Tarikatuna Sohbet fil khayri min jamiya. Our Tarikat is based on association and goodness comes from that association. Because in the association, as Sheykh Effendi is saying, it is providing the ammunition against to Sheytan and our ego. Sheytan is attacking, we know how to attack back, we know how to defend. Ego is attacking, we know what to say, we know what to do.
To know the enemy, it is important. You must know the enemy. Even the unbelievers, and they had wisdom, Allah grants wisdom to anyone who is looking for it, they say, ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer.’ And the enemy that is most dangerous is not the enemy that you can see but the enemy that you cannot see. The enemy not from the outside but the enemy from the inside. This is a life long journey because that enemy inside is never sleeping. It has hundreds and thousands of tricks and traps that is coming at you in every situation and it is this struggle, this jihad, this struggle against to your nafs it is never ending until you die. You go to a different way, different station, it’s coming at you in different things. You are tested. Knowing yourself, it is important. Because to know yourself means you need to know what are the enemies that is inside of you that is going to sabotage the work that you are doing. If you don’t know that, you think that you are building something beautiful and strong from the outside, from in front, but behind the door is wide opened and it’s going in. If you are busy now trying to find what is the enemy and trying to throw him out, trying to always attacking him from the inside, that time it is easy for them, the Holy ones and our Sheykh, to protect us.
We are here, alhamdulillah, we are protected and we know this is not because of ourselves. We cannot protect ourselves like this but they put that protection on us. Why is that? It’s because we are doing the work that we are supposed to do so they can do the work that they are doing. What is the work that we are supposed to do? To fight against our ego. They cannot fight our ego for us. This is given to Hz Insan. Every mankind, if you fight against to your ego then you become that Insan e-Kamil, you become the perfect one.
So your question, to be busy with yourself, even if things are happening around you, you bring it to yourself. You read something that is going on in the world, you watch yourself looking at that and you ask, ‘how is this knowledge benefiting me? How is this benefiting me?’ You are looking at this other thing, you are trying to see now, ‘why am I looking? What am I seeing? What am I getting from this? How is it improving my iman?’ So you are not doing things just by routine, in ghaflat, you are actually looking for something. It can be the same thing that you’ve always been doing but you start seeing it with different eyes. You start seeing it with different eyes. You can be planting a potato for forty years, but every year it’s going to be different and you are learning and because Allah’s creation is always revealing itself. There is no end, what about our Lord now?
One level of meaning that you are asking is so that we are not going to become too involve with anything that is happening around us. We are not going to become too fearful, too in love, too angry, too jealous, too this or too that, whatever that is happening. So you pull back. The pulling back means, instead of being in the situation, you stand up and you look at the situation and you look at yourself. You say, ‘wait, wait. Why am I behaving like this?’ Instead of just watching something, you pull back and you stand up and say, ‘I’m watching. How am I watching this? Why am I watching this? What am I getting from this? Why is this thing happening? This one is saying, I’m feeling this thing, why am I feeling it?’
That is one way of being busy with yourself. So things that are happening around you, you don’t get caught up in that. You are not an animal to be herded just like that, to be pulled by the nose like that. You look and you see and you’ll understand now, there’s so many signs. It is a sign. It is an ayat. Where are you going to find the words of Allah in that sign? Something that you see is making you to be very angry, put the brakes on a little bit and say, ‘no, I must be busy with myself.’ What does that mean? Don’t get too upset. Don’t get too angry. Because you are not going to be productive with that. Because now you are going to be angry and you don’t know what to do with it. Because you are not stepping out from there trying to control it according to Allah’s way and the Prophet’s sunnat, you don’t know. Because if you are always having that at the back of your mind, you are going to be very careful, you know that once you are inside that situation, you are lost because it will pull you. You have to struggle to get out from that situation. It’s hard. Because every person, especially men, you just want to go along with that desire, with that passion, with that feeling. Don’t you see, even in Tarikat, just to go along with that passion and that desire in Tarikat, in Sufism, in Tassawuf, in our way, even that we look down on. Don’t get drunk. Because it is very easy to get drunk. It’s not so easy to say, ‘no, don’t drink. Why are you drinking? Why do you want to get drunk? What are you going to benefit from it?’
Allah SWT has put the law, the shariat there. Now the shariat there it is the Divine law, it is not human law. What does that Divine law make us do? It control us. Does it control the world? No. It controls you, your ego. The Shariat is for mankind. The benefit is for everyone but it’s for mankind. And like this or like that, the shariat is saying to the ego, there are limits. Tarikat now it is looking within the limit of what is permissible, what is halal and making us to question, ‘is this really important? What is more important than that?’ It is permissible to eat halal food? Is it really important to have ten things in front of us? Is it important to eat it all the time? You cannot refuse the food for instance, how are you going to now still be sincere in controlling your appetite and your ego, but you are not in the situation where you are going to refuse, you just have to let it come. There are ways. How we learn that? We look at our Sheykh. Yes, for example, it is sunnat to have three things. Number one, we cannot carry it. Number two, whatever that is coming to us, especially in the Naksibendi way, you see so much rizq coming, food coming, things that people serve, you have to eat then. If it’s coming to you, don’t refuse, let it come, but give. Then once you start sharing, you are fulfilling everything there.
So this questioning, busy with yourself questioning, busy with yourself saying, ‘is this necessary or is this not? Then all of that it is now according to how we must watch our Sheykh carefully. Because the teachings that he is giving us so many times it is not in words, it is in his actions. To have the sohbets of the Sheykh now it is not just to see him talk but to be with him when he’s not talking, to be with him when he’s walking, to be with him when he’s working, to be with him in every situation, to be in association, as how the Sahabi e-Kiram were. At times, Prophet (AS) would speak about ahiret, at times he would speak about dunya, at times he would speak about things that he’s saying, you are thinking maybe this is nothing spiritual with it, but it concerns now your lifestyle. Everything that he’s doing now, with that association, it is reaching back to the pleasure of Allah and it is reaching to those ones who are wanting to have the highest level of service to Allah SWT, to be a higher servant to Allah SWT.
First thing, you must know as Sheykh Effendi is saying so many times, the knowledge is that for you or not? And the prayer of the Prophet (AS), as the Prophet (AS) is saying, ‘Ya Rabbi protect me against the knowledge that does not give me benefit.’ As it is, when we enter to Tarikat, you see everything become smaller and smaller. Maybe before Tarikat you have hundred friends, then when you come to Tarikat suddenly you have very few friends. Then you say, ‘ah, it’s okay, never mind. I left all my friends, now these are my friends.’ How many years it’s going to take you, how many days? You get squeezed and squeezed and you say, ‘ah now I have no friends. I have one friend.’ So that changes.
What is the knowledge now that is going to give benefit to you? Before you might think that every knowledge is beneficial, but now you are going to look to see, ‘what is it that I want? How do I want to improve? How do I want to become better? I must seek that knowledge. Not other knowledge that is not going to make me to become better. So you want to be busy with yourself, in Tarikat, what is your job, what is your responsibility? Concentrate on that. Is it important to know so many other things that’s happening? Maybe not that important. Everyone is checking their phones every seconds to see any updates on this virus that is happening. Has it change much in all the months? No. It’s the same thing going, going, going, going, going. And if you are not reading all these, but having people around you for instance who know what is happening and you are not reading it, are you going to lose? You are not.
There was a time Sheykh Effendi even told us don’t, not necessary to even know what’s gong on. That is, sort of like the mind frame of the dervish. Whatever that is happening, they don’t care. Doesn’t really affect them too much, one way or another because their concentration is to be a servant to Allah. So in a way it’s easier for us. They don’t expect that kind of discipline but in another way it’s more difficult because we are supposed to have this mentality, it doesn’t concern us but we are put in a situation where so many things are happening around us and we are witnessing it too. Isn’t that more difficult?
Look to see to the job that you are given. Then look to see, what is the sohbet that is given. Look to see in that sohbet, what is for you. If you don’t know, then you are going to ask. Whatever that is there, take it and be busy with that.
When you are busy with the knowledge that you know, then Allah will send you the knowledge that you don’t know, then that’s the time that you are being useful. You are not just knowing things for the sake of knowing things.
Now you are going to be very careful what comes because you are going to see whether this is going to help me or not. It changes from one year to five years to ten years to twenty years. It changes. Maybe in the beginning it is very difficult, you don’t know what is this and what is that. But after some time, you’re just holding on tightly, you know. You will come to understand. The pull is not that strong, it changes.
May Allah make us to be sincere ones, insya’Allah and to hold on tightly to our Sheykh, insyaAllah. Al-Fatiha. Amin. SelamAleykum.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
23 Shaban 1441
April 16, 2020