A believer keeps his promise.”1 You find this observed firmly in America. If you ask an American to promise something and he says,” Yes,” that’s it! He will not break the promise no matter what happens. Let us not consider the exceptions. The majority will not break a promise. This is what I have seen here. In the Far East and in the Middle East, promises are broken hundreds of times, not just one time!
Even genuine people who attempt to form their characters according to the prophetic and Sufi teachings do not keep their promises as Westerners do. On the Day of Promises, we promised God we would worship Him. We declared that He is our Lord and we are His servants. When we came to this earth, we belied this promise. All of us denied it. That is why God said, “We have offered the heavens, the earth, and the mountains Our Trust to carry, but they were unable to carry it and were afraid; and man accepted it-he is unjust and ignorant” [33:72]. Man was a tyrant to himself in accepting to carry this trust, because when you accept something as a trust, you have to give it back. If you are not going to give it back, you show ignorance by accepting it.
On the Day of Promises we accepted our Lord. Now, when we come here, we flee our Lord. We say, “No!” to Islam and religion, “No!” to Judaism, to Christianity, “No!” to being a good person in society, a Sufi. This is backward. This is nonsense. “Tend to the material side of life! Take pleasure! Be an atheist! Make a secular country! Do not accept any teachings about good manners.” This is what they are telling people. On television, they are teaching people bad habits. Many in America say, “We do not want televisions in our house.” Why? Is it not an American invention? Why do you not want it? “Because,” they say, “it will ruin our children.” This is true. But if you know that it will ruin your children, then why are you allowing broadcasting anything at all on hundreds of stations?
Abraha was a king who came to destroy God’s house, the Kabah in Makkah, in the year 570 AC with his army, led by an elephant. The heads of the tribes of Makkah went to Abd al-Muttalib, who was caretaker of the Kabah before the time of the Prophet (s). They said to him, “Abraha is coming with his armies to destroy the Kabah!” He said, “I do not care. I have to protect my house. As for God’s House, God will take care of it.” What did God do to save His House? He sent flocks of small birds carrying small stones in their beaks. They flew over the army, dropping the stones on them. As soon as that stone hit someone, that person died, because they were tyrants.
Now, people are tyrants over themselves. They teach children sex on television. I remember that Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said in 1976, “God is sending a disease that no one will be able to face.” I had not heard about AIDS in 1976-it appeared in the eighties. Now everyone is afraid of it.
God has given you a trust to keep in your heart. You have to return it. If you lose it, He is going to ask you where you lost it. If you have a good excuse at that time, do not worry. He will excuse you. But if you do not give a good excuse…. think of what you are going to say to Him at that time. Do you know what you are going to say? I will tell you. (Now, if I say something, and some people hear it on the cassette or read it on printed paper, they will cry out and not accept it.)
God has created everything with love. Because of this, he will also save everything with love. He knows that we are ignorant. He mentioned this in the verse, “The human being carried that trust, and he is unjust towards himself, and ignorant” [33:72]. God knows and since He knows, He has to create something for us to save us. There are many ways to save human beings. Do you think God created us with His own hands, with love, lovingly kneading us like dough, to throw that object of His love into hell, to burn it up and look down on it there in happy nonchalance? Now they build fireplaces inside houses and he [pointing to a disciple] is happy building fires. Just the other day, he put a big stove in his basement. He goes down there every day and puts wood inside it-day and night. Once his wife forgot to put wood inside the stove and he began shouting like a madman! Is God going to put us in hell, one after another, and then burn up hell and more besides to make a big fire?
God is Merciful with His servants. He will create ways to save them from punishment. These ways-we will not talk about them. We will keep them secret. There are many ways that God has created and granted as power in the hands of saints to bring human beings to the shore of safety. That is why this earth will never be empty of saints, never! There are 124,000 saints in every century. When one dies, another replaces him and sits in his chair. Even if you are high on a mountain peak in seclusion, there is still some saint who is ordered to pass by there at least once every three days, to look at you and go. No one is left on this earth in twenty-four hours or three days except a saint from among these 124,000 saints who will look at him to carry his burden for him. They cover this earth. There are five groups of them: budala, nujaba, nuqaba, awtad, and akhiyar. Each of these groups numbers 700 saints. These five groups total 3500 saints and they are among the 124,000.
For everyone, with God’s Mercy and Love, there is a means to find a way to God. That is why the Prophet (s) said, “The ways to God are as numerous as the breaths of human beings.” There are many ways, thousands, millions, countless ways. If you find your way, follow it. When you follow it, do not go to another way. If you know that this is the highest way, hold it tight and keep it. God willing, you will find the ship that carries you to safety.
“Each one swimming in his orbit” [36:40]. This verse of the Quran is about stars. Are there no orbits for human beings? You have an orbit. I have an orbit. He has an orbit. She has an orbit. Each person is swimming in his or her orbit. You cannot come to my orbit. I cannot go to his orbit. What is that orbit? Where are you swimming?
While the mind thinks, the heart is inspired. Where are you swimming? You do not see anything except your bodies. You sit here. Open your eyes. Open the ears of your hearts. You will find yourself and know where you are swimming.
Human beings today are inventing microchips and making gadgets like this [pointing to a tape recorder]. It hears and records everything. Why do you not record here [points to his chest]? Why do you not see here? Because you are not using the means God gave you. Use them! “O human beings and jinn! If you are able to penetrate through the orbits of heaven and earth, penetrate, go! But you cannot do so unless you have the means” [55:33]. God is showing you the way, saying, “Find a means” to reach that orbit. People invent different means. They sent Columbia [the space shuttle] into space circling the planet even now. Spiritually also, there are many Columbias to take you round your orbit. You have to choose the means, the right means-where is that means? Find it. And if you find that saint who will take you to your orbit, then you can swim.
That means is a secret code. Nowadays they put a plastic card into the slot at the door of a building and the door opens. Why? Because there is a secret code there. What is your secret code in order to enter and swim in your orbit? Do you know it? If you find it, you can enter and see what is there. If you do not find it, you cannot swim in that orbit. You are still swimming in your cage. Find that plastic card. Plug it in. Immediately, the door will open for you and you will find yourself swimming everywhere. Nothing will be closed to you at that time. But everyone runs after the pleasures of this life. Very few people say, “I am finished with it!” and direct their hearts towards God, Sublime and Exalted.
This is a grant from God. To whomever God grants that title, he or she will quickly find that plastic card. It is ready. People are two kinds-either taking it as a favor granted by God, without asking for it having to work in order to acquire it. So try to work and acquire it. Only saints receive it without asking. Others have to work and work in order to obtain it. God willing, it is not far from anyone of us. You are very near Reality. It needs some more steps, some more seeking of the right ways, and you are going to find it near you.
Some people come to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim as sinners, sit with him for one hour, then go out again as saints. Some people enter as mere worshippers and leave in the same way because they do not come with complete surrender. If you do not surrender, you are never going to find Reality. You have to make a complete surrender. Shah Naqshband said, “I do not like my disciple to surrender to me like a dead person.” They asked him, “How is one to surrender then? A dead person surrenders completely. He cannot do anything.” He said, “No, this is still not good enough, because if you wash that person with cold water, he says, ‘This is cold water.’ If you wash him with hot water, he will say, “This is hot water.” if you push his hand back and forth a little bit, he can feel.” When God takes the spirit out of the body, He leaves one part behind there until Judgment Day, so that he will know himself to be present there.”
So Shah Naqshband said he did not like the dead person’s kind of surrender, because a dead person still has a will. They asked him, “Then what kind of a surrender do you ask of us?” He said, “I want a surrender like that of a tree-leaf when it dries up, dies and is ready to fall to the ground, and the wind will bear it off the branch and carry it north, south, east or west but it will not say anything. Wherever the wind takes it, it will go. No will; no partial will; nothing! Surrendering to the will of God. If the wind later takes it to a fireplace, it will go there also, and it will burn. I want a surrender like that from my disciple. At that time, I will open the door for him.”
We do not surrender to God. We surrender to our ego. Whatever our ego asks from us, we do. Whatever God asks us, we do not accept to do. That is why we still have one foot in “…then they believe…” and one foot in “…then they disbelieve…” [4:137]. First we are this way-then that way. Even if we continue as believers for ninety-nine feet, we will come as an unbeliever with the hundredth foot. We will lose everything and have to go back to the first step. Then we will fall. What we have gained, we now lose. Now we must begin again from the first step. Therefore be very careful not to fall. Try always to be climbing, as a believer, with a good heart, forgiving, forgiving, forgiving, making peace, forgetting. Then we will find our ‘self’ approaching. If we do not do that, then it will be very difficult to be on this path-to be a selected person. If we want to be a selected person who seeks Reality, we have to always be good. We cannot be good one day good, bad one day. That would be for ordinary, common people. Selected people must always be moving upwards.
There are many ways to be constantly good, always helping people. God asked Moses (s), “O Moses, what are you doing for Me?” He said, “O my Lord, I am praying to You, always worshipping You.” God said, “No, your worship is for you. What are you doing for Me?” He said, “My Lord, what can I do for You? Tell me.” God said, “Help My servants. If you help them, then you are doing something for Me.” So, if we find that our brothers and sisters need help, we have to help. Then we will be going up quickly.
We ask success from God through the Opening Chapter of the Quran, al-Fatihah
1. Abu Daud, Darqutni, Hakim.