The following, and several other things here come from www.Bektashi.net, which is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the Bektashi way.
“Words are so insufficient for expressing hidden realities,” Baba Salih explained. “Human beings have many different capacities for understanding. It is even difficult to translate from one language to another the simplest thought. For that reason the wise the have always preferred to communicate with metaphors and symbols.
Look at this headdress that our dervishes wear. The layman only sees white lines on a white felt cap, but we know what these lines indicate. There are four around the base of our headdress: they symbolize the “four gates”, the external law (Shari’at), the mystic path (Tariqat), knowledge (Ma’rifat), and Reality (Haqiqat). It is through these four gates that one enters the veiled world. This number also represents the four types of people which go through these doors. The twelve strips radiating out from the central button represents the Twelve Imams and the twelve major Sufi orders."
“The first door, which is the Shari’at, corresponds to the devotee and its element in nature is that of air,” continued Baba Salih. “The door of Tariqat corresponds to the austere and its element in nature is that of fire. The door of Ma’rifat corresponds to the devotee and its element in nature is that of water. Finally the fourth is that of Haqiqat (Reality). Those who enter this door are the true lovers; its cosmic element is the earth. When there is an amalgamation of these four gates in a human being, that individual is called the Perfect Man (Insan-i Kamil). The great saint Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi spoke of the Perfect Man as being a reflection of Reality. When Allah wanted to demonstrate His Attributes, He created a being through which the Divine conscience could express itself. We are like trees in a sense, for the greatest elm is contained in the smallest of seeds. Human beings carry within themselves the microcosm of creation, and the ability to reach their perfection. Gaybi Baba once wrote:
Creation is a tree, Humanity is its fruit. The intention is the fruit, Do not think it is the tree!
"Thus the Perfect Man links Unity with Multiplicity. Creation depends on his existence. That’s why our Master Kaygusuz Sultan said:
Do not look at the Saint unseemly, He is one of those which control the world. By the Divine Reality has he been sent. To guide His slaves in this world. He guides to the right way that whim he wills. Curses and blessings are in his hand. You think that he is a man like me you,
The Saint becomes the Secret, The supreme secret is in his hand. I read it, and I understood it. The rule of the world is in the hand of the Perfect Man.
Yes, my friend, it is necessary to enter by the four doors. It is necessary to link the four into one. How can you reach this bridge the width of a hair which leads of the vastness of nothingness, the vastness of Divine Oneness any other way? It is necessary to become complete through the unity of body and the heart and through the Perfect Man to link yourself with the Divine Oneness.”
“All of our efforts on this Path contribute to the negation of the selfish ego which prevents all human beings from approaching Allah. Modesty and renouncement of the world are the instruments for this; the goal is union with our Source. And renouncement such as we understand it is threefold: renouncement of this world, renouncement of next world, and renouncement of speaking falsehoods….
Who is true will be saved; who has a heart of glass will be broken! In each time there appears the living Imam, the saint, a descendant of Ali or of another. He is the Mahdi, the one guided by God; He is the Hadi, the guide to truth. O learner of the way! He is concealed and yet at the same time he is sitting in front of your face! He is the Light, and reason is the angel of revelation.”
I say to you this: there is no real dervish in this world. If there is one, he is in reality non-existent. There exists his bodily essence, but his ego has vanished. All of his power is from Hu. It is like the flame of a candle burning in the sunlight: it exists and yet it does not exist. Its essence exists and you cannot say it’s not there, yet in reality, it is nonexistent because it does not give any light, since the sunlight absorbs it all.
Nonetheless the first steps on this road are not easy. If you decide to enter this Path to God, in your heart Satan will cry out, ‘Where are you going O wretched one, O drifter? You will be a victim of hardship, you will be ignored, you friends will laugh at you, you will be like a stranger, and you will not fit in anywhere!” Through fear of all that you will supposedly loose you will say, ‘Very well! Tomorrow then, or the next day I’ll set out on this path. There will be plenty of time to think about religion.’
You put up a scale to weigh all the bad deeds. You intend to throw me in fire. The scale is necessary for grocers. The jeweller and the perfumer need a balance too. You, You know all - Yourself, You know my heart. Why do you need to weigh my acts?
“If something hinders you on the way, it presents the same danger whether that thing be unbelief or faith. Everything which keeps you away from your lover what matters if it is beautiful or ugly? If somebody has turned his glance towards Reality, it is a shame for him to turn back. Dear friend! To know the secrets of the Path, there is but one way: enter and see!”
Hu, Dost! This is my way of saying thank you for all of the gifts that my teacher, Sherif Baba, has given all of us.
I love the Ahl-ul Beyt, but I am not Shi'a, at least not in the usual sense. I love the Alevi way, but I am a mainstream practicing Muslim (or, at least, trying to be one). I love Mevlana, but I'm not a Mevlevi. I love some teachers who may or may not be very shari'ah adherent, but can open hearts. Several that I love most are practicing Muslims, but not all of their students are. I've even seen one or two Salafis who are dripping with the Nur of Allah. As a Bektashi Baba once said, if we find something useful, we embrace it. I'm a liberal, but practicing Muslim, and I believe that anyone who is showing us Compassion and Mercy is showing us the way of Islam.
May we all become beautiful human beings, insha'Allah! ;)
This is really putting up some things I put together for myself about my shaykh and our path-- a friend suggested that it might be helpful for some other people as well. I thought while I was at it, I might as well add some music links along the way. Because this began for my own personal use, I have no idea where some of these pictures and quotes came from, so I apologize for putting them up without citation. I make no claim that all of this is my own. I'm simply trying to share a beautiful vision of God and humanity that I have learned about from Sherif Baba and also some inspirations from the Alevi/Bektashi tradition of Turkey, with whom Rifa'i Marufi shares many principles. Let me make it clear that I am not myself a Bektashi, though I love their path. My connection is to the Rifa'i. I hope you enjoy this offering and that these things will inspire you as much as they have inspired me.