From Modern Confusion to Guidance

Islamic motif


As a convert to Islam my journey has been filled with interesting twists and turns. I have been Muslim for over 20 years but for the first 15 of those I had no idea what Tasawwuf was. I had only been given warnings by various types of Muslims about “sufis”. In my entire pre-tarikat life I had only known one person who became a “sufi” and we were all very (hilariously, now looking back) concerned. How could one of us become a sufi? What was the attraction and what was it really about? I couldn’t have told you if I tried. I only could have parroted what I had been taught and heard over and over again: bidah, kufr, misguidance, and religious laxity that was inherent to sufis and their ways of being. I heard all  of the arguments from the other side of the coin about Mevlid, dangerous extreme zikr, the use of music and drugs in “sufi rituals” (Astaghfirullah), and worst of all, grave worship. Eventually I learned the truth about all of these false aspersions cast by so-called Orthodox Sunni Muslims regarding Tasawwuf and tarikats, and it came not through reading lengthy article, fatwas, and histories, but by meeting our beloved Murshid Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz.

When I met Sheykh Lokman Efendi all pretensions and questions melted away. I can only attribute this to his light and the gift of being guided by Allah SWT and the Evliyah to a path that my heart was already yearning for. I had been an active convert Muslim, attending conferences and lectures and trying to weave through books of ahadith that I had no business reading on my own in English translation. None of this prepared me for the fire of Ashk placed in my heart upon hearing our Sheykh’s words and being in his physical presence. I had a spiritual experience that was irreplaceable and made me realize very quickly that I had been given an edited version of Islam by those who claimed to be protectors of truth and Islamic purity. It was only after I had been taught what a salawat was, and their importance, by the sohbets and Osmanli Naksibendi practices that I knew what I had missed by not making them for the past 15 years. This is just one symbolic example of many spiritual riches they hid from us as new Muslims.

So today, when masjid Imams and so-called scholars make proclamations and fitna fatwas, I am reminded of the spiritual void I had in my life even though I attended the masjid programs regularly, prayed regularly and studied Islam very often, and even worked at an Islamic school full time that was housed inside a mosque. Those same figures and their agenda often make holy places into hollow places and their judgments speak volumes about the condition of their hearts and the condition of the Muslim Ummat today. Meeting my Sheykh disrupted my Islam and saved my Islam by the mercy of Allah SWT. I will forever be grateful to be in sohbet, in association, with people who judge themselves by the criteria of Tasawwuf, led by a blessed, righteous Murshid that keeps us in his heart even more than we keep him in ours. El-Fateha.