Question: Are the stories about Dergahs and dervishes and Khalifahs and all this, are these stories true or are they just stories?
If you read in any book, and you have heard it before from Sheykh Effendi, it is true. If you hear it and it is saying something other than what he is saying, then put a question mark to that.
For example, you may hear a story about Nasruddin Hoja. In one famous story, Nasruddin Hoja was sitting with some friends, then he called a kid, a little boy maybe about the age of eleven years old, he says, ‘come. Now take this pitcher and get some water. Don’t you dare break this pitcher, you understand?’ then he says, ‘come here.’ Then he smacks him, in our tradition, the back of the neck. Then he pulls his ear a little bit. Like you see Sheykh Effendi do it. You’ve seen me do it from time to time. Then his friend is saying, ‘Hoja, why are you hitting him? The kid didn’t even break anything yet.’ The Hoja is saying, ‘it is better to hit him before he breaks anything. If he breaks something, what is the use of hitting him?’ but it is not hitting-hitting, you understand? It is to (pat the back of the neck) like that. Somebody who does that to you, like your father, grandfather, it is like a show of affection. But if you hear the same story and Hoja is calling a five year old girl to come, and tell her, ‘carry this and bring water, but don’t you dare break it.’ And to remind her, he took a big stick and beating, beating, beating that girl, until her legs are swollen and the friends asking, ‘Hoja, why are you beating her? She didn’t even break it,’ ‘well, what’s the use of beating her if she breaks it?’ So know that story is twisted, you understand?
So you have to use your own intelligence too. Understand? It is important. If you hear the story of Ibrahim ibn Adham, for example, Ibrahim ibn Adham was a righteous King. He was doing everything correctly; he was ruling correctly, he was loved by everyone and he was always thinking about his Lord. And one day he was thinking in his room, and he looked up at the ceiling, and his roof was made from glass, clear, and he could see the skies, and he saw an old man there on top of his roof. And he is asking, I am making the story very short, he is asking, ‘oh, old man, what are you doing on top my roof?’ thinking that he couldn’t escape from all these killers. And the man is saying, ‘I am looking for my camel, ya Ibrahim.’ And he said, ‘you dare to say that kind of thing to a Sultan?’ He was ruling all that area of Samalkha and Bukhara. He was very powerful. He was very righteous. And Ibrahim ibn Adam was saying, ‘how can you find a camel on top of my roof?’ And the man said, ‘it is easier for me to find a camel on your roof, than for you to find Allah surrounded by your luxury.’ But, if you hear someone say, ‘Ibrahim ibn Adham was a very evil king, he was a very cruel king, he was a very lustful king, he did everything, everything wrong that you can think of, he did, and one day he was sitting with ostrich feathers,’ I don’t know how they came about the sitting with ostrich feathers, ‘and he says, ‘hey, man, what are you doing up there?’ ‘Oh, I’m looking for my camel,’ ‘why are you looking up there, you cannot find that,’ he says, ‘easier for me to find my camel up here than for you to find Allah,’’ then you know something is wrong somewhere. You understand?
So use your intelligence. This is why you need a guide. Because you get a whole lot of information out there, maybe even a whole lot of knowledge. But if there is no filter, you’re going to be in trouble. You understand? The book, a thousand and one nights, am I recommending people to read it? Not really. Because in the past, especially during the time of the, that was the time of the Abbasis you know? During the time of the Abbasis, later Abbasis, the time of the Umawis and Abbasis. And that was written in Arabic. That was great progress that the Muslims, the ummat, made. Great progress in dunya. Very big progress they make in dunya. That is the time when they discovered so many things, they developed so many things, the Muslim civilization was light years ahead of any other civilization in the world. But it was dunya. It was dunya. It wasn’t so much akhirat. But Allah is fair. Whatever you chase after, whatever you step on your ego for, whatever you put your discipline in, even if it is wrong, whatever it is, even if it is wrong, He will reward you. You want to be a thief; you’re really good at that, Allah will reward you. You become the best of thieves. You understand? So, that book so many weird things are also in there and at that time too, because it was just a few hundred years after the Holy Prophet (asws), so it was very lazim, it was very common, that anything that you are doing, you have to say BismillahirRahmanirRahim. These days if you say BismillahirRahmanirRahim people think it is only Quran. Only Quran.
In the old days, if you are going to do anything you say BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Even in a book like that they are saying BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Which means not only they are saying that, they are going to take stories from the Anbiya, stories from the Awliya, and they are going to put also. They are going to tell their own stories, you understand? And that was also to teach other people, because that is the language that they understand, those kinds of stories they really like, so they use that kind of story to teach some spirituality. But, it is for different people, it is not for those ones who are already on the way. Because the thousand and one nights it is the number of nights that the murid of the Mevlavi order, especially, other orders are doing it also, that they have to undergo certain riada, certain exercises. Spiritual exercises. That for one thousand and one nights, over maybe, close to three years, they go through certain exercises. I’m not going to say which one it is, it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to know so much these things. It doesn’t apply to us so much.
So, InsyaAllah, if you are reading anything, and asking for support and reading with the support of your Sheykh, and the eyes of your Sheykh, even if it is something that is not good, you are going to find something good in that, and the things that are not good is not going to affect you. Understand? Al Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
2 Muharram 1439
September 22, 2017