Sherif Baba: Sohbets on the Esma el-Husna (99 Names)
Jemil Allah Jemil Allah Hu. The esma, attribute, of Jemil reflects the beauty of Allah. The esma of Jemil is manifest in people as Jemal. We are going to try to do tefekkur of this beautiful Name of Allah. "Allah is beautiful and loves the beautiful." Allah created the universe with beauty. He created all beauties for humanity. The sun, the moon, everything that we see He created for people to live beautifully, and He is giving good energy through all of it. If people know how to use this well, then they will find this beauty, and they will beautify their lives. If they are not able to find this beauty, then this beauty in them will become negative, and this example of paradise, this life, will turn into fire. Allah did not create anything bad. He created everything as good and beautiful. He has given everything to the service of humanity. There is not one thing that will serve else as humanity. Everything that is done, everything that we see, is serving humanity. If we see these truths, these realities, then we will walk towards the Reality, and we will find beauty. We are all dependent upon this beauty. Allah created the universe with His ashk, Divine love, and through the esmas of Jemil and Jelil this is reflected onto humanity. People are living with this ashk. Everything of beauty comes with this ashk. That's why the greatest key is ashk. It opens the hearts of people, who opens the door of Paradise. How can this be lived? There is a discipline involved. There is a system involved. To learn this system comes with learning good ahlak, behavior or conduct. Everything that Allah has created is tied to this system. If something is missing in our ahlak, then we will find the beauty with difficulty. We are always inside of this beauty, but we are not able to find it. Let's say that this room became dark, and there's no light. There's only one key that you have lost, but you can't find it. Whenever you turn on the light, you will find the key. This beauty has been created, and we are living inside of it, but we can't find it because it's dark. Living with good ahlak enlightens this darkness. Humbleness, sincerity and service to humankind come in the beginning of good ahlak. When these are lived with correctness, as a present from Allah, the ashk will come into our hearts. When this ashk comes, then we are in possession of all beauty. That's why in the hadith that we read at the beginning, Allah says "I am beautiful and love the beautiful." This beauty is not physical. The ones who ties themselves to and are walking on the spiritual path in possession of good ahlak--they are the beauty. If we people can tie to each other with our hearts, and if there's no badness in our thoughts, then Allah will show us this beauty. Let us keep our thoughts clean and let our love live. Let us never be prideful, let us not feel bigger, greater. Greatness belongs to Allah. The One who created everything is Allah. Beauty belongs to Allah. Allah is beautiful. We are going to try to find this beauty, and when we find it, then we ourselves will become more beautiful, and our surroundings will become more beautiful. Our world will become more beautiful. How is this going to happen? We are not alone. There are millions of angels around us. Their duty is to spread the beauty that we cause to live around the world. You will think something good here, and with this gathering will come to a good and beautiful decision. Some time later, from somewhere else, the beautiful thing that you thought will be brought about. There is no nearness or distance. Everyplace is in the possession of Allah. And the Nur, the Divine light of Allah, is everywhere, and will show this beauty, this goodness. So, let us be three here, let us be five, let us live the goodness and beauty. Let us speak beautifully, let us serve beautifully, and the beautiful energy that will come from this work that we have done will be reflected all over the world. There will be peace in the world, there will be love in the world, and humanity will be lived. Where this is tied together is with the system of good ahlak. We have to learn this. Our path is this path. We have no other path. All of our service is towards goodness and beauty, and to live this good and beautiful ahlak. If people live in this way, then they will be good and beautiful mirrors to each other. Let us leave the badness of the nefs in a corner. This badness will bring us loss. If we put the ashk of Allah in our hearts, all of this badness will turn into goodness. The examples of this have been seen all over the world. A person who knows nothing, a person who is living with negativity, meets someone who is beautiful and good, and has been connected to that person with his heart, and has tried to live that goodness and beauty. By turning into goodness, all of his negativity has given positive energy to the surroundings. For centuries this has been seen. The examples are out in the open. So let us live with beautiful people, listen to beautiful sohbets, discourses, and let us advise each other in beauty, and let us be patient in the face of the events of this life. To become angry and to be stressed will come to us in an instant, but we will not let that live in our hearts. Why? Because if we let that live in our hearts, it will pour negative energy into our bodies. If our intentions are good, what we wish for from Allah is good, and so this goodness and beauty does not allow negativity to live inside or us. For example, an ugly smell that goes into a beautiful place will disappear immediately, and the beautiful smell will rule. If there's a beautiful smell inside of a person, then the negative scent that will come from outside will quickly go away. To find this goodness, this beauty, let us put out thoughts out openly into the meydan, the circle. Let us not live in darkness. Let Allah bring us out into the light. Let Him increase the love in our hearts. Let us be connected to one another. Let us serve each other. As long as there are beautiful thoughts, then Allah will always grace us with beauty and goodness. These beautiful meclis, gatherings, are everywhere in the world, If you are searching for this goodness and beauty, then Allah will show it to you everywhere. Service is from us; the reward is from Allah. If we serve Him, He will help us. However much we work, that is how much we will gain. May the rahmet, the compassion, of Allah be on all of us. We are dependent upon the rahmet of Allah. When we find this goodness and beauty then we will all be brothers and sisters, and Shaitan will not live between us. The being of Shaitan is negative energy, bad thoughts. Otherwise, there is not a being, a person, as such. To not let this negative energy live, let us think well and beautifully. Let us not gossip. Let us not speak behind people's backs. Let us not think badly of anyone. And let us help all people in the way of goodness. If you have money you can help with your money. If you have no money, you can help with beautiful words. To give the gönül, the heart, is the greatest of help. May Allah make us beautiful human beings. We are always saying this, because we are dependent on this beauty. Allah created us beautifully. Let us go there with beauty; let us not go badly. If we go badly, there is no return. We will be stuck as we go. Then, however much goodness that is done in our names will have no benefit to us, because whatever we do, that is what we gain. That's what we took with us when we left. Where are we going to go? We are going to the new world that we are going to create. This world is created here. If we want to live well in that world, then we have to find this goodness and beauty here, and we must take it from here. _____________________________________________________________________________________
Al-Malik: the Absolute Ruler
Allah Malik, Allah Hu. The esma of Malik is one of the 99 attributes. This esma shows that the Creator Allah is the owner of all things that are created. Allah is the only owner of all things. All ruling belongs to Him. The absolute ruler is He. It has created this rule Itself, created it from nothing, and with this ruling, by allowing the beauty to live, It has established His kingdom over all that lives. The real owner of the kingdom is Allah, and the wisdom, the hikmet, of this kingdom is for the beauty of the things that are created. When we say, kingdom, let us not compare it to the kingdoms that people establish here on earth. The kingdom of the creator is different, and the kingdom of the created human being is different. In the kingdom of Allah, there is the goodness and the beauty of everything that He has created, and they all have their responsibilities, and on all of them is the ruling of Allah. And these rulings, with the justice of Allah, with the compassion of Allah, with the generosity of Allah, with the Nur, the divine light, of Allah, is working for the benefit and the goodness of all things created. But in the kingdoms, the sultanates, of people, there are differences. So let's not mix up the kingdom of Allah with the kingdoms of worldly kings. The compassion of Allah has become victorious over all things, and the beauty in His kingdom has created life for human beings. And inside of this light, by listening to his ruling, we are trying to do our servitude to Allah. And so the beauty that befalls us from this esma, this attribute of Malik, is to be owner, ruler, over our own nafs, our soul. In Tassawuf, this is called malik-i-nafs. And how can you be Malik over your nafs? To take possession of your nafs happens with checking yourself. You have to know your actions, you have to know what you speak, you have to know your thoughts, and when you are in possession of yourself, then you can establish the kingdom of your own being, and you will be in possession of your own nafs. Then the ruling that you give will come from your maturity, and will create goodness for everyone, and you will be getting along well with everyone. You will have justice, you will have compassion, you will be generous, you will serve human beings, and you will have then shown that you are in possession of your own nafs, your soul, your ego-self. And so Allah, with His esma of Malik, is letting us know these things. We have to check our nafs, we have to know what we speak, we have to try not to hurt people, and believe me the most difficult thing is to speak with people, because it can be misunderstood, and be misdirected, and then people will go towards their detriment. If a person doesn't check themselves, without being in possession of their nafs, they cannot give other people advice. The advice that they give will bring about their own detriment, and will also be detrimental to the person that they are giving it to. That's why we have to check our nafs, we have to know our surroundings, and be sincere with people. Allah Malik, Allah Hu. Let us know our nafs. If we do not forget that Allah is Malik, then we will be Malik over our own nafs. Now for example, here we are a small gathering, and our Malik, our owner, is Allah, and the owner of this gathering is all of us. We have to be respectful to one another, show love to one another, and not misunderstand what is said to us. If we are saying something to you, if there is something you don't understand, then come and ask us again, because our circle is open, it is not a mistake to bring forth the correctness and truth - we are going to put our thoughts into the middle. In Tassawuf this is called mushareret. Allah says when you are in difficulty, speak with one another, converse, and come to an understanding. So when you hear something, if you want to know if these words have come from me, then come and ask me. Everyone can say something.... but if you wish to believe in Haqiqat, in reality, then come, and ask me. We are always here. And so the esma of Malik of Allah shows ownership, and we, to you, by taking refuge in this characteristic of Allah, by asking in this name of Allah, we wish to be in ownership of our nafs, so we are your owners, and we don't wish for you to fall into a bad state. And however Allah wishes for the goodness of His servants, we wish also for your goodness and beauty. And your goodness and beauty, is our goodness and beauty. Your happiness, is our happiness. If we live in such a way, your sadness is our sadness. Then our hands will be one. Our hearts will be one. Our thoughts will be one. And then we will have proven testimony of one Allah. And where will we have proven this one Allah? In our own understanding, in our own nafs, in our own actions. Everything that we are doing is proving the oneness. So let us try to connect to one another, and live beautifully, with goodness. Let us not let go of love. Our capital is love - we can spend it everywhere, both in this world, and also in the world we are going to. So let us be Malik to one another, let us be in possession of one another, let us protect one another from badness. Amin. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Al-Quddus: the Pure One
Allah Quddus, Allah Hu. The esma of Quddus, one of the esmas of the 99, is a divine attribute which shows the holiness of Allah. It is one of the creative attributes of Allah. Its holiness has come from Its own creative attribute. Allah is far from shortcomings, mistakes, and blemishes. He is not lacking anything. He is far from heedlessness, and is able to do everything, and is pure and clean. This attribute of His, comes from his ulvyet, His exaltedness, His creativeness. This attribute of Quddus shows that everything is holy. Allah is holy, and created everything as mukaddes, holy. The most holy of what Allah has created are the prophets that He has sent, and the four great books that He has sent. These are all a reflection from the attribute of Quddus, and if people follow these, they will find this esma of Quddus in their own bodies, and they will make themselves, mukaddes, holy. How does a person become mukaddes? First of all, comes the cleanliness, ihdikat, the love of Allah, the belief in Allah, the fear of Allah, and to remove the duality in your thinking, and to believe without doubt in one being. If a person is in possession of this ihdikat cleaning, then comes the cleaning of the heart. And how does the heart become cleansed? It is only with the zikr of Allah that the hearts can be cleansed. And after this cleaning comes the cleaning of ibadet, of worship. What is the cleaning of worship? Every endeavor that is done with sincerity, every action that is performed with seriousness, every service that you do as if you see Allah, is the cleaning of worship. Otherwise, to do just the ritual worship as a form of habit, the worship that is performed just because your mother and father did it, and you have seen it, and are doing it just for form - is meaningless. A person has to do this, being in possession of these three forms of cleanliness, thereby benefitting from the esma of Quddus, they will bring their own nafs to perfection. When Allah with His beauty brings perfection to one of His servants, then He will have Himself done the remembrance, the zikr, within that servant, and so when Allah does His zikr from within your being, then you would have praise for the perfection that He has given, and you would have done the tesbih of this, and tesbih means to remember to praise the great attribute of Allah, and then the person will have cleansed his nafs, his soul, and so the attribute will work on the human being. Allah has created everything that He has created with value. We have said this before. Because it is Quddus, it is holy, it is mukaddes, everything that He creates He creates as precious, and gives them his mukaddes-ness, His holiness. And everything that is created does the tesbih - the grass, the trees, the flowers that you see, the animals - they all do the tesbih of the remembrance of Allah. But how do they do this tesbih? Because they have all been created with a value in their creation, and they have all been created to do a most valuable duty, so, performing these duties brings them to perfection. And so everything does the tesbih of Allah. Allah says that everything in the skies and everything in the earth is in the process of doing tesbih of Allah. So something that you see as valueless, is the most valuable thing! But because you cannot see this, you will step on it, crush it, and see it as being without value. But Allah has created nothing without value. If there is cleanliness in your ihdikat, if there is cleanliness in your belief, if you know the attribute of Quddus of Allah, then you are going to see that everything is mukaddes, holy. You cannot see anything as being beneath you, or bad. The holiness of everything is in the being of Allah. Allah has created nothing without value. There is value in everything. I am going to tell a story that is testimony to this. A dervish goes to a bath one day, and as he is washing in the bath, a cockroach falls into the water. The dervish gets angry and throws it away, "Ya Rabb, O Lord, why did you create this dirty thing?" Time passes, and this dervish becomes ill, doctors, remedies, medications - nothing helps. He is about to die. His lungs have begun to dry out. Then one day this crone came, one with great experience, and made him a remedy. "I'm going to give you a remedy," she said, "If you do this, then your lungs will find life and you will be saved." Now the man is about to die, so whatever they say, he'll do. And she says to the man, "You're going to take cockroaches, and you're going to dry them, you're going to powder them up, and every morning you're going to eat one spoon of this with a glass of water. Will you do this?" The man is about to die! Whatever you say, he will agree to. And so he does it, and his eyes open. He finds life, and he becomes strong. Now why did I tell this story? This cockroach that he saw as having no value, see what kind of value it brought about! So Allah, with his attribute of Quddus, has created everything as mukaddes, as holy. Don't see anything as beneath you. Don't see anything as bad. In everything there is a goodness. For example, these roses, here, when they are on their bush, what condition are they in, and when they are brought here, what condition are they in? When it is on its bush, it is quite alive and giving a beautiful smell, and beautifying its life from day to day. When it is on its branch it is doing the tesbih of Allah. Now we put it here, to allow this beauty to be lived, we are putting water in the glass, so that it may find life, because we give it value. And everything is like this. Let us see everything as precious, and give it value. And as we said, at the head of all of these precious creations come the prophets, and the holy books, and the pirs, the evliyas, the friends of Allah, the murshids, that allow this holy path to continue. And so that brings the taktes, the perfection, through this esma of Quddus, of holiness. And how do they bring this Quddus to you? After you have done the accounting of your nafs, of your soul, when you are in possession of good ahlak, they will see this goodness and beauty in you, and with the esma of Quddus of Allah, they will do taktes of you, and every breath, every action, will be tesbih of Allah. So this esma of Quddus, you can recite every morning, 100 of them, for the beauty of your own nafs, your soul, for their holiness, and to be close to Allah. The esma of Quddus of Allah brings us to perfection with this beauty, brings us to places like this, and to one another in this holy way, we are doing taktes. How are we doing this? With love. With respect. And we know that Allah has created the human being as a most precious creature, and is working these 99 attributes inside the human being, and at the top of this comes the attribute of Quddus. When a person completes his good ahlak, then that person is a mukaddes person, a holy person, and this is what we are working for, for the cleaning of the heart, the cleaning of worship, good ahlak, and we are trying to do our beauty to Allah, so that with the Quddus esma of Allah, we will come to a holy state. Because we came to this world as mukaddes, and we have to go back to Allah in the same way. So all of our endeavors are from our own being to our own beings, because the owner of this being, the creator Allah, is showing all His being through you. However holy, mukaddes, you can become, that is how much you will be testimony to the beauty and goodness of Allah, and you will spread the Nur, the divine light of Allah, onto this world. And with this goodness and beauty that you do, with this service that you perform, you will have brought people from darkness into light. So let us not forget.... Let us altogether say His tesbih of Quddus: Subuhun quddusun rabbinah ver rabul malaiketi ver ruh. Allah has created the spirit and the angels thru the esma of Quddus, and with this esma of Quddus they do the tesbih of Allah, and this prayer we have just recited says this. It means that all of the mukaddes, the holy things that Allah has created are praising the goodness and beauty of Allah, and this place is tesbih. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Ar-Rezzak: The Sustainer Allah Rezzak Allah Hu. The honored Name of Rezzak is one of the giving attributes of Allah. Everything that Allah has created He has provided with this attribute. As this attribute works, all the needs of His creatures are met, and the name of the energy that comes is rizk, sustenance. Rizk has been allotted. Allah says in the Quran, "We have allotted and given the sustenance for each person." If a person believes that his rizk is going to come, then he will never fall into fear and suspicion and he will not get caught up in his ambitions and chase after his rizk. It is, in fact, the rizk that will chase you because Allah is going to give that. Allah, with this attribute of Rezzak, the Provider, works with the esma of Gayyur, the Encourager. He will encourage us because He needs to provide the sustenance for His creations. Now this rizk is in two forms. One rizk is physical and one is spiritual. The physical sustenance - what you eat and drink, the air that you breathe - keeps your physical body on its feet. This is called the material or the physical rizk. As long as you are given this you will live and when this is cut, you die. That is why it is Allah who gives the rizk, the sustenance, and a person should never have fear or doubt about his sustenance. No matter where you go, rizk will find you. If you go up to the top of a mountain, if you live there, then still your rizk will come to your feet there because Allah has promised this in the Quran. He does not turn from His word; He does what He says, and so your sustenance will find you wherever you go. This physical sustenance will chase you and will let you live. Then there is the spiritual rizk. Allah has created this as well and gives this to you and with this your spirituality lives. For example, to come to spiritual gatherings, to listen to beautiful words, is your spiritual rizk. This will make your iman, your faith, stronger and bring you closer to Allah. For example, the Divine Books, the great books that have come from Allah, so that they can take people on the correct path, commanding the beauty and goodness of Allah, are also your spiritual rizk. You get your physical rizk by working. When you get this sustenance you choose between that which is good and bad. You say, "Let me find that which is good, let me eat that which is good, so that I can live well." You think about this for your wordly life, so you have to think about it for your eternal life. The rizk of the eternal life is also given here and this is revealed by the Divine Books that are sent by Allah. The coming of the Prophets to us is spiritual rizk. They were all the same. None of them have brought a different rizk. They have all spoken to prepare humanity for Allah. Let us gather this spiritual rizk together so that we will go to the eternal life in a healthy way. Now, we give an example. You open a store and you are making money; your rizk is coming to you and you are using this and you buy good things and you look for things that will give you benefit. To live comfortably you use this rizk. So to gain the spiritual life, you have to follow these spiritual roads and learn this ilm, this knowledge, and grow with this rizk. Allah created this rizk to be of benefit to people. Allah has created everything for the benefit of human beings. For example, the animal has its rizk. The animal eats, the animal breeds, and all of its physical sustenance is provided. And Allah also allows it, through his esma of Rezzak, to grow and to live, and by gathering its physical rizk it is trying to find its spiritual rizk. And how is it going to find its spiritual sustenance? For us to find it, we read the Divine Books, we follow the roads of the Prophets and by giving ourselves to this specialness we gather spiritual sustenance. And for them, these animals, to gather their spiritual sustenance, they serve human beings with their meat, with their milk, with their skin, with the medication that they are going to give. There are some animals that are very valuable in medicine; they give benefit to human beings. Medicine is made, tests are made, and their service is in this way for humanity. They gather their spiritual rizk in this way and when they enter into a human being with a Divine metamorphosis they are elevated to a higher state. If we know this esma of Rezzak, then our submission to Allah will increase, we will not fall into fear, and we will not fall into suspicion or doubt. Before Allah created us, He created this and wrote this into our notebooks. This is called lehva mahfuz. There our rizk is known. Every breath that you take is a rizk. The number of these are written in this lehva mahfuz. Because their numbers are known, definite, before this sustenance ends let us use them well. When the rizk of the breath is finished, then the journey of death begins and so this breath is also a rizk and this mind that Allah has given is also a rizk. However well we can use these provisions, then our physical and spiritual lives will increase to that extent. Allah Rezzak, Allah Hu. This is our spiritual rizk. We come here every week and we take rizk from here and this spiritual rizk is worship. This brings us close to Allah, this gives ashk, endless love, to the hearts of people, and with this people can live in peace. If we cannot get this rizk, then everything will change and then instead of love, enmity will start. So however much of this spiritual sustenance we can get, that is how much our beauty will increase and we will be dost with each other. This is the allotment of the esma of Rezzak. Allah Rezzak, Allah Hu.
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.