Question: How can a murid be self aware ?
What happens when you meet the Sheykh and you fall in love with the Sheykh? You become not so aware of what is happening around you. Because you are preparing to leave that life. You are preparing to leave that life and you are just concentrating on the Sheykh and the attractions that he puts and the love that he puts. That may be reflected in the jama’at and you are seeing everything as new and shining and your heart is waking up. Like you fall in love, your heart is waking up for the first time and whatever it is that the object that you love, you are going to see that around. And whatever that the one that you fall in love with, what is Haqq according to him and what is batil according to him or her, you are going to believe. So in reality, the one, the dos, the friend, that is your religion. So you start seeing it, but because you just fall in love just like that, you just feeling it just like that, you don’t really understand so many things but you say, ‘oh, Sheykh likes this, so I like this. Sheykh doesn’t like that, I don’t like that,’ and that is according to your capacity. And a lot of people their capacity is very low when they come in. You might think it is high. It is not. Because the more that you know, the more you will love. You cannot claim to love without knowing. You cannot claim to love without knowing.
First, you have to know. So when you first just fall in love just like that, you don’t really know so much, you are knowing certain things and certain things that you know it becomes very intense. The sky is more intense, the grass is more intense, your feelings are more intense. So, for the first time maybe, you feel a little bit more aware. You become a little bit more alive. But you are alive because of that one, of the Sheykh, of the beloved one. You become more alive. You fall in love. Then what happens? You start following. Once you start following, like they say, the honeymoon period is going to finish. Now, it doesn’t mean that the honeymoon is fake. It is real but it cannot be like that all the time. Instead of people going honeymoon, three days, five days, one week, instead of being that, now it becomes very little. Instead of a long time it becomes very little and you are happy now with that honeymoon you feel it once a day or once a week or once a month. It is enough. You are no longer a child where you need that all the time. A child wants candy all the time but later when you grow up you don’t need candy all the time and you understand also that it’s not because that my taste have also change but even if I want candy all the time, I know it is not healthy, it is not real. So honeymoon period is finished, now you are starting to see and you are starting to follow without that bait that is there. There is no more bait now. The bait has finished. You are just left on the hook. And a lot of people when they are left on the hook they said, there’s no more sweetness. “All I feel is pain. I’m being pulled aside like this and like that.” But they forget. They are only feeling the hook as they are only feeling the bait. All of that, the hook and the bait, it is attached to a line and there is a fisherman that is holding it.
Once you get mature a little bit and you understand it is not the hook or the bait but it is the man that is there, it is the Sheykh that is there. And it doesn’t matter if he puts a hook or he puts a bait or he puts ten baits or he puts ten hooks. Because my intention is to follow him, understanding that he is going to bring me to Allah, then I trust. If anything the Sheykh is going to say, ‘don’t trust the bait so much. Trust the hook.’ And as much as you were growing up and you were hooked by your ego, you are hooked by your sheytan, hooked by the dunya, hooked by your desires, chained by them. Now you are starting to take the chain of the Sheykh and putting it on yourself. You go through a certain period also where the ego is going to rebel, ‘oh, who am I? what am I? am I following a cult? Don’t I have my own mind? Don’t I have my own person? I have no personality….da…da…da..” You will go through that. Of course you are going to go through that because your old self is dying. Your ego is feeling it’s dying. And you are going to feel with those divine hooks, divine chains now pulling you. But with everything that dies, a new life comes.
So if you are understanding that, if you are aware of that and these things we talked about in different ways over and over and over again, if you are aware of that, then you understand, ‘today I’m getting sweet. Maybe ten years down the line, twenty years, today I’m getting sweet, alhamdulillah. Next day I’m getting hooked, alhamdulillah.’ You are not going to complain so much when you are getting the hook. You are not going to be so, so, so happy, drunk, when you are getting the sweetness. But you are going to see, ‘now the most important thing is I’m being controlled by the fisherman. I’m being controlled by the master. What does the master want from me?’ So now we come to the answer to the question: what does your master want from you? Your self awareness it comes from that, what he wants from you. And you are actively looking and searching.
In the beginning, you say, ‘I don’t want anything.’ Allah doesn’t want anything from us. The master doesn’t want anything but the Master’s duty is to teach you. You are a student. Your duty now is to learn. Whether you learn or you don’t learn, it doesn’t matter to the teacher. His knowledge is not going to increase or decrease. But if you learn from the best of your Master, it is your maqam, it is your station, it is your knowledge that is going to rise. So now you are going to ask that question, ‘what does he want from me?’ Away from the very, let’s say, I don’t want to use big words, from the theory. Oh, just ego, step on my ego, step on my sheytan. Big theories like that, let’s say. Now you are going to ask yourself, ‘I’m a human being, he’s a human being, we are in a jama’at of human being. What can I give?’ Because we are human being. ‘What can I give? What can I contribute? What can I offer?’
So you move away from honeymoon, you move away from understanding that that one is controlling you and you give up that control. Then you understand, after a while, the control is very good for you. Then you are going to ask yourself, ‘what can I offer? I cannot offer anything, he doesn’t need anything. But we are all human.’ let’s say. Don’t give me stupid, sufi answer. Please, saying, ‘ah, what can we do? What can we give? I’m nothing.’ Eh breh, if you are nothing then why you speak, why you still go to the toilet? People who are really believing that, you are going to see that they are the best one. But people who say, ‘I am nothing,’ they are the most arrogant ones. Only taking those answers when it fits them to be slick, not to answer anything.
What can I offer? What can I give? What is my role? Because every Sahabi did that. Sufis thinking you are higher than the Sahabis? Every Sahabi had a role. Every Sahabi tried to find a role. Every Sahabi they are not even satisfied with the role and the job that is given to them and they said, ‘now I must change and become a better one. I must change and become a better one… a better one… and a better one…and a better one. They never got stuck. Hz Abu Bakar as Siddique, he didn’t get stuck. He was, let’s say, a millionaire that time. He didn’t say, ‘I’m happy where I am, let me just do this.’ He changed too according to the permission that is given to him. He gave up from being a millionaire and he become something else. The other Sahabi they gave up from that, they became something else, they became something else. They keep changing now. Their roles also kept changing.
How are you going to know? How are you going to know what to change and how to change? If you are busy with yourself. Because this is what happens, people enter into Tarikat, they fall in love, they do this, they have something to offer, then they become busy with themselves. That’s it. It’s finished. ‘Now I can be busy with myself. Now I have my business, I have my family, I have my children, I’m going to be busy with myself.’ and everything else, the jama’at is good too. I offer something but it’s also doing something to me. This is my life. So what is your life? ‘my life is dergah,’ really? Is it dergah? Look at the time that you spent. Look at the energy that you spent in your heart, what you are concern about, what you are chasing after, look at your materials that you are giving. Look at everything. Then you don’t have to be a Saint or a scholar, then you will know where are you concentrating on.
Now, once you are aware and you are concentrating on, you are saying, ‘I used to be like that but now I’m trying to run after the dergah, I’m trying to run after the community, the jama’at, I’m trying to run after the zikr and sohbets and everything. So you are running and you are looking. You are looking to the one who is guiding you. And in reality, they give according to how thirsty you are. If you are not thirsty, they cannot give too much, they cannot give so much if you are not thirsty. Even if their own children, they cannot. As much taqwa as that one has, the more that one is running, then it’s obligation for them to give. This is the law of Allah, this is the law of the Prophet (AS). The law of Islam is never going to change. It is not according to blood lineage, it is not according to how much emotion you have, how much love you have, it is according to how much that one is trying to run towards his Lord and it is obligation for you to give.
So if the murid now, he went through all these stages, now it’s a very comfortable stage, it comes to that, ‘I have this, I have that, and everything is fine. I come for sohbets couple of hours and that’s it.’ If you think that’s it, then you are in big trouble, as a murid. That means you are full up like that, then you are not coming with a full cup, we cannot give you anything. But if you are still thirsty and you say, ‘this is not, I’m running after something else. Verily my worship, my life, my striving and everything is for the sake of Allah,’ this is the prayer of Hz Ibrahim (AS). So the murid is imitating that. ‘My life, my property, my sons, my wealth, my time, everything is for the sake of Allah,’ and the sake of Allah is according to the one that Allah has sent to you that authority and what is his work and what is his vision. If you want to be truthful to that, then you are going to come as close as you can to him, so that you start seeing it through his eyes. Once you start seeing through his eyes because you are close, then you will become aware. You will become aware.
There are a million things to be aware of, but at least you are going to start from somewhere that is very important. I don’t mean so much becoming aware of how, for example, how you eat, or becoming aware of how you drink, not even aware. Those things, maybe a little bit small, maybe they are a little bit annoying, but it’s okay, we understand. There are so many other things that is much heavier and more important that are there. Understand that too.
The closer you come to the Sheykh, the more aware you are going to be. The more aware you are of the Sheykh. The more aware you are going to be. It’s impossible you are going to be aware of yourself when you are not aware of your Sheykh. Impossible. It’s like saying, ‘I don’t need a mirror to look at my own reflection.’ Like they say, yes, the Sheykh is studying you, of course the Sheykh has to study you. But you need to study the Sheykh too. Then more closer that you become, what am I explaining? This whole sohbet that I have given, is what? All this that I’m talking about is Hadiths e-Qudsi: My servant is beloved to Me when he does the obligations and he comes closer to Me when he does things that is not obligation. Let’s put it very, very simply, when I don’t have to say to him what to do and he’s doing it from his own heart. Then when he becomes close to Me, I will be his eyes, I will be his ears, I will be his hands.
So it is impossible to be self aware if you are not aware of your Sheykh. Impossible. Maybe first time that you become very aware of the Sheykh, the Sheykh is going to show you, definitely, first all your ego. It happens too. That is a test. It’s a very big test. He’s going to show you, ‘look, yes you love me, you want to follow me, it’s because I put the love in you. You want to follow me, okay. Now slowly I’m going to take out a mirror and I’m going to show you, and you’re going to run away. You’re going to think that you are running away from me, but you’re not actually running away from me, you are running away from yourself. This is a reflection of yourself, and you know what? You cannot run away from yourself. You cant. But if you stay and I say, ‘look, this is the reflection, but we can change this, we can change this, we can change this, and look, look beyond that, look closer.’ Then when you start doing that, it gets a little easier because you are slowly taking away that false reflection of yourself, you don’t believe in that anymore. Then you become very aware and awake, you look at yourself, maybe you go through a stage where you say, ‘I am a lie, I am a living lie, everything I do is wrong so lets try to do something that is right,’
So now you try to copy everything that you can from the Sheykh, those ones who are close to him or his teachings or this and that, with him guiding you, that is very important, with him guiding you, because no one should take any of these words and apply it to themselves without guidance. Then they are only going to become more and more weird. There are people that they love Sheykh Effendi so much but there is no guidance, they become very weird. There are people who follow Sheykh Effendi so much, they’re in love with Sheykh Effendi, then after that Sheykh Effendi is not here anymore physically, and they just take those things without any guidance and they just follow their own ideas of his teachings and it also becomes very wrong and very weird. Guidance it is important, this guidance is what is Ahli Sunnat wa-jamaat, this guidance is what is Khilafat, without this guidance everyone becomes like Wahhabi, they just take Quran and Hadiths without any guidance and say, ‘because I can read and because I can write, why do I have to follow anyone’s guidance? I can guide myself.’ Same principle.
You watch, be hyper-aware, that’s why we say, don’t sleep, be hyper-aware. Don’t think, ‘oh, I’m past that, I’ve been here ten years.’ Huh, you never even took one step to become aware, to watch, to question everything. Yes it is, in some ways, in a lot of ways, it is easier because when you just meet Sheykh Effendi it is easier, you meet him, you’re a murid, you meet Sheykh Effendi as a Sheykh. It’s finished, it’s easier to follow. Always the test is when he puts his representative that is there, because you know the representative, you say, ‘he was just like me, and now he’s a sheykh? Why do I have to follow?’ This is human nature also. This is exactly what the mushriks they’re saying about the Holy Prophet (AS), ‘he’s just an orphan boy,’ astaghfirullah, ‘he is just a camel-herder, astaghfirullah, and now he’s claiming all this? Yet they knew that he was very extraordinary from the time that he was born. They knew that, it’s clear to everyone, all the miraculous signs, all the miracles that he was able to make and they were able to see, it was clear to everyone. You think it wasn’t a big problem when Sheykh Effendi became a Sheykh? So many people around him said, ‘this one? But we know him.’ But they are also aware that there were so many unusual things that happened. They don’t just choose someone just like that. However it is, whoever it is that they have chosen, they have put something there, it is not because of their own characteristics also, but it is because they have put something in there for them.
So you pay attention and you ask, you ask questions. Whether it’s openly, inside, you keep working, you keep asking. You’re very curious, you’re very inquisitive. And this becomes second nature to you, then more you ask, more answers we’ll give, more you’re asking more openings will come, more you ask more you’re going to be aware. More you ask, because you’re always asking, then that time you’re always looking for an answer, you’re very thirsty, then any time that they are speaking you become hyper-aware, this is when you start wanting sohbet, you understand? There is something that is there, and because you’re asking and you want it, the sweetness comes from that. Because you’re looking for answers, you’re always hungry, you’re thirsty for that, then you’re going to become aware. Then that time they are going to make it easier for you to answer so many things also, you’re asking one question, the answer can come from here, from here, from here, from here, from different people. Your ego is going to smack you very, very hard then, because every time you go in the way of Haqq there’s going to be seventy sheytans in front of you. They (the Awliya) watch you, sometimes they will help you, sometimes they say, ‘now we’ve trained you enough, now I’m not going to help you, you have to fight them.’ And that goes on and that goes on. But if you’re not interested in the Sheykh, the Sheykh is just there to make dua for you or just there to lead prayers or just there to say couple of words or just there to make some zikr, if you’re not taking the Sheykh as a guide, you’re not interested. If you’re not interested, you can never be awake and aware, never. Then you are only going to be satisfied with the little that you have. Once a week, this is enough, once a week doing this is enough, but then that time Tarikat things, especially zikr and sohbet, becomes very heavy and you can only take one or two but the rest of the time you are outside you’re doing this, you’re doing that, it’s okay, you can take a lot of it. This is a danger. For those that they are running after, understand?
In so many parts of the Quran-e-Kerim Allah (SWT) is praising the believers, and who are the believers? They do good, they establish regular prayer, they give zakat, they are patient. Then, this is general belief, general believers, then there are those that they are not satisfied with this, they say this is just the beginning, what is it that they’re looking for? Night and day they are remembering their Lord, night and day they are looking for the face of Allah. When they are not satisfied with just establishing regular prayers, zakat, they are not satisfied with that, they want something else, they want their Lord, they’re looking for the face of Allah. So for that, they will remember Allah much, in every situation they would want to remember Allah.
This is Tarikat. If you are in Tarikat and you are slipping, then you should be waking up, you should remember that whatever that we’re going through also in life, in Tarikat, the good times it will pass, the bad times it will pass, it’s not really that important. But we’re looking, good or bad, we’re asking, may it be giving us the strength to always be searching for Allah, searching for the Prophet, searching to be as close as we can to our Sheykh. Because so many times when we have it good we are very far away from them, Allah Himself is describing, and when it is bad, then we cry to them, but for the most people once Allah gives some help then they forget Allah, or they become ungrateful, or they say, ‘it’s not Allah who’s helping me, I’m the one who did something,’ this is general, and we have to be careful from that. Wa minaAllahu taufiq, al fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
25 Ramazan 1441
May 18, 2020