A`udhu billah min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, madad.
Ati`oollaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.
Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)
Mawlana, may Allah give him long life, sends salaams to everyone and I was speaking with him for some time. There will be a lot of changes around the Middle East and these changes are like preparation for something heavenly that brings peace on Earth. And the important matter is to keep away from any problems that are around us, be away from that and not to interfere. And we hope that Allah (swt) will give us life to see Mahdi (a), inshaa-Allah.
I was in Morocco for a conference and people from different religions discussed the importance of spirituality, and Sufism in general, in our daily life. Is it important, is it necessary, is it not necessary, and what can Sufism give people in this 21st century? And, in every religion there is spirituality, so is there an external or internal spirit? What is the importance of spirituality in every religion? Can we combine all these differences and come up with something that everyone accepts? And with respect to all the speakers and religions that were represented, we say that the Prophet, the Seal of Messengers (s), wrapped everything with Islam: all other religions and beliefs, and after Prophet (s) we didn’t see any new religion or new belief come.
So they were discussing and it was being said that God is The One Who has sent these messages and some there said, “Oh! How can you say God? You cannot mention God anymore, we don’t believe in God, because God to us is ‘compassion.’” So this means you cannot mention God if you want to come with something that everyone can accept, God does not exist to them. People of other faiths say, “God said this and that” and it was a discussion, like people eating from different kinds of food, but all of them are unable to accept that one of these foods is the best. In any case, I want to touch on one small subject and then we will go.
I asked them, “Are we meeting here for converting each other, for a da`wah machine? If so, then each one can say his religion is better. But if we are meeting here for building bridges, you can, but there are lot of differences between us, and the only bridge you can build is that of spirituality: that everyone wants to be a good person with moral excellence, as Prophet (s) mentioned in the backbone hadith of Islam to Jibreel (a) when he came and asked the Prophet (s) about Islam, Imaan (belief), and Ihsaan (the Station of Perfected Character). In Bukhari it is the first hadith. Everyone wants moral excellence.
And then they spoke about tasawwuf, and one respected Muslim speaker said that the term Sufism is derived from souf, “wool.” Yet we know many many derivatives for the word Sufism, not only from “wool”. But let us go with that. So, as a result, people think that in the old times the wearing of wool was a sign that the wearer practiced tasawwuf , and yet I can wear hundreds of sheepskins and I am still not a Sufi. So you cannot base Sufism on the wearing of wool, everyone wears wool in winter. But, I said, here the meaning of wool is that it comes from sheep, and if you use that term you have to understand what is behind it. Wool comes from sheep, and sheep always submit to the shepherd. It means tasawwuf is “submission to the shepherd,” as the sheep submits to the shepherd, submitting to Allah (swt). This is the meaning of wearing the skin of the sheep, because the sheep is completely in submission. It doesn’t know right or left, but when the big ramp moves forward in front of them, all of them follow. That means for the one who wants to succeed, wearing wool is to “wear” submission. Without submission there is no benefit and no enlightenment. Submission to Allah (swt) gives us enlightenment. Today people around the world are not submitting to anyone, only to their own ego and desires. Whatever your ego tells you, you submit to that.
People submit to the one who gives advice, but these days the advice of the shaykh doesn’t mean anything and the advice of the self means everything! You cannot convince me that, “Oh! We are taking advice from our master, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q)!” Anyone who says that is lying, because you are accepting the advice of your ego. To take and accept the advice of the shaykh means you are in the first step of sainthood, wilayah. To accept what the shaykh says means you have put your feet on the first step of sainthood. That is why the Station of Mureed is one of the highest levels that takes us to sainthood. People say, “I am a mureed, I am a mureed, I am a mureed!” No, you are a mureed of your ego. You are a lover, muhibb, yes, but not mureed.
Until we are like sheep submitting to shepherd, then we can say we are beginning on the right journey. We ask Allah (swt) to put us on the right journey. It is a struggle. It is not easy between good and evil. Shaytan comes and draws for you, yusawwir lak, something on which all your mind and heart and love and concentration focuses on. And when you are focusing on the push of Shaytan you think you are focusing on something good, but it will lead you to make a lot of mistakes. If you focus on the Divine Presence or the love of Prophet (s), or the love of the Shaykh, as you focus on the advice of yourself you will become a saint!
But like Shaytan made Sayyidina Adam (a) focus on the idea that he would be eternal if he ate from the tree, and he ate from the tree. If you leave Shaytan and focus on the love of Allah (swt) and drop everything else, then Allah will open for you all secrets and beauty of this life that He opened for His saints! That is why you see His saints are not interested in dunya because what He opened to them is far better. Let us take from our hearts the love of anyone and put in our hearts the love of Allah (swt) and the love of Prophet and the love of saints. This is what saves us and takes us to the right way! You are going to see what is written on the Preserved Tablets, you cannot change it. Some people's actions will not coincide with what is written there, as they have followed their emotion, they followed their desires. That is why what is written there might be different, and that is why for three things it is very important to ask the advice of your teacher: first, you have to ask when you decide to marry; second, you have to ask when you decide to go to Hajj; and third, you have to ask when you decide to travel. For these three things it is very important to ask as any mistake in them you will lose the reality behind these three things.
May Allah (swt) open our hearts to what is good, and take from our hearts hubb ad-dunya, love of dunya!
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.