Question: How do I stop worrying about what others think of me? This worry has prevented me from doing many things in my life. How do I overcome this?
All of us, we have gone through that. Your problem is not unique; your problem is not so special that there is no answer, that there is no understanding. And your problem, everyone has experienced it, one way or another. Because you are asking me, and because I have experienced this, and because the Holy Prophet (asws) is saying that the best kind of knowledge is the knowledge that you have experienced, I’m going to tell you what I experienced. How I came out of that.
Especially when you are growing up, you don’t know too many things, you want to find out, you want to have more knowledge, and everyone is telling you something. No one is leaving you alone. Even those who say, ‘we leave you alone,’ they don’t leave you alone. You turn on that television, that sewer, the television, that dirty box; everything in there is telling you what to do, how to live, how to feel, what to wear, what to eat, what to think. You go watch something, movie, same thing. You read, same thing. Everything is telling you what to do, everywhere you go.
So you grow up and you are collecting these things. Saying, ‘maybe, if I take this kind of knowledge and I do, I’m going to be acceptable and respectable according to this group of people, according to this group, according to this group.’ After a while, you understand that, ‘ I cannot please everyone.’ So you select which group that you want. When you are a teenager the one that you select, usually your friends. You don’t care about your parents too much, your grandparents too much, it’s just your friends, your buddies. Majority, they stay that way. They don’t go beyond that. Hz Ali (qs) is saying, ‘the religion of a man is the religion of his friends.’ Whoever that you hang out with, that is your religion. Meaning whoever that you spend time with, that you find that they are important, that you are doing things for their sake, and they are doing things for your sake, their lifestyle is your lifestyle. It makes sense, of course. So you start finding people who are your friends, thinking that they are your friends. And then what happens? Pretty soon you discover that they are not like you. Pretty soon you are going to discover, they don’t really have your best interests at heart. Pretty soon you discover that they don’t care so much for you. That most of them they get there for the good times. That they are always there for something else. So are you.
When do you stop then, caring what other people start to think? When we realize what a lying dunya this is. How this dunya lies and cheats you. And the people who are running after this dunya, how they are lying and cheating you. Then you start looking towards Mawla. You start looking towards your Lord. Once you start looking towards your Lord, the Bani Israel, in the Quran e-Kerim is saying, Allah (swt), that when they have the enemy coming to them and they have a problem to solve, they are asking Allah to send them a Prophet. They are not asking Allah, they are asking Allah to send them a prophet. A leader. A guide. Because you can have two billion Muslims, but if there is no leader, and there is no guide guiding the ummah, you can be seven billion, youwill be no good for nothing. Seven billion you can have, with all the resources, with all the education, with all the technology, no good for nothing. You can have a handful of people, but because they believe in one leader, one leader, small group of people, three hundred and thirteen, following one leader. Fighting against one thousand.
Three hundred and thirteen, they were not saying, ‘we are going to die for Allah,’ they fell in love with the Prophet (asws). And Allah (swt) sent that prophet to them, and they believed in the Holy Prophet (asws) bringing them to Allah (swt). Because of a leader, three hundred and thirteen, Allah said, ‘don’t worry. I will support you. I will send the angels to you.’ How many Angels were promised? Two or three? Yes. A thousand. Some came. The rest did not come. They are waiting for the ahir zaman, for the Malhamatul Kubra, that Allah will send those Angels at that time, and they will fight against the sheytans that are here. Because of a small group following one leader for the sake of Allah (swt), very easy then, the way opens. In Islam, it has always been the case.
So I asked Allah to send me a guide. And I asked, and I asked. And when I found my guide that is the time when things started then to shift. Things started to rearrange. It wasn’t so confusing anymore. Things started to be put into order of importance. It’s not everything is important. Then that time, the only person that I worry about is what my Sheykh thinks of me. Because what he thinks is what the Holy Prophet (asws) thinks, and what the Holy Prophet thinks is what Allah (swt) thinks. Then I say, ‘who cares what the whole world thinks. I am not doing this for my ego, I’m not doing this for dunya. This is not my desire and this is definitely not coming from sheytan.’
I asked Allah, ‘keep me on the straight path. Don’t let me to deviate; don’t let me to be corrupted.’ It is Allah’s mercy. It is not because I did so much, or I asked so much, it is Allah’s mercy that He is sending. Then that’s the time I stop worrying what other people think. I only worry about what he thinks. I only worry about what Allah is thinking. You cannot please everyone. If you do you are a hypocrite anyway. We grew up thinking we have to please everyone. Then you say, ‘okay, I don’t want to be a hypocrite.’ But you end up pleasing the wrong crowd, the wrong people. Not the right ones. Once I found that one, I held on to him. Then, things started prioritizing, your world gets more and more, you know, you filter. You start filtering things. You get more refined. It starts to get smaller in some ways, and very huge in other ways. Then you start worrying about Mawla. You are not worrying about dunya. Now that’s the time, then, I was able to overcome that. So whole world may think I am on the wrong way, whole world may think, ‘this one is sheytan, or he is dajjal, or he is…’ all these things. Doesn’t matter. They said that of Sheikh Effendi anyway. I don’t care. What I care is what Allah cares. And how am I going to know that? He has sent me a guide.
As long as I am trying to keep on the straight path, weak as I am, weak as all of us are, holding on tightly to that, inshallah ar-Rahman, with the shafaat of the Holy Prophet (asws), we will be in safety dunya and ahiret. Your faith will start tasting. You will start tasting your faith. You will start tasting your life. You start tasting your life according to our faith, it is not separate anymore. You start understanding now, how weak you are, how you need Allah’s help. Before, you were just relying on your intelligence, relying on your energy, relying on yourself. Now, you start understanding, ‘I have to rely on Allah. I’m doing as much as I can, but please Ya rabbi.’ And it is a very nice feeling. To be able to live your faith. Not just to believe. But to live it. Like I said, we are weak, we do so many wrong things. But we hold on to the right ones, Inshallah ar-Rahman, may it be easier for us. Wa min Allahu taufiq, al fatiha. Amin.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
11 Zul Qaida 1438
August 3, 2017