Question from a murid: How do you balance the duties and responsibilities of this material, physical world with the duties and responsibilities of the afterlife?
It is a good question he’s saying. How do we balance the duties and responsibilities of this world, physical world, with the duties and responsibilities of the afterlife?
We are asking support, insya’Allah from our Sheykh to send us something; we are asking support from the Holy Ones. We don’t have the answers, we are asking from those ones who have the answers to give us. This is an important fact here. Because, especially in this life, in this times, in this modern times, we usually think whatever we do is coming from us. We work, so we get money. If you’re sick, you take medicine so you get well. There is an imbalance of where faith is and where Allah is and our physical life here on this world. There is a separation of the afterlife and this life. There is a separation of spirituality with this physical world, or let’s not say physical world, the world of the five senses, because the world also has more senses than that. If you say it is only five senses also, you’re not being complete.
Even with these five senses that human have, those that we call subhuman they have better senses than us. The dogs can smell better, the eagles can see better, every animal, they have a sense that we have, but they have much more developed than us. But we have the spirit. So now, we are saying we are asking help from those ones who have the answers. This is important because if we try to find the answers by ourselves, we’re going to jump from one idea to another idea to another idea to another idea, trying to find, groping in the dark. But every question that we have, Allah already has an answer for it.
But how does He give the answers to us? There is a Divine Protocol to how these answers can be given, how these answers can be obtained. For as long as mankind has been in this world, existing in this world, how did Allah swt make His Will to be known to us? He has sent down Prophets. That is how He makes knows, explicitly, what is Will is. And the Prophets, they are not thoughts that come to our head, they are not inspiration that comes to our hearts, it’s not the whispering from Divine sources or from the Angels or from His Friends or from the Prophets, now we have a man that is in front of us who says ‘I have come from your Lord and I am here to answer any question that you have.’ And they have left their inheritors. The Prophets did not just come and go, they have left their inheritors which are known as the Sheykhs, the Friends of Allah. The inheritors have continued to exist from the time that the Holy Prophet (asws) passed from this world until Judgment day. So we are never left without guidance, Divine Guidance, so we don’t have to jump and skip and think too much, there are people with Divine Inspiration, the inheritors of the Prophets, the guides, the Sheykhs, that we can actually go to and say, ‘well, I’m confused. This one tells me this, this one tells me this, this one tells me this, what do you think?’
So when you ask the question ‘how do you balance’, in the first place, in Islam, there is no balance. There is no such thing as you have a little bit of truth and a little bit of untruth, balance it then you’ll be alright, little bit of night, little bit of day, balance it, it’ll be okay, little bit of good, little bit of bad, you have to balance, you cannot have too much good, you cannot have too much bad, everything has to be balanced. There is no such thing like that in Islam. There is the thing that is called priority. What comes first and what comes second, what comes third, what comes fourth. As Allah swt said, there is a Knower above every Knower. This is Quran. There is a Knower above every Knower. We know, but there are some who know more than us in whatever field of knowledge there is, whether it is this worldly field, or in the field of the Ahiret or in the field of spirituality.
So now, when there is priority, we know how to prioritize, then there is what we may say, there is balance. But we are not really using that word. Let’s just say everything falls into place. If you start to prioritize things that are supposed to be number ten, and you put it number one, it’s not going to hold. Say your faith or the life of this world is like a building. When you build a building, there are priorities. First, first thing, what do you have to do? Are you looking at the roof? No. Are you looking at the furniture inside? No. Are you looking at the people who are going to stay inside? No. Are you going to look at the septic? No. First thing when you are building a building, what do you have to look at? Foundation, the base, foundation. Once you have the foundation that is correct, everything will fall into place now. You can put the pillars, you can put the roof, you can put the walls, now you are going to decide all sorts of other things, then you are going to put whatever that is in the house.
Now, if you don’t know what is the priority and you say ‘no, no, no, no. Base is not the most important. We have to balance. We cannot just put the base. We have to balance the base and the roof at the same time.’ You cannot, it doesn’t make sense. So now, this is something that a lot of Muslims have been talking about especially in these times, they are saying ‘now you have to have a balance of this dunya and Ahiret.’ They don’t know any other word to use. They say ‘balance’ it is not a balance. This dunya, how is it in the eyes of Allah? We have to know. And what is Ahiret in the eyes of Allah? Don’t ask, what is the use of this dunya in the eyes of the people who love this dunya? You should not get the definition from the people who love this dunya, you should get the definition from the One who Created this dunya, what is it to Him? You cannot gain direct access to Him. He has sent signs, but you cannot read those signs.
Everyone can read, but if I give something that they are going to read, if there are a hundred people here, maybe a hundred people will have a hundred different interpretations of what it is. You have the signs of Allah, but so many people they cannot read. And those who can read, they have their own ideas of what it is. Especially if you don’t follow the one that Allah says, ‘this one is My Prophet and these are the ones that he has appointed, so if you want to read those signs, go according to how they are.’ They are never going to force you. They are going to say ‘this is how it is.’ If you are intelligent, you’re going to take it, if not leave it. You are going to understand later.
So Allah has created this world. What is this world, the value of this world according to His Divine Intelligence, to His Divine Will? There are different people with different knowledges of Allah too. The people who have the closest relationship with Allah, we call them the Prophets. Then there are those ones whom we call the Friends of Allah, his inheritors, the Saints, the Evliyaullah. They are the ones who are closest. Then there are the Saliheen, those righteous ones. They are close. So, not everyone has the same relationship to Allah. But Allah is as close to everyone, as close as their jugular vein. So if you ask someone who does not know his Lord, he is going to give you a different answer. If there’s someone who hates his Lord and loves this world, he is going to give you a different answer. If there is someone who loves this dunya and he also loves his Lord, kind of like balance, he is going to give you a different answer. Someone who is close to his Lord, he is going to give you a different answer, you understand?
So the person that asks, usually you have to understand what is it you’re asking, from whom you’re taking the knowledge from. If you ask this question to people who don’t believe in Allah, they are going to say, ‘there is no such thing as an afterlife. Live this world.’ but you have faith and we have faith and we are going to ask this question to those who have more faith than us, because this concerns faith. So those ones who are very close to Allah swt, Allah then says some things to them that He’s not saying to other people because only they can understand. And Allah is saying He does not give value to this world as much value as He gives to the wing of a mosquito. Allah swt has said in the Quran e-Kerim in so many places that this world is nothing but an amusement to you.
Yet, understand this, knowing that this world it is low, this world is also called asfala safileen, the lowest of the low, this world is trickery and amusement, this world will distract you from Allah and His Prophet, yet at the same time, when you look at 1400 years of Islamic history, when Islam was ruling, however Islam was ruling, they did not make this world to become a worse place, they made this world to become a better place. Wherever there is Islamic civilization, it raises the value of people’s lives and their relationship to their Lord and their relationship to this world too, correct? It was not colonization. The way, for example, the western colonial powers they go into a country and they take everything and they bring it back to their country and this country becomes their slaves, I’m whitewashing, I’m making everything very simple, forever. It’s very difficult for them to come out. It’s not like that. They could have made it like that but they didn’t.
So even when Allah is saying that this world is nothing but an amusement to you, but the Muslims have made this life now, this world, also a place where you are going to discover each other, you’re going to discover Allah, and you make this world into a better place. We are still humans, there are certain things that we do, it’s not perfect, of course it’s not perfect. But we don’t leave this world as a worse place than when we found it. So now, on the one hand it says don’t look at this world, but one the other hand, the Muslims are able to now, if you want to use your word, balance this. How did they balance? They put priority. And the priority is what? The foundation. And what is the foundation? Faith in Allah. Once there is the foundation and the faith is strong, you are not running after this world, you’re running after Allah, whatever that is in front of you that is for you you do, and just as I said before, there is a Knower above every knower, and there is a guide that is in front of you to help you along, then that guide is going to tell you what is priority and what is not priority.
By yourself you may be confused. Maybe this person, he is, say, a construction worker, architect. He builds. But he says, ‘I want to be a servant of Allah. I just want to sit and I want to pray.’ Or the person is good or bad, or whatever, he says ‘I want to return to Allah.’ So many times, people think, ‘in order to become religious or to become good, this is what is I have to do.’ And in these modern times, they think to become good and to become religious, first they have to learn Arabic. Then they have to read the Quran. Then they can become good. No, changing language doesn’t make you to become good. Understanding your spirit and understanding your ego, what is your nafs, understanding ‘these are my wrong habits,’ then trying to change them, listening to a guide.
Just as a person understanding that he is sick, it is not through just sitting in a hospital he’s going to get better, he has to take medicine. He has to listen to the doctor, the nurses. He has to do this at a certain time. Then he becomes better, do you understand? So taking a guide there, then you are going to know and you are going to understand what is priority and what is not priority. So the person now, he is an architect. Maybe he thinks ‘I want to give up everything to become good.’ Maybe for a certain time the guide is going to say ‘okay, now you understand what this world is, you understand, you want to return to your Lord. Sit and understand that first. But if your job is as an architect, as a builder, and if you want to serve Allah, and Allah says ‘you want to serve Me? Then serve the ones that I love. Serve the people, serve the Ummat,’ now, this is what you’re going to do. You have the bases of faith there, now you are going to use your experience and you’re going to use the skills that you have that looks as if it is dunya, just dunya, because it is architecture, but you are going to use that for Ahiret.’
That time there is going to be a balance, do you understand? That time you are running to serve. You’re not just worshiping, you’re running to serve and to help. That time, you are part of the Islamic civilization, where you are running to serve and the service it is higher than the worshiping. You’re doing something. Worshiping it is only for yourself, but if you build a masjid now, it is for you, for everyone, for future generations, maybe forever. And the rewards that you are going to get will be continuous as long as the building stands, correct? So now, to do good public works, that is good for everyone that is going to ensure you that just by doing that, which is a physical thing, but the intention it is for the sake of Allah, that becomes a worship and that becomes continuous. So that time, yes, there is sort of a balance because there is priority. Good base, you can put anything on it, you understand? That’s how you are going to.
So, person says ‘I’m at school, but I hate school.’ Yeah, I mean, today’s education system, what else can we say? Today’s knowledge that they teach in school, we all understand that it’s not real knowledge, but what is your job now? You are in school. Finish school. Learn, study. Be the best. But don’t put that in your heart. Now, maybe after that you are going to be able to help. There are some we say ‘continue.’ There are some we say ‘no need.’ Sheykh Effendi always says so many times, freaks people out sometimes too; he says ‘no need. Your son should be a shepherd.’ Sometimes he’s just testing people and he says ‘no need. Your son can just stay and become a shepherd.’ They are saying ‘how it can be? This is my great grandfather’s job and he hated it. We don’t want to go back to that kind of thing!’
But every Prophet was a shepherd. Every Prophet was a shepherd. So now, who is teaching us that being a shepherd is negative? Everyone who comes to the Dergah, that they want to live here for a while, we say, go to the barn a little bit. Help, because now you are following the Sunnah of the Prophets too. You are smelling what they’re smelling. You’re learning animals and that sheep there is the holiest animal. It makes more zikr than everything else. Just to be in association with those sheep, you are going to get spirituality from them. We’re not saying be there forever until you die. But just a slight mention like that, people get very prickly. So that’s showing, now, that you are worshiping dunya. You have an idol of what this dunya is and somebody tries to shake it a little bit and you get very nervous, do you understand?
So, if you have the foundation properly, you can build things. You don’t have the foundation, even when you try to build things, one day it’s going to fall. There’ll be a lot of problems. You’re a student like I said, study. Be the best, like what Sheykh Effendi is saying. Be the best in your work. Don’t put it in your heart. Remember Allah. Remember His Prophet (asws). How are you going to, as much as you are studying, how are you going to now do the worship? Run to places of zikr now. Run. Once a week at least, sit down, make some zikr, listen to some sohbet. You cannot do it because you’re travelling, now Allah has opened technology. 99.9%of the time people are using it for negative ways, use it in the way of Allah. It will be blessing for you.
Once in a while, once a month, you can travel to make it to a Dergah, go. Your spirit needs to recharge, because as much as you’re sitting down with that internet, it’s different when you are in front of the Sheykh and around the Jamaat. It is completely different. That time, you know what you are getting at. You know what you’re going for and you know how to control certain things, you understand? Then that time, this dunya is not going to be in your heart. Insya’Allah ar Rahman. Yes, and so many other things that we are trying to get rid of, bad characteristics, slowly it’s going to go. Insya’Allah. May Allah make it easy for us. Al Fatiha. Amin. Selam Aleykum wa Rahmatullah.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
22 Shaban 1438
May 18, 2017