To Look upon the Shining face of Sahibul Saif QS

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim

Once, a few murids and myself were with Seyh Effendi Hazretleri on 39th Street in Manhattan, near the entrance to the Dergah after the Friday night Zikr. Seyh Effendi would often go down to the street at night once the activities with the jamat had completed, and spend some time there, surveying the scene, and the hour was usually late. If you’ve been around there during that time, you know that it is like a jungle.

Once on such a night, a man holding a brown paper bag in the crude shape of a bottle, and who had clearly been drinking, started down the street and approached us. Seyh Effendi greeted him with a smile and asked him how he was. The man, returned the greeting and started a conversation with Seyh Effendi.

I noticed a few things as this occurred. Seyh Effendi, not once, dismissed him, or talked down to him or waved him off. Instead, to my surprise, he engaged him in a very friendly manner, as if you would an old friend, and really listened to what this drunk man had to say. I was very surprised by this, as I’d never seen anything like this before. Up until that point, I would try to avoid drunks, of course, and never in my life had I seen an elder, or an Islamic scholar, or someone we regard as holy to welcome a drunk man on the street. But here we witnessed Seyh Effendi, with his welcoming manner, holy presence and smiling face converse with this man with sincerity. This manner of my Seyh, of course had a profound effect on the man. He looked at Seyh Effendi: He paused and really took a good look, and in turn smiled back at him, and exclaimed, “Wow! It’s nice to meet you!”

Seyh Effendi, replied, “oh yeah? come here, let’s shake hands”. The man shook our Sahib’s hand, and melted even further. Sahibul Saif then told him, “Repeat after me – Ashadu an La Ilaha Ill’Allah, wa Ashadu Anna Muhammadan Abduhu wa Rasulahu!”

The man repeated it and suddenly, quietly, began to cry and came closer to hug Seyh Effendi. Seyh Effendi hugged him back and I was able to snap a picture of them together.

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Afterwards, Seyh Effendi reached into his pocket and pulled out a candy and gave it to him, and told him not to worry, he would see him again. This made the man happy, and he kept turning around to look at Seyh Effendi, bleary eyed with a smile on his face, as he walked away.

Seyh Effendi then said to those of us who were standing there witnessing this amazing event, “Make them to say the Shahadat. Even if they don’t know what they’re saying, it’s ok. Let the tongue to say those words. It will come back to them one day before they go out from this world, as a protection. It is enough for the tongue to say it. One day it will enter the heart.”

There are thousands of such incidents that many of who were blessed to be in the company of our Seyh, have experienced. To watch a man, a stranger to us and we to him, go from a life of unbelief to belief in an instant, without any ‘da’wah’, or chillah, or debating, is nothing short of a miracle. I kept thinking that I used to read about incidents like these about the Holy Prophet ASWS. When people would encounter the Holy Prophet ASWS, and look on his beautiful shining face and fall in love and accept Islam on his hand. And Allah made me to witness it live with one of His Most Beloved Ones, Sahibul Saif, Seyh Abdul Kerim al Kibrisi al Hakkani Hz. It was as if to say, ‘Look! It is not dead, it is alive! It is not past, it is present and continues with the Inheritors of the Holy Prophet ASWS, and you are with one now, look!’

Everyone has a job. What was Seyh Effendi doing late on a Friday night on 39th Street in Manhattan, when the whole world was busy getting into their own troubles? He was fulfilling the mission of the Holy Prophet ASWS. He was pulling people out of the jungle, out of their own swamp of troubles, and cleaning them up as he did his whole life. I am one from the thousands he pulled out. Our Lukman Effendi Hz continues to keep our Seyh Effendi’s and our Holy Prophet’s mission alive, May Allah grant him long life and strength. I pray and ask help that I’m able to serve in a way that is pleasing to them Insh’Allah. May Allah raise Sahibul Saif’s station and protect and continue to give more strength and support to our Lukman Effendi Hz in this holy month. Ameen.

 

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Urs-e-Sharif of Sahib-ul Saif Hazretleri

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim

Selam Aleykum Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu

On this holy night, the entrance of 10th of Shaban, we commemorate the Holy Urse-Sharif of our Sultan, our Sahib, Sheykh Abdul-Kerim al Kibrisi al Rabbani, May Allah increase his station always, Ameen.

Seyh Abdul Kerim Hz, our teacher, our father, our rope to Allah SWT and His Prophet ASWS was veiled on this night, and reunited with his Lord. He described himself as a weak servant of Allah, but that was his humility. He was described by his own Sheykh, Sultan ul Awliya, Seyh Mevlana Muhammad Nazim al Hakkani, as a man with the attributes of a Dragon, a Lion, for the cause of Allah SWT and His Prophet ASWS’s mission. To defend the Truth for the sake of Islam, one man, standing against nations.

For me he is and will always be the Shining Star of Truth in these Dark Times, a Link to The Divine Presence, a Guide and Confidant, The Most Trustworthy Man I have ever met, a Reminder of my Lord, the Way to Know myself, The True Physician, The Real Mirror, The Pillar of Support Against The Storm, The Blessed Hand of Himmet, The Supporter of Haqq, The One Who Sacrifices his Sleep and Comfort for the sake of His Community, The One who stood in Prayer Alone at Night while We Slept, The One Who Always Taught, “If you do something good with your right hand, your left hand should not know about it”.

One day at the Osmanli Dergah on a holy night, I remember that Seyh Effendi made us all to sit for dinner, and took the pot of rice in his hand, and personally went around serving food to our plates, to each of us individually. There was no reason for him to do that. I felt ashamed and in awe of such a man. I’ve seen and spent time with so many scholars, so many high-profile people claiming to represent Islam, but hey are often unapproachable, and none with the humility of my Sheykh. Seyh Effendi encouraged us to consult individually with him. He was the one we unburdened ourselves to. He was our Helper.

I was blessed to have spent time with Him, and hope I can live up to the potential he saw in me. I witnessed my Sheykh, The One Who Never asked me ‘Any Worldly Fee’, wake up in the middle of the night while all were asleep, to give sadaqa. My Lord made me to witness this, to understand how a true believer behaves, keeping his good actions a secret between him and his Lord. But when I think of what is Good, I can say his existence by itself was Good. He was and is Good, and everything Good in this world pales in comparison to His Goodness. He represented Hope in the Darkness of this Dunya, and a Weapon to fight against the Evil Injustice of This World’s Tyranny. He was enough for them. He Serves His Lord, but He also Served Us, like His Sheykh and His Prophet ASWS served his Ummat before Him.

He is the Descendant of The Ottoman Sultans, and he is a Reviver of the Faith and the One who Strives for the Sultanate of Allah SWT on this Earth. He always said, he is not looking for titles, that we are not looking for titles. That’s not why we come to the Dergah. We come to step on our ego, and to one day become nothing, he said. But these are the titles that lend themselves to him, from witnessing him, from the time I spent with him, from seeing him live a lifestyle of the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet ASWS and carrying us to do the same.

His mission and spirit live on through his Khalifa, Lukman Effendi Hazretleri, with full permission from Himself, as well as from our Grandsheykh Sultan ul Awliya Sheykh Nazim al Hakkani. We continue to be connected to our Sultan through our Lukman Effendi, and we thank Allah that although our Beloved and Holy Sheykh has been veiled, we may know him and continue to serve him through association with and service of our Lukman Effendi, May Allah grant him the best of health, long life and keep him Hafiz from all bad eyes and all illness.

I thank my Lukman Effendi for keeping me connected to my Sahib. This World is bankrupt. The only thing of Value is to be with those who are valuable in the eyes of Allah SWT. And our Sheykh Abdul Kerim Kibrisi al Rabbani, our Sahib, is a Diamond in the Crown among the precious beloved ones in the eyes of our Lord. I don’t know anything, but they made me to know that much. I look forward to the day that I may meet him again, and I fear that day as well, because his legacy deserves much more from me.

May Allah increase the rank and station of Our Sahib, Our Master, and increase the opening of our Lukman Effendi, and grant ease to his effort and mission in the way of our Sahib and the cause of our Holy Prophet ASWS. Ameen. May He keep us connected to him and in service always. Ameen.

The Life of Sheykh Ahmed Yesevi (QS) II

BismillahirRahmanirRahim

The books of legends {manaqib} agree in stating that Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi (QS) went to Bukhara for a while on the advice of Arslan Baba Hazretleri (RA) and attached himself to Sheykh Yusuf Hamadani (QS), that city’s most renowned spiritual guide, and that after his passing from this world, he spent some time in Bukhara carrying out religious invitation {halke davete mesgul} and then, commending all of his companions to Khwaja ‘Abd al-Khaliq Ghujduwani (QS), went to Yasi on the spiritiual direction of the Prophet (ASWS). While recounting successively, in a Sufi manner, the kinds of spiritual manifestations that he exhibited between ages seven and fifty, Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi says in the Diwan-i Hikmat “that he fell in love {spiritually, i.e. with God} at age twenty-six, that he fought on behalf of the divine countenance {didar} like Mansur al-Hallaj (QS), that he suffered various torments because he was not able to find a pir, and that he finally found a pir at age twenty-seven and that he escaped from his torments, and that it was then that he could be worthy of that dervish convent.” Indeed, one of the hikmats {religious poems} has the following refrain: “My great teacher, I came to take refuge with you” {Zate ulu hoca’m, sana signip geldim}. One could guess that this refers to Sheykh Yusuf Hamadani (QS) and that Ahmad Hazretleri attached himself to him at age twenty-seven.

Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi (QS) was occupied continuously with teaching and providing guidance in the town of Yasi. The number of disciples who gathered around him increased daily and his fame gradually spread throughout Turkistan, Transoxiana, Khurasan, and Khwarazm. He was superior to all the saints of his time in both exoteric and esoteric knowledge. He lectured to his disciples on both types of knowledge. He spent {virtually} all his time worshipping God and doing pious acts. In his free time, he carved spoons and ladles and sold them to earn a living. He always kept company with Khidr (AS), who had been his father’s old companion. Indeed, one day, Khidr (AS) said to Ahmad (QS), “I travel the seven climes seven times a day searching for a companion and there is no companion more capable and finer than you.”

Khwaja Ahmad (QS) would not accept a single morsel from the endless gifts and votive offerings that were donated to his tekke. Every day {word of} his saintly karamats (miracles) spread a little further among the people. It is reported that the celebrated khwaja {master} had an Ox. It would go about the city market with a saddle bag {on its back} in which spoons, ladles, and begging bowls were visible. Those who wanted to purchase them would take a certain amount {of these goods} and leave what they cost in the saddle bag. The ox would wander about every day until nightfall. Then it would go to the khwaja. He would take the contents {of the bag} in his blessed hand. If someone were to take something from the saddle bag without paying for it, the ox would follow him and would not go to another quarter {of the city} until that one had returned the merchandise or paid for it.”

– “The Legendary Life of Ahmad Yasawi” – Early Mystics in Turkish Literature, Mehmet Fuat Koprulu (2006)

The Childhood of Sheykh Ahmet Yesevi (QS)

In the city of Sairam in Turkistan {Sairam is just east of Shymkent in modern Kazakhstan], there was a Sheykh named Sheykh Ibrahim Rehmat’Allah Alaih, a descendant of Hazrat Ali Karam’Allahu Wajh. When he passed from this earthly life, he left a grown daughter named Gawhar Shahnaz and a seven year-old boy named Ahmad. From the time he was very young, Ahmad received various manifestations of God’s grace and displayed extraordinary qualities that belied his age. In Sheykh Ahmad Yasawi’s work entitled Diwan-i-Hikmat, he recounts succesively, in a language appropriate to the Sufis, the spiritual gifts that he had received.

At age seven, when he was orphaned by the loss of his father, Ahmad, who since childhood had received the guidance of Khidr (AS), was raised by another spiritual father. This was Sheykh “Baba Arslan or Arslan Baba (RadiAllahu ta’Ala anhu), – one of the Companions of the Prophet (Alahi Salaatu Was’Salaam). Guided by spiritual direction {manevi isaretiyle} from the Prophet (ASWS), he went to Sairam to become Ahmad’s teacher. Arslan Baba (RA) was one of the foremost Companions {of the Prophet(ASWS)}. One well known report states that he lived to age 400, and another – to age 700.

His traveling to Turkistan and being charged to teach Ahmad Yasawi(QS) were based on spiritual direction. It seems that during one of the Prophet(ASWS)’s military expeditions, his noble Companions came to him hungry and requested for something to eat. The Prophet (ASWS) uttered a prayer and {the angel} Gabriel (Alahis’Salaam) brought a dish of dates from Paradise. One of the dates fell on the ground, wherepon Gabriel(AS) said, “This date is the portion of a member of your religious community named Ahmad Yasawi(QS)”. Because anything held in trust was naturally to be given to its owner {cf. Quran IV:58}, the Prophet(ASWS) proposed to his Companions that one of them undertake this duty. None of them responded save for Arslan Baba (RA), who said that by apostolic favor he would be able to underatake this task. The Prophet(ASWS) then put the fallen date into Arslan Baba’s mouth with his own hand and added a bit of his own blessed saliva. A covering immediately formed over the date, and the Prophet(ASWS) instructed Arslan Baba how he would find Ahmad Yasawi and commanded him to devote himself to young Ahmad’s education. Arslan Baba(RA) then went to Sairam(or Yasi) and, after completing there the task that he had taken upon himself, died the following year. It is recorded in the Diwan-i Hikmat that “the Angel of Death took his soul, the huris{female denizens of Paradise} cut out a shroud from silk garments, and 70,000 weeping angels appeared and transported him to Paradise.

By age seven, Ahmad Yasawi(QS) had already advanced through a series of high spiritual stages and then, under the direction of Arslan Baba(R.A), the young Ahmad reached a high level of maturity and slowly began to win fame from every quarter. His father Shaikh Ibrahim had already been renowned in that region for performing countless miracles{karama} and many legends were told of him. Consequently, it was recognized that, with respect to his lineage as well, this quiet and unassuming young boy, who always listened to his elder sister, held a spiritually important position. Around that time an extraordinary event occurred that spread Ahmad’s fame throughout Turkistan. A ruler named Yasawi was ruling as sultan in Transoxiana and Turkistan. He spent the winters in Samarqand and the summers in the mountains of Turkistan. Like all Turkish rulers, he was fond of hunting and used to pass the time in this pursuit in the mountains there. One summer he wanted to go hunting on Qarachuq Mountain, but because it was so rugged, he gave up hope of doing so. He was never able to hunt on Qarachuq. Consequently, he wanted to get rid of the mountain. He gathered all the friends of Allah {the saints/awliya} in the lands that he ruled and requested them to remove this mountain by the blessing of their prayers. The saints of Turkistan agreed to the ruler’s request. They wrapped themselves in ihrams {the garb of pilgrims going to Mecca} and for three days prayed and pleaded for this mountain to disappear. Contrary to expectation, however, all their prayers could not accomplish this task. Searching for the reason, they asked, “Was there anyone among the ‘arifs {those who have knowledge of God} and saints of the country who did not come?” It turned out that Shaikh Ibrahim’s son Ahmad Yasawi had not been summoned because he was still very young. They immediately sent men to Sairam to summon him. The boy consulted with his older sister and she said to him, “Our father had some testamentary advice {for you}. The thing that will show wether or not your time to appear has come is a table cloth that is tied {in a knot} in our father’s place of worship. If you can untie it, then go ahead{in response to the ruler’s summons}, for that means the time of your appearance has come.”

The boy then went to the place of worship and untied the table cloth, and then continued to this city of Yasi. All the saints were present there. He indicated {they should} pray over a piece of bread that was on the cloth. They agreed and recited the Fatiha {opening sura of the Qur’an}. He divided the bread among those who were assembled and there was enough for everyone. There were 99,000 people present composed of the saints, the ruler’s officers {umara}, and troops. When they saw this miracle, they had a better understanding of the greatness of Ahmad Yasawi (QS). {Meanwhile} Ahmad Yasawi expected that the answer to his prayer was inside his father’s dervish cloak. Suddenly, torrents of rain burst from the sky and all the land was flooded. When the prayer rugs of the sheykhs began to float on the waves, they pleaded and cried out. Ahmad Yasawi (QS) stuck his head from the cloak. The storm immediately subsided and the sun appeared. And what should they see! But that Qarachuq Mountain had disappeared. Where the mountain once stood there is now a town called Qarachuq, where most of Sheykh Ahmad(QS)’s descendants reside. The ruler Yasawi, who had witnessed this miracle, entreated Ahmad to ensure that his name would remain on earth until the Day of Judgement. Ahmad accepted his wish and said, ” Whoever in the world loves me, may he recall me together with your name.” Thus, from that day forward, he has been called, “Khwaja Ahmad Yasawi.”

Early Mystics in Turkish Literature, Ahmad Yasawi and His Influence – Mehmet Fuat Koprulu

The Description of the Kiswa of the Kaaba

BismillahirRahmanirRahim

Selam Aleykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu

Here is a description of the kiswa/ghilaf or covering of the Kaaba during the time of Ibn Jubayr on his pilgrimage in 1184 A.D.

At the end of each hajj – the old fabric covering of the Ka’ba (kiswa) was removed and replaced with a new one. In the early years of Islamic History it became customary for the calipha to supply the new kiswa each year.

According to Ibn Jubair, :

On Saturday, which was the Day of Sacrifice, the Kiswah [‘Robe’] of the Holy Ka’bah was conveyed on four camels from the encampment of the ‘Iraqi Emir to Mecca. Before it, walked the new Qadi wearing the black vestment given to him by the Caliph, preceded by banners and followed by rolling drums…

The Kiswah was placed on the venerated roof of the Ka’bah, and on Tuesday the 13th of the Blessed Month, the Shaybites were busily employed in draping it. It was of a ripe green color and held the eyes in spell for its beauty.

In its upper part, it had a broad red band (that ran around the Ka’bah) and on the side that faces the venerated Maqam (Station of Ibrahim A.S.), the side that has the venerated door that is blessed, there was written on this band after the Basmalah – the words, “Surely the first sanctuary appointed for mankind (was that at Bekkah (applying to Mecca)). On the Other side was written the name of the Calipha with invocations in his favour. Running around the band were two reddish zones with small white roundels – containing inscriptions in fine characters that included verses from the Koran and mentions of the Caliph.

—  Broadhurst, Trans; The Travels of Ibn Jubayr p.185, Peters, The Hajj p.126-127.

Pictures from Cyprus

BismillahirRahmanirRahim

Selam Aleykum Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu

Here are a few pictures from Cyprus. Our Seyh Effendi has returned!

The tomb of Cambolat Pasha (qas) inside the walls that surround Gazi Magosa (old Famagusta)

Seyh Effendi introducing Haci Abdul-Hameed to our Seyh Mevlana

Seyh Mevlana and Seyh Abdul-Kerim Effndi sharing a laugh

Selam Aleykum!

The Character of Sultan Abdul-Mejid Khan

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim,

Selam Aleykum Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu,

A few paragraphs on the character of Sultan Abdul-Mejid Khan, the Ottoman Sultan, by the Rev. Henry Christmas M.A. in 1853:

‘One or two anecdotes will put his character in its true light. During the year of famine in Ireland, the Sultan heard of the distress existing in that unhappy country; he immediately conveyed to the British ambassador his desire to aid in its relief, and tendered for that purpose a large sum of money. It was intimated to him that it was thought right to limit the sum subscribed by the Queen, and a larger amount could not therefore be received from his highness. He at once acquiesced in the propriety of his resolution, and with many expressions of benevolent sympathy, sent the greatest admissible subscription.

It is well known that his own personal feeling dictated the noble reply of the divan to the threatening demands of Austria and Russia for the extradition of the Polish and Hungarian refugees. “I am not ignorant,” was his reply, “of the power of those empires, nor of the ulterior measures to which their intimations point; but I am compelled by my religion to observe the laws of hospitality; and I believe that the sense and good feeling of Europe will not allow my government to be drawn into a ruinous war, because I resolve strictly and solemnly to adhere to them.”

This is the true spirit of Christianity, and there is more it in the Mohammedan Sultan of Turkey, than in any or all of the Christian princes of Eastern Europe.’

“The Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Medjid Khan: A Brief Memoir of His Life and Relign, with Notices of The Country, its Navy, & present Prospects” by the Rev. Henry Christmas, M.A., 1853

* – I’d like to point out Saifuddin’s excellent follow-up to this post, here :

Who are the Ottomans?  – Saifuddin.

Aleykum Selam and Allah emanat ol!

Biz Osmanliyiz! Pek Sanliyiz!

Prayer Vigil 2007

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim,

Selam Aleykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu,

Hope this latest post finds you all well by Allah’s Grace. Ameen. Lately, I’ve been more off than on when it’s come to blogging. Insh’Allah Rahman, I hope to remedy this from now on. To any and all who read, thank you for being patient. May Allah bless you and your families with the love of what He loves, and to remove us all from that which He does not love. Ameen. For the sake of the most beloved one in divine presence, Alaihi Salaatu was’Salaam.

Last weekend I returned from an amazing trip(Mash’Allah) to Washington D.C., for the Prayer Vigil 2007, in which the Osmanli Naksibendi Dergahi of Sidney Center, New York led by Sheykh Abdul-Kerim, with direct permission from Sheykh Mevlana Nazim al-Hakkani, were invited. Sheykh Effendi and Mureeds led Zikr at the Washington Monument and were joined by the Native American Ojibwe tribe chief, Chief Clyde Bellecourt. The following is a link to some of the pictures from the trip(Click on the Pic, Insh’Allah):

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Mash’Allah!

RAMAZAN MUBARAK!

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim,

Selam Aleykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatahu,

Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet(ASWS) and his family and his companions and all the Naksibendi GrandSheykhs and their children and family and Salaam to our Sultan ul Awliyah and his deputy, my Sultan and Sheykh, Sheykh Abdul Kerim al Kibrisi- Salaam and Peace and Blessings on them, May Allah keep them always in Higher and Higher Stations, grant them long life and healthy life, and grant us the honour to be with them and connected to them in this Ramazan, in this life, and in the hereafter. Ameen. For the sake of the Most Beloved One in Divine Presence(Alahi Salaatu Was’Salaam).

Selam Aleykum and Happy RAMAZAN to you and your families!!

My Sultan