Discourse 7 (01.08.1997)
The goal of a servant is to adopt the courtesy of Muhammad and to attain moral perfection through worshipping. To achieve this goal one should be purified from bad tempers and should have all the moral qualities of Prophet Muhammad.
A western author Carill says, ‘Every Man has the characteristic of one of the animals from oyster to elephant. For example; he is vindictive like a camel, ungrateful like a cat, cruel and furious like a tiger, arrogant like a lion, hypocrite like a monkey.’
My Master, Hodja Mustafa Effendi (k.s.) says, ‘All the bad qualities have been weighed. The heaviest was the ingratitude on the scala.’
Ingratitude is a cat's temperament. Then comes hypocrisy. It’s the temperament of a monkey. There are people who have the characteristics of birds such as peacock, cock, craw or goose. In short there are seventy-two animal temperaments in Man. Whoever has these temperaments should abandon them immediately. Ablution, daily prayers (salat), fast and haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) are vehicles to train Nafs.
Soul deserves to be in the highest place. If one couldn’t get rid of bad temperaments after many years of worshipping, this means he failed to leave the vehicle and reached his goal. However you get on a vehicle to arrive somewhere. Worships are all for realising our closeness to God. As a Perfect Man says,
The real aim of worship is to love God
Courtesy and knowledge are your guides
The worships which are most acceptable to God are the ones which are done with love especially the ones which you shed tears of love while performing.
This sort of worship is praise worthy and cause nearness to God. If you perform salat as a physical exercise, you can only fulfil your obligation.
‘Closeness to God involves abandoning bad qualities and adopting noble ones. If one can not achieve this, his worship is of no use. His total being must be in his worship otherwise it is only a mechanical exercise. He shouldn’t try to find excuses because his way of praying is wrong.’
‘Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil ’(The Spider, Verse 45 )
If somebody prays five times a day monotonously likewise eating meal three times a day and if he fails to receive the spiritual blessings and benefits of Salat, he can’t purify his Nafs. If Nafs is not purified, soul can not be polished. However one should refine and purify his heart. When we invite someone into our house , we clean everywhere. If he stays, we make a meal , make his bed, etc. If the guest is honourable, the preparation is much more. If he is a family member, it is no need to do extra service or do extra cleaning. Because he is not a stranger.
‘Think of a beloved, a guest that is God. He wants to come into your heart. It is the dwelling place of God.’
Sufi, if you polish the mirror of your heart
A door opens in your heart and you see the face of God
A door opens in pure hearts and God manifests there. In a Hadith Qudsi God says,
‘My earth and my heaven contain me not, but the heart of My faithful servant contains Me.’
If we say earth and heaven can not contain God but the heart of a faithful servant contains him, we appoint a place for God. However God is omnipresent.
Divine inspiration comes through the heart. Saints( =ahlullah ) talk continuously for long hours although there isn’t a book or a written work in their hands. All their speech comes from heart. Why? Because heart is like a mother who has milk. Milk refers to knowledge. The disciples are like children. The disciples who are children inwardly are fed through knowledge milk. Knowledge refers to the knowledge from the divine presence ( ilm al-ladun ). Likewise the child’s being fed with milk and becoming a grown up, the disciples’ spiritual bodies grow up into mature bodies through teachings. They are inspired by the teachings of a Sufi Master.
If the disciples around us, the brethrens of the way, wish to get divine knowledge, then likewise milk divine knowledge always exists in our hearts. Those who look from outside may say, ‘ How beautifully and long Mehmet Hodja speaks.’
However Mehmet Hodja doesn’t speak because he can’t speak. Heart speaks. Heart has no relation to Mehmet Hodja. It can’t be controlled.
‘One can control his arm. He raises it or lowers it but he can’t control his heart. Heart twists the world round its little finger. All decisions and commands are in the heart.’
All the Sufi Masters (=ahlu haqiqat) gave importance to heart. Whichever Divan (=a collection of ecstatic lyrical poems), book of collected discourses or a sufi book you examine, you will see the word ‘ heart’ and its interpretation. Yunus says,
The lover’s heart is the throne of God
God cares for heart
Whoever breaks heart
Suffers in both worlds
In another speech Great Yunus defines heart as follows,
If you look for God, seek him in your heart
He is neither in Jerusalem nor in Mecca , nor in haj
If you break a believer’s heart
Your prostration to God is of no use
Experts of heart are those who know the secret of heart. When it is said experts, experts on Sufism should be understood. So the experts of heart are the wise. They are the ones who are absorbed in God, who find God in their heart and see God everywhere even in a small particle . In his Nutki Sharif my master, Hodja Mustafa Effendi(k.s.) , expresses the state of the wise as follows,
O my dear, how can ignorant know our hidden secret
How can he know our state
Atheist’s heart’s eye is blind, he can’t see us
Those whose heart’s ear is deaf, can’t hear our cries
We speak the language of birds, not every Solomon understands us
We express our words through signs and symbols
On the same subject Great Yunus says,
They say Solomon understands the language of the birds
There is a Solomon deeper in him than Solomon
The language of the birds (=Mantiq at-Tair) refers to Sufi language. By saying ‘every Solomon’ he means there are many Solomons. Everywhere you can meet people who pretend to be Solomon but the ones who understand the language of birds are distinct. Some understands but some not. Why don’t they understand? In the second line the answer is given. He says, ‘We express our feelings through symbols and signs’.
‘A sign to the wise is enough. Who knows needs no explanation. If he isn’t wise, neither a sign nor pouring the knowledge into his head is effective.’
We pass through seventy thousand veils, we perceive God everywhere
There are seventy thousand veils between Man and God. The inner half of these are veils of light; the outer half, veils of darkness. Veils of darkness are bad deeds in other words sins such as; drinking alcohol, gambling, adultery, breaking heart, cruelty, etc. Passing through these veils can be easy but passing through veils of light are difficult. Why? If Nafs owns and takes pleasure in daily prayers(= salat), fasting, charity and benevolence, worship and obedience (=ta’at), they veil the heart as well .
The aim of worship and obedience( =ta’at) is to attain moral perfection and to purify Nafs. If one attributes the worship to his Nafs and becomes proud, he should ask God’s pardon for his prayer and he should also ask for forgiveness (=istighfaar) for asking forgiveness (=istighfaar). Many people boast about their worship and obedience. They say, ‘What else does God want from us? He wishes us to perform daily prayer. We performed. He wishes us to fast .We fasted. We performed Haj. We gave alms. We always say Kalima-i Shadat (= the ritual formala of Islamic faith).’ They think these are enough for being a perfect man but Saints (=ahlullah) don’t say so. Hazrat Niyazi Misri says,
Salat, fasting, haj and almsgiving cleanse the dirt of sin
Without darb dhikr the dirt of heart can’t be cleansed
(darb=the Arabic word that means to strike)
Dawran (=dhikr or recital which the disciples performed while turning with their arms on each other’s shoulders; and also with respect to many aspects of their physical appearance) is needed to cleanse the dirt of heart and to purify it. One should cleanse his heart through darb-i dhikr which refers to striking the head over heart saying ‘ La ilaha illallah ’ (there is no God other than Allah ) for many years.
‘The goal of pious is to acquire merit in God’s sight. The goal of the wise is to annihilate Self.’
Self... Do we have a Self which we endeavour to annihilate? We shall get the answer from Hazrat Ali (k.v.) . He says, ‘ O my God! Please don’t show nonexistent as existent.’ We suppose nonexistent as existent. This is a surmise. We think we exist and say these are our bodies. Yunus says,
If what I call I is the real I
Why aren’t I given to me
If the one I say ‘I’ is the real ‘I’, why don’t they give my Self to me? Why can’t I prevent my hair’s becoming white or my back’s being bent? So I am not I . What I say ‘I’ is the shadow of the real ‘I’.
‘While someone is walking on a shiny day, his shadow appears behind or in front of him. If he fires a bullet to his shadow, nothing happens to him. So in comparison with the self existence of God, the one we call ‘I’ is only a shadow.’
‘Shadow is not an existence. It is nothing.’
One can acquire knowledge through books but without attaining the stage of perfection, he can’t achieve much. No mill runs with carried water. In Holy Qur’an God says,
‘O you who believe ! remember Allah, remembering frequently’(The Clans,Verse 41)
In the above verse God says ‘ frequently ’. While interpreting this verse Islamic scholars say ‘ remembering frequently ’ refers to ‘daily ritual prayers, fasting, dhikr,etc.’. Their interpretation is also true but here the word ‘frequently’ is used. If it is asked how often we should recite the name of God in 24 hours, the answer is given by Sulayman Chalabi.
With every breath continuously recite God’s name
The name of God is the strongest support
What Sulayman Chalabi mentions in the lines of Mawlud above was also expressed by the Greek philosopher Epiktetus, who lived 2000 years ago, through a fine line, ‘Remembering God should be continuous like taking breath.’ If we examine the truth of the matter, the essence of it, and if we divide the essence and find another essence in it, we may say,
Body is naturally in unity with God while breathing. However we think we are doing it.