Question: You were talking about falling in love with the Sheykh and you compared that to a fisherman using bait on a hook and the lover is the fish that the fisherman is catching. You explained and broke down the process and I recognised that in myself with Sheykh Effendi. Now I’m experiencing something similar but I’m wondering if there are any differences in the process when the fish has a little bit more experience, history and the connection with the fisherman?
Yes, every time it’s going to be different. Even if it’s the same fisherman, you may have the process again of falling in love. Maybe that time you don’t need to have a bait. You fall in love, they will still drag you with that hook. That may happen over and over again until they finish you. But for us it is a very long way to go until they finish us. For us just to not fight back is good enough.
So whether it’s the same fisherman or they are different one, it’s important to go through that because otherwise it’s going to be stagnant, it’s going to be the same. And this is also the mark of a real Sheykh, of a true fisherman. It’s not just going to happen once. It’s going to test you, it has to push you, at every level, it has to break the ceiling again. Every level that you go up, you have to break the ceiling again. If you just remain the same then you become dead. It becomes the same, very routine and you are not going to make any progress. It’s good what you are going through but it is only a phase also and that is not the most important phase. Anyway, whether it is the bait or it is the hook, both are just two ways that the Sheykh is going to use to just put some fire into you in the right way. If you don’t have fire according to the pain then they put the fire according to the pleasure. But these are just ways. After a while it may be taken away too. And when they take away the love and when they take away the pain. Both it’s not that easy. Everybody is wishing for the pain to be taken away in a way not knock wall to wall. When you don’t feel like everything you say is wrong, everything you do is wrong, every step that you take it is cursed. You don’t feel like that. Yes you have to go through that. They will take that away from you and you will feel nice. Everybody wants that, but when they take away the bait and the love, when they take it away from you, that’s when that test comes but that’s also just one stage.
So we have to be useful, what’s all this, the bait or the hook, what’s all this if you’re not useful? What’s all this if you’re not useful to yourself, if you cannot be useful to your loved ones, if you cannot be useful to other people? Don’t just jump and say, ‘I want to be useful to my Sheykh too.’ First you have to be useful to yourself. You have to do things properly, you have to understand what it is that is coming from your poison, your ego, and what it is that is clean and is pure and whatever it touches it turns into gold. First you have to know that. Then if the Sheykh is using you, you have to be very honored, you have to be very privileged, because in reality they don’t need anyone’s help, it is the bucket that looks for the well, the well doesn’t look for the bucket.
Sheykh Effendi has said to us so many times, the Sheykh doesn’t need the dergah, the murids need the dergah. The dergah is there, because in reality wherever the Sheykh is, there is the dergah. What is a dergah? If you’re looking at four walls and a roof, anything then can be a dergah? No. It is because of the guidance of our Sheykh that is there, then it becomes a dergah. Whether he’s staying in a big building or he stays in the barn, or whether he speaks in an open field or he speaks on the seas, it doesn’t matter, then that becomes a dergah. There is the kuba, the dome of Allah is going to be there to shelter you.
It is good, once you stop just looking at yourself and saying, ‘oh, I’m getting better, I like myself, I’m getting better,’ once you pass that and you say, ‘now that I’m better, what do I need to do, what is it that I have to do?’ and you start looking at the Sheykh to see what he is doing, to be concerned about what he is doing, because all the while you think the Sheykh is just concerned about you, because he’s putting his attention to you, trying to fix you, you think, ‘I am the most important thing,’ but now you’re going to look to others too, through his eyes, then you’re going to say, ‘oh, this one also, this one also, this one also, this one also,’ and you’re going to start to work according to that and it is beyond whether you like or you don’t like, whether you’re close or you’re not close, whether there is love that is going to be returned to you or not. You are going to look, what is the work, what is the hizmet that is there, what is the mission that is there. And slowly insyaAllah, step by step, their pleasure is our goal, their pleasure is our goal. So what is it that they’re going to give you, they have to make you to understand, whether it is a rose from their hands or it is a thorn from their hands, they have to make you to understand that it is the same. If you are about to reach to a certain level, which in this jamaat you cannot even keep up if you don’t reach to certain levels, you can’t, it’s not a choice. Especially the way that Sheykh Effendi is making us to go now, if you can’t then step back, that’s all. So they’re going to train you, okay now, you’re not only, Sheykh Effendi said that about me, he said, ‘oh, you are only one sweet that is stuck to me like a dagger in my heart.’ And it’s true, and then I have to sit and I have to think, ‘why is this?’ I have to look at my whole life, I have to look at how I am in my life, how other people are in my life, what caused me to be like this.
I remember one other thing Sheykh Effendi said to me also, one night on thirty-ninth street, you know how it is, where he would give sohbet until so late at night, the lights are all turned off. Depending on the season, thirty-ninth street, forty-second street, if it is summer time people are screaming and yelling whole night long, streets are filled with those ones, or it is winter time when it is freezing out there. Then after most of the people have gone back, then the late night crew, they call it, they will sit and they would listen, Sheykh Effendi would speak freely and you see now different tastes that come up. Him giving sohbet at seven o’clock is different from nine o’clock, it’s different, eleven o’clock is different, one o’clock is different, three o’clock is different. And there was a time when after everybody has gone back, we say goodbye, we walked people to our cars, we would grab a cup of coffee sometimes or we do this or that, then we come back up. So many times Sheykh Effendi would yell at us for going down. You understand now, just for going down, we live in the city, coming Friday nights and then going down for half an hour to grab a cup of coffee, he would yell at us, he would washed us up, ‘what are you doing, going down there and collecting all the sheytans again?’ Ours is not a Sheykh to say, ‘no, it’s okay, just hang out wherever you want, whenever you want, it’s okay, you’re sufis so you’re like hippies, everything you do is spiritual,’ No it is not. So we came back up again, got some coffee, some of us who were very slick, they say, ‘okay, he’s going to yell at us, but let me get him coffee too.’ so they get coffee. Some of us would get even more smart than that and say, ‘let’s get him something else, like some sandwiches, something else.’ He knows what we’re about. He’s training us to be smart also in one way or another, because everyone is slick when it comes to dunya, lets also be slick when it comes to ahiret. Learning how to worship properly, learning how to collect blessings properly. So we did that, and I was sitting down and drinking coffee, and he was washing me up a little bit on something, and he said, ‘what is that?’ he said something about buying the coffee, and I said, ‘I didn’t buy this my Sheykh, somebody bought this for me,’ and he says, ‘that’s another problem.’ And that stuck to me like a dagger in my heart.
So then I had to be careful, so many times I have to be careful and I have to sit and think, ‘what are people giving, what do I have to give?’ I have to make sure that my account is all straightened out. So things change, and when big changes happen to you inside, and you want your whole life to change also, that is when you have to be moving carefully. Carefully doesn’t just mean slowly. Carefully means you take one step and you watch, how is it, how is it, okay, good, then you can take two steps. Ah, how is it, you watch. Slowly doesn’t mean, Americans say slowly, just slow without any reason, without any rationale, without any nothing, just slow. No, there’s a reason. You know how it is when you go through the military and they teach you how to check for land mines? You take your bayonet and you have to poke, you have to poke the ground, then you have to feel, okay this is clear, you have to poke, you have to move around, move around, move around. That’s how it is, slowly, carefully, to watch, what is the effect. Not just to go ahead, not just to barrel through no matter what it is that you’re feeling. Because in this way we have to be careful.
Once you are careful then you know, okay, now this person this much I can say more than that I cannot, this person I have to move a little bit more, it’s not about how you feel, this is not a Tarikat where you get drunk and you just irresponsibly can do whatever you want, you cannot. Prophet (AS) was not like that, Hz Abu Bakr Siddiq was not like that, none of the high-level Sahabis they were like that, they don’t have that luxury. We should not be.
So we have to be careful and under guidance, under consultation, and then we can make the right choices. Otherwise, what may feel good at that time you may regret later. Then you’re going to say, ‘ah, if only I had consulted a little bit more, if only I moved this one slowly, but it felt so good, so right at that time!’
So what, how many times in our lives we feel that way and it turns out to be wrong? Understand, one step that we take in this way, seventy sheytans are waiting for us. So we have to be careful a little bit insyaAllah. May Allah make it easy for you, al-fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
22 Ramazan 1441
May 15, 2020