The spiritual leaders of the societies
By: Dr. Ismail Ulukus
Of course, trying to understand Allah (swt) by means of intelligent and know all attributes and names of Him that are written in the Fiqh (Islamic Law) books are significant steps of Marifetullah (Gnosis). However, this knowledge is never enough for a sincere believer who wants to develop a close affinity to Allah (swt). This knowledge is completed only after knowing Allah (swt) by heart.
The third and the most important stage of Marifetullah is knowing Allah (swt) by heart. As Allah (swt) is known by heart, the belief reaches to stage of maturity. At this stage, the heart is freed from all questions and doubts, all the hesitations about the existence of Allah (swt) are disappeared, and the truth is appeared very clearly in the heart with all of its glory. Nobody can mislead a person who reached this stage in belief.
# Tasawwuf is the spirit and essence of the religion
The third stage of Marifetullah is achieved only by Tasawwuf training. Tasawwuf is the spirit and essence of the religion. Fiqh teaches the practical aspects of the religion which is called "sharia". Tasawwuf teaches the spirit and essence behind the visible aspect, which means "the truth" of the religion. This invisible aspect of religion constitutes the bases and essences of Islam. A Muslim learns the formal methods of the religion, in other words, how to perform ablution and salaat, how to behave to their neighbors, points to taken into consideration during trade, by the fiqh training. Afterwards, he depends on a Murshid-i Kamil (an Islamic saint) representing Rasulullah (Allah’s messenger, Prophet Muhammad). With his talk and advices, under his supervision and discipline, he is enlightened with the spiritual lights of Rasulullah by internalizing them. He learns to be sincere at the prayers and divine services to understand Allah (swt) truly and to be a religious human being who has the fear of Allah (swt), passing through a nafs (ego) and heart training. Therefore, the visible-practical aspect and the invisible-spiritual aspect of the religion are in harmony and consistency. Thereby these two disciplines complement each other. One cannot be achieved without the other. If it is achieved, it doesn't reflect the religion entirely.
Ensuring this integrity between the visible and invisible aspects of religion, i.e. the behavior of a person who identifies himself as a Muslim must be based on the ground of a strong belief and Muslims should know their Allah (swt) sufficiently having belief and avoiding sins, has a significant importance for our political, economic and social lives as well as our religious life. Considering any event of today, we see that the problems we face are because of our people's not being sincere enough with their belief and that their lack of fear of Allah. The spread of the moral disorders such as shamelessness, immodesty, cheat, betrayal, breach of trust, hypocrisy, show off, denial of the debt, trick, extortion, bribery, acquiring wealth by the government's resources are all because of the insincere belief and lack of fear of Allah (swt). Let's think now, can a person, who knows Allah (swt) truly and believes in the Hereafter and that will be asked to account for all his actions, do such things?
# The nafs and heart training have significant importance for the entire humanity
Therefore, nafs (ego) and heart training that achieved its goals have significant importance for the peace and well-being of both our society and the entire humanity. In the previous years, wise people, such as Yasawi, Yunus, Mawlana and Ahi Evren, achieved it and saved our society from such bad situations. Many people think that there are no spiritual leaders left in our times. This is an extremely wrong thought. Although our people's trust for these spiritual leaders was destroyed as a result of false sheiks and mentors that were made out to form the society towards their political aims by exploiting their religious feelings and the precautions were taken by our government, in reality this spiritual education still continues. Divine mercy never disappears from Earth. Allah (swt) doesn't discriminate His former and latter human beings. This thought is resulted from not knowing Him and His mercy and justice attributes sufficiently. The Great Creator never leaves the Earth alone. As He granted the people who lived in that period with the divine lights spread from His Prophet's heart in the era of bliss, He spreads this divine lights and His mercy through the awliyaullah (saints) which are his inheritors today. This divine light of mercy will certainly continue shining until the judgment day.
Dear readers, Tasawwuf training constitutes the most important part of Islamic education. Because, it is nurturing of the heart. Therefore, I think it is very useful to know the Tasawwuf mentors who are the specialists of heart nurturing and the things they tried to explain to the society.
# The base of Tasawwuf education is relied on Ahl al-Suffa
As you can remember from my previous articles; Islamic Sciences consist of 5 main divisions. Qur'an and Interpretation, Hadith, Fiqh, Kalam, Tasawwuf and Morals. The science of Tasawwuf derived from the word "suffa" (hall). It is always considered together with the science of morality; because, there is an absolute connection between a pure and believing heart and social ethics.
The first science organization of Islam was a place, called "suffa", consisted of a shelter covered with date palm leaves next to the mosque built by Rasulullah (s.a.w) after he had completed his hegira to Medina. Poor students without houses in Medina and the Muslims coming from other countries to learn Islam stayed there and these people were called "Ahl al-Suffa" or "Ashab Al-Suffa". Those ashab (The companions of Muhammed s.a.w), whose number was reported to be up to 400 never left Rasulullah (s.a.w), used to perform salaat with him, enlightened with his conversations, spent all of their times on learning Qur'an, memorizing Hadith, teaching and learning Science. As Rasulullah (s.a.w.) ordered
"He who comes to this mosque of mine and he comes only to learn or teach a khayr (goodness), his status is like that of one who strives in the cause of Allah."
Mescid-i Nebevî and Suffa parts of the mosque became a home of science. (1)
The statement of Sad bin abi Wakkas, who was a companion of Rasulullah (s.a.w.), as "The Rasulullah commanded some of us different numbers of different names. I couldn't count on fingers so I tied 33 knots on a rope and started to count on it"(2) is the most clear proof that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) didn't only teach them the applied sciences but also made them perform applications about spiritual sciences by zikr.
# The applications based on nafs and heart training started with Rasulullah (s.a.w.)
As it is reported by Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a.):
"In the times of Allah's messenger zikr was done aloud after the fardh salaads were finished!" (Buhari, Ezan, 465)
On the other hand Hazrat Ali said in order to explain Ashab-i Kiram:
“So if the morning came, they would stand steadily as (swaying) tree does on a windy day. Their eyes would be bathed in tears. By Allah! It is as if I am now with people who have slept forgetful.” (İbn Kesir, Ebu Nuaym) (3)
All of these represent that the Tasawwuf education started with Rasulullah (s.a.w.) but those nafs and heart training actions were left afterwards and they were continued by only dervishes who were taken bay'ah from Tasawwuf competent mentors.
Although tasawwuf took its name from Ashab al-Suffa, awliyaullah who are the inheritors of Rasulullah (s.a.w) were enlightened with the spiritual aspects through Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and especially Hazrat Ali who was the Shah-i Walayat more than the Suffa scientists who were trained there. Rasulullah ordered for Hazrat Ali:
I am the city of knowledge, Ali is its gate. Whoever wants knowledge should come to its gate." (Tirmizi)
# The Tasawwuf Scientists who are called Murshid-i Kamil are the inheritors of Rasulullah
Hazrat Ali is trained under the nurturing of Rasulullah since his childhood, he was honored to be son-in-law of Rasulullah, and he learned both formal and spiritual sciences from him and was the one of the greatest intellectual, scientist and awliya of his time. That knowledge and divine light has survived until the present times passing from him through 12 imams and through the awliyaullah which most of them are Rasulullah's grandchildren. Thus, Islam continues being a light of mercy for the entire humanity from the times of Adam alayhisssalam, maintaining its right level based on the integrity of heart and behavior.
Those beloved servants of Allah who were enlightened with material and spiritual knowledge, inspirations and virtues of Rasulullah were called awliya as well as the ones who were appointed for showing the true path were called Murshid-i Kamil. The competent guides of Tasawwuf who are called as Murshid-i Kamil are the inheritors of Rasulullah in terms of formal and spiritual sciences; they are the ones that Allah (swt) appointed for showing the human the true path. They are the links of the goodness chain continuing since Rasulullah. They are the spiritual leaders of the societies. Each of them was assigned by a spiritual order and permission. Each of them was also blessed with the characters and qualifications that their duty needed as Rasulullah. Therefore, they resemble the messengers of Allah (swt) in many of their specifications. However; the Prophets were saved from sins and warned by Angel Gabriel clearly on the condition that they were in a position of sinning, the awliyas were not provided with this opportunity. They are blessed with the gift of realizing their sins and swearing off.
# As they have the light of mercy, the one who sees them remembers Allah (swt)
Allah (swt) ordered in Qur'an for his awliya servants:
"Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil. For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter: no change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme triumph." (Yunus, 62, 63, 64)
Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said:
"Surely, some of God blessed servants are neither Prophets nor Martyrs; they are special People, who on the Day of Reckoning, the Prophets and the Martyrs will envy them for their ranks and nearness to their God..."
"Those who are with them cannot be sinners" (1)
As they have manners, knowledge and advances in brief the light of mercy from Prophet Mohammed, the one who sees them remembers Allah (swt) immediately. And those who are dependent to them and be with them can never be sinners.
Be entrusted to Allah.