Question: The Ottoman Sultans used to do carpentry beside their high position, what is the wisdom of this?
This is something that we have spoken about, but let me say a couple of words here. The Ottoman Sultans, they were following the traditions of the Holy Prophet (AS) and all the Prophets very strongly, and they were taking it very seriously. Every Prophet, they had a profession. They had a thing that they were doing, other than being a Prophet. Other than being a father, other than being a commander, other than being a husband, other than being all these things they have something that they do. For example, Hz Musa, his profession, he was a shepherd. For example Hz Isa he was involved with what? Medicine. For example, the Holy Prophet (AS), it was trade. So something that is connected to the dunya, but they were not doing it for the dunya.
It’s connected to the dunya, something from the dunya, but they were not doing it to become millionaires or to gain from this world. In the time that the Ottomans were ruling, there were so many, especially in the West, that they would consider any trade or any profession, especially something that involves the hands to do something, in Europe it was considered very low-level. Those aristocracy, nobility, those high-class, high-station people, if they do anything, even business, they say it’s very low-level, because the business is very low. Forget about trying to be a shepherd, or to be a businessman, or to be a carpenter. Do you see any pope trying to be a carpenter? Because they believe Isa (AS) was a carpenter. It’s a big sunnah, but you don’t see them doing it. They sit on nice, big chair, but they don’t even make one chair. But they Ottoman Sultans they were holding that properly. And at that time so many Muslims also were falling off that tradition, they say it’s not that important. But the Ottoman Sultans were doing that very strongly, and the Mughal Sultans were also doing that very strongly.
They ruled, they had ministers, they fight, they do so many things, but they also do something with their hands. And the very blessed ones, whatever that they make from their hands, they would sell it. And with the money, only with that money, they would feed their families. They can own millions of acres of and, untold wealth, but they don’t use that for themselves or for their families. For example, the Alamgir, the Sultan, the emperor of the Mughal empire, he was making kufi, no? He was knitting, making kufi, selling it and then taking the money and feeding his family, or feeding himself. They were very precise with things like that. Some of them they were calligraphers, some Sultans. Some of them they were just copying out the Quran. So the wisdom for that is, number one, it is a Prophetic tradition and with that so many secrets will be revealed, when you are doing a sunnat of the Prophet and you’re doing it with sincerity and with intelligence. The last time we were in Turkey I was speaking with the Shahzade and we were talking about his grandfather, Sultan Abdulhamid Han, and he was talking about how he was doing carpentry, making furniture, that great Ulu Hakkan, the Khalifa of Islam. He was making carpentry, and he said with that so many answers to the questions that he has, in being an emperor and being a Khalifa, comes to him, the answers come to him when he’s doing that.
So what is this telling us, again, as Muslims, as murids living in these times. These are not stories, it’s not something where we say, ‘oh, mashaAllah, mashaAllah, they do? Oh, very good they do.’ As if they need our approval. This is for us to copy. So many people know this, right? How many are actually copying? Alhamdulillah for our Sheykh, he says, ‘ah, you take beyat huh? You love the Prophet, huh? You love the Awliya, huh? Okay, now go to the barn.’ ‘What? I come here to make the zikr.’ No, no, no zikr mikr. Go to the barn, pick a shovel and shovel all that shit, let’s say very directly. Do that. So many they break. But to do that, to deal with the animals, that is a profession of all Prophets, first they have to be shepherd. So if you cannot even pass being a shepherd, you cannot even pass being in that situation, smelling that, being filled with that, doing something like that, then forget about your Tarikat, Marifat, Hakikat, Azamat, forget about all of that, that becomes just games, because the one who can control a flock a sheep, possibility that he can control himself and people. The one who cannot control a flock of sheep, how are you going to be able to control people? That’s why the Prophets their training is to be a shepherd first. Some they went through so many years, Hz Musa went through so many years, he went through all of that court training, to be trained as a king, he was, no? He was living there. He had all the skills of a king, which ninety-nine percent cannot be practiced by the common people because it’s only reserved for the higher classes, he got it. But from those high classes, they cannot even take certain basic knowledge of the common people, because they consider it not from their class. That Hz Musa (AS), when he met Hz Shuaib, he’s saying, ‘now you have to be a shepherd.’ Years he was a shepherd. Only after that, he says, ‘now, the call for you to go, control your people.’ The command coming, you can control that, you can control people.
So, people who are coming in this Naksibendi way, I don’t care, you can be a businessman, a lawyer, a doctor, this or that, it doesn’t matter, there are certain things that you have to do, not only as a training but also to be able to step on your ego. So many people they come here wearing nice turban, nice clothes, nice jubbah– we don’t wear jubbah anyway, we have more manners than that, we let the Sheykh wear jubbah– nice shalwar, nice haydariye and everything. Okay, it’s good. But now morning time comes, take off all that and wear your work clothes and do something with that sincerity, knowing that it is sunnat, so many things will open to you also. We just had a brother here, he was here so many years ago and he still remembers how he was so excited, he came here, he bought new clothes just to be at the Dergah, but because he, all of us, most of us we come from the city anyway, nice city clothes he’s getting, nice clean, white tracksuit, this, that, and Sheykh Effendi saw him wearing all of that and he said, ‘go to the barn.’ Now he has to dirty himself a little bit. But he still remembers, ten years, twenty years, thirty, he still remembers. People who come to our way and they see this, they say, ‘what kind of Tarikat is this? We’re supposed to sit down and talk about marifat. Now I have to go and shovel the manure? What? I have to clean the bathroom? What, I have to serve people? What, I have people washing me up and saying wrong things and I have to swallow my anger? What kind of Islam is this?’ This is the Prophet’s Islam. This is Hz Abu Bakr Siddiq’s Islam, this is the Islam of our Sheykhs. If you like that kind of Islam, stay. If you want different kinds of Islam, everyone is saying there are different kinds of Islam, then you are free. We want the Islam of the Prophet (AS).
Of course it doesn’t mean, don’t get scared now, people are going to say, ‘oh, if I take beyat then I’m going to be stuck in the barn all my life.’ There was a time when we were all stuck there, almost all of us, all our lives too. So many didn’t complain, and so much is given to them. People would come to the Dergah, wanting to come here, they spend thousands of dollars travelling ten thousand miles, in the winter time coming from tropical countries, only to be told, ‘okay, put on your work clothes and go to the barn.’ Every day they were doing that, but they were enjoying themselves. They were feeling different things, understanding different things. But we are a little bit crazy like that, you see. Because we are following our Sheykh and we are seeing the improvements. Sometimes we can do that, sometimes we do other things. Sometimes we move from doing that to do other things, it’s okay, but everybody has to pass through that. As we said so many times in the past few weeks, do you think you are going to reach to the same level, same paradise without being tested? At least we can say, ‘ya Rabbi, we cannot do more but we had a taste. Make us to be strong, but do not test us.’ Wa minallahu taufiq, Al Fatiha. Selam aleykum.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
23 Muharrem 1442
September 10, 2020