*This does not mean we neglect the exoteric, or external/outward, aspect. As the famous Sufi Master Ibn Arabi wrote, "Sharia is Haqiqa." That is, the Divine Law (external conduct) and Essential Reality (to be discovered inwardly) are one and the same.
I have been asked to describe the late Sufi Master, Ahmet Kayhan. This leaves me in something of a quandary. I, who am rarely at a loss for words, am this time muted into agonizing silence--agonizing because, as I tell the truth, I shall strain people's credulity and may be accused of exaggeration.
How shall I begin to tell the story of a man who literally defies description? If there is one thing all the thousands of people--from the most diverse backgrounds--who have been graced with his presence would probably agree upon, it is that the Master ("Effendi," in Turkish) is indescribable. I have consulted some friends who knew him, and they all shook their heads sadly, knowing that the attempt was impossible.
The reason is that all language presupposes a common base of human experience. Suppose I tell you, for instance, that I have drunk the juice of a South American fruit, guanabana. If you have drunk it, too, you will immediately know what I am talking about. But suppose you haven't, and I'm trying to describe it to you. "It's sweet," I say. Now that's nice, it gives you something to work on. But cookies are sweet too, and so is candy. "Its color and texture resemble those of milk," I next add. That gives you some further clues. And I can keep on elaborating details until you have a pretty good approximate idea of what guanabana tastes like. But unless you have actually tasted it, you will never really know what I'm talking about.
And the same thing goes with Effendi. The reason is that he was unique--one of a kind, even among Sufi masters--and so, incomparable. Having rushed in where angels fear to tread, I find myself saddled with the thankless job of describing him to a world scarcely equipped with the tools necessary for an adequate comprehension of such a person. Many will say my description is too good to be true, and with them I sympathize entirely--in their shoes, not having seen what we all saw, I too would have found such an account unbelievable.
The task that stands before me, then, is to assume the role of a Fair Witness (as described in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land: "The house looks yellow on this side") and submit my account as truthfully and sincerely as I know how. To those who disbelieve, let me say in advance that I don't blame them one bit. The trouble is that this account comes to your doorstep just a trifle too late, for it was only recently that we watched helplessly as his life, like water, slowly but surely trickled away through our fingers. The only way to verify my story was to come and see for yourself. Now that the only sure-fire means of verification are no longer in our hands, people will be entirely justified in their skepticism.
The question might also arise as to how reliable, how objective and impartial, a humble and devoted student of the Master may be, a person who has known him for two decades, and has been able to observe him at close quarters, under the closest circumstances, for 15 years. The answer is: more reliable than you might think. For it is not only a privilege for me to write about the Master; it is also a duty, and this duty can brook no untruth. The slightest deviation from the truth--the slightest misrepresentation--in explaining such a person to the world at large would, to my mind, be fraught with dire consequences. I shall do my best to abide by the ideal of a fair witness, and with the help of God I hope to be as successful as I am humanly able to. But do not forget: what I am going to tell you is an almost illegible replica of the truth, watered down, as it were, to the concentration levels of a homeopathic solution. I doubt that the scarcely discernible traces on this paper will give you much more than the barest inkling of that staggering reality. And I fully accept in advance that the failure to communicate is my shortcoming, not yours.
Perhaps, in the future, others who have known the Master will come forth to tell their respective stories. Until then, this account will have to suffice as an introduction to the man--pardon me, the Man--and his teachings.
A Hidden Master--In this Day and Age?
The question immediately arises: if a person such as I claim really existed, how is it possible that he remained hidden from public knowledge until his death? How, in this age of instant communications and the Internet, was he able to remain obscure? We have immediate knowledge of a previously undiscovered tribe of primitives in Indonesia; how can a person of such stature manage to avoid detection so completely to the end of his life?
The answer is that this is possible if the person in question shuns the limelight, and if those who know him consider him so precious, and know him to be so indescribable, that they clam up whenever prying eyes rove by. It can happen if his devotees respect their Master's aversion to exposure so much that he remains free to cultivate his garden--themselves--in peace. And it can happen if they consider everything connected with him as a different reality, an enchanted realm that is simultaneously in this world and out of it.
The humility of Grandpa (as those who loved him called him--other epithets were "Father," "Father Ahmet," or "Grandpa Kayhan") is the reason why he did not like to advertise himself. I've been told, for example, that in 1982, he was visited by a Canadian journalist who was so impressed by what he saw that he said to the Master: "Let me publicize you. To the Jews, let me go and say: 'If you're looking for Moses, here he is.' To the Christians, let me pronounce: 'I've discovered Jesus.' And to the Moslems let me say, 'Here is Mohammed.'" The Master refused, and the journalist respected him enough to comply with his wish to remain unexposed. He could have become world-famous, had he so wished.
Also, Turkey is a country that has undeservedly remained obscure to the outside world. Despite the fact that it is a staunch ally of the United States, there are people who wouldn't be able to locate this country on a world map. And the Master hasn't remained entirely unknown. Brief references to him have appeared in the Turkish press, whether veiled or naming him by name. Further, there are Americans, Britons and people of other nationalities who have gained his acquaintance.
Many are the gurus and enlightened masters, of whatever religion, who ceaselessly labor to make the world a better place to live in, and to them all I extend my best wishes--may they see the fruits of their efforts. Many of them are in the public eye. It appears, however, that the greatest masters always remain hidden from view, and are deciphered only after they pass away. This, perhaps, accounts for the Tibetan legend of Agartha (or Agarthi).
Who Was He?
So, what kind of person was Effendi (pronounced exactly like the letters F-N-D in English)? This is the hurdle I feared. Well, here goes:
Up to this day, you have met many human beings. Some of them have struck you as having exceptional qualities. Some are more intelligent, some more compassionate, some stronger in moral fiber than others. Some people excel in courage, others in honesty--and so on.
Now, bring together all the admirable traits you have ever seen in any human being. Next, multiply the sum by a thousandfold. That, approximately, will give you what people lovingly referred to as "Effendi."
This is exactly the point where incredulity, and consequently my predicament, is bound to set in. But this is also the point on which I must remain adamant. The Master cannot be described in any terms, except by superlatives.
I can well understand the consternation of the disciples of Jesus in their attempts to describe him to others. The same goes for the followers of the Buddha or the companions of Mohammed. One has to be faced with a difficulty of a similar order to comprehend what they were trying to cope with.
The problem is compounded when you find out that the Master was basically unschooled. He learned to read and write only during his military service, in his twenties. But that has to be set against the fact that he was trained by the greatest Master of them all: Hadji ("Pilgrim") Ahmet Kaya Effendi, his own master, who was called "Keko" (Kurdish for "Father") by his followers.
But what about the warts, the feet of clay? The short answer is: there were no warts. And I am not concealing anything here. All right, the Master, being human, was prone to the afflictions of humanity. He was sick most of the time in his old age, and suffered from a badly healed broken leg and failing eyesight in his final years. But this is not what we usually consider to be warts, blemishes of the human personality. In all those fifteen years, I saw him really angry only once, and his only response was the softly spoken word, "Quiet." Those are the "worst-case characteristics."
A Visit to Effendi
Suppose, then, that you had had the good fortune to meet the Master face to face, and I or someone else had elected to take you there. What would you have encountered?
We would have approached a four-story apartment building on a major road in Ankara, climbed the stairs to the top floor, and rung the bell of one of the apartments. We would have been ushered in by a person opening the door and led into a large living room. In no time at all, if he wasn't resting or otherwise occupied, you would have had the audience of the Master. Of all gurus and masters, he was the most accessible.
You would find yourself in the presence of a gracious old gentleman. He was a lean person--he once told me he never weighed more than 55 kilograms--perhaps 6 feet tall, but stooped in his old age. Despite his great age, his graying hair and beard, which were originally black, made him appear no more than 65 or 70.
Even if you were an ant, he would treat you like a king. Pleasantries would be exchanged over a cup of tea. Whether or not you had arrived in the middle of a serious discussion with other people present, you would slowly realize a peculiar sensation. It was as if all your troubles and sorrows were ebbing away, and you were being filled with a quiet joy. If you were psychically sensitive, you might also feel a tingling in the middle of your forehead. And, regardless of whether you had only engaged in small talk, you would leave the apartment with a great feeling of elation. And this would continue to occur each time you visited him. Many were those who dropped in for five minutes to investigate, and stayed a lifetime.
If you continued your visits, you would have come to the conclusion that the Master had the uncanny ability to read minds. This was alarming to some; others took it for granted. The Master never laid claim to such an ability, of course, and he was always discreet in such matters. But suppose you went to visit him with a specific question in mind. And suppose others were present, so that you weren't able to voice your question. As he talked, you would by and by realize that he was answering your question without even speaking to you.
It goes deeper. I have seen people tell me that on some occasion when they were alone together, Effendi told them the innermost secrets of their lives, memories never disclosed to anyone and known only to themselves.
And deeper. A British friend visited him one day. The Master was unavailable, my friend intended to go to a seaside resort on the Aegean coast, and while he was waiting for the Master, he kept repeating over and over in his head the Turkish phrase for "Should I go?" which he had just learned. As he was pondering this thought, the house servant came in and, for no apparent reason, turned on the TV set. There, on the screen, my friend saw the fleeting words: "Go, you can go" in Turkish--a fortuitous display from whatever TV channel the set happened to be tuned to at that moment. The servant turned off the TV set, again for no apparent reason, and left the room. Coincidence? You tell me.
A sage cannot be known from his external appearance. Many people who came could not see beyond his hair and his beard--at first. Later, as they became better acquainted, they would begin to understand something of Effendi.
If you continued your visits, you would learn many things you had never known before. And finally, you would come to realize that here was the most lovable, the most adorable, absolutely the most wonderful person on earth.
The bare bones of the Master's biography are quickly told. The closest I can make out is that he was born in early 1898. Since he died on August 3, 1998, he was a hundred years and seven months old when he passed away.
On his ID papers, his birthdate is given as 1905 (1321, reckoned by the lunar calendar which was then in use). Because vital statistics were not conscientiously collected in those years, however, he was registered together with his half-brother when the latter was born several years after him. His birthplace was the small village of Mako (Aktarla, as it is now known) near Poturge in the province of Malatya.
He lost his father when he was only a year old. His mother remarried, but died when he was seven.* After that, he stayed with an aunt for a while. Even at an early age, stories are told that indicate he was brave and under divine protection, perhaps supporting the claim that sages are born and not made. (They're both born and made, actually; we can't neglect either face of the nature/nurture coin.) He was only 4 or 5 years old when he first met, and was extremely impressed by, his Master (Keko).
When the last Sultan departed from Istanbul on a ship (November 17, 1922), he was there by chance to witness the occasion. From then on, he would shuttle often between the large cities of Istanbul in the west or Ankara in Central Anatolia and Malatya in the east, for it was in the village called Ali Bey near Izol (in Malatya) that Keko resided.
Ahmet Kayhan settled in Ankara in the 1930s and married Hajar (March 25, 1937), who remained his wife until his death. Keko passed away on May 7, 1944. He was a very great master, routinely visited by hundreds of people, and when he died the task of enlightening the people fell to Musa Kiazim, who had been Keko's fellow-disciple during and after the First World War. With the death of Kiazim Effendi in 1966, Grandpa Kayhan "donned the Mantle."
The best years of his life were spent in stark poverty. Not that he earned badly, for he worked harder than anyone else. Rather, the country itself was poor. As he himself once remarked, it was only after the Second World War that the nations of the world besides the West began to emerge from poverty, and the task is not finished yet.
Up to this time he had taken odd jobs in Ankara, opened three shops, finally settling down as a government employee at the State Waterworks, from which he retired for reasons of health. All this he did in order to support his family. He had four children, two girls and two boys, from Mother Hajar. They, in turn, have lived to see their grandchildren.
From the sixties onward, Grandpa conducted the activity of enlightening the people. Since he was retired, he was able to devote his full time to this effort. I once counted 47 visitors on an average day, but in recent years this number increased substantially as more people came to know him.
The facts of a Sufi saint's life, however, rarely tell us much about who he was. I have related the above only because it is necessary, not because it is helpful for an appreciation of Effendi.
His Line of Descent
Master Kayhan's chain of transmission is traced through the Prophet, his close associate and first Caliph Abu Bakr, Abdelqader Gilani, Bahauddin Naqshband, Ahmad Sirhindi, Abdullah Dehlewi, Mawlana Khalid, Sheikh Samini, Osman Badruddin, and Ahmet Kaya Effendi. I have omitted most of the names in the Golden Chain from the list and concentrated only on the most illustrious.
It is said that the line of Prophethood started as a light in the forehead of Adam. Down through the ages this light was transferred from the forehead of one prophet to another, until it reached Mohammed, the last prophet. Mohammed combined the attributes of Prophethood and Sainthood within himself.
Now although prophethood had come to an end, the light of sainthood again continued down through the ages, passing from one great master to another. It emerged from Mecca with the Prophet, passed on to Baghdad with Sheikh Gilani (founder of the Qadiri Order), traveled to Bokhara in Central Asia and devolved on Shah Nakshband (founder of the Naqshbandi Order), went south to India with Imam Rabbani (Sirhindi) and Abdullah of Delhi (later to be known as New Delhi), returned to Baghdad with Khalid Baghdadi, finally traveling north to find itself in Eastern Anatolia." This circuit of the light of sainthood continued for hundreds of years, and will be completed only at the end of time--so it is said.
The Sufi Orders are, in Effendi's words, "spiritual schools"--a fact recognized by Peter Ouspensky. Of course, the fact that the Saintlight moves on doesn't mean that its former abode is left neglected. The Naqshbandi (Naqshi for short) Order's spiritual schools and training continued after the departure of the Saintlight. It was to the tail end of these that George I. Gurdjieff latched on towards the end of the 19th century, and many of the unique elements in his teachings are imported direct from the Central Asian Sufi schools. John G. Bennett, a student of Gurdjieff, traced the migration of the schools to Turkey, but died on the verge of discovering the precise whereabouts of the Saintlight.
The long and short of it is, the Master was squarely at the center of the highest expression of traditional Islamic Sufism, in the line of the Samini Branch of the Naqshbandi Order. Yet at the same time, there was no one more modern or more open-minded than he. (I must again stress that this is not simply my personal opinion. Rather, I am quoting from a follower, this time a modern-minded lady.)
Although this was Grandpa's spiritual pedigree, yet he was beyond all orders, sects, or schools. And though he was a devout Moslem, he embraced people of all religions.
Another point is that we are usually accustomed to seeing Islam only in its exoteric aspect, and calling the esoteric aspect "Sufism." In Effendi, the exoteric and the esoteric were a single whole--Sufism was Islam and Islam was Sufism. In no other person have I seen the two so seamlessly fused.
How I Met Him
The circumstances of my life conspired to bring me in contact with the Master in early spring, 1978. (I still kick myself for not having written down the precise date, but it was probably early March.) By then, I had been undergoing Sufi training with a master for three years, and it was he who took me to Effendi. We entered his presence together. There are nonverbal ways in which Sufi masters convey what they want to people, and within a few moments I became aware that I was in the presence of an exceptional human being. (This is not intended to imply any great legerdemain on my part, for the Master could introduce himself to anyone with equal ease.)
After 1980, I began to attend the Master's discussion groups more frequently. From the beginning of September 1983, excluding normal working hours or vacations, I had the incredible good fortune to be almost continually in the presence of the Master until his death.
The Views of Others
I could draw on many accounts from eyewitnesses, and perhaps in the future I shall do so. For now, however, I have confined myself to the following excerpts.
An American friend who is attached to another Sufi master: "Ahmed effendi is certainly unique and special, but it is a uniqueness which has nothing foreign about it and nothing that separates. ... For me it is a quality which I can only call intimacy. I do not know any other more respectful term for the quality. What I mean is the degree to which effendi seems to be within one's own self, one's own being and the complete ease and directness of his communication, literally transcending speech and language and culture and time and history, while at the same time establishing, confirming and justifying them. ... there was never a need to speak, and my increasing knowledge of Turkish, which did add immeasurably to the relish of conversation with effendi, never seemed to increase the intimacy of the presence of effendi in my heart, or the hearts of any of my friends who love him. ... Although I am upset... I feel a deep and profound joy and happiness in knowing that I can not be separated from his love in any way whatsoever."
A British friend: "One visit I made to Effendi symbolizes something I think is essential to what I experienced each and every time I was lucky enough to be in his presence. A lady arrived to that amazing house where the door was always open (except for those rare occasions where his health precluded any conversation) and where the Turkish custom of taking off your shoes took on a whole new dimension of meaning. She was greeted with the customary courtesy, served tea and asked how she was. At this she said, 'Dear Effendi, when I come into your presence I feel as if all of my cares and troubles have been lifted from me and left at your door!' He smiled (that indescribably beautiful smile that seemed to light the whole room!) and said affectionately, knowing full well that she had voiced what the majority of the people in that crowded apartment on a busy Saturday morning were experiencing, 'Yes, you are right, my dear, but how much better it would have been if you had left your self at the door.'
"Utter selflessness. Had I not witnessed it I would be unable to comprehend it. And for literally thousands of people he did the same: beckoning them to step through that door into that space of the purest light and grace."
A Turkish newspaper columnist: "Where he lived was, for us, like a place where the sun never set. We would go there whenever we were down or blue. We would return to our dark world with feelings of great peace, as if bathed inside and outside in fountains of light. ...
"Was he Qadiri? Was he Naqshi? I don't know. I never asked his disciples. Nor did I find it necessary. What difference does it make what Order's Sheikh he was? Without a doubt, he was a great saint of God. His door was open to everyone. Like Rumi, he embraced all sinners." ("Ahmet Kayhan Efendi," Akit, September 16, 1998.)
The Master's Teachings
Hadji Ahmet Kayhan (for he, too, performed the Pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj) was a Man of Knowledge, or a Man of Wisdom. With him there was no distinction between Moslem, Christian, Jew, or Buddhist. He was far beyond drawing distinctions in the ordinary manner. For him there were only human beings, and to all he counseled the same teaching: God exists, and God is One. Abide by the Divine Law. Work for the establishment of peace on earth, love one another, and devote yourself to serving your fellow-(wo)men. Feel compassion for all creatures, for even a fly.
As you can see, his teachings were independent of time, space or geography, and so, truly universal. His pamphlets on world peace aroused favorable responses from a former French president, from the Pope, and from both the then-president and prime minister of Israel. If he had survived longer, his intention would have been to continue to call men to peace on earth. He was against all weapons of mass destruction, because these are against all forms of life.
Just yesterday (Sunday, September 6, 1998, midday), one of his rank-and-file followers described to me what he had personally understood from the Master's teachings. "Law and justice exist," he said, "because of conscience, and conscience exists because of love. If you love someone, you cannot violate that person's rights. And that's what the Divine Law is all about. It gives you the guidelines of how to behave as you would if you loved that person. I have seen no one else," he added, "who preaches this fundamental fact." I relate this because it reflects an average perception of what the Master taught.
But this was only the beginning. The Master's curriculum included everything in the spiritual field from kindergarten to university. It would be vain for me even to try to summarize all his teachings here, so I must refer the reader to two full-length books, Science, Knowledge, and Sufism and The Meaning of the Four Books, presently available on the Internet.
The methods of the Master in teaching his students varied, yet there were discernible trends. He would not tax a pupil beyond the latter's capacity. In accordance with the saying of the Prophet, he would speak to the level of understanding of his listeners. He had the knack to explain the most complicated things in the simplest terms. If, despite this, the person didn't understand, he would repeat what he said. He would keep at it until the listener had understood, and once he saw he had communicated his message successfully, he would say no more about it. From then on, it was the listener's responsibility to heed the contents of the message.
The Master was an inexhaustible repository of Sufi teaching-stories and anecdotes. He would select the most appropriate suited to a given occasion, sometimes relating events from his life history. He had infinite love and respect for his own Master, and would sometimes fondly relate a memory of the times they had been together.
What was outstanding about the Master's use of teaching-stories, however, was his ability to string them together in the appropriate order to achieve exactly the desired result. In this respect, he had the virtuosity of a composer with them.
He would quickly discover the forte-- the strongest virtue--of a person. He once told me that only a moment was enough for a true murshid (Islamic guru) to take the snapshot of a person--I'm inclined to call it a kind of spiritual X-ray. He would then cultivate that virtue of the person, also supplementing this with whatever "vitamins" were deficient in a student's constitution.
When a question was asked of him, he always answered it, even if he appeared to refuse at first. If something was insisted upon despite what he said, he might appear to give in, but it was always what he first said that counted.
At times, he left his students without explicit guidance. It might be surmised that some activity, some energetic effort, was expected of them during such periods.
The analogy has been suggested to me that the Master was giving each one of us a handful of seeds. It was our duty to plant these seeds, cultivate them, and see them through to maturity until they bore fruit. Another analogy is that he was giving us keys to unlock the secret chambers of our brains. We all know that a human being utilizes, say, 2 or 3 percent of the capacity of his brain. Suppose an Einstein uses 10 percent. What, then, are we to call those who utilize 50 percent, 75 percent? What are we to call a person who utilizes it to the full? That question is left as an exercise for the reader.
The Master had no formal organization to speak of. Although he was in the Naqshbandi line of descent, there were no dervish convents (takkas), no ceremonies, no special rituals, and no formalities. The convents had been disbanded in 1928 by the newly-formed Turkish Republic, but with the Master I learned that there was no need of them. True spirituality could be exercised and conveyed without any formal structure at all--all that was necessary was acceptance on the part of the teacher, and devotion, sincerity and effort on the part of the student. Having served their purpose, the takkas had passed into history as defunct sociological institutions.
Instead there were ad hoc discussion groups, which came into existence on the spur of the moment with whomever might be present at that time. Visiting the Master and participating in these discussions were very important. A leaflet or pamphlet distributed by the Master might be read, which he might interrupt at any time in order to clarify or emphasize a certain point. Even this might not be necessary, as the baraka (spiritual action or power) of the Master could work even in total silence. When one's spiritual "battery" was "discharged," one could go back to the Master for a "recharge." If love can be defined as "giving without receiving--or asking for--anything in return," then the Master loved his following. They, in turn, tried to love him, but generally failed in this task.
A group could include people from widely diverse backgrounds, and the Master would find their lowest common denominator. In addressing one, he would address all. When everyone left, that was the end of that group.
The Mystery of Effendi
If one spent sufficient time with the Master, one might have come to the conclusion that he possessed a closely-guarded secret.
Some of the things he said and did were eminently logical and reasonable. Yet other things he said would be impervious to comprehension, no matter how hard one exerted oneself. Some of the things he said would become comprehensible some time later, as events took their course. Other things could take years before you were able to decipher them. As historian Paul Johnson has noted of Jesus' utterances in a similar context, the Master was a complicated man and sometimes spoke in a complicated way. His granddaughter, who had been with her grandparents almost from her birth, once told me that it was hard to figure out what made him tick. I don't believe anyone ever figured him out. Whatever this secret was, it went with him to the grave.
The phenomenon of the Master has prompted me to think that Jesus had a similar mystery to him, and this caused his followers to misinterpret what they saw as the Deity. Furthermore, I'm thinking that the Buddha also might have possessed this secret, due to which reason he cloaked it under the harmless and neutral-sounding terms of nirvana (extinction) and sunyatta (void). It was to avoid the fate of Jesus, perhaps, that he did not mention God. This is only my own personal opinion, of course, and has nothing to do with the teachings of the Master.
Whatever this mystery was, it gave the Master a charm. Of all human beings, he was the most charming. He attracted people as a magnet attracts iron filings. People found him irresistible, and the more everyone saw of him, the more they wanted to see. The reason was not curiosity. Once you have seen the truly wondrous phenomenon of a fully-realized human being, the respect and love you feel for him cause you to return again and again. Oh, I know the old adage: "Believe only half of what you see, and none of what you hear," but half of what I saw--a quarter, a hundredth of what I saw!--was already tremendous enough. And don't say here I go exaggerating again, because I'm not.
What inspired love in the thousands of people who knew him? What caused university professors to be the humble students of this unschooled man? He was not rich, so the reason was not economic. He was not a politician, so the reason was not political. Yet he knew things no one else knew, saw things no one else saw. This, however, is still not sufficient to explain the irresistible attraction this hundred-year-old man had on all those people.
His people themselves were an interesting lot. Some might have been inclined to view them as a herd, as an uncritical, imperceptive bunch of simpletons. As I got to know them better, I discovered that each had an exceptional ability--or even several--of which, sometimes, they were themselves unaware. These virtues the Master unfailingly discerned and cultivated.
The Perfect Man
The existence of a person like Ahmet Kayhan forced those who knew him to reconsider and redefine what it means to be human. Just as a single white elephant is enough to prove that not all elephants are gray, the existence of a human being like Effendi forces us to stop the presses and rewrite the books.
All these years, we've been talking about human potentials and possibilities. But what are they, really? What are their limits?
Suppose someone you don't know came up to you and said: "I have met the Superman, and he is Mohammed. In their time, Jesus and the Buddha were the supermen of their ages." It's almost the year 2000, and he's saying that. What would you think? And what would you say?
Having met the Master, I don't wonder that his disciples confused Jesus with God or the Son of God. No man can be God, of course, and yet I can well understand their difficulty in groping for a label. What is amazing is that someone like the Master, who should ordinarily belong to the Age of the Prophets, could be found and encountered in the second half of the 20th century.
In order to describe the phenomenon of the total spiritual transmutation of a human being, the Sufis have developed the concept of the Perfect Human (al-insan al-kamil). One could also use the Nietzschean concept of the Superman, or the Chinese concept of the superior man or true man. I hasten to add, however, that Nietzsche failed at precisely the point where he succeeded, for he predicated his superman on Godlessness. To put it simply: no God, no Superman. One cannot become a superman by inflating one's ego. For it is God who confers on a human being the qualities that cause him to be regarded as superior. It is the love of God that attracts us toward Him, and the more we love Him, the more we submit to His commandments. By being meek, humble, and obedient to God, we make ourselves a window unto God's light. If you're familiar with the computer term, "user-transparent," we have to make ourselves transparent to God. Only then will we be invested with the qualities that will cause others to regard us as a superior human being. The slightest arrogance, and God will strip from us the qualities He had invested us with. For they are not ours, but on loan from God. The highest point of achievement, the Station of Praise which belongs only to the Prophet, is achieving perfection in being a humble servant of God--easier said than done.
Of course, there can be different degrees of God-realization. And at any given time there will be someone who is the most realized of them all. The lesser ones are then able to recognize him as perfect. One Sufi master, for example, said: "The fountain of spirituality gushes out from Effendi. We all fill our jugs from that source, and distribute it to the people." Said another, now deceased: "He is our [President]. Our electricity comes from him, from that great power station in Ankara."
Ouspensky called his book on Gurdjieff: "In Search of the Miraculous." Now what does "miraculous" mean?
When an event is sufficiently out of the ordinary that it stands in a class by itself, we call that event "miraculous." What, then, are we going to call that situation where miraculous events keep going on day after day, month after month, year after year? In other words, what are we to call that condition where the nonordinary becomes ordinary?
Skeptics will call it impossible. Others will call it highly doubtful. I call it the perfect flowering of Mohammedan sainthood.
Interview any one of the Master's followers and you will hear one or more such accounts. I, too, could relate any number of such interesting tales. Just as an example, let me relate what a friend of the Master told me yesterday while it is still fresh in my mind:
Years ago, he was a tenant in a house owned by Mother Hajar. The Kayhans themselves lived a distance away, say 50 or 60 meters. One evening, as he was performing his Prayer, he heard a few knocks on the door and Grandpa Kayhan calling out his name. However, he could not interrupt his Prayer, so when he was finished he went over to the Kayhans' house. Mother Hajar and Effendi were sitting. "I'm sorry I couldn't open the door to you," he said to the Master. Mother Hajar gave him a queer look. "What are you talking about?" she asked. "I was doing my Prayer and I heard Effendi knock on the door and call out my name," he answered. "You're a strange man," Mother Hajar told him. "Effendi hasn't left this room. He suggested to me that we should go over and visit you, and I told him it was late. 'Fine,' he said, 'then we'll call him and he'll come over.' And now here you are. He hasn't moved from his spot all this while." Effendi's only comment was to smile, and invite his friend to sit down.
The point, however, is that this is not the point. The point, as ever, was the Master himself, and not whatever secondary manifestations happened to be occurring around his vortex. People too often become fixated on such matters, not knowing that these are actually voices of the Sirens, hindrances to spiritual progress. The focus should be, not on the miraculous, but on the ethical.
Of necessity, this approach also precludes the possibility of conducting any scientific research "on" the Master. Suggest the idea to the least of his visitors, and they would have thought you were out of your mind. Even the idea of hooking up EEGs and predicting cards smacks of sacrilege and is tantamount to reducing their subject to the status of a mere psychic. Doctors inspecting the Master's anatomy years ago came to the conclusion that he should be clinically dead. What further miracle could one need?
For years and years, I was obsessed by one thought, and one thought only: death, and hence departure, being inevitable, I must do whatever I can to ensure that the Master survives as long as possible.
To this end I devoted whatever means were at my disposal. His devotees, humanity, the entire universe were all in need of this Man, I thought. At all costs, this unique phenomenon must be preserved, and if his life-span could not be extended indefinitely, then it must at least be stretched to the maximum possible. The Master was very old and sick. He needed his rest, and the constant stream of people coming to his door taxed his energies and his health. He never had a restful night, and yet, come morning, he would be at least partially rested.
The stream of visitors would start early in the morning. He would accept them all, forbid us from preventing their entry, and heed and try to help the slightest trouble of even an ant. He would resolve the most intractable problems with the greatest of ease. The grind would continue late into the evening. When the last visitor had departed, I would watch him prostrate on his bed, his frail frame utterly exhausted, lying as if dead. It was obvious that this routine could not go on forever. Yet we all refused to contemplate--to even consider--the inevitable.
As a result of this situation, I found myself on the horns of an excruciating dilemma. On the one hand I deemed the Master so important that I would have televised him and his teachings to the entire world, if I could. Yet on the other hand, he was so tired and ill that I did not want him to waste one breath, one word, to a single person. To this day, I have not found a solution, a way out. By now it is too late anyway.
The Master had been in ill-health for many years. Looking back now, we can see that in recent months he had been tidying up his affairs, telling far-off visitors that they would not be seeing him again, putting the finishing touches on his life's work. Of these he breathed nary a word to us, those close to him and in his attendance.
His death was preceded by a week's illness. He was taken to the hospital emergency ward on August 3, and passed away around 10 p.m. that same evening. We had all been hopeful that he would survive, for several months more at the very least, and at first I refused to believe he had died. When I was convinced, I knew that death had finally won, and I had lost.
The Funeral Prayer was performed with a minimum number of people the next morning (Tuesday) at 10:30 a.m., and the Master was laid to rest in his final resting place. As we carried his coffin, it was raised so high that I had to stand on my toes, and even then my fingertips could only barely touch it. This in itself is remarkable, for I am not at all short by Turkish standards.
The Lessons for Us All
Perhaps the first, the most significant, lesson for us from the Master's example is a message of hope. If he, a human being, could achieve this, any human being can do it. Perhaps not to the fullest extent. But to the limits that our individual constitution will allow. Every human being is born as an incredible gift, as a stupendous potential. So pacified have we become by the doldrums of everyday mundane life that we do not even stop to consider what business we have here on earth. Why weren't we created as birds? Or butterflies? If we were created as human beings, what role does a human being play in the vast design of the universe? What, for heaven's sake, are we here for?
If we can shake off the hibernation that has us in its grip, we will realize that a more magnificent destiny can be ours than are dreamt of in our philosophies. Perhaps not everyone can achieve it to an equal degree, just as not everyone can win the Olympic medal. But everyone can do something better than where they're at. If we've spent our lives in suspended animation to this day, at least from now on let us try to wake up.
The next lesson of Effendi is ethics, and herein lies the crux. He was the most ethical person of the highest morality I have ever known. And that, he disclosed to me, was the difference that made the difference. Morality was what set him apart from other gurus. This was the foundation on which all else rested; meditation techniques, psychospiritual exercises, specialized knowledge all came later, and were useless without morality.
This, of course, brings in the Sufi notion of "courtesy" (adab), which is a refinement of salutary conduct. Chris, a friend who has traveled far and wide and met masters of various religions, told me after the Master's death that no matter which Islamic Sufi master he visited, they all wore this same garment of courtesy. With other religions there was no standard--each guru was unique and different from the others. And Effendi possessed that courtesy to the highest degree.
Further, the Master had pinpointed what causes the ultimate ruin of one's ethics: illicit gain and illicit sex. Illicit gain and illicit sex--Effendi never tired of repeating that it was these two we had to be the most wary of, and that the final ruin of humanity, thermonuclear Armageddon, would be the end result of these two.
Illicit pecuniary gain is self-explanatory. Sexual relationships should occur only between lawfully married men and women. (Alcohol is bad because it clouds the mind's ability to reason and can easily lead to loss of control.) Even an atheist can benefit from this advice, provided he heeds it.
A person in control of his hand and his lust, and who in addition performs the Formal Prayer (salat or namaz) has, according to the Master, all the makings of a Sufi saint (a friend of God). From that point onwards, it would be the individual efforts of the seeker which would dictate the outcome.
In order to travel this course, three things are needed: a job, a spouse, and faith. Notice that these correspond to the three requrements above: a job provides honest income, a spouse means a home, a family and a healthy sexual relationship, and one wouldn't perform the daily Formal Prayers without faith. In Science, Knowledge, and Sufism, I have tried to demonstrate that Formal Prayer is greater than all the major forms of Yoga combined, and so shall not here elaborate on this further.
The departure of the Master left us all with a feeling, a tremendous sense of loss. How could he be replaced? The search for a successor started almost immediately. The Master, however, had already indicated during his health that he would leave no single successor. Rather, he said, "I will leave a thousand Ahmet Kayhans, ten thousand Ahmet Kayhans."
The meaning of these words is clear. His presence lives on in us all. All of us must now try to follow the Master's radiant path in our lives, and we all must try to show others why that path is so wonderful. Our task is a difficult one. Only time will tell how successful we will be.
I have tried to tell the truth exactly as it happened. Whether, or to what extent, my account is credible, everyone will have to judge on their own, in the privacy of their thoughts.
I have only one more thing to say.
Love one another, love even an ant.
*Addendum: Apparently, she lived until he was 14 or 15.
The following three prose/poems are the first stepping stones on the road that leads to the peak of Unity. Although they do not deal directly with Sufism, religion, mysticism or philosophy, they contain elements from all of these. Basically, they offer wisdom and good advice. And as the Prophet said, (the basis of) "Religion is good advice."
(by Rudyard Kipling)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
(by Max Ehrmann)
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
In whatever religion you have been taught,
however you have been brought up,
and however you have understood your teachers...
On these levels you will understand and grasp this message.
It is not enough that this message be believed.
It is a message to be lived.
The essence of universal religion is peace and truth,
With love for and kindness to all the creatures of the Earth.
Now is the time to express this essence in your own life.
A beginning must be made,
And the place to begin is with and in yourself.
You would reform the world? Begin with yourself, Brother!
The message of the unreformed reformer seldom inspires reformation.
The heart of all religion is Love;
And righteousness,which is love in action,
Is the fulfillment of religion.
Love not only family and friends!
For love limited is love denied.
Seek peace within yourself and seek too,
within yourself the divine breath of life.
Persist in these things! Do not let up for a single moment!
Through your faith and through your deeds you shape your life
And help shape the lives of others, as well.
What a responsibility!
The spirit finds in you its agent and also its partner;
And to the degree that you are aware of this and act on it,
Your life is enriched.
A revelation will occur to you...
A revelation higher than your most exalted dreams.
The new age is coming,
And in it there will be a realization of the Oneness of All.
Differences between the various religions will disappear.
The good, which is in each of them,
Will be fused and will become the common goal of all mankind.
Know that you have the power to choose.
Choose Love, not hate;
Choose gentleness, not violence;
Choose holiness, not evil.
Dare to believe the reign of love and peace is coming soon.
Ready yourself for it.
Ready yourself for it with deeds of righteousness.
Righteousness is the door-opener,
And beyond the door is love.
May power divine enter every aspect of your life
endowing it with the rewards of material accomplishments,
The treasures of purposeful existence,
And the eternal light of spiritual achievement.
THE ROYAL ROAD
The Master said: “I am a teacher of Sufism.” The following three texts are taken from among the many sheets distributed by the Master. They comprise a special selection made by him which, in his view, provided the shortest of shortcuts to Sufism.
THE SECRET THAT IS LOVE
The secret of religion is love.
Religion is a divine law.
The secret of religion is Law (rights). The secret of Law is conscience. And the secret of conscience is love.
Religion comprises these three in the same way that a fruit is composed of rind, of a fleshy part and a core. Although the core is not apparent from the outside, it is the innermost, the active part. The heart of all religion is love. Love gives rise to conscience, to consideration, to compassion and to tolerance.
The Law is the external covering of all this. It prevents the flesh and the core from being spoiled and destroyed. Although it may not, at first glance, appear to have much in common with its contents, in reality it is directly based on them. Just as conscience arises from love, Law in turn arises from conscience. It is merely the codification of rights already granted implicitly at the level of conscience.
The Secret that is Law
Law is a delicate balance between rights and duties, between liberties and limitations. The duty of one person is nothing but the right of another, and the limitation of one is the freedom of another. Absolute freedom cannot exist, and if it could, then law, and hence justice, would not exist. It is as if freedom were in short supply and had to be apportioned equally. For the increase of one's freedom occurs only at the expense of another's, and if justice is not distributed equally, that is injustice. Hence we have equality before the law, and equality before man's law is based on equality before God's Law, since all men are equal before God.
Because Law is based on conscience and ultimately on love, what is lawful in Islam is that which is informed by love. To put this is a little differently, the only action which is free of blame is that which is based on love, and the Divine Law is a compendium of such action or non-action.
The all-important conclusion from this is that even if you do not feel love for a creature, you will have done it no wrong if you treat it according to the prescription of Divine Law. Thus Islam answers the critical question: "How should I behave toward beings?" in the following concise way: treat them as if you loved them, in the same way as you would act if you loved them. And for our convenience, Islam outlines in its prescriptions of Holy Law what such action is.
In religion, Law means righteousness above all else. For instance, a person must not touch or covet what does not belong to him. When we say law or rights, this doesn't mean only those rights pertaining to humanity. Law means to recognise the same right for all beings in the universe, whether animate or inanimate, from an atom to the sun. It is the requirement of being human and of being a Moslem to treat them in the same way. For all beings are the beings of God. If one claims to love God, one absolutely must love His beings as well. One who does not love existence cannot be said to love God. In view of this, our own personal choices of what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, useful and harmful, attractive and repulsive, have no place in Law. If these become involved, they precipitate the wrath of God. Here, to like or dislike is one thing, and Law is another.
The inability of human beings to truly progress arises from their failure to understand this point. He who does not abide by the Law is the greatest of sinners and has no inkling of what it means to be human. About this there should be no doubt whatever.
Man is free to act according to his disposition. He may not take an interest in any being he dislikes, which he finds bad, harmful or repulsive. But if for any reason an interest or relationship is established, he must recognise their rights. This is because man is responsible for rights, and for rights alone.
Whether one is a Moslem or a Christian is immaterial at this point. For this is where the door of happiness opens. All beings are the forms, the manifestations, of God's names. Therefore, the holy books declare God's order unanimously: "You are to think of the other as you think of yourself." For all beings, whether animate or inanimate, contain His spirit.
It is due to this fact that where Law is concerned, no one can act according to his whim. God has forbidden this. For His command is not whim, but the very yardstick by which all things are to be measured. The human heart is His holy dwelling-place which He has reserved for Himself. He who breaks a heart will suffer, even if the poor fellow doesn't understand why.
In reality, man is the representative of God and His viceregent over creation. As such, he is burdened with the utmost legal responsibility and obligation. He is responsible for all things living and nonliving, from the stone he steps on to the bird in the sky. This is why the People of God say: "The requirement of honesty is to consider one another," and they do not show negligence in serving this rule.
God has graced man above all beings and placed them under man's care. If a mishap occurs, however, this is due to us. If man becomes corrupt, everything becomes corrupt. If man is polluted, all nature is polluted. Hence the present state of nature can stand as a mirror to our internal state. We should know that this is so and touch everything with "In the name of God" on our lips, replacing it with these same words. We should never forget whilst using something that it possesses spirit. We should treat it in the same way as we treat and care for a part of our own body. Then the Koranic statement: "You are pleased with God and He is pleased with you" (89:28) becomes reality-that is, you will be pleased with Him and He will be pleased with you. This is the answer that heals (makes whole).
The Secret that is Conscience
Law is derived from conscience. Without conscience, there would be no consideration of others and no respect for their rights. In fact, not even the existence of such rights would be recognized. Conscience requires the implicit presupposition that "the other" is, at some basic level, the same as or at least not different from the self. This leads to an unexpected conclusion, that the so-called "positive sciences" are, in fact, covertly normative. Behaviorist psychology, for example, by taking the other and his inner world as an unknown, by treating the other as a "black box" that can be judged only on the basis of exhibited behavior, reduces people to the status of automatons, quietly revoking their claim to rights. This, in turn, is nothing but lawlessness where the "other" is concerned. All rights then belong to the self, and to the other?-None. This is nothing but injustice.
This also indicates the need to be very careful with our sciences and philosophies. It is never very obvious what metaphysics lurk behind our "objective" hypotheses or conclusions-nor where they may lead. If metaphysics is an ineradicable residue underlying all science and philosophy, then it is much better that this be of a life-enhancing, rather than life-denying, nature.
Conscience is the prime mover of Law-it creates and resonates in the heart and mobilizes man. If a person does everything lawfully, in the way prescribed by Law, believing in its utter rightness and content in his heart about its truth-this, then, is conscience. This is the foundation of Law; another name for it is "faith." It is the "still, small voice" that comes from the depths of one's heart. It is the product of an indubitable, pure and undefiled feeling. May God grant us all that state, which comes to us on a tide of the ocean of compassion (Amen).
If man has no faith, neither does he possess conscience. Lacking conscience, he also lacks humanity. Blessed are those who recognise Law and have a clear conscience, for God is with them.
The Secret That Is Love
Love is the real source of man's feelings of compassion and kindness, the sublime synthesis of his finest and most delicate feelings of conscience. Since the sway of conscience has purified the heart, purging it of all things, good and bad alike, God installs His throne of manifestation in that heart. Thus love of God engulfs one's being, and that person becomes pure love. Then everything loves him and he loves everything.
And so, that person becomes invested with God's attributes and friendship, harmony and welfare, and joins His Chosen People. Henceforth, his place in both worlds is Paradise and his station, comfort and friendship.
This is a three-stage process: (1) Righteousness, diligent observation of the Law enabling (2) the conscience to flower-and the full maturity of conscience is (3) love.
But what happens once one becomes, as it were, an incarnation of love? Does one shed the Law and conscience as if they were autumn leaves?
On the contrary, the Law and conscience find their fullest, most mature, manifestation in a person who has become pure love. Rote Imitation becomes Realization. He or she no longer acts out of blind obedience to the letter of the Law, but in full knowledge and consciousness of why the Law prescribes or prohibits a certain thing. The clumsy, mechanical, sometimes jarring and disturbing implementation of the Divine Law gives way to a smooth, harmonious flow-the grace of love. Such people are a guiding light to all beings lucky enough to come within their sphere.
Such a person is called a saint, or a "friend of God", and has become identified with pure love. The motto of the friend of God is "I, if I be lifted up, will lift up all mankind with me." The saints are the channels or vehicles by which God's love, compassion and mercy reach the world. Indeed in ages when there are many saints of high realisation, there are fewer wars, plagues and calamities-the world is a "closer" place to Paradise. In ages when they are few and far between, these channels of access to grace are "clogged," as it were, and the situation is reversed. Look around you and, with this measure in hand, you will be able to judge what kind of times we live in.
Seven Hells, Eight Heavens
Islam is based on eight principles. These are referred to as the eight gates of Heaven:
1. Compassion, kindness and affection.
7. Knowing one's poverty and weakness.
8. Giving thanks to God
Without these, there is no peace, happiness or Paradise in either world.
Anyone who is clothed in these praiseworthy traits and has made them part of his constitution is a proper Moslem and worthy of the Noble Messenger of God, Mohammed. For these praiseworthy manners and characteristics are the beautiful traits and attributes of our Prophet. They have radiated from him to his family, children and Companions, thence becoming the fundamental constituents of Islam. So testifies the Koran.
And this is why Islam is not simply the recitation of the Word of Witnessing or the search for Heaven in a mosque. The firmness of God's revelatory secrets depends on these qualities; hence, so do the continuance of life, its peace and happiness. Throughout one's life one must always be based in the good, the true and the beautiful. Only with these verities are immortality and eternity feasible.
It is for this reason that the above principles have always been a guiding light and torch in the hands of mankind and the travelers to Truth. Just as one cannot see in the dark or find one's way, neither can he reach his Lord. God says: "Be light, come to Me, attain My mystery," and desires us. Our great Prophet exemplified the meaning of this declaration in his Ascension (the Miraj). Without these lights of truth, in the darkness of our ignorance, how could we find the way to our Lord and be worthy of His Pleasure?
Therefore, these agreeable traits and characteristics are what is valuable, whether at the stage of general Law, or of mystical schools (conscience), or of attaining Reality (love).
Without them, a person cannot be worthy of his Lord, no matter whether he is a prophet or a madman. This is the secret of the Four Books and the Hundred Pages revealed to the various Prophets. These eight principles are the sources of life for humanity and human conscience that bestow happiness, peace and joy.
All the virtues and merits in the world are encompassed by these traits. This is why they have been called the eight gates of Heaven. Those who possess them live in Paradise even while in this world.
As for the seven circles of Hell, the following are the traits that open their gates:
All the evil traits and manners in the world are, in turn, contained in these. No matter what or who he is or how true he may appear to be, these are the characteristics that lie close to a person's heart if he does not acknowledge goodness, beauty and truth. It makes no difference if he never raises his head from prostration. Being human and being a Moslem are both possible only by relying on Truth. Islam cannot be attained by following the lead of one's caprice, by being carried away by one's ego, by exhibitionism or by fishing for other people's praise. One will then have opened the gates of the seven Hells, pride, rebellion and downfall.
Note, however, that there are eight Heavens as opposed to only seven Hells. This is because God Almighty has said: "My Mercy encompasses (is greater than) My Wrath." Indeed in Islam, "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful" precedes everything. No matter how great one's sins, they are swept away in a torrent of Divine Compassion and Mercy, provided one resolves to rectify one's ways in accordance with the Law. The opportunity for absolution is always there, and never far away.
For the secret of religion is love.
SUBLIME SECRETS OF THE NAMING
The Naming is to recite the Formula: “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” Please read the following with care.
It can be seen that, after a brief stay in this world, having lived days of bliss and sorrow, we are taken out of it without being asked and delivered into the Hereafter. Like it or not, we have to give up our places and make way for newcomers. Such is the plan of the Almighty, the law of creation: whoever comes, goes. Whoever is born, dies.
In between, however, there is an art to living and dying: to know God, to affirm his great Prophet, to recognize the rights of human beings, to show affection to God’s creatures, to leave behind a pleasant echo and some benefit for posterity—and then to depart.
For this reason, the wise have said:
“Conceited one: don’t settle in this world. Don’t wander around in ignorance. The earth you step on once was either the cheek of a beloved or the belly of a world-famous hero. Don’t think your business in this world ends with family, food, and work. Enter into true humanity. Prepare two wings that will fly your spirit on the path to its true goal: the Lord Almighty. Those wings are called faith and work.”
Now, let us pause with respect and humility in the presence of the following sacred verse:
“We have honored human beings” (17:70).
Yes, let us understand how the “crown of wonder” has been bestowed on humanity, how the Real has blessed us. Let’s not allow our lives as humans to go to waste, nor idolize cruelty. Instead, let us recognize our worth.
Indeed, the human being is a fruit of the tree that is the cosmos: its most inclusive, finest, most refined fruit.
God has created all beings through love. Among these, Man is a creature of great worth, aware of the divine secrets of the Supreme Artist, created with the aptitude to be worthy of His glorious attributes. He is endowed with All-comprehensiveness. No other being has been blessed with this rank. Of all beings, Man is the one created last, as the elect and essence of creation.
God is beyond events and comprehension. Everything stands with the support of His Everlasting Essence. He makes the one many and the many, one. He exists with His being, is surrounded by His Attributes, known by His Names, manifested in His Actions, and apparent in His works.
God loved—desired—to be known. He stood on the battlefield of water and clay which constitute man’s nature, and fashioned a mirror of earth for Himself. Therein, He manifested the reflection of all His attributes. He made man a divine representative on Earth. He willed that every truth in the universe be present in the human. The Supreme Artist informed man of the labels on his artworks, thus giving him the Divine Names. In short, Man became the reflective surface of the mirror that is the universe, and the spirit of all these forms of being. Just as the pleasure of vision resides in the eye’s pupil, Man became a pleasure to behold for the rest of created beings.
But Man was divided into two: Perfect, and Imperfect.
Although both were the recipients of the All-Comprehensive Name of God (namely Allah), Perfect Humans chose the path of purification, emptied themselves in the Real, and returned to their wellspring, their Source. They understood that the existence of all creatures was temporary, and hence these were “real” only in a relative sense. They stripped themselves of all such false beings, dedicated themselves to God, and became exalted partakers. These were called “worshipers of the Real.”
The other class of humanity put their trust in imagined beings and worshiped themselves. They were unable to recognize their own worth. They said: “I exist,” setting themselves up in opposition to God’s being, and were called “self-worshipers.” Disillusionment became their lot.
With his radiance, the Perfect Human became part of the Treasury of Light, and also the master of Satan, whose nature is the Fire. And imperfect man, with his fire, became part of the world of fire. Instead of becoming the master of the devil, who was created of fire, he became his slave.
Now, there you have it. This world is a sowing field, the next world the harvest—and heaven and hell, a granary each.
So, do you wish to learn the truth of everything, to live in peace, to find happiness in this world and the next? Seek awareness, seek cleanliness, embrace the Koran, and find the answer to all your hardships in the solutions it provides.
Start each and every action in the name of God. Recite His name: receive by His name, give by His name, do everything by His name—for the Door of the Almighty opens with the Divine Names.
Yet, among those names is also the Destroyer (al-Qahhaar). It overwhelms anyone who is vain, and heedless of the reason why we come and go. Conceit in a servant violates the true nature of servanthood. And whoever leaves his true nature behind tires himself, ending up in oblivion. Instead of being vain, humble yourself before God, that you may be exalted among people. The more you decrease yourself, the faster you return to your Source.
Try to discover the sweetness within the Naming, taste the goodness of the names you recite—“God,” “the Compassionate,” “the Merciful.” Then you will comprehend that His Mercy exceeds His Wrath.
Recite the Naming at the beginning of every task. Inspect the outcome of any venture that doesn’t start with the Naming, and observe how it only ends in deprivation. If you desire an example from history, consider the lives of Pharaoh and Moses.
In this stage that is the world, Pharaoh abandoned God’s name, did many things in his own name, had many innocent children strangled, but finally himself choked on the darkness and thickness of his oppression. “Oh, no,” he said, but it was too late. He was extinguished.
In contrast, Moses also came into this world, but he started with God’s name, and opened the path to deliverance. His work being done, he too departed for Eternity. But his voice is still heard here, millions follow him and mention his name with respect.
Then there was Nimrod. He established his reign on earth, relied on his dominion, did many things without mentioning God’s name, strangled people, and finally perished.
Opposed to him, Abraham the Friend of God also came into existence. But what things he accomplished in God’s name! He, too, finally passed away. But for thousands of years, his name is mentioned in praise by millions of human beings. In each of the Five Daily Prayers, millions of Moslems mention the name of Abraham, the Friend of God, together with that of Mohammed, the Beloved of God, in the Divine Presence.
Then again, there was Abu Jahl—the Father of Ignorance. He trusted his false being, at one time he had his own followers, he rebelled against truth, he did many unseemly things.
Against him, the eternal pride of humanity, the Prophet Mohammed, came down and honored this world with his presence. When he raised the Word of Unity (“There is no god but God, Mohammed is His Prophet”) from Mount Hira, he was all by himself. Not only civilisations and societies, but even his kinsmen were against him. But he started out with the Name of God.
During the Battle of the Ditch, they encountered a hard rock while digging which refused to budge. Repeating the name of God, Mohammed shattered the rock with his pick-axe. The sparks that flew gave good news of future success for his Community, amazing them all. And that is what happened. In a short time, the Godless bowed their heads, were put to shame and rendered mute.
Rising from a climate that scorches human beings, the sun of Mohammedan Truth radiated everywhere, ended idolatry, and soon reached India. It overcame Hinduism and Buddhism, it removed Christian sovereignty in the East. Zoroastrianism fell in Iran, Spain had a new owner, the Eastern Empire of Rome was ended. Thus, the miracle of the Koran was seen in world events, as it ever will be. It was always Mohammed’s word that came true, his predictions that were realized. And finally, it became crystal clear that both those who obey the Koran and those who don’t are judged by the Koran’s rules. Millions lived and still live infatuated with Mohammed and his miracle, the Koran.
Even though Islam doesn’t have a missionary organization or a treasure vault, those who love Mohammed are on the increase. Today, thousands of Moslems in Japan and England say: “There is no god but God, Mohammed is His Prophet.” In the West, many European scholars publish papers upholding Mohammed’s rights. The Koran is recited on radio and TV, the sound of the Koran is broadcast to the universe. Millions who never saw the face of that great Prophet, who never listened to the sentences issuing from his blessed mouth, love him more than their selves and regard him as the light of their lives. If it were known for certain that an article or even a piece of rag once belonged to Mohammed, there are devotees who would willingly pay millions for its possession.
Isn’t this the greatest proof that a task begun in the name of God delivers results?
The Naming, therefore, is the beginning of all that is good and beneficial. These sacred words are the sign of Islam—indeed, of creation itself. In the language of their very being, all things constantly repeat: “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” To one who has tasted the sweet grace that flows from “the Merciful,” the distance between Heaven and Earth is but a mosquito’s wingspan. If you enter the service of this Name, you forget both this world and the next. Kings in their palaces admire the hut bathed in the light of this sun. The riches of this world mean nothing to one who drinks a drop from the fountain of this name. The sun of bliss, rising under the sign of good fortune, shines in such a person’s heart. Such hearts have become the precincts of the Sacred House, the Kaaba. The names of God in the Naming are so potent that with them, Jesus revived the dead and healed the sick. With them, Abraham transmuted Nimrod’s fire into light. And it was with these names that the Prophet’s finger split the moon.
Glory be to God, the deathless, the unwaning, the invincible. If one acts in His name and under His divine command, what can one not achieve? And to actualize this, there is no fee, no obligation, no difficulty and no trouble. If this is so, why not say “God”?
Know this for a fact: every particle in the universe seeks Him, and all things move by His name. Every seed carries the huge weight of the tree above it, thanks to His name. If it did not invoke His name, could its branches spread themselves out and yield fruit? Could a tender shoot, finer than cigarette paper and more gentle than silk, split with its root the soil and the rock that a hoe can’t break, unless by invoking His name? God cooled the raging fire of Nimrod so that it wouldn’t burn Abraham by ordering it: “Fire, be cool and harmless” (21:69). Likewise, the hard is rendered soft by the invocation of His name.
Again, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” produces milk in the animals that sustain us—it is offered us under the name of Compassion. Thus all things, in the language of their being, recite “In the name of God”—His name is our benefactor. Since this is so, let us, too, invoke the Naming, give by it and take by it. We should consider all blessings to be the Mercy, power, gift, and good news of God, who is the One and the All-Sufficient.
Suppose a philanthropist sent us a gift, delivered to us by a servant. We would be pleased, wouldn’t we? But even as we lavish our thanks on the servant, we should not be oblivious of the real sender. Don’t just praise the outward form of a blessing, and befriend only that. It is its true Author whom we are beholden to.
Our true Benefactor expects three things of us:
- Remembrance. This is achieved through repeating “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.”
- Gratitude. This is achieved through His praise.
- Thought. This is achieved by contemplating the gifts and wondrous power of the Compassionate.
Rather than living a life without God, let us make room for faith. Even those who don’t believe in God are eventually compelled to do so. Those who recite His name before the curtain is lifted from this life and they lose their say in the matter—those are the wise ones.
Do you imagine that those who don’t believe in Him fail to praise Him? Take note of this divine rule: “There is nothing that does not praise Him with gratitude” (17:44). Such is the power of the Almighty that He manifests His name with each and every breath one takes. Not affirming Him is no option: by breathing you are praising Him, the subdued sounds of breathing are none other than His names. Your inhalation is His name of Life (Hayy), your exhalation is His name “He” (Hu). This is what constitutes your breathing, and only a stubborn fool refuses to breath—but not for long.
Besides, faith gives one peace, it lets one taste the truth, the pleasure of everything. Unbelief leads to sorrow.
In the eyes of an unbeliever, this world is a house of mourning. The faithful await the joyous day of discharge from this world, the faithless confuse laughter with tears and discharge with court-martial. In their view, man is a creature torn apart by the claws of death. All other creatures are corpses devoid of spirit. In short, the faithless are always in distress. The atheist trembles as he ticks off the days on the calendar: “I am headed towards oblivion, I am sliding into nothingness.” Whereas the believer checks each day with anticipation: “I will soon be discharged, I will go to meet my Essence. I walk towards Eternity.”
The believer recognizes God, says “God,” affirms Him in all servanthood. He says: “There is no particle apart from God,” respects His law, recognizes people as the family of God. In his sight, this world is an abode for invoking the Compassionate, a training place and testing ground for human beings, and all deaths are a discharge and an end to work.
Those who finish their life’s work properly leave this mortal world happy and free of troubles, so that a new shift can come in and start work. “God—there is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting” (2:255). In His dominion, all births are an enlistment, all a call to duty.
Consider two people. One of these looks at the universe and ponders it, seeing that in this Grand Book, there is nothing out of place, nothing can happen by coincidence. S/he sees that this universe is a printing press, not the printer, an embroidery not the embroiderer, the deed and not the doer, the moved rather than the mover. S/he perceives, therefore, that there is a Power above and independent of all things on whom s/he always depends. That in this cosmos created with His wisdom, s/he cannot be left to drift aimlessly, forgotten. That everybody in possession of their senses will one day be held to account by the Owner of all Being for their words, deeds and ways. S/he comprehends that hence, good deeds will be rewarded and evil will be punished. And to those who do not comprehend, s/he says: “Don’t tire yourself. Just consider how the reproductive organs of a couple can come about by coincidence. Ponder this and face up to it that He exists.”
The other, on the road to oblivion, says: “Time gives, time takes away. This universe is the result of blind chance. There is no creator and no God, man is an animal that has evolved. Good, evil, heaven, hell—these are all empty words, emotional expletives. When you can satisfy your selfish pleasures, your animal passions in this world, that’s heaven. When you’re deprived of animal pleasures, that’s hell.”
Now of these two, which do you think would serve humankind better? Which would be of greater service to society? Which of them would be more willing to serve his country, its religion, tradition and culture? Which would be willing to risk his life?
The one with faith, of course, right?
The heart of the faithful is instilled with love and longing for his Essence. He says, “If I’m vanquished, the Lord Himself will be my prize. If I live, all my sins will be forgiven because I am prepared to pay the price.” The unbeliever beats his chest: “I’m still young, I haven’t yet tasted all the pleasures that are my due.”
In short, whereas all beings are the submissive servants, friendly functionaries, and appealing books of the Compassionate in the sight of the faithful, they are nothing in the sight of the nay-sayer. For all sublime, rapturous truths are born of faith. If the seed of faith is present in one, the fruit of happiness and earnestness will grow from it. One will be granted the highest strength. Sincerity lifts the heaviest weight, it overcomes every devil it encounters, poisons hypocrisy, and lets the spring of obedience flow unpolluted. Just as sincerity is the fruit of belief, so is knowledge. For this reason, faith is the enemy of ignorance.
Islam is the religion of Unification. It is, therefore, the marrow of knowledge and gnosis (God-knowledge). It is all good and purely good, it is opposed to ignorance, and ignorance is one quality God doesn’t like at all.
Islam describes this world as a body, and man as the spirit of that body. Without the religion of Truth, this world would be a dungeon. So let us understand the Word of Unity that liberates the spirit of humanity from darkness, and taste the pleasure of saying God. Let our hearts begin to beat with His love.
Again, faith gives us good morals, which give us good thoughts, which in turn show us the silver lining to everything. It explains the most delicate aspects of Divine rule. It makes us contemplate the manifestations of the All-Powerful upon the universe. Faith reveals that the key to the secret of creation is in the enlightenment inspired by the words of praise: “There is no god but God.”
Behold the universe, behold the power of God, who has made the sun a small lamp to light a room out of billions of rooms in countless billions of palaces. Watch the way spring issues forth, how the Eternal Embroiderer flips a white page in winter and a green page in spring and summer. Then recite His name.
Air is needed by the body, “He” (Hu) is needed by the soul. Since it is a fact that we breathe, why not experience the pleasure of this process? Behold the power of the Almighty. Again, proclaim the Naming.
The religion of Islam has come, not so that we should take leave of our minds nor to extinguish the light of human nature, but so that we may recognize the light in both, and as their support and guidance. It provides rest for the heart and light for the eye.
God, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, provides us with countless blessings that give us sustenance and strength. But what is His aim? What does He want from us? Don’t you ever wonder? Curiosity and wonder: these are the most essential response to the riddle of existence. And they would be the fuel of our ascent to our Essence, if not for our plugged ears and veiled eyes.
Therefore, let us listen carefully to what He says:
“Human being, you can’t take your eyes off your graying hair. You have no say in when you come into this world or when you will leave. You were without name or form, nobody knew you, you were but a mote in My knowledge. I endowed you with worth, I placed you on the pinnacle of all creation. I brought you into being as a human, not as some lowly creature, but ‘in the fairest of statures’ (95:4). I loved you and exalted you. What ill have I done to you, that you now rise in defiance of Me? The sun, the stars, the planets, all heed my call. Where is your support when you set yourself against Me?”
Those who reject the Truth should realize that there can be no benefit, material or spiritual, in its denial. One can only come to ruin. Knowledge leads one to affirm God, ignorance leads to rejection.
Consider the following:
- The Great Book, namely the Koran—the Book of the Universe.
- The Book that Speaks—namely, the Prophet himself.
You must explore the depths of both books. They are not just books for the dead, to be intoned solemnly after the dear departed. Rather, their dominion is of the living. The melodious tones of Koranic recitation are fine, but it is the meaning of the words that will inspire the soul and teach us how to become truly human.
In the loftiness of his morals, the Noble Prophet was a role model for us. The Koran introduces us to the Prophet, who introduced us to what it means to be human. The Koran proclaims that human beings are together in creation and are brethren in reality. It addresses the spirit, it provides subjects for the sciences and models for the arts. It teaches that right makes might, not the other way around. Its goal is virtue, not self-interest. Life is not strife, but mutual aid. The pointer of that book indicates that “what is with a man is only his labor” (53:39). It exhorts us to always be stronger than our enemy. Its first command is: “Read.” It wishes for us all to live without shame in society.
It tells us that God’s attribute of Mercy races to overcome our sins. It calls for the elimination of harm, not the pursuit of self-interest. It says: “Don’t be afraid of poverty. Neither should you shun wealth.” It warns: “Contentment with oppression is itself oppression. Fire will engulf those who favor the cruel even slightly.” It demands valiant deeds, not contemptible fawning. It tells us that the sense of shame is kept alive by calling oneself to account.
It calls us to “See what is,” and to contemplation. Yes, knowing and thinking are two different things. If people gave thought, would any evil survive? The diseases of greed, avarice, conceit, hate and enmity would all be cured.
That Book reaches out to anyone in distress. It gives the highest rank to those who show the greatest respect for God and the greatest compassion for His creatures. It proclaims that the highest station is the station of Love.
It tells you that when your loved ones deliver you one day into a hole in the ground in a coffin called “the sum of your deeds” and turn their backs on you, God alone will turn towards you and offer you relief.
Just as a heavy rain makes us drowsy after a while, the fast pace of our lives lulls us into the sleep of heedlessness. Don’t fall asleep, get moving. Open your eyes.
Just as the Almighty grants a baby its senses after it begins to move in its mother’s womb, you too should begin to move in your prison and come to your senses. If the Eye of the Heart stays blind in this world, so will it remain in the next. Don’t be oblivious, live in Truth.
The nourishment of life is good morals. Morality is born of the sacred, the sacred is attained by faith in God, and faith in God comes with religion. Religion is the trainer of conscience. It is the mother of morality.
Expand the cage of the body in which your spirit is trapped with knowledge and wisdom. If the bulb is all black, the light won’t shine. And for those sunk in heedlessness, darkness and light are the same. Don’t be like that. As the scissors of night and day open and close, the cloth of your life is carved up each day. Pull yourself together. If you just make your head a lunch box, your heart won’t have joy or wisdom. Don’t let the honor of humanity fall to the ground. Find a way to meet your Maker free of blame, without sullying your human dress, without darkening it with sins.
Don’t fall into darkness with cruelty, don’t depart in unbelief, don’t be cursed for your cruelty, don’t aid oppressors, don’t break a heart—rather, save a ruined heart. This kind of property is much better than the palaces, mansions and apartments of this world. The pearl of great price is in a broken heart, not in any king’s treasury. Just as a drop of water in one’s face ruins a good sleep, a teardrop shed out of oppression and cruelty can burn up a world.
First, you must remove the veil that keeps you from the Truth. Know yourself, and you will know your Lord.
Now, after all this, if you come across people who want to slay your heart with worldly over-indulgence. Who show you a honey-sweet form while masking the poison within. Perverts and perverters, who wish to lead you into denial and confusion. When you encounter one of these, without tiring yourself or overstating your case, simply say:
“With so much grandeur as God’s proof against you, you’re out of luck. To prove your case, you must first kill death. Remove mortality from this world. Destroy poverty and destitution. Shut the door on suffering. When you’ve achieved these, come back, and we can have another talk. Otherwise, keep your silence. The Koran is being recited in the whole world—lend an ear to it. Let’s enlighten ourselves with its light and reach salvation. Let’s recite it ourselves.
“Time is short, events are ever pressing—let’s say His blessed Name, now.”
VIRTUES OF THE BELOVED
PROPHET OF GOD
Sacred Verse (from the Koran):
·We sent you a Messenger from among you, to recite Our verses, to purify you, to teach you the Book and the Wisdom, and to teach you what you didn’t know.(2:151)
Tradition (Saying of the Prophet):
·I am a prophet, sent to you by God. God sent me so that I should proclaim the Divine Law and explain the Verses revealed to you.
Due to His grace and generosity, the Great Lord gives good news that He has sent a representative to purify polluted and corrupted souls within the framework of Islam, to restore the fallen honor of humanity, and to explain the inward (esoteric) and outward (exoteric) meanings of His divine injunctions.
Our Lord, grant that we, your servants, may be able to worship You and invoke Your name in a way that will please You and Your Prophet. Amen.
·Say: “If you love God, follow me, and God will love you and forgive your sins. God is Forgiving and Merciful. (3:31)
·What I prohibit is the same as what God has prohibited.
·Whoever follows me is of me. Whoever turns away from my Way is not of me.
·Whoever puts my Way into practice, God surely places in Paradise.
Loving God’s Beloved (the Prophet) and obeying him is the surest way of attaining God’s mercy and forgiveness, of realizing obedience to and love for our Dear Lord in the most complete way. Evoking God’s love in response to our love for Him is possible by living in accordance with the Divine Law.
Our Lord, forgive us with Your mercy, treat us with Your blessings and generosity. Grant that we may be of Your servants whom You forgive and cause to be forgiven, whom You love and cause to be loved, whom You wish well, whom You cleanse and purify in your ocean of mercy. Amen.
·Obey God and the Messenger, that you may find mercy. (3:132)
·Whoever obeys God and His Messenger, He will place them in gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever. That is the great liberation. (4:13)
·Show mercy for those on Earth, that those in Heaven may show mercy for you.
·At a time of discord in my Community, the one who clings fast to my Way has the merit of a hundred martyrs.
·Obeying me is the same as obeying God, and rebelling against me is the same as rebelling against God.
Regarding precepts that organize social and personal life, God considers obedience to His Prophet equal to obedience to Himself, and makes this a condition for divine mercy.
Dear Lord, Yours is the will, the wish, and the command. For You are One, Singular, All-Sufficient. Only what You say comes to pass. Your mercy alone protects us. Have mercy on us. Place us among those who receive the intercession of Your Beloved (Prophet), those who walk the radiant path of Islam and persevere on that path, who obey You and Your Beloved (Prophet).Forgive us for the sake of your Beloved (Prophet). Amen.
·Your true friend is only God and His Messenger. (5:55)
·I am the true friend of the believers.
Whereas God and His Beloved have declared themselves our true friends, how much longer do we intend to pursue false, fleeting friendships? How can one trust the friendship of those who reject the friendship of the Creator and the Teacher of the Universe? True friendship can occur only among those who take God and His Prophet as true friends.
Dear Lord, make us of those who count God and His Prophet as true friends, and are together with Their friends in both this world and the next. Amen.
·Obey God and His Messenger, do not quarrel with each other. Or else you will lose courage and fall weak. Be patient, for God is with the patient. (8:46)
·My Community will fall in among themselves in the future. God will cause the bad among them to pester the good.
All the problems of humanity can be solved only if human beings agree on obedience and submission to God and His Prophet, and walk that radiant Straight Path. That is the only salvation.
Dear Lord, please remove all enmity, hate, discord, jealousy and division among the Community of Mohammed and among humanity in general. For the love of Your Beloved, and with your blessings and generosity, create love, tolerance and unity among us. Amen.
·A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is grievous to him. He is anxious over you, gentle to the believers, and compassionate. (9:128)
·During a part of the night, keep vigil and perform extra (supererogatory) Prayers. Perhaps thus, your Lord will raise you to the Station of Praise. (17:79)
·We did not send you, (Mohammed,) except as a mercy to the worlds. (21:107)
·God is loving-kind, he loves loving-kindness. He rewards what is done with loving-kindness in a way He doesn’t reward what is done with violence.
·With the permission of my Lord, I shall intercede for anyone with faith the size of a (tiny) mustard-seed in their heart.
Our Prophet, the reason for being of the universe, is more distressed than a mother when a member of his Community faces hardship in this life or the next. On Judgment Day, he will use his power of intercession especially for Moslems who have waded deeply into sin. The reason that the Teacher of the Universe is “a mercy to the worlds” is because he has shown humanity the one path to salvation. That great Prophet emphasizes that differences of society, geography, race and gender are trivial, and invites all humankind to unite in the consciousness of being a servant of the Creator and of belonging to the Community of His Beloved.
Those who turn a deaf ear to this call have been condemning themselves, and the societies they drag behind them on selfish paths, to live in suffering for centuries.
·Surely you (Mohammed) are upon a mighty morality. (68:4)
·The Prophet is nearer to the believers than their selves. His wives are their mothers. (33:6)
·Those who offend God and His Messenger—God has cursed them in this world and the world to come, and has prepared for them a humbling chastisement. (33:57)
·People of the Prophet’s Household, God wishes to remove all flaws from you and to purify you completely. (33:33)
·The Emigrants and their Helpers, and those who follow them in doing good—God is well-pleased with them and they, well-pleased with Him. For them, God has prepared gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will dwell forever. That is the great liberation. (9:100)
·God and His angels pronounce blessings on the Prophet. You too, believers, pronounce blessings on him and wish peace upon him. (Exalt his glory and wish him well.) (33:56)
·I leave you two things: the Book of God and the People of my Household. If you follow them, you will never go astray.
·I was sent only to show and teach you the best of conduct.
·In terms of faith, the best of you is the one with the most charming morality.
·Who does not pity our children or respect our elderly is not of us.
·I swear to God that true faith does not form in the heart of anyone who does not love the People of my House.
·Loving the People of my House causes one to easily cross the Bridge to Paradise that passes over Hell.
·My Companions are like the stars in the sky. No matter which one you follow, you will find right guidance.
·Whoever pronounces blessings on my name once, God blesses him ten times, forgives ten of his sins, elevates his station ten times.
The Lord Almighty declares to his servants that the most important requirement for pleasing Him is to love His Beloved, and the Prophet’s Household and Companions. Islam is rooted in love and affection. In order to live it properly, one has to love the Beloved of God more than all other things—indeed, more than oneself. The most important reason for our recurring material and spiritual crises is the lack of love and affection in our hearts. Our Lord loves and tells us to love that Grand Threesome. Whoever fails to do so cannot properly love his mother, father, children, country, Moslem brethren, or human beings.
Dear Lord, make us of those who love Your Beloved, his Family, his Companions, and cause them to be loved, in a way that pleases You. Please place Their love and respect in the hearts of all your servants. For Their sake and the sake of the saints who follow Them, save humanity from all its troubles. Amen.