Question: Is fasting our way of submitting our ego?
Of course it is. But you don’t fast like an animal fasts too. You fast with ego. To understand that Valley of Hunger is not just meaning no food, that Valley of Hunger means the Valley of Deprivation, you deprive it of something. You don’t just punish it, you deprive it of something. You don’t just expose it to something that it hates, you don’t give it something that it wants. Do you understand? There’s a difference. That’s why the ego says, ‘I give up.’
Murid: Can we do that by ourselves or do we need our Sheykh?
What, to go into the Valley of Hunger? May Allah never put us in the Valley of Hunger. But to be what? To be deprived? Which is why the seclusion is important in Tarikat. You cannot do seclusion without the permission of your Sheykh. You cannot, you’ll go crazy. Because so many things will be exposed to you, both inside, internal, and outside. And if there’s no permission and there’s no authority to do it, you will start seeing things, you will start going crazy. Either you’re going to think that you are a Saint or a Prophet or Allah, or you start thinking that you are sheytan and you are dajjal. It’s not a game, it’s not just sitting in a room and making zikr, there are other things that happen there. Because you have to make seclusion but in reality man is never alone, no? Only Allah is alone. Man is never alone. Only Allah (SWT) is alone. And He swears by His Unity and He swears by His Oneness. We cannot.
So we have to know who are we going to be with, what are we doing there. Like, I believe it was Shah-e-Naksibendi who said, ‘for a murid, unless he intends and he understands that he is going into seclusion to protect the world from his ego, he’s not ready to enter into seclusion.’ Do you understand? Not to enter into seclusion to see this or see that and go to higher stations, but he says, ‘my ego is such a dangerous one, I’m saving the world by not being in this world for some time.’ It is an exercise, it is a very special exercise, it is a very dangerous exercise. I haven’t been in a long seclusion like that, a little bit here and there it’s okay. I’m supposed to for some time, but I’m not running to also.
In our way it is a seclusion itself, you cannot eat except for a handful of bread and one bowl of soup, and tea, no sugar. But that’s the easy part. One of the things that is hard is five times a day you have to take a shower, a cold shower, you have to take a ghusl before you pray. And you sleep very little and there is so many things that you need to do. So you are not alone, who are you with? If you are not understanding yourself, that time sheytan may appear to you as something and you think it is not sheytan, you will be in big trouble. How do you know? These days people see a little bit of light and they go, ‘ahhh,’ we become like Christians, they hear a voice and they say, ‘is that you God?’ ‘Yes.’ Oh, MashaAllah. We become like Christians, ‘oh, God woke me up this morning.’ What happened to you, you become a Prophet? Even Prophets they don’t speak directly to their Lord. So many of them showing that it is Hz Jibrail that is there representing. The one who has the title of speaking directly to his Lord didn’t even speak directly to Allah (SWT), Hz Musa Kalimullah, he spoke to a tree that was burning with a light that is not from this world and he hears a sound, don’t think a voice means like that movie. ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your Lord.’ It’s not like that. People are not even understanding basic things. Our ability to hear and to speak, this is coming from somewhere that is Divine. But it is not this, it is not like this. It is like the man and the boy. Father and son they are in the same room, son was born in the room, he’s never seen outside, and the father was trying to explain to him certain things, all the boy sees from the outside is a little mouse and the father is trying to describe to him an elephant. And the little boy is thinking, his father is saying it is a big animal. It has big ears. ‘Big ears father?’ He says, ‘yes.’ ‘Like the mouse ears big?’ He says, ‘yeah, but bigger.’ ‘Oh okay, I understand.’ ‘It has a long nose.’ ‘Like the mouse nose?’ ‘Yes, but longer.’ ‘Ah, okay I understand. I understand.’
The Prophets they were sent to remind us, to make us to understand, not just to understand but to remind us. Because we were not created here without any knowledge of our Lord. As Hz Rumi is saying, ‘I came from somewhere and I’m returning there, of that I’m sure.’ We came from Allah and we’re returning. So this, hundred and twenty four thousand Prophets who came it is just to remind us, to unveil, to open, to make us to remember. We have that. So, if you are around people that make you forget, you’re going to forget, if you are around people that make you remember, slowly you’re trying to remember, and everything will come to you as something that is familiar. You don’t have to learn, it is something familiar. You realize. Realization is something, learning is something else, you understand?
So the Valley of Hunger, to deprive your ego. You say, ‘La.’ Ego wants to do something, you do something else. This is the cornerstone of the Osmanli Naksibendi tradition, you understand? And the biggest thing that the ego does not like, does not want, is to follow anyone. ‘No. Why I should follow? I should know by myself. I’m going to learn by myself. I can read by myself. Why do I have to have someone, what, you want me to bow down in front of him? I bow down only in front of Allah. I’m better than him, look, he doesn’t even speak Arabic.’ All these are very cliche, old characteristics of sheytan. Not of the angels. Allah is commanding everything, not only the angels but meaning everything that Allah has given power, everything that is in Creation, to bow down to Adam (AS), and we were inside of Adam (AS). And the angels all bowed down except for sheytan, Iblis. Coming up with so many reasons, this or that. But the basic point is, ‘who are you that I have to bow down to you?’ You understand?
Long time ago when I was growing up we went to camp and we had to sleep in this big hall, all the guys together. When it was time to pray me and a couple of other guys selected one corner and we started praying. I had so many friends who were Christians, who were Buddhist, they couldn’t understand. We were praying and they looked at us, they looked in front, and there is nothing there. They looked around, ‘are you sure? I don’t see anything. What are they praying to?’ Because that is the lowest level of mankind that if you want to bow down to something, there has to be something there to bow down to. Years later when I was teaching, I was teaching these bunch of Jews also, they were studying in the yeshivas and to them, they are saying, ‘well, we see you bowing down to Mecca, bowing down to the Ka’aba, so that is your Lord. It has to be.’ You understand? So that stone there, and we call it Baitullah, the House of Allah, don’t we? So that means Allah lives in the house? No, we know that, but to a lot of people it doesn’t make sense, ‘you’re saying it is Baitullah so your Lord must live over there, so that is His house.’ Don’t you understand the teachings of Islam is not from here? It is not from here, it is not from this world, it doesn’t make sense according to the logic of this world. It is a Kibla. But before there was Baitullah, before there was a Ka’aba, where was the Kibla?
When Allah created creatures, there was a time He was alone and He was great in His aloneness, and there was a time when He decided to create, and He says, ‘Kun Faya Kun.’ When He created, and whatever that He has created there must be a direction to Allah, what was that direction? Is it a piece of stone? Who did Allah create first? What did He create first, who did He create first? The one that He created first must be the Kibla, must be the one that He says, ‘now, this is My representative.’ You see, mankind doesn’t understand itself. It thinks it’s just been made for this low and stupid world, for eating and drinking, living like animals, and Allah (SWT) has created us higher than the angels. That He made the angels to bow down to us, that sheytan says, ‘You’re making them to commit shirk,’ do you understand?’ He’s blaming Allah, saying, ‘I bow down only to You.’ Ah, something to think about. May Allah forgive us insyaAllah, al Fatiha.
Shaykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, Passaic
20 Jamada al-Ahir 1441
February 14, 2020