Question: There are many days in the year where there are extra benefit and numerous rewards, such as Ashura, Leylatul Qadr, Ramazan and others. There are even certain acts that are said to eb equivalent to performing the Hajj. How do we understand this and keep our egos in check so that we don’t just end up focusing on special days and events to get lazy and uninterested on regular deeds done on regular days? Also, are there certain acts done at home that are equivalent to performing Hajj and how do we understand the worth of actually performing the Hajj?
Auzubillahiminsheytanirrajim BismillahirRahmanirRahim. The question that you are asking, it is a spiritual question. It is not a question based on Shariat. It’s a spiritual question. It’s not a dos or don’ts. Now you are asking ‘why? What is the reason why?’ So we will speak, insyaAllah, according to that spiritual reason. Then I’m going to ask you a question, what is your reason for worship? If you say ‘because Allah is making it obligation to us,’ then our faith level, it has not risen above animal level. The animals, when you don’t give them food, they don’t eat. You tie them up, they don’t run, you release them, they run. You put laws on them, they have to follow. They do good, you reward them, they do bad you punish them. But they are forced, it is under obligation. Allah has created mankind out of His Love and with intelligence and with that will, small will, that He has not given to anything in creation. For the man who is looking to return to his Lord, then he must return everything back to his Lord first. He has to return everything back to his Lord.
This is one of the meanings of Hajj, you return everything back to your Lord and you say ‘here I am. I return everything back to You, I have nothing. I came only with this funeral shroud.’ The one who is coming into a spiritual understanding of Islam, then he is going to say ‘why? It is not enough for me, for my spirit, now, because Allah is saying I have to do, then I’m doing it. I’m better than that.’ Then it’s not enough, that because Allah is saying ‘If you do good, then I’m going to reward you. If you don’t do good, then I’m going to put you to hell.’ I am more than that. Allah SWT deserves more than that.’ Then why are we worshiping? So if you are going along the spiritual way, as the Holy Prophet (AS) has said, as the Evliyaullah they are telling us, and teaching from the spiritual teachings of the Prophet, we worship Allah because He deserves to be worshiped, because He is Allah, because He deserves to be worshiped. We cannot worship Him the way that He deserves to be worshiped, but He is deserving of worship. He is the only One that is deserving of worship. That’s why forty Tarikats are speaking about the heart and love when they talk about spirituality, because once you start into that ocean a little bit, of Love, which every human being understands that they feel, male and female, young and old, they understand what is that love, and that love can be something that is low or something that is high, it is all coming from the same ocean, like this or like that. Then with that, you understand that ‘whatever that I’m doing now, I’m doing it because of that Love, because He is Allah, because He deserves to be worshiped. Because He has created me, I am returning back to Him.’
So when you have that attitude of worship, number one, the Holy days and Holy nights will come with its blessings that will only give you more gas to do. That you are not there, like I just gave a sohbet to the women, how many are going to spend whole day and whole night worshiping, and when you ask them ‘why are you worshiping?’ ‘Because I want to go to Jannat.’ ‘Why are you worshiping?’ ‘Because I want to get this, because I want to get this, more health, more this,’ every other kind of benefit, and I’m saying to the women, I’ve never met someone who says ‘I spent whole night,’ and I ask them ‘why are you worshiping?’ ‘Because I just want to be with Allah. I want to be with Him, because He is always with me.’ As our Sheykh used to open the zikr every time, saying ‘Ya Rabbi, You are always with us, You are never forgetting us, and we want to be with You. Help us to be with You. We are very weak. Help us to be with You. We just want to be with You.’
So when you enter into Holy days and Holy nights, there are special blessings that come that helps you to be with your Allah better. Look, everyone is going to get what they deserve, what they want. What the heart wants, you are going to find. Those who are here and they want to find dunya, Allah gives. If you want to satisfy your ego, Allah gives. He is the Most Generous to us. You are looking for Him, He will give too. So that is worship, because you want to be with Allah, because you want to give thanks to Allah, just to sit, Sheykh Effendi said so many times, ‘just sit somewhere and say thank You, Ya Rabbi. I just want to be with You, I just want to thank You. Thank You Ya Rabbi.’ That is worth more, because it’s coming sincerely from your heart. You are not going to memorize some duas, some ayats, some hadith that you don’t even know the meaning so much, and you are just repeating it because you believe it’s going to do something good to you, but that good that you are chasing is other than Allah and His Pleasure.
So now, we enter into sincerity. As we said so many times, our Mother Hz Rabiatul Adawiyah, a Great Saint, Friend of Allah, is saying ‘I want to burn the Paradises, and I want to put out all the fires of hell,’ and they asked her ‘why?’ And she says ‘because we only worship Allah to get to Paradise, so I want to burn Paradise, because nobody is worshiping Allah because He deserves to be worshiped.’ Now this, deserving to be worshiped, we are entering into spirituality. You are not looking to see, Allah is not our employer, our boss, our business partner. He is our Lord. So how are you going to have that every day, now? There is one that is worship. Ah, here we are talking about worship as in salah, as in namaz, zikr, recitation, but when you look into the worship, the remembrance of Allah, the obedience of Allah, now worship is more than that. That, you have to look at the Holy Prophet (AS), because every word that he says, it is in remembrance of Allah, it is worshiping. Every movement that he makes, every look that he gives, it is in remembrance and in obedience to Allah.
Now, everything that you do becomes worship if you do it for the sake of Allah. Which is troublesome, because what if you pray, what if you recite, what if you make zikr, and it’s not for the sake of Allah? So you are happy, be happy for the sake of Allah. You want to spend time with your family, do it for the sake of Allah. Now, that meaning of worship will open up. That worship will open, because the aim of worship is to remember Allah, it is not to remember you and what you are going to get. It is to remember Allah, regardless of what happens. So that is the essence of worship, it is to remember Allah. There are many who go to the Hajj to fulfill their desires, to fulfill their wishes. It is not for the sake of Allah. We say ‘Labbayk Allahumma labbayk, here I am,’ what does it mean when you say ‘here I am’? It means you leave everything aside. What does that mean, you leave everything aside? You say ‘Allahu Akbar,’ it is the first movement in namaz. When you do that, you are throwing the dunya and everything out, and you are remembering your Lord. In the Hajj, it’s a very huge subject, the whole body, your whole self now, not just one movement that you are doing, you leave everything aside. You’ve already entered, when you enter into that ihram, it is to enter into death, where as in death, there is nothing there. Your Lord is there.
How are you going to have, now, these kinds of worship everyday? Remembering Allah, doing things for the sake of Allah. Now, there are many ways to worship, many ways to remember Allah. The way of the Most Distinguished Naksibendi Order, the way of the Highest Tarikat, Tarikat ul Aliya, to remember Allah is to do what? As the Prophet says, one hour of meditation, it is better than seventy years of worship. One hour of meditation. What is that meditation? What is that remembrance of Allah? What is that remembrance of Allah? To remember Allah means, in this meditation, is not to remember your ego, yourself. So the one who is fighting his ego for the sake of Allah now, not just to do something, and eating and saying ‘oh, yeah, I’m doing this for the sake of Allah,’ you can do that, you are enjoying and you are running up and down for the sake of Allah, you are saying it, and you are meaning it, maybe, but now, what it means to do something for the sake of Allah, it means you don’t do it for the sake of your nafs, because nothing in existence is a partner to Allah. There is no partner to Allah, but the nafs is the only one who claims to be. Not sheytan, not the mountains, not the galaxies, not the ant, and not anything except for our ego. It’s making that claim that it’s a partner to Allah.
So now, when you are controlling that ego and you are fighting against to the nafs, you are not only remembering Allah, you are taking away that false partnership and you are saying ‘la’ to that. You are saying ‘la’ to who? Your ego. ‘La’ to the illaha, ilAllah. Then those actions are more beloved to Allah. The one who is fighting against to his nafs, fighting against to his sheytan, to the dunya, your passions, fighting against to your anger, to your jealousy, fighting against to your stubbornness and your envy, fighting against to your arrogance, and these have hundreds and thousands of tricks and traps, hundreds and thousands of divisions, roads inside, you are fighting against that, using the teachings of the Holy Prophet (AS), as told by the Evliyaullah as your Sheykhs, now you are putting Allah there, first and foremost, you are not putting your ego. Then that time, that worship is very precious to Allah. It is very valuable to Allah. Our Sheykh puts it very simply, he’s saying ‘a servant who gets up in the middle of the night, hating to get up, hating to renew his wudu, hating to pray, to worship, falling asleep, but fighting against that hate, fighting, because that hate is coming from sheytan, coming from the ego, forcing himself, falling asleep and forcing himself, that servant and that action is very beloved to Allah, more beloved to Allah than a servant who stays up all night, easily, worshiping.’
So now, we are talking about the struggle. We are talking about this biggest struggle. May Allah give us the power against our nafs, insyaAllah. May Allah make us to be successful in this struggle, insyaAllah, may Allah not let us to be fooled, may Allah let us to hold on tightly and to connect ourselves with our teachers, with our Sheykhs, insyaAllah, and never to let us go. Fatiha. Amin.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
Osmanli Dergah, New York
23 Rabiul Awwal 1443
28 October 2021