Discourse 22 (29.01.1998)
We’ll start today’s teaching with the sublime words of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).He says,
‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door .’
Here Ali also refers to Sufi Masters. Sufi Masters have the characteristic of Hazrat Ali ( k.v.) . They have permission to initiate, they have good moral qualities and they are generous and loyal. Being perfect , having high morals and virtues are the characteristics of Sufi Masters. Murshids are generous. They are generous both materially and spiritually. Being generous is their characteristic and title. Hazrat Ali(k.v.) was so. During a campaign an Arabian comes near them. He wants water from Hazrat Ali(k.v.)’s slave. The slave asks Imam-i Ali,
‘O Ali, this Arabian wants water. He is thirsty.’
Hazrat Ali replies, ‘Then give him.’
The slave says, ‘But we have very little.’
Hazrat Ali says, ‘Give it all to him.’
The slave doesn’t want to give and says,
‘O Ali, water is on the back of the camel which is behind.’
Hazrat Ali(k.v.) says, ‘Then give both of them.’
First he told his slave to give him water and when the slave said it was on the camel, he told him to give them both. The slave who heard this goes near him. Hazrat Ali asks,
‘Why did you come close to me? ’
The slave replies, ‘O Ali, I got frightened you gave me too.’
We can give more examples. In another Hadith, which addresses to Hazrat Ali, our holy Prophet (pbuh) says,
‘O Ali (a.s) , your blood is my blood, your flesh is my flesh, your body is my body, your soul is my soul.’
What about Hazrat Abu Bakr Sedique (r.a.), the most trusted companion(=sahaba), the first Khalif of Islam, the true believer, the loyal friend ? He accepted all what Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh) said without hesitation. He also believed the night journey and ascent of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). While he is telling what he experienced during the Miraj, people of Quraish regard this as absurd and say,
‘He told some lies before but this one is unacceptable. Abu Bakr(r.a.) always believed him but he won’t believe him this time.’ Then they go to Abu Bakr(r.a.) and ask him,
‘O Abu Bakr! Muhammad told a lot of lies till today and you believed all of them. But this lie is not a small one. Let’s see whether you believe it or not.’
Hazrat Abu Bakr (r.a.) asks, ‘ Did he tell them all?’
When the people of Quraish accept, he says,
‘If he said that, then he is truthful .Whatever he said till today and whatever he’ll say from now on are all correct. I believed him and I will believe him. No lie is found in his mouth and there isn’t a liar in his family.’
It was for this that Abu Bakr is said to have received his nickname "as-Siddiq", the believer. Every Sufi Master has a disciple who has the characteristic of Abu Bakr(r.a.). He is the most submissive disciple. In one of his gatherings which I couldn’t attend my Sufi Master Hodja Mustafa Effendi(k.s.) says something about me. This was said to me by the other disciples. He says,
‘I have been a disciple since I was thirteen. I have been a Sufi Master for a long time. But neither during the years of my disciplehood nor sainthood I have seen a submissive disciple like your brother Hafiz Mehmet Effendi from Kutahya. He is my Abu Bakr.’
Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.) is the symbol of loyalty, submission, hearty and tender friendship. Hazrat Omar(r.a.) is the symbol of unique integrity. Hazrat Osman (r.a.) is the symbol of courtesy and adab. Hazrat Ali(k.v.) is the symbol of knowledge. However the Shi’a Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad designated Ali to be his successor and they disregard Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.) or Hazrat Omar(r.a.).
We do not compromise on that point. They disregard the three khalifs. They assume that Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.) became a Muslim in his old age but Hazrat Ali(r.a.) was a child when he became a Muslim. And they even claim that Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.) buried his daughter alive. They think the marriage of Hazrat Aysha and Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh) was a political alliance and they say Hazrat Abu Bakr did this to strenghten himself. They make such comparisons. The marriage of Hazrat Aysha and Prophet Muhammad ( pbuh ) was the desire of Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.) . He said,
‘O Muhammad! Marry Aysha.’
This is a sacrifice. This is the spiritual joy and pleasure of being the father in-law of a Prophet. There are many beauties. Both Shias and Sunnis believe in Qur’an and God. Our prophet is Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), our holy book is Qur’an and our religion is Islam. Shia and Sunni Muslims are together. There are differences among all sects of Islam and among Sufi Orders. This is the magnificence of Islam. For this reason we should be pleased with it. People may understand or interpret this in different ways. We should think it like that,
They are like the flowers in a garden which have different colors and smell. If we don’t think like that, we may make lots of mistakes as we did in the past and there may be lots of bloodshed.
This is the splendour of Islam and the splendour of Sufi Orders .Think of Christianity and Christian Orders. Think of the Christian Sects. There are more sects and orders in Christianity. Christians think their religion is superior to all other religions but we don’t think so.
Why don’t we think so? Because both Christianity and Judaism lost their power. However Islam is a universal religion. The formation and development of Islam are universal. Because it is the last religion. It didn’t become universal in time . It was originally universal and it is the last religion until the day of judgement. There is an open-door to the religious interpretations both today and in the future. The interpretations shouldn’t be prevented. Interpretations and necessary changes should always be done according to Qur’an and Hadith. Because time is not constant. If you close the door of the religious interpretations(=ijtihad), then you prevent Islam’s being universal. Interpretations shouldn’t be prevented, so the distinguished Muslim scholars(=ijma) can make necessary changes relevant to changing times and conditions. In that case Islam will have a promising future.
‘One should be tolerant towards the various sects and orders of Islam and view the magnificence of Islam as if viewing the heaven’s garden where there are rivers of honey and milk, where there are fountains which have precious stones such as ruby, emerald,etc. at the bottom and in which the fish swim, where there are birds and colorful flowers.’
Islam is an obvious religion (=din-i mubin) and richly adorned with religious sects and orders. They are all Muslims. It should be thought so. Comparing our sect or order with others is unnecessary. It causes dilemma. I will repeat it again. You can see the clear example of it in the house of Allah (= Baytullah) in Mecca.
There people pray how they want. Some people, for example; people from Nigeria continue to deal with different things, such as, looking around or looking at their watch although the hodja said , ‘Allahuakbar (=God is great)’ and started daily prayer. You can’t understand when they read Fatiha (=The opening) or the other chapters of the Qur’an. But all of them are nice people. They are pure like children.
You may behave according to your religious belief or according to the rules of your sect or order. The others may do so. If you want to quarrel with them, your lifetime is not enough to do this because there are many sects and orders.
‘If you want to quarrel with someone, then quarrel with your self [nafs] and regard all people as friends. Never allow your lower self [nafs] to rear its head. See all the creations through God’s eye. Then you can find real happiness. Otherwise, you can’t be happy.’
We’ll end today’s teaching with the sublime words of Hazrat Ali(k.v.) . Let’s see what Imam-i Ali says. But before that I would like to point out that after mentioning the khalifs of Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh), we should say Radiyallahu Anh (= May Allah be pleased with them) , such as Hazrat Abu Bakr(r.a.), Omer(r.a.), Ali(r.a.) . But we shouldn’t forget to say ‘Karamallahu Wajh(=May Allah Ta'ala honour his face)’ after mentioning Hazrat Ali(r.a.).
‘Karamallahu Wajh(=May Allah Ta'ala honour his face)’ also refers to Hazrat Ali(k.v.)’s being the khalif of Hazrat Muhammad who is the sultan of Divine knowledge. Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Omer and Hazrat Osman are also the most honourable personalities of Islam and the pride of humanity.
As we said before, their perfections and beauties are different. They have different point of views. This is natural. The personality of the four Khalifs can’t be exactly the same. Did God ever create two people who have the same personality? God is unique and one. People have different personalities. They are different from each other in many ways but they are parts of a whole. Hazrat Ali (k.v.) has a fine line on that subject. He says,
‘Knowledge is a point. However the ignorant multiplied it.’
What is a point? It’s a small round mark. According to the people of Truth, knowledge corresponds to a point. What is that point? It’s one’s own being, his own identity. All science and knowledge exist and are embodied in that point or in other words in Man.
All discoveries and inventions are the appearance of the things which already exist. New knowledge is being aware of what already exists. It is to know what exists in you, in your essence. The appearance of what you already know is the embodiment of science. All we learned in fact already exists in us. Saying that we learned is the same as saying that we became aware of what already exists in us.
Man is 'Majma` al-Bahrayn' meaning, the meeting of the two seas. He is the sea of knowledge, the sea of seas, the essence of existence and the essence of essences. Man is the most honourable creature on earth. For this reason the teachings of the Qur’an is addressed to Man. God addresses Man. Saints(=ahlullah) address Man.
A Sufi is someone who knows himself, who is the friend to himself, who cleans and purifies himself. Then the good qualities, the divine qualities, arise in him. He is given permission to initiate disciples and he opens a shop.
What does shop refer to? It refers to the school of marifat (=deep knowledge) which is the convent. It is not a place where goods are sold. However because of the gifts given to the Sufi Master, some people make harmful remarks.
‘Don’t want a present but don’t return it either.’
Why don’t we refuse it? If we refuse it, the one who offers a gift will be offended. One should accept the gift but give one in return. This is the Sufi Way. All the perfect people became immortal. They attained eternal life.