To be in a Jamaat, Jamaat means community. The word in Islam it means Jamaat, community. Allah is Jami, the One who brings people together. People can be brought together for any reason in the world. It doesn’t mean that the group of people who come together, they are good. People are coming together to destroy other people. People are coming together to curse other people, correct? People are coming together to build walls. People are coming together to have hate and racism. This is also coming together, this is also community, but is this the kind of community that any spiritual tradition is talking about? No.
People can come together for good things. People can come together, also, for soccer. People can come together to have a Jamaat for cooking. People can come together to form a Jamaat, form a community for their own desires, for this world, for ego and for sheytan. But that doesn’t mean that these Jamaats, these communities it is blessed, it is encouraged by Allah swt. We are coming here together for what? First you have to know. The Khutbah is also saying we must come together, Allah wants us to be together, to not divide. But what it is that is not going to divide? He says come together and to unite what? The hearts. Skin color may not be in unity. Doesn’t matter too much. Language, doesn’t matter too much. Interest, doesn’t matter too much. But the heart, the heart must come together because the heart is the most important thing. Now, if the hearts are together and still you are a little bit separated from each other because of your language, because of your interest, because of your attitude, because of your knowledge, doesn’t matter too much because the hearts they are together. This is the most important thing.
Community, a Jamaat is not, like they say in English, we’re not aiming for utopia. We’re not aiming for Paradise here on earth where everybody lives completely perfectly. It is not. This world is not perfect. Our lives are not perfect. And we have the traditions of the 124,000 Prophets, they are Prophets, with their nations and with each other, to show that there will always be some form of difference, but you can use that difference to divide or you can use that difference to also unite. The Prophet (asws) also said ‘differences in my community, it is a blessing to my community. Differences in my community, it is a Rahmat.’ Why is that? Now, you see, in the ways of doing, in the ways of Shariat, in the ways of the physical laws, religious laws of our Islam, following the way of the Prophet, the Ahle Sunnah way, there are four Mahzabs, four schools of thought. They are not sects. People always make that mistake, just as people make the mistake about commune and a community, a group of people together and utopia, they make the difference. So, Mahzabs is not a sect. A sect is one group that is against to another group or one group that came off from another group and that divides itself again and again and again, and they don’t necessarily see things eye to eye. They don’t agree with each other. And when it comes to sect, especially in religion, usually it comes to war, it comes to violence.
These are four schools of thought. These are four ways to go to the same destination. Just as when you take the highway, big highways, you have not only one lane, you have four lanes. You want to go fast you go all the way to the left. You want to slow down, you go all the way to the right. Each according, now, to how they want to reach where they want to reach, according to their own reason and intention. So, these four schools, these Mahzabs. In Islam, this is Shariat, correct? They are not fighting with each other. They are just different ways of doing it. Why is this important? This is important because, if you have one way to go, it’s okay when there’s like a hundred cars on the road, there’s only one road, correct? What happens when there’s a thousand cars with one lane? There’s going to be some trouble. What if there’s a million cars? Forget about it, like they say in New York. So, what do you need to do? Now when you have several lanes going, that is a mercy. People are saying, ‘no, no, no, you are dividing.’ It is not dividing. You are not separating from each other, still same direction, same goal, but now you have different ways to reach it. This is what I’m saying, Prophet (asws) is saying ‘the differences in my community it is a blessing to my community,’ because, for example, in doing things, in, say, making your ablution, washing yourself before you pray, very important. All Prophets they did that, especially the Prophets of the Old Testament, they all washed themselves, of the Bani Israel, including Isa (as), he washes himself before he prays. We have several principals of that, of washing. But now, according to the four schools of thought, some say that you have to have running water, continuously, in order for that wu’du to be sah, sahih, for the wu’du to be accepted. Some they say that it is not running water, it is amount of water. Some they say it is not the amount of water; it is how much water covers the skin. Now, everyone has their own logic and reasoning according to the Quran and Sunnah, according to the scriptures and according to the practices of the Prophet because these are the two things that we hold on tightly to.
Islam it is based on these two things. It is not only the Book of Allah, it is according to the traditions of the Prophet. Because it is through the traditions of the Prophet, it explains the Book of Allah. If there is no one to explain the Book of Allah, then you have billions of interpretations and when you do that without following the one who the Book is sent to, you’re interpreting only with your ego, what happens? You become a sect and you start fighting with each other. Now these are the different ways, it’s very simple. Did the Holy Prophet (asws), did he wash himself with running water? Yes he did. Did he wash himself with a big quantity of water? Yes he did. Did he wash himself with a small quantity of water? Yes he did that. He did all these different things and it is a blessing. These different things it is a blessing because now, it suits to your time and to your place. For some, they live where water is plentiful. Some they live where there is no water at all. Some, they live where there is completely no water and they have to make the wu’du with dust, with Tayammum and that is also allowed.
You asked a question. You said being in a Jamaat like this, being in a community, sometimes you feel alone, or you feel individualistic. And I said it is not the aim of the Jamaat to have one body, one mind, one spirit, no. The hearts are together, we feel, we know, we observe, but you still maintain your own identity. You have to. That’s the difference between a Jamaat and a cult, understand? A cult says, ‘no, no identity. Everyone must be the same.’ It’s very easy to say, ‘I have my group, I want everybody to be the same.’ You force everybody. It’s very easy to run things that way. Military has been doing that, other places have been doing that, everyone to be the same. It is very difficult to have a group and to say, ‘no. We are not aiming for everyone to be the same. Our hearts are together but everyone must come to their own individual identities and secrets and understandings.’ That is the most difficult thing to do. That, you have to balance the two, do you understand what I’m saying? That, you have to balance the two. To just say everyone is the same, cookie cutter, is very easy, people have been doing that for thousands of years. To say we want a community but no cookie cutter, we want everyone to be individual and different but to work together, that is almost impossible and that is where Tarikat and Sufism steps in. Because Sufism is making everyone to understand the secret that Allah has given to you that is different from him, different from him, different from him, because everyone of us, we are a proof of Allah’s unity, Allah’s Oneness, because everyone is individual.
Everything in Creation is only one, not two, not three, one. No two blades of grass are the same. In the billions of years that this world has existed maybe, no two snowflakes are the same. No two drops of rain they are the same, no two breaths they are the same, no two steps that you make yourself they are the same. So, man, without any access to philosophy, without any access to very high level intelligent books, just to sit and to understand what is around him, he will come to very deep and profound conclusions by himself. Because in reality, Allah has put that awakening into each and every one of us, that knowledge into every one of us, it just has to blossom, to open. And that opening, is not through reading books so much too. That opening is when you yourself, you allow yourself to open, to understand. That opening is not also just to meet someone and to listen to someone, it’s whether you allow yourself to listen to that someone. There are millions of people who read books, they gain nothing from it. There are billions who meet people, they meet Saliheen, they meet the Friends of Allah, they meet the Prophets of Allah, nothing happens to them. In fact, they become worse. It’s not the fault of the books, or the teachers, or the inspiration. It is how you open your heart. Now, being in community, when, your heart that you are trying to unite and to be together, what happens then? Your heart gets bigger. What does that mean? You will start caring. The way you care and the way you look for yourself, you will start caring for the next person.
Now people come to the Dergah, people come to a community, first, if they really want to come, first they go through a honeymoon period. Everything is so wonderful, everything is so nice, that is a phase that you have to go through. Then later they discover that, oh, people are kind of different, that is a phase they have to go through. Later they discover, oh, this is not what it seemed in the beginning. That is also a phase that you have to go through. All these phases, they are just a step. They are not true completely, they are also not false completely.
Just as when you first fall in love or you have a crush, everything you don’t know, but you feel so much. Then later you get to know the person, real person, things start shifting, then when you decide to commit to each other and to live your life, things start shifting again. Then when you start when you start to marry and pay the bills and raise children, it starts shifting again, when you have grandchildren, start shifting again. It doesn’t mean that the first time that you fall in love, that crush, this is more superior to when you are a grandfather. In fact, when you are a grandfather is more superior than when you first had the first flush of love. Because when you first have that, just that feeling, it is empty. There is no fruit. There is no value really. It is just you. When you start to, person is in front of you, you start to negotiate with that person, there is still that love, of course, but this person is a completely different person from you. Now you love, love it is also, part of you has to disappear. So you become, that love now becomes more full, more complete, more mature, it starts to produce results, you understand?
So that is a phase that you are going through. You are going to, of course you are going to see. Either you’re going to feel so, so, so alone, you’re going to feel that everyone is just being selfish, that is just a phase that you have to go through. First you have to ask yourself, whenever you are going through that, why are you here for? What are you here for? If you are just here to have that honeymoon period, it is not real, it is not logical, it can never continue.If you are here to produce something, which I’m sure everybody wants to produce something. And I don’t mean physically, also. I’m talking about being more complete, being more of a human, understanding yourself, understanding the community, caring, having your heart to grow. To break the idols in there, the idol of yourself, and to grow. Once you start doing that, there’s going to be an amount of pain and understanding and the pain of understanding. But when you start doing that, you’re going to produce results. That is more valuable now.
What you felt before, it was valuable to you. Just to you. But later on, just like when you fall in love and you marry and you start being a member of the community, you start being valuable to others too. So which one is better? Valuable to you or valuable to others? The Khutbah is also saying, in this way, what it is, it’s not only this way, it’s in every way, It’s others before self. Sheytan and our ego never wants us to be in a community, never. Especially in a community of believers. It will look, if there are a hundred things and there are ninety-nine good things about the community and one bad thing about the community, every community, like I said, we’re not here for utopia. We’re not here to make a perfect society. That’s not our point. Our point is to discover each other’s humanity, what is human, what is Divine and what is ego and what is Sheytan. Do you understand? Everything has to be there.
So, when you are coming in, and you are just wanting that utopia, that honeymoon to continue, it is something that is very immature. And sheytan will never leave you alone. He’s going to say, although you see ninety-nine things, this one thing it is wrong, concentrate on that one thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a community or parents or the one that you love. When the sheytan and your ego takes over, it only wants to look at what separates you, even if the things that unite you they are overwhelming. We are different colors, there are more things that overwhelmingly unite us than divide us. Number one: we are all one race, the Human race. That is enough, enough reason. Doesn’t matter what color you are, what creed you follow, enough reason. You are one race. And this is not something that one person said, this is what everybody has been saying, all the Prophets have been saying, all the Saints, all the friends of Allah, all the good people they have been saying. What does sheytan and your ego want to say? They want to say, ‘no, you are different. Us versus them. Build a wall. Kick them out!’ But in the spiritual way, even when you look at sheytan, you’re not going to blame sheytan, you’re going to say that, ‘sheytan, I have those same qualities.’ You see a wrong person, a bad person in front of you, you’re not going to say, ‘this is a bad person, I’m not like that.’ Once you say that, then you have the dishonor of arrogance and that’s already proof enough that it is not your sense that is speaking to you, it is your sheytan that is speaking because you find yourself to be arrogant, better than that. But our ego is worse than sheytan. So you take lesson.
Like what the Prophet (asws) says, ‘either take lesson, or you are going to be a lesson.’ So, how are you going to get out from this? After you finish moping, you are feeling sorry for yourself, when you are ready to just stand up a little bit, start caring for other people. ‘Oh, that person doesn’t really care for me.’ That’s not your point and that’s not what you should be doing. It is what you should be doing. It is not what other people are doing. Once you do that, you finish with the exercise. You are not taking value from it. You have to care. And in this situation, the Dergah, it is very specific what you need to be caring about. It’s not a vague idea. It is not a philosophy. Number one, take care of your work, of your responsibility. If you drop the responsibility, it doesn’t matter if you say how much you love and how much you want to be together, but you are not bringing home the bread, your family will starve. No matter how much you say you love, but you are not bringing home the bread, I don’t want to say bacon because we don’t eat bacon, we eat bread. So there has to be a proof for that.
Insya’Allah may Allah make us to become more mature in this understanding and less childish. The ego is very childish. It’s not mature. May Allah forgive me and bless you, insyaAllah. Al-Fatiha. Amin. SelamAleykum.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
13 Muharram 1438
October 14, 2016.