the Arabs. He was also sent to the Ajam, the non-Arabs. And he is the first and the last. So he is also known as the Seal of Prophethood because what he came with not only confirms and clarifies, but it seals the same message that was sent from the first Prophet.
So you see, in Islam, there are so many similarities with Christianity, with Judaism, because they come from the same line. But it is not as people say, Islam came from Christianity, or Islam came from Judaism. There is only one message. If you think that Islam came from Christianity or Judaism, that it derives from that, then why Christianity has no name and Judaism has no name and Islam has a name? Jesus did not come to say, ‘I come to bring you Christianity.’ Moses (a.s) peace be upon him, did not come to say, ‘I bring you Judaism.’ But Islam has its own identity, its own name, ‘this is Islam,’ in the Book, clearly.
So, we are coming from the same family. For those who wish to progress their spirituality and understand their relationship to their Lord better, then we say welcome to you. We’re not going to say that it is wrong, it is this, it is that. It reaches you to a certain level of understanding. But, beyond that, if you want to understand your Lord and you want to understand yourself better, then the way is through the last Prophet, Muhammad (asws), that he came to confirm and clarify. He did not come to contradict anything that was sent before. I’m not talking about just Christianity and Judaism. I’m talking about all the other religions that came before as well. Which is why, if you look at the spirituality of Islam, Sufism or Tasawwuf, you will find so many people from other religions as diverse as, say, Hinduism, or Buddhism, coming together to learn from the Sufi Sheykhs and the Sufi masters because now they understand that the source is pure and the source can be shared by everyone.
So, now, we begin by saying BismillahirRahmanirRahim. The Names of Allah, Rahman and Rahim. The Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful. Like I said, He has thousands of Names. One thousand is known to us. The other Names, you may have your own secret language to your Lord. You may call Him and you may praise Him in your own language. That is also acceptable. Now, out of all the Names, He has chosen these two. Rahman and Rahim. Rahman is Merciful and Rahim is Extremely Compassionate.
Then we begin in the name of Mercy and Compassion. We’re not beginning in the name of, say, the All-Powerful, or the Compeller. And the Saints they are saying to us that in the Names of Rahman and Rahim is contained all thousand Names, and you mention that.
Now, our brother asked us a question. And he said, our Grandsheykh, Sheykh Maulana Nazim Adil Hakkani, may Allah raise his station, he has said in his sohbet, in his talks, that the essence of religion it is edep. The essence of religion, it is manners. It is not deeds. It is not how much you do, how much you observe, it is not what you observe. It is manners. It is edep. And he is asking, now, what is the essence of edep? If, say, you can simplify edep to, say, what is manners? Then, how do we say that? How can we understand that?
You see, Allah swt has said in the Quran e-Kerim, the reason of our creation it is to know Him and to worship Him. That is the reason of our creation. The most important, the paramount reason of our creation is to know Allah and to worship Him. It is not to be born to this world to be a doctor, a lawyer, a businessman, and then to die. That is not the reason of our creation. It is to know Him and it is to worship Him. Everything else that we are doing in this world that is going to help us to know Him, and knowing Him it is not just confined to one way, only if you’re religious you’re going to know Him, no. It’s not only confined to if only you’re intelligent and you know a lot and you study a lot, then you’re going to know Him, no. To know Allah, which the reason of our creation, the only creatures that He has created to know Him. He did not create the Angels or the animals or any other creature to know Him, but only mankind, because we have been created to be His representatives. And the way to know Allah, as the Prophet said, is to know ourselves. The one who knows himself, he knows his Lord. And this is part of spirituality, this is Sufism.
Now, this is not dogma. You say this, the one who knows himself knows his Lord, you don’t have to be a Muslim to understand and to accept this. You can be a believer, you can be an unbeliever. The one who doesn’t accept this is the one who is stubborn and arrogant. The one who is foolish, the one who is ignorant and the one who is heedless, the one who is stubborn, and all those qualities, you can find in the most religious people and all those qualities you can find in the most irreligious people.So now, what is edep, what is manners?
Manners is to know yourself. Do you understand? Let me give you a simple example. It is good manners, for instance, in Islam, in Sufism, it is good manners, now, when you are eating, not to waste food. It is good manners, now when you take the food and you eat, and you only reach for the food that is in front of you, you don’t overreach. It is good manners, now, to finish everything that is on your plate. Not to waste. It is good manners, Prophetic manners to, even, take a piece of bread and to clean your plate of every trace of food, and to eat it. Who are you showing good manners to? Ultimately, to your Lord, because He is your Provider. One of His Names is Razzaq, the One who Provides, the One who Sustains. To show manners to Him, that, ‘you have given me this, that right now, millions may not have what I have. Now, to show You my thanks, I show You my manners, treating what You have given me with respect, not to waste it.’
That action of not wasting, that action of cleaning your plate, that action of giving respect to the food, that action becomes worship. That action becomes worship. You are not required to go up and down, you’re not required to fast, you’re not required to… that action because you’re making a direct connection with what is in front of you, with the one who is providing you that, with your Lord, you start to have manners. You start to have intelligence.
The reason of our creation is to know our Lord. We cannot know our Lord if we don’t know ourselves. We cannot know our Lord, we cannot worship Him if we don’t know Him. Now, for you to know yourself, this is part of manners. In any given situation, you’re going to see, ‘who am I in this situation?’ Your brain must always be working. You must always question, but yourself. You’re coming into a situation where you don’t know so many people. Everybody, for example, is standing up. Now, you see, that is the manner there. The Sheykh comes, for example, and everybody stands up. Now, the man may say, ‘well, I don’t know the customs here. I’m not going to stand up.’ The one who is a visitor, he is exempt from everything. He is a visitor. Especially if he is a visitor and he has maybe, some sort of an excuse, or a reason or an ailment. That’s perfectly fine. He’s not required to do anything. He’s not on the same place requirements of everything. But now, if there is another Muslim, or there is another murid, a follower of our Sheykh, and he sees something being done that the majority that they are doing, as being taught by his Sheykh and being taught by the Prophet, and he’s not doing it, that is showing bad manners. And that is showing very low intelligence, because what happens if he just does it without knowing why? What’s the worse that can happen? Nothing. What’s the best that can happen? That action, maybe, brings so much blessings. Because to love those whom Allah loves, Allah says, ‘that is what you can do for Me.’
So, the one that is a murid must learn manners. He must know himself and he must know his surroundings. He must know the people around him, he must know the world that we are living in, and he must know the world that he came from and the world that he’s going to. He must then know his relationship to these things. He must.
Prophet (asws) said, ‘treat everyone according to their station.’ Now, we’ve been taught, ‘treat everyone equally.’ In some ways, that is true. In some ways, that is deficient. Because you cannot treat everyone equally. Equality is a concept. It’s a mathematical concept. You can say, ‘one apple plus another apple equals to two apples.’ But you are supposing that the two apples, they are equal. But it’s not. One apple is like this, one apple is like that. Every apple, if you look at it, it is completely different from that other. Every apple is individual. Every blade of grass is an individual. Every step that you take is an individual. Every raindrop and every snowflake, there is no two. Everything is testifying the Oneness of our Lord. So, what does it mean, now, to treat everyone equally? Even the fingers of our hand, they are not equal. And what happens if they are equal? You cannot use it. What it means is to treat everyone fairly. It is not equal. But what is fairly?
Prophet (asws) said simply, 1400 years ago, ‘treat everyone according to their station.’ You cannot treat that seven-year-old boy the way you treat a seventy-year-old man. If you treat him as you would treat a seventy-year-old man that would be foolishness. If you treat a seventy-year-old man as you would treat a seven-year-old kid that is disrespect, that is tyranny. So, now, the responsibility for a person who has manners is to know, ‘who am I addressing? Who am I speaking to?’ not to put that person down and to say, ‘I am up.’ That is completely not in Tarikat, not in Sufism. But to say, ‘what fits his station? How am I going to speak to him? How am I going to respond to this situation around me? How am I going to respond to Allah?’ That time, you have to be under training of a Sheykh to awaken that, to awaken your heart, to know what is manners and what is not manners. And they will teach you certain principles. They are not going to hold you in a classroom. They speak, you do your work, you live your life, you remember the sohbet, and you consider, and you think, and that is the time you’re going to awaken, and that is the time that the answers they are going to come to you.
You don’t need any one to tell you, you don’t need to read books, then. Because in Sufism, what is necessary now is that you read your own book. You read your heart. Like what we said yesterday, how are we going to say, how are we going to testify to the greatness of Allah if we don’t understand the greatness of the Prophet (asws)? So many, they are not understanding the greatness of Allah. They say, ‘Lord? He’s just like anyone else. He’s my father.’ Bringing Allah, our Creator, to our level. I even went to a place where I saw these religious people, making a prayer to Allah and saying, ‘O Lord, our God, make us to be Your co-Creators in this world that we are living in.’ Maybe to their understanding, it’s to do the work of Allah. But to be co-Creators, that is reserved only for Him.
You can, maybe, take this (Sheykh holds up a saucer), then later you make this into something else, but you cannot make something from nothing. No man can. That is the condition of our Creator. We cannot now know the greatness of our Creator if we don’t know the greatness of our Prophet. And the greatness of our Prophet (asws), you will not be able to understand if you don’t know the greatness of that guide, his waris, his inheritor that is in front of you. What happens when you understand his greatness? You will understand what Allah has created you for, not your own weakness.You will understand the highness, the honor that Allah has created us for. The servant becomes a Sultan. The more that you are training yourself, becoming nothing, more Allah is going to make you to be something. More that you’re zero, Allah that is One is going to put one in front of your zero, you become ten. More you’re going to put another zero to there, you say, ‘I don’t want this,’ you’re bringing yourself down again. You’re putting another zero. Then it’s going to be one hundred. Every time you put yourself down, Allah is going to raise you high.
InsyaAllah, we are here to understand ourselves. We’re not here to fight; we’re not going to argue. We’re here to read our heart and we’re here to try to sincerely live this life according to the teachings of our Sheykh and our Prophet. Anybody who wants to join us, you are welcome. Wa min Allahu Taufiq, 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.