Tarikat is based on association. And the sohbet of the association will make the murids, the seekers, the believers to be able to understand, to think and to understand and to apply, not just by himself but to look to see, ‘how does Allah SWT wants me to think, how does the Prophet (AS) wants me to think, how does my Sheykh, the rehber, the key to them, how do they want me to think, how do they want me to put it into my life?’ Because when it comes to thinking, everyone thinks they are thinking. But you are thinking in a different way. This person thinks with his anger, this person thinks with his dunya, this person thinks with his ghaflat, this person thinks with the habit that he never finished when he was seventeen years old, let’s say. But once you start hearing sohbet, you start to see things differently because the Sheykh is taking from the Holy ones, taking from the Holy Prophet (AS) and making us to have a window to see things and to think in the way that they are thinking. Of course we are not saying that we want to think like the Prophet (AS), we can never reach to that level, we don’t want to but at least the Evliyaullah they are giving us a slight taste from the ocean. That is important because then we’ll start losing our attraction to this world.
We are fasting. If you tie a dog and you don’t give it food or water, you may say it’s fasting too, but it is not the same. The young man’s fast is different to the old man who has finished with his attraction of this dunya, his fasting is different. The fast of the righteous people they are different and the fast of the Evliyaullah they are different, the fast of the Prophets they are different. So now, how do you want to fast? It depends on which Jama’at you belong to. If you belong to the jama’at of people of the ego, then you fast from the people of dunya, people of the ego. How do they fast? They fast just like animals. No food, no drinks, no other activities, they consider that to be fasting. But everything that is the outside that we do, that is the external form of Islam, it is just the sign of the inside. So fasting, you stay away from animal activities. Meaning that Allah SWT is reminding us that we are not animals. We have those animals activities just to keep us busy, occupied because we are living in this asfala safileen, but if we want to return to Him, the animal characteristics cannot return to Him. It is the spirit that must return to Him.
In reality also, fasting is not torturing yourself. Fasting it is making your physical characteristics to become even more strong, more healthy, more powerful. It doesn’t make you weak, although it looks as if, externally again, you don’t eat and you don’t drink and you are just weak, but in reality, internally, physically, your body is becoming more strong than ever. It took, of course, western technology and science 1300 years to figure this out, now it become a trend, everyone is fasting. What they call it? Intermittent fasting, or this fasting or that fasting. Someone will say, we fast, even water we don’t even drink. Whereas when we grow up, they are asking, ‘you don’t even drink water?’ it was so shocking to them. But they forgot also, because Christians, for over one thousand years, they also fasted. Both the Orthodox and the Catholic, they fast so much also but they leave their tradition. Once they forgot their tradition, they are wondering, ‘why are you still stuck in your tradition? What are you doing with your tradition?’ But whatever Allah sent to the nations, there is a benefit and the benefit of the fasting, now they have yet, maybe if Allah gives them time, it’s going to take them another one thousand years to figure out the spiritual benefit. Now they just figure out the physical benefit of fasting, the animal characteristics.
This physical body becomes more strong with fasting. It means with fasting your spiritual body must become more strong. What makes then your spiritual, your spirituality to become weak? We know the body becomes weak through what? Not because you don’t eat or drink. It becomes weak when you drink too much and you eat too much. When you eat and drink anytime when you want to eat and drink that the body that is designed by Allah SWT saying this time you eat, this time you don’t eat. So now, the spirit now, it becomes weak. How it becomes weak? What is it that Allah SWT, the spirit that is the most powerful thing, that Allah SWT had created. Allah SWT is giving the power to the spirit of the mankind, it is so powerful that it is making everything in creation to bow down to that spirit. Don’t think everything in creation bow down to the form of Adam (AS), they bow down to that spirit. One breath from Allah. That’s why sheytan made that mistake and say, ‘why we have to bow down to this? Such a spiritual man that is made from meat and bones and from clay.’ So the spirit now. But this spirit, the most powerful thing that Allah SWT has created, is put into this world where it becomes weak. It is tied up in every way.
So now we come to fasting. What makes you to become more animal, what makes you to become more spiritual? What are the characteristics of an animal? Leave the eating and drinking and everything, that’s one thing. What are the other characteristics of an animal? In reality, everything that the animal does also Allah SWT has programmed and it’s perfect, that when mankind becomes an animal that time not even the animals will be happy to say that he’s part of us. Even the animals are going to say, ‘you are lower than us, you don’t belong to us.’
As murids, we enter into the month of Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramazan, which we are encouraged to fast. Alhamdulillah that our Sheykh is holding it pretty strongly. We are trying as we can, Monday, Thursday, holy days, holy nights, some I know they’ve been fasting every day. But that fasting also is to make us to see, okay Holy months are coming, there are certain things that we are doing that are bad, it’s no good for the spirit. Now we must put some brakes there. We must watch, ‘I must do less of this, less of this, less of this. If I do the wrong things like this then I must worship more, I must ask for forgiveness more, I must run to fix this.’ You’ve already put yourself in that frame of mind in the first month of Rajab, in the second month of Sha’aban. Now you enter into Ramazan, it should be easier now what you are doing.
What are the characteristics? Now fasting, how do you fast now as murids? Look at your animal characteristics? Fast from that. That individually you must know. For one person is saying, ‘my animal characteristic, I have a characteristic of a pig. I love to eat and I love to sleep all the time, and just make dirty.’ Then holy month coming, ‘I have to have less of that.’ Because with the Holy month comes the rahmat and the barakat and the support and you find it much easier now to fast. Not just Ramazan but in the month of Rajab. Much easier to fast, much easier to do amal, much easier to do ibadat, much easier to do things because the Holy days and nights they are falling into these three months. And there are certain things that Allah SWT has made forbidden in this month, not only in this world, but in thousands of worlds that Allah SWT has, He has made forbidden so many things, one of them is fighting. Don’t fight. So pull yourself back.
Now as murids, what are your animal characteristics? You look to that, you are starting to slow down. When it comes to Ramazan time now, you are going to turn up, turn that dial up to things that you can do. What are the things that you can do? You can run to make more hizmet. You turn it up. You can run to make more zikr. You turn it up. You can run to pull yourself back to be quiet a little bit because you know, ‘ I am busy with malayani, I can do that. That is much easier for me to do and I can make my ego now to go to sleep when I’m doing that.’ Rather than to be busy doing something else that you are going to make your ego to become more powerful. You look to that kind of fasting.
Some they are nasty, where they just fight with everyone. First you must know again your animal characteristic. You look to that. Some they are biting, attacking, they are like a saldran, attacking dog. So you are going to say ‘I’m not going to attack, I’m going to be very nice. I’m going to be very calm.’ You are not going to know all of this unless you attend sohbet regularly, unless you are in the sohbet of the Sheykh and unless the Sheykh is then putting a mirror to you and training you. This is not something that is theory that some people they say, ‘I can have a worksheet. I can say I have fasted from my anger for forty days, I put one big fat tick there. I fasted from arrogance, I put another tick there.’ What are you going to do? Get a gold star and put it in your head? It’s foolishness.
Everything is coming in different tricks and traps. You finish from one level, the ego will attack you from another level. You finish from that level, the ego is going to attack. The point of having a guide is that our guide is going to tell you, now you’ve come to a certain stage, now be careful because the rule of engagement of the ego is attacking in a different way. Watch that. You cannot say, like some people they say, ‘I’ve already achieved certain age. You cannot talk to me like that.’ Nobody ever says that to a doctor. Nobody ever goes to a doctor and say, ‘how can you say I’m sick? I’m seventy years old. How can you say I have diabetes? You are accusing me of eating too much.’ Nobody says that. They trust the doctor. The doctor says, ‘you are seventy years old, if you continue eating the sugar like this, you have to cut off your leg, your this, this…’ sometimes it’s very bad, they have to do that. Nobody fight with the doctor and say, ‘how can you talk to me like that? How can you put my izat low like that?’ Nobody right? But nobody believes in Tarikat. No matter how much they say they love Allah, they love the Prophet and everything because now with Tarikat, it is fixing this evil sicknesses that is inside of you no matter how young or old, man or woman that you are and the doctor, the Sheykh is going to say, ‘you are going to fix this. If you don’t take care of this before you die, you are going to be in very big trouble in the grave.’
So our jama’at, our Tarikat, our jama’at especially, you have to be very aware of yourself. You have to be very awake to yourself. You have to be very sincere to yourself to know, ‘I’m like this. Why am I like this? I’m like that. Why am I like that? I’m seeing myself like this, others are seeing myself like this.’ And you are looking at yourself in the mirror and you really look. Somebody is saying something and you look, you examine. Then that’s the time when it comes to Ramazan time, when you are fasting, in some ways it’s very easy. Because you know all those wrong characteristics are there. All you have to do is to pull back. You have to pull back. Sometimes you just have to smile. Sometimes you just have to rest. Sometimes you just have to not engage in anything so that the power that is from your ego to your nafs, to your emotions and everything, it is cut off.
You must take one step further. People are running, you are doing things, you are fixing things, you are cleaning things but understand that is also just a sign also of what you must do inside. If you are running, you are fixing this, you are doing things but you have no control over simple things, you have no control over what you say, you have no control, someone touch you a little bit and you are jumping up and down. Someone touch you a little bit over there and you are ready to kill the whole world. Then you say, this is a problem. Then you have to pull back and you have to stop yourself from becoming too busy in the world. So you watch. For the murids, is this something that we are just saying in Ramazan you are supposed to look at? No, you are supposed to look at this not in Ramazan. You are supposed to do this in every month, in every week, in every day but especially in Ramazan because it comes with such heavy blessings, it’s much easier for you to do that. Much easier. So take this opportunity.
The first ten days of Ramazan is what? Mercy. Second ten days? Forgiveness. Last ten days? Freedom from the fire. Mercy, forgiveness, freedom from the fire. Forgiveness, Mercy, Freedom from the fire. However that you look at it, man is only asking for forgiveness when he knows by himself the wrong that he has done, he is not making any excuse. That time the mercy of Allah can come, only then he is going to be free from the fire that he makes to himself. If the man is not sincere, he doesn’t know that he’s making the own fire, Allah can send the mercy but the fire that he’s making for himself, he’s not going to allow anything to enter.
Mercy of Allah SWT. Sit, think a little bit. How Allah is merciful and how I’m being a tyrant to myself. Then watch yourself everyday. Watch who you talk to, how you talk to. Watch what you say, especially being here. Watch how you say. I see so many people, whether they are Muslims or they are murids or they live in dergah, they are so nice and so friendly to people outside of the dergah, unbelievers, but when it comes to people living at the dergah, they have the lowest opinion of them. What is this? How is this happening? Your ego tricked you again. So watch ourselves insyaAllah as our Sheykh is teaching us to do. If you are not doing that, like I’ve said before, if you are not fixing yourself, how you can even come close to Hz Mahdi (AS)? You cannot. If you don’t come close to Mahdi (AS), if you are going to be very far away from him, you are going to be close to dajjal. And dajjal will give you whatever you desire, whatever you want, whatever you desire, dajjal is bringing to you.
Mahdi (AS) is bringing the shariatullah. Meaning what? He’s bringing the shariat to the people who can carry the shariat and who can bring the shariat to others. Who are the people who can do that? Only the people of Tarikat.
May Allah make us to be one of those people, insyaAllah. As we enter to this Holy month, we are asking for forgiveness for all our shortcomings, since the month of Rajab, we are asking Allah to grant us the Mercy to enter into this month clean and to leave it clean and to cover all our wrong doings and to make us to wake up to ourselves, make us to change to become better ones for ourselves, for others and for Allah SWT, insya’Allah.
May our Sheykh be on top of us. We are asking that his mercy reach to us and his himmet reach to us, insya’Allah, in this holy month, that we can carry what we are suppose to carry. Wa minAllahu Taufiq. Al-Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
1 Ramazan 1441
April 23, 2020