Living the Traditions of the Prophets
August 22, 2007 § 7 Comments
I have been having trouble sleeping lately and although some nights when I can’t sleep I make the extra prayers this night, tonight was not one of them. Instead I went to the Osmanli Naksibendi-Hakkani website to look at some of Shaykh Effendi, Abdul-Kerim’s older sohbet. And one of them stood out for me a bit more than the others.
Initially, I was curious about the sohbet from the title, Muslims Adopting Christian Ways, but what I found was a few things that I didn’t expect to learn as a result of reading this sohbet . The first being that I understood what I read completely different than what ordinarily occurs when we read text. And that is due to the time that I have spent actually in the company of the person recorded in the text. I have been in association with Shaykh Effendi over the past several weeks and have come to know certain phrases he may use or emphases that he puts on certain issues. So when reading his sohbet as text, I was able to understand with more clarity than simply reading text of a scholar or author about a given topic. This was very surprising, to say the least.
Secondly, since this is an earlier talk I recognized some common themes in the more recent talks where I have been present. Which ties it all in very nicely for the one of the Shaykh’s newest muridin. This item also addressed a question concerning ‘Isa (alayhi salam) that I have been pondering, with reference to his sunnat the sunnat of the Christians today. For example, in the sohbet Shaykh Effendi says (BismillaharRahmanirRahim),
“Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is saying to us, “Oh believers, whatever that Prophet brought to you, take it and whatever he forbade you from, stop it.” It is a direct order from Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) to believers. Not to unbelievers. What that means is that you must follow the footsteps, you must run after the Sunnats of Rasulullah (salatu wa sallim). You must take whatever he brought and apply it to your lives. You must stop whatever he forbade you from. What will happen if you don’t stop? You are turning your religion into Christianity. Some got used to it. They say, “Jesus” but none of them are following Jesus. They are not following the orders of Jesus (alayhi salam). It is religion according to their ego.
This is without a doubt the case concerning the followers of ‘Isa (alayhi salam). I don’t think the Christians today would even know where to begin to emulate ‘Isa’s traditions; his sunnat (alayhi salam). Do Christians know what daily religious action or awrad ‘Isa (alayhi salam) performed (with the exception of the Lord’s prayer)? Do they know his daily worship practices (awrad) and supplications (du’a)? They do not because these things have been lost due to a broken chain of transmission. And this is why the present state of Christianity is considered divine but corrupted religion (al-din al-muharraf). Muslims are very fortunate in this regard.
But Shaykh Effendi did not end there, the sohbet is titled, Muslims Adopting Christian Ways with good reason. He continues saying,
“This is what happened to the Muslims too. “Religion according to my ego. The way that it fits me. The way that I like it.” No! You cannot. You cannot have religion like that. That is your ego. You will be worse than the Wahhabis then. At least the Wahhabis are punctual to their prayer times. If you are not following the Sunnats of Rasulullah (salatu wa sallim) then why are you waiting for Mahdi (as)? Mahdi (as) is coming to bring out the forgotten Sunnats of Rasulullah (salatu wa sallim). He is not coming with a new book to you. He is not coming with something like a magic religion as so many are thinking. You have to follow. He is coming with the power to make you follow. If you are not following then he is going to make you follow by force. He has the authority and he has the Divine Order in his hand. So it’s about time for believers to put themselves together and start following the little that they know. Otherwise the message of Mahdi (as) that is coming is not going to give too much happiness to you.”
The message couldn’t get any clearer than this. And every Muslim should know exactly what he means here. This puts us in a worse position than the Christians, because we have the sunnat of our Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam) recorded and preserved yet we are not following it! This, however, should not be a surprise. In fact Muslims should be expecting to see Muhammad’s Ummah (alayhi salatu wa salam) loosing sight o his sunnat. It was foretold to us by our Prophet (alayhisalatuwasalaam) that,
“You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure, you would follow them.” We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said, “Whom else?” (Sahih Muslim)
As narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, a well known sahabi and source of hadith. The sahabi followed the sunnat of the Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam) and they were the best community among mankind. I am certainly not thinking that I have improved on the sahabi in anything except maybe my dwelling and even then we are only measuring conveniences. Because I have no doubt that despite their humble homes, the baraka in one meal was probably more than my own home would accumulate in one hundred (meals).
In closing, years ago, when I was just a kid I used to think that if I wasn’t covering my head that Imam Mahdi (alayhi salam) would not recognize me as a Muslim. I used to be very afraid, literally scared, to not wear a kufi or some type of Islamic head covering, which is also of the Prophet’s sunnat (alayhi salatu wa salam) for men. I would really be afraid, I remember very clearly being very afraid that if Imam Mahdi (alayhi salam) came he would overlook me because he wouldn’t recognize that I was a Muslim and as a result I always kept my head covered. Well I have once again taken that posture feeling aware, conscious and even afraid that if I am not following the sunnat of the Prophet (alayhi salatu wa salam) perhaps I will not be recognized as a Muslim at a time when it is of the utmost importance.