•   Faruk Arslan    1        0        Report content

    By Faruk Arslan, PhD candidate, MSW, RSW, MA, Honour in Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University

    Recommended Citation Arslan, Faruk, "A HEART-BASED SUFI MINDFULNESS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE EMPLOYING SELF-JOURNEYING" (2014). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive).Paper 1634.

    Sufi poetry, music and dance have long been used for mental health intervention in order to heal
    and cure people who are experiencing anxiety, depression and stress (Mirdal, 2012, p. 1008). As
    a Sufi poet, I use a Sufi reflection method and a Sufi poetry technique.  Poems talking about the
    pleasures of drinking bitter red wine and intoxication, or spending a long dark night of passion
    with a beautiful one are quite common in Sufi literature. I did extracting knowledge through
    poetry, but the methods I follow really are Fethullah Gülen’s methods and techniques. This
    should be acknowledged for readers as I observed the linkages between the individual and the
    cultural (spiritual), and as I observed how I embody the culture (spirit). What I was doing was
    secluding myself and following the method in order to embody and experience the divine. 
     
    Gülen claims that the best way of understanding Sufi concepts, states and stations is
    writing poetry about all your senses and feelings at your heart while reading his book of Sufism
    and having transcendence experience (Gülen, 2013, p. 130). He is the greatest Sufi of this
    century, and his positive and curative sermons, speeches, books and poems contain a great deal
    of healing insight suitable for diverse populations. As a bicultural person, I study Gülen’s Sufi
    texts and poems and construct a poetical healing narrative both in English and Turkish versions.
    As an interesting and unique aspect of this study, I wrote a self-reflection in my inner world
    within an extraordinary ritual over two forty day periods of seclusion - “erbain” periods - as part
    of my qualitative study. I sought to contextualize Gülen’s ideas, poems and perspectives and his
    psycho-educational methods within his poetic Sufi therapy interventions and socio-psychological
    treatments. I transformed my personal experiences into transpersonal narrative by writing 80
    poems in 80 days, which comprise my intellectually generated source of data. My first 40 days
    was in Kitchener, Canada started on May 21th, 2013 and the second 40 days was held in Gebze,
    Istanbul and Alanya Turkey, during the month of Ramadan from July 5 to August 15, 2013.  I
    generate and extract data from its context, analyse Gülen’s Sufi discourse, and incorporate my
    spiritual reflections in the poetic form. My target is to extract a new alternative intervention and
    psychotherapy model through thematic thick descriptions and personal reflexive analysis.  
    I will not, however, study the political, historical and social implications of the activities
    of the Gülen community in Canada and abroad, because these have been dealt with in various
    scholarly works. I focus instead on the holistic Sufi therapy healing model, because it is
    important for newcomers to a country to adapt to the structures and order of that country‘s social,
    economic, political and cultural landscape. This new model may have significant impact on the
    struggles of some multicultural Muslim communities, thereby also having an effect on mental
    health intervention, and on reshaping current alternative healing techniques. Introducing
    concepts, images and metaphors based on Gülen’s universal concepts and key principles could
    constitute a meaningful alternative to mindfulness-based therapy, and this is inspired practice in
    trans-cultural psychotherapy.  


    My methods consist of operationalized readings of Gülen’s existing Sufi poems and texts,
    and the creation of Gülen’s poetic healing methods and finally the creation of a journal based on
    a period of intense Sufi inspired reflection, that provided useful and applicable techniques for a
    therapeutic model. My qualitative research can thus use Gülen’s philosophy as the main research
    tool, along with self-reflection as I personalize and draw on my own experiences to extend
    understanding of a Sufi discipline and culture. I consist of an intensely rich, full, and detailed
    narrative from the perspective of the person who lives and experiences the research phenomena,
    seeking to understand the meaning of Gülen’s socio-psychological standing and the life-feeling
    that comes from  being a Sufi Dervish. I use special “zikr” (reciting several God names in special
    numbers of time) and a special midnight prayers during two erbains based on Gülen’s
    instructions on his texts.


    Why the number forty?


    I use thematic analysis of Gülen's texts, in tandem with a reflexive analysis based on my
    feelings from 80 days during two “Erbain” periods (one erbain of 40 days in Sufism X 2 - in
    total 80 days). The number forty is a significant number and denotes a sacred tradition that is
    used by God to represent a period of testing, healing or judgment in spiritual practice in many
    religions. Gülen explains Suffering (chila) in this way:
    Suffering in this sense becomes, beyond our own spiritual progress, the dedication of our
    lives to the happiness of others in both worlds and living for others. In other words, we should
    seek our spiritual progress in the happiness of others. This is the most advisable and the best
    approved kind of suffering: that is, we die and are revived a few times a day for the guidance and
    happiness of others, we feel any fire raging in another heart also in our own heart, and we feel
    the suffering of all people in our spirits. (Gülen, 2009, p.235) To this extent, hizmet for Gülen is
    to seek one’s spirituality in, with and for the happiness of others. This is part and parcel of
    Gülen’s humanistic approach to spiritual psychology.


     The first step in privacy is completed in forty days, therefore known as the forty-day
    period of austerity. Bodily needs decrease and are disciplined, carnal desires are forgotten, and
    all time is dedicated to worshipping God, meditation, reflection, prayer, and supplication. In its
    aspect of the avoidance of people and austerity, privacy dates back to the early days of Sufism.
    The seclusion of Prophet Abraham, the forty-day periods of Prophet Moses, the austerity of
    Prophet Jesus, and the privacy of the prince of the Prophets have been practiced in different ways
    by many people, and have therefore undergone certain alterations (Gülen, 2006, p. 16). There are
    relevant stories demonstrating that this is the length of time necessary to accomplish some major
    part of God’s plan in his dealings with various portions of mankind. For example, the 40 days of
    rain in the days of the flood were the judgment of God. The 40 day period of fasting, testing, and
    communing with God that faced by Moses in the mountain of Tur and by Jesus in the desert of
    Sinai were forms of God's judgment. Egypt was left desolate for 40 years because of God's
    judgment and the forty years that the Israelites spent in the wilderness were also a result of the
    judgment of God (Todd& Anthony, 2013). In Hinduism, some popular religious prayers consist
    of 40 shlokas or dohas (couplets, stanzas).  The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) became a prophet
    when he was 40, and his son-in-law, Ali, is described as the scholar of 40 doors of the divine
    knowledge. While respecting differences between Sufis, as far as I know many Islamic tariqas
    are derived from Ali’s Sufi practices, whereby 40 saints live at all times.  
    This is why I examine myself during each of 40 days, during which time I generate
    contextualizing reflections on these texts. I will combine thematic/reflexive analysis and self
    reflection with my poetic writings to finalize the 40 rules or techniques of love in Sufism when
    analyzing them as data. In the first stage, a Sufi must struggle against the carnal soul, which
    involves the purifying of the body, tongue, mind and heart. The Sufi heart needs a time of
    seclusion for self-purification, and after this journey a dervish should live among the community
    and help others. The 40 day period, known to the Sufis as “Chillah” or “Itikaf” or “Erbain” thus
    serves as a source of purification (Anwarul-Haq, 1991, p. 37). This practice can be found in very
    similar forms in a variety of Sufi sects as simplified practices with three well-known prophetic
    Sufi principles: "eat less, sleep less and talk less".


    Data Gathering Tools


    Sufis can follow either of two ways: travelling in the inner world or in the outer world.
    Members of the first group begin from the carnal self and, without moving toward the outer
    world, head straight for the heart. They pierce and smash egotism and self-conceit and, by
    making a way through the heart, reach the truth. Such travelers must break their egotism and
    self-conceit, abandon whims and fancies, and destroy the carnal self (Nursi, p. 2007, p.429). The
    other travelers start from the outer world and, after observing the manifestations of God’s Names
    and Attributes in all objects, enter the inner world. In their hearts, they witness to some extent the
    same lights that they observed in the outer world and follow the quickest way into the heart.
    They attain their goal only after perceiving that the heart is the mirror of God, the Eternally
    Besought-of-All (Nursi, 2007, p. 429). I am drawing both approaches at the same time.  
     
    My spiritual guide is Gülen's sermons, books, poems, articles, techniques, teachings and
    his unique Sufi methods. Between May 21-June  30 in Kitchener, Canada was my first “Erbain”
    period, and July 5 August 15, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey was my second “Erbain”. I observed
    several states, stations through manifestations of God names and Attributes during my two
    Erbain periods in Canada and Turkey, and I compared two different Erbain periods in the
    context of transnationalism between my previous home country and the current home and living
    between two different cultures. Also, I found out differences between self-journeying
    experiences and my spiritual life qualities in two countries in what Gülen conceptualized as a
    global citizen or a universal man. Gülen defends that the use of reflection is the best method to
    extract knowledge and understand Sufi stations as narrative to construct decolonizing lived
    experiences following the Sufi stages that are basically the systemic observations of the self
    (Gülen, 2013). Data come directly from my heart as alternative source of knowledge according
    to Gülen, Ibni Arabi and many other great Sufi scholars. I was not doing “intellectual
    masturbation” but discovering new knowledge for individual therapy within Sufi practice
    (Gallardo et al, 2009). Therefore I focused on selected 40 concepts and endeavoured to find out
    Gülen’s stance on these concepts within Sufism related to talking cure and refine my own
    understanding of his Sufi reflections. Gülen follows mainstream Sufi positions, while at the same
    time seeking to produce new meanings from his work for a healthy life in spiritual practice.


    Forty Concepts


    I wrote one poem for each of the 80 concepts in two periods but selected 40 of them to
    teach potential clients in therapy sessions and used those 40 poems as metaphors. Table 1 shows
    my selected forty concepts examined in two periods from four editions of The Emerald Hills of
    the Heart. Within an introduction to the heart and some of its accompanying dynamics, this
    research provides a rich addition to the inner dimension of therapy rituals and also fosters a
    greater knowledge and love of the Divine (Gülen, 2009). Gülen follows in his personal life and
    in the context of Sufism which is love, sadness and sorrow. I follow his Sufi methodology of
    reaching God by experiencing these forty important therapeutic concepts. Gülen states that
    “Love is the most direct and safest way to human perfection.” It is difficult to attain the rank of
    human perfection through ways that do not contain love. Other than the way of "acknowledging
    one’s innate impotence, poverty, and reliance on God’s Power and Riches, and one’s zeal in His
    way and thanksgiving, no other way to truth is equal to that of love” (Gülen, 2006, p. 134).  Most
    profoundly, humanity is a creature endowed with the potential to reflect the nature of Divine
    Existence and the attributes of the Divine Names and thus to attain its perfection.


     In Gülen’s words: (as I am indenting the direct quote)
    Humans, the greatest mirror of the names, attributes, and deeds of God, are a shining mirror, a marvelous fruit of life, a source for the whole universe, a sea that appears to be a tiny drop, a sun formed as a humble seed, a great melody in spite of their insignificant physical positions, and the source for existence all contained within a small body. Humans carry a holy secret that makes them equal to the entire universe with all their wealth of character; a wealth that can be developed to excellence (Gülen, 2005, p.112). As the greatest divine mirror, Gülen asserts, “in truth and in God’s sight, humanity is greater than the universe.” This conviction is linked to his reasoning toward the equality of all human beings in terms of divinity. As it goes, God’s mercy does not discriminate. It allows every human being equally to reflect His manifestations, and therefore, all human beings, irrespective of religion, race, wealth and social status, are equal in their capacity and capability to mirror the Divine Light.
     
    Table 1 : Selected Forty Concepts from The Emerald Hills of the Heart.


    Process of Data Collection


     Gülen contends that an individual practitioner of Sufism can use its practice to deepen his
    or her spirituality and reach their self-purification. The most important basis of sainthood and
    Sufism is sincerity (purity of intention), for this saves one from any implicit form of associating
    partners with God and the most effective penetrating way is divine love. Whoever has not
    acquired sincerity cannot travel in those ways in Sufism (Nursi, 2007, p. 433). Through the
    struggle with one's self, solitude or retreat, invocation, self-control and self-criticism, the veils.

    During my first erbain period in Kitchener, Canada, I was trying to awaken my spiritual
    heart and have a transcendence experience through mystical love and recognition of the unity.
    What was I looking for in my heart? Sufism allows me to search using a discipline of
    remembering the divine within my heart. I explore in this chapter how to extract knowledge from
    the heart’s six dimensions within seven different self-stages (Gülen, 2006, p. 128). Findings in
    this chapter provide several Sufi stations and stages including the State of Spiritual Heart, the
    Soul and the Self, the State of Divine Love, the Awaking Station, the State of Freedom, the State
    of Wisdom, the State of Humility or Suffering and Confidence and the Unity of Conscience.
    Dhikr is a type of meditation; it works by increasing your concentration. One remedy for hard
    heartedness is remembrance of God.  As for having the manner of reciting special names of God
    and special prayers, it is very important to speak these without contempt bred by familiarity, and
    with a love and enthusiasm that comes from the bottom of the heart. After experiencing several
    Sufi stations and states, I realized that Sufi psychology means growth, balance and harmony. I
    have undergone a profound inner transformation and have removed the veils that cover the light.
    I selected, classified and related these concepts to each other by heart after reading Gülen’s book  
    two times in Turkish and two times in English, relating them to each other.
     Sufi psychology stresses the need to nourish and develop the heart. Sufism is the mystical
    dimension of all religions and has many branches within a giant tree, and the fruit of that tree is
    truth. During my self-journeying to my heart, my goal was the direct experience of the divine at
    the threshold between self-awareness of this world and awareness of the divine in my heart.
    According to the Sufi tradition, the heart holds the divine spark or spirit within each of us, since
    in effect the heart is a divine temple. Sufis respect every single human being, all animals, and
    even plants as divine temples, and they see everything as a creation of art from God. One of the
    main Sufi concepts suggests that the home of love is the heart and that the heart contains very
    deep intelligence and wisdom for freedom.  


    Meditation is an important tool to internalize my feeling through dikr and prayers.  
    Gülen’s book, The Emerald Hills of the Heart, provides me with the Sufi essentials and with
    guidance for freedom. A clear mirror is receiving and reflecting, weaving the tissue of all my
    thoughts and giving me the ability to turn to God with my being. My heart has started joyfully
    with Godly pleasure because I have submitted myself to God and have become free. Gülen opens
    my eyes with his definition of freedom, as he states that true freedom is attainable only by
    freeing one's heart from worldly worries and anxieties, and thus being able to turn to God with
    one's whole being in the emerald hills of the heart (Gülen, 2006, p.7). I wrote 40 poems from
    selected 40 different Sufi concepts during my first period of Erbain in Kitchener, Canada, see
    Table 2.  

    Table 2- First Erbain- Selected 40 concepts  
     
    Dhikr and Prayers
     

    During forty-days in Canada, I did two of the greatest forms of my formal remembrances
    were formal day and night prayers and recitation of the Names or Attributes of God in special
    numbers of time. In my daily routine, I recited 13 different names and attributes of God which
    are very popular in the history of Sufism, and which have been practiced in many Sufi lodges
    through many centuries, see Table 3.  
    Table 3 –  The Daily Dhikr Schedule, Recitation of God's Names
     
     
      Main categories       
      Purity of Intention Reflection Thankfulness Patience
    1 Love Self-supervision The soul Hope
    2 Truthfulness Freedom The heart Sobriety
    3 Straightforwardness Self-Journeying Altruism Sadness and sorrow 4 Sincere friendship Fleeing Perfect goodness Repentance 5 Conscious Self-criticism Human poverty Asceticism
    6 Forgiveness Presentation Confidence Dhikr and Prayer
    7 Attention and regards Self-purification Revelation-Inspiration Abstinence 8 One who reached& Dervish Sainthood State& Station Helplessness
    9 The power of perfection Wisdom Piety Powerlessness 10 Unity Self-possession Knowledge Wakefulness
     
    Date and Time English Arabic Times
     
     
    There is no god but God
    Lâ ilâhe illallah
     
     
    200
     God
     
    Allah 66
     He Hu 200
     The Truth Hak 108
     The AllOverwhelming
    Kahhâr
     
    306
     The AllPowerful
     
    Kâdir
     
    314
     The AllStrong
     
    Kaviyy 116
     The AllCompelling
     
    Cebbâr
     
    206
     The Master Mâlik
     
    90
     The AllLoving
    Vedûd
     
    20
     The Peerlessly All-Single
    Vâhid
     
    19
     The One Ehad
     
    13
     The Eternally Besought-ofAll
     
    Samed 134
     
    48
     
    This meditation can be passive and just help a person relax and clear their mind, or the
    meditation can be active, using the resulting relaxed state of mind to solve day-to-day problems
    or to direct concentration to some new meaning a person wants to add to their life. There are
    many remembrances that can be found that will give a person hope from asking Allah for
    guidance, health and provision. Table 4 shows why I added six more names into my daily
    meditation called “Sekine” (Peacefulness) list because of Gülen’s mentor, Said Nursi followed
    this six names all his life and Gülen himself recite these names in his life.
     
    Table 4 – The Daily Dhikr Schedule, “Sekine” (Peacefulness), Recitation of God's Names
     
    Date and Time English Turkish or Arabic Number of Times
     The Unique
     
    Ferd 33
     The All-Living
     
    Hayy 14
     The Self-Subsistent
     
    Kayyûm
     
    156
     The Just
     
    Adl 104
     The Judge
     
    Hakem 68
     The Pure One
     
    Kuddus 170
     
      At the beginner level, the most comprehensive name of God is the combination of six
    divine names: the Most Holy (al-Quddūs), the Wise (al-Ḥakam), the All Just (al-ḤĀdil), the
    Single (al-Fard), the Ever-Living (al-Ḥayy), and the Self-Subsistent (al-Qayyūm). Therefore, the
    reflections of these names can be seen all over the universe and these reflections display God’s
    existence and oneness (Nursi, 1990, p. 399). The earth is like a big hotel. Every day, people
    come in to this hotel, stay for while, and then leave it. Similarly, animate beings come into this
    earth at birth, stay here for a while, and leave it. One might think that the earth should be filled
    with the dead bodies of animals, plants, and even people. However, we see that God’s name, the
    Most Holy (al-Quddūs), is reflected in the universe and as a result, not only do animals live by
    eating dead bodies, but also insects such as ants and maggots work as cleaning employees who
    clean the earth. Similarly, the red and white blood-corpuscles purify the blood while breathing
    refreshes the human body. On a larger scale, the clouds clean the sky, while on a smaller scale a
    small mosquito cleans its eye with its hands. This cleaning process in the universe shows that
    there is a Creator who knows every corner of it, and cleans it through the theophany of his name
    the Most Holy. The idea of cleaning the universe has one character. It is one type of action that is
    going on in every corner of the world. Therefore, it shows both God’s existence and unity.
    Otherwise, we would need to accept the idea that everything from a single ant to gigantic clouds
    play a role in this awesome cleaning process act by themselves, in knowing their own roles in
    this complex action (Nursi, 1990, pp. 304-307).   


    The other name that reveals God’s existence and oneness is the name the All Just (al
    Ādil). When we look at the universe, we see that everything is laid out to a certain measurement
    and scale. From the cells of a human body to the red and white blood-corpuscles that travel in
    these cells, from the mutual proportion and relation of the body’s organs to the balance between
    the incomings and outgoings of the seas, from the births of animals, plants, and human beings to
    their deaths, from the balance of darkness and light to the portions of cold and heat, everything in
    the universe is well proportioned and balanced. The Quran says “No single thing exists that does
    not have its source with Us; and naught do We bestow from on high unless it be in accordance
    with a measure well-defined,” (Quran, 15:21). The skies has He raised high, and has devised [for
    all things] a measure, so that you [too, O men,] might never transgress the measure [of what is
    right]: weigh, therefore, [our deeds] with equity, and cut not the measure short, (Quran, 55:7-9).
    All of these balances and measurements show not only God’s existence and oneness, but also
    that the judgment day will be governed by the All Just (Nursi, 1990, pp. 308-310).
     The third name that signifies Gods existence and oneness is the Wise (al-Ḥakem). The
    All-Wise God created the universe as a being which includes many worlds. He created the
    human being as the center among these many worlds. He also created these worlds to fulfill the
    needs of the human being and to serve him. He created the human being as the center of the
    worlds, due to his consciousness. This consciousness is a reflection of the divine name the Wise;
    and the modern age’s sciences are reflections of human consciousness. If we go and ask the
    science of medicine the question, what is this universe? It will tell us it is a big and well-ordered
    pharmacy. If we ask the science of chemistry the same question, it will tell us that the universe is
    a magnificent and well-ordered laboratory. The science of industrial engineering will tell us that
    it is a perfect factory. The sum of this analogy indicates God’s existence and oneness. Otherwise
    we would have to accept that causes in the universe have wisdom, will, knowledge, power, and
    consciousness to create the universe (Nursi, 1990, pp. 313-315).  
     

    The fourth name is the name The Single (al-Fard). When we look at the universe, we see  
    that the universe is like a body whose organs are unified. It is like a factory whose machines  
    work together and in order. Every organ in this body and every machine in this giant factory  
    works together, helps each other, and leans towards each other. This is a reflection of the name
    the Single in two aspects: The first is that the universe is a unified and a single body with all
    parts. The second is that the owner of the universe can be the Single One because all parts of the
    universe are connected to each other. Therefore, owning a single part means owning the whole
    universe. In other words, one who does not own the whole body cannot claim ownership for even
    a single part of the whole universe because all are connected to every other part (Nursi, 1990, p.
    318).  
     

    The fifth name is the Ever-Living (al-Ḥayy) and the Life Giver (al-MuḤyī). The Quran  
    invites its readers to reflect about the concept of life in the universe. It says “Behold, then, [O  
    man,] these signs of Gods grace how He gives life to the earth after it had been lifeless! Verily,  
    this selfsame [God] is indeed the One that can bring the dead back to life; for He has the power  
    to will anything,” (Quran, 30:50). Reflection upon life, the life that we see in the universe is an
    indication of the Ever-Living and the Life Giving One. If we see reflections of the sun on the
    water of a river appearing and disappearing, we conclude that the sun is the source of these
    reflections; and it is ever-living although its reflections on the river appear and disappear.
    Similarly, through the births and deaths in the universe, we conclude that God is the one who
    gives life, and He is the ever-living. And the Quran says “God; there is no deity save Him, the
    Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All Being,” (Quran, 2:255) (Nursi, 1990, pp. 334-335).


    The sixth name is The Self-Subsistent (al-Qayyūm). Nursi says the existence,
    continuance, and perpetuation of the heavenly bodies in the universe are tied to the mystery of
    Self-Subsistence. If the manifestation of Self-Subsistence was to avert its face for a moment,
    millions of globes, some of them a thousand times larger than the globe of the earth, would be
    scattered into the infinite void of space, and colliding with one another would crash into
    nothingness (Gülen, 2006, p. 171). Therefore, the existence and continuance of the universe is a
    sign for God’s name The Self-Subsistence.


    I followed special numbers for each name and attribute of God from Gülen’s
    recommended prayer book called Al-Qulub al-Daria (Imploring Hearts). The collection of
    litanies, al-Qulub al-Dariya from Majmu'at al-Ahzab, prepared by the Turkish shaykh and
    scholar, Gümüşhanevi, was issued by the Hizmet movement for purposes such as these
    individual and collective devotions (Gümüşhanevi, 2005). The original work was compiled by
    the famous Ottoman scholar Ahmed Ziyauddin Gümüshanevi (1813-1893). Being a Sufi master
    himself, Gümüshanevi compiled his three-volume work Majmuat al-Ahzab after meticulous
    research. The prayers in Imploring Hearts are selections by Fethullah Gülen from
    Gümüshanevi’s compilation. Gülen made recollection of prayers and formulas of remembrance
    which were developed in many Sufi traditions under the guidance of great Sufi masters
    (Schimmel, 1975, p. 200).


    In Imploring Hearts, I found invocations of Imam Ghazali, Abd al-Qadir Jilani, Ahmad
    Rufai, Hasan Shadhali, Shah Naqshband, Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi, Imam Rabbani and others
    Gülen recommends his followers to having a perfect sainthood life style. Exploring that
    Chodkiewicz provides a more detailed discussion of Ibn Arabi’s theories about these ranks of
    sainthood and the divine knowledge (Chodkiewicz, 1993, p. 107). How I must chant dhikr was
    part of my struggle. Chanting your dhikr and prayer aloud or repeating it silently both offer great
    benefits to your heart and soul. Such people attach more importance to reciting God’s Names in
    dervish circles than to performing the daily prescribed prayers, concentrate more on daily
    supererogatory recitations than on religious obligations, and are more careful to avoid opposing
    Sufism’s good manners than to the major sins (Nursi, 2007, p. 435).  


    With the literal meaning of mentioning, remembrance, and recollection in the speech of
    the Sufis, dhikr denotes regular recitation of one or some of God's Names in the same recitation
    session. Some spiritual or Sufi orders prefer to recite “Allah” (the proper Name of the Divine
    Being); others recite “There is no god but God,” the declaration of Divine Unity; and others
    recite one or a few of the other Names according to the preferences of the order's master. Like
    thankfulness, such recitation is a duty of servanthood, to be performed both verbally and
    actively, and also with one's heart and other faculties of conscience (Gülen, 2006, p. 128).  
    After reciting on a daily basis 19 special names which were selected from Gülen’s
    writing, I reached the profundity of recitation that was proportional to the depth of feeling for
    God. Sufis call this stage the level of the “peace of heart” or “witnessing.” Recitation signifies a
    journey toward Him. When I started to mention Him or recited His Names, both verbally and
    through feelings and actions, as well as in my heart as a chorus, it became a mysterious
    internalized lift ascending to the realm where spirits fly. Through the slightly opened doors of the
    heavens, indescribable scenes are beheld. Recitation, irrespective of its style, is the safest and
    soundest way leading to God. Without it, it is difficult to reach God. When the traveler
    remembers Him in his or her conscience and puts this remembrance into words with his or her
    tongue and other faculties, an inexhaustible source of support and (spiritual) provision is tapped
    (Gülen, 2006, p. 131).  


    After reciting 19 divine names in 40 days in Canada , Unity is more crystalizes after the
    early morning and evening prayers. Each phrase is equal in worth to God’s Greatest Name, and
    conveys good tidings to humanity by displaying and manifesting a different aspect of the
    Lordship’s Unity. This is equal to manifesting one of the Greatest Names, a ray of Divine
    Singularity’s magnificence, and a perfection of Divine Oneness. Each phrase affirming Divine
    Unity bears good tidings to believers. Each message offers a cure, and each cure contains a
    spiritual pleasure (Nursi, 2007, pp. 239-240).


     I discovered this knowledge in Gülen’s writing and found several holy prayers belonging
    to different prophets and saints from the past. Allah directs and disposes of all things, from the
    heavens to the human heart. The Prophetic saying is as follows: “The heart is between the two
    Fingers of the All-Merciful; He turns it from state to state and gives it whatever form He wishes
    reminds us of this fact.” The ways leading to God are almost beyond number. Recitation of
    God’s names is one of them. Reciting God's Names sometimes causes the reciter to enter a
    trance-like state in which the self is lost. Recitation, irrespective of its style, is the safest and
    soundest way leading to God. Without it, it is difficult to reach God. When travelers remember
    Him in their conscience and put this remembrance into words with their tongue and other
    faculties, an inexhaustible source of support and (spiritual) provision is tapped. Recitation
    signifies a journey toward Him. There is no restriction of time or manner in reciting God's
    Names. The profundity of recitation is proportional to the depth of feeling for God. Muslims
    calls this the “peace of heart” or “witnessing.” Allah (the proper Name of the Divine Being) is
    one of the important elements of  Dhikr; others recite: There is no god but God, the declaration
    of Divine Unity; and others recite one or a few of the other Names according to the choice of the
    order's master (Gülen, 2006, p. 130).
     

    The first way, based on the main invocations recited by followers of this way, is that of
    the Seven Names: There is no god but God, God, He, the Truth, the All-Living, the Self
    Subsistent, the All-Overwhelming. By reciting these Names, one seeks to pass through the carnal
    soul's seven steps: the Evil-Commanding Soul, the Self-Condemning Soul, the Soul Having
    Inspiration, the Soul at Rest, the Soul Well-Pleased (with however God treats it), the Soul
    Pleasing (to God), and the Purified or Innocent Soul. To these seven Names, some add such
    Names of Majesty as the All-Powerful, the All-Strong, the All-Compelling, the Master, and the
    All-Loving; others add such Names of Grace as the Unique, the One, the Peerlessly All-Single,
    and the Eternally Besought-of-All. Reciters can recite as many names during the day according
    to the orders of the master (Gülen, 2006, p. 128).


     Gülen advises that the second, brighter, as well as more secure way of self-journeying
    should be based on strict adherence to the Qur'an and the Sunna, and the encouragement of
    certain recitations. Those who follow this way strive to comply with the Sunna in whatever they
    do. Rather than reciting certain Names, they follow the methods used by God's Messenger to
    worship, invoke, and pray; meditate on His acts and creatures; and mention Him with all of His
    Names. Joining these activities with a meticulous following of the commandments of Shari'a,
    they are firmly attached to their guides or teachers and abandon themselves to the tides of 'ashq
    and (spiritual) attraction toward God (Gülen, 2006, p. 129).


     Gülen’s description of the most correct standard of a good spiritual life, one that Sufism
    uses to describe or qualify a person, is good nature. One who has taken a few steps forward in
    good nature may be regarded as having advanced in the spiritual life. Although miracles,
    dazzling stations, and superhuman actions may be acceptable when they issue from good nature,
    they are worthless if not combined with good nature. The signs of good nature have been
    summarized as follows: a person possessing this quality does not hurt anybody by either word or
    deed, overlooks those who hurt him or her and forgets the evils done, and returns evil with good.
    Many people seem to be good natured, mild-mannered, and humanitarian, although good
    conduct and mildness are no more than affectations. When they experience a little irritation,
    anger, or harsh treatment, their true nature will be revealed. One who has good nature does not
    change his or her manners even when in a hellish state, but remains mild and shows no
    harshness. A heart open to good nature is like a very broad space in which one can bury one's
    anger and rage. As for those intolerant and impatient ones who display bad conduct, they are,
    like Cain, more stupid than the raven, and can find no place to bury their anger, hatred, and ill
    feelings (Gülen, 2006, pp. 74-75).


     Gülen makes Sufi humanism pertinent to some of today’s problems, ones that differ
    markedly from those of the past. He rethinks existing Sufi ways and proposes his own “Another
    Way of Journeying and Initiation,” which proceeds from one’s awareness of poverty toward
    actualization of love. For Gülen, by being conscious of one’s poverty before God, one feels an
    absolute dependence on Him, thereby becoming absolutely rich and no longer feeling any need.
    With this degree of richness, one feels “as if he or she has found a credit card that is valid
    everywhere” (Gülen, 2006, p. 172). In Gülen’s conviction, this is the best spiritual way to realize
    love especially again the backdrop of the contemporary, materialist world. According to him,
    one’s awareness of poverty and nothingness before God leads him/her to be humble. In one’s
    relationship with all existence, living or non-living, he/she “is to be loving and tolerant toward
    everyone, to see the universe as a cradle of brotherhood/sisterhood” (Gülen, 2006, p. 170).
    State and Station


    Sufism enables believers to attain the station of reliance on and absolute submission to
    God, and the rank of being approved and loved by Him. These are the means for true pleasure
    and consolation without grief, and familiarity and communion without loneliness and separation
    (Nursi, 2007, p. 439). I was developing my heart so that it could chant and pray through a
    sincere, patient, steadfast practice of prayer, and was also performing other spiritual exercises
    such as reading Qur’an regularly, using the “eat, drink, sleep and talk less” tradition and closing
    my ears to unnecessary news and worthless information. In a sense, if my heart feels my capacity
    for action residing in the nafs, (the Arabic word for the self), the self might act truthfully and
    follow the path that brings me closer to God. To be a dervish, I have to be soft, vulnerable, and
    sensitive, have a true honesty, be an integrated person with inner peace, and have a sincere
    compassion, purity of intention and know my own heart and the self. My body, my heart and my
    self must be connected and unified as a whole. When our heart’s creativity misuses the self, the
    result is many creative individuals who are nevertheless still arrogant, worldly and egotistical.  
     Gülen defines what is state and station, with state denoting experiencing in one's inner
    world: the “breaths” blowing from the realms beyond the world, and feeling the difference
    between “night” and “day,” as well as “evening” and “morning,” that occur in the heart. Those
    who understand these as alternate waves of rejoicing and grief, and contraction and expansion
    invading the heart without the believer's special effort, call the stable continuation of those waves
    “station” and their disappearance “sensuality.” A state consists of the Divine manifestations
    occurring at times determined by the absolute Will. These manifestations are reflected in the
    heart and in the believer's perception and consciousness, which pursue and cast them into a mold.
    For this reason, while a station signifies stability and subsidence after the waves of state, a state
    can be likened to packets of waves of different lengths and colors coming from the Sun,
    appearing and then disappearing, being dependent on the absolutely dominant Will (Gülen, 2006,
    p. 20-21). However, Gülen warns that if you have not corrected the imbalance of your hearts, and
    thus live disconnected from the Almighty, you may regard these waves of state as illusions and
    fancies, while those who see existence with the light of the Truth view them as manifest,
    experienced realities. A person should ask God's forgiveness seventy times a day as Prophet
    Mohammad did in his life. Otherwise it is impossible for your soul to reach and become a
    perfectly pure soul as the seventh self, and your spiritual journey toward the Infinite Being never
    ends (Gülen, 2006, p. 21).


    The State of Spiritual Heart


     The Sufi concept of heart is far richer and more complex. In Sufi terminology, “heart”
    signifies the biological heart's spiritual aspect as the center of all emotions and (intellectual and
    spiritual) faculties, such as perception, consciousness, sensation, reasoning, and willpower. Sufis
    call it the “human truth”; philosophers call it the “speaking selfhood” (Gülen, 2006, p. 22).
    Gülen’s heart-centred positive psychology defends the notion that an individual's real nature is
    found in the heart with respect to this intellectual and spiritual aspect of existence, and it is
    through this that one is able to know, perceive, and understand. Spirit is the essence and inner
    dimension of this faculty; the biological spirit or the soul is its mount. The heart can function as
    bridge by which all good and blessing comes. For instance, Gülen refers to prophetic words such
    as: “O God. O Converter of hearts! Establish our hearts firmly on Your religion,” (Al-Tirmidhi,
    1969) which remind us of the absolute need to preserve the heart (Gülen, 2006, p. 24).
     Gülen explains the state of the spiritual heart with many versus in the Qur’an, telling of
    humankind’s superiority among all creatures and the infinite gift Allah has bestowed upon
    humankind: “We are nearer to him\her than his\her jugular vein” (Qur’an, 53: 9). “God is the
    light of the earth and the heavens,” and we do not need any telescope or anything else to see
    everything.” This idea suggests that may God open our hearts so that we may feel His Existence
    in ourselves without the need for telescopes. It means the self can find Him in our souls and
    hearts. Nobody needs to look around neither on earth nor in the heavens to find Him, for He is
    nearer to us than our jugular vein. Gülen uses one of the famous Turkish Sufi poets, Niyazi
    Misri’s words to clarify and simplify this idea. This is Misri’s quote from 17th century, the
    Halveti Sufi Order ‘s shayh:  
     
    “I looked around left and right,  In order to see the face of the Beloved,  I searched for Him outside  When He is the Soul within my soul.” (Can, 2005, p. 277).
     
     Gülen memorizes thousands of poems from Sufi saints. He approves the popular well
    known Sufi poet, another famous Turkish Sufi named Ibrahim Haqqi of Erzurum from the 19th
    century. In the words of Ibrahim Haqqi: “The heart is the home of God; purify it from whatever
    is other than Him. So that the All-Merciful may descend into His palace at night.” This is vividly
    expressed in a narrated Prophetic Tradition, which Ibrahim Haqqi relates as follows: God said:
    "Neither the heavens nor the earth can contain Me." He is known and recognized as a "Treasure"
    hidden in the heart by the heart itself (Gülen, 2006, p. 24). Gülen enjoys quoting from another
    famous Sufi poet from the 13th century in the following couplets. The well-known Sufi saint
    Rumi writes this:
     
    “The Truth says: I consider the heart, Not the form made from water and clay. You say: I have a heart within me, whereas The heart is above God's Throne, not below.” (Gülen, 2006, p. 28)
     
     These three Sufi quotes are my guidance and light. It is not easy to enter the city of the
    body and witness the Sovereign therein, and travel from yourself to yourself and search for
    yourself in yourself. The light of the heart is like a lamp that becomes visible after polishing the
    heart with many prayers, recitations, dhikr and special holy quotations day by day. The spiritual
    heart’s lamp started to open with mysteries at the beginning, as reflected in this poem:
     
    Reflection is the light in the heart. Think on the spirit of knowledge. The spirit's food becomes essence. Reflection begins with awareness as a vital step to the truth. Without it, the heart is darkened. A key opens the door of experience where the trees of truth are planted. Choosing beauty over ugliness is the key. What is good and evil in great detail? Looking for good, and finding the positive. Even seeming badness becomes good. Discover the Divine mysteries everywhere. Presenting all in the book of the universe are the peculiarities of its letters and words. Evoking reflection upon its appearances and finding perfection, universal humanity. The goal and the fruit of reflecting is the way of guidance and righteousness.
     
     As far as objective truth goes, Gülen defends the approach of the greatest Sufi saint from
    the 12th century, Ibni Arabi and Said Nursi from the 20th century scholar, who were argued there
    are other sources of knowledge rather than just those our brains can capture, and in these are
    found the inner spirit and the innermost heart with the heart’s six dimensions within seven
    different self-stages (Gülen, 2006, p. 128 ). I was looking for those six dimensions and seven
    different self-stages in my heart. Sufism provides a discipline of remembering the divine within
    your soul, heart and mind. The divine is fully present within us, even if we cannot experience it
    as present. My heart burns with fervour and fire, many emotional depths and conscious thoughts.
    My ego seeks freedom from selfishness because love without hatred is the Sufi’s belief. A Sufi
    must find the truly beloved in the heart. Love is a treasure, waiting to be found. My soul was
    trapped in such “a barrel” forty days long during my first Erbain in Kitchener, Canada, until
    human perfection could be found. Love elevates us above the animals, even above the angels. As
    a Seeker, I knew that the path to Truth was within me. There would be no arriving or leaving.
    What is there other than God? Again the Qur’an says: “He is with you wherever you are and
    God sees whatever you do.” (Qur’an, 39:22).
     

    Devotion to God is one of the most basic Sufi practices. I was moved by the good news
    in this verse and my heart was gladdened greatly. This devotion is reflected in the heart-warming
    poetry I have written as a Sufi poet and is reflected in this quotation:  
    My destiny is the Divine Love as Ashq. Allah is with me wherever I come from God. My heart has gladness bliss and hope. If you have not found peace and joy because you have not known yourself, it is inside of you. Sincere intensity is the only path to truth. Spending a long dark night of passion with a beautiful One, mysterious One. Being freed of all worries, all wishes. Setting the heart wholly on the Beloved. Every moment is travelling to my heart, a deep and irresistible heartfelt is my desire.


     What does self-journeying mean to me? To be a Sufi, I would like to free myself from a
    life of restriction and turn to God within the horizon of the heart. Gülen provides a short
    description of this process:  “Journeying toward God, journeying in God; whatever you do, it is
    journeying from God” (Gülen, 2009, p.9). During this spiritual journey, I felt nearness in my
    spirit and could not but utter such unceasingly. There was no longer any space, neither in the
    heaven nor in the earth. My Journeying passed beyond time and space, in unending efforts to
    turn to God in my heart. My journeying began with reflection on the world. Later on, my inner
    world perceived manifestations of God and observed His unique stamp in journeying to our
    Lord. I perceived my own innate poverty, helplessness, and experienced the protection and
    direction of the Divine. Journeying in the native (spiritual) land, while resident in the real land
    was not an easy process, but I simplified these feelings and experiences with my poetic
    reflections. Others see the journey with all its stages as unrealistic. My subjective truth may be
    objective to me, but others don’t know my state. Conscious of what I was doing, and that God
    sees my every breath, I was careful always of the place I put my feet, of each step I took. I am
    not a saint, as far as I know, but a hero of spirituality in peak, aware of the many Divine Names.
    If I am drowned in such knowledge of God I can’t distinguish between the Names and the One
    who is called by these Names. This is the peak of the state where I belong, uttering the Names of
    God in my heart.


    The Soul and the Self


     Gülen says that Sufis view the creation as a shadow of the original. The meaning, the
    origin, is in the Knowledge of God as a believer journeys in heart and in spirit. Creation refers to
    this action of the heart, of the spiritual intellect within the origin of the self and the soul. Sufis
    consider everything in the world as no more than a drop, even a mirage, taken from an ocean.
    Material existence and pleasures are regarded as having the meaning and worth of a drop, while
    the other world and spiritual pleasures come from Divine knowledge and love which corresponds
    to the ocean. The concept of the self is different and it must be free. Gülen asserts that the most
    advanced in knowledge and love of God and in piety flee from Attributes to Divine Being or
    Essence, and from the Truth to the Truth Himself. They say: I take refuge with You from You,
    and are always in awe of God (Gülen, 2006, p.14).


     As a matter of fact, love exists in our spiritual heart within our pure soul. The physical
    heart regulates bodily functions and the spiritual heart regulates the psychological functions.
    Gülen says that each of us is carrying a pharaoh within us and each of us has also a Moses, a
    divine messenger, who can lead us from slavery to freedom (Gülen, 2010). Prophet Moses, upon
    him be peace, a loyal devotee at the door of the Truth, how one fleeing to and taking shelter in
    God is rewarded: “Then I fled from you [Pharaoh] when I feared you, and my Lord has granted
    to me the power of judging (justly and distinguishing between truth and falsehood, and right and
    wrong) and has made me one of His Messengers” (Qur’an, 26:21). Prophet Moses states that the
    way to spiritual pleasure and meeting with God and Divine vice-regency and nearness passes
    through fleeing. Our nafs is a frozen Pharaoh dragon, it is never dead for it is a bloody tyrant.
    The only real solution is to transform the tyrannical self by sacrificing the ego. Each of us has to
    become one with the inner heart of Moses and spirit heart of Jesus, and the innermost heart of Mohammad, and we have to nourish and honour that liberator and divine servant. The self needs
    to convince our heart and mind of the truth of spiritual principles and ideals, and vow to live in
    grace to overcome the power of the tyrannical self.  


     At the first stage, my ego satisfaction and power is important for everything outside of
    me, because there is no inner love of God in my heart. The self needs a sense of an inner
    relationship, for not having a sense of inner restraints, or of our sins, kills our soul inch by inch,
    making our heart a darker place every day, until there is no inner reality and morality left in our
    life. In the lower self, this is the stage of having a regular untrained self like everybody else, my
    nafs is a slave to pleasure, an addict in denial, refusing to recognize that even I have a problem
    regarding selfishness, arrogance and greedy behaviour. The self wants everyone to notice it and
    to think well of it. My nafs always wants more, it never steps back, nothing is good enough for it.
    For instance, I am like a fish that does not know what water is, because the self never knows
    anything else. It is an expert at hiding from consciousness. This selfish nafs does not want
    anyone to receive anything from anybody.  


    The self is also like a fire, representing potential unlimited anger. When it is at the point
    of being extinguished, it always flares up somewhere else. If the nafs calms down in one area,
    the self can ignite in another. This is a Sufi technique for therapy, the lower self has many
    negative attributions, but these can be replaced by positive attributions. True transformational
    change is a process of literally turning our back and moving away from our old way of life and
    bad habits. The self puts its feet sincerely into options of change through God’s grace and our
    attractive past loses its charm. It takes time. The self should begin with its undisciplined,
    unfocused collection of thoughts, feelings and actions. Our negative ego and pleasure is forcing
    us to disobey Sufi discipline and prayers because it is still a powerful force within us.  
    The nafs is persistently obsessed with people’s opinions regardless of whether God may
    approve or disapprove. In fact, the lower self always turns to increase of possession and pride
    therein, as well as arrogance, self-importance and contempt. Our heart is changing every single
    second and our nafs is never constant, wanting only to finish everything quickly. These quick
    movements are arbitrary and unreliable; it is in a hurry to fulfill its desire, and it acts arrogantly.
    This negative attribute can only be removed from the nafs through patience. God provides a cure
    for this disease of the self which is spiritual poverty, neediness and helplessness. Our spiritual
    heart contains many of God’s attributions to cure our stress, anxiety and depressive feelings.  
    The spiritual heart is located in between the lower self and the soul. If our spiritual heart is
    infected with the negative characteristics of the lower self, we become spiritually ill. Our
    spiritual health dies when we do not wipe out or clean the dust in our heart. The heart is polished
    when the veil of dust is cleaned. After polishing my heart, I am destined to reflect the light of
    divine secrets. My heart is directly responsive to my everyday thoughts and actions. Although,
    my emotions are like anger, fear and greed continue to come from the lower self. The poem that I
    wrote entitled the Speaking Soul is as follows:


    Self-journeying in the valley of my heart, I was seeking gifts from the Owner of the heart. I seek refuge in You from carnal thoughts. I seek with You a soul content in You. My companions both the heart and the spirit, my soul has grown refined in purity, maturity. The purified soul is the double of my spirit, but true humanity equals the Perfected Soul. The mission was in essence a powerful tool. I was constantly seeking avoidance of evil for purification and perfection of self. Inspired with the knowledge of words from the spirit, I was following the heart - the spirit reaches out to God. The entire horizon to the spiritual intellect, the Ultimate Truth is heading to consciousness because my spiritual journey targets the Ultimate Truth. I was wishing to reach the Soul, Pure and Innocent. I requested wings for human beings to rise to perfection. The speaking self turns to the soul resting peacefully. The soul knows delight when well-pleased in Him.
     
    According to Gülen, the heart houses the light of faith and the light of the practice of the
    outer form of any religion. The inner heart holds the light of gnosis or knowledge of spiritual
    truth as two important lights or aspects. These are the light of unification and the light of
    uniqueness (Gülen, 2009, p. 97). I follow Gülen’s instructions and believe that in the inner heart
    is the locked treasure, our heart is God’s house, surrounded by walls and kept secure with many
    locked rooms.  


     Gülen describes many stations associated with different stages and different levels of
    knowledge and stations in Sufism, including seven levels of the self. Each station of the self is
    named as a city nested one within the other. Sufism provides powerful and effective tools for
    understanding and transforming the tyrannical self which is called nafs. These tools include self
    observation, self-discipline and being oneself with others. My target was to go through these
    seven levels or stages of self in Sufism. Sufism is a process of deep self-searching. One of the
    goals of Sufism is that daily life itself becomes a profound spiritual practice. Most people have
    and live with the lower self and have an inner struggle their whole life to reach the second stage.
    At the other extreme, the highest level of nafs is known as the pure nafs or the perfected/innocent
    soul. I couldn’t reach this stage in Kitchener as far as I know, since in this stage the personality is
    truly “pure and perfect crystal” and “reflects God’s light with almost no loss or distortion”
    (Gülen, 2006, p.128). The highest states of spiritual development are beyond rational description
    and very rarely do people achieve this level because the rational separate ego must be dropped
    completely. This is “unity of personality” and a very advanced level or state. Of course, I realize
    that “true inner unity is a very hard achievement” (Frager, 1999, p. 40). The final stage is when
    our religion becomes a religion of love according to Gülen’s Sufi philosophy.
     
     Being a Sufi Dervish


    The poem that I wrote regarding my feeling about Canada, named “The Land of Nobility” refers
    of the concepts of altruism in the Table 2 as follows:  
    Forgetfulness of all our concerns. When doing a good deed for others. This is perfect goodness or excellence. Dependent upon the happiness of others. Ensuring no one’s rights are despoiled. Is a virtue belonging to saintly people? Giving some of their belongings to others. Without feeling any unease in their heart. Showing warmth, speaking soft,  kindly words. Allowing others to take from one’s knowledge. Preferring the temporal welfare of others. Not as a first but a third degree of nobility. Considering one’s own happiness becomes duty. Without expecting any rewards or anything in return. Altruism is death to the self and is moral. What is the opposite: being selfish and stingy. It is easy to show generosity with gold. Harder to show generosity with soul. Feeding others at the cost of one’s hunger. Neglecting self for others as a second degree. Sacrificing one’s soul for God’s way and sake. Putting belief and the good of the believers first. This dervish has the highest degree of nobility. Of kind generosity and flowing benevolence.
     
    Sofi is used to designate the followers of Sufism, particularly by speakers of Persian and
    Turkish. Others use Sufi. I think the difference arises from the different views of the word's
    origin. Those who claim that it is derived from sof (wool), safa (spiritual delight, exhilaration),
    safwat (purity), or sophos (a Greek word meaning wisdom), or who believe that it implies
    devotion, prefer Sufi. Those who hold that it is derived from suffa (chamber), and stress that it
    should not be confused with sofu (religious zealot), also use Sufi (Gülen, 2006, p.xx).
    Suddenly, I discouraged myself and said to my heart: you cannot be a Dervish! Stage one
    started that the dervishes seek to be pious, they seek to be modest. Horizons of sincerity, perfect
    goodness and purity are needed. Imitation, experience, verified truths started the journey toward
    piety, to meet the Almighty, who waits in the Garden. Stage two was supposed to the Dervish is
    in harmony with existence. His heart is surrendered to the Almighty alone. Love is the road,
    repelling hostility and evil without patience and tolerance, you cannot be a dervish. Stage three
    was more difficult that the dervish has peace and spiritual vision, seeing, feeling, knowing, and
    faithful friend of Him whether good comes from friends or evil comes from enemies. A second
    nature gained in secret, free from all that’s not needful. Open to all, is the door of the way, the
    door of the way to becoming a dervish. No-one’s denied, but the way has requirements. Open is
    the door to the one who is wakeful, who can sacrifice soul. Ready to enter is the convent of
    dervishes, ready and willing to sacrifice for truth. Being a dervish dominates essence, one
    captive to ego cannot be a dervish. Adopting love as a guide, learn the secrets of God from your
    heart. Not drinking, but knowledge of God is true pleasure. Take refuge in your heart of
    seclusion, for the world beyond is not nearly as spacious! The following is the poem that I have
    written:  


    Being a dervish is based on humility and nothingness. For a spirit that’s contaminated, only Divine grace can clean it. A luxurious life is a shame upon dervishes; it’s a burden of hearts, and bodies, and minds. Luxury hurts the feet of the dervish, breaking in two the journey toward the Beloved.
    My individuality was suffering and will last for two forty days in order to needful for discovering
    innate power of the spirit within divine of the self. During first erbain period, I died several
    times daily for the happiness of others and felt the Lord with all my being, through half-opened
    door of the heart. Individuality was the first rank and goal of the journey. The second rank is the
    favor of His Divine voice with the rays of His "Face" and the lights of His Existence. Dervish is
    a hero of truth, who feels in the hills of his heart. The heroes of this rank feel in Dervishes inner
    worlds by fully displaying faithfulness, faith and sincerity as well as make the Truth known to
    the first two rank’s folk (Gülen, 2006, p. 191). I was raising the spirits to meet the One manifest
    Truth. A true dervish patiently abstains, is pious and righteous, loving tolerantly, and steadfastly,
    severing relations from the heart, devoted to service with the intention of reaching Him. Love of 
    God with spiritual pleasures was the rank of individuality. Love of God with spiritual pleasures
    was the rank of individuality below is the poem which reflects this rank:
    The world means heedlessness of God; not silver and lace.
    Praising wealth earned in lawful ways for a righteous one!
    Without the love of wealth in your heart, reviving uplifting.
    Swimming safely the ocean of spiritual initiation and journeying.
     
    Repentance is the result of the rank of individuality. Pure, sincere repentance perfectly
    improves feelings and purity of effort no longer opposes the Divine Essence. A Sufi is a believer
    who turns to God in truth with his/her heart. Eyes sleep, but not heart, heart wide awake. The
    stage of repentance engages in self-renewal, and is eradicating injustice, supporting justice and
    right. Being frightened remembering past sins and regrets, reforming the self by removing
    spiritual defects (Gülen, 2006, p.4). I have repented and turned sincerely contrite to God, not
    breaking my penitence till my soul leaves my body. I will be freed from deviation and error
    wherein I’ve fallen if I move away from God, my repentance will be lies. The following poem
    reflects my station:
    My first station repentance, the second sincere penitence. Ascension through the stations of journeying in God. O Dervish! With contrite heart you come, the beginning. Excellent the servant turning ever-contrite to his Lord. This station not for the ecstatic saints of the Unity of Being. But for the scholarly saints of the Unity of the Witnessed. Who accept and witness the true existent one beyond the creation. Progressing in the light of the peace and its blessings.
     
    A mysterious key was piety right after the station of repentance. The self accepts that you cannot
    be the noblest saint. If you cannot be a sincere servant with piety and obey who created you, 
    those going b

     


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