Being A Better Muslim; A Better Mu’min; A Better Man Pt. 1
September 8, 2008 § 13 Comments
Ramadan kerim; Ramadan mubarak all. Its good to be writing again and it is only because of a simple yet profound realization that I find myself with the inspiration to write anything at all. That realization coming through so many ways but they all begin with a sohbet. The sohbet of our Shaykh, Abdul Kerim Hazretleri.
My life, like many of you goes through stages and these stages are usually wrought with test after test. All of which seem to be opportunities for growth. Growth in personal strength, understanding or perhaps even knowledge. The end result however always seems to be an increase in responsibility. My most recent life event and life-changes are no different.
The most recent events have resulted in an increased number of responsibilities, more than I have yet seen in my thirty-one years of life. And trying to manage them from my own understanding is where I have failed in the past. I prayed this time would be different. And patiently sought the guidance of my shaykh.
I recall when I first came to the Osmanli Naksibendi Tarikat, I was frantic. Life changes, difficulties and responsibility were coming so quickly and in such a manner that I was not prepared to face them. I was frantic. But sitting with our Shaykh gave me solace and hope. That hope I felt was coming from being with someone who I know is connected to the Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him), living his lifestyle and keeping his sunnat.
Allah Almighty says in his Quran, “Be with Righteous People”, it is an order. Shaykh Muyidin ibn Arabi discusses this in his Futuhat al-Makkiyah saying,
“When you keep company, you must do so with those whose company will benefit you in your religion by knowledge which you witness in him, actions which he does, or the good character which he possesses. When a person sits with someone whose company reminds him of the Next World, he must obtain some of it according to the success God gives him in that. When the one he sits with has this transference, God accepts the companion by the remembrance of God. The remembrance of the Quran is the greatest remembrance. The Almighty said, “We sent down the remembrance (zikr),” meaning the Quran. He said, “The people of the Quran are the people of God and His elite.” The elite of the king are those with whom he sits in most cases.”
I was feeling that hope coming from being in the company of my Shaykh. Feeling and obtaining hope was one stage of my life, but the hope I felt had to be put to action in my life, a life that is deeply connected to and responsible for others. I retreated to following the instructions of my shaykh in search of inspiration. And then Shaykh Abdul Kerim gave a sohbet where he said,
“Allah subhana wa ta ‘ala, He has created us to be His servant, nothing but His servant. When you are doing your servanthood correctly, that time you will be learning anyway, learning how to help the situation that is around you too. If you are not being a good servant, you are not going to be a good individual to your community; you are not going to be a good person to your country.”
The first time I heard this, I missed it. I was sitting right in front of Shaykh Abdul Kerim when he said it, but yet I still missed it. Then, I downloaded the sohbet to my iPod and listened to it over and over again while on my way to work in Brooklyn or business meetings in Manhattan. I listened to the same sohbet over and over, I sat with my family and listened to it during warm evenings of late June and July. But I still didn’t make the connection that would be the means for me to apply the hope I have found in Shaykh Effendi’s association to my own life outside of tariqat. And then recently during a talk with another murid, inspiration came and it was all based on this sohbet. Shaykh Abdul Kerim said,
“When you are doing your servanthood correctly, that time you will be learning anyway, learning how to help the situation that is around you too.”
And the question now becomes, how does one do his servanthood correctly?