Real Empathy and Running to Serve
In the past few weeks, we have witnessed the worst natural disaster in the last hundred years in Türkiye and Syria. Our love for the Ottomans extends our love to the countries that they ruled, primarily Türkiye, and the strong Ottoman heritage that it has maintained. It’s often difficult for human beings to truly empathize and understand the suffering of such a great magnitude when you are outside of it. But, as Muslims and as believers, it is incumbent upon us to keep our hearts open and soft as our Sheykhs in the Naksibendi way have taught us.
I found myself at a loss for words regarding the earthquake and the widespread suffering, deaths, hunger, and displacement. However, I discovered quickly that I was still too concerned with my own comfort, my own problems, and silly concerns about my life and any challenges I’m facing. I feel shame that in the face of such tragedy, my ego can still dominate me and cut me off from true empathy and compassion. In our modern world where there is so much suffering and heartbreak, we become numb to the problems of others and we are overloaded by the news and social media with tragedies and struggles around the world. Sheykh Lokman Efendi HZ always tells us we cannot let our hearts become dead to the suffering of others, and it is imperative on every murid that we keep those who are struggling and under oppression in our hearts, and in our duas always. There’s no beast on this earth quite like the ego: even when the Muslim Ummat is suffering you may become a victim to your ego’s nafs and desires. It is very important when we find ourselves wrapped up in our problems, our daily chores, and irritations to do the very least we can, which is to keep our brothers and sisters who are suffering and displaying a great patience in the face of such tests, in our hearts and our duas. As our Sheykh has told us so many times in khutbas and sohbets, the Hadith of Holy Prophet AS about how the Muslim Ummah is like a body, and when one part of it suffers, we must all pay attention to that suffering and do our best to fix it, and provide relief in this world.
All praise is to Allah that our Dergah has raised funds and also organized volunteers to do our Sheykh’s mission on the ground in Turkiye. We were able to provide stoves to keep almost 4000 people warm and cook food; this is an essential need that makes survival possible in these winter months, when hot food is scarce and shelter is almost impossible to come by amongst the destroyed buildings and homes. As a Dergah, we will continue to raise funds and provide support to our brothers and sisters in Türkiye, and always keep them in our hearts and our duas. We are praying for the beautiful Ottoman lands and all of the citizens therein. Our prayer is that along with their safety and health, and the recovery of the deceased, our hearts will also be alive and pleasing to Allah with good intentions to support our brothers and sisters and control the basest tendencies of our egos that make our hearts dead. With the himmet of our Sheykh Lokman Efendi HZ, Amin