In the words of Hazreti Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, “Praise is the heaviest of that which is weighed, and the most valuable of all that is treasured.” The beat of our heart, the flow of the breath, our entire existence is praise. Our path is to become conscious of this praise, to know ourselves as pure praise of Allah.
The Self-revealing nature of Allah manifests in the Most Beautiful Names given to humanity. The Divine Names, Attributes of the Real, are infinite and ceaselessly flowing from the hidden Essence, like rays from a vast cosmic sun. They take form within the precious human heart and as the entire creation of manifest Being. The people of knowledge have identified three thousand distinct ones.
One thousand are known only to the Angels. Another thousand only the Prophets know. There are three hundred in the Torah, three hundred in the Psalms, three hundred in the Gospel, and ninety-nine in the Holy Quran. One name is kept secret by the Almighty Lord. This is called the Supreme Name to signify that one Name is unique to Him, and remains hidden within His Essence.
- Shaykh Muzzafer Efendi, Irshad
In reality, each of us contains all the Beautiful Names, yet we have fallen unconscious and no longer know ourselves. Our path of awakening is furthered by sincere recitation of Allah’s Names, each a unique resonance in which the heart unveils itself and knows its Lord. The power of the Name clears the body, mind and heart of the dervish and reveals mystic knowledge to this devoted one, opening the way to the Divine Essence beyond all Names, the Heart of Reality.
Our mystic guide, Pir Nureddin Jerrahi, has received twenty-eight Beautiful Divine Names for his followers to recite on their path of perfection. The number twenty-eight is of great mystical significance. There are twenty-eight days in the lunar cycle, there are twenty-eight letters in the Arabic alphabet, there are twenty-eight letters in the Divine Name La ilaha ilallah Muhammad Rasulallah. The number twenty-eight is said to represent perfection and completion and Therefore the path of return through the twenty-eight Names is a path of human perfection. In the transmission of handtaking, the dervish receives the entire twenty-eight Names given to the Pir in the pure form of light. The initial three that the dervish is invited to recite on tasbih beads are the most powerful and contain all Ninety-nine Names. The remaining ones are given according to the guidance received in dreams.
Tasbih is a life-line to one’s heart. It is a primary responsibility of the dervish and should be adhered to daily. It is much better to offer a small amount consistently than to offer large numbers one day and then none the next. Continuity in practice bears fruit.
Choose a quiet moment to recite your tasbih on the beads you have received. It is recommended to make an ablution before you begin. Face the Qiblah—outwardly the direction of the Kaba in Mecca, inwardly the heart. You may hold the beads in the vicinity of your heart as you recite. Close your eyes, enter a contemplative state and feel the presence of the shaykh or one of the Pirs kneeling knee to knee with you. Dedicate your tasbih with the following prayer:
Illahi anta maksudi wa ridaka maglubi
O Allah You are my goal and Your pleasure is my only desire!
Feel your heart calling the Name. Know that the heart has a mouth with which to call on Allah, so offer your dhikr from here. Feel its sound as Allah’s resonance, and trust that the power of the Name will bestow its bounty upon you.
If you are troubled by distracting thoughts, which Sheykh Muzaffer has called ‘the thieves of dhikr’, give them all to Allah, Who is the guardian of our affairs and the Caretaker of the universe, al-Wakil. Every thought that comes, simply give it to Allah. If we remain in a state of dhikr, our affairs are cared for. As we entrust everything to Allah peace comes to our heart. After the tasbih recitation, remain in a state of absorption in Allah.
Each Name evokes a different quality of Allah within the heart. Each Name is a medicine for a particular weakness of the limited self and also a balm for the lover. The medicine is most effective when administered by the doctor, who is the shaykh. When a lover of Allah desires to recite certain Names independent of the traditional tasbih it should be done only as praise and not with the intention to acquire powers. The recitations mentioned by Shaykh Muzaffer in the beginning of his book Irshad and his small book of Ninety-nine Names can be safely followed.
The dervish daily tasbih transmitted upon taking hand is outlined, translated and explained in the following pages. The number of recitations mentioned with the names is the initial practice given to the dervish at hand-taking. The shaykh will increase the amount periodically.
Indeed the hearts find complete satisfaction and all-embracing peace in the remembrance of Allah
- Holy Quran
The initial daily dervish tasbih, in brief:
165 repetitions of La ilaha Ilallah Muhammadun Rasulullah
165 repetitions of Ya Allah
165 repetitions of Hu
33 repetitions of the Quranic chapter al-Ikhlas
33 repetitions of the Salawat prayer
33 repetitions of Estaghfirullah
La ilaha Ilallah - Muhammadun Rasulallah
There is no reality apart from Allah, the Supreme Reality.
Allah alone is worthy of worship, for Allah alone is.
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the principle
of Perfect Humanity, the expression of Allah’s complete Love.
Recite the Name, turning the head from the right shoulder to the left, dropping it slightly toward the heart as you say Ilallah. After each audible repetition of La ilaha Ilallah, say or sense inwardly, in the heart, Muhammadun Rasulallah. You may feel it wordlessly as a burst of light. La ilaha Ilallah reveals pure unity of Being, and Muhammadun Rasulallah opens ever deeper levels of the heart. They will interpenetrate so that they are almost simultaneous. The two affirmations are never separate—transcendent Reality and shining humanity at its core. We disappear, are extinguished, in the glorious transcendence of La ilaha Ilallah, and we reappear in the love of Muhammadun Rasulallah. Recited together, they ignite each other and illumine creation.
In the mystic accounts spoken from the lips of the Prophet of Allah, it is related that in the realm of pre-eternity, Divine Reality is a hidden treasure. There is no form, no light, no heavens, no earth, nothing of creation is there. Sublime Reality speaks of this, “I was a hidden treasure, unknown and unknowable. Desiring to be known, I brought forth from my essence the light of humanity.” The name of this light in mystical Islam is Nur Muhammad. It is called by distinct names in all traditions, each indicating the same primal essence. As the Light bursts forth from the Hiddenness, it proclaims La ilaha Ilallah ceaselessly. Divine Sublimity responds, Muhammadun Rasulullah—‘Humanity is My hidden treasure, My representative in creation, the mirror in which I gaze. By humanity am I known and praised and loved. Humanity manifests La ilaha Ilallah, expressing My own secret.’ This mystery of original manifestation is not located in a historical past—it is an ever-unfolding splendor in the eternal Now.
La ilaha Ilallah is the resonance of Allah’s Existence.
La ilaha Ilallah is the sheer beauty of Allah, beyond conception and literal meaning.
La ilaha Ilallah is Allah’s delight, Allah’s own praise and dhikr.
La ilaha Ilallah is the song of Allah’s Love, Muhammad Rasulullah is the form beloved.
La ilaha Ilallah Muhammad Rasulullah is the One Face gazing in many mirrors.
La ilaha Ilallah is the mustard seed of faith, the sword of light, the key of the heart.
La ilaha Ilallah is the great news brought by all prophets, the essence of all holy books, the medicine for all ills, the balm for all hearts.
La ilaha Ilallah is the cry of New Humanity.
Humanity will know itself when it gazes at its essence and origin. La ilaha Ilallah is the eye of this gaze.
La ilaha ilallah signifies I am That.
By joining La ilaha Ilallah Muhammadun Rasulallah in recitation, distracting thoughts are prevented. When thoughts persist, focus your concentration even more on Muhammadun Rasulallah. Eventually you will feel the infinite petalled rose of Muhammadan Light blossom in the heart, each petal a Divine Attribute.
In an intimate state of dialogue with the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, Hazreti Ali inquires:
“O Messenger of God! What is the shortest way by which to reach God, exalted is He?”
The Prince of Prophets replies, “O Ali! The shortest way by which to reach God, Exalted is He, is Divine Remembrance, dhikrullah. The most excellent dhikr, which opens the gates of Paradise, closes the doors of Hell, and transforms fire into light, is the confession and affirmation of that saving declaration of the Oneness of God: LA ILAHA ILLA-LLAH”
- Hadith Qudsi, from Unveiling of Love
Recite using one breath for many repetitions. This name, the “Name of Power,” ismi jalal, is said to contain all of the Divine Names and Attributes of God ever revealed to humanity. Begin recitings Ya Allah, and then after thirty-three repetitions, you may drop the Ya and plunge directly into Allah. You may feel the Name filling the heart with Allah, or you may feel it as a knocking or pounding upon the heart. Eventually the heart itself will answer and speak the Name of Allah with its own life-rhythm.
Many there be, very many indeed, who attain the Beloved by saying “Allah” just once with love and longing.
- Shaykh Muzaffer
Know that the desire that burns with the Name is Allah
The tongue that speaks the Name is Allah
The breath that carries the Name is Allah
The hearing that receives the Name is Allah
Know your non-existence that you may know Allah
This name refers to the indescribable Essence of Allah beyond created attributes, the Essence from which all qualities arise. Hu is also the Breath and Spirit of Allah blown into Adam, giving him life and making the human being the Crown of Creation. As we recite Hu, it is Allah’s Breath which blows through our breath. It is Allah’s Hu. As we recite Hu, we disappear from name and form and our spirit is merged into the Soul of souls. Hu is the breath that Jesus blew.
Sura Ikhlas The Verse of Sincerity, Transparency and Unity
Qul Hu Allah Hu Ahad
Allah Hu Samad
Lam yalid wa lam yulad
Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan Ahad
Holy Quran, chapter 112
In the name of Allah, the Tenderly Compassionate,
the Infinitely Merciful
Say: He is Allah, the One Reality
Allah, the All-Encompassing.
There is no reality apart from Him,
nor does He originate from any other reality,
And there is nothing comparable to Him,
for apart from Him nothing exists.
Recite preferably before sunrise. The Prophet Muhammad declared to his beloved wife Aisha that the value of reciting three Sura Ikhlas was equivalent to the power of reciting the entire Quran.
Salawat Blessings upon the Prophet of Allah
Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina Muhammad
wa ‘ala ali Muhammad wa sahbihi wa sallim
O Allah bless our master Muhammad the Praiseworthy,
the family of Muhammad, and all his companions throughout time,
showering them ceaselessly with peace.
Recite preferably in the afternoon.
O Allah, forgive us!
Recite preferably in the evening. This cry cleanses and heals the heart of the negation of love.
...O children of Adam, were you to come before Me with negative thoughts and actions as vast as the entire earth—facing My Unity alone, without ascribing any duality to Supreme Reality—I would present you an equally vast forgiveness.
- Hadith Qudsi
The dhikr after salat is:
33 Times: Subhanallah Our hearts are awed by Your Sublime Glory O Allah.
33 Times: Alhamdulillah Our hearts flow in spontaneous praise and gratitude to You O Allah.
34 Times: Allahu Akbar O Allah our hearts are bewildered as You transcend every form and conception, and yet every moment You mysteriously manifest anew.