Learning new skills
Learning new skills is not something that I would look forward to in the past. As a child I was very introverted, preferring my own company to that of others, even refusing to wear new clothes much to the exasperation of my parents.
That would change however thanks to my Sheykh and the Murids at the Osmanli Dergahi. As a young man searching for some purpose I stumbled across the Osmanli Dergahi YouTube channel and fell in love with the teachings. A year later I found myself at the Osmanli Dergahi and my first job was to go to the barn with Haji Bilal, one of the very special Murids of Sahibul Saif and Sheykh Lokman Ef\fendi. I explained to him I didn’t know anything about barn work, I had never worked on a farm, didn’t know what I was doing, and in many ways, was more afraid than the sheep I was caring for them!
Haji Bilal just smiled and said “I’ll teach you” and after a few weeks much to my amazement he had taught me so much. He taught me how to feed and water the sheep and how to look out for them. It was a truly amazing experience. Every Prophet was a shepherd and with the blessings of my Sheykh I was following their way. I saw how difficult it was to care and look after a flock and tend to their problems and ailments. At one point a yew rejected her lamb so we had to tend to it and feed it milk multiple times a daily and during the night as well. Despite Haji Bilal’s best efforts, “Strong” as we affectionately named him, didn’t survive; as rejected yews rarely do. But he left an indelible mark on me and I still remember his happy face so many years later.
Other things I learnt was how to clean the horse stalls and how to gather eggs whilst moving angry hens away from their protected treasure. One of the harder things I had to do was herd a group of boisterous goats and walk them across from the barn to a field and back again at the end of the day. They were truly a difficult group to manage and would constantly refuse to go the way I wanted them too. They had a mischievous charm about them and on saying good-bye to them one of them headbutted my knee in response.
One skill I learnt that I was amazed by was how to not be afraid of dogs. Feeding the dogs was a frightening experience- they were big and energetic and would tangle your legs with their chain if you weren’t careful. Initially they weren’t too friendly but after a couple of days they were so happy to see me and would run tail wagging towards their food.
This is just a taste of what is really special about this place. If you apply yourself no matter your experience you will learn new skills and you will get better.
Our Sheykh Sahib el-Seyf Sheykh Abdul Kerim Al-Kibrisi ar-Rabbani (KS) says “Where there is movement there is blessing there, where there is love there is mercy there” and this is something we try to incorporate into our daily life at the Dergah.
Elhamdulillah, thanks to Sheykh Lokman Efendi and Haji Bilal it was something I experienced when I first visited the Osmanli Dergahi.