A talk by Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi, 1999
Dear sisters and brothers on the path of love, greetings to you, your families, and all those close to your heart. We received a feast of light in Hawaii, and I want to thank my khalifa, Reyhan, and all the dervishes of the circle for their love and their inspiration in this gathering. Each one of us was opened and strengthened with a special gift. A new ray of divine knowledge is now streaming into our community through this gathering. In particular, it clarified in my heart certain thoughts about our path which have been forming over the years of living in community with the dervish lovers of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Tariqat, the path streaming through the heart of the blessed Prophet Muhammad, may eternal peace be upon him.
Upon returning from the retreat, I had a dream in which I was sitting at a long table next to Reyhan and was remarking to her that the further west one goes the less the dervishes are making salat. At the end of the table sat a man who was an astrologer. When he heard me say this he replied that it is because a new astronomical time is coming. However, in another scene, I was told that I was not allowed to let my own salat lapse. In the last part of the dream I was shown a huge fish that the dervishes of Hawaii were going to consume. I asked if it were a tuna but the dervish who was overseeing it said no—it was not a fish from the east. It was something completely new and indigenous to this land.
On waking I felt that the dream was significant for our tariqat, and the divine direction in which it is flowing. The first mentioning of salat in the dream, which the dervishes in the West are less and less performing, refers not to the salat of light received by the Holy Prophet in the angelic heavens, but to a coercive attitude transmitted by the limited religion. The limitation, which produces the limited religion, is essentially a lack of faith in the human soul and a narrow view of Allah’s mercy. From this comes the desire to shape and manipulate the human being rather than allow the person to blossom and grow according to their own potential. The true path, the open way, is pure beauty and divine attraction—the soul is drawn through its own desire to return to its Lord. "Let there be no coercion in My religion" proclaims Allah Most High in holy Quran. Love is sufficient to guide the lovers. Let love empty us. Let love make us nothing. Then we will see clearly that Truth stands out openly from untruth. Then there will be no preaching about prayer; we will have become prayer—the prayer which is an ascension, the prayer which is a light to the eyes of the heart, the prayer in which we meet Allah and speak with Allah from the depths of our heart, from the pain and the joy. The dervishes of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Tariqat, moving toward the new time indicated by the astrologer, who could be Sheyk Muazffer or Sheyk Nur, are rapidly letting go of limited understandings and subtle coercion within themselves. They do not want to impose ideas or forms on others—they only desire to open hearts, and the hearts will fly to the truth.
"Sun that rises from the East awakens now within the West… Eagle soaring in the West, True Kaaba whirling in the West," sings Nur al Jerrahi. Many traditions speak of such a time, represented by the West, when the prayers and labors of the prophets and saints are fulfilled in a humanity about whom Quran speaks—"He loves them and they love Him." The veils of separation are removed. In this state we are able to see ourselves in a paradise of unity with Allah. We realize our life as Allah’s life, and accept every event coming to us as a divine gift. We move and breathe in Alhamdulillah. We embrace every human being as Allah’s Being. We drink the honey of revelation from the great prophets and we make no division among them and we do not separate ourselves from the practitioners of other true paths. We constantly let go of our limited selves in great and small acts of sacrifice, breathing a wonderful sigh of relief as our heart expands beyond the boundaries of fear. We submit ourselves willingly, and even joyfully, to the pressure of the Beloved which turns us into diamond. We shed the limited self through weeping tears and turning only to Allah to complain of our hurt. We feel the joy of our companions’ joy and we cry the tears that they cry. Our love to humanity is our love to Allah. Our love to Allah is our love to humanity. In this time there is no question of imposing religious practices or doctrine. Worship is spontaneous and effortless. We will be seeking all the beautiful ways of worship, for our hearts will be overflowing with love. Following the call of "Remember Me and I will remember you," we will gather with the lovers in the galaxies of dhikrullah, merging into the Beloved through chanting the Beautiful Names, transforming into light. The prayer of salat will stand out like the Mount Sinai or Mount Arafat, and lovers will be gathering in graceful crowds to ascend to the Beloved. As the guide of all lovers has proclaimed, "Offering the salat in community is 27 times more precious than solitary salat." Community is Paradise. Opening our hearts and our arms to other human beings is the way of Truth, is living with God in this world. This is true tariqat. Tariqat joins our heart with the Prophetic heart and through this to the Divine Heart, and through the Divine Heart to all the hearts—in the great tree of life where each being has a holy place and where all are bonded in the matrix of love. Tariqat is the way of divine ease. "And we have made the way easy for you." Alhamdulillah! The Beloved has made the way easy for us because Love desires us as we desire Love. Love runs toward us and embraces us when we reach out and step toward Love. We choose ease because Love has chosen ease for us. And tariqat is this path of ease.
Let us look at the path of divine ease and see what constitutes its nature. What are the signs and qualities of tariqat? At the center of tariqat is the human heart. "While pointing at his noble heart three times, the glorious Seal O Messengers proclaims: True religion is right here. "Allah most High Who does not fit into all the universes dwells inside the heart of the human being. All guidance comes from here. All actions are divinely evaluated by the heart’s intention motivating them. All knowledge, all goodness, all joy are revealed within the heart. As dervishes we hope never to break a heart, for Allah is there. We seek always to consult our heart and follow our heart, for we are consulting with and following Allah. What great ease Allah has granted us by placing the lamp of guidance and revelation within our own breast. However, through the divine plan of love, we do not come to this lamp on our own, nor do we light it on our own. We are guided by Allah’s grace to a living guide who opens the way to further, exalted guidance. Our leap of faith is to say Yes. When we take the hand of a trusted sheyk, the lamp of our heart is ignited with the light of the glorious Seal of the Messengers, the same light which streams through all of Allah’s holy Messengers. What great ease! We are now a living lamp. Our task is to illuminate all aspects of our lives with this light, to let it completely flood our being until we are transformed entirely into light. The key to this transformation is La ilahe ilallah Muhammadun Rasulallah. This is the resonance, the utterance, and the message of the light. It is the ultimate gnosis and the essential path of return. It is the great praise of creation toward the Essence. It is the first pillar of Islam, and it is reported by the truthful Messenger to be the single most pleasing act to the Divine Essence. What great ease!
In a noble hadith, the trusted companion Abu Hurayra told of the night when the Beloved Prophet, may Allah embrace him with complete peace, absented himself from his companions for such a long time that they became fearful for his well-being. Abu Hurayra left first to seek him, and found him in a garden in deep contemplation. When he approached, the Prophet, sensing his presence, asked him gently what he desired. Abu Hurayra answered that he was concerned due to his long absence. The truthful said that while he was immersed in prayer, Gabriel, upon him be peace, had brought a message from Allah the Exalted—if a person uttered once La ilahe ilallah sincerely, paradise would be theirs. Abu Hurayra then asked if he could transmit this to the people. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said yes. He gave him his sandal to attest to the truth of the report. As Abu Hurayra was leaving the garden he met with the other companions coming rapidly down the path, headed by Hazreti Omar, may Allah be pleased with him. Upon being asked what the beloved Prophet had said, Abu Hurayra answered with the report from Gabriel. Hazreti Omar, the holy warrior, struck him down. They both returned to the Prophet, and when Omar had heard the astounding revelation directly from the lips of the Beloved of Allah, he begged him not to tell the people because he feared that it would weaken their religion. Hazreti Omar prevailed at that moment, yet clearly, Abu Hurayra did eventually transmit to the companions and inheritors the amazing news given on that special night.
The inheritors of this radical transmission are the dervishes of the tariqats. We have received the marrow of the way, the inner essence of revelation. What great ease! To chant La ilahe ilallah with our whole heart, mind, and soul is to praise the Essence of Being with what is most pleasing. It is reported in hadith that when a lover utters La ilahe ilallah the throne of Allah begins to tremble and does not cease until the lover stops. Rather than spending years in fasting and afflicting the self to realize the truth we have only to plunge into the sea of light within La ilahe ilallah Muhammadun Rasulallah. We seek our delight through Allah’s delight, and we gather together weekly like bees in the hive to make the honey of Allah’s delight for the whole world with La ilahe ilallah.
"Wherever you turn there is the Glorious Face of Allah". "Wherever I look I see only saints." The community of tariqat, composed of the saints and friends of Allah, is the Divine Face. We experience friendship with Allah through friendship to each other. We practice the gracious behavior, adab, that we desire toward Allah by directing it toward the sheyk and our fellow sisters and brothers. We are with Allah when we are together. We experience the passion of divine love through loving each other. What great ease! We flow with acts of loving kindness, and we seek to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. With every breath and act of goodness we exchange our clothes of worldliness for robes of light. Subtly, without being aware, we transform into human beings of light. What great ease! Nearness, intimacy with Allah and companionship with the friends, lovers, and prophets of Allah, and particularly with the beloved Muhammad, may the peace of intimate union be his eternally, is the desire of the dervish. This is the way of the ‘ahli bayt’, the people of the household of the Prophet of Allah, may divine peace flood him and them together. This is the mystical state of the ‘Five under the Cloak’, which refers to the Prophet wrapping in his cloak the blessed Fatima, the glorious Ali, and their two noble sons, Hazreti Hasan and Hazreti Husayn, may Allah the Exalted elevate them to the highest levels of realization. The transmission of mystic knowledge, which flows into tariqat and is the basis of tariqat, comes from these beloved near ones, the family and the intimate companions of the Prophet. We cherish them and we follow their exalted way of intimacy and nobility. We offer abundant salawat upon the Beloved of Allah, and his family and companions, feeling its rainfall of blessing in ourselves and in creation. "Those who invoke blessings on the Prophet, Allah will invoke blessings on them tenfold." We take refuge with the Mercy of Allah, represented in the beloved near ones, from the wrath of Allah, represented in what is distant and what considers itself independent.
Love, intimacy, and constant remembrance are the glorious way. Essentially, love, love, and more love. Tariqat, the path of ease, unfolds in the Bismillahirrahmanirrahim—in the all-encompassing womb of love of the Being Who is Love and ever more love. Allah is all-embracing, all-penetrating, all-providing Mother. Allah is glorious Truth and Supreme Reality. Allah is intimate lover and watchful guide. Allah is hidden Mystery. The path of ease opens the heart to adore our Beloved in all beautiful forms, and to cry out with all the beautiful names. We are with our Beloved in the open space, in the great freedom of only Hu, where Love alone is real.
The experience of entering tariqat is the indescribable joy of meeting Allah’s love face to face. It is the blissful joy of being able to freely melt in this love and witness others melting in it too. It is the deep joy of gaining strength from this love and being able to reach out to others. It is the ultimate joy of seeing our sisters and brothers grow and transform into light, knowing that this is the inheritance of all humanity. Nothing can compare, nothing can compare.
"And their similitude in the Gospel is like a seed which sends forth its blade, and then becomes strong; it grows thick and stands on its own stem, filling the sowers with wonder and delight."