Question: What is Spirituality?
What is spirituality? Let me say to you what is not spirituality, then maybe you are going to understand what is spirituality. Everything that is in existence, that Allah has created, is not spirituality. Everything that is coming from Allah, that is spirituality.
Spirituality is spirit, Ruh. It is coming from Allah and it is going back to Allah. It is our return to Allah. Now, we were from there. We are sent somewhere, here, away from Him. Away but not away. Away, yes we are separated like what Maulana is saying, ‘listen to the song of the reed, of the nay, of the flute, it sings of its separation.’ We are separated, but everywhere, for the spirit, it is a sign from Allah. it is not Allah, it is a sign. Allah is saying, I am here. I am here. I am here. Physically, I am here. Look inside of you, I am also there. I am everywhere. We are not talking about the essence of Allah. Of course we are talking about the signs of Allah. So spirituality, it is understanding Allah. Understanding the source of you. Once you understand that you are not real, you will pass, then you will understand that there is something that is there that is coming from Allah, that if it returns to Allah, it will not pass as well. It will exist, not in the same way that Allah exist, of course.
Spirituality it is understanding you to understand Allah. But the aim is to understand Allah. Spirituality is a return to Allah. How are you going to do that, to return to Allah? Now everything that you do, you see, you engage in, there has to be a sign of Allah there and there has to be a conversation between you and Allah. Do you understand? Islam is well known for duas, hundreds and thousands of duas. Everything you do there is a dua. Correct? Entering the house there is a dua, sitting down there is a dua, eating there is a dua, even going to the bathroom there is a dua, private things there is a dua. Dua is a supplication that the Prophet himself thought us, (asws). Or dua that the earlier Prophet’s from the Quran e-Kerim, or from the Hadiths e-Qudsi, or from Holy People. Supplications. What are supplications but conversation with Allah, isn’t it? Now, you can do it without spirituality. You can just say BismillahirRahmanirRahim and you drink. It’s a spiritual action to remember Allah before you drink. It is not a religious obligation, It’s a sunnat, but it’s a spiritual actions, but if you don’t connect with it, it falls from a spiritual action to just another action that has no spirit and it’s just an action. You can say BismillahirRahmanirRahim, you can mean that, saying in the name of Allah most Gracious, most merciful, to drink, without saying it, to drink robotically like an animal without remembering Allah. You’ll still get some benefit from the water but you will not get the spiritual benefit of the water. Are there spiritual benefit of the water? Yes. Even the water has a memory. Things change depending on how you affect them. So if you don’t believe BismillahirRahmanirRahim, it’s not going to make much change. If you don’t say BismillahirRahmanirRahim, and someone who pours the water has evil intention, it will change the water. Or if the water it is stolen from someone else, it has the rights and the blood of other people, the water is also tainted. And without remembering Allah’s name, that cannot be clean to give you benefit. How does it become spiritual? Well you can just say also BismillahirRahmanirRahim, but you are remembering your Lord and you are remembering all these things that I’m telling you about. So many people, maybe this water is stolen, ‘Ya Rabbi, forgive me. Maybe this water is tainted with other things, with corruption, please give me some cure from it, clean it for me.’ You have a conversation with your Lord. You speak, you are connecting, knowing He is looking at you, He is speaking to you, and you are replying to Him. This is spirituality. And what is that? What is that? Taqwa.
It will come to a point where maybe in the beginning it’s going to be ‘I have to say this, I have to do this, step by step.’ But when you do it so often, when you do it properly, it is not formulate. It is an intention. You’ll be very quick and the connection is going to be very strong. Because you’re not, you know, (just saying) auzubillahiminashaitanirrajim …. Doing things Like that. You are connected and you are thinking, knowing He is looking at you. That is spirituality. Do you understand? Maybe a person does not know BismillhirRahmanirRahim, but he knows this ( the glass of water) is coming from his Lord, and he’s thankful, and he’s drinking, giving thanks to Him. You think Allah swt is going to turn that one away from him when that one is speaking to Him? What, you think Allah swt only speaks Arabic? That’s why ahle Tasawwuf, in the way of Tariqat, they say now for you to understand the spirituality, you have to burn all your books. You have to dump them into the water, you have to break those idols. We are not saying everyone to do this. But we are saying, for you now to come to a deeper understanding, this is what you have to do. And all ahle Tasawwuf, they have been criticize because of that. They are holding Shari’at, more importantly they have firm intention and there is something that is much faster and much more direct than speaking. And that is when your will is connected to the will of your Lord. An intention, is much faster, and it is there. In fact, if you recite properly at the right time, right tajweed, properly but you don’t have that intention, you don’t have that connection, in Islam, that action of worship is void. Correct?
Now if you are ahle Tasawwuf, you are a spiritual person, is going to understand that there is no separation now between what is worship and what is not worship. What, worship is when you stand up and you say Allahu Akhbar, and the Allah appears in front of you and He watches what you are doing? Other than that after you give selams you can do whatever you want and He is not looking at you? Now the one who is going in the way of Tasawwuf, he understands that whatever that he is doing, his Lord is looking. And it’s a conversation you’re engaging in, and that becomes worship. So there is no separation.
So yes, your sitting can be worship, you can remember Allah standing, you will remember Allah sitting, you will remember Allah laying down as the Ayatul Karime is saying. That doesn’t just mean you are going to make hadrah, you’re sitting down you are going to make zikr and you’re lying down you are….there are other meanings to that too. That they are not separated. Who is our master to show that he is not separated from his Lord, even when he is sleeping? Holy Prophet (asws). The angels were speaking to each other. One Angel is saying, ‘he is sleeping.’ The other angel is saying, ‘he looks like he is sleeping, but he is not sleeping. He is with his Lord.’ How can a person be with his Lord sleeping? So, spirituality is finding your way back to your Lord. A way. And when you are walking in that way, you are with your Lord. That is the meaning of Dervish. This is why a Dergah it is a threshold to Divine Presence, preparing ourselves.
We are not claiming anything. We are not claiming we are hundred percent doing this or that. We are following those ones who are not separated from Divine Presence, alhamdulillah. And it is proper manners for us to say, it is enough that we are not separated from you, O our Murshid. When we are not separated from our Murshid, don’t think it is that easy, then wherever he goes, he is in Divine Presence, we will also be. So that is it, everything else will perish except the face of Allah. We are always looking for the face of Allah. and if we are captured by the eyes of Allah, everything else will perish, and Allah is there, and Allah will be forever. Do you understand? I cannot say more than this.
So look, look to see how we are in that one’s heart. That’s important. Wa minAllahu Taufiq. Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
4 Jamadial Awwal 1438
February 3, 2017