Question: After we visit Holy lands and return back home, how should we be thinking about things so that we don’t end up empty?
If you visit Dergah, it is an extension of your life here, it is not something that is completely different. It is an extension. It is something that is more concentrated but it is connected in every way with your life here at the Dergah. So when you come back to this country, you don’t come back to this country, you come back to the Dergah. If you are not connected to the Dergah and let’s say you have a nine to five job somewhere and once in a while you escape for zikir and for sohbet, put on the turban once in a while, most of the time you are just loss while the dunya is taking you, so many people is held hostage like that, some against their will, depending on their intention where they want to be, if you are like that then it becomes very difficult. Because you have to readjust. So many things you have to readjust. Then you have to decide which one is the real life? Over there or over here? Even if it is a real life, which one do you want to make it real?
The life here and this American system that you can live, walk around, go to school, go to work, seven days, seven years and no one is mentioning Allah once, or the Prophet or the Evliyaullah, you cannot even hear azan anywhere, correct? now you are going to decide which one do you want to make it to be real? Real is not just what you see and taste. Even what you see and what you taste, the five senses is not real. It’s not real, it’s going to be destroyed, it’s going to end. You say, ‘no, I taste.’ Well, if you are tasting as a six years old, it’s different, when you are twenty six years old you taste it’s different. When you are sixty years old it’s different. Six hundred years old you don’t even have any taste. So how can you say the five senses it is real? Now coming back to a country that is just pushing for this five senses, now you understand what is real or not according to your beliefs. What do you believe in?
Now the ziyaret, it is making your belief to become stronger or not? If it is making you to become stronger, now you say, because you are living here in the dergah, people work outside, yes, but you are not enjoying the life outside, we are running here in the dergah. That’s why everyone of us we’ve gone through college, everyone of us we’ve worked outside, we’ve tasted the life America has to offer and we say it is empty because we want to become believer. And we are coming here we may not have too many things but Allah is providing everything for us too and we find a taste. Now we talk about this, not taste, we talked about this huge ni’mat that Allah has given to the Muslims especially to the Ottomans, to the Muslims for over one thousand years, to the Ottomans for 500 – 600 years, and we’ve never tasted that. We’ve heard about it, we’ve mentioned it, we’ve talked about it but now to actually walked on those lands in this worse of times, there’s still the traces of that, it’s still making us to become, let’s say, overwhelmed by that. And saying that, ‘Allah, Allah, such a thing exist?’ and this is the worse of the time. Imagine when it wasn’t.
So your faith is important. If people are just going to say, it’s just a vacation, and then coming back, and then going back to the real life, that is not the real life. Then you lose everything. But because we are here in the Dergah, what is the real life here? We are not enjoying the life, that we escape that life. We just want a simple life. Then you made a ziyaret not only to a Muslim country, there’s so many muslim countries, but maybe Turkey is the only country in the world that is still honoring and loving and holding high the Evliyaullah. It’s the only country. What other country who believe in Evliyaullah or Tasawwuf or Saints? It is like a dirty secrets that majority of the people they look down on, they say, ‘ you are ahle Shirk…you are this…you are that,’ at the very least they say, ‘you are misguided people.’ But this is something that is the backbone of the Empire and it is still there. In the worse of time, it is still there.
What do you need to do? You need to remember. Everything is about remembrance, everything is about zikr. Imagine now what it might have been. It’s very different then. Mankind has been created in what? Allah SWT is saying, ‘in heedlessness and forgetfulness.’ That’s why zikr it is very important. Everything that you do in ibadat, it is a zikr. It is a form of zikr. To say your shahadat, to read the Quran, to fast, to go to the Haj, you must do it remembering Allah. You make namaz, you must remember Allah when you are making namaz. This is when Tasawwuf, Tarikat is going to teach you, look, listen, your ego inside is not going to make you to, you have the form of the namaz, you have the form of the sadaqah, you have the form of the fasting, you have the form of going to the Hajj, but your heart is not remembering Allah. If the outside form is doing everything but the inside is not remembering Allah, it’s not much value.
Allah is not looking at the outside form. He is looking to our hearts. That is where His throne is. So we must remember. You cannot just let it go. One good thing is you don’t have to go back to that life. You are here. It is easier now to remember. So you must sit and you must recount and you must remember and you must taste it again and you must try to understand and you must meditate and you must think. You understand? Take time to understand, ‘I went here,’ alhamdulillah, that feeling there. Take time. Pull back more to yourself. Because now, what are you making? What are you doing there now? You are being with the friends of Allah. I mean when you remember at Turkey, you are not going to remember the Iskander kebab that you eat, you are not going to remember the chi kofte that they made for you, you are remembering the feeling that you are having when you are visiting the friends of Allah and the Sultans. When you are meeting people who have such love for our Sheykh. When you are meeting people that they are good people, simple people and they like to be around us, just to remember Allah. So you must relive that. You must count. Allah is making zikr to be obligation. Allah is saying, ‘You remember Me and I will remember you.’
So if you are not making zikr, if you are not trying to remember and relive and taste everything, it’s just going to be gone. This is the time when you have to make that struggle, that jihad of your nafs because the nafs will just say, ‘ohh that is just past, it’s just a trip, now is the real life.’ It’s not, you understand? So you must hold on to it. You must remember. You must be around those who are always going to bring it up, who are always going to talk about it. At least, for you, to make that tafakkur it is important. Why do you think I get upset when I come back and everyone is looking like this (bored), not asking, not wanting to know, not wanting to discover. I want to discover. I want to discover. I want to take it out and look and I want to show you. But when people are not interested, then I say, okay, what can I do. I’m passed getting upset anyway. I’ll keep it and I’ll give it to other people in Turkey who want me to share. Correct or no? You’ve seen how they are. Is this shocking to people? No. I’ve said this so many times. Sheykh Effendi has said it so many years. He said, ‘you don’t want sohbet, I’m going to go to the cemetery and I’m going to give sohbet.’
So I will take. You are not interested, it’s okay. I cannot waste it also. Then I’ll show it to people who are interested. Do I think I have something to offer? No, who am I to offer anything? Do I think my Sheykh has something to offer? Yes. Then I’m only going to give what my Sheykh has given me. They like it they take. They don’t have to like it, they don’t even have to like me, I don’t even speak their language. You understand how impossible it is. But they are. They are listening. So there must be something. So there is. For those who are thirsty, they are very happy when we give them water. And they want more, and they want more. So we should always be thirsty, insyaAllah. We should always. If you are not thirsty, make yourself to be thirsty. Prophet (AS) is saying, ‘cry for the sake of Allah. If you cannot cry, make yourself to cry,’ otherwise, soon that door is going to be closed too, there’s no sohbet. Then that time you are going to feel that, over here it’s just robotic.
So remember. Pull it out. Understand it. Have the feelings. Call out names of these Evliyas that we went. I was just remembering Hz Yahya Effendi, how nice it was. They are pulling us and we go. We didn’t come with any real plan and this and that. So many times our plans change. We are not going there to prove ourselves or anything. So, then think about the ni’mat, the favors that Allah has given us through these ones and think about the favors that our Sheykh has given us. Then that time when you look at all the problems that you have everyday, which they are problems, they are real problems, maybe, then remember them and say, ‘come on now, it cannot be real.’ You understand? That’s when you start, slowly dying from this world. Maybe you’ve killed your passion for so many things that you have a passion for before, you used to get interested in cars or this or that, maybe you’ve killed that, maybe it’s just dying, it’s on its way out but our passion for worrying, not the good stuff in life but the bad stuff in life, our passion for anxiety, our passion for heedlessness, our passion for complaining, our passion for not being grateful, all those things we are still holding on very tightly.
Now you understand how sitting in the presence of that friend of Allah, then everything just goes. Then you realize that it’s not that. It is some problem but it’s not this huge thing. It’s this thing here. It’s this thing. Don’t have a passion for all those kinds of things that especially the west is teaching us. Because they have all the materials but they are the most miserable, we are the most miserable. We have everything that the material, that people over there they are struggling everyday, so hard they are struggling. We have so easy coming to us but there is no happiness, there is no satisfaction, there is no taste. Because there is no mention of our Lord. At least we are saying, ‘okay we live in a non muslim country, at least to have a show of their way of worshipping,’ maybe we see one church, one church, one church, one church, okay it’s wrong, but at least it is a form of worship. It’s going to remind you. But if you don’t see that at all, there is no connection to any understanding of the Creator, that really makes the heart to become really dark and very dead. Then that time, you are running for this, running for that, nothing is going to give you any satisfaction. If anything it makes you want to kill yourself. And everything is saying, destroy, destroy, destroy.
So we need to sit down, we need to talk, ‘oh, we need to talk. Remember when we went to Eyup sultan, then we went to Üftade Hazretleri, what do we see? What was there?’ We didn’t do any of that there. There was no time. Okay we have time now. We have sohbets three, four times a week. I mean we are supposed to have it three times a day anyway, but let’s say we have three times a week, four times a week, those who are going, why you are not speaking? And those who didn’t go, why are you not asking? This is one thing that this system here makes your heart to become dead, except when it is fun and entertaining, except when it’s about your ego and you become very alive, your eyes light up and you start talking. Everyone is so excited. When it comes to things like this, I’m talking about mu’min, I’m talking about mureeds, I’m not talking about people from outside. Us. We become dervish, mashaAllah. No passion. When it comes to dunya, everybody becomes so alive. Men and women. This is a drunken station that you need to snap out of. This is, what are you becoming alive for. You see those ones over there, they become alive for this things because there’s nothing much going on. They are just getting by, paying their bills and getting by. Nothing gives them joy. Even in that there is Allah’s protection and blessings on them. May Allah make it easy for them, insyaAllah. May we wake up. Al-Fatiha.
Shaykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
6 Jamada al-Ahir 1441
January 31, 2020