Question: How do we concentrate during the prayer?
You ask about how to concentrate in the prayer. If you are talking about concentration, during the prayer, it is the same as concentration during everything else.
Destur. We have answered this question before, but this is a new form that you are saying to us, we’ll try to stick to it, insya’Allah. We’ll try to make it understandable, to learn something, for you and for me.
People are leaving khusyu to be in their prayer. Don’t leave khusyu, don’t leave the focus to be for Salah. When you are not focusing on your life, when you are not focusing on the work that you are doing, you’re not focusing on zikr, if you are not focusing on whatever you are doing in your daily life, when you come to the prayer you cannot focus too. When you can focus on your daily life, meaning, ‘okay, now I’m working, I’m going to focus. I’m not going to think about everything else.’ So many of us, we need that focus. Then you say, ‘I’m making zikr, now. Zikr is remembering Allah, to be with Allah. I’m not going to be with anything else. Something is coming; I’m going to put a block. Something is coming; I’m going to put a block.’ When you learn how to make focus in other things, when it comes to your Salah, you can make focus. At the very least, at least, when something comes from behind you, trying to come in between you and Allah, you’re going to put a block there, you’re going to put a block there.
But what are we concentrating on? This is the whole idea. What are we concentrating on? If you say you want to concentrate on the prayer, what are you concentrating on in the prayer? If you are saying ‘I’m concentrating on being with Allah swt,’ then you have to be sincere and you have to say ‘is this how I approach my Lord, Allah swt? Is this how I stand in front of Him? Is this how I dress in front of Him? Is this how I make my wudu?’ There are so many things you need to prepare before you come to the Salah, correct? Which is why zikr it is such a blessing to people, because zikr, it is the essence of every amal that you do. It is the real essence of every ibadat that you do, because zikr is to be with Allah, to remember Allah. If you are praying, going up and down hundred times a day but you don’t remember Allah, all you remember is your job or your problems, you are not being with Allah. Now, you don’t know how to recite so much. You don’t know how to do so much, but you are blocking everything else and you are saying ‘I just want to be with you, ya Rabbi.’ That time, it is acceptable, because Allah is looking at our heart. That’s why, what we said earlier, to be in zikr, look in your heart, prepare your heart. That is the Throne of Allah.
The Throne of Allah is not in front of us that you are going up and down to. The Throne of Allah is not in the Ka’aba. Where is the Throne of Allah? It is in your heart. Now, if you are not looking into your heart outside of Salah, to say ‘this nonsense is inside my heart now. This desire is inside my heart now. This anger is inside my heart,’ you’re not doing that, everything is going to come to you when you are making the Salah, because now the Salah, the namaz, is not the time for you to prepare everything for Allah to sit in your heart. That time, He’s already supposed to descend. We are not saying, of course, that Allah is descending. We are saying His Rahmat is supposed to be there. Everyone is taking everything very lightly. Don’t you know that the Salah that we just made, the namaz that we just made, or the zikr, everyone is taking everything so lightly, don’t you know that there are angels who are going to pick it up and they are going to go to the first level (of heaven)? In the first level, there is an angel there. He says ‘nope. You cannot pass. This zikr, this ibadat, you cannot pass. Let me check it.’ You know, you go through security check when you go to somewhere sensitive? Forget about somewhere sensitive, you cannot even just enter into any school in America. You cannot just hang out, correct? Then what makes you think anything that what we are doing is going to go straight to Allah swt?
So if we are concentrating, what are the things that are stopping our zikr, our ibadat from going to Allah swt outside of namaz, then that time, namaz you’re going to say ‘ya Rabbi, I’m Your weak one, this is all that I can do, I’m following behind those ones who are beloved to You. Just as they are in Your Divine Presence, we can be in Your Divine Presence, ya Rabbi, if only You allow us to be under their feet, as the dust that was under the Prophet (asws)’s sandals.’ The dust that was under his sandals, it was on the Arsh and it was in Divine Presence. In the Arsh, he is asking Allah swt, ‘may I remove my shoes?’ Allah is saying ‘no. My Throne, it is blessed if you put your feet on it, if you put your sandals on it.’ We are trying to be dust under their feet. This is why we are doing this (wearing the Na’al Shareef). This is not for show. Now, to be dust under their feet there are certain conditions, of course. Nobody can say ‘may I be dust,’ and they behave like mountains. It cannot be. But who is going to remind us that daily? Who is going to remind us that if you have no guide? That’s why, if you don’t have a guide, you already think that you are somewhere. You can say, ‘I am dust, I am nothing, I am this,’ but you already think you are. Anyone says something to you, that time you say ‘no. How can this be? I know better.’
So the first level, the angel is going to ask, this is Hadith, do you know what the angel is going to ask? ‘That one who just prayed, did he pray for the sake of Allah or did he pray for dunya?’ Who is not praying for dunya, sincerely? Only a handful, saying ‘I’m praying just to please You. I don’t want anything in return.’ That angel who brought our deeds up is going to say ‘he is praying for the sake of dunya.’ And the angel is going to say ‘go back down on earth and throw his namaz to his face. We are not accepting it.’ There are so many stations. If you pass that, ‘no, he is not praying for dunya,’ then it’s going to pass to another station. Angel there is going to ask different questions. If you don’t pass, it’s going to be thrown back. Third station, fourth station it goes.
Hz Ali (kw) is saying ‘the man’s religions is according to his friend’s.’ Whoever that you hang out with, your friends, whatever they profess, their religion, that is your religion. Why are we in Jamaat, why in the Jamaat of this Tarikat? Because we want to make our friends to be the Friends of Allah, not our friends to be the friends of our desires or this dunya. Enough. That’s why we came here. It is enough. Our whole lives, we were doing that, weren’t we? It’s not enough? Okay, twenty years, thirty years, forty years. It’s not enough? When are we going to wake up? You don’t want to wake up. Sleep. They are going to wake you up in your grave. That time, they are not going to wake you up nicely. They are going to wake you up with so much pain and torture.
So who you are with, that is going to determine who you are. That is going to say who you are, because only Allah is Ahad, Allah is alone. Allah is One. We are not. Although we have been created unique and singular, but we were told to be in Jamaat. And Allah swt is not saying ‘be in any Jamaat. Be in the Jamaat of football or be in the Jamaat of sports or be in the Jamaat of this dunya,’ no. He says ‘be with the Saliheen.’ Who are the Saliheen, that whatever that they are doing is for the sake of Allah, not for each other, not for the ego, definitely. When it is, they fight against it. If you are in that company, whoever is heading that company, whoever is the leader, where he is, you will be. Our leader is our Sheykh, his leader is his Sheykh, going up all the way to the Holy Prophet (asws). Don’t leave his company. You leave his company, you can be worshiping 24 hours in the Ka’aba, you are not going to find that safety. Because there are those Friends of Allah, they may tell that Angel, ‘this one is my Murid. Let it pass.’
Coming into Tarikat is to understand our own weakness. That’s why we are following a guide. It’s not to discover your own strength. Yes, you discover your own strength, but it is the strength of your nafs or your ego. It’s to discover our own weakness. That time you may say ‘Allahu Akbar,’ really, properly, when you discover your weakness. So to be strong in the faith, be in Jamaat. Be in sohbet. That is the meaning. Be in sohbet. Allah is ya Jami, the One Who gathers. Not that time, not now, not in the future we are ever going to be by ourselves, alone. We are always going to be in a Jamaat behind a leader. We are going to be raised in rows behind a leader. When are you going to be alone? When you are going to be judged for your own self. That’s the time you’re going to be alone. Now, if you are in a group, if you are under the protection and under the blessings of an Evliyaullah, that time, it is very easy as long as you are fighting your ego. You cannot say ‘it is easy, I do as I like and I follow a Sheykh.’ So many are doing that. They do whatever they like; they say ‘no, my Sheykh is going to pray for me.’ No. That’s not what our Sheykh Effendi is teaching us. You are going to be accountable. You are going to be responsible. But at the end of the day, you are going to rely on the intercession of the Holy Ones, to get us out from the trouble that we put ourselves in. So be in a Jamaat, insya’Allah.
You see? Jamaat, you don’t know which one is a Friend of Allah. Everyone is saying Amin. That one is saying Amin, everything will open. By ourselves we cannot. We cannot do so many things, but with the help of the Holy Ones you can. Very easy. That is the Mercy that is showing, insya’Allah. May Allah forgive me and bless you, insya’Allah, may Allah raise the station of our Sheykh, may his feet always be on our necks, insya’Allah. May Allah keep us in safety, may Allah keep us out from confusion, may we keep this Holy Month high, may Allah take everything that is wrong, all the wrong intentions and wrong actions, may Allah forgive us and may Allah make us to always be with our Sheykh, dunya and Ahiret. Wa minallahu Taufiq, al Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
6 Ramazan 1438
June 1, 2017