Naqshbandi Portal

Welcome to the Naqshbandi Portal. This site aims to become an online resource for articles, links, photos, events, and other information about the Naqshbandiyya. All welcome. Please check back soon!

Friday, April 28, 2006

'Beads of Dew from the Source of Life'

Muhtar Holland's translation of Mawlana Ali ibn Hussain al-Safi's important hagiography of the Khwajagan (the early Naqshbandis), Rashahat 'Ain al-Hayat. This work was exceedingly popular across the Muslim world, and was translated from the original Persian into Arabic and Ottoman Turkish in numerous editions throughout the nineteenth century. Until now it has not been accessible to those people in the West who do not have knowledge of these languages, but thanks to Muhtar Holland's timely translation we finally are able to read about the lives of our forefathers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path, VIII

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

(a. General Principles)

8. Râbita-i Muhabbet (A loving, respecting and trusting bond)

The eighth principle in our path is the râbita-i muhabbet. It is essential that the novice has love and trust to his shaikh. Imagine a novice who does not like his shaikh, criticizes him, does not trust in him, belittles him, and tries to correct his shaikh... You cannot imagine what the shaikhs of our time hear. A loving, respecting and trusting bond is missing. Without such a bond, no progress is possible.

It is also the manifestation of one principle: Our beloved Prophet said: (Walladhî nafsî biyadihî) "By Allah who has the power over my life, (lâ yu'minu ahadikum) none of you would be a believer (hattâ akûna ahabba ilayhi min wâlidihî wa waladihî) until I am dearer to him than his father and his child are."

Would this be considered as shirk? Would the prophet utter such words if it were shirk? Nowadays, some people object the love towards a shaikh and claim that it is shirk. The hadith above nullifies their claim. It is also stated in the Qur'an: (Qul in kuntum tuhibbûnallâha fattabiûnî yuhbibkumullàh) "O My Prophet, tell them 'If you love Allah, love me and obey me!'" Almighty Allah orders the Prophet: "Do not be hesitant, tell them. Convey them My order. Tell them 'You will not be believers until you love, respect and obey me.' You have a humble and gentle character, so you may not want to tell them on your own, but it is My order. Tell them!"

That is why the Prophet uttered these words: "None of you will be a true believer until you love me more than you love your father and children." Love is essential to be a good believer.

Once one of the companions of the Prophet was abducted and tortured by the pagans in Mecca. They dragged him to a place to kill him. One of the pagans said: "Do you realize that we are doing this to you because you pledged allegiance to Muhammad. Wouldn't it be nice if you were with your family enjoying your life and none of this would have happened? Wouldn't it be nice that you were at your home and Mohammad were in our hands?" Upon hearing this, the companion said: "No! By Allah, I can sacrifice my life for him. I do not want him to be hurt even by a thorn on the feet. I do not care whatever you do to me so long as he is safe and unhurt."

That was how the companions of the Prophet were. They would put their bodies to protect the Prophet against the arrows aimed at the Prophet. They were eager to give their lives for the cause dictated by the Prophet. Whenever the Prophet sent an expedition, they would go with great zeal with hopes that they would become martyrs. They had given all they had including their lives to the Prophet.

Without such a strong bond, it is not possible to advance. Once Hadrat Omar ibn Khattab came to the prophet and said: "O Prophet of Allah, I love you very much. I love you more than anything except my own life."

As the proverb goes, first comes the self, the individual’s own life.

The Prophet responded to Hadrat Omar: "O Omar, a person cannot be a true believer unless he loves me more than he loves his own life."

Hadrat Omar thought for a moment: "What is this life for? Why did I exclude my own life?" He said: "I love you more than my own life, O Prophet of Allah." The prophet said, "Now it is complete."

The Prophet DID NOT respond as "All right Oh Omar! It is a natural phenomenon that a person loves himself more than anything else." Instead, he said, "If you do not love me more than your own life, you will not be a true Muslim Oh Omar."

This is not a matter of joke. It is not shirk, either. Why did the companions love the Prophet? They did because he was the Messenger of Allah. They loved him, for Almighty Allah sent him as a prophet and ordered them to obey him. We love the Prophet because of Allah's order.

Why do we love the Qur'an? We love it because it is from Almighty Allah. Why do we love the Prophet? We love him because he is a Prophet of Allah. Why shall we love the awliyâullah? We shall love them because they are the beloved servants of Allah. We love them all for Allah.

Some people attack us for such a love: "This is not acceptable!"

What else do you want? Would it be a shame, sin, or shirk for a person to love his father?

"Well, naturally a person loves his father and mother."

"Then, would a Murshid-i Kâmil be less than a person’s father? Would he be less significant?" Of course, not.

We hear that some parents make their son sit and drink wine. They say, "Come here!" and offer them a glass of hard liquor, "drink this!" They even threaten the child: "If I am your father, you must drink this! C'mon! Otherwise, you will not get my blessing."

"Keep your blessing to yourself! I cannot disobey Allah. I refuse to drink it!"

It happens like this sometimes. The husband turns to his wife: "I am ashamed of you in hijab. Remove your scarf and put some makeup!"

Why is this "sayin bayan" (respectable woman) exposing her body? She thought the word "sayin" (respectable) meant "soyun" (take off your clothes). Why is she wearing a strong makeup? She also thought "bayan" (miss) meant "boyan" (put some paint on). There are some men who want their wives to be that way: "You do not know how to dance and how to put makeup. Why did I marry you? Uncover some part of your body!"

There are such men in the military. Of course there is pressure coming from above, and some officers whose wives wear scarves are expelled from the military. Such a person says, "Expose your body, put your arm in mine. I'll take you to dance and disco." That is not acceptable.
Sometimes parents push their children into committing sin. Unfortunately, there are parents who raise their children to be thieves.

In brief, a murshid-i kâmil is above the parents. If love for the parents is justifiable and legitimate, then the love for the murshid-i kâmil should be stronger.

Here is the reason: (Al 'ulamâu warasathul-anbiyâ') "The scholars, the murshid-i kâmils are the inheritors of the prophets." Prophets do not leave money or property when they depart from this world; they leave knowledge and wisdom. If a person is knowledgeable, has a strong spiritual silsila and a spiritual bond reaching the Prophet AS, then he is an heir of the Prophet. He should be respected.

Without the love for the murshid, no advancement is possible. If he does not love or respect his shaikh, if he considers him an ordinary village man, he makes no progress. Our late master Mehmed Zahid Kotku RhA used to talk with a local accent: "Qardash, arqadashliq 'pek eyi' demekle qàimdir -- O my brother, friendship is maintained with saying 'all right.'" These were local expressions.

Those who did not know him would consider him like Nasreddin Khodja. When they visited, they would talk as though they were talking to an uneducated man. Of course he had a better knowledge about what they talked, yet he would disguise his knowledge. He would listen to them anyway. He would be so gentle and tender not to disappoint or offend the visitors. He would have a deeper knowledge on the issue.

He had many miracles (kerâmat). He would say things about the future: "Don't worry! It is going to happen this way."

When a person receives the knowledge straight from the Lord of the Universe, he will be different from others. If the knowledge does not come from Allah, it does not stay with the person for long. It gets forgotten.

If the knowledge is not coming from Allah without intermediation, as a spiritual revelation, then it would wash off like the makeup put on the face." What happen to the powder and rouge the bride put on last night? She washed her face, and all are gone! Whatever is put on will go away.

(Laysal kuhli kat-takahhul) "Being born with kohled eyes is different from putting kohl later on." Being born with red cheeks is different from putting redness later on. The original is always superior to the imitation.

If the knowledge comes straight from Allah, it lasts and it produces results. If it is not from Allah, it will not have a foundation; it will have something missing or wrong.

Yes, there has to be love towards the shaikh. It is one of the ways to receive enlightenment. If one does not have the love for his shaikh, he should expect nothing despite his waiting.

It reminds me a story. There was a dervish in the kitchen of a tekke. He had worked there for twenty years and thirty years, yet he was still in the kitchen. He thought, "All of those who arrived here after me did have been appointed with some duty someplace. They are carrying out the duty of guidance at various places. I am stuck in the kitchen. I have been setting up the fire, blowing it, cooking food, and making halwa for so many years. I should have made some progress, too."

That was what he thought. "The Shaikh Effendi sent even the young men, who came here long after I did, with a duty outside. He has not given me any such duty. This is not fair!" While he was stirring the cauldron with a large spoon, these thoughts came to his mind. He was put in the kitchen so that he would serve other disciples and earn rewards and make progress in the path.

While having these thoughts, he started experiencing something. The Shaikh Effendi called him. "I am sending you to a location. You will be my successor there. Now go there."

He got excited and happy, and said, "Yes sir! By all means." He was so happy, "Good! Now I am authorized to guide people and appointed to a locality."

The Shaikh Effendi called him, "Come here! You are leaving now but with a condition: You have to share with me whatever you earn or acquire there. It will be half and half."

"Sir, money and wealth has no significance for me; all could be yours!'

"No! I do not want it all. One half is yours; the other half is mine. Is it understood?"

"Sir, let all be yours. I am a poor person. I do not have an eye on the money or property."

"No! Half and half."

Finally the dervish accepted the deal, "Yes, sir! As you order." He left.

He went to the locality and got established there. People got to know him as he attended the mosque. He turned out to be a knowledgeable, well-mannered, pleasant person. "A stranger, but a good person," they said. He made friends, and his circle become larger and larger. He started teaching what he knew. He had students, and he became famous in a relatively crowded town.

Years passed like that. One day the ruler of that locality died and people started to look for a new ruler. They wanted a trustworthy, intelligent, experience, knowledgeable, religious, god-conscious person as their ruler. One person suggested the dervish be their ruler. All agreed and he became the ruler of that locality. The dervish became the ruler. There were such dervishes in the history.

The dervish started ruling the country. He was doing a fine job. He improved the economy; the treasury became full, and the locality prospered. Everybody was happy. Meanwhile he got married there and had five children.

One day his shaikh showed up. The dervish was extremely happy. He welcomed Shaikh Effendi, kissed his hand and made him sit in his throne. Everybody was puzzled, "Who is this man for Allah's sake? Our ruler makes him sit in the throne and sits on his knees before him." It was a beautiful display of honor, respect, and love. Everything was excellent.

Having lived in the town for few days, Shaikh Effendi turned to the dervish: "Come here and have a seat. It is good that you worked hard and earn people's love and respect. You became the ruler and rich. You have children. You have mansions, palaces, treasury, and soldiers. Everything is beautiful and orderly. Before you left to come here, we made an agreement. I told you that half of whatever you acquire would be mine. Do you remember?"

"Yes, Sir. I do remember. You can have it all."

"No! The agreement was half and half. I will get one half, you will get the other half."

"All right, Sir."

"Let us start!'

They went to the treasury and divided everything into two. The horses, the fabrics, and everything else were divided by two. Shaikh Effendi was pretty precise in diving things.

He asked, "Is there anything else?"

The dervish replied, "No, Sir!"

"How about the children? Haven't you acquired them here? They are your earnings here, too."

"All right Sir!"

"One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me. That makes four. What is going to happen to the fifth one?"

"Let it be yours, sir!"

"No! It has to be half and half. We are going to split the child from the middle."

"Sir, I give up my share. Please take the whole child."

"No way. We have to cut it into two halves. Bring the cleaver!"

"Oh my God! Is he testing me? Let us see if this man became real old. He went and brought the cleaver. He held the leg of the child. He thought Shaikh Effendi would change his mind at the last moment. When the shaikh lifted the cleaver up, the dervish raised his hand to prevent him, "What kind of shaikh are you?" All of a sudden the dervish found himself in the kitchen of the tekke. It was something like a dream.

What he lifted up was the large spoon with which he was stirring the halwa. He realized that he was in the kitchen and that there was no body around. He felt that he had to turn back. He saw Shaikh Effendi leaning against the door of the kitchen and watching him with a smile on his face.

He said, "Son, while with this head on your shoulders [while you continue thinking this way], you will continue making halwa for a long while." He left the kitchen.

What does this mean? He kept his trust to his shaikh until the last moment, yet he failed at the last moment. It was complete to a point, but beyond that point, he lost the trust.

Some of our murids kept their trust to some point, and then when there was a collision between the love of a party and love of the shaikh, some preferred the party. Well, here, the party is yours. The tekke and the tariqa are mine; the party and the politics are yours.

There has to be love as well as trust towards the shaikh. Without love and trust, no enlightenment or progress is possible. This was a story of that.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path, V, VI & VII

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

(a. General Principles)

5. Murâqaba (Awareness)

The next principle in the tariqa is a continuous state of murâqaba (awareness, watchfulness). It is the awareness that Almighty Allah is omnipresent and sees everything and that we are before Him all the time. It is the watchfulness to stay away from the sin and disobedience while paying utmost attention to acting in compliance to His consent with the thought, "Almighty Allah sees me; He is with me and present everywhere."

This is required because the Prophet SAS said: "The highest level of belief is the awareness that wherever you are, Almighty Allah is with you."

There are verses in the Qur'an: (Wa huwa ma'akum, ayna mâ kuntum) "O mankind! Wherever you are, Allah is with you." (Wallàhu bimâ ta'malûna basîr) "Allah sees what you do." (Lâ tudrikuhul-absàr, wa huwa yudrikuhul-absàr) "Eyes do not see Him, but He sees the eyes."

The eyes have a limited capability of vision. When the light goes off, they cannot see anything. We know that there are walls, the furniture, the table, and other things, yet we cannot see them in the dark. So the eyes have a limited ability: they cannot see the particles in the air, they cannot see the light with a wavelength below a specific value or above another specific value. They are powerless in that sense. Yet there is no limit in the vision of Allah: He sees everything.

The dervish has to realize that Allah is manifested in everything and keep this awareness all the time. Then the desired Sufism is achieved with the proper code of conduct. The dervish says, "Almighty Allah sees me, so I should not stretch my legs. Almighty Allah hears me, so I should not utter this word. Almighty Allah watches me, so I should not get involved in misconduct, disobedience, or improper actions."

6. Wuqùf-u Qalbî (observance and control of the heart)

The next principle of the tariqa described in the books is the Wuqùf-u Qalbî. Wuqùf-u Qalbî means the observance of the heart, the control of the heart.

As stated in the verse above, Allah cannot be seen with these eyes. These eyes do not have the power to see Almighty Allah. If He makes Himself visible, these eyes cannot not look at Him as they cannot look at the sun.

Prophet Moses AS was described in the Glorious Qur'an. He said, (Qàla: Rabbi arînî anzur ilayk) "My Lord! I hear You, I receive the revelation; please allow me to see You."

Almighty Allah said: (Qàla: Lan tarânî) "You cannot see Me!" (Walâkinunzur ilal Jabali) "If you want to understand why you cannot see Me, look at this Mount Sinai." Moses AS was at the Mount Sinai. (Fa inistakqarra makânahû fasawfa tarânî). "I am going to show Myself to the mountain, so you observe what will happen to the mountain. If the mountain can withstand My manifestation, then you can see Me. Watch what will happen to the mountain."

(Falammâ tajalla rabbuhû lil-jabal.) "His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain. (Ja'alahû dakkâ) the mountain got shattered. The Mount Sinai could not withstand the manifestation, and got crumbled. The rocks exploded and got broken into pieces. (Wa harra mûsâ sa'iqà) Moses AS collapsed and fainted due to the intensity of the event."

When the prophet received revelation while he was mounted on a camel, the camel's legs would be bent and it would collapse to the ground. The camel could not carry the weight of the revelation, and kneel down to the ground. It is the revelation from Almighty Allah; it is not possible to withstand.

If the eyes cannot see Him, how would we attain the ma'rifatullah, the knowledge of Almighty Allah? How would we see Him? It is done by the heart. The tool for acknowledging Allah and knowing Him is the heart in us.

There is an organ in our chest that works like a clock. It is the physical heart. The heart described in the ahadith and in the verses of the Qur'an is not this physical heart. It is the spiritual heart that is called "gönül" in Turkish. From a location point of view, it is related to the physical heart, yet it is not this piece of meat. It is a tool of spiritual sense and perception. In the Qur'an bad people are described as: (Lahum qulûbun lâ yafqahûna bihâ) "They have hearts, but they do not comprehend the details; they do not use their hearts."

That means the heart is a tool of perception and comprehension. It is not a piece of flesh. The books on Tasawwuf clearly describe this. For instance, Imam Ghazzali states this in the beginning of his work Ihya-u Ulûmiddîn.

We ought to observe this spiritual heart. O friend! Didn't you express your desire that you want to see Almighty Allah, know Him, love Him, and attain His consent? Then, look at your spiritual heart.

That is why a person must watch the window of his spiritual heart. Those who do not look through the window cannot see the beautiful view. Those who do not look at the screen do not see the picture. Those who do not observe their heart cannot realize the manifestation of Allah. One has to turn his attention to his heart. In a quiet place, one must turn to his heart and observe it.

One of the poets of our time puts it in a nice way:

I wonder how my inner world fits in my body; I get amazed as I watch it. The worlds are so small for my sight, So I watch my inner world.

The inner world is the spiritual heart. If a person watches his inner world, he does it while his eyes are closed; his head, tilted. He does it when he disconnects himself from the outer world. You may see an advanced dervish sitting while his head is tilted. You wonder, "Is he asleep?" Of course not. He is looking at his heart. He is watching the revelations through a window. That is needed!

"I sat across the television, but I fell asleep due to the hard work I did during the day. What did it say?"

My friend, if you do not look at it, you cannot see it. If you fall asleep or close your eyes, you will not be able to see anything.

Since Almighty Allah is known by the spiritual heart, and He is observed there, man has to look at his spiritual heart, and turn to his inner world.

Almighty Allah manifests Himself to the heart of the man. Almighty Lord does not fit in heavens or the earth, yet He fits in the heart of a believer. He manifests Himself to the heart of a believer. Then look at your heart and observe.

Imagine a man who never watches his heart, his eyes are turned to outside. He observes birds, trees, flowers, people passing by, events, and alike. For Allah's sake, take a look at your heart for once! Observe your inner world for a while. If you do not watch, you will not see what is happening there. This is needed, and called Wuquf-u qalbî.

7. Keeping the Ties

Then, the Hifz-i Nisbet (the preservation of relationship, keeping the ties to the murshid in tariqa) is the seventh principle. It is a must not only in our tariqa, but also in other tariqat. If a dervish pledges allegiance to a Murshid-i Kâmil, a perfect guide, and if that guide is a proxy of our beloved Prophet, if he is one of the heirs of the Prophet, if he is authorized to guide with an authentic hand, then the dervish must respect the guide, keep the ties strong, and hold onto the silsila of the tariqa. The dervish should not let that tie become loose.

Imagine a person at the bottom of a pit or an abyss. From above a rope is extended to him to pull him up. He must hold onto that rope very tight; otherwise, he will fall all the way down.

Hifz-i Nisbet is very important; without it any progress in the tariqa is possible. The absence of it can be described as the following. Imagine a building: walls built, electrical wiring completed, light fixtures and switches installed. When you turn the switch on, no lights would come on because the house is not connected to the utility line. The Hifzi Nisbet is similar to the connection to the utility line for electricity for the house. A novice has to have a strong spiritual connection to the tariqa so that he can receive guidance and illumination.

If the house has no connection to the utility line, the lights would not come on. The light bulbs do not produce the light themselves; they have to have electricity flowing in them through a connection to the utility grid. Something comes to the light bulb, so it is lit.

Without such a connection, a dervish cannot receive spiritual guidance and enlightenment.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path, IV

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

(a. General Principles)

4. Dhikr

Having been initiated to the tariqa, what shall we do in order to advance in the path and become a beloved servant of Allah, a walî (a close friend of Allah), a perfect human being, a servant deserving Paradise and to avoid the hellfire?

We wish we are saved from the hellfire. My Lord! Free me from the hell! O my Lord! Save me from the flaming hellfire and keep me away from it. Keep me free and far from it. My Lord, do not put me in hell. Have mercy on me and do not throw me into hell. My Lord, please save me from hell. My Lord, put me among those who deserve Paradise. Make me one of those who witness Your Beauty. Everybody wants these, and that is our purpose: (Ilâhî anta maqsùdî wa ridaka matlûbî) we state our intention: "My Lord, You are my purpose, and I seek Your consent."

What shall we do for all of this? We must do our dhikr duties, for the dhikr is a very rewarding, honorable, valuable, and easy, yet very important worship. The easiest worship is the dhikr, while the most difficult form of worship is Jihad because a person's life and property will be at risk in Jihad. A person in Jihad may loose his life or his worldly earnings and property. That makes Jihad the most important worship. A person could go to Jihad, then the bitter news could reach his home: "He was martyred; covered with blood."

There is also Hajj (Pilgrimage), a worship that involves the body and the money. It requires both health and wealth. It is a difficult worship, too. Yet, the dhikr is more rewarding than the Pilgrimage and Jihad as it was indicated in various ahadith.

There is also Zakâh and Salâh. [Five times a day] Salâh is easy for us, yet you should ask those who neglect it. It is extremely difficult for them to do prayers five times a day. They say, "Could we reduce the number? Can we go to the Friday prayer once a week? Can we only perform the Eid prayers twice a year?" It is difficult for them. In fact, it is not difficult; on the contrary, it is lovable, and honorable.

There is also Fasting. It lasts a whole day. Sometime days are extremely hot, some times cold. It could be difficult, too.

The easiest form of the worship is the dhikr. Not only the healthy individual, but also the sick, the paralyzed, the bedridden, the old and the young, anybody can do the dhikr.

"Sir, this patient has been bedridden for the last three years. Can he, too?" May Almighty Allah grant him health. Poor man has been bedridden. We say he has become "esîr-firâsh," the slave of bed. He cannot even walk to the toilet; the toilet has to be brought to him. May Almighty Allah save all from such an illness. May He keep all of us on our feet and independent of other people's care for basic needs. May He let us live healthy and happy, and leave this world with a perfect belief. As the proverb goes, "three days in bed, followed by death."

Some stay in bed over extended periods of time; consequently, their back gets irritation and wounds. That requires additional care and creates additional discomfort. Such a person will have a hard time staying in bed, over his back, over his abdomen, or on his sides. Yet there would not be much to relieve his misery.

In such a condition, a person can do the dhikr. He can say, "Allah... Allah... Astaghfirullah... Astaghfirullah... Allàhumma salli alâ sayyidinâ Muhammad..." It is the easiest form of the worship.

The salat has to be performed with wudu'. There are conditions for Fasting, Hajj and Zakâh. There is no prerequisite or condition for the dhikr. A person can do dhikr with wudu' and without wudu'.

"Sir, unfortunately, I just broke my wudu'--my hand is bleeding. Can I do dhikr?"

Sure, you can! There is no problem for the dhikr. It is an easy worship, yet it has great rewards.

Additionally, in the tariqa, in the path to perfection, in the path to attain the consent of Almighty Allah, in the path of becoming a friend of Allah, in other words, in the path of Paradise, the most important spiritual nourishment is the dhikr. That is why the dervish, the disciple, has to do his dhikr duty. When he does his dhikr, he receives the illumination in his heart and advances in the path to attain the desired qualities.

Hence one of our principles in the tariqa is doing the dhikr and not neglecting it. Proper observance of the dhikr and carrying out with great desire and zeal are required.

The dhikr is carried out in order to acquire the ability to keep Almighty Allah in mind at all times. It leads a person to that state.

It is stated, (Al-'ilmu bit-ta'allumi, al hilmu bit-tahallumi, adh-dhikru bit tadhakkuri). [The knowledge is with studying, the gentleness/tenderness/humbleness is with acting gently/tenderly/humbly, the remembrance is with mentioning the name.]

A person without knowledge becomes a scholar by studying. He was a child, did not know anything, and started from the alphabet. Now, he is a professor, an expert, and a professor of professors.

Imagine a person who is rude and rough. He would become tender, gentle and softhearted as he starts behaving like one who is. He learns how not to get angry.

A seventy-some years old friend said, "Allah removed the anger from us; alhamdulillah, we do not get angry any more."

Somebody in his presence said something to attract anger, yet not even one line changed on his face. He said, "Allah took the anger away from us." If the same thing were done to me, I would get really angry just like a barrel of gunpowder exploding. He used to get angry in the past. He would warn the person he is dealing with, "I am getting angry now!" His warning would scare the person more than his anger. Now he does not get angry. That means a person can learn how to be calm and gentle as he tries to act gently. Eventually, he becomes a calm and tender person.

Not forgetting Almighty Allah at all, keeping Him in mind at all times... How is it possible? It is possible with the dhikr. The dhikr has rewards and effects on people. As the rewards accumulate, the person starts "flying."

You may have seen the [hot air] balloons with a basket underneath that carry people in it. There is a mechanism that starts blowing the light gas [hot air]. Soon the balloon gets inflated. As the gas is blown, the basket starts moving and rising from the ground.

Just like that, as a person continues doing the dhikr, the rewards continue to accumulate, and the dervish starts seeing the results. That is why the persistence in the dhikr duty is essential. Those who are initiated to the tariqa, who became a dervish, who joined our circle, must continue carrying out the dhikr duties.

During a house meeting, some of the brothers, who were older than us, commented about their spiritual states: "We do not seem to be enjoying the spiritual blessings of the tariqa. There is something missing. What is wrong with us?"

Later on I told our master Muhammad Zahid Kotku (RhA), "We were at a house meeting. Some brothers said such and such things...." He responded, "What can I do for them while they fail to carry out their dhikr duties?" In fact he was given the ability to shape the character of people. We knew examples of it. He stated that without doing the dhikr, no advancement is possible. A novice has to have a daily dhikr duty, and he has to carry on this duty attentively. This is very important.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Little Bosnian Girl

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path, III

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

(a. General Principles)

3. Correctness of the Faith

Then the creed has to be correct. If the faith is corrupt, Almighty Allah does not accept any deeds.

(Innallàha lâ yaghfiru an yushraka bihî wa yaghfiru mâ dûna dhâlika limen yashâ') Allah never forgives any shirk (attributing a partner to Allah, attributing godly powers to other beings beside Allah). He may forgive other wrong deeds and offences. He forgives the sins, covers the shortcomings, loves forgiving, and answers the prayers, yet He does not accept any shirk. He does not accept the flaws in the faith.

Perhaps, deeds with shortcomings are accepted, Yet let there be no flaws in your faith.

"A person may not be able to do the worship in a perfect way, yet whatever he does may be accepted. However, one has to be careful about his creed. [If there are any flaws, any corruption in faith, it will mean trouble in the hereafter.]"

Some people have a corrupt faith. One of such faith in our time is Qadiyanism (it is often referred as Ahmadiyya). This was invented by the British in Muslim countries. They do not perform the daily prayers and Pilgrimage. They deny the Jihad. If a person denies one order of Allah, his belief will be gone, and he will end up in Hellfire.

They do not accept Jihad because the British wanted to pacify the Muslims in India and put-off the fire of Jihad in them. They wanted to wipe out everything related to the jihad; that is why they came up with this path.

One of our friends in the United States wanted to perform the prayer before it was too late. So he stopped by a magnificent building that looked like a mosque. He knocked at the door. After a while the door was opened.

A person asked: "What do you want?" Our friend responded, "It is getting late for the prayer. I am afraid I cannot make it if I go home. I would like to make wudu and perform my prayer here. Isn't this a mosque?" The man said: "No, this is not a mosque. You may not perform your prayer here."

Our fiend was confused. The place looked like a mosque with a dome and a minaret. They said it was not a mosque and closed the door on his face. Then our friend realized that the place belonged to the Qadiyânîs, Ahmadîs.

Why is it so? They are not Muslims. They look like Muslims just to disguise themselves and attract people. They do not do the prayers, either.

It is very important that one has to have the correct faith. When the faith is corrupt, all deeds, good works, charitable giving and spending for the good causes will have no value whatsoever. It will be like water evaporating in the air. When the faith is corrupt, nothing is useful.

There are rich people among the Christians, Buddhists and Qadiyanis. They spend money for charity. We have seen in Australia, in Volgolga and Volongong, that they have constructed magnificent buildings and temples. They give generously for these causes. Do these spending have any value in the sight of Allah? They are all futile because their faith is corrupt. If the faith is not correct, all is useless.

What about the buildings, property, schools, hospitals and alike that have been donated through the church and clergy? They would earn them nothing in the sight of Allah. Almighty Allah says in the Qur'an that He will not forgive the corruption in belief and shirk.

You may say, "They are the 'People of Book'; they acknowledge Hadrat Jesus and Hadrat Moses. Isn't there a way out for them?"

No! In the Qur'an Almighty Allah says: (Laqad keferelledhîne qàlû innallàha huwal-mesîhibnu maryam) "Those who say 'Jesus, the son of Mary, is god' are misbelievers." (Laqad keferelledhîne qàlû innallàha thâlitu thelâtheh) "Those who believe in Trinity and say 'God is the third of the three' are misbelievers." Based on these verses, they have no grounds.

It is like that in Islam. If a person accept all verses of the Qur'an and deny one of them, he will be a misbeliever. He becomes a misbeliever without knowing that he became a disbeliever. There are some statements (alfaz-i kufr) that when a person utters any of them, he becomes a disbeliever without being aware of it. It is a very serious matter. There have been books written to explain these matters so that people are more careful about protecting their faith.

There is no doubt that we all must have a correct faith. To summarize the three points that we have discussed, we have to have a correct faith, we have to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah, and we have to have sincere intentions.

To Be Continued...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Naqshbandi Tekke in Bosnia

Weekly Quote 2

Sheikh Mehmed Zahid Kotku (RhA), from Tasavvufi Ahlak:

"There is no doubt that human beings must look for their treatment against the moral diseases originating from conceit, self-complacency, envy, hypocrisy and materialism. As witnessed by many sayings of the Prophet, non-adherence to a sheikh or a murshid as a pretext to emancipate oneself from those or similar bad attributes is a revolt against God and His Prophet. This is because one who is not following a true path cannot attain salvation unless he adheres to a perfect murshid. Regardless of how many books one may study or memorize, it does not help to refine one’s hearth and to purify ones nefs (self)."

The Principles Of Our Path, II

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

2. Purity in Intentions

The second principle of our path is the ikhlas (purity) in intentions, for the acceptance of the deeds depends on the purity and sincerity of the intentions. When the deeds lack sincerity, they are not rewarded even if they are carried out perfectly in form and appearance. The lack of sincerity and purity of intentions leads to riyâ (doing deeds for show-off) and sum'a (doing deeds for fame). Almighty Allah does not accept the deeds that are carried out with riyâ and insincerity. That is why one of our principles is the sincerity. We ought to pay utmost attention to the sincerity and purity in our intentions.

We regard the intention in everything we do. First we consider our intention in what we do and then we state it with words. For instance, we say "My Lord, I intend to perform four units of the Sunnah prayer before the dhuhr (noon) prayer in accordance to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet," and we begin the prayer. We say "My Lord, I intend to fast this day of Ramadhan," and we wash our mouth and start fasting.

This also indicates that we must pay attention to do everything with sincerity. That is our desire, our decision, and our principle. We must observe and verify our intention before doing anything. That is the second principle of our path.

We may have sincere intentions in doing something, but if it contradicts the Qur'an and Sunnah, it has no value. Imagine a woman who walks around the grave of Halwaji Baba nine times with tears in her eyes and a good intention in her heart. She is so sincere that her sincerity is manifested through her intense sobbering and tears, yet her deed is futile. How could it be? There is no deed in Islam as walking around Halwaji Baba's grave for nine times. The establishment of something that was never in Islam is a bid'ah (innovation), and Almighty Allah does not like bid'ah. That is why what she does has no value. In the hereafter, she will be questioned, "Why did you invent this walk around grave?"

If each person with a good intention puts out an innovation, this religion turns into the religions that preceded it. It becomes corrupt and gets out of the right track.

Did Jesus (pbuh) recommend people carry a cross and worship it and worship some icons? Did Jesus (pbuh) order worshipping the cross with a figure nailed on it? There was no such a thing during his time, nor did he order such a thing.

Was it Jesus who said, "Worship me, worship my mother; paint our pictures and stand in front of them"? Of course, not.

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will be asked, "(A ante qulta lin-nâs ittakhizûnî wa ummiyya ilâhayni min dûnillâh) Did you say 'Take myself and my mother as deities instead of Allah'?"

No, Prophet Jesus (pbuh) never said anything like that. People who came later came up with these things. It is their invention and decision.

Hadrat Jesus prayed for the sick, and they got better. That is why they say, "He must be god." This is a wrong conclusion because awliyaullah, special servants of Allah, too, could pray to Allah, and with the grace of Allah, the sickness goes away. Having seen the miracles of Hadrat Jesus, some said he was Son of God. We seek forgiveness from Allah for saying this. Almighty Allah did not have a son. Having a son requires a wife, a marriage, the consummation of the marriage, and other human acts. Almighty Allah is above such things. That is a gross slander about Almighty Allah.

That is why following the Sunnah is an important principle. The purity in intentions, too, is an important principle. Would a person earn rewards if he does deeds in compliance with the Sunnah yet with ill intentions? For instance, keeping a beard is a Sunnah. A thief says, "I will work for a particular rich man, grow a beard, and keep a rosary to do dhikr. After convincing him that I am a pious Muslim, I can steal his money and get all of his jewelry."

Now, this person does all these good deeds in accordance to the Sunnah but with a bad intention. Would he earn any reward for his deeds? No, He would not. Good work with bad intentions has no value, nor does the good intentions with bad work have. Both are important.

I heard that one person went to Saudi Arabia and started working as a servant to a rich person. After getting to know the place and the town, he stole all the jewelry in the house and ran away. The jewelry of a prince or a princess is would worth significant amount of money. Now the whole Saudi Police Department is after him, yet he is gone. The value of the good deeds and the prayers that this person did while he was in Saudi Arabia depends on his intentions. If he did those with the intention of establishing a trust then stealing, they have no worth. Even if he performed the Pilgrimage and did all prayers, they will have no value due to his ill intentions.

The purity of the intentions is very important; the compliance with the Qur'an and Sunnah for every deed is very important, too. These are two important principles.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

Dear Brothers and Sisters! May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be with you. May He grant you bliss in this world and in the hereafter. May He honor you with His Beauty in His Paradise.

Before starting our discourse today, I would like to point out this fact: as the authority was handed in to us through the elderly of the tariqa, we have links to various tasawwuf tariqat. We belong to the following orders: Naqshî, Qàdirî, Suhrawardî, Cheshtî, Kubrawî, Mawlawî, Bayrâmî, and Khalwatî.

Our chain of legitimacy (silsila), through our late shaikh Hadrat Mehmed Zâhid-i Bursevî, is the Gumush-khânawiyya sub-branch of the Khalidiyya branch of the Naqshibandiyya tariqa. Through a wonderful dream, I was declared to be the proxy of Aziz Mahmud Hudâî and admitted to the dargah of the Bayramiyya tariqa, which has been abandoned and left in ruins in Ankara. Later I studied the silsila of Hadrat Aziz Mahmud Hudâî and realized that he belonged to the tariqa of Haji Bayram Velî.

In another dream I had when I was in Makkah al Mukarramah, despite my statement that I was a Naqshî, a shaikh initiated me to Mawlawî tariqa--the tariqa of the master Mawlâna Jalal-addin Rûmî. He was, too, among the children of Hadrat Imam Suhrawardî. Hence, we have links to the prestigious and beloved paths of tasawwuf.

a. General Principles

There are nine principles in these tariqat:

1. Adherence to the Qur'an and Sunnah

Our first principle is to adhere to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. We obey the Qur'an and follow the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet. We seek refuge from Allah against all that is outside of Qur'an and Sunnah. We are on the path described by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Our creed is the creed of Ahl-i Sunnah wal-Jamaah. We seek refuge from Allah against all beliefs that contradict the aqida of Ahl-i Sunnah.

Our first principle is the obedience of the Qur'an al-Karîm and the Sunnah of the Prophet. That is why we study a hadith book in our tekke on a regular basis as practiced by our late teachers. It is studied to train, to advance and to illuminate the novices and the disciples. We may read various collections of ahadith, yet we keep the discourses on the ahadith read from Ramuz al Ahadith, which is a collection of ahadith [in alphabetical order] which is prepared by Shaikh Ahmad Ziyauddin Gumush-khanawi. In the preface of this book, Ahmed Ziyauddin Gumush-khanawi Rh.A says: "By the permission of Allah, the novices who study this book will become inquiring scholars and true Sufis who had reached the stage of truth."

We are not like those who merely utter the words that they follow the Sunnah yet contradict it in actions and indulge in bid'ah. We read a book on Sunnah, a book of the ahadith of our beloved Prophet, and try to lead a life in accordance to the Sunnah of the Prophet.

We do this because there are some ahadith stating that when people become corrupted and degenerated spiritually, those who uphold the Sunnah of the Prophet, who study it, teach it and practice it will be rewarded with 100 martyrdom rewards. It has such a great reward.

While a person with the reward of martyrdom is promised paradise, the rewards of one hundred martyrdom is an indication of how much Almighty Allah loves those who upheld the Sunnah during a time people are mostly corrupted.

Alhamdulillah we have the intention and determination to follow and uphold the Sunnah of the Prophet from our physical appearance to our inner world, from our body to our heart, in all things we do and in all conditions we are in.

Our elderly in the tariqa followed this path and principle. If one studies the personages in our silsila, it will be seen that they were great scholars on Sharia. They all upheld the Sunnah; most of them prepared interpretations of the Qur'an and compiled collections of Hadith. They also produced works on the Jurisprudence. We are not merely uttering the words; the evidence exists.

Our elderly have been remembered with their loyalty to the Sharia. As a matter of fact, recently we have been criticized and attacked for our loyalty to the Sharia, which is an honor for us. They try to denounce us by saying "This tariqa is pro Sharia." I wish we had clipped such newspaper articles and put them in a box to be buried with us when we die. Let it be an authentic proof. "With the testimony of the friends and foes, Alhamdulillah, we are loyal to the Sharia. Alhamdulillah we are pro Sharia. Let it be known." It would be just like the case with Ottoman ruler Yavuz Sultan Selim who collected--in a box-- the fatwas (approvals from an Islamic point) issued by Abus-Suud Effendi and requested that the box be buried in his grave.

The first principle of our path is following the Glorious Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

We accept and approve all of the authentic books of ahadith. You can study any of them. Be it Râmûz al-Ahadith, Riyadhus-Sâlihîn of Imam Nawawî, Muhtârul-Ahadîthin-Nabawîyya, Imam Bukhârî, Imam Tirmidhî, Imam Nasaî, Imam Abû Dâwud, Imam Ibn-i Majah, Imam Ahmad Ibn-i Hambal, or the Muwatta of Imam Mâlik. We accept and recommend them all.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Haqqani Silsilah

This is a typical example of a Naqshbandi silsilah. Most branches today will have virtually identical silsilahs up to, and including, Shaykh Khalid al-Baghdadi. A similar example can be found in the Ghumushkhanawi branch at Iskandar Pasha Mosque, Istanbul.

The Golden Chain of the Naqshbandiyyah
(Mujaddidi-Khalidi-Daghistani-Haqqani Silsilah)

[NB: The Golden Chain is recited as a wird by reciting the ayah, du’a, and then stating the underlined and boldfaced parts of the names, and finishing with Fatihah - offered for the Great Names just membranced. The Golden Chain always begins with the Divine Name of Allahu Ta’ala, and does not include Sayyiduna Jibreel ‘alayhis-s salam]

A’oudhu bi-Llahi mina-sh Shaytani-r Rajim Bi-smi-Llahi-r Rahmani-r Raheem «Inna-lladheena yubaayi’ounaka innama yubaayi’ouna-Llah; yadu-Llahi fawqa aydeehim; faman nakatha fa-innama yankuthu ‘ala nafsihee; wa man awfaa bima ‘aahada ‘alayhu-Llaha fa sa you’teehee ajran ‘azeema» saddaqu-Llahu-l ‘Azeem”*

Ya Sayyida-s Sadati wa Noura-l Mawjudat; Ya Man huwa-l malja’u liman masahu da’imun wa ghamun wa alimun; Ya Aqraba-l mawsa’ili ila-Llahi Ta’ala; Ya Aqwa-l mustanadi; Atawassalu ila janabika-l a’zami bi hadhihi-s sadati wa ahli-Llahi wa ahli baytika-l kirami li dafa’i durrin, la yadfa’u illa bi wasitatika; wa raf’i dimnin, la yurfa’u illa bi dalalatika; bi Sayyidi wa Mawlaya; Ya Sayyidi, Ya Rasouli-Llahi, Ya Rahmatan li-l ‘Alameen…

1. Allahu Ta’ala
2. Sayyiduna wa Mawlana Muhammad salla-Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
3. Abu Bakr as Siddiq
4. Salman al Farsi
5. Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as Siddiq
6. Imam Ja’far as Sadiq bin Imam Muhammad al Baqir
7. Abu Yazid Tayfour bin 'Isa bin Adam bin Suroushan al Bistami Sultanu-l ‘Arifeen
8. Abu-l Hasan ‘Ali al Kharraqani
9. Abu ‘Ali Ahmad bin Muhammad al Farmadi at Tusi ar Rudbari
10. Abu Ya’qoub Yusuf al Hamadani
11. Abu-l ‘Abbas Sayyiduna Khidr ‘alayhi-s salam
12. ‘Abdu-l Khaliq bin ‘Abdu-l Jamil al Ghujdawani Imamu-l Khatmi-l Khwajagan
13. ‘Arif Riwgarawi
14. Khwajah Mahmoud Anjir al Faghnawi
15. ‘Azizan ‘Ali ar Ramitani
16. Muhammad Baba as Sammasi
17. Sayyid Ameer al Kulali al Bukhari
18. Imamu-t Tariqah wa Ghawthu-l Khaliqah Khwaja Baha’u-d Deen an Naqshbandi Muhammad al Uwaisi al Bukhari
19. ‘Ala’u-d Deen ‘Attar al Bukhari
20. Ya’qoub Charkhi
21. Hadrat-i Ishan Nasiru-d Deen ‘Ubaydu-Llah bin Khwajah Mahmoud bin Shaykh Shihabu-d Deen Khwaja-yi Ahrar ash Shashi
22. Muhammad az Zahid al Bukhari
23. Darwish Muhammad
24. Khwajaji Amkinagi Mawlana Ahmad bin Jalalu-d Deen Samarqandi
25. Muhammad al Baqi bi-Llah Berang Simaqi bin Qadi ‘Abdu-s Salam Khalji Samarqandi
26. Imam Rabbani Ahmad al Farouqi Sirhindi Mujaddid-i Alf-i Thani
27. Khwaja Muhammad Ma’soum bin Ahmad al Farouqi
28. Khwaja Sayfu-d Deen ‘Arif bin Muhammad Ma’soum
29. Sayyid Nour Muhammad Mazhari Bada’uni
30. Mirza Shamsu-d Deen Habeebu-Llah Mazhari Jan-i Jan’an
31. Shah Ghulam ‘Ali ‘Abdu-Llah Dihlawi
32. Shaykh Diya’u-d Deen Khalid ash Shahrazouri al Kurdi al Baghdadi
33. Shaykh Ismail Muhammad Shirwani
34. Khas Muhammad Shirwani Daghistani
35. Ghazi Shaykh Muhammad Efendi Yaraghlari Daghistani
36. Ghazi Sayyid Jamalu-d Deen al Ghumuqi al Husayni Daghistani
37. Abu Ahmad as Sughuri Daghistani
38. Abu Muhammad al Madani
39. Sayyid Sharafu-d Deen Daghistani
40. Ghazi Sultanu-l Awliya Mawlana ‘Abdu-Llah al Fa’izi Daghistani
41. Khadimu-s Sadati-n Naqshbandiyyin Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al Haqqani al Qubrusi


*[Quran Souratu-l Fat’h (48): 10]

Shaykh Mehmed Zahid Kotku

Korkut Ozal's moving account of twenty years spent with Shaykh Mehmed Zahid Kotku of Iskendar Pasa.

Weekly Quote

From Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani al-Kibrisi:

"If you do not notice nearness and do not notice it coming closer, if your soul does not ask daily for the beloved, nothing has happened. You are playing. You are wasting your time."

Friday, April 07, 2006

What we're reading

'A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World, 1450-1700',
by Dina Le Gall