Mawlana describes a real sheikh who, like the Prophet (ﷺ), trains his companions by means of sohba. He compares a fake sheikh to a ride at Disneyland. And he has a conversation with some crows who have not forgotten their Creator.
Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim
Sultan ul-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshbandi (ق ), Sohbat from 2005
As our masters have said, as our Grandshaykh Sultanu l-Awliya would always say during a sohba: Tariqatuna as-sohba wa l-khayru fi l-jam’iyya. Sohba is the soul, the life of the tariqa; tariqa cannot exist without it, it is the pillar of tariqa. Without it tariqa collapses, that is sohba. The Prophet, ’alayhi s-salatu wa s-salam, trained his blessed companions through sohba. Those who were at the lowest level by means of it reached a very high level. He brought the people who were at the lowest level during the Time of Ignorance (jahiliya) to the highest station. So, sohba is the stairway leading to those high stations. And we try to imitate their way.
People such as us cannot hope to verify such truths; but even if we cannot reach to their true rank of sohba, my Master says: If you cannot cry, act as if you were crying. When reading the Holy Qur’an, when worshipping, act like that. Now that is how we are moving along on this way. Today there is no one in our world who is a master of sohba. The holy ones are all at their own stations, they spend their time among their own assemblies, there are none left who mingle with common folk. They no longer move among the common people. The ones who go about, saying, “I am a shaykh,” are all made-up shaykhs, fake shaykhs, shaykhs without permission, shaykhs without feyz [enlightenment], shaykhs who can give nothing, shaykhs unable to give training.
For the sake of giving blessings [tabarruk], there are some who are authorized by the Shaykhs. For distributing blessings, he teaches and gives sohba. But he has not the ability to train. Only he can train who is qualified for giving sohba; this is reserved for one who has been granted permission from above, only he may train and teach people. He trains them through his sohba. There is much power in sohba. And he speaks according to everyone’s station. Kallimu n-nas ‘ala qadri ‘uqulihim. One must speak to people according to the place to which their minds can reach. Whatever their level is, at that level one must speak to them, one must descend to that level. If you are too high they won’t understand, if you go too low they won’t understand. Therefore it is important to be able to keep the balance. And that balance cannot be known through your external knowledge.
Now, the one who is qualified for sohba, the one who has been granted permission to give sohba, he is called Shaykhu t-tarbiya, the shaykh who gives training. For him, when he gives sohba, if there are five people in the sohba gathering, or if there are five hundred people, or if there are five thousand people, or if there are fifty thousand people – even if there were five million or a billion people, his word is able to reach every single person in that assembly. And every single one of all those people would say: “Today our Shaykh spoke to me directly. He addressed me exactly, subhanAllah,” he would say. That is his sign; when he speaks everyone says: “He spoke to me, he told me of my shortcomings, he informed me of what I need, he let me know where I stand.” He expresses astonishment. “It is as if he spoke to me in today’s talk, as if he spoke directly to me.”
This is the power of a shaykh who imparts training. If he cannot perfect the shortcomings of the assembled congregation, if he cannot fill in what is missing, that group is left deficient. They cannot reach the station of perfection, but remain where they are.
Now, what Allah Almighty has granted to us – all the great shaykhs, go about where they wish, and with the permission granted to us, we too – Moreover, their rank is other than the place at which we are. Allah Almighty has sent us, and the shaykhs by plane, for the honour of His Beloved. And He also sent us by boat. He made us travel by plane from one end of the world to the other, He made me travel. He made me to travel to so many countries, which we had never seen or known before, which we had never seen or known in external form. Indeed, He took me also to the country called America, so I went. There, too, they took me, it was granted to me.
There were all kinds of things that the human mind cannot imagine, all sorts of junk that they were taught by shaytan. In order to take people away from Allah, that is, in order to distance them from the worship of Allah, shaytan makes people do all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable things. Shaytan’s only aim is to make mankind, the sons of Adam, to forget Allah. It has worked: the whole world forgot about Allah. Is there now a country, which has not forgotten Allah? All of them forgot. The Turks who for a thousand years held aloft the banner of Islam have forgotten. They now follow an idol. Shame and pity on them! Curses are raining upon their heads. Curse are raining down.
A nation which carried the banner of Islam for a thousand years is now yelling that it does not want Islam – its government, that is, not its people. They say, “We do not want anything to do with being Muslim. We are secular.” What does “secular” mean? We have nothing to do with religion. We have nothing to do with Allah. We never care about such things. We are like grass, like grass we come, and like grass we go. All of shaytan’s struggle, all that he is trying to achieve, the various kinds of things he made them invent, and goes on to make them do, aim to make people forget Allah.
People today are people who have forgotten their God; mankind is a mass that has crossed the bounds of humanity, en masse. Those who have forgotten their God have no value. None, no value whatsoever! The ground he walks upon curses him, what falls upon him falls as a curse. The food that he eats says to him: “May I be poison to you, poison.” The water he drinks says: “May I be a poison to you, since you do not acknowledge our Lord who has prepared us for you. You eat us and you drink us, may we be poison to your body!” Therefore, is there any home now without sickness?
Is there anybody left who does not end up in hospital?
H.N: That is true.
People now live on medication, Ms. Neshe. We take our medicine, we take our pills and we get by. If you end up with pills and medicine, it is all over. He [shaytan] did this. They scare you: if you do not take this medicine, if you do not take these pills you will die. He makes him forget Allah. Eh, what is in this? I recite over this water and blow on it, then this water is a cure. That is poison, those pills are not a cure. But it is an addiction. While Allah Almighty’s servants are living in this world, he binds them with those pills, so that they cannot get free from their troubles or their woes. People are standing in line at the doctor’s door. In hospitals everybody waits by the door with a card, he may visit the doctor as soon as he gets his card. So go, take care of yourself!
Do you pray? He does not pray. If you are not praying, once you forget Allah, you are in trouble, he says. This is what our masters have said: He gives no heed to prayer. If you pay no attention to prayer, you are good for nothing. Hey, you crows, do you take medicine? Ha? You don’t fall ill? You walk around in the cold, in this cold weather. How do these poor souls withstand it? Still, if you go like this to the poor thing he is warm. These poor things fly in this icy weather. Go like this to him, he is warm and cozy. Does he wear wool?
Does he wear trousers?
What does the poor thing eat, is he cold, does he catch cold? Does he get the flu, or bronchitis? Does he have the runs? See whether he complains about his wings aching, his tail hurting. The poor things are sitting there, facing each other. I am asking the crow, “How are things for you?” “How can you ask us early in the morning? Shaykh Efendi, we do not have a hangover.” “Oh, is that so? So, what else? “Have you taken something for your stomach today? Do you have indigestion?” “Oh, Shaykh Efendi, what indigestion are you talking about? We eat and it comes out from below. Very strong! We keep moving around all day, what indigestion Shaykh Efendi?”
“Our human beings experience much indigestion.” “You human beings have become confused. We know of our Creator. We know about the One who makes us fly, Who gives us our sustenance, our Provider. You do not. You forgot. That is why your stomachs ache, why you have pain all over. Is there any part of you that does not hurt?” he says. “Bravo, O Stormcrow. This lesson of yours is perfect. We thought that you were taking a pill, in order to have energy in the morning.” “We rise up like these F-14s, we climb as if climbing up a wall, then like those F-16s, we nosedive whenever we want and land. We go out to catch something. Even bullets cannot catch up with us.” “Ah, what Stormcrows you are!” “You see? Am I wrong? Look, we are sitting around. You sit in front of the stove, dressed in all your things, and yet you are cold. Look, I am sitting on this walnut branch, and opposite me is my friend, we are talking with each other, we are chatting.
Now we’ll rest a little, then we will set out on our course. We have no borders and no visa, we have no ticket trouble. Nothing stops us. We go and come wherever we want. But you, though this world was created for your sake, you are imprisoned. ‘No stepping here, no entry there, this is the law, or whatever. Where is your passport, your visa, What is this thing, where is that?’ Look at us. Shaykh Efendi, look, you are regarded as a clever man, so pay attention and look. Look at our freedom. We are free. We fly in whichever direction we want. We know no boundaries. You are supposed to be intelligent human beings. Why do you set these boundaries? What happens when he crosses the border, is the soil there different? Why do you cause each other so much pain? If you humans were genuine human beings would you torment each other so?
Oh, shame on you! Look, I am flying and I rise to whatever altitude I wish. I descend from whatever height I wish. All trees, fruit trees, are at our command.” Here there is also chicken feed to eat, and they pray for me. “Shaykh Efendi, you are very helpful to us, If we go somewhere else, others would throw rocks after us, fire bullets. They want to drive us away, even though what problem is there with what little we collect? We do no damage. You harm yourselves, O Sons of Adam! If we were to give you advice, we could not finish from morning to evening,” he says. “Let me counsel you, in my capacity as the leader of the stormcrows, I make a speech and give teaching to you in your capacity as the leader of mankind.” You see? He woke up because of this issue of the crow. Bravo, well done. “Shaykh Efendi, I see that they cover you up with all the quilts and blankets you have. Scarves around your neck against the cold. Look at us, we are sitting on this branch, and the branch sways, ooh, and the wind comes and goes. We have no need for a scarf, nor for woolen clothes. Our summer and winter clothes are the same. What our Creator, Allah Almighty, dressed us with suffices us in the heat of summer and keeps us cool. And in the winter these clothes of ours that Allah Almighty dressed us in, they keep us warm in winter as well.” Allahu akbar.
How did these crazy humans lose their way? Aah, the poor crows. That’s how it is. “Give this kind of a sohba, Shaykh Efendi, like this. Give a sohba about us, tell this to those brainless human beings.” What can we do?” we shall say. To sum it up, Allah Almighty made us travel the world. By train, plane, ship, and car we traveled about, all over. So, what were we talking about? We went to a place, an amusement park. When we say amusement park, we mean all sorts of things that are a waste of time or that distract people from their work or the service they are supposed to do; all that is amusement, he says. There I came to a place, they took me for a walk there. When I entered that place, the people abandoned all the many strange things there to watch me instead. Where did you come from? They saw me a lot. Shaytan said, “Look, look at this person.” “Look at him,” he says, “he came to watch this, too.” “This is a shaykh, but he came here to see what I am teaching you.”
Now, there is the eye of the sheep. A sheep looks like this and like that, doesn’t it? When a sheep looks, it doesn’t understand a thing. It differentiates between the hay and the grass in front of it. There is nothing else for it to look at, no need to look at books or copybooks. But then there is the eye that looks with wisdom. It searches for wisdom. The eye that does not perceive wisdom is like the eye of the sheep.
At that time, they led us into a place it was like a whole country, so big. Yalova, the city of Yalova would fit into it. I entered a place where they made us to sit down. They said, now – On the door it was written: Whoever has a heart problem, or high blood pressure, whoever does not have a permit from his doctor, if he goes in and something happens to him, we accept no responsibility. Because here, you will enter here now. They will take you on a trip to space. Space – do you know what that is? In space, this is a spaceship, we will take you in it. And we will take you around in space. What is this? Let us go there. Of course our family and children are there with us, saying, “Shaykh Efendi, you come as well, let us go inside. Let us go in and see.” Those who don’t want to go in are led to the side. We went in and sat down.
A building from the outside made to look like the earth. They made us sit in rows like this. Then the personnel on duty ordered us to fasten our belts. You will fasten your seatbelts, fasten them well, because we will take you to outer space. Tawba astaghfirullaha l-‘azim. Well, they fastened us up tightly. Then a robot appeared from afar, a man made completely of yellow bronze. He appeared and in front of him there was a ship. They call it a space ship. So far. Now, he says, making an announcement, get ready do not panic, because we are going to travel quite fast, we will take you around space as much as possible in this short period of time. I am sitting and holding on tightly. Suddenly, the lights go out… At the same time as the lights went out, something began to move. Movement commenced, and a large curtain appeared in front of us. That man, the robot disappeared. The ship disappeared, and it got dark.
The curtain in front of us started moving, and we began shaking in our seats. Let’s go fast, quickly, faster! As if it was really going at such speed. We are passing under bridges, coming up again, oh, I only hope we do not fall down! Put your head down, or you will hit something, he says, while we are passing beneath the bridge. Then we are passing over a bridge. Vuuuuh… I could have done without this thing of theirs. The one who took us to space has no mind either. But they took us for a ride. Oh, what a ride, what a game! What action! Tell me all about it. Maybe for five minutes, ten minutes, I don’t know, maybe a quarter of an hour, they tossed us about. Then with a sound, vnnnn, it stopped. They said the ship has landed.
We arrived, and I looked around. But we had not gone anywhere, we were in the same spot. We took you for a ride, they told us, while you stayed in one spot. Now, why do we mention this issue? Tell us if you know.
H.S: You began speaking of shaykhs who train people.
A fake shaykh takes people around space like that, just as we took you around. Ha, now we took you for a ride! But what have you taken for a ride? Is it that easy? They made me speak of this kind of setup. He shows them a vision while he remains right where he is. They see dreams: we rose up to this station, we entered into it, we said this and did that… There is no truth in it, he remains just where he was. The works of fake shaykhs, who are not training shaykhs are just as fake as this. A genuine shaykh will take you on a mi’raj [ascent to heaven], you understand? Not the fake shaykh, the genuine shaykh takes you on a mi’raj, he takes you to your station.
The matter of tariqa is not a game. They take tariqa matters lightly, most of those human donkeys. Tariqa is there to make you reach the mi’raj you are destined to attain. But their minds comprehend no such thing. They are square-headed, those mindless people who are attacking tariqa. All that they know is contained within a square, and that is the size of one millimeter. Is that called a square like this? They are men who are imprisoned in a millimeter. Their minds comprehend nothing. They are the most ignorant of the ignorant. Is that understood? But they take the easy way, acting the clown and keeping people amused.
Those who talk badly of tariqa, are helpers of shaytan. May Allah keep you away from them, and us as well. May He not keep us from following the great saints and masters who are able to give guidance. O Lord, forgive us. al-Fatiha. Ya Sayyidi, ya Sultanu l-Awliya. Allah Allah.
Today a different pattern came. This is Naqshbandi – a person is needed who can give such an imprint [naqsh]. When there is one giving naqsh – you have spoken well, he told me, you have done what was called for. He said, “May Allah grant you plenty of power. And I say to you: However much there is in that pool, dive down and eat of it. I make it halal to you.” There are those other ones, they are all around us, moving around and standing about, like great big statues…
wa min Allahi t-tawfiq.