Tasawwuf is a science of hâl. “Hâl” is an Arabic word and it means “status” in English. Science of Hâl means learning a status by living. Therefore, Tasawwuf cannot be learned from the books. It is learned by doing and experiencing. The states that will be experienced here are the spiritual states and behaviors that were ordered by Allah (swt) in Qur’an, experienced in detail by Rasulullah (Allah’s messenger Hz. Muhammad), and advised to be experienced to all humanity. They are called Sirat-i mustaqim (the right way, the true path) in Qur’an. “Sirat-i mustaqim” is the complete good behaviors, manners, and morals that advance people to salvation, goodness, and benefaction in real world and Hereafter. It is the light that enlightens the humanity. This divine mercy prevents people to be in conditions lower than the animals, and make them true human. As it reached to its maximum maturity level in the last messenger, it is also called “The light of Muhammad”. In fact, all Prophets lived these sample manners since Adam (pbuh). Rasulullah summarized this state as follows at different times:
“The believer can do anything wrong but he cannot betray nor lie”[Ibni Ebi Seybe, Bezzar]
“Ethics is going to the ones who don’t come, giving to the ones who don’t give, and forgiving the cruel people.”[Taberani]
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”[Bukhari]
“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds!”[Muslim]
“The worst servant of Allah is the one who hurts and harms people.”[Islam Ahlaqi]
“The most beloved one and closest to me amongst you in the Hereafter is the one with the best temper.” [Riyazu's-Salihin]
“You may, demolish even the Kaaba, but do not break a person’s heart.”[Islam Ilmihali]
Although they are mentioned in different ways; in fact the meaning here is single and unique: Being on the Sirat-i mustaqim. Being true, right, fair, and frank. All of these are possible with a strong “faith“, and “sincerity in the worship”, namely “ikhlas“.
Tasawwuf is not mentioning them frequently but experiencing them sincerely.
# Tasawwuf is a science of status. It can only be achieved by experiencing
Tasawwuf is a science of status. It can only be achieved by experiencing. The status to be experienced is the status of Rasulullah. It is not possible to understand Islam as a life style and appraise it without experiencing the religion clearly. Of course, it is important to learn Islam through Fiqh (Islamic laws) books and know Allah (Swt), the creator of the material and spiritual worlds accordingly. However, it is like a doctor’s knowing malaria without experiencing it and this knowledge always has something missing. The events having multiple effects cannot be learnt by the books. They can be learned through experiencing. Can a person know the real meaning of fire unless he experiences a fire with some burns despite the fact that he knows the fire burns and gives pain? How can people know drowning without being drowned? How can a person understand the others having a traffic accident with damaged organs without experiencing it?
Dear readers, the practical knowledge is prior to theoretical knowledge because the former is achieved by the whole spirit of the people. When people learn something through their experiences, they comprehend the hundreds of the material and spiritual realities of the phenomenon together, as a whole, and in the same time. It is a state that covers all of bodies and spirits, and the results of them reflect accordingly in our hearts.
# The heart is the mirror of our bodies and spirits
As you can remember from my article named “Understanding the Heart”, heart is just like the mirror of our bodies and spirits. The knowledge emerged through in both of them reflect to our heart sometimes as visible images by our consciousness and sometimes as complicated spiritual phenomenon by our unconscious mind. The heart is a focal point where the entire spiritual events take place. However, all material and spiritual events reflect the heart, the knowledge, ideas, feelings, and thoughts of our heart affect our body and spirit with a feedback. That is why the heart nurturing is very important for a Muslim. Rasulullah (s.a.w) ordered that:
“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Bukharî]
As the reflections and echoes emerge at the heart, Tasawwuf is a science of heart at the same time. Knowing Allah (Swt) by heart can only be possible through experiencing Tasawwuf, the science of state, meaning and core of the religion, in accordance with the wishes of Creator and in the sense that He intended. Is it possible to understand Allah (Swt) who is the owner of the material and spiritual order truly, unless one experiences the religion of Allah by being dependent to a Murshid-i Kamil according to the divine orders?.. The most accurate knowledge about Allah (swt) can be achieved through experiencing the realities of the material and spiritual orders that were created by Him, and with benefaction of Allah. This knowledge is a gift and benefaction achieved by a true belief by heart so it is called “Knowledge of Ledunni“. “Knowledge of Ledunni means the knowledge given by us”.(1) This knowledge cannot be achieved with the effort of the human. It can only be achieved by blessing and benefaction of Allah. The attempts of the people are only being sincere in their beliefs and works.
# Allah (swt) grants wisdom to anyone He wishes
It is ordered in the verses from the Qur’an that:
“He granteth wisdom to whom He pleaseth; and he to whom wisdom is granted receiveth indeed a benefit overflowing.”[Baqarah, 269]
“O ye who believe! if ye fear Allah, He will grant you a Criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil deeds you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of Grace unbounded.”[Anfal, 29]
Rasulullah ordered in the Hadiths that:
“If a man eats lawful food for forty days, Allah illumines his heart and lets flow wisdom from his heart through his tongue”[Ebu Nuaym]
“The fear of Allah is the Beginning of Wisdom.”[Taberani]
“Wisdom is made up of ten parts—nine of which are silence, and the tenth is brevity of language.”[Beyheki]
“Allah illumines his heart with wisdom of whom fulfills Islam sincerely for forty days”[Ebu Nuaym]
As it can be understood by these hadits, the core of it is the halal food, the fear of Allah (takva), sincerity (within their works) and avoiding from unnecessary speech.
# The essence of Tasawwuf education is bay’ah (The oath of allegiance), cleaning of the nafs (ego) and purifying of the heart
However, each Awliya assigned by a divine order has a special method, the education of Tasawwuf is relied on 3 basic principles:
(1) Through bay’ah by depending on a Murshid-i Kamil representing Muhammad Rasulullah who had passed through this path and experienced the divine training, benefiting from his experiences and conversations;
(2) Cleaning his nafs under the supervision of this Murshid-i Kamil with Riyazat (avoiding the Islamic prohibitions) and Mudjahada (worshiping) by experiencing Islam according to the divine orders;
(3) Purifying his heart by refining it with zikr (remembering Allah) from all kinds of immoralities as harmful thoughts, arrogance, revenge and grudge, avoiding hypocrisy and pride, and being frank.
The more sincere the person is during this training, the faster the learning process is. The learning process is interrupted each time the fancy of the self is obeyed. As a result, if Allah (swt) wishes, the person will have an eye that sees everything through the light of Allah, a heart that is filled with love for every creature and a foresight that can distinguish the divine orders of Allah from the superstitions. He can comprehend the reality of Allah more correctly. The doubts on the existence of Allah and the religion He imposed disappear. Because of this sincere belief and trust, he has an invaluable devotion, approval, and trust in Allah with a relief and happiness. These people are called “man of heart” or “people of heart“. Like Dervish Yunus… Their benign and resigned state not only enables peace and serenity for themselves but also spread to anyone with them. The people accompanying them feel peaceful and relieved without any reasons. In fact, it is nothing but the human maturity in other words the visible form of the divine compassion of Allah that spread from heart to heart since Prophet Adam (pbuh).
May your hearts fill with peace. Be entrusted to Allah.
(1) Osman Nuri Topbas, http://www.netpano.com/haber/3982/Ledunni/İlim/Nedir?/