But it is necessary that you learn about zikr, for it is only possible to know the truth if you are in a state of continuous (divine) remembrance, if you are always awake.
- The spiritual guide, Hamid of Reshad Feild, as shared in his spiritual autobiography, "The Last Barrier."
This is one of my most favorite book and below is an important excerpt where the teacher was teaching his British disciple, Reshad about zikr. The part contains an important understanding that can be utilized by seekers of the Sufi Path who have began their journey. Inshallah, I hope you will enjoy the reading and feel inspired to pick up the book.
The first and most important thing you must learn is the meaning of the word zikr. It is an Arabic word that literally means "remembrance," and it is a daily practice for all followers of the Way. There are many ways of performing zikr and ... the sound of Hu-Allah, is used by many of the Dervish orders.
.. You may wonder why it is necessary to perform zikr, particularly since you are not an orthodox Moslem. The answer cannot be given easily. First it is necessary to know the meaning of zikr on many levels, and then you will find the answer for yourself. The full zikr that all Moslems say is contained in the words, "La ilaha illa 'lla", which means, "There is no god but God," but the Dervish says, "La ilaha illa 'lla' Hu," which means, "There is no God but Him that is God."
This tells us that when we have negated our own separate existence, and affirmed the everliving presence of God, there is still a further reality, beyond the beyond.
'We are not involved with religion, or with form. We are involved with the inner meaning, the inner stream of truth that underlies all religion. Our way is not a way for those who cannot go beyond form. It is for those who wish to go straight to Essence. In zikr the orthodox say, "Allah-Hu," "God-Him;" but the Dervish says, "Hu-Allah."
There are may ways of performing zikr, and the teacher must seek the level of the pupil so that he will give him the correct type of zikr. You must not take away form if the pupil still needs form. The rule is, if the pupil is not ready to go beyond form, then give him an exercise.
But it is necessary that you learn about zikr, for it is only possible to know the truth if you are in a state of continuous remembrance, if you are always awake.
Other traditions, of course, have other method of remembering, like the continuous repetition in the Christian way of the Jesus prayer - "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me." But you must never compare ways, or feel that one is better than another, for that judgment only causes separation and disharmony. What is important is the attitude of remembrance. If it comes only from the head, then nothing will happen. Only when zikr is repeated in the heart will your prayers be answered.
You may wonder why I am instructing you, a Westerner, to do zikr in Arabic. The answer has to do with sound. Arabic is the closest living language to ancient Aramaic, the root of both Hebrew and Arabic, and the sounds themselves have certain properties that are not translatable into any other language.
For the present, you are to continue with the special form of zikr ... Everyday you should contemplate on the meaning of the words. The full meaning of the words, "La ilaha illa 'lla Hu" is "No, there is no god but Him that is God."
You begin with denial, denying everything so that only He remains. This means that you give up your little will in favor of the greater will, the Will of God. When you have done this, you affirm His name with the cry of "Allah" and then, if you are very still, and empty of yourself, you may hear His reply, "Hu". "I Am, that I Am." It is the reply of the Divine Essence, beyond all attributes.
First you are to contemplate the meanings of the words, then repeat the full zikr, La ilaha illa 'lla Hu, thirty three times, and follow it with the zikr of Hu-Allah, for long as you can without losing concentration of the heart.
- From the Last Barrier, Reshad Feild
About Reshad Feild:
As a young Englishman he was educated at boarding schools from an early age, and was then at Eton College. He then went straight into the Navy to serve two years of his National Service. Soon afterwards he learnt to play the guitar, and became a folk singer, singing his way half way round the world. Perhaps he would have been called a "Spiritual Hippy" at that time. On the journey he became ill in the Northern Provinces of Pakistan, close to the borders of Afghanistan, and had to return to England. However he had already met up with a Dervish Brotherhood, the mystical branch of Islam. This meeting was to bring about a beginning of a complete change in his life. In mid 60s Tim met Pir Vilayat Khan, the Head of the Sufi Order International, and was then initiated by Pir Vilayat when his name was changed from Tim to Reshad Feild. He left the antique business and went on to help organise and run a Spiritual Teaching Centre in Gloucestershire, which was called Beshara by a man who was to become Reshad's spiritual teacher.
|Bulent Rauf (Hamid)|
In December, 1971, he and a group of students went to Konya (Turkey) to meet Bulent and see the Sacred Ceremony of the Mevlevi Order of Dervishes, sometimes known as the Whirling dervishes. While there, he met a former Sheikh of the Mevlevi dervishes, Sheikh Suleyman Dede, who initiated Reshad as a Sheikh of that Order.
In the early eighties Reshad moved to Europe where he established a large teaching Centre in Switzerland, called Johanneshof which he supervised for some years. Reshad now lives in England and other parts of Europe where he continues to write and advise seekers of what he calls,The Way of Love, Compassion and Service. (Continue to read about Reshad)
"Reshad Feild is one of those rare combinations -- artist and soul teacher."
- Coleman Barks, poet and author of The Essential Rumi
* Chalice: a Living School
* Instruction Letter of Bulet Rauf to Reshad
* Bulent Rauf
* The Invisible Way: Sequel of the Last Barrier
* To Know We're Loved: A time to love and a time to die
* Steps to Freedom by Reshad Feild