An Introduction to Sufism


Seyh Efendi
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “He who does not show mercy to our young ones or recognise the rights of our elders is not one of us.”
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 7033

An Introduction to Sufism

By- Hazret Shaykh Abdul Kerim Al-Kibrisi-

River Road Unitarian Church, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

February 27, 2004 (Muharram 6, 1425)

Auzubillahiminashaytan nirajim, bismillahiramahnrahim

Before speaking anything, we are asking support from our Creator who has created us. And we are asking to escape from that one who is our enemy, shaytan, to His shelter, to the Creator’s shelter.

My father (rahimtuallah alahi) who passed away, he gave me advice, and today I’m breaking that advice. He says to me, “my son, don’t be stand in the presence of elderly to speak to them. Elderly people they are always more wiser than you, they have seen the sun before you. You must learn from them.” I’m not speaking here to teach you something, before most of you I’m seeing, you are more older than me. You have seen the sun before me. But because we have been given the invitation to come, to speak about thematter which I have born and grow up in it. I just like to say a couple words. We will exchange, we will understand, that we have no difference.


Auzubillahiminashaytan nirajim, bismillahiramahnrahim.

Auzubillahiminashaytan nirajim, we are running away from shaytan, trying to escape from evil and bismillahiramahnrahim we are escaping to our Creator, to His shelter. And we are asking our Creator to keep shaytan evil away from us. We are not declaring war to him, but we are asking to the Owner of that one to keep him away from us. When that one is away from us, then we will all say, He has created us from one male and female. Everyone one of us, when we go down to the roots we will find our roots goes to the one male, one female.

In His presence, in the Divine presence there is no separation. There is no different nationality, different races or different religion. But we, and so many who came before us, with so many different ideas, separated. And continuously especially this last century, we are in top speed separate ourselves from each other.

You all know and believe Adam AS, the first man. First man, and first prophet to all mankind. And continuously, from that time, until the Last Prophet, the Seal of the Prophet, Muhammad alayhi salam wa tu salam. Between that one, and the Last Prophet Muhammad alayhi salam wa tu salam, according to our knowledge, that coming from the Divine Presence, 124,000 Prophets have been sent down to earth to mankind. In different times, to different tribes, to different nations. Some prophets they only represent small groups. Some prophets they have been send to larger communities and to different nations. Of course from among these, there are very holy ones, high ones, like Prophet Ibrahim, Abraham AS, he was the father of all main religion, which is Judaism, Christianity, Islam. He is representing these three religions. From one of his son, Yacub, Jacob AS comes the bani Israil, the Children of Israel, today calling Jews, different tribes. And from the other son Ismael, comes what we called today, Islam, people who follows Muhammad SAWS. From that tribe coming, according to our knowledge, and understanding and our faith, according to what Islam and the book of Quran is saying, Jesus, Isa AS, one of the holiest Prophet that God has created. He is sent down to mankind, to show them right direction again. Because centuries passing people are losing their way, following their own ego, their own understanding. Losing the way. So God with his mercy, sent His Prophets to put us back to the main road. To teach us what it is that He want from us, and how we are going to worship Him. So all prophets came, teaching the whole mankind one thing first, all of you have been created from one Lord, same one who have created you, your fathers, who has passed and who will come in the future. Not only the men, but everything else that is existing, he is the Creator of all.

All prophets came to represents that One, to speak for that One’s behalf, to teach us what is that One wants from us. What is our duty here in this world? How are we to live this life? And how do we go back to our own original house. This is our waiting place, our original place is the paradise that we have come down from, and we have to go back there. Everyone, you like each other or not, you are going back there (Shaykh Efendi smiles) we have to find a ground here to learn to start loving each other, understanding each other, because we are going back to the paradise.

The mankind has been sent down for that. Not for this world, they have been created for that paradise, not for this world. So this world is separating us. So many difficulties, so many different things standing in our way, we are separating ourselves. Especially like I said, for the last one century, the Mankind from Judaism, to Christianity, to Islam, and to almost all men, lost their direction. Because in reality, we have left what we really believed in. We have left their footsteps. And we follow our own ego, and we follow our own desires. So shaytan is there spreading evil and whispering to our ego and is making us to become enemy. In reality, no religion is making people to become enemy. Every religion is teaching people how to become a servant to their Lord.


Inspiration of the Prophets

We all have been created for the service of our Lord. As I hear couple of things that have been said here, and I see certain protocol that is going on here, which everywhere we have protocols. That is reminding us that our Lord also put a protocol on us, how to live in this world. When we start searching that protocol, the beginning of our Creation, how we descend down from the paradise to the world. What is the expectation? What is it that we have to do in this world, how to go back to our origin place, our home, back to paradise.

First man, and first woman, which we can say, our great great grandfather, and great great grandmother. Adam AS and Hawa, whatever, my pronunciation maybe is a little different from yours, but we all know it is the same one. So many people said they made mistake in paradise, so they have been send down to this world as a punishment. But Divine Order has to take its course and the destiny has to happen. The Creator made them to move that way for them to be sent down to earth. Because Allah SWT, our Creator has created man to be His deputies on this earth. So the first man He sent down, Adam to be His deputy with his wife. Then from them, children started coming.

Some said our great grandmother, Hawa, she was pregnant over 200 times. And every time when she was giving birth, she had twins. One boy, one girl every time. So that they start multiplying. When the children they start growing, and they start becoming independent to themselves, and looking around and trying to live in this world, which was new to them also. The Order is going to the first man Adam AS,saying “you are not only their father now, you are also their Prophet, their Guide. You must speak to them, and you must guide them. And you must teach them what is right and what is wrong.” So when our father was putting his children in front of him, and he was speaking to them, and he was trying to tell them what is right and what is wrong. In this world, what is to do, and what is not to do. What is it to be obedient to Allah, and what is it not to be. Some of his children, they accepted it. And some of them, they became disobedient to him.

So through the history coming down. Those children, multiplying and going to different parts of the world. And becoming different tribes. Becoming different nations, using different languages. They all needed other guides. So the God start sending other prophets to them, from among them, showing them what to do.

So people they always needed guide in reality, to show them how to live in this world. And that guide has to be one of their kind, to be able to sit, to talk, to tell them. That’s why the God sends prophets. They are not like us, they have high station in the Divine Presence. But they are made up from the same material as we. This way we will have familiarity with them. We will be able to sit and talk with them. Otherwise, God has the power to send us, not the prophets, but the angels. Instead of giving prophets, sending angels to us. So many people today running, searching, reading books here and there, and say, “look what the book says.”

Muslim they said, ”go to the Quran,” Christians they said, “go to the Bible,” Jews they said, “go to the Old Testament, New Testament.” But then we said to them, “where is your testament? Why are you not going to your own book? Your book is here. (Shaykh Effendi pointed to his heart.) Judge things according to what is right, what is wrong. You are printing millions of books. Everyone has books now. We broke the protocol because we go through the books now. We don’t accept any authority, we don’t accept anybody who has the knowledge to speak to us. To accept, to sit down and think what he is speaking, is it right or wrong? Is it fitting me or not? Or is it fitting to my ego or not?

We have that problem today because we all know how to read and write. We said we can go directly to the source and especially the Muslims, when they take the Quran, and they open it, and they start reading, by themselves, and they start putting their own commentary in it. They finding themselves on the other side and fighting with the mankind. But when we are taking that book, and we said, “this book didn’t really got sent down to us. It was sent down to that Prophet SAWS. And that Prophet SAWS through his saying, teach people how to live that book. So for us, we must take him first, his lifestyle. We must take him as a guide, that time we will be able to understand the real meaning, what is coming there for us and for all people, because that is also mentioned, all people, all other religions, is mentioned in that book.

So, so many become blind, they close their eyes to that, and they become enemy to each other. God didn’t created us to be enemy to each other. He is ordering to us, that he has created us, he has made us to different nation, different races, different parts of the world, to find one another, and to learn and exchange knowledge from each other. And make it better to our life and to prepare better places for our children that is coming.


Remembers there is No God but God

Sufism, when Prophet Muhammad SAWS who is also emigrating from Mecca to Medinah and they entered into a cave with his companion Abu Bakr Siddik RA. He gave secrets to his heart saying, “this is what you have to practice through the heart. And you will progress yourself, you will clean yourself, you will be having enough energy and power fighting against to the evil forces that is surrounding you.”

Of course, as I said, in Sufism, our teaching, and our masters, what they are teaching to us. If you are walking in the street, sufi, if there is a stone in the street, he cannot kick that stone. He should show respect to bend down to take it and to put it on the side, thinking, some other people come, they may step on it and fall down. It may be a blind man, he cannot see, so you move that stone. But you cannot move that stone, kicking it to aside, you have to bend down, remember your creator’s name, taking it and putting it aside. That is the main teaching in Islam about Sufism. And that’s how Sufism they should be. Not also today’s sufi, they have swords and guns and everything in their hands going, cutting. That doesn’t fit to Sufism also.

But because we don’t fit to that, that original system is good, and is working for all mankind who is following the footstep of that. Depending on what kind of master, what kind of teacher you have, and how strict he is with those matters. Which my master, he is a very holy man, Shaykh Nazim Muhammad al Hakkani. He is a very humble man, he is a very beloved man. Lovely man, but when it comes to tricking, fooling, testing, and training the ego, he is very hard. He was very hard on us in that matter. We loved him for that, because he was very hard on us. And if he wasn’t, with the character that I have, I could have been a terrorist today. But he was very hard on us, and now we are afraid to touch an ant and kill an ant, and to say, “this is God’s creation. He has created it, we cannot touch it, we cannot destroy it.”

So of course, so many books writing about Sufism, so many things coming out that Sufism came in 800s, or after Prophet SAWS passed 400, 500, 700 years. That is through Prophet SAWS and his companions that were living Sufism, without name, their lifestylewas Sufi. They were living Sufism. They left us, and all those people who came after, which you have just mentioned earlier, Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi, he is one of the main pillars that the whole west knows. Shaykh Muiddin ibn Arabi also, he is one of the figures that the West knows. And they respect those ones who live Sufism in their time, in their own selves. When you go to Konya, today’s Turkey, that time in that city there were Christians, Jews, and Muslims and this place was open to everyone, and everyone would be going over there, and everyone was worshipping, everyone was doing according to the way they believe they were worshipping, it didn’t separate them. And when he passed away, so many people they were running who was going to carry his coffin, because of the respect, the Jews, Christians and the Muslims they run. Of course today, we are not finding, there are some people like that, they are hiding themselves to the corner, and the street is left to those tyrants, go around to tyrannize people. There is a divine secret in that. And the God, Allah SWT is ordering to us to good ones, to be true ones. First, to test and check our own selves, to make ourselves to be good ones. Then to try to reach to others without separating.

Constant job, first is to please their Lord. Priority is to please their Lord. Priority is to worship as much as they can, and to not to have empty time. And to remember their God through their hearts remembering through His Names, His Divine Names. And sitting together, and praying together, and not having so much of worldly pleasures and treasures to running after. But the main aim is to be able to make your Lord to be happy with you. To prepare yourself for the hereafter life, because this life, it is only passing. Of course you have to work, to earn your living, but you shouldn’t go crazy, to say “I have this room here, it is not enough for me,” you have to find a way to stop yourself saying, “this is enough for me, I can live here. I don’t have to have a palace.”

So with that time now, running, making materialism and running after materialism, and to become capitalist. You spend your time with your Lord, remembering him more. More you are making zikr, more you remembering, more you go to seclusion. And you will be able to reach to one step in this world, one step in the hereafter, so you will become a bridge. Preparing yourself to go out from this life, when your time comes, quickly and easily. That is the main teaching in Sufism for a man to try to build himself, how to look, and what to expect, and what to send to the other life. Because as I said earlier, this world, it is the ground for the paradise, whatever we are planting here, that is what we are going to collect on the other side.

Sufism, it is what we called tasawwuf. Tarikat means the ways, the ways, the roads that is taking people from this world to ahirat. That is the real meaning of the word tarikat. Tarikat, it is what you called those people, like we are following the tarikat of Nakshiband. Nakshibandi are that one, tarikat is the way, and Nakshibandis, those are the ones who is concentrating on the heart. And constantly working on that heart. So other tarikats, they concentrating on going on seclusion, trying to open the veils, but we are trying to concentrate on our heart, to put seal into our heart. The seal first to the Lord, the Creator’s Name, then to understand His secret creature.

So Sufism coming from that time, Ahla suffa, Ahla suffa, those people that they were around the Prophet SAWS, near the Prophet SAWS’s House. And behind that Prophet SAWS’s House, they were sitting there all night long, they were praying, they were reciting Quran, they were learning. All night. Because nighttime is very special in Islam. You must sacrifice your sleep, and you must get up 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock to be with your Lord when everyone is sleeping. So those people, that is what they were doing. They called them Ahla Suffa. Those people they have cleaned themselves, they are pure. That is what the real meaning is. Tasawwuf. The people who is purifying themselves, who is reaching to perfection, to the perfect station. The master of that time, he and my master, they reached to that perfection. They are looking, because everyone is given secret. Everyone, they have Divine Secrets in their hearts. And the masters, they looking how to bring that secret out. How to polish it, and to present it. It’s like diamond, we go all the way down, to take that big rock, big stone. You came out, cutting it into pieces, then you have small diamonds. You polishing, cutting it to become beautiful. So people they carry on their head, they neck and their hands. We, as human, all have secret. What is your secrets? So many people saying, this is what they are saying, “Jesus is carrying Divine Secret, God’s Secret.” You are carrying that too, I m carrying it. That soul, that spirit is giving to you is coming from your Creator, this body doesn’t mean anything. Soon as that spirit comes out, this body falls down, and the body you loved so much, but they said take it and bury it under the ground, because it’s going to smell. We cannot put it in the house. The real secret is to look at that spirit, and to polish it, and to present it. Of course, so many times, when it is more polished, you are going to see. One of our grandshaykh, master, Shaykh Abdullah Daghstani, my fatherwas sat with him, he said to him, “my son, when I look at the forehead of a person, I can tell you how intelligent he is.” So my father looked at him, saying “my shaykh, when you looked at his forehead, and you said how intelligent he is. What about his face?” “His face is his book, whatever is in here (Shaykh Efendi pointed to his heart), is reflected on his face.” Sufis, they try, because they know that there is people looked with a vision, they tried to put a reflection. Because they cannot hide, they cannot cheat anybody. They could lose that sight. To perfect themselves, they looked and they see the divine light.


The Prayer Beards, The Turban, the Cane

We are, as a sufis, we are disciplining our own selves. Now we are coming to that part, how sufis are working. Disciplining our own ego and disciplining our own self. We have to do a certain amount of remembrance every day. We cannot just say, I did this much today, tomorrow I don’t have to do. So, for instance, I have to do 10,000 time la ilaha illalah. 10,000 times Allah. This many times giving praising to Prophet (SAWS). This many times declaring the Oneness of our Lord. So now there is so many other things coming in it. So now this, these beards here, it is counted, there is two hundred here. When I go like this one time, I know there is two hundred. Then I pull this aside, so I collected 200 times, now I go again. This is a tool to me. To be able to make my remembrance properly, and exactly that amount.

So if I finished that amount that day, in earlier time, then I am free to do much as I want more. But we are concentrating to do certain amount, we give remembrance to people according to their time. Some people they work 8 hours, they don’t have too much time, we give them less. Some people works 2 hours, they have too much time, we give them more. So that time, the more you do, the more you progress in your own self. Because you cannot cheat yourself, you say, “I have to say la ilaha illalah, la ilaha illalah, la ilaha illalah, this many times. And more you say, in Turkish we say, “if you remember something 40 times, and it will happen to you. If we believe something 40 times every day. It will start happen.” So, what if you are remembering your Lord 100 times, 1000 times, 10,000 times a day. It will make progress on you. So this tasbih, this is what it is.

The turban is representing, as you know, Muslim religion. When we die, they don’t put us in the coffin boxes, to make us to wear suits and tie, to put nice makeup. They put you, they cover you, because it is forbidden to look at the dead person’s face, according to Islam. It comes with a very heaviness after a while. So you wrap him up, the whole body in a white cloth. Which we are hoping and praying, of course that is, in the judgment day, everyone is going to rise from the grave. This world is going to come to an end. First, prophets they are going to rise, then all the other ones they are going to rise to go to judgment place to be questioned what they did in the world. We believe that we are going to be raised up, not naked, but with the cloth that is wrapping us around. The white cloth that is on my head, this is my shrouds, they are going to take this, open it, and wrap me in it, and to bury me with it. So we say, when you are carrying your death cloth on your head, how you are going to think how you are going to bother other people. That is a reminder to you, to be a good one. Not to be a bad one.

Of course different styles, different colors represent different things. I am a traveler, I have no place on this earth. I m travelling, every place is mine. Everywhere I put my feet, it belongs to me. This place belongs to me now. (Shaykh effendi laughs) I m travelling here, I leave from here, take it, have it, some day later I come back and I said it’s mine again. So I m a traveler, anywhere I go, I go with my white turban. And if something happened, and I died, which of course that was in the old days. Today we are just doing because, we are following the tradition. In the old days, people they were coming from central Asia to come to Mecca. In the way they die, their family doesn’t know. They wrapped them up, and they buried them right the way there, where they died. So this is to remind us, remind me, all the time, I’m travelling, and I may die, so it is on my head to bury me. Of course, my friends they are not going to let me be here, they are going everywhere taking me, in the plane, putting more difficulty to me during these days. But it’s a reminder, they are wearing a green turban. Green in Islam representing paradise. And the green is representing their hometown. This is their hometown, they are Americans. This is their hometown, so they are in their hometown. So they are wearing the green turban.

Of course different shapes of hats, covering, cones, and the wrapping the turban, that represents different tarikats, different sufi ways, and different masters. In these days, so many people they are not looking to that. In the old day, when the two sufis, far away they see each other, right the way they know from the figure, the way of their turbans, they know this is Qadiri, this is Nakshibandi, that one is this, belong meaning that they belong to that university, to that teaching high station university. So it’s representing, making people to understand, to look where you learn, which tarikat, which masters. The colors are representing their nationality, which part of the world, which continent they are coming from. Of course in these days, so many doesn’t look at that. And we are not expecting them to look at that. The person likes to wear green, so he chooses to wear green. So many doesn’t like to wear white, because if you are remembering the death, it’s death cloth. (Shaykh Efendi laughs.) So, ‘X’ always likes to wear green, because he wants to remember paradise. But I’m a traveler, I have to wear white. So that is representing that.

The cane is representing, when Adam has been send down from paradise. First man, he is sent down to the earth. He is sent down, and he looked at all the animals around him. The snake that told him, the shaytan evil entered into the snake, and that one is sent down from paradise. The snake was living in paradise, he was very friendly with Adam and Hawa. But shaytan Azzazial, fooled the snake, saying “open your mouth, I m entering inside. I’m speaking to them.” That’s why they got fooled, because they trust the snake, the snake was their friend. But shaytan was speaking through the snake. He is sent out from paradise. And he became an enemy, so Adam looked, says “Oh my Lord, I m your weak servant. You throw me from paradise to this world. I am all alone, you took my wife away, I cannot see, I have no protection. These animals they are ready to attack me. What am I going to do?” So, Lord of Heavens saying, “hold the cane in your hand, and that dog touch his hand. So when he touched to the head of dog. The dog turned around and started barking at the wild animals, and the wild animal ran away. And He Says,“ that cane, hold it, because shaytan is running away from you when are you walking around with that cane.” We believed that, of course, we are trying to carry because we believe every Prophet has that. And we are trying to walk down to the tradition of the Prophet.


Separation of Spirituality and State

Of course after the 19th century, Sufism has been taking very strong punishment. I hate to say that, but with the help of the western world. In our country, which I said, two years ago, in Turkey, 6 month in jail, because I was sufi, because I was sitting in my own apartment, and I have ten people, we were practicing, we are sitting, remembering God, saying “Allah, Allah.” So the police came, they broke the door, they took us and they put me in jail for six months. They tried to do so many things, to scare us, and because of this turban, this turban is forbidden also in Turkey, and this cloth is forbidden. Because these are, they said these are religious identity. You cannot wear that to walk in the street. So it is not only in Turkey, it is in Egypt, which big saints are coming, Uzebekistan, and all that part of the world that Sufism is strong, that is spreading everywhere, it is banned. But when we are looking and saying “they banned Sufism.” Sufis, in the history, you can never find that the Sufis they did something wrong. Or they ran attacking other Sufis. The groups of Sufis. But you will find, people who you called radical Islamist, they go and attacking others, and they kill and they destroy. We are finding today also, today’s Saudi Arabia is the one who representing radical Islam, which you called wahabism. They are completely against to Sufism. And we are finding the West is supporting them. But the West is not supporting Sufism. Sufism, it is not supported, but it’s banned. So the people they cannot live Sufism openly, so all they have to do, they have to go under the ground. They have to hide themselves. Which today’s Sufism in Turkey, which is still very strong, but they are under the ground, they cannot come above, because they will be jailed, because they are practicing Sufism.

So when you are finding that one side the government they are forcing you to live the way they want you to live, and you are finding in your heart, your Prophet is saying, “live like this,” you cannot be both, and the Prophet saying to us “as long as you are living in their country, you must obey their laws. So now their laws is forbidding us to live Sufism freely. So if you cannot live Sufism freely, living Sufism, not living it, that means, we are not practicing our religion. What we have to do, we have to go under the ground.

So the mosques are supported by the government. Mosques they are official places. Official places they only speak official words. And when you go to a mosque, the Imam is over there, he is a paid man. He is speaking whatever the paper they give to him, he cannot speak to you whatever every word that Quran is saying. There is the paper you are going to read, you cannot speak your own mind to these people, or your understanding of Islam, you have to speak what he gives to you. So if the rulers, especially, I’m giving, an example from Turkey, if the ruler they are communist idea people, which not believing in God, and I m not accepting. They know they cannot remove the religion, but they have religion under their control. They are teaching people whatever they want, they give you a monthly salary saying, “you are in the payroll, you are going to speak this, you cannot speak anything else.” So that time, we cannot collect the fruits of Sufism now, in these days, it is not possible. Because it is banned. But if they live it, today also for us, not only there, but also in this country. That up to my house, which I called that dergah, which is like a church, because people coming and worshipping. Up to now, so many times, FBI coming non-stop going back and forth, saying “we are coming to see if everything is alright.” So I said, “this is America, take the gun, take the coffee and tea.” (Shaykh Efendi laughs.) Of course, we are not dummy or stupid, we know why they are coming, but we have no problem with the government, we have no problem with the law. We have no problem, because we will learn and we will find a way to live according to those laws.

Today’s government, they don’t like communities. And in Sufism, there is a very high respect to a shaykh. Individual who is following the shaykh, the master, they must consult with that shaykh. What they have to do in their worldly life, and especially when it comes to working. In democracy, you go to the government, you go to the different parties. So now the government they are seeing those figure, those spiritual figures, they take threat with them. Because now there is 100,000 people following me. And they come to me and they said, “shaykh, there is an election, which party should we give our vote?” I said to them, “give it to that party.” So they know the party that I’m going to choose. It’s going to be at least the party that believes in God some way, somehow, they know. I am not going to say to my people to go give the vote to the communist party. So they are finding that time, these are threat to us, because we are not going to come to power. That’s what they did in Russia, they banned everything, which is what the people they called the birthplace of Sufism, it is not the birthplace. But it is the high saints come out from that part. Until today, the Russia is gone, but it is still banned. Because they know that, when it comes to vote, because you are building bridge now between the spirituality, religion and the politics, coming together now. So the shaykh must be a wise man. To understand not only know the worldly matters, but to able to understand how the politics is taking direction, and how to direct people in spirituality, spiritual way. Go and say to a person, “ok, you worked enough, now don’t work anymore, sit here and make zikr. Don’t go, because you have enough money.” How to be able say to other beloved, “honey, don’t sit here, go and work.” So the shaykh he is not only a community leader, he is like a master, a guide to the people, so when the government they are looking, saying, “these shaykhs, they are not letting people to give us the vote, so we must bring them down.” Bringing them down, the whole world is watching, if they are taking you as an individual, the world is watching, the man this watching, that watching. They find it easier to say “ban Sufism,” when you say ban Sufism, automatically the shaykhs is banned, everything is banned. So you want to learn your religion? Go to a church, or go to a mosque and learn it from the person that I appointed for you. Like as I said, if the person is in the payroll he is going to speak what they say to him. I am not in their payroll, I have no fear from anyone. My fear is not the world, I m not expecting anything from you to give me something. I am speaking for my God. And what is my need? My need is one piece of bread for today, I have a cloth, I have a shelter, that is what really my need is. That is what really the community leader, the shaykh, has to worry. But the other ones, they should worry, what they have to do, how they are going to live, how they are going to pay their mortage, this and that. But the shaykh shouldn’t worry with himself, with this kind of things. Should be worry with his people’s problem, to try to solve their problem, if it’s spiritually, if it’s worldly, if it’s mentally, if it’s materialistically, if you are poor, shaykh knows the management, saying to him, “give that much money to this person,” that man must follow, because he has to reach to other. So the shaykh knows, in Turkish we said, “the shaykh is the hand that is taking from,” that’s why have a thing on it, half of you don’t know, but you must know it now. I m just joking about you must know. Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, turning like this, they put their hand like that, and their feet like this, one hand is like this, and they are turning like this. It’s turning and it’s building relationship from earth to the paradise. As you know, everything is circling in their own orbit. So when man learns how to circle in his own orbit, he will be able to reach to station. So when Mawlana was holding his hand like that, and putting his hand down, saying, “I’m taking from my Lord, and I’m giving it to mankind. So I m a mitigator between that One and you. So all shaykhs suppose to be like that, but all shaykhs are not like that. So then, we have problem, so the communities they got into trouble. And the government, of course they are never going to like, but I’ll tell you, take that videocassette. If you take that videocassette to a Turkish ambassador, and saying, look what this Turkish guy is saying, they will put an arrest warrant on me when I enter to Turkey (shaykh smiles). They say, “you going over there to fool Americans with this?” They put me in jail. But we are not expecting anything from them. We are not expecting anything from others. We are just trying to sincerely, believing in my heart trying to find ways to learn each other and to love each other, to respect each other. That is the way we are going to practice, this is the way we have been practice. You cannot tell me, you are wrong, I cannot tell you, you are wrong. But I can tell you, when you are bankrupt with this, and you finding no more peace, nothing else coming to you. Then come to me, I have something to give to you that time (shaykh smiles).

The person who comes to a shaykh, he comes with his own intelligence, with his own mind, you already reach to certain stations, you already knows certain secrets of this world, you cannot figure out certain things, so he comes to a shaykh. So he sits in the association of the shaykh, and he listened. He has the right to accept or not accept. He doesn’t have the right to fight about it. But he has the right to question. Until he realized, “that is a master. That is my guide. I can trust that one.” When you trust that one, you go and said, “I m submitting, initiating to you.” Meaning, I’m accepting what you are going to tell me, what I have to do. So that time, he looks at you, he sees, ok the world or the benefit of this world, or the worldly matter that has holding you from one angle. As someone stood up, he looked at Jesus AS, he love him, he love his companion, he says to him, “Jesus, what should I do, to enter to paradise?” He looked at him, he sees clearly the matter right the way, what he loves. He says to him, “for you enter into the paradise, go set everything that you own, take all that money, go distributed to the poor people. And come back follow me, live like me.” He says, “you mean all my wealth? All my wealth that belongs to me from my father, from my forefathers, set it to give to the strangers I don’t know? ” “Did you asked me the entrance to the paradise? For you, that is what it is, because you want paradise from one side, but you don’t want to give up from this world.” So when Jesus looked at him, he sees, he is in love with this world. So he hit him from that angle, he says, “first, get rid of that love. When you get rid of that love from your heart, you find space to put other loves, you find space to put really your Lord’s love in it. Otherwise when that love is occupying your heart, you cannot be able to find space to put that, then you are not going to be successful in that work that you are doing.

Of course, our door, which while I’m entering here, I see in your church also saying, “all welcome,” isn’t that what it is saying? Saying, all welcome. Meaning all kinds of people, all kinds of ways is welcome. That’s why I’m here, I’m very happy about it. Because same thing there, same thing that is saying in our door. All welcome, doesn’t matter what is your faith is, doesn’t matter what your fear is. Come, learn how to sit with each other, to eat together, to enjoy the meal first the Lord is giving to us, to learn how to be thankful for that. Then you will not fight that time, then you will find the way to say, you cannot fighting, you have so much space, you have so much time, what are we going to do with it? We have to progress the spiritual way, we have to turn to spiritual world.


Divine Message of the Sufi

Islam is two principles, sitting on two principles, one is to learn how to worship your Lord. Second, learn to help and to reach his creations. If the person does these two things, then he will reach to the highest stations. Without separating, saying “this is Jew, this is Christian, this is black, this is white, this is green, this is yellow.” In originally, we are all created from the same thing, we have the same material, same creation material. So Allah saying to us in the Holy Quran, “we have separate you in different nations, in different tribes, to go find one and each other, to learn from each other, to exchange, to learn, to improve yourself, to become better ones. To become better ones to the Divine service. In reality, we are all for Divine service. We are not for our own service, our own ego’s service, but for the greater service. We have to be in His service, when we are in His service, that time, we will be able to look at his creatures, saying “this is His creature, my duty is to serve that creature. If I’m serving my Lord, my duty is to serve that creature.”

So this is the name, the faith I believe every one of us here we are sharing. I don’t think anyone here finding the separation here. Our duty is to love each other as a man, and to respect each other, respect each other’s rights. And learn how to know, how to communicate, how to love each other. When we learn how to love each other, then we will be able to reach to our Creator.

One of the Hadith, the relating Hadith meaning the words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Alayhi salam wa tu Salaam saying to us, “the one who doesn’t says la ilaha illalah. Meaning la ilaha illalah, there is no God but only one who created all. Because the people they have invented Gods to themselves. They built idols and they did so many things. They started worship to those things, and they said, ‘this is our God.’” So the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS saying, “la ilaha illalah, there is no Gods man can created, but ilallah, that One who have created everyone.” Anyone who says these words and they believe, they are entering into paradise. That means that one has a faith. He says, “but if you don’t love each other, if you don’t learn how to love each other, even if you are saying that word, you are not really reaching to the main roots of the faith.”

Above is the talk Sh Efendi gave, introducing non-Muslims to Sufism within the context of Islam. This talk took place at the River Road Unitarian Church, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, on February 27, 2004 (Muharram 6, 1425).

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