Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin. Wasalatu wa salamu ala rasulina Muhammadin wa ala alihi wa sahbihi ajmain nahmadulllahu ta’ala wa nastaghfiruhu wa nashadu an-lailaha ilallahu wahdahu la sharika lah wa nashadu anna sayyidina Muhammadin abduhu wa habibuhu wa rasuluhu salallahu alayhi wa ala alihi wa azwajihi wa ashabihi wa atbaihi.
Khulafail Rashidin mahdin min ba’di wuzerail immeti alal tahkik. Khususan minhum alal amidi khulafai rasulillahi ala tahqeeq. Umara il mu’mineen. Hazreti abu bakr wa umar wa uthman wa ali. Wa ala baqiyati wa sahabai wa tabieen, ridwanallahu ta’ala alayhim ajmain. Ya ayyuhal mu’minun al hadirun, ittaqullaha ta’ala wa ati’uh. Inna allaha ma allathina-ttaqaw wal-lathina hum muhsinun. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen. Wa Salatu wa Salamu ala Ashrafil Ambiya’i wa Imam al-Mursaleen Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammadin wa ala alihi wa sahbihi ajmain.
BismillahirRahmanirRahim. All praises are due to Allah, Who created the heavens and earth out of nothing- Who made the angels as messengers having wings, two, or three, or four. He adds to Creation as He wills- Lo! Allah is Able to do all things. What Allah grants to people out of His Mercy, no one can withhold it- and whatever He withholds, there is none that can grant it except for Him. And He is the Mighty, the Wise. O Mankind- Remember the Favor of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the sky and the earth? There is no Allah except Him. Where then are you being turned? Sadaqallahul Azim. (Surah Fatir, 35:1-3).
Ya Rabbi! Send your most Beautiful Salawats and your most Perfect Salaam upon Sayyidina Muhammad (AS), the Master of the First and the Last, the Intercessor of the Day of Judgment, the Friend of the Strangers, the Imam of the Two Qiblas, the Grandfather of Hz. Hasan and Hz. Huseyin. And may all peace and blessings be upon his noble family and blessed companions, especially upon the Four True Friends, the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, Hz. Abu Bakr el-Siddiq, Hz. Umar el-Faruq, Hz. Osman el-Ghani, and Hz. Ali el-Murtaza, and all those who follow them until the Last Day.
Ya Ayyuhal Mu’minoon! Ya Ayyuhal Muslimoon! O Believers! Muslims! Ramazan Mubarak to everyone! Ramazan Mubarak! Welcome to you, ya Shahru Ramazan. Welcome to you, O Shahru Siyaam. Welcome to you, O Sultan of the Months. Ya Rabbi, thank you for letting us to reach to these most precious days and nights, the days and nights that You have preferred over the rest of the year.
Believers! It is the greatest month of the year. We must act to treat the month with the highest dignity and honor. The Holy Prophet (AS) said: “If my nation only knew how great are the blessings of Ramazan and how many sins are forgiven and how much mercy is given out in this month, they would wish that Ramazan would last all year long, and they would spend the whole month in worship and in service.” O Believers! Allah (SWT), the One Who is Free from Need, Who is Absolute in His Power, Who is Exalted above His Creation, He is calling out to us in Ramazan. In a Hadith Qudsi Holy Prophet (AS) is saying: “In the first night of Ramazan, Allah (Jala wa ala) speaks and says: ‘Whoever loves Us, We love him too. Whoever desires Us, We too will long for him. Whoever asks Us for forgiveness, We shall forgive him, for the honor of the Month of Ramazan.” Alhamdulillahir Rabbil Alameen.
O Believers! We should run to make this month to be special. Because everything around us in creation, from the earths to the Paradises, to the uncountable worlds that Allah is continuing to count, everything in creation is honoring this month. And if you treat this month with honor, Allah will increase the honor to us. Hz. Umar (RA) is narrating that Holy Prophet (AS) said: “When one from my nation, from my ummet, when he wakes up during the night of Ramazan and starts turning in his bed, the two angels that are standing by his bedside would say, “wake up, wake up, O servant of Allah! Because Allah wants to give you His Mercy and Forgiveness and to bless you. So wake up!” And if the person gets up, his bed begins to praise him and pray for him, saying, “Ya Allah, give him a bed and a resting place in the highest parts of Paradise!” When he starts to get dressed, his clothes will pray for him, saying, “Ya Rabbi, clothe him in the robes of Paradise!” When he puts on his shoes, his shoes will pray for him saying, “Ya Rabbi, make his steps firm and don’t let him stumble on the Bridge of Sirat!” If he picks up a pitcher of water to make wudu with, that pitcher prays saying, “Ya Rabbi, give him from the pitchers of Paradise so he can purify himself.” When he makes wudu the water will pray for him, saying: “Ya Rabbi, as the water is purifying his mouth, so do You purify him from his sins.”
If he prays two rakaats, his whole house prays for him saying, “Ya Rabbi, if his grave oppresses him by its tightness, make it wide and let it be a place of Mercy, not a place of punishment.” When he makes dua, Allah looks at him with the Look of Divine Mercy and says, “O My Servant! You are My Servant and I am your Lord, I am your Allah. It is your place to ask- it is My Place to answer. Your part is to wish, and Mine is to fulfill your wish. It is your part to ask for forgiveness, and it is My part to forgive you.” Subhanallah, wa Alhamdulillah, wa Allahu Akbar. O Believers! This is the Ramazan. InsyaAllah ar-Rahman, we are keeping Ramazan on the Way of the Prophet, on the way of the Friends of Allah. They are teaching us that the preparation for Ramazan does not begin when you see the Hilal. In this Way, Alhamdulillah, through the blessings and the teachings of our Sheykh, SahibulSaif Sheykh Abdul Kerim al-Kibrisi al-Rabanni, in this way he is teaching us to prepare for Ramazan months before. Rajab is the Month of Allah. In Rajab, it is a Holy Month, contained in it is two Holy Nights. In the Month of Rajab, we are taught to prepare ourselves for Ramazan. The Month of Shaban is the Month of the Prophet (AS), and in it is the Holy Night of Beraat, freedom from the fire. And the Month of Shaban is a preparation, for us, for Ramazan. So the Holy Nights, Raghaib, Miraj, Beraat, they should put fuel, gas, into our dead system to prepare us for the Sultan of the Months. And when we enter the Holy Month of Ramazan, the month that we are preparing for, then you are going to taste the fruits. You are going to find the quietness, you are going to find the calm, you are going to find the coolness, you are going to find the cleanliness, you are going to find more Silatur Rahim, love and compassion in the community. You are going to find it is easier now to step on your ego in this month. That way, we understand how to step into Ramazan with Edep, with manners. And the Sultan of the Months will give to us.
We will understand that yes, Ramazan it is the month of fasting from food and drink and other activities, but it is not the only thing that Ramazan is about- that is just the beginning. That discipline on the body, it gives freedom to the spirit. It is not enough to discipline the body and just leave the spirit chained up. It is like putting fuel in an airplane and letting it sit on the runway, never letting it to fly. The discipline of Ramazan is there to give freedom to our spirit.
Today, so many Muslims are putting their spirit in prison during Ramazan and releasing their ego, that maybe you don’t see in other months that you are going to see in Ramazan. May Allah make us to take lesson from that and to protect us from that. We are eating and drinking and enjoying more than any other month.
The Month of Zikrullah, the Month of Quran, it has become just like a custom. Staying up all night in movie theaters, watching dramas on TV, staying out all night shopping, cooking, eating. Rulers using this month not to give relief to the people, but to kill more, to do more zulm. The rich not taking this month to give more charity to the poor, but watching the cruelty and the oppression and the zulm, and laughing at their fellow Arabs, their fellow brothers, their fellow Muslims. Ramazan will curse them on the Day of Judgment. May Allah save us from that kind of Ramazan.
Yes, we are following the Friends of Allah, who are the inheritors of the Prophets. And the Evliya are showing us how to spend Ramazan as believers. Our Master, Sahib el-Sayf Sheykh Abdul Kerim el-Kibrisi el-Rabbani is teaching us this essence of Ramazan, saying: “Eating food! Allah Allah. That’s the only thing we are created for? Do you think that staying hungry all day long and right after breaking the fast filling up everything whatever you have lost for twelve hours, that is fasting? You tie an animal to a corner for twelve hours or fifteen hours. Leave the food here. Twelve hours later release him, Whoosh… he is going to jump there again. The month of Ramazan must make it better. We must make it better. We must understand that animal self and the angelic self. There are two sides. Angels are not needing to eat and to drink. When we enter into Paradise we are not going to be in need of eating and drinking. No. We are going to eat and drink for pleasure only. But there is no need there anymore. So that is another side for you. One side of us is longing for that side and the animal side is longing for this side. And now we have to fight against it.
That is why Allah He is setting time to us saying, “From this time to this time you don’t eat, you don’t drink and you don’t have activities, other kinds.” It is forbidden. Now we know that these characters, we must know that characteristics that Allah has forbidden to us is also being carried by the animals. So Allah (Jala wa ala) is teaching us, making us turn to our angelic side. And whatever Allah and His Holy Prophet (AS) is ordering us, we will find slowly that we are getting rid of that animal side and we reach to that angelic side.” O Believers! Are we understanding? Fasting is to purify us and to make us to start living like the Ehli Jennet while we are still in this world. When we get rid of that animal side of ourselves and pull it down for one month, that spirit side, that angelic side, that real side of us is going to come out and it’s going to blossom. And we will begin to experience the Beauty that Allah (SWT) has created us for.
O Believers! Murids! Listen to the words of Sultan el-Evliya Sheykh Maulana Nazim Adil al-Hakkani, may Allah grant him higher stations, and get a taste of that Beauty. He is saying: “It is Holy Ramadan. Holy, trying to make people holy. Why has it been said “Holy Ramadan?” Because making people to approach holy levels of Heavens! When you make eating and drinking the lowest level, the spirituality gets up, higher and higher and higher. If someone may reach on that level, he may hear glorifying of angels for the Lord of Heavens! Such things are not written in your books, but the Lord of Heavens is asking to make it clear for understanding, and you must understand! Eat as it is necessary, and don’t drink more than you are in need. Therefore, Holy Ramadan is granting to servants a “holiness.” People are going to be in the Ramadan more holy ones. Try to be that! In daytime you are so light, in pleasure, that your physical being is going to be in rest. And your understanding, your mentality is coming to be much more mukammal, perfect. We are saying a holy word of the Seal of Prophets (AS).” And the Friends of Allah they speak the truth.
The generations who came before us, they lived their Ramazan in such a way that they were living Paradise, they were living Paradise Days on the face of the earth at that time. The Sahaba-e-Kiram, they would gather all night to spend with each other for Teravih namaz. They are saying that the City of Medina used to be buzzing with the recitation of Quran, that was coming from every corner and every home. Everyone was running to feed each other, to help each other, to relieve each others’ needs. Because only when you receive the Mercy of Allah you are going to be Merciful to each other. When you receive the forgiveness of Allah, because you are sincere, you will be forgiven. When you love and long to meet Allah, you will love and long each other. And this continued and it developed and its beauty grew in the generations of Muslims. As more and more Muslims, more and more people came into Islam, not just from the Arabian peninsula, but from the central Asia, from Africa, from Europe, from east and west, north and south, whose cultures are very different from the culture of the Prophet (AS), and when they came under a Khalifah, and the Khalifah is supported by the Evliyaullah, when that Empire of Tasawwuf, that Empire of Sufism, the Holy Ottoman Empire ruled, Islam, and Ramazan, and fasting, had more beauty and had more taste. Because the specialty that is given to every tribe, specialty that is given to every nation, it started to multiply during this Month. Because the full moon of that beauty, we see that in the Way of the Ottomans, the Protectors of the Sunnah of the Rasulallah (AS). The lifestyle of an entire Empire, it would change to honor Ramazan. Life, it was arranged and planned around showing honor and respect to these days and nights, showing respect and honor to the Prophets, to the Sahabi e-Kiram, to the Evliyaullah.
It would begin when the Qadi would send people to look for the moon and when the Hilal was sighted, the town criers would go out and say, Ramazan geldi hos geldin! And everyone would come out and celebrate, pleased and happy and excited because the Sultan of the Months has arrived. And when the Hilal was sighted, the town criers they would say that, and every day the Sultan and the noble people would host open iftars, letting everyone come to their table and eat. There were special ceremonies just for Ramazan. The Khirqa-i-Sherif, the Holy, Honorable Khirqa, the Jubbah of the Holy Prophet (AS) was opened for Ziyaret only during this Month. So that the nation they can take from the honor and they can take from the Tabaruk. The Mahya oil lamps were hung from the Masjid and would spell out different zikrs and reminders to the people. There was even a baklava procession, when the Sultan would send baklava to the soldiers as a gift for their services. The Ottomans perfected the Art of Maqamat, of reciting the Quran with beauty. And the people would gather in the Masjids for Teravih Namaz to listen to the best Quran Reciters, who themselves they were Holy Ones, servants of Allah, reciting the Words of Allah in the Month of the Quran. In just one Tarawih namaz, the Qari would recite the Quran in six different Maqams. In the break between the Rakaats, they would recite Qasidas, reminding the believers about the Mercy of their Lord, the Love of their Prophet, and the Sohbet of their Friends. Yes, during that month the Ayat of Allah (SWT) was coming to life, when He says: BismillahirRahmanirRahim. “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers.” Sadaqallhul Azim. (3:103)
We should run, we should run together to find that kind of a Ramazan. We should run together to make that kind of Ramazan. If we are living for one reason, if we are living to be servants of Allah, we will find that Ramazan. If we are running to live the Sunnat of the Rasulullah (AS), and to be in the companionship, in the Sohbet of the Evliya, we will find that Ramazan. If we leave our ego outside, if we leave our anger, our jealousy, our stubbornness and our pride, we will find that Ramazan. If we run to help each other, to love each other, to pick each other up, to be generous to each other, to have concern for each other, to ask forgiveness from each other, we will find that Ramazan. If our desire is the Pleasure of Allah (SWT), the Rida of Allah (SWT), then insha’Allah, He will be Raazi with us. O Believers! We are in the days of Mercy. We must run to our Lord of Mercy. We must find and practice that Mercy Allah has put in us. And He is saying, He shows Mercy to the ones who are Merciful with each other. We should live as brothers. We should learn to live as servants of Allah. Ya Rabbi! We are asking for Your Mercy. We are asking for Your Pleasure. We are asking to Love what You Love, and to leave what You leave. We are asking for You to make us to experience a Real Ramazan, for the sake of Your Habib, for the sake of Your Friends, for the sake of SahibulSaif. Al Fatiha. Amin.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergahi, New York
3 Ramzan 1439
May 18, 2018