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                         The Importance of Sohbet

Tariqatuna as-sohbet wa khairu fi jamiat’- The way of our Tariqat is association with the
Sheikh and goodness lies in the congregation This is the root of our Tariqat. Allah
Almighty made Shah Naqshaband the main pillar of the most distinguished
Naqshabandi Order.  He is one of the guides who take people on their way to the Divine
Presence, so that they never lose their direction towards Allah Almighty. He was saying:
“We are teaching people, so that they never lose their way, and their efforts never go
without benefit.”

It is a short way, a safe way, a happy way. Everyone is walking, moving by themselves,
or time makes them move. So many people are not moving, only time makes them
move. And at any moment they may reach to an end, as every beginning must have an
end. The movement of people must stop one day, and then they will find themselves in
front of two entrances. On one of them is written: ‘The Way of Paradise’, or the way on
which people reach to the Divine Presence. On the second entrance is written: ‘The
Way of Hell’, who steps through that entrance should be taken to Hell. There is no
safety on that way. It is a terrible end.

Day by day we are approaching that day. One more day has passed. It is going to be
one day less, and the day will come when we reach to that entrance. The Naqshabandi
Order is taking people in a direction, where their destination in the end will be Paradise.
It is the way of the Prophets and the Saints. It is difficult for our egos  but happiness for
our souls. Everything that is going to be difficult for our egos finally should give us an
enjoyment, a pleasure.

Most people are carried on the second way, and Shaitan is walking ahead of them with
his devils and soldiers. Who follows  that way finally should reach the entrance to Hell.
Why are they going on that way? They are running after it, because their egos are
enjoying that way.

If you are not using your will-power, your ego will take you in that dangerous direction.
Every association in our Tariqat makes people to pay attention, so they don’t follow
their ego, but follow the way of the Saints and Prophets. Every association with the
Sheikh gives a spiritual power to our soul, so that we may be able to use our will-power
against our ego’s will. If you are not taking power, spiritual power, it is difficult to prevent
yourself from following your ego.

Therefore we are in need of those people who have spiritual power and who may also
give support to our spirituality, so that we can be able to say to our physical demands,
to our ego: “No, I am not following you, I am following the way of the Saints and
Prophets!”

Every association gives that power secretly through your soul. Whether you know it or
not, feel it or not, doesn’t matter. But this power must be given through every
association.  It is not important, what we say, or what we hear. What are we saying
here? Even if I am reading a newspaper, it doesn’t matter. You are in the operation-
room, and you are covered. What is important is to attend the association of the
Sheikh, and his spiritual power will go through everyone. When you are sitting here,
blessings are coming from Heavens, coming from Allah Almighty, and those blessings
make you powerful. We may say anything through our associations, and it doesn’t
matter. Even if you hear it or not, or you make yourself keep those orders or not. To be
here, to attend the association of the Naqshabandi Order, gives you that spiritual
power, which makes your soul to be stronger than your ego. Your spiritual power is
increasing, so that you can use your will-power against your ego. You may even say: “I
can never remember what sheikh says.” Sheikh’s address is not to your minds. Ulema
and scholars address your mind; Awliya, Saints address your souls. Therefore, anytime
when you are faced with something, what your soul has alreadycaught and kept
reaches you at that time and gives you that power.

Therefore association with the Sheikh is a most important pillar in the Naqshabandi
Order. Always we are under the spiritual supervision of the Sheikh. But our physical
body also has a right to visit him at least once a year. It may be every week, or every
month, or once in 40 days, but don’t make it longer than 40 days not to come for an
association. This will keep a person going towards his destination, Paradise.

Now, in our days, there are going to be less and less people, who have been
authorized in such a way. If they are not authorized and they are only imitating it gives
power also, but when authorized people make association their full power comes
through your hearts, and the heart is the station of the Sultan, the Throne of the
Sultan. The Sultan’s power runs around your physical body to take it towards its
direction and destination.

The Seal of Prophets, Muhammad, (Peace be upon him) taught his companions, above
all else association, by taking them as his companions, by entering them into
association with him. Accordingly, the Inheritors of the Prophet, the Naqshabandi
Masters, stress the importance of “Sohbet”, association with the Sheik, as the essential
pillar in the training of seekers. Shah Naqshaband, the illustrious Imam of the line of
Masters that we follow, the Imam after whom the Path is named and without whom there
would be no Naqshabandi Tariqat, always used to repeat in his assemblies: “Our Way
is Sohbet, association, and all good things result from congregating”. He furthermore
stated that if anyone attended an assembly of this way even for five or ten minutes, he
would derive such immense spiritual benefit from that brief encounter so as to outweigh
the benefits that would be gained by seven years of supererogatory worship.

Another important point to understand is that whenever any group of our brothers or
sisters meet for the sake of Allah Almighty, unanimously joining their hearts with the
Masters of this way, that meeting will attain to the level of an association with the kind of
beneficial effects just described. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only
beneficial meeting is the one where the Sheik is physically in attendance. When our
brothers or sisters meet, one of them must be the channel for inspiration to come from
the Sheik, one must speak and the others listen; one must take from the Sheik and the
others, through him from the Sheik. The Naqshanbandi Way is the Sufi Path adhering
most closely to the practices of the Holy Prophet (Sal), and association in this manner
was his way, and the way of his companions, as he always appointed a leader to
preside in his absence.

If you cannot find anyone for association, even two Mureeds can come and sit together.
They may say: “Audhu bi’llahi mina shaitani rajim, Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim”, and
then one of them can say: “La ilaha illallah” , and the other one: “Muhammad Rasulu’
llah”- and they may ask: “Oh our Lord, keep us on Your right path, the way of Your
Anbiya and Awliya. Keep us and prevent Shaitan and devils from affecting us, protect
us against their tricks and traps!”. A few minutes is enough, and that mercy may cover
them and protect them.

May Allah bless you and shelter your physical body and protect our souls from falling
into the hands of devils. May He make a way for those who fall into their hands to save
themselves. We are asking for real power for our Naqshibandi Order to collect people,
and to move towards Allah Amighty’s Divine Presence.

                              
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