Saturday, July 25, 2009

Look for the Friends of God

sufi whirling, mystical oneness dervishesAnd the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong ..
- The Quran 9:71

.. and Allah was their Protecting Friend. In Allah let believers put their trust. - The Quran 3:122

"Allah says that I do not fit into the all eighteen thousand worlds but I dwell in the heart of my believing servant. So where should we go to meet Allah? Do we go to a university? Do we start reading a lot of books and commentaries? No! We go to the heart.

So there we need the guides of the heart and these are the awliya, the wali, the friend of God - for they have become intimate with Allah in their hearts. And this is where I would say the Islamic community should seek. So instead of being overcome by the idea of rules and the book of rules and then what happens is each want to start telling the other what to do and then you get a community of people who are just telling each other what to do and judging each other and seeing what everyone is doing wrong except for myself of course.

It always somehow based on a supposition that I know. Well, we call this arrogance or subtle pride. When I think I know and someone else does not know this is error, this is not faith anymore, this is not Islam.

So my recommendation is to look for the saints, look for the friends of God and I think everyone knows intuitively what a friend of God is.

A friend of God is someone who makes you feel happy when you come in their presence or may be awe. Islam is also awe - awe of Allah, but there is a sweetness in that awe. So its not fear in the normal way that we speak of fear. Its an awe that is sweet and that makes you want to come closer, makes you want to prostrate, makes you empty out, makes you humble. This is the way of Islam, the way of emptying the heart.

The way of reaching out to others, the way of covering over others and how do we do that? We do that in our own mind. By not seeing the false, by not judging, not even being the judge of one's self. We leave that to Allah. All we do is to turn to Allah’s mercy.

The friends are the ones who overlook, the ones forgiving, the ones make connections to Allah, not the ones who block the way by frightening people or block the way by judging them or being harsh. The friends are the ones who open the doors to Allah wide and invite everyone in. These are the friends.

So these are the people that we should look to in our Islamic community. Find these, they are everywhere. They might not have robes. In fact usually they don’t have robes and turbans. They are humble, they are true speakers, they tell the truth. Seek these ...

Everywhere is mercy. Everything that happens to us is mercy. Let’s follow that teaching, let’s follow love, follow beauty, follow generosity, follow nobility, follow justice, follow honoring each others rights, honoring the rights of all creatures of all beings, not telling each others what to do, not limiting the human capacity in each other.

Let’s stop being judges, let’s stop being lawyers. Let’s become lovers, let’s become friends, let’s become true followers of the mystic heart of the Prophet Mohammad, the mercy to all the worlds. Let’s trust in Allah’s mercy, let’s trust in Allah. Let’s turn to Allah, rely on Allah, and disappear in Allah. .."

- Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi, transcribed from a talk given to Pakistan Women's Conference in 2006

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Shaykha FariahAbout | Shaykha Fariha was born into a socially committed, eclectic Catholic family in Houston, Texas in 1947 and has lived at various times in Los Angeles, Mexico and New York, where she currently resides. At the age of 19 she began a conscious search for God. Ten years later she met her teacher, Shaykh Muzaffer Ozak of Istanbul. Through Shaykh Muzaffer she also met Lex Hixon, who became his disciple in the same year. At the passing of the Master, she became the disciple of Lex Hixon (Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi).

When Shaykh Nur passed in 1995, Fariha took on the role of guiding the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order. Through this lineage, she and her representatives offer the nectar of teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which guide the seeker to self-knowledge and immersion in God. The sacred practices of zikr, prayer, charitable living, fasting and retreat are all embraced. Every week Fariha with her husband Ali and the dervishes invite all seekers into the circle of zikr at the Masjid al-Farah in New York City.

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. Shaykha Fariha with her dervishes in Boulder, Colorado

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