Monday, June 30

3 Keys to Happiness

Here is just such a simple solution, presented in the form of three keys, that when remembered and practiced, keep us going in the right direction and while we walk the path, they also are the catalysts in bringing happiness.

Key 1 - Keep Your Heart Free From Hatred

When people, events and circumstances go against our wishes, desires or expectations, they create reactions of anger and frustration within us. These reactions are natural and must not be denied or ignored - rather their underlying reason must be seen and overcome - that of our pre-decided ideas and expectations being thwarted.

These emotions occur as a natural progression of painful events and are fine as long as they are felt and released. The problem lies when we cannot let go of the feelings and they tend to seep into our hearts where they fester till treated. If such is the case, these negative feelings tend to influence our way of thought, and necessarily, of action and become an integral part of our outlook towards life itself. Then everything that originates within us carries the subtle flavour of these very negative feelings.

The first secret of happiness says that no matter what emotions we feel temporarily, our hearts must remain free of hate.

Key 2 - Keep Your Mind Free From Worry

We worry when our thoughts travel either to the future, or linger in the past. Worry is a phenomenon which depletes energy and divides attention - leaving us incapable of giving our best to the moment before us.

The only way to give a 100% of yourself to the task at hand is to be totally present in the present moment without thinking of what's gone by or what is still to come - both cases where we have no say or control anyway.

Performing the action totally and to the best of one's ability brings back a positive result based on the law of karma - "As you sow, so shall you reap" - a result which would not be possible had we divided our inner being with worry.

The second secret of happiness is to always perform actions based on careful thought and planning, but without worry.

Key 3 - Give A Lot, Expect A Little

It is crucial for our happiness to come to the realisation early in life that it is our own expectations and pre-conceived ideas and hopes, which when frustrated, cause most of our pain and agony.

Once this understanding has stabilized within us, we begin to live for the moment, and within ourselves instead of seeking outward or external reinforces for our self-esteem or happiness.

It is not enough for us to be passive spectators of our own life, we must also be willing to give and share freely of our best qualities without waiting for a similar return.

It is both wise and practical to remember the advice of numerous spiritual masters that "It is in the giving that we receive." The free giving of your own self without strings attached bring both peace and contentment in the long run.

The third secret of happiness is to give a lot and expect very little.

Sunday, June 29

When Life Seems Too Much to Handle

An old story that most of us have read before, but, it is still very beautiful and thought provoking.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar...and the coffee...

A professor stood before his philosophy class & had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things, your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Credit: Salma Remani

Thursday, June 26

Poem on The Holy Prophet

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

O Beloved of God, you are the Messenger of the Sole Creator. You are the one chosen by the Holy Lord of Majesty (Who is) without equal.

(You are) the delight of the Lord God (and) the highest Full-Moon of createdbeings, (and) you are the light of the eyes of (God's) Messengers (and) the Lampof our eyes.

On the night of the Ascension, (the angel) Gabriel was at (your) stirrup,(and) you are (the one who was) standing on top of the blue domes (of heaven).

O Messenger of God, you know (that) your community are deprived and destitute, (and) you are the guide of those who are vulnerable and helpless.

(You are) the cypress tree of the rose garden of prophethood (and) the spring-season of spiritual knowledge.

You are the rosebush of the garden of the ReligiousLaw, and the nightingale of the lofty (heavens).

Shamsee Tabreez is one who has the praise of the Messenger in his heart.

O Mustafa, you are the supreme master.

Monday, June 23

Principles of Conduct

'The roots of conduct have four aspects: conduct with Allah, conduct with the self, conduct with creation (i.e. people), and conduct with this world. Each of these aspects is based upon seven principles, just as there are seven principles of conduct with Allah: giving Him His due, keeping His limits, being thankful for His gift, being content with His decree, being patient with His trials, glorifying His sanctity, and yearning for Him.

The seven principles of conduct with the self are fear, striving, enduring harm, spiritual discipline, seeking truthfulness and sincerity, withdrawing the self from what it loves, and binding it in poverty (faqr).

The seven principles of conduct with creation are forbearance, forgiveness, humility, generosity, compassion, good counsel, justice and fairness.

The seven principles of conduct with this world are being content with what is at hand, preferring what is available to what is not, abandoning the quest for the elusive, hating overabundance, choosing abstinence (zuhd), knowing the evils of this world and abandoning any desire for it, and negating its dominance.

When all these qualities are found in one person, he is then one of Allah's elite, one of His close bondsman and friends (awliya')'
(Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, Lanterns of the Path)

Friday, June 20

People of Wisdom

"People with Wisdom know that it is important to correct their own mistakes, while people without wisdom find it necessary to point out the mistakes of others.

People with strong Faith know that it is important to clear their own Hearts, while those with unsteady faith seek to find fault in the hearts and prayers of others.

This becomes a habit in their lives.

But those who Pray to Allah with Faith, Determination, and Certitude know that the most important thing in Life is to Surrender their Hearts to Allah."

Sufi Saint
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (r.a)

Monday, June 16

Be Thankful for everything in life!

'With every breath you take, a thanksgiving is incumbent upon you, indeed, a thousand thanks or more. The lowest level of gratitude is to see that the blessing comes from Allah irrespective of the cause for it, and without the heart being attached to that cause. It consists of being satisfied with what is given; it means not disobeying Him with regard to His blessing, or opposing Him in any of His commands and prohibitions because of His blessing.

Be a grateful bondsman to Allah in every way, and you will find that Allah is a generous Lord in every way. If there were a way of worshiping Allah for His sincerest bondsman to follow more excellent than giving thanks at every instance, He would have ascribed to them the name of this worship above the rest of creation. Since there is no form of worship better than that, He has singled out this kind of worship from other kinds of worship, and has singled out those who practise this kind of worship, saying,

وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ

'Very few of my servants are grateful' (34:13)

Complete thankfulness is to sincerely repent your inability to convey the least amount of gratitude, and expressing this by means of your sincere glorification of Allah. This is because fitting thanks is itself a blessing bestowed upon the bondsman for which he must also give thanks; it is of greater merit and of a higher state than the original blessing which caused him to respond with thanks in the first place. Therefore, every time one gives thanks one is obliged to give yet greater thanks, and so on ad infinitum, and this while absorbed in His blessings and unable to achieve the ultimate state of gratitude. For how can the bondsman match with gratitude the blessings of Allah, and when will he match his own action with Allah's while all along the bondsman is weak and has no power whatsoever, except from Allah?

Allah is not in need of the obedience of His bondsmen, for He has the power to increase blessings forever. Therefore be a grateful bondsman to Allah, and in this manner you will see wonders.'

By Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq(as)

Sunday, June 15

Wisdom - Jalaluddin Rumi

Wisdom is like the rain. Its source is unlimited, but it comes down according to the season. Grocers put sugar in a bag, but their supply of sugar is not the amount in the bag. When you come to a grocer, he has sugar in abundance. But he sees how much money you have brought and gives accordingly. Your currency on this Path is resolution and faith, and you are taught according to your resolution and faith. When you come seeking sugar, they examine your bag to see what its capacity is; then they measure out accordingly.

- Jalaluddin Rumi

Friday, June 13

Anger - Shaykh Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi

"Anger is a poison that contaminates the blood. It diminishes the stored up Spiritual Energy within you. You'll never be able to become spiritual unless you overcome anger and resentment."

Shaykh Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
Patriarch of the Sufi Order of Azeemia.

Thursday, June 12

Sufi Quotes

Luxuriant Growth

If the scissors are not used daily on the beard, it will not be long before they begin pretending to be the head.
The One

Love reaches its omega when it transcends itself

Becoming one with the object itself

Producing the unity of being

The burden of the nose

I saw a man prostrating in his prayers and told him, ‘ You lay the burden of your nose to ground and think it is as excuse for your requirement of your prayers?’

Real Love

Ordinary human love is capable of raising man to the experience of real love.

The Beggar

A beggar went to someone’s door and begged for food.

‘There is no one here’, came the reply.

‘I don’t need anyone’, said the beggar. ‘I need the food!’.

The Dry Clouds

The dry clouds waterless have no rain giving quality.


Do not boast that you have no pride, as it is less visible an ant’s foot on a black stone on a moonless black night.

And do not think that it is easier to bring it out from within since it is easier to extract a mountain from the earth with a needle.

The greatest sorrow

Before Nushirvan (a famous Persian emperor) the Just, wise sages discussed the heaviest sorrow that prevails on humans.

One of them said it was illness and suffering.

Other said it was old age with poverty.

And last one said it was approaching death with lack of work.

At the end the last one was accepted.

Wednesday, June 11

Forgiveness in Islam

This is truly a beautiful hadith. Very touching. Many non Muslims think our religion is too hard and that we view Allah as only to be feared. Wheras, in reality Islam combines an equal amount of Love, Fear, and Hope. We are only humans so inevitably we will make mistakes and sin from time to time. Often, we tend to despair when we commit a sin. But Alhamdullilah, our forgiveness is only a prayer away. We don’t need any intercessors. We don’t have to pray to anyone else. We have a direct link. Mash’Allah what a beautiful religion…….a beautiful Way of Life!

On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say:

Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.

Good Company vs Bad Company

Imam Ali(as) Said:

"By keeping company of good people you will develop goodness in your character and by avoiding the society of wicked person you will abstain from wickedness"

"Do not talk about knowledge with the foolish so that they deny you, nor with the ignorant so that they find you oppressive, but talk about it with those of its people whom you meet who will accept it and understand it."

Tuesday, June 10


Do not think that silence is silent!
For its speaks with the most eloquent words
Silence is NOT weakness
It is a strength
It is the weapon for the wise
and the downfall for all adversaries
Let silence be your preparation..
Let silence be your meditation..
Let silence be your realisation..
of this worlds temporary journey
and of our final destination....
So until that day....
when we will stand shoulder to shoulder on the battle fields..
Silence the heart
Silence the mind
and allow ALLAH's Glorious remembrance
leave all else behind.

"Silence is the veil of the ignorant and the adornment of the wise"

"Silence is the best reply to a fool"

"Water can be preserved in a water-skin only when its mouth is tied"

~ Sayyidina Ali (r.a)

Friday, June 6

Sohbet from GrandShaikh - The two great evils of the humankind

The Sheikh talks about shaytan being the first and the ego being the second disobedient creature. Lying, slandering, backbiting, and disclosing the faults of others are great sicknesses of today's Muslims. People fighting within tarikat. Grandsheikh Maulana Nazim Kıbrısi is the sultan of saints and can not be limited to having only "two men" as the only doors leading to Maulana. Anyone claiming this and those accepting this claim are working for their egos.

We are Ottoman and we will teach them manners.

[June 4, 2008; 35mins]

Wednesday, June 4

Abstain but from Good Speech

25th in the Naksbendi Golden Chain. The great al- Imam ar-Rabbani Ahmad al-Faruqi (Q) said in his 123rd letter in the second volume of the book Maktubat-i Mathumiyya:

One should not spread gossip (carry words) among Muslims. It has been declared that various kinds of torments would be done to those who commit these two kinds of sins. Also, it is haram to lie and slander, and must be abstained from. These two evils were haram in every religion. Their punishments are very heavy. It is very thawab to conceal Muslims' defects, not to spread their secret sins and to forgive them their faults. One should pity one's inferiors, those under one's command [such as wives, children, students, soldiers] and the poor. One should not reproach them for their faults. One should not hurt or heat or swear at those poor persons for trivial reasons. One should attack nobody's property, life, honor, or chastity.

We should not fall into the traps of the enemies of Islam as a result of being deceived by their lies and slanders.

Shaykh Abdul Kerim al-Kibrisi - Sohbet

Tuesday, June 3

What kind of Ego do you have?

In this first level of the development of man, the rational self and human conscience have been defeated by lust and carnal desires. At this stage, our self does not recognize any rational or moral barriers to get what it wants.

It expresses itself in selfishness, arrogance, ambition, stinginess, envy, anger, cynicism, laziness and stupidity. Originally, nafs, one's self, identity, ones own personality and reality, is one of the
Creator's gifts to man. But because we allow it to lean towards material values, to take pleasure only in worldly life, and because we succumb to fleshly lusts, it has turned ugly and become almost animal-like, while its shape remains that of a human being.

It is a fauve camouflaged in the appearance of man, a mad wild animal which bites and claws itself as well as others. This ego is our private devil, our worst enemy, who is living inside us, dominating and tyrannizing us and keeping our human soul imprisoned and forgotten
in the depths of our subconscious.

If we are fortunate enough to be led by a guide to seek a better state, then the devil whispers in our ear: "What business do you have to be on this path? Don't you see that everyone who was on this Path sooner or later died? All that remains of them is a few words. I know that you want the Truth, but where are the wise ones who would be able to teach you anything? Show me a single saintly man who receives revelations, who can show miracles! They belonged to another time.

Now is the time of facts, of science, of prosperity, and the good life. If you want to be religious - all right! Go to the mosque, pray, fast, and pray that the spirits of these holy men of the past
help you, for there is no teacher alive worth your while!"

Thus the devil hides the truth. Kufr, infidelity, means covering, hiding in Arabic. Kafir, the infidel, means the one who hides something. The devil conceals the fact that at all times there are
perfect men in the world and worthy teachers who can lead one to salvation.

Our Master, The Messenger of Allah (saws), has two aspects. One is his prophethood, nubuwwa; the other is his sainthood, his friendship, closeness to Allah, or walaya. He is Khatem al Anbiya: the last, the Seal of Prophethood, but his other aspect of sainthood has always been and will always be inherited by perfect men, who love and imitate him, and they will exist at all times, until the end of time.

But if the seeker pays any attention to the insinuations of the devil, he suffers doubt about his teacher, he is called away from the Path, his efforts are slowed down, and he will lend his ear to the whispers of the accursed devil again. This time he will say, "Allah is forgiving, count on His Mercy; He does not dislike people who do things which He permits. Be kind to yourself and don't tyrannize yourself. If you are kind towards your ego and give it things it wants, then it will obey you!" If the seeker is fooled by these temptations, he will start having doubts; he will then be unclear as to whether things are lawful or unlawful, whether they are right or wrong. When that happens, he is more likely to opt for the unlawful, since it is usually more pleasing to the senses. And the more his senses are satisfied, the more his heart will be blinded and hardened,
and the more he will be led towards evil.

On the level of the evil commanding ego, all these influences are very heavy. To get out from under them, someone strong has to hold you by your hand and extricate you. It is very difficult if not impossible to do it by yourself.

But through Allah's help, you may hear the voice of reason which says, "To do what Allah permits one to do out of His Mercy, instead of doing that which He orders us to do, is the profession of creatures who are lazy." For the true servants of Allah, it is an obligation to live
according to the rules of Shariat and the ideals of the Tariqat.

And if we either follow this rational decision, which is an undeserved gift of Allah Most High, or we are rescued from our misery by a strong teacher, then we may rise to the second level of Nafs al Lawwamah.

Thus the soul is pulled out from the dark dungeon of the ego to the light of conscience, and we will see our arrogance being transformed into humility, vengefulness and hate into love, anger into kindness, lust into chastity. . . If Allah so wills.

Nafs al Lawwamah

This is the second step in the development of man, when man becomes aware of his actions, is able to differentiate right from wrong, and regrets his wrong doings. Yet he is not able to totally stop doing wrong because it is very difficult to break the habits of his previous state. He tries to follow the obligations of his religion and he prays, fasts, pays alms and tries to behave properly. But he wants to be known as a reformed person. He publicizes his piety, his good deeds, and expects appreciation from people. This makes his behavior hypocritical. Sometimes he realizes this, regrets it, and tries to change. Hypocrisy, a major sin, is the principal danger in this state.

There are two other grave dangers as well: arrogance and anger. Every little attempt to be good, compared to the previous state, seems like a major achievement. So we think we are the best, and get angry with others who do not seem to respect us. Arrogance, lying to ourselves, hypocrisy, anger, and intolerance are the soldiers of the devil. At the level of Nafs al Lawwamah we are not safe from the devil, who injects his character of arrogance into our veins and whispers into our ear: "You are as good as your teachers now; not only do you know as much as they do, the way you behave is better. If they were able to apply what they teach in their own lives they wouldn't be half what you are. You don't need their preaching or their advice. Now let people see your wisdom and your deeds so that you will be an example to them." Not only the whisperings of the devil, but all worldly life, is against the seeker at this stage. Certainly the world cannot lose
its attractiveness for him; it calls to and tempts him.

If the resolve of the seeker is weak, he will be
afflicted with arrogance, not listen to good advice, and in fact,
fight with the ones who wish for his well being, thinking they are
belittling him and behaving in a superior manner.
In anger, he may attempt to do much greater deeds than he is incapable of, and fail. Failure will further anger him. His mood will become dark, disappointed; he will think he took the wrong way, that he was better off before, and he may blame the ones who led him to this Path,
falling back to his previous condition of being an animal in human shape.

If he is warned at the beginning of the second step of Nafs al Lawwamah of these dangers, and if he is intelligent enough not to release the hand that leads him, and if he follows the advice on how
to fight the three enemies of hypocrisy, anger, and arrogance, he will pass this stage quickly. The longer one lingers in this transitory stage, the worse will be the trials.

The cure for hypocrisy is to realize how the value of everything in the world, including the opinions of others, is temporal, inconstant and subjective, changing from minute to minute, from place to place, from person to person, and finally disappearing. Therefore, one should opt for that which is permanent, eternal, and powerful instead of something which may be here now and gone tomorrow. What fool lights a candle when the sun is out? Do not count on the respect and the praise of others, and do not fear them. For it is said, "Whoever praises you is your enemy because he is the ally of your enemy, and whoever points out what is wrong with you is the enemy of your enemy."

The cure for arrogance is to remember that your beginning came from a drop of semen from your father and an ovum in your mother's belly, and that your end will be as a rotten corpse in the ground. Beauty, strength, intelligence, will soon dwindle and disappear. All your fortune, properties, reputation, and friends will be excluded when you are lowered alone into your tomb. Your prayers, piety and good deeds, if performed to impress others, will evaporate, and worse still, may turn against you.

Realize that all you have, including your body and your very life, is not yours, but lent to you and entrusted to you by your Creator. Your actions are also His if they are good, and when they are bad, it is you who are tyrannizing yourself. Offer thanks for everything, and feel shame your wrongdoings; then you will be humble. The fall of the one who stands low is much less painful than the one who falls from high.

The cure for anger is basically accomplished if you can cure your arrogance. It is the arrogant one who becomes angered by adversity, or even by lack of sufficient rewards which he thinks he is owed. The negative emotion of anger, when it flares up, is faster than the rational effort to suppress it. Once anger has caught fire it is difficult to extinguish. Like fire, it burns all that is human in us; compassion, love, gentleness, generosity, the ability to communicate, to think of consequences, and intelligence are all reduced to ashes. All that remains is a dangerous wounded wild animal.

As a remedy to recall and remember our humanity, The Messenger of Allah (saws) suggests that when anger strikes, immediately you should change your posture. If you were standing, you should sit. If you were sitting you should fall to your knees. It is difficult to shout and curse in the most humble position of kneeling.

Or you should lie on your back and pray: "Oh Lord, enrich me with knowledge, beautify me with kindness, give me the gift of piety and the fear and love of You and sanity and health, Amin"

Or you should go and take ablution with cold water.

If we could avoid these dangers, with Allah's will and the guidance of our religion, and the help of our teacher, and our wish to advance, we might rise to the third level of Nafs al Mulhimah, the level where we receives the Lord's inspirations.

Shaikh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi