Question: How can we catch up with your sohbets?
How can you catch up? Sohbet is supposed to be five times a day. It’s what Sheykh Effendi used to do in the Dergah. After every prayer he gives a sohbet, whether it’s five minutes or one hour long, or five hours long. It used to be during this time of the year, it’s not Ramazan, years ago, maybe ten years ago, meaning that Isha would enter late, no? Isha would enter ten o’clock, we pray, we make zikr, he gives sohbet, he would not finish until two, three o’clock. And Fajr entering at four. And he says ‘nobody sleeps after Fajr until ishraq.’ You sleep for a few hours, nine o’clock you have to get up. That’s why there’s only a handful of us. But it’s okay. You only need a handful of the poles to hold a whole tent up. But, I mean we are not saying it is anything compared to different kinds of training, it’s nothing. But this training, it’s the ego that is kicking in.
Maybe in the military you can do that, you have more energy doing that, because your ego is not attacked spiritually like that. But in the Tarikat it is different. That’s why, in Tarikat, people want to do things, we say ‘InsyaAllah.’ They say, ‘no, no, I’m gonna do, I’m gonna do.’ Either they don’t do or they do very badly. Then they get surprised. They say ‘I am a,’ let’s say, for example, ‘I am an expert at cooking butter chicken. But when I come to the Dergah, all the butter chicken is burnt.’ Not that it’s burning, but there are people who are chefs and cooks, for example. They come to the Dergah, it burns, and they get very shocked. Because the Dergah is not a normal place. It is where Allah’s look is. And where Allah’s Look is, either your ego is going to melt away and submit, or your ego is going to fight back and it’s going to show. Okay?
So how are you going to apply? Take what is for you, because this is also not a classroom. We don’t have a course syllabus. Believe me, people tried to do that, especially American-type Sufis. They give you forms to fill, questionnaires- like they say ‘okay, for forty days, did you give up from anger?’ You’re supposed to tick this box, okay now, next you have to do this… They think, we have to be organized, right, in this, because it works in everything else. No, it doesn’t. When it comes, especially, to spirituality- do you know why you need to organize? Because it’s dead. When it is alive, you cannot control it. You cannot organize it like that. Only when it’s dead, that you try to form it, it becomes fossilized. You are afraid, you are afraid it’s going to fail, so you have to. Do you understand?
I’m not talking about different activities that we are doing. Activities is just activities that we are doing. Little bit of organization here and there, it’s okay. When it come to your own, transformation of yourself, transformation of your ego, transformation of your ego from nafsu ammara to nafsu mutmain the way that the Prophets they work, no. Isn’t it enough sign that the Holy Prophet (asws) he is an Ummi, he is an illiterate? That means he is not going by books. Finish. Now, the book is this (the heart). And this (the heart), according to your inspiration, according to your wayhi, according to your ilham, can you control that? No, you cannot. It is going according to its own logic, now. It is not according to your logic, how you want, when you want it. It’s according to how Allah wants. And Allah is the Creator of time and He swears on time.
So our time is different, the time of the ego is different, the time of Allah it is completely different now. So the meaning of submission, also, is not just that, but to understand, now, to understand according to the Nur of Allah. According to the Nur of Allah. Now, you are going to understand, the Nur of Allah it is completely different from something else, from anything that He has created. So, yeah. Five times Sheykh Effendi used to give sohbet. Whatever that is for you, you take. And as much as association- because association, sohbet doesn’t just mean you’re sitting down like this and you’re speaking. Sohbet means you are in companionship, because that’s how the Sahabis they became. They are in companionship. Not because they once a week to listen. I’m talking about, this is the standard now. Now, because we’re so weak, we take one step, we hold on tightly, we don’t have any illusion or delusion about ourselves, we say ‘we are weak, this is as much as we can,’ and they will give us blessings for that. We may discover secrets. But it is not the same, because companionship with the Sheykh, now, especially with our Sheykh it is not so easy, because he trains in the old-school way. He trains. Not in this new way, not in this hipstersufi way. No, he trains in the old-school way. We get up when he gets up. I mean, he doesn’t really get up, he just shows himself. He doesn’t really sleep, nighttime. We do a couple of things, working, we come to Zuhr, change our clothes, sit. He gives sohbet. After that, he sits for a while, and then we continue working. Asr time, usually, and this is also Sunnat that sometimes we don’t gather in the Masjid. We pray outside individually, by ourselves. Maghrib, we clean everything, we sit, we pray, we eat, make zikr, sohbet again. Fajr time we have sohbet, Zuhr time we have sohbet. Asr time, now, usually Asr time, after he’s prayed Zuhr, then he says ‘okay, go back to work,’ then at that time he’s going to inspect us.
He’s going to go around, ‘what are you working on? Ah, this.’ Okay, he may tell you certain things, how to plan things properly, how the barn is like this, how the construction… The way that he’s going around, and if you are together with him, that is also a sohbet. Any time that you spend with a Sheykh is a sohbet. Any time that you spend with a Sheykh, and he can be telling you something completely, you think, in your eyes it is completely dunya, but it is sohbet. Because in there, there is lesson for men of understanding. In there, there is a lesson for you, if your eyes are open. And this is exactly what Holy Prophet (asws) did. There were times when they were sitting around, they were sitting. We cannot even say ‘sitting around’. They were sitting and Holy Prophet (asws), he was joking with them. But can we say that the Prophet (asws), even when he is joking, he forgets about Allah and he enters to dunya? Never. Even that, there is something there to be learned. He stops everything and he’s constructing, he’s doing work with his hands. There is a lesson in that too. Not just now with the words, but with his actions. Because, now, when you are in companionship with your Sheykh, as much as you are- yes, of course, the Sheykh observes you. He observes you well, just as the doctor must observe.
But what is there for the murid? You observe the Sheykh. You sit and you observe. That’s why we say ‘wake up. Wake up. Observe, understand,’ then certain things will click in you. Certain things that is going to be there, necessary, then you’ll be able to take. Then you say, ‘oh, he laughs at this one. I don’t find it funny, but he is laughing. What is that for?’ Then you start thinking, then you start saying ‘astarghfirullah. Just because of a silly joke I’m judging him?’ Do you understand? ‘It’s a silly thing, it’s a small thing. Why am I judging him? Astarghfirullah. I spent the whole night praying, but now in this one small thing, being with him, I failed.’
So now, learning this submission, now, it is a very long process. It is a very rich process, and it comes in so many different ways. And it is not to listen and then to just apply it, to listen and just apply, because now, in companionship, you just sort of go with the flow. Once you start going with the flow, even if you don’t know how to do it, with the flow, but because you are in the river, you just go. It’ll be okay. So many things we’re not going to understand from the sohbet, because they speak, at least, from seven different levels. The sohbet that they give is not only- you think the sohbet of the Sheykhs is only for the murids in front? And understanding that, say, if there’s seventy people, maybe only seven people are going to understand, by word, what he is saying, and to remember to understand.
You think it’s just given to people? There are others who are present there, like it is, once upon a time, a Sheykh was giving a sohbet. And he was speaking and he was speaking, and he was opening and he was opening and his murids were there, they were getting amazed. But there was this one murid who was sleeping. Now Khizir (AS), he attends the sohbets. He is one of many who will attend the sohbet. Depending on the power of the Sheykh, that one, that time Prophets may come to listen to the sohbet. As Khizir (AS) was sitting, listening to that Sheykh’s sohbet, when the Sheykh was describing the events that happened in the Quran, how Musa (AS) and Khizir (AS) they went on a journey, and Khizir (AS) he was listening and he says, ‘ahh.’ He’s saying to himself, softly to himself, saying, ‘oh Mubarak one. You are telling the story as if you are the third of the two.’ There is a big secret to that. Why Allah (SWT) is calling us the nation who witnessed, and the Prophet as the Prophet who witnessed. Witnessing what? Witnessing everything in creation. And those who were with the Prophet they were also there.
So when the Quran is saying, ‘don’t you remember when we sent the flood? Don’t you remember when they arrested him and tried to kill him?’, talking about Isa (AS). Saying, ‘don’t you remember when they cast him into the fire?’, talking about Ibrahim (AS). ‘Don’t you remember when we told the angels?’ Why Allah is saying? Who is Allah talking to here? To the Holy Prophet (AS). Why Allah is going to say ‘don’t you remember?’ if he didn’t witness it? We won’t enter there too much. But if you are understanding a little bit of the station that Allah has given to that Prophet and how that Prophet loves us, that Prophet (AS), easy for him to show to those who love him.
So Khizir (AS) is saying to that Sheykh, ‘oh you Mubarek one, you holy one. You are speaking as if you were the third of the two.’ Because those ones they were present, too. Don’t ask how. But he turned and he saw this one murid and this one murid he was, you know, like some of the murids, sleeping. He says, ‘wake up, listen to the Sheykh.’ The murid says, ‘okay,’ sleeping again like this (nodding off). Talking, talking, talking, ‘oh, what jewels this one is giving. MashaAllah.’ He turned, he saw the murid is sleeping. He says, ‘get up, wake up, listen to your Sheykh now. It’s not every day we listen to such jewels.’ Murid says, ‘okay, okay, I’m listening, I’m listening.’ He’s not fighting. Because I’m seeing some people, also, they are sleeping and some people poke them a little bit, which we shouldn’t anyway, they poke them, they get so upset. ‘I’ll kill him, waking me up now, I want to sleep and he’s giving sohbet and you wake me, how dare you wake me up?’ You see? That, to discover your ego like that as a murid is already priceless, you understand?
Because majority they don’t discover their ego, they think, ‘no, my ego is very calm, very intelligent, very controlled.’ Because you’re not put under any pressure to show what your real ego is like. You are not put into any pressure if you’re living in the Dergah to suddenly feel so much jealousy towards this one person because he did something not too great and the Sheykh says, ‘MashaAllah, you did so good,’ and you’ve been doing good things all these years and the Sheykh never say one word to you. And every time you do something he says, ‘why are you doing this? What’s wrong? Huh?’ Ah. Now you are discovering your ego.
So that murid was not fighting like our murids. So he fell back to sleep, Khizir (AS) listening, he saw him, he says, ‘wake up. Don’t sleep.’ The murid says, ‘listen, if you disturb me one more time, I’m going to stand up and I’m going to tell everyone that you are Khizir. And they are not going to let you to escape until you fulfill all their wishes.’ Because Khizir (AS), he goes in disguise. Khizir (AS), if you can catch him, he will grant you any wish. And yet that one who is sleeping he knows his real identity. He was shocked. He checked, he says, ‘you’re not appearing on the list.’ There are those ones. So the sohbets now, they come in different levels and different people, different times. For different sohbets there cannot be any interruption. Whether that cannot be helped, whether it’s children, cannot be helped, or something, cannot be.
So many times you see Sheykh Effendi starting something and then he stopped. Because now it’s not that easy to come to that level there where they are going to take, and if the murids they are not knowing how to balance things, it gets cut off. If there’s any interruption, it gets cut off. Whether they are sincerely trying not to interrupt or they just cannot, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. That’s why so many times you’re seeing Sheykh Effendi he’s not opening up so many things like that, because the people they are not ready. And this is just physical readiness. If he sees one person they’re listening and they are sleeping, he says, ‘okay, we change the direction of the sohbet.’
So, now, to prepare ourselves for that kind of sohbet, we need some time and we need the right circumstance. That’s why we like to be around our Sheykh because at any time when the inspiration comes, then he opens up, then you’re not going to get it anywhere else, you’re not going to get it even in an official kind of setting. Because, official kind of setting, you see, these things happen. The kid doesn’t know, it’s okay, but it’s the parent’s responsibility now. But, at the same time, if it can’t be helped, it can’t be helped. So they drop the sohbet down, drop it, drop it, drop it, drop it, down to the lowest level where everybody will understand and there’s nothing really there too, too much. You see Sheikh Effendi sometimes goes on auto mode, understand, he says, ‘okay,’ he’s starting and he’s seeing, ‘this one is like this, this one like this, this one not understanding, this one is still fighting with that one, this one is a stranger, this one is a munafiq. Okay, we understand now.’ Then to catch him at a time when the situation is right, when everyone is listening with one heart, it’s very rare. That kind of sohbet is very rare. And that you have to chase. Other than that, so many different times we just take what is for us. The person understanding the sohbet also, it is not just you with your two ears. Your spirit is also understanding and listening too, and it is taking things in a way that you cannot understand. And when the time comes, because of your sincerity, it’s going to be reminded. The spirit will remember this.
InsyaAllah, may Allah forgive us. Al-Fatiha. That’s why when we enter into things like that, look, it’s already past ten. We were speaking for half an hour. Did it feel like half an hour? But now, because to achieve that kind of tension, when you’re pulling, it takes effort. Once you let go, everything falls now. But it takes effort. Not too many people they can do it, and according to what is necessary too. The Sheykhs they can speak, they can speak, they can take, but what is there for people who can’t understand? What is there for people who cannot carry? InsyaAllah, one day we will be able to do it properly. One day, when we are trained enough, one day when the circumstances they are right, one day when all the extra stuff is just put away, and it’s just a couple of people under the skies with some stars and Sheykh Effendi is comfortable and he starts opening certain things that we can never get. That time, that sohbet it will be filled, you are not going to find one single space that an Angel is not going to be there to listen too. Astaghfirullah adzim wa atubu alaih. Wa minallahu taufiq, Al Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergahi, Passaic (New Jersey)
18 Ramzan 1439
1 June, 2018