Thanks again to those who originally put these up on the web. When I have time to go back through and find all the sources, I'll post your links. Again, my purpose here is to put into one place various things about Sherif Baba and related paths into one place. I had all of these things put together in a Word Document and printed them for myself, and then a friend suggested that I put them all up here. I'm literally trying to put every sohbet that's online in one place. So thank you, those who did the work for these.
Sherif Baba's Opening Sohbet, Rumi Festival, September 26, 2002
In order for this beauty to spread throughout the world, for people's hearts to stick to one another with peace and love, there is the attribute of Salaam of Allah. So, insh’allah, let's do first a teffekur, a meditation on the attribute of Salaam. We're going to repeat it together three times, and then we're going to do a little nifestation of Allah.
Because it is from here that Allah manifests, it is from here that Haq is known, it is here that it is seen, and it is here that it is lived. It is with these values that human beings come to this universe. If we know this value, we will look to each other with the eyes of Haq. And divisions will then dissipate, and we will love one another. As you know, this is the week of Mevlana, and we're going to give place to the views of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, wondering what messages Mevlana gave for humanity. By summarizing the messages given by all of the prophets, he held up a light in a way that we would understand. So, because we're going to be celebrating the birthday of Mevlana, we'll be speaking in explanation of some of the views of Mevlana.
As you all know there is this famous saying of his that he used-all of you know this one-he says, "Come, come, no matter what you are, come." So it begins with the call. He's calling out the most beautiful azhan, the most beautiful call to prayer. This is the call to prayer of humanity: "Come, no matter what you may be, come!"
Come where? Don't come under the tent, don't come inside the four walls, don't come to any specific place, but come to yourself. Everything is inside of you. The mystery of this universe is in you. The beauty of the Creator is in you. And in order to make this work, you've been given five senses. And on top of them all, that which he createdin the most magnificent way, the mind.
When people can work these, they will know their own worthiness. That's when you understand how valuable and worthy all people are. A person who does not know his own worth will not be able to understand the worth of other people, nor will they be able to understand the preciousness of the environment, the animals, the plants. A life that is lived without value will take you into darkness and will also take the world into darkness. The path of all of the prophets has all been established on one set of rules of ahlak, of morality. All came with the same justice; all showed the same path. They all show one path. According to the understanding of the people of their days, it has been evaluated with different names. But there is but one way.
And what is that one way? It's the path that Mevlana called us on with "Come, come!" Come to humanity, find the human being, know that it is all in the human being, and be within your human- beingness. It is only a human being that can train another human being. Because we have this kind of value, however much we thank our Creator, it still will not be enough. We will not even be able to become one drop of water within the great ocean.
Just think, in order to nourish us, in order to let us live, everything has been given in the most beautiful way. Such beautiful justice has been created. This has been set on the system of ahlak, of morality. If there is justice that is not established on ahlak, then it is harmful. This is this way in business, this is this way in your personal life-everything has to be just and on ahlak.
And as you know, justice is not equality or equalness. We think that justice means being equal-it is not. Some people are shortened, some are made taller, some are given little, others are given much. But when they all join together, it creates a balance.
I always give this example: this hand. Look, all of the fingers have different lengths. Not one of them is equal to the other in length. If they were, then you wouldn't be able to do anything with them. because they're all different lengths, when they gather together, they become one point. You can hold a pen; you can do your work. But if they were all long, then we would disrupt the balance.
And justice is the same way. Some are strong and powerful, some are weak; some are poor, some are wealthy. But for all of them to join together in one place, we need the system of ahlak. All religions have been established on the system of ahlak, of morality that is in Tassawuf, in Sufism. And the prophets, according to the times they lived in, explained this, and connected them to rules, to laws. Here we gather, and here we see, and here we try to know what these rules and laws are, and to live them, so we can come to humanity, and become human beings. Allah said, "I have created the human being in the most perfect way, in the most holy way."
But people are left in gaflet, in unawareness, and forgot justice, and have been no longer able to live their ahlak, so that same human being says, "They are animals, in fact maybe even lower than animals." Now, who is this being said to? It's being said to us-people. There's no color here; there's no religion. All in unity, this address was made to all of humanity as one being. What fools us are labels. "I'm a Muslim, the other's a Christian, the other is Jewish, the other is Buddhist, the other is a Hindu..."
No matter what people are, it's these labels of names that fool us. We have all been sent here with the same value as human beings. Allah filtered us through this cave, this cellar, and brought us into this world. We all come from the same water, and we didn't come here with labels. We came here naked. It is here that we clothe ourselves. But as we leave, we also leave naked.
The meaning of this is to show the beauty and purity of Allah. Adam is safiyullah; Adam is the pure one of Allah. So it is because Adam manifested this attribute to humanity that this name was given to him. What brings us to gaflet, to unawareness, is duality, labels. "That one is red, this one is black, that one is Jewish, this one is Muslim, Christian"-these don't exist. Mevlana was raised as a Muslim, but when he said, "Come, come," he wasn't calling people to Islam. He was calling out to humanity.
Today, you see that from east to west, everywhere, the Masnawi is being read, and it is giving the light of peace to the whole world. Where this came out of was a source of Islam-but he didn't say Christian, he didn't say Jewish. But he brought a transaction among people inside of peace, and this expanded that culture in such a way that it's spreading its light everywhere in the world now. And you have this, I have this; it's in the east, it's in the west. Allah sent us with this worthiness into the world, with these values.
If we do not work, it darkens. And then let's complain to Allah: "It's dark! Ya Rabb, Lord, make it light again!" So is Allah an electrician that he's going to turn on a switch? We are the electricians. Allah taught us everything, how is it going to turn on, how it is going to turn off, and we have to learn this. All of the great ones-all of the saints, all of the prophets-all showed us the path of humanity.
It doesn't matter how you pray. Allah doesn't just know one language. So we have to recite everything in Arabic, we have to pray in Arabic, or do we have to pray in Turkish? No. Whatever language you have, it is with that that you get yourself close to Allah, because that language inside of you is the language of the Creator. Don't make it into one mold; don't limit it into one thing. Allah is capable of all things. Allah is Kabir and Basir, Allah knows of and sees all things, and Allah will manifest into everybody's hearts. It doesn't matter how you approach it, but just look to be close to Allah.
It is when we people can approach each other and become unified, and Allah, who is watching us with his attribute of Raqib, becoming happy with this union of ours, will give us this beauty. We have to work, and find it, and become it. How? By looking at each other. What's lacking in me, when I look at you I will complete this in myself. Say I'm a very impatient person, and you're very patient. I'm going to look at you, and from you, learn patience. When you do your work in patience, and in time, attain this beauty, and I'm doing my work with impatience, and I'm being harmed-what's going to happen? In my mirror, you see this harm, and in your mirror, I see this benefit.
So how are we going to evaluate this? That means that when you work with Sabur- with patience-beauty happens, peace happens, Ashk is lived, and unity is established. And when work is done with impatience-harm. Now I was giving an example from Sabur, from patience, but everything is this way when people are working together. When people can become mirrors to each other this way-now you can tell me what the result will be, because I don't know it. Look around you and see what the results are. In order to become, we all have to become mirrors for each other, and look at each other with the eyes of Haq.
Hajji Bektashi Veli had this saying: "As you look, so you will see." However you look, that's how you get. So, for example, someone will come here, will look, and say "Oh, this is beautiful-trees. Such beautiful greenery, beautiful air! Everything is so beautiful," they will say.
This is the same nature that we're talking about. Someone else comes to look, says, "Look at these dry trees. There's poison ivy all over the place." They look in this different way, and however much criticism there is, they lay it on. So, in other words, turn their tongue into an axe, and bring down all these trees.
The same nature is given its value through how you look. And this look establishes in you an understanding, and that's when you try to become mature. Life is this way. However you look at it, that's the energy that you're going to get from it. When you look with the eyes of criticism, then you're going to be harmed by this energy. When you look with eyes of goodness, and work in a constructive manner, you'll get the energy of Ashk.
Don't wait for this to come from Allah. Allah's given it to you. This Internet is working in you, and you're the one who has to run it. Whatever you write, whatever kind of messages you send out, that's the kind of answers you're going to get back. Transaction with Allah is transaction with human beings.
I don't know if I've been able to explain myself. It's easy to talk about it, but to live it is hard, because I asked first of all myself: "You're talking about this stuff, but are you living it?" And so I criticize myself. We're all trying at every moment to do the muhassabeh of the nafs, the self-analysis. A person cannot live on his or her own, cannot work on his or her own. But if it is in unity, people can help each other, so when you fall, they can reach out to you and pick you back up. The only one that does not fall and get back up again is Allah.
A child, in order to learn how to walk, has to fall and get back up. It doesn't come out of the womb walking. Look, you see that child there, it's crawling. Tries to set a balance, falls back down, the mother picks him or her back up, helps him a little bit. But every time they get back up, their knees get stronger. They get this energy, they learn how to fall and get back up again. The brain is able to give its commands to those knees, and tells them, "You're going to fall, but you're going to get back up and you're going to learn how to walk.
And the same way that this happens on the Zahir, the outer, on the path of humanity the same thing happens. So when we become unified, we can fall. They will pick us up by the hand and raise us up again. But when we're alone-if a child would fall all by itself, get lost in the mud, maybe die. But when there's someone near them, they will lift them back up, and this is how humanity is. We cannot look at people's colors or sizes. We're not to look at whatever religion or sect they belong to. All of us have to give this message to each other: "Come, come!" Not "Come to us," but "Come to the enlightened heart."
There is this gönül, this enlightened heart, and that is what creates that beauty inside of a person's heart. All of us have to enter into this gönül, into this enlightened heart. That's the house of Allah. Allah has no address. The address of Allah is Lam Ikyan (?), the unnamed, nonexistent place. But his abode, the place where Allah manifests, is the human being.
I told you once a story. If you give me permission, let me tell the story again. It's a story that's giving evidence to our words. This happened about 50 years ago in Istanbul. One of the dervishes, a very poor man, couldn't find any money, couldn't find any work, so he started rebelling. He says, "I'm going to write Allah a letter."
His friend says, "how can you write Allah a letter? What address are you going to send it to? Where's the money going to come from-is it going to fall out of the sky?"
He says, "I know the address." This dervish was just so pure; he was in a state of rebellion, but within that rebellion, he's living the beauty of Allah, without even knowing it. So he wrote a letter.
It said, "Dear Allah, I can't find any work. My family's hungry." But he's writing it with such sincerity-not in a ridiculing manner, but he's writing it with faithfulness and sincerity. "I'm hungry, my family is hungry." In those days, 50 lira was a lot of money. He says, "Send me 50 lira."
So he wrote this letter, put it in an envelope, stuck a stamp on it, and then wrote this address: "Dear Allah, the City of Lam Ikyam, the nonexistent city"-and threw it in the post box.
So now it's going to be mailed to Allah. Which way is it going to go? It goes to the post office, it's going through the distribution system, and it's all being sorted out according to addresses. They all sort them out, according to all these different ways. So one of the postmen looks, and it says "Dear Allah, the City of Lam Ikyam, the nonexistent city." So he takes it to the postmaster, and he says, "We got this letter; what are we going to do?" And they're afraid to open it up.
The postmaster looks at it, and he opens it, and he reads it. And as he's reading it, he cries. Because that letter was written with so much compassion, the compassion of the person reading it becomes inflamed. So he took the address of the man who sent it, and put 50 lira in the envelope, and wrote this man's address on the envelope, and then on the back he says, "Sent by Allah," or "the servant of Allah," whatever-he wrote something, and he sent it.
So the man gets this envelope, and he gets so happy! He says, "You see-I knew Allah's address. You see how He sent it?" So you see where Allah works from. With sincerity, with compassion-when people can live with these, then people go into action, and that Ashk manifests. If that man had not written this letter with sincerity, and if the other man had not read it with compassion, there would be no Ashk, and they would have said, "This man is crazy!"and thrown it away. But that sincerity that brought Ashk into action, when it's joined together with compassion-the man read it and he cried. And he put the 50 lira in there and he sent it.
So that means it doesn't come from the sky! This is a story that actually happened, but here it is telling us something. When people connect to each other with sincerity and faithfulness, you see how Allah works from heart to heart. The Prophet said that "From heart to heart, there is the path of Allah." Now whatever kind of path or road that is-maybe it's like the paths of the Internet, or maybe like train rails-some kind of road, but it works from person to person. That means that if we want to gain the Nur of Allah, we have to connect to each other with love, and be sincere.
No matter where you are-place is not important-what is important is your time. However you evaluate that time, that's where Allah is, along with you. Because the Creator is asking us, in every breath, "Every moment, every instant, I was with you. Who were you with?"
Now answer this. Who are we with? This is how we have to take hold of each other, how we have to love each other. When we love each other, then we can give Allah the answer through our states. To be one and together with the dosts, the true friends of Allah, is to live Allah in your heart. If you remember Allah whenever you see me, and forget Him when you don't, then you're forgotten Allah. All of us are like this. When we see one another as if we are seeing Allah-we have to look with the eyes of Haq. Everything is in our hands. Allah has given us this. There is this ayet that I recited at the beginning of the sohbet: Allah is giving a message. "Because people live in a state of gaflet, of unawareness, for surely they are in a state of darkness and sadness." Then he explains to us the characteristics of those who have been able to save themselves from this darkness. They have iman-they have faith-and they connect to one another, and they do good works. These are those who have been saved from darkness." Then he opens up two of their attributes. These are what they do and it is this that brings light to the darkness.
And what are those two attributes? They advise each other in Haq, they speak beautiful things to each other, and they are patient with each other, they have Sabur with each other. Now, mashallah, we have such beautiful Sabur, such beautiful patience. May Allah increase it for us! Because if we keep on like this, always complaining and complaining, instead of this rain coming down on our heads, it'll be mud coming down on our heads. We have to have Sabur and try to see the beauty in everything.
One day, when the Prophet was walking through the desert with his companions, they saw the carcass of a dog. In that heat, it was crawling with maggots, and smelled very bad. All the companions grabbed their noses and made a big "U" around it. The Prophet looked at the dog, and went and squatted down right in front of his head. He looked at this dog and went into teffekur, into meditation. The he called his companions. "Come," he said. Of course, everyone had to let go of their noses when they came up to the Prophet. "A few minutes ago, you were holding your nose because of the stench-now,did the smell change, that you let go?"
But they came. He said, "Sit down. Look this dog; what do you see?"
And they all said, "We don't know, Rasulullah. You know. You see better than we do."
He says, "Look at those teeth! They're so beautiful, so white." That's it. Then they get up and leave.
Now you understand whatever you can get from that, because there are so many messages being with that, all with just one sentence... to see one beauty. You didn't see this beauty here-you saw the maggots, you saw the stench, and you ran from it. But look, because inside it, surely, there is some beauty. So yeah, there are places in life where you have the stench of the carcass. But inside it, there's still a beauty. It is our responsibility to see this beauty.
"Oh, this happened, or that happened..." With these kinds of complaints, and with this kind of criticism, you're not going to get light-only increase the darkness. All of us have to do the responsibility that befalls us. We have to advise each other to beauty, and we have to advise each other to patience. We have to enlighten ourselves, and we have to enlighten our world. If we can possess this beauty, immediately the sun will come, and the hurricane will change its path and go. All of this depends on your beauty, because we're the ones who reflect it. We are the ones who give direction. We have to ask, we have to advise each other in beauty, and we have to live this beauty. We came here beautiful, we have to leave beautiful, and we have to live this eternal life beautifully. Our purpose is to become beautiful human beings, to help one another.
May Allah make us beautiful human beings. I have only one prayer, and it's this. Every language understands this prayer. The meaning of the four books is all in that one statement.
Ya Rabb, make us beautiful human beings. All the laws have been put in order to explain this phrase. Thank you.
Transcribed by Rafi' Wright Sohbet / Poem Sherif Baba…Sunday, June 30, 2002, Vancouver, BC, Beginning of Sohbet - First Draft
The Creative Power became in Ashq, in love, with Its own Being And created all these beautiful ones from Its own being And hid within it Its own Being.
Those songs were all hidden. It applied Its art and said Sebel Mesani. This art is being worked into the world.
The beauties chase each other. The sun chases the moon. The stars chasing each other. The opposites were created. The opposites were joined.
And It showed It’s own Being. Its hidden treasures were opened with these songs. The harmonies of these melodies wrapped around the universe. Wrapped around… Wrapped around… Going in and out, It applied Its art
Every moment applied Its art… Everything open to be seen… Hidden in the ones who hide it. But those who are open will see.
Allah is inside this beauty. Its presence is known and It is seen through us. It is Its own being that is seen.
So don’t wear yourself out. Don’t run for nothing. Don’t run for nothing. Follow the beautiful ones.
Walk in and out Embrace with Ashq It is in that Beauty that Allah is.
If you find Allah, you will be intoxicated at every moment. This is how the Kalender were.
This divine mystery is the Sebel Mesani that is inside of the Fatiha. They embrace each other.
Allah is always seen in the joining of the opposites. We are to embrace, not to become tired and chase each other.
To search for Allah is to search for your own being. It is not in a place, Not in the street, Not in the sky, but in your heart.
The enlightened heart is Allah’s home. That place is the Beyt ul-Rahman. That place is where you go around, not some stone building.
That beauty is from the Nur of Allah. That beauty has reflected from your heart as Jamal.
This we have to see. Allah works from here. and is seen from here.
We have to run. We have to turn. We have to turn inside our hearts.
We have to expand the movement of the muslimin* through the turning inside our hearts.
We have to stick to one another, not become detached.
Everything is chasing each other.
Why are you sitting?
O you, wake up. Open your clothing. Disrobe from this clothing of sin and become enlightened with the purity of Muhammediyeh. This caravan is the caravan of the ehli-beyt. Run to this caravan, follow it, don’t be left behind. It is Allah’s Being that works through you. It applies Its art… Every moment It applies it.
Try to see this. Wipe your eyes. Look inside yourself. Look around you and you will see And you will find what you are looking for. You will know and you will be. The beauty in the well will be pulled out of your mind with a rope.
Drop that rope into the well And pull that beauty out of it. It lives within you. It works within you. It is the Sebel Mesani. It has been given to us as a present.
The door of Miraj was opened to us. Divinity is the garden at Its gate. It is made up of the angels. The angels are made up of your thoughts. They all bow before you. The universe bows before you.
The bowing is not to a rock. it is not to a wall… it is to the Didar, the face of Allah.** We have to bow and see It in one another.
The Prophet says “Whoever sees me sees Haq”.
That most beautiful of the beautiful did not leave Allah as an illusion, but brought It down into the human being and showed Haq in his own being. And you are like him.
Don’t be lazy…work. This is the secret of An al-Haq…I am. And it is screaming out of you. Don’t be deaf. Listen to it.
Mevlana, for this reason said, “Listen.” We have to listen. We have to hear that sound in ourselves.
There is only one sound in the universe and that is the Seda*** of Allah
It is only the Seda of Allah that will remain Baqi, eternal.
Try to hear this.
Run after humanity. Don’t see separation.
Don’t walk on the sand so that your footprints are left behind.
Run into the ocean. Lose your footprints. Flow like the rivers. Flow with joy.
Split your head open on the rocks as you come. Say Haq.
Until you enter into the ocean, Say Haq. Run. Run. Join. Join together.
The presence of Allah is the joining of the opposites inside of you.
Make this vuslat, this union, a miraj, an ascension in your heart.
As this beauty is chased, chase that beauty inside of yourself.
Don’t sit there…run…search…find…be…
This is what the Creator wants. It doesn’t look to your name. It doesn’t look to your body. It doesn’t look to your color.
What does it look to? It is watching Its own Beauty in us. And you have to watch Its Beauty in yourself.
Sebel Mesani is to be mirrors two by two. We have to look into this mirror and we will see that being.
We are to chase the beautiful ones.
Ashk Ashk On the path of Ashk we have to give our lives as the prize for Haq.
Like the Budala, Like the Kalender, We have to be mestane. We have to join the opposites together. We are not to say good or ugly. We are not to say old or new.
With Love let us turn around in our Gönül, our enlightened hearts *muslimin... the submitted ones. **Didar...The Only Face, the Beloved's face, the face of humanity. *** Seda...the voice of Allah ****mestane...intoxication, ecstacy, drunk with Ashq
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.