The Nominees of Paradise

October 25, 2007 § 1 Comment

As Believers mature we realize that there are degrees of understanding on the way; on our return to our Lord. We gradually come to know that there are indeed tests placed in our way which we can either pass or fail however the test results are often cryptic or misleading when interpreted by our selves; rationalized by our egos. This is a condition of mankind, not just individuals. Therefore, our Lord has sent us Messengers to establish the way and manners in which we are to return to Him, the One who has Created us.

To our Lord is our final return, it is the Believers who are accepting this; accepting the existence of Paradise. It is also the Believers who seek Paradise. So a question comes to mind about those who will attain Paradise. Who will attain Paradise? Who are the nominees of Paradise? Some Muslims say only Muslims will attain Paradise, Christians say only those accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior will attain Paradise, Jews say that Jews are the “Chosen Ones”, the only ones to attain Paradise. Who is right? Shaykh Abdul-Kerim, Deputy of Shaykh Maulana Nazim, Grand Shaykh of the Osmanli Naks-i’bendi-Hakkani Sufi Association, speaks of the way to attain Paradise which has been passed down through a succession of representatives beginning the Holy Prophet, Sayyidina Maulana Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). Shaykh Abdul-Kerim is saying that those associating with the representatives of those Messengers are the nominees of Paradise. Those sitting in the company of those ones are presented with an honorable opportunity. Shaykh Effendi is saying,

“Through sohbet the nominees of paradise will learn something. People who are nominees learn something. They take that and apply it to their lives.”

But in order to learn something we must be empty. This is not something strange or new. We take this position everyday of our lives except with religion. For example, how many people enter a classroom, be it High School or University; Physics or Art, assuming that they know all that is necessary for success in the classroom? It is rare, perhaps because the success we are running after is success in worldly matters and we must bend to these protocols to succeed.

But what about those seeking success in otherworldly matters? Is it the same formula? Shaykh Abdul-Kerim is explaining this formula saying,

“So every night the [committed one] must come to the association with an empty bucket, not thinking that he is knowing something. Whatever he learned tonight must be put in his bucket there to bring his cup empty again to fill up a fresh one.”

He continues,

“If you are coming here with a cup half-filled with water then you can only get half a cup. If you come here with a full glass then you get nothing.”

However, when we are left to a way of our own design our egos are only willing to accept what fits them, that which makes it happy. And what does not fit our egos is heedlessly discarded despite its spiritual benefit. So we need to come to the associations ready to receive and not to debate or challenge. But what is it that needs to be empty? That glass; that cup is what should be empty. Shaykh Abdul-Kerim states,

“That cup is your heart. You have to come empty saying, “Tonight I am going to fill this up again.” Maybe that night secrets will be given that fits to your heart only. If you missed it then goodbye. You missed the train.”

Muslims must return to this understanding, presently Muslims are approaching their religion like a profession, like a trade of sorts. But how much of the Holy Prophet’s way (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) can we penetrate with this approach. Not much, in the end we are merely going “up and down like robots”. If the heart is full what can enter at that time? This is why those ones who are trained to fill the hearts of nominees are necessary, so that the nominees can empty their heart through sincerity, sit in association with that one and learn something. This is exactly what I witnessed at the Prayer Vigil for the Earth in Washington D.C..

There were many people of many faiths approaching the Creator in supplication, receiving something, receiving something very strong. Over that weekend I witnessed several people taking shahadat who had no intention on becoming Muslims. I witnessed tears freely flowing from the sincere ones at the chanting of la ilaha illa Allah which means there is no God but that One who has created me, you, Earth, the skies, the Moon, everything and has Supreme Authority of everything or the mention Suratul Fatiha, the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an.

I witnessed Native Americans stunned to hear their own ancient stories of the Divine described in nearly identical detail by ahadith, the oral traditions of the Holy Prophet Sayyidina Maulana Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). These things were made possible because those in attendance had emptied, they were ready to fill their cup. They were prepared to accept what their Lord was sending and willing to learn from it and with God’s permission we all will apply what we’ve learned and be among those nominees of Paradise.

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