April 14, 2008 §
I was once sitting with a few initiates (murids) in the company of our shaykh, when someone asked,
“How do we make spiritual progress?”
In that moment our shaykh
offered a gem to each one of us, he gave us an invaluable lesson when he responded saying that sohbet
is the means to spiritual progress. Sohbet
is a Turkish word which refers to an intimate and divinely inspired talk or exchange, our shaykh uses the English word “association” when discussing sohbet
. Therefore, “association with the shaykh
” is the means to spiritual progress.
On 27 Shaban 1426, our shaykh discussed what an initiate (murid) is responsible for when seeking spiritual progress:
|Murids can only learn and progress if they listen and follow, if they take what they learn
and apply it to their lives. If you don’t apply to your life then it’s as if words are entering
from one ear and coming out from the other side. There is going to be no progress. You may
think you are making progress but Sheytan has hundreds of thousands of ways to fool people.
It fooled millions and it’s ready to fool millions, except those who hold tightly to the rope of
Allah and they do not separate.
All religious people and seekers alike, particularly those Believers coming from the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have at the center of their spiritual traditions, the sohbet. The association with the Holy Ones is the means to one’s spiritual progress and it has been this way since the beginning.
In conclusion, I think we can all agree that one way or another our religious tradition began with the sohbet. So I wonder if classroom environments, internet learning or the increasingly popular religious conference provide the same impetus for spiritual progress? And if in fact they do not provide an environment for spiritual progress, what kind of environment do they foster?