The Differences That Bind



Zikr is to make us to remember Allah SWT, to remind us. This is what zikr is. Zikr. You come here once a week, you make a loud zikr. Every day, we do a silent zikr. Zikr. Zikrullah, the remembrance. I don’t really like to use the word chanting although that’s what we are doing. But it is to remember. Because our existence is not twenty, thirty, forty years, sixty years here in this world. We are looking at ourselves, very low, very cheap. Our physical existence, yes. But there is something else that animates our physicality, That came from another time, another world, another dimension that is beyond time. And we are returning to that. And the Prophets, 124000 of them, in our traditions, all brought the same message.

So you see, in Islam, if you want to say Sufism, spirituality and understanding of that, the message is not just sent to one people. They say, ‘I have been given the message. None of you have.’ And it’s not given to dogma too. This is something that is natural. The natural inclination of man. To understand that nothing in existence is repeated. There is no replication. Every snowflakes that fall is unique. It is pointing to the uniqueness within us. No two person they are alike. No two footsteps they are the same. No two blades of grass they are identical. It is pointing to the uniqueness and the oneness of our Creator. And that is the same Creator,  it’s not two to say, Christian god is one thing, Muslim god is another, Jewish god is another, Hindu god….No. There is One. People may look at Him through different eyes. They may call Him through different names, they may understand Him differently but the source is the same. And 124000 Prophets came, not to deviate or to teach different things, but to teach the same things: There is one You, and you have a One Creator. This world is just temporary for us to pass through to go back to our original innocence where our real story will begin. This is not. This is just temporary.

If you are making a journey to go somewhere, to go, say, a vacation or to go to work, the journey that you make it is important. Of course. But it is not the purpose. The purpose is to reach to a certain destination, but the destination does not mean that there’s going to be a full stop. We are not going to be out in the clouds playing harp. No. That destination now, is the beginning of another journey. Just as you go to a vacation, you don’t just go to a vacation and you stay in the house. You go to a vacation, you go to a vacation house, that is just the beginning of the whole time that you are going to vacate. Why they call it vacation? Vacate means empty. Maybe they mean, when you travel, you empty yourself.

So, we are traveling, and we came from somewhere. And we are going back to that place that 124000 Prophets that was send to every nation that the Quran was saying, we have sent a messenger to every nation, reminding us the same thing: there is One Lord. And the Prophet comes to remind you. It’s not to come to teach you anything new. It is to remind you.  So the zikr that we are doing is to make us to remember, because man has been made in haste and heedlessness. It’s the opposite of zikr, remembrance, it is the real enemy, heedlessness – to forget. May Allah make us to remember and to understand Insya’Allah.


So, in this Holy time of the commemoration, the remembrance of the birth of that Prophet, that he did not come to say, I bring a message again of the unity. He was not sent to the Arab. He was not sent to the Muslims. He was send to the whole of mankind. And we are remembering his birth because his birth was celebrated, is celebrated and will continue to, because it stands for something. Just as now whole Christian world, maybe whole world, is preparing for the birth of Jesus, Isa (as), that they are remembering in their own way. But to remember the birth of a Holy person, let’s put aside whether he was born on December 25th or not, but the remembrance of a Prophet, the remembrance of a Holy person, the remembrance of that one who is representing his Lord, surely that remembrance must make you to pull back more into your own reality instead of pulling you out from that reality, into this worldly business of rapid and rabid consumerism. Changing. Now, our bayrams are turning to be like that as well. Who knows, maybe next maulid is going to be like that too. This is what happens to every great traditions that begins with spirituality and if there are no guidance to that tradition, easily it can be turned, in the guise of spirituality, it will be just the opposite of spirituality, which is what? Materialism. Wasting.

So, these are words for us to understand a little bit why we are commemorating the birth of the Prophet (asws). Like what the khutba is saying, it is to take a certain qualities to understand what he lived for and what he sacrifice himself for. And if we take the remembrance of, say, Isa (as), Jesus Christ, that we recognized he is the anointed one, he is al-Masih and we are here waiting for his return as well, again, to unite. And that unity is not between Christians and Muslims and Jews, it’s between believers and unbelievers, those who believe.

So what do we believe in? As people belonging to Tarikat, we have to answer that question every single day: What do you believe in? We don’t take the beliefs for granted. Just because we say La Ilaha Illallah, it does not guarantee us that belief. What does that mean La Ilaha Ilallah? There is no Ilah except for Allah. There is no god except for god. There is no god except for Allah. If we are not understanding that we are saying no Ilah, no god but god. If we are not understanding what is that god that we are getting rid of in order to have proper worship, then those are just words that we are saying. And if we are not looking everyday to see, ‘did I get rid of that thing that I worship?’ and we are not talking about very easy to make a statue, or an idol, or something. That’s very low level understanding of what god is, what do you worship?  For some, they don’t worship that, but they worship their own self, their own self-importance. Yes, Allah has created everyone important but if you see yourself more important than others, that’s a big problem there. Some, they worship their cars, some shoes, they build big temples for shoes, big places where you are going to be surrounded by that things that you are attached to. The things that you are attached to, does it bring you out from this temporary existence into that reality? Or is it pulling you down? That we have to ask. And as people who are in Sufism, we question ourselves.

Our job is not to question anyone else. How true is my faith today? How sincere was I today? How did I live my faith? Because if you didn’t live according to your belief, one day you are going to believe  the way that you live. And our belief must find that attraction and must find that unity with those Holy ones that our Lord has sent. Because He has sent us Prophet and the inheritors of the Prophet, Holy people, if you don’t really believe, guides, teachers we may say. But Allah has also send inspirations to us, our conscience our hearts our own understanding of what is right and what is wrong, innate in each and every one of us. That again, the Prophets are not coming to give us something that is outside of our experience, outside of our understanding. Again, they came to remind us, to make us to remember. And it is something that we have always known. It is something that is familiar. You know when people, especially if people who are coming for a gathering that is beyond this material world, something for spirituality, they look at each other and they say, ‘ I feel very familiar to you. I’m familiar. I feel that we have been together although I have never met you before.’ Because our existence, like I said is not only these few years that we have been, but we have existed for a very very long time with those ones who have been close to us at that time and we find each other here, and we look and we say completely different language maybe, different religion, but we say, ‘we are family.’ And the Prophets are here to wake us up, to say that in reality dig deeper you’ll find that everyone is part of that family.

Find that familiarity. Find each other and learn from each other. That is the ayat from the Quran. The Quran did not say, ‘find each other, we have created you in different tribes so that you will find each other and you will learn from each other,’ the ayat did not say, ‘find each other and to teach each other.’ We should remember. Because we also have a history where there was, let’s just say, there was co-existence. We exist, as differently as we are, we exist together nicely, very comfortably. For hundreds of years. But that memory has been either wiped out or has been supplanted, or certain other memories that is recent to show our differences, to show our bad characteristics to each other, to show our hatred for each other because we are different, that is being put now into our self, into our mind, into our memories. But this is recent.

Differences, there’ll always be differences. The wisdom is to live with these differences as in a family. But did we co exist? Was there a time when different people, different faith, different understanding are able to co exist to say, ‘we agree to disagree, now let’s get on with life and build a good civilization for everyone.’ Yes, we had that. Hundreds of years. We should try to remember that. Insya’Allah. And  we should try to live it. This is how we are looking at everyone, and may Allah forgive me Insya’Allah and bless all of you. WaminAllahu Taufiq. Al-Fatiha.


stock-vector-vector-vintage-borders-54193183 (2) Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
11 Rabiul Awwal 1438
December 11, 2016 stock-vector-vector-vintage-borders-54193183 (2)

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