Maulana Sheikh NazimAssociation
Once our Grandsheikh addressed me, saying; ”Oh Nazim Effendi, I want to speak to you on a very serious point for which you and all seekers must take the greatest care. Don’t worship your ego as a god beside Allah Almighty. You must be most careful, as this kind of polytheism is the kind you may be engaging in without even knowing it. Ego-worship is the most dangerous deviation from pure faith: hidden idolatry.”
All Prophets have spoken out strongly against such foolish notions in religions, against any kind of polytheism. But there is a kind of polytheism that is secret, not so easily detectable. And in reality, so many men are worshipping a god other than God Almighty without even knowing it. Even those who claim to worship only Him Alone usually persist in the worship of this secret idol in themselves And who or what is claiming to be a partner to Allah Almighty? - none other, of course, than our ego.

Your ego approaches you and says; “I am the Partner. Whether you like it or not I am the idol you worship, beside Allah. If you insist on worshipping Allah and claim that He is your Lord, and I cannot dissuade you from that folly, then at least you must recognise me as your second Lord and you will endeavour to please me too If you strive to be an obedient servant of you r Lord, you must also strive to be my servant; if you are obeying your Lord you must sometimes also obey me….
Grandsheikh warned us also that this ego–god is never really going to be satisfied with being number two. “No” it says, “I am first, second and third.. Worship none but me.” But when it perceives resistance it make a sly calculation and says; “Alright, He is first, I am second,“ knowing that this is his chance to place himself in a position to sabotage our faith and eventually stage its coup.

Therefore our task is to dethrone the partner; and all of the prophets were sent to mankind in order to teach them how to go about that task. We are in need of training at the hand of someone who can be firm in the face of his ego’s demands, who, beyond that, has tamed his ego so that it never demands undue attention or pampering. Until you have reached that point you must be aware that you are a secret idolater, and so, your heart will be locked up and cut off from the blessings of Divine Knowledge.

By being in the company of a man who has, firstly, realised what a deadly game the ego plays, and secondly, rid himself of its domination, the seeker of truth may arrive at his goal. Therefore, the Seal of Prophets, Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught his companions, above all else, by taking them as his companions, by entering them into association with him.

Accordingly, the inheritors of the Prophet, the Naqshbandi Masters, stress the importance of “Sohbet,” association, with the sheikh, as the essential pillar in the training of seekers. Shah Naqshband, the illustrious imam of the line of masters we follow, the imam after whom the path is named and without whom there would be no Naqshbandiyya, always used to repeat in his assemblies; “Our Way is sohbet, association, and all good things result from congregation.” He furthermore stated that if anyone attended an assembly of this Way even for five or ten minutes, he would derive such immense spiritual benefit from that brief encounter as to outweigh the benefits that would be gained by seven years of supererogatory worship. That is the power of the assembly of the inheritors of the Prophet, and augmenting that power is the unanimity of the participants in that meeting, the joining of hearts in sincerity with the heart of the sheikh. In such a meeting such a power descends on the hearts of the participants that even the deep roots of hidden idolatry, of ego-worship, can be pulled out. You may observe that with every association the ego’s power is further undermined.

Our Grandsheikh explained that without association it is very difficult to catch the ego out in its game, to identify its tricks and escape from its clutches. We are in need of a guide to show us which paths lead over cliffs, as it is particularly those paths that our ego likes to point to, putting up very authoritative looking signs saying “Thru – way,” or “Short cut “ …. But when you are associating with the Sheikh, the ego and its doings are quickly identified and become manifest. The ego’s disguise is snatched off of it so that there, in front of you its stands, naked and exposed. Then you are surprised and exclaim “That is non other than my ego! ……. “ In this manner association with the sheikh may help you to perceive your faults, and then, if you can take up the thread and work on those bad characteristics, improving yourself through applied effort, then you will undergo rapid improvement.

Another important point to understand is that whenever any group of our brothers or sisters meet for the sake of Allah Almighty, unanimously joining their hearts with the Masters of this Way, that meeting will attain to the level of an association with the kind of beneficial effects just described. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only beneficial meeting is the one where the Sheikh is physically in attendance. When our brothers or sisters meet, one of them must be the channel for inspiration to come from the Sheikh; one must speak and the others listen; one must take from the Sheikh and the others through him from the Sheikh. The Naqshbandi Way is the Sufi path adhering most closely to the practices of the Holy Prophet, and association in this manner was his way and the way of his companions, as he always appointed a leader to preside in his absence. Yes, one must speak and the others must listen, this way all the meetings of our brothers are blessed. If more that one person speaks, or if there are arguments and contention, then there will be no spiritual power in that meeting and hearts will be left cold. Therefore if we indicate that one of our bothers should make association in any meeting, you must listen to him. When you listen to him, he will be able to receive the inspirations of our Grandsheikh whose heart is in connection with our Prophet, peace be upon him, whose heart is always with the Lord Almighty. In this manner, Allah Almighty is going to help that person and pour on him from His endless blessings, His endless Mercy, Knowledge, and Favour oceans, so that through his words the attenders of that meeting my be guided towards their destinations.

When a person is asked by the Sheikh to address people anywhere and anytime on the Sheikh’s behalf, there may be one-hundred, one–thousand or one-million people listening to that person’s address, and everyone of them will be able to take what he is in need of... It is impossible that someone should address a meeting on the Sheikh’s behalf without anyone drawing any benefit from that association; on the contrary, everyone will take his share.

Abridged from Mercy Oceans of the Heart.

CHECKEN - 01.07.1984
BookIntheMysticFootstepsofSaintsVolume2, BookMercyOceansOfTheHeart, CategorySohbat, CategoryGuidance
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