Who is Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu?

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Who is mahmud sami ramazanoglu? What kind of person mahmud sami ramazanoglu? When did mahmud sami ramazanoglu live?

Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu [1892 – 1984]

Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu (may Allah have mercy on him)  was born in the district of Tepebag in Adana. His family tree goes back to Khalid ibn Walid through the line of Nureddin Shahid who was from the family of Ramazanoglu. His father was Mujtaba Efendi.

The following anecdote is narrated:

One day Khidr went to the door of their house and told the maid to call the honourable mother of Sami Efendi to the door. His mother told her to give him whatever he wants, but he was insistent saying:

“No, I must see her myself”. She was thus compelled to ask from behind the door:

“Yes, what is it?” Khidr gave her the following good news:

“My daughter, do you know that you are pregnant? A great person will come into this world through you. He will have a large mole on the left rib bone, and he will serve Islam for a long period. During this time be extremely careful about the haram and the halal; and when he is born give him the name ‘Mahmud Sami’. He then asked for a shirt. By the time the shirt was brought to him, he had disappeared.

Mahmud Sami Efendi completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown of Adana. He then went to Istanbul for his higher education. He enrolled at the Dar al Funun (Istanbul University) in the department of Law. He was a very successful student. The beauty and radiance in his face, the courtesy and civility in his manners, and his superior success in his lessons awarded the acknowledgement of his teachers.

While continuing his education, his house in Sariyer was flooded and a portion of his books were lost in the flood. Accustomed, from a young age, to looking upon every event with wisdom and thus taking heed, he concluded that this was a divine warning and interpreted it as meaning that he was not going to continue in this field. He finished his university degree with distinctions, but anxious about infringing on other’s rights, he decided to earn his livelihood by keeping the books at a business place and not by practising law.

After completing his higher education, he wished to return to Adana. One day he met a friend of Allah in the Bayazid square. This man asked him where he was from and what he was doing in Istanbul. When Sami Efendi told him, the man asked:

“Would you allow me to start you on a new education?”

He then took him to the Kelami Dergah in Koca Mustafa Pasha. They conversed along the way and the wali said to him:

“My son! This education of the material sciences that you have received is not sufficient. I advise you to study that science which will bring you the happiness of both worlds. The first lesson of this school of wisdom that you will begin, is ‘do not offend anyone’ and the last lesson is ‘never be offended by anyone’….That is, whatever happens, always look upon the creation of Allah with the eye of compassion and never ever be hurt by what anyone says or does. This is to reach the peak of being able to forgive others…”

The murshid of the lodge at that time, the Head of the Assembly of Shaykhs of the time, As’ad Efendi, paid close attention to Sami Efendi:

“My son!  We need to begin treatment wherever the illness is. The most important organ we have is our heart… This is why we will begin to revive our hearts before performing supererogatory worship. We must give great importance to the dhikr of the heart!” Thus a new life began for Sami Efendi. From then on, Sami Efendi was a young man of service at the lodge. He would tidy the garden, organise the shoes, order the incoming visitors, serve them, and reply to the letters that came to his Master.  Even the oldest murids in the lodge admired him. He would sleep little. He would make the beds at night and go to sleep at the same time as everyone then once everyone was asleep, he would wake silently, renew his ablutions, and sit on his prayer mat and occupy himself for a long period with tasbih, tahlil, dhikrullah, and tafakkur. He would bring wood from the garden before the pre-dawn and light the fire; he would let anyone who needed to take their major ritual ablution know that their hot water was ready[1].

Aside from these important tasks at the lodge, it would always be the young Sami Efendi who would rush to perform any task that needed to be carried out. It was Sami Efendi who would help the old disciples and the sick brothers with complete devotion. Amongst the disciples of As’ad Efendi was Huseyin Efendi, the Chief Judge (mufti) of Cide who was very advanced spiritually. Being very old the mufti fell ill and it had become extremely difficult to take care of him. When the lodge requested that he be sent to his hometown, to his children, Sami Efendi objected and said:

“If you allow me I would like to take up the care and service of this blessed man”. He did in fact carry out this service with great courtesy and sensitivity.

In response to this sincere intention and polite service he was subject to the following prayer of the mufti:

“O Allah! Just as you have bestowed on me spiritual bounties and favours, please bestow them in the same way on this young son of ours…”[2].

As a result of the sincere service provided by Sami Efendi at the lodge and his serious efforts in the path of tasawwuf he reached a state of spiritual perfection and became a favoured student of his teacher. When he went to his hometown of Adana, As’ad Efendi wished for his return to Istanbul without delay. He informed him of this in a letter filled with love and longing:

“My honoured son!”

My desire and longing are pushing the limits of my patience and forbearance and I would be very pleased if you make this old man, who cannot bear the intensity of winter, happy with that beautiful countenance of yours.

You have undoubtedly heard of the wise words of Shah Naqshiband who said that ‘Our path is through suhbah’. Before the freshness of the spring of your youth turns into the autumn of old age, it is my one desire and hope that you scent and beautify your heart and spirit with the prosperous flowers of this elevated tariqah. May Allah give you success…”[3].

Returning to Istanbul upon this polite invitation of his teacher, Sami Efendi then spent the rest of his days sometimes with his father, Mujtaba Efendi, in Adana, and sometimes at the Kelami Dergah perfecting himself.

Ijazah

Having closely followed the success reached by Sami Efendi at the dergah in such a short time, As’ad Efendi presented him with his ijaza and gave him his successorship. With this ijazah, As’ad Efendi was at the same time describing Sami Efendi. This is how he saw him:

 “In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, on his family and Companions.

After this: let me express the following to my brothers in religion, and the people of loyalty and strong faith: My child, Sami Efendi, who carries this ijazatname, spent his days of youth in the pure circle of salvation of our religion, and served this great Naqshibandi path, striving with his entire might in this way, thus putting forth his seriousness to this end. In addition, he applied the methods of the Khwajagan masters and strove to purify and cleanse his faculties.

Praise be to Allah, his success in this and his entire state can be seen in his face. Divine grace has manifested itself openly in his spiritual faculties (lataif).  I saw that his desire for togetherness with Allah was sound and faithful, and his aspiration to benefit from the fruits of the tree of tawheed to be very high. In addition to all of this, I saw him adorn his being and his attributes by continuing in muraqaba and nafy u isbat for a period of time.

This is why I have given him ijaza (permission) to teach the adab and rules of this path, and train those of our brothers who wish to enter upon this Naqshibandi way, for those who wish to drink of the sweet waters of this spring of happiness.

Almighty Allah says:

Allah commands you to return to their owners the things you hold in trust …’ (Nisa, 4:58)

I entreat Allah that He increases his enthusiasm, joy, and pleasure in carrying out the rulings of this enlightened tariqah and this pure sharia! And that He allows him to benefit from the words and states of the people of tawheed. Amen!

Let me say to my precious brothers who know and follow the ruling of the following verse ‘…(there are such among men who are)…not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah… (Nur, 24:37), that if they wish to purify their heart and refine their nafs, or more correctly, benefit from the chain of the Naqshibandiyya, then let them continue attending the suhbah of and keeping company with Sami Efendi, and comply with the adab that he talks of with great care and undoubtedly they will attain their desire… ‘That is not difficult for Allah’ (Ibrahim, 14:20).  

Protecting oneself from sins and finding the strength to obey Allah is only possible through Allah Most High’s help.

May Allah send His Peace and blessings on Muhammad, his family and Companions. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds”[4].

Through the blessings of the prayer in this ijazatname of Sami Efendi, a great enthusiasm and joy could be seen in his worship and service of others right until his last days. It was also a means for him to reach the people of tawheed, with his state and words…

When Sami Efendi was 39 years old, in the year 1931, his murshid As’ad Efendi, was martyred. He was now left with the great responsibility of guiding others, however the closing of the dergahs, and the new social environment were not conducive to him carrying out this trust completely…

Like those Friends of Allah from the past such as Haris Muhasibi and Alauddin Attar, Sami Efendi did not benefit from the large fortune inherited from his family nor did he work in the field of law when the system of law changed from Islamic to secular. Instead he earned his livelihood by keeping the accounts at a timber factory in Adana. At the same time he continued to guide others through his state.

His going to and leaving work at the exact time and with discipline; his generosity and benevolence and manners; his reverence, presence and manners in worship; his state and behaviour in society, were all observed by those who knew him with admiration…

After a long time, when permission was once again given to go to hajj, Sami Efendi set out to perform hajj with the first contingent in the year 1947. From then on he was known as Hajja Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him). Since the first journeys to hajj were travelled via Syria, he was shown great respect and attention by the scholars of Aleppo and Damascus and others along the road to the Hijaz.

The righteous people and scholars of these two cities would longingly await the suhbah of Sami Efendi in order to benefit from him…

His life of guidance

Those who loved Sami Efendi from his days at the dergah and who knew his competence in guiding others began to visit him and benefit from him when the opportunities to meet became more widespread. Visitors from all around began to increase and as the opportunity arose, Sami Efendi began to travel to nearby cities, beginning with the cities of central Anatolia, in order to guide the people there.

He then moved to Istanbul at the request of those who loved him, where he lived for approximately 30 years.

On the one hand, Sami Efendi was busy with keeping the accounts at a firm in Tahtakale, in the then trade centre of Istanbul, and on the other hand he continued to serve and guide others. Those who knew him would come from Anatolia and visit him at his workplace, to benefit from him spiritually. They would return greatly changed after having received spiritual blessings. Sami Efendi would return their visit when suitable; he would go to these cities and plant the seeds of knowledge, wisdom, piety and the notion of serving others. In time he had an elite circle of people who affiliated themselves with him, in Istanbul and in Anatolia, and in particular from the fields of trade and industry, from merchants, and scholars.

Sami Efendi continued to guide others in his general talks and personal ones. His daily life passed either with his work, or writing books, in worship or suhbah and serving others. He did not waste one breath of his life.

His Beautiful Character

The sweetness and beauty on the face of Sami Efendi was indescribable. He was so gentle, soft hearted and angelic that those who knew him well called him ‘Angel Sami Efendi’.

When required however, he was extremely brave and strong in character. Even though his face was always smiling, his heart was thoughtful and sad. He was dignified, sober and moderate.

His dress was clean, simple and neat. His beard did not grow longer than a handful. He would grow his hair until the lobes of his ears. He would walk very calmly and slowly, but he would make great progress. Anyone travelling next to him would have to walk fast in order to keep up with him.

He would eat very little, sleep little and preferred silence unless it was absolutely necessary to talk. When necessary he would speak concisely and in accordance with the level of the one he was addressing. There was no word either unnecessary or superfluous that came out of his blessed mouth. Everything he said was proper and correct. He would speak each word clearly and choose them carefully and would repeat any important cautions or advice three times.

He was extremely careful in regards to the rights of others. Whenever he bought a train ticket, he would make sure to have the correct change so that the people in the queue would not have to wait for him.

He was freed from the desire of this world. He was in a constant state of selflessness and sacrifice. He would walk from Karakoy to Tahtakale and donate the money he would otherwise give to the taxi as an expression of gratitude for the bounty of health that Almighty Allah bestowed upon him. He would place the money to be donated into an envelope and present it with great courtesy to a needy person.

Nobody ever saw the great master argue or fight with anyone, nor enter into debate nor backbite anyone. This is because he understood fate completely; he never thought ill of another.

Since he had adopted the divine attributes, the perfect attributes of beauty of Almighty Allah such as ‘Sattaru al’uyub’(concealing others faults) and ‘Afuw’ (forgiving others) could be seen manifest in him.

He would never allow those who loved him to lose hope. He would never openly reveal or discuss the faults and mistakes of neglectful and heedless people who came to see him. They would learn their lesson from the polite cautions and warnings given to them by him and would part from him having decided to struggle for the reform of their state.

Not one time did he ever offend a believer or any other creature. His every state and act was measured, orderly and proper. This state of his was a reflection of the following hadith:

My Lord educated me and taught me … how well he educated me and how beautifully He taught me good manners! (Suyuti, Jami’u as-Saghir, I, 12).

Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) would never become angry with anybody, nor would he ever be offended by anybody. He would never expect something in return for a good act of his. Those who loved him and those who criticised him were equal in his sight in terms of being treated well. As for those who criticised him but later realised their mistake and sincerely apologised, he would immediately forgive them.

Whenever he was asked a question or asked to explain a matter, Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) would never give orders such as ‘Do this or do not do that”. Instead he would generally suffice by reading a verse from the Qur’an or a hadith, or a rule from Majalla.

He would more often mention the following principles:

1) “Repelling evil takes priority over attracting benefit”

That is, if there is benefit and value in a matter in which there is also harm and evil, then one should abandon the benefit and value in order to avoid the harm and evil… In Islam, avoiding its prohibitions is better than following its commands.

In this way he indicated the principle that ‘the duty of avoiding the prohibited, which is obligatory for every believer is more important than supererogatory worship’. Every supplicant  would understand this truth in accordance with his own state.

He would give the following example: First the pus needs to be cleaned from the wound (repelling the evil) before the ointment can be applied (attracting the benefit).

2) “Difficult conditions attract ease”.

Whether they be physical or spiritual; difficult conditions also contain ease in due proportion. This is why a command of the sharia can never be completely abandoned, no matter how difficult the circumstances and one can benefit from the ease brought by the sharia in order to bring about the command.

3) “Matters of constriction lead to expansion.” That is, whenever there is difficulty or hardship in a matter the sharia offers a solution, licence or breadth.

4) “Where the obstacle is removed the prohibition returns” If there is a righteous deed that needs to be done and it is being prevented by some obstacle, then when that obstacle has been removed it should be continued to be performed.

5) “If an obstacle and conflict come together, the obstacle takes priority.

If a task needs to be done and there is an obstacle, then one must first remove that obstacle.

6) “Whoever attempts a task before its time, will be punished by being deprived of it”

If a person is hasty and wishes to obtain something before it is due, they will be punished by being deprived of that thing.

Sami Efendi would continue to recite the verses from the Qur’an, in particular the Fatiha and Ayat al kursi, and other prayers from the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and other prophets, and would not organise any other prayers either in Arabic or Turkish on his own.

Even though he did not spend any extra efforts in speaking lucidly and eloquently, his words contained a profound depth and subtlety.

This was so much so that those who listened to him were drawn to him like magnets and did not want to part from him.

He was extremely careful about the halal and the haram

When people came to visit Sami Efendi to ask him his advice or listen to him talk, he would first ask them about their profession and whether they were careful about the halal and haram. He would then ask for other information. He would give his advice with great courtesy and grace:

One time Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) was invited to an engagement ceremony. The party requested that he place the ring on the groom’s finger.  When Sami Efendi saw that the ring was made of gold, he took off his own ring without saying a word and placed it on the groom’s finger saying:

“Accept this as a memory of today and give the gold ring to your wife as a gift”[5].

In this way he taught the groom that men have been prohibited from wearing gold jewellery in a polite way.

In regards to the matter of halal provision, he had the following to say:

“The first condition for a person’s prayer being accepted is this: to reform his inner world with lawful provision and the final condition is sincerity and presence of heart. That is to turn to Almighty Allah in the proper manner. If the food placed in one’s mouth is not lawful, it is extremely difficult for that person to be sincere and present and abandon all other things to turn to Allah”[6].

“Just as unlawful provision contaminates the heart and the blood, so too it brings ruin to the limbs. It makes one perform bad deeds. From the heart and body that are nourished with lawful food, however, spring righteous deeds. Just as abundant crops are harvested from fertile and pure earth, and no good harvest is obtained from dry and barren earth…”[7].

“Just as one should be extremely careful about one’s provision coming from lawful means, one should also distance oneself from doubtful means. It is important to abide by the condition of avoiding eating all sorts of foods without caution and that the food that one takes in is spiritually clean and pleasant smelling, that is halal[8].

His Generosity

The generosity and benevolence of Sami Efendi was indescribable. One time when his economic situation was extremely tight the owner of the company in Adana that he did the accounts for gave him his monthly wage in an envelope. At that point a poor man came asking for charity. He gave that needy man the envelope without even opening it.

Whether he was on a journey to hajj or any other times, if a poor man came and asked him for help time and time again, he would never turn him away and would see to his needs with a smile on his face.

One time he heard a complaint about a poor man that he had helped financially, who was eating an expensive meal in a fine restaurant with this money. He said in response:

“His expenses are great that he has become accustomed to eating fine meals. Thus it will not do to give him little; we must increase the amount we give him”. He then did in fact increase the money he gave to the poor man.

He would give and give, and give again…One of his greatest pleasures was to give away his most precious belongings to those worthy of them… a most precious rug that was given to him as a gift, his prayer mat, his prayer beads, a pen, fabric and other most unique and valuable items.

Like the sun and the oceans, he was a centre of generosity and mercy. It was impossible for someone who asked him for something, to return empty handed. It did not matter how much the amount of money was in his pocket, he would give it away without hesitation. It was as if Almighty Allah had given him the key to a secret treasure.

Various meals would be prepared in great abundance in his residence. He would eat very little, and offer a great amount to his guests. He would then send the remainder to his neighbours.

Sami Efendi would advise whoever came to see him to have their distress removed by giving charity and he would pray for them.

Compassion Towards All Creatures

One hajj season Sami Efendi and his spiritual sons (may Allah have mercy on them) were staying in Mecca, in the house of Abdussattar Efendi from Turkestan, in the district of Jiyad. Sami Efendi’s room boarded the street whilst his companions’ rooms were more towards the inside of the house. One noon he went to the room of his companion and said:

“There is someone outside who is in need of a meal”.

One of his spiritual sons who was in his service went to prepare something to eat but when he went to the door, there was nobody to be seen. Thinking that the person left without waiting he went back inside. Ten minutes later Sami Efendi came back and knocked on his door.

“He is back and is looking inside”, he said. Another of the young men in his service went to prepare some food and when he went to the door he saw a hungry dog with his tongue sticking out, looking inside. He immediately placed the food in front of him. The dog was so hungry that he finished the whole lot.

This was the grace and humility of this great wali of Allah for he did not call the dog a dog, but used the term ‘someone’[9]

The following is an example which shows how he looked upon all of creation through the perspective of the Creator:

According to a narration by my late father Musa Efendi, Sami Efendi once saw a snake in the house where he was living in Madina. His brothers were anxious to remove it from the house. Sami Efendi showed no signs of distress and merely said:

“Leave it be”.

Later that snake left on its own and was no longer to be seen[10].

According to a narration by his grandson Mahmud Kirazoglu Beyefendi, one day, a dog with a broken foot came to the garden of Sami Efendi. Sami Efendi had him treated immediately. Approximately two and a half months later, the dog began to bark once more. When they looked out the window they saw another dog next to him whose foot was broken. It seems that the first dog had brought his friend here to this door of mercy.

This dog became very attached to Sami Efendi and never parted from him. Sami Efendi would leave in the morning, on the 7:32 train and return in the evening on the 16:22 train. For years this dog would accompany Sami Efendi to his morning train and then return home. When it was time for the evening train to arrive, he would go to the station on time, but this time he would go the opposite way. There he would meet Sami Efendi and they would walk back home together.

His Humility

Despite his elevated station, the Sultan of gnostics, Sami Efendi, saw everyone else, without exception, as superior to him. He would go to visit the religious, righteous and pious poor people whom everyone else belittled and ask for their prayers.

He was extremely compassionate, humble and modest towards all people, be they rich or poor, young or old, knowledgeable or illiterate, with rank or without. In his journeys to hajj in particular, he would try to kiss the hands of the Sudanese servants who cleaned the Masjid an-Nabi, and even the doorkeepers, a great proportion of whom were illiterate. He loved these servants because they served at this great door. They too increased in their love and enthusiasm for Sami Efendi, when they saw his grace and humility and they showed him great respect and reverence, which they did not show anyone else. Due of this respect and love they would assign their place in the front row of Ashab-i Suffa, at the most crowded time of hajj, for the honoured Sami Efendi and his companions.

His Etiquette of Eating

Sami Efendi was extremely careful when it came to the matter of eating. He would always wash his hands both before and after eating. He would sit with great respect at the table on both knees. He would never lean back. Being fully present he would eat whatever was placed in front of him, beginning with the basmala and ending with praise, ‘alhamdulillah’. He would begin his meal with a pinch of salt, take small bites, and eat in contemplation and silence. He would always eat from in front of him. He would not blow on his food if it was hot to cool it down , but would wait for it to cool down.

He would take special care to eat his food in silence, with a wakeful heart, with manners and presence. He would remind others that food eaten without contemplation and presence would lead to heedlessness. He was not picky with his food and would eat from each dish, but only taking one or two bites. He said that each lawful bite taken with wakefulness of the heart would strengthen spiritual perfection.

He would eat whatever was placed in front of him, even if it was a dry piece of bread, with great reverence and gratitude. Never once did he use words such as ‘not cooked enough, too salty, not enough salt, too sweet, not sweet enough, and tasty or no taste’.

He preferred to eat on the floor but would eat at the table if that was where the food was prepared. If food was placed in separate dishes, he would wait until everyone had their plate before he began eating. Just as he liked to do everything on time, he also liked his food to be ready on time.

He would end his meal with a pinch of salt and read the table prayer slowly and clearly.

He did not Like to be Praised

Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) did not like to be praised, and would be saddened by extreme compliments. When people would praise his beautiful state, he would never attribute this to himself, and would immediately say: “Bi iznillah, by the permission of Allah”. In this way he would show that every success was only possible by the grace of Allah. Out of his great courtesy, he would take great care not to offend. In his eyes, there was no difference between being praised and being criticised.

Just as he did not like to be praised himself, he also did not praise another to his face. He would complement them in accordance with their state. Sometimes he would praise people in their absence who were deserving of respect.

This is because Sami Efendi knew well the calamity of being praised; he did not praise his disciples to their face or behind their backs. He would smile at those whose character, state and behaviour he approved of and treat them with great courtesy.

His silence

Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) could remain silent for hours if there was no need to talk. During these periods of silence he would be busy with dhikr and muraqaba. Those who were with him at these times felt a deep peace and would be unable to continue this state after parting from him.

He was extremely particular about the students who were under his guidance and training and did not like them speaking unnecessarily. One of the people in his service narrates:

“When I first joined my Master, I asked many questions in order to compensate for some of my defects. My master did not approve of my state and furrowed his brow and there appeared on his blessed face a great disapproval. He implied that such futile questions were not appropriate for a traveller. I realised my mistake and from then on tried to preserve my etiquette, instead of asking such questions. Even though I stayed for many years in his presence, by the grace of Allah, I did not have the nerve to ask even one question, and did not speak unless absolutely necessary…

Approximately 20-22 years passed. One day I felt brave enough to ask:

“Sir, I have been in your presence for quite a long time. Despite this I have not been brave enough to ask anything. Whereas many people meet with you for quite a long time and benefit from you. What is to become of me?”

He responded:

“The people of submission have no need for questions. This is the word of Gaws al Azam, Abdulqadir Gaylani”.

Days and weeks would pass on the journeys to the Hijaz and Anatolia, but only eight or ten words at the most would exit his blessed mouth, which were absolutely essential. However talks on the matter of the heart were an exception. In that case, if required, he could speak with great zeal for hours and not tire in the least. There was also no superfluity nor was there any insufficiency in his words.

He loved the people of silence and adab, and would sit with them and compliment them. He took great care with their training and desired that they be adorned with beautiful traits and supplicated to Allah for this.

His Manner of Slaughtering

Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) would always advise slaughtering a sacrificial animal and giving charity in order to gain the pleasure of Allah and for the removal of sicknesses and calamities. It was a frequent habit of his to pay the price of slaughtering an animal. He would take care to make sure that the animal was well fed and had all its limbs in order.

Before the slaughter he would make sure the pit was dug with care, the knife was sharp, and the animal’s eyes blindfolded with a clean, large cloth.

He would remain in the area where the slaughter was to take place and wait on foot until the hide was removed from the animal, in a state of great reverence, presence, and awe as if he were in prayer. When the slaughter was complete he would go inside and offer two rakats of prayer.

His Hospitality

The honourable master led an ordered life that worked like clockwork. The times for accepting visitors would be informed to him beforehand. He would become saddened by people who promised that they would be somewhere at a particular time but failed to appear. He would be dressed neat and tidy when it was time to receive guests and would never greet any visitors in a state of ‘house attire’. He would greet his guests with a smile at the door and offer them a seat opposite him. He would talk about matters that were beneficial for his guests. In a short time his guest would part from him in a state of contentment and with great joy and peace in accordance with his intention and sincerity. Sami Efendi would accompany his guests to the door where he would give his farewells to them.

In Ramadan, when offering the iftar meal, he would prefer to serve at the table himself, and would only sit at the table when his guests insisted in order to please them.

He would wash his hands quickly in order to not make others wait for him, both before and after eating. When he was by himself, however, he would wash his hands more slowly and with greater care. He would offer his prayers, reciting short suras if there was someone waiting for him, and longer ones when he was by himself.

He would always offer his guests a gift. In fact, he was even known to give a gift that he had received an hour earlier to a guest who arrived an hour later.

His Travels

His journeys were always peaceful and orderly. He would organise his departure and arrival times on a Monday or a Thursday. He would not set out at night unless he had to. He would take with him the most essential items on his journey. He would place his clothes neatly in his suitcase, in snow-white wrapping bundles.

He would set out on his journey at the appointed time and day and return in the same manner. He would consult with his companions about the most minor of matters, and would pleasantly endure any difficulties that occurred during the journey, not showing any irritation or impatience.

He would always be in a state of ablution and never go anywhere without it. Even in the most crowded times of hajj, when he was in a state of ablution, he would renew it in order to perform a second prayer and he would say: “Nur’un ala nur” (“Light upon light”). He would take his ablution with the greatest reverence and presence of heart and with great care.

When he was in the Hijaz, he would continue to pray at the Baytullah and the Masjid an-Nabi regularly, five times a day. He would spend most of his time in prayer and supplication and when he returned to rest in a state of fatigue, he would still meet with people who came to visit him in order to please them.

His Suhbah

Sami Efendi’s life was founded on suhbah. As a requirement of the time in which he lived, people from all walks of life would attend these suhbahs, which would take place in people’s houses. There would be an indescribable atmosphere at these talks. Just as he continued in his suhbah at every opportunity, he also ordered his students to do so, wherever they were, even if they were only a small group.

Through his sincere efforts, countless number of houses in every corner of Anatolia were transformed into schools of knowledge and wisdom. Those who wished to attend the suhbah would come silently and wait quietly for it to begin.

Before beginning his suhbah, Sami Efendi would indicate for a sura to be recited from the Qur’an. The reciter would be sat down up high and begin to recite peacefully.

Later Sami Efendi would offer the gifts of one Fatiha and three Ikhlas readings to the spirits of the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his blessed companions (may Allah be pleased with them). He would then carry out his suhbah with great zeal. In his suhbahs he would generally read from his notes in front of him and would, from time to time, explain matters as they arose.

Sami Efendi was a true Wali of Allah, who lived upon the direction of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and encouraged others to do so. The essence of his suhbahs was this: commentaries on the Qur’anic verses, explanations of the hadith, and examples from the lives of the Companions, and of the friends of Allah and their faith, patience, forbearance, and sacrifice in the way of Allah.

He would especially recite the verses about the ‘qalb-i salim’ (the sound heart) and emphasise adab.

He would give plenty of examples from the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), in order to explain how he was a living example and the uswat al hasena (a ‘perfect example’), and also from the sacrifices made by his Companions, their worship and their interactions with each other.

Through these talks, those who continued sincerely in their awrad and adhkar prescribed for them by Sami Efendi, began to change visibly and have developments occur to them. Obvious transformations and spiritual development occurred from pride to humility, from hard heartedness to compassion, from miserliness to generosity, from laziness to striving, from cowardice to courage, from crudeness to courtesy, from disorder to order and regularity, from haste to slowing down, from acrimony to harmony, and from pessimism to optimism.

Whenever a Hafiz of the Qur’an came who lived the Qur’an with his state, his words and with love, Sami Efendi would immediately compliment him and bring him near to him and narrate the following event:

“One time when I was in Adana, we needed to change the site of some graves. One of these graves belonged to a hafiz who lived in accordance with his knowledge. He had passed away approximately 60 years earlier, but when his grave was opened his shroud lay there white as ever. Undoubtedly this was a special favour bestowed by Allah on the true hafiz.

Be with the righteous!

In many of his talks Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) would relate the following event:

“There was once a man by the name of Adil Bey, who lived in Beylerbeyi who was of great spiritual worth. I would visit him from time to time. One day he gave me the following advice:

“Protect yourself from heedless people. Do not sit and chat with them. The heart reflects on to the other what is in it. The sins of the one opposite you will taint you. A jar of vinegar will leak vinegar, and a jar of honey will ooze honey.

Suhbah, consultation and work should be carried out with faithful and righteous people. People who are not faithful or righteous have oppressed themselves. As long as one does not see any inclination towards good in them, one should only sit with them as is necessary and then immediately distance oneself from them”.

He then related the following event that happened to him:

“In the hijri year 1340, a mawlid was read at the Hagia Sofia mosque in Istanbul. The mosque was completely filled. Scholars and students had taken their places within the mosque, with their turbans on their head. Since at that time most of the congregation were people of knowledge, their various states gave the group a kind of awe and majesty. The unique hafiz of that time began to recite from the Holy Qur’an and the mawlid.

I had sat near the pulpit and was listening.  A short time later I began to feel constricted. I felt tight, constricted and narrowed…I should not have felt such a state in a mosque such as the Hagia Sofia and amongst the community of Muslims, while the Qur’an and mawlid were being read.

I curiously searched for the reason. Lo and behold what did I see but a man opposite me, whose heart was hardened. His chest was directly opposite mine…I realised that I was bothered by the transferral and I changed my position. I felt a little relief; however, I could not throw off the effect of this on me for one week…”

Such states have occurred to many of the believers. Thus, it is important for a person to take care that those near them are righteous, faithful and pure hearted”[11].

After narrating this event Sami Efendi would continue in his talk as follows:

“In Adana there lived an animal called a chameleon. We would observe it curiously as children. Whichever object it climbed onto, its colour would change to the colour of that object and so is the heart. It has the ability to take on the colour of those near it. It will receive peace from the peaceful, and heedlessness from the heedless. This is why we should not sit too long in the presence of the heedless, but only see to our essential affairs and then part immediately”[12].

Sami Efendi also said:

“A person’s character will take shape in accordance with its surroundings. A person with a good character who spends time amongst heedless people, will lose this good character as a result of this togetherness and their character will become carnal and satanic”[13].

His Submission

Sami Efendi would talk about submission a great deal. One time he said:

“Submission should be absolute… If submission is lacking there will be no result and no prosperity. It is through submission that the heart wakes up, the nafs is reformed, the chest is opened up, and the body performs dhikr.

I had a sister who could not walk. She was almost crippled. At that time we went to a doctor in Adana. We had gone to all of the doctors outside of Adana and had found no cure. They eventually told us:

“When you leave Mersin and enter the Toros mountains, there is a tomb of a man by the name of Kaplanca Baba. Take the ill lady there and let her stay there for one night. By the permission of Allah, that man’s prayer and spirit will be the means for her cure”.

Since all of our hope in medicine was gone, my mother and I took my sister to that place. During the night my sister began to scream. My mother was worried that she had lost her mind and she ran to her and said:

“My daughter, what is wrong?”

My sister replied:

“An uncle with a very nice face came. He stepped on my foot and it hurt a little. But praise be to Allah, I am healed. Oh my God, I can walk!” We went to her in amazement. Without waiting for the morning we left and returned home with the sister whom we had carried on our backs, now walking on her own feet. From that day on, my sister never once had any pain anywhere, not even in her knee, until the day she died.

The most important factor here is complete submission. Otherwise other people also went there, some of them benefitted others did not…”[14].

This state is a favour bestowed by Almighty Allah on his righteous slaves. The Absolute Doer of all things is Almighty Allah. If He wills He can bring about anything using a righteous servant of His as a means.

True Learning

In his talks Sami Efendi would say that true learning or education is learning marifatullah. Knowing and feeling the greatness and majesty of Allah, Most High, in our hearts is true knowledge and he would remind of the honour of possessing this knowledge at every opportunity.

One day one man who had come to visit Sami Efendi, wished to be the recipient of his prayers and also to have his nephews meet him. When they entered his presence and kissed his hand he introduced them saying:

“Sir, these young men studied in America and became engineers. Please pray for them”.

Sami Efendi smiled and said to them:

“I too am a graduate of Dar-ul Funun University. However, true education is knowing Allah”[15].

Some Extracts from His Works

Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote many works, having made great efforts and straining his eyes. These works are filled with wisdom.

In his works he penned the most appropriate and necessary matters for the century in which he lived, with the most suitable of language. He would first read what he wrote to those in his household, then at his talks and then he would publish them in a book. We have compiled some parts of this work, which is a precious treasure of knowledge and wisdom, below:

Following the Ahl Al-Sunnah

“The essence of all advice is this: Ensure togetherness and become familiar with people who are religious and show sensitivity towards the Islamic rulings. Being religious and devoted to the sharia is only possible by following the path of the people of Sunnah. These are the people who will be saved on the Day of Judgement. It is impossible to be saved without following such believers on this path of uprightness”[16].

Learning the Religious Sciences

“O my brother! These are the end of times. Religion has grown weak, the Sunnah has been abandoned, and innovations have spread about everywhere. It is essential in such a period of darkness to strive to learn the creed of our belief and the other religious sciences”[17].

“It is a communally obligatory act to make sure that there is a scholar in every land and every people, who can teach the matters of the religion. If there is no such scholar to be found, then the entire people in that land are responsible for that sin. However, since it is personally obligatory for every believer to know the daily necessary rulings (ilm-i hal), that is, religious matters which concern him directly, those who do not learn these are sinners for their ignorance. Ignorance in the lands of Islam cannot be put forth as an excuse”[18].

Uprightness (Istiqamah)

“The person of istiqamah should be as upright as a mountain for the mountain has four properties:

1) It will not melt from the heat,

2) It will not freeze from the cold,

3) It will not fall over from the wind,

4) Floods will not overtake it”[19].

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) praised our prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in his absence as follows:

“You were like a lofty mountain that even the strongest winds could not move, and that the deepest shocks could not eliminate”[20].

A Sound Heart

“According to the people of wisdom, for the heart to be adorned with spirituality and wisdom, that is for a person to reach the state of becoming a dignified servant depends on these five conditions:

  • Keeping company with the righteous and truthful,
  • Reciting the Qur’an frequently while pondering on its meaning, and performing salat,
  • Fasting, eating little and staying hungry,
  • Being in a constant state of dhikr,
  • Supplicating and entreating Allah during the predawn”[21].

“A person with a sound heart is the one who enters the Divine presence having been saved and purified from ignorance in his religion, from bad character, and from the evil of his wealth and children. The one who spends his wealth in good deeds and who teaches his children the religious rulings and lives by them; and those who enter the hereafter freed from diseases of the heart, from bad character and ignorance will benefit from their wealth and their children…”

There are three signs of a sound heart:

1) It does not offend anyone,

2) It is not offended by anyone,

3) It does not expect any reward or recompense when it does good to another”[22].

“The body of the human being is earthly and belongs to the earth. In terms of eating, drinking, sleeping and conjugal relations it is similar to other creatures. However, in terms of his spirit, he is a creature of light, and belongs to Allah.

If the desires of the nafs dominate in a person, they become distant from Allah, and their spirit loses its subtlety, its delicacy and its depth, and the heart becomes dark…

However, if the ruh overcomes the nafs, the believer gets closer to Allah, and the heart and the body become luminous.

This is why it is essential that one purifies and cleanses one’s heart, and illuminates it. The heart cannot be illuminated unless it is cleaned and a person in this state can never be freed of the diseases of the heart…

If the root of a tree is rotten, then the signs of this will become apparent in its branches and leaves and in its fruit. If there is a disease in the heart and rottenness, then the harmful effects of these can be seen in every limb and affair of the body. It needs to be cured.

The cure of the heart is to remember Allah to whom the spirit belongs. The diseases of the heart can be treated through dhikrullah[23].

Tasawwuf

“Tasawwuf is the source of good manners and the rulings of the sharia. Tasawwuf is to feel a deep love for Allah and its result is to abandon one’s egoism.

Tasawwuf is to be in a state of constant dhikr and cleanse one’s heart of everything other than Allah”[24].

Tariqah and sayr u suluq

“Tariqah is the servant of the sharia. Just as wudu, cleanliness and purification is preparation for prayer, so too tariqah cleans and prepares the heart for presence with Allah”[25].

“The most important cause of prosperity and progress in the elevated tariq is love and spiritual connection with the master (rabita). This is through the tawajjuh of the murshid and gaining his attention and favour. “The condition of love is assent”. That is, to love what one’s murshid loves, and to dislike what he dislikes”[26].

“Just as one needs the diagnosis of a doctor in order to diagnose and cure the diseases of the body; one should not be ignorant of the fact one is in more need of a spiritual doctor who can diagnose such diseases of the heart as pride, envy, and love of this world, and treat them”[27].

Purification (Tazkiya)

“In order to obtain true faith, one needs to remove the diseases of one’s heart. Purification of the nafs is essential for this…Being freed of the evil-commanding soul is only possible through purifying it and raising it the stage of contentment (nafs al mutmainna). Then the reality of faith will become clear and gain in strength. Faith at this level becomes part of one’s conscience and is safe from being lost…

It is nothing but ignorance for a person to continue to treat their outer and bodily illnesses but remain heedless of the spiritual illnesses of their heart”[28].

“Entering into Islam in the true sense is dependent on annihilating the evil-commanding soul and following the divine commands. Before entering the stage of the nafs al mutmainna, the Islam that comes about through mere approval of the heart is called ‘metaphorical Islam’. Once the nafs reaches the stage of mutmainna then this is called ‘true faith’ (iman-i haqiqi)”[29].

“The person who serves his nafs al ammara cannot request any reward from Almighty Allah when he enters his presence. For whilst in the world he forgot Almighty Allah and served his own nafs al ammara[30].

Jihad

Jihad is divided into two types:

1) Lesser jihad: This is the physical struggle and battle made against the Unbelievers.

2) Greater jihad: This is the struggle against one’s own nafs which consists of reforming one’s heart. Battle is the reform of the outer. Reform of one’s heart is much more difficult and takes much longer than the reform of one’s outer aspect. The aim of the lesser jihad is to attain Paradise and His mercy; the aim of the greater jihad is to reach Almighty Allah and witness His Divine Presence. The aim of the lesser jihad is martyrdom whereas the aim of the greater jihad is faithfulness. The degree of the siddiq is over the degree of the shahid (martyr)”[31].

“In order to succeed in the struggle against one’s nafs one needs to be in a constant state of dhikr and submission. The jihad against one’s nafs is the greatest jihad for it is a struggle that never ends and continues until one dies. The battle against the enemy continues for a certain period and is then over. The struggle against the nafs will always be there. Jihad against the nafs is possible through dhikr, submission, through worship, and applying all the rules of the Qur’an and Sunnah to all aspects of one’s life.

All enemies can become friends when one is good to them, however, the nafs will never become your friend. However good you are to it  the nafs will run riot, and become a savage enemy and the battle against it will become increasingly harder. This is why the jihad against the nafs is the greatest battle and is a personal obligation on us all”[32].

After mentioning the pain of the conscience and distress felt by those Companions who stayed back from the Battle of Tabuk without any excuse, Sami Efendi then said:

“If staying back from the lesser jihad is the cause for such shame and loss, then imagine how great a loss and pain it would be if one abandons the greatest jihad of purifying one’s nafs and the path to becoming a perfected human being…This loss and pain will be felt both in this world and in the next”[33].

Dhikr

“The reality of dhikr and its perfection is to forget everything else other than what one is remembering at the moment of dhikr. What is needed of the traveller on the path of truth is to reach the state of ‘true dhikr’ which is the greatest aim of all”[34].

“The best of deeds, the most virtuous of obedience is to have knowledge of Allah, to know the path to tawheed and to struggle against the desires of the nafs. The servant is purified of his sins through dhikrullah. Purification of the nafs can only be attained through dhikrullah. The sole purpose of cleansing one’s heart is to be able to perform much dhikrullah. Through dhikrullah the servant gains the strength to worship Allah and is saved from the wiles and traps of Satan”[35].

“The intelligent person is the one who remembers Allah much. Dhikr is a means for cleaning one’s inner world and polishes the heart”[36].

“The person who is truly alive is the one whose heart is alive. The heart is the House of Allah (Baytullah). If there is no love for Allah and no dhikr there, that heart is dead… Haqim at Tirmidhi said:

Dhikrullah keeps the heart alive and softens it. When the heart is distanced from dhikr it enters under the command of the nafs and dries up and hardens through the heat of the appetites. The other limbs reach such a state that they can no longer worship and become hardened. If this state continues then it becomes good for no other purpose than to be burned in the fire like dried wood. We seek refuge in Allah from falling into such a state”[37].

Awliya

“The awliyullah are like rain. Just as it is not possible for human life to continue without rain so too it is not possible for the continuation of the created realm without spiritual rain. Just as all rain has benefits according to the time in which it falls, so too the awliyullah have their benefits according to the time in which they came. Each of them has their own special station in the sight of Allah. This is why one should not compare those who came before with those who came after.

For instance people generally accept those awliyullah who departed from this world a few centuries ago. The reason for this is: the awliyullah who have deceased no longer have the duty of guiding people. So Satan suggests no obstacle in approving of them. However, Satan puts great efforts into preventing people from approaching the perfected guides of their own time who are still living and guiding others. He tries to make others reject them for Satan never desires the salvation of the believers”[38].

Muslim brotherhood

“It is a duty incumbent on all Muslims, in accordance with the principles of Islam, to have pity on one another, to love one another, to help one another, to preserve the rights of one another, and to strive for the religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and to attain a noble rank. From this respect then all of the believers are like one person, one body”[39].

“If the Muslims are not uniting amongst themselves in the way commanded by Allah, Most High, and following a path which is outside that prescribed by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), then Allah forbid, they will have fallen into the pits of disgrace and shame…It is only when the hearts are united in the reality of tawheed that they will attain the help of Allah and peace and wishes will come true”[40].

Giving out (infaq)

“Just as the servant gives the best of what he owns to Allah, so too Allah gives him the best of His favours. Almighty Allah says: ‘Will the reward for doing good be anything other than good?’ (Rahman, 55:60)”[41].

“Giving out differs according to people’s ranks. The infaq of the lay person is the mere giving away of his wealth, and the reward is Paradise. The infaq of the elite is, in addition to giving away his wealth, is to purify his nafs and cleanse his heart, and the reward for this on the Day of Judgement is the witnessing of the Beauty of Allah. This is why it is befitting for the believer, when he gives out his wealth, to also reform his nafs and devote his heart to Allah. The believer who feels love for wealth and worldly property cannot attain the pleasure and perfection of their faith. It is a sign of the believer that he shuns miserliness and tries to be generous with whatever wealth he has”[42].

“The needy are a gift from Allah. To turn away the poor who asks for something is to say: “I have no need for Allah’s gifts”. If you have nothing to give then send him away with some nice words. One should pay attention in particular to those who come asking after the evening prayer”[43].

Time

One needs to spend the capital of one’s time on the most important righteous deeds…Backbiting does nothing more than increase a person’s heedlessness. Strive to obtain a pure heart that harbours a good opinion of everyone. Turn your face away completely from things that do not concern you and contemplate on the divine greatness and majesty. Put all your efforts into gaining His pleasure. Do not become bogged down by the pleasures of your nafs. Shun wasting your time with intensity.

Treat your family with compassion.  Let your efforts and enthusiasm in gaining your hereafter be more than that for gaining this world. The result of being deceived by worldly bounties is nothing more than deprivation of the bounties of the hereafter and great regret…

Do not remain idle! Do not occupy yourself with vain pursuits that are an obstacle to attaining taqwa. Seek refuge in Allah constantly and entreat Him! Only spend time with those people who have rights over you, as much as is absolutely necessary! In this way you will have pleased them. Do not neglect ‘amr bi’l ma’ruf wa nahy an al munkar’. Encourage all the members of your household to perform the prayer, to become righteous people and to apply the principles of Islam. You are responsible for those under your care and will be taken to account on the Day of Judgement…

A sign that Allah, Most High, has turned away from a person is that that person occupies himself with vain and unbeneficial affairs”[44].

Who are the Intelligent Ones?

“The intelligent one is the one who is watchful over every state and strives to make the most of the time he is in. He is also the one who abandons tul’i amal that is running after vain pursuits as if he will remain in this world forever”[45].

“The intelligent one is not deceived by the bounties of this world. He is not pleased with anything other than Allah for everything other than Allah is bound to annihilation. To take pleasure from fleeting and mortal things is neither rational nor wise”[46].

“The people of intelligence must abandon the toys of this world that is the desires and whims of their nafs. This world consists of amusement and playthings and is deceiving, and its calamities and disasters are many. One must abandon the desires of one’s nafs if one wants to avoid falling into the well of one’s caprices. The way to rid oneself of one’s caprices is to abandon one’s inclination towards the masiwa, and turn to Allah and continue to perform dhikr[47].

Love of This World

“Love of this world makes one forget the hereafter, and is the beginning of all sins and the greatest of the great sins. We can see that all manner of sins are a result of extreme love for this world”[48].

“What befits the intelligent person is to avoid tiring oneself struggling with the trivial matters and things of this world. A man’s provision has already been allocated. No person can gain more than what has already been assigned for them”[49].

Supplication to Allah

“Supplication is the most beneficial of all medicine. It prevents the coming of misfortune and lightens any misfortune that has already arrived. Supplication is the weapon of the believer. Supplication should be carried out with presence of heart, contemplating the greatness of Allah and at times when prayers are most accepted. For instance, during the last third of the night one should face the qibla, head bowed down, heart saddened in a state of supplication and entreaty and praise Almighty Allah, and invoke peace and blessings on the Messenger of Allah, and first of all repent and seek forgiveness for any mistakes, having giving out any amount of charity, and be resolute and persistent in one’s asking from Allah”[50].

“Some people say that if you read such and such a prayer you will obtain what you want, however if the heart is not pure, saying such prayers are of no benefit. For instance, there is a great amount of water on the surface of the earth. Their source is one. However some water is nice and sweet, whilst other water is found in pits and you cannot drink it and it has no benefit. Thus in all cases, the source of the water must be pure. The value of the water will increase to the degree that its source is pure. In the same way, the heart, which is like a spiritual spring must be pure”[51].

Raising children

“Muslim mothers and fathers are responsible for educating their children, who have been bestowed upon them in a pure natural state, in the matters of religion, and teach them their creed. If they do not do so, they will be responsible”[52].

Usury/Interest

“The one who insists on usury will have an end affair which is destitute and they will lose the blessings of their wealth, no matter how much they have. That person will be known amongst the people as a bad person and a sinner, and will not be trusted nor esteemed, and their heart will become completely hardened”[53].

Envy

Envy is one of the vile traits of the nafs. One should try to annihilate this feeling with tawheed, that is saying ‘La ilaha illa Allah” and continuing in one’s dhikr[54].

“If you envy another, your envy will not harm your enemy, but only yourself”[55].

Provision

Take provision; but the best provision is taqwa of Allah (Baqara, 2:197).

Know that the provision for the hereafter is to shun vile things. The best of provisions is fear of Allah. It is not provision obtained from what one eats. The essence of the matter is this:

Man is on two journeys. The first is the journey of this world and the other is the journey from this world. The journey of this world requires provision and this is food. The journey from this world also requires provision and this is to know Allah, to love Him and to give one’s heart to none other than Him, to be obedient to Him always, and to shun anything that opposes Him and shun His prohibitions”.

This provision is better than the provision for this worldly journey. The provision of this world only sees to the needs of the body. The provision for the hereafter saves one from eternal punishment. Worldly provision is fleeting whereas provision for the hereafter allows one to attain eternal and pure pleasure”[56].

One’s Limbs

“Allah Most High willed that each limb be used for the purpose in which it was created. The reason for the creation of the heart is to occupy it with marifah and tawheed. The duty of the tongue is to be occupied with pronouncing the words of the unity of Allah and reciting the Qur’an, to shun seeking out other’s faults, and to address people in a gentle and conciliatory manner. The one who does not keep his promise to Allah in using every limb in accordance with its purpose will meet with His wrath”[57].

Migration to Madina and His Last Days

Throughout his life Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) obeyed the Holy Qur’an and followed the footsteps of the blessed Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). As a manifestation of this sensitivity he was allowed to spend his last days in the enlightened city of the Messenger of Allah, in his spiritual presence. Musa Efendi, his spiritual son and successor, relates his last days as follows:

“It was the autumn of the year 1976. I felt a wish to go and visit my honoured teacher in his house in Erenkoy, and also to get rid of the distress and spiritual pain brought about by this worldly life through his nourishing advice.

He accepted me into his presence with a smile. He had no other visitors. He gave me some personal advice and then looked at the closed door of the room – this being an indication of privacy – and said:

“The time has come to migrate to Madina without ever returning. Let this remain between you and me; let no one else hear about it”.

Approximately six months passed. He repeated the same wish to his honourable wife and family members. He had convinced his family and at the same time was supplicating and entreating Allah to make his wish come true. He had made the necessary preparations for leaving.

Those who eventually heard the news of this migration, those who loved him in Istanbul and Anatolia, were deeply saddened and in a state of lament.  But it was to no avail, for the decision was final. Fate had determined it as such. Separation for the people of love was a state unbearable and intolerable. They were right. As long as they were to be separated from this king of hearts, raised by the centuries before him, they would not be able to witness that radiant, beautiful face nor find any cure for their ails in his subtle, spiritual, blessed talks. They could only find consolation in the phrase frequently repeated by the Friends of Allah: “The one in Yemen is close to me, while the one next to me is in Yemen”.

By the help of Allah, Most High, his wish came true and one and a half years later he reached Madina, the Pure City, with his entire family. Praise be to Allah, my honourable master was very happy and joyful that Allah had allowed this to happen.

After resting for ten or fifteen days, he began to accept visitors on the condition that they were not too many. And amongst his talks he began to read impromptu, the famous poem praising the prophet Muhammad by the poet Urfali Nabi which indicated that one should have the best of manners and respect when in the holy city. The name of the poem was ‘Sakın terk-i edepten kûy-i Mahbûb-i Hüdâ’dır bu!’(Beware of being incourteous in this land for it is the land of the Beloved of Allah’.

The years passed by in this way. My honourable master went into complete retreat and spent all of his time in prayer, dhikr, muraqaba and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. His illnesses were also increasing day by day. Medical intervention and diligent care gave no fruits, and his already delicate and thin body began to practically melt away. His blood pressure was high. Despite all of this pain, not one time did he ever complain saying: “I have such and such a pain in my body”, or “I have a headache”. In fact, the fault in his eyes increased and he reached a state where he could no longer see. A close relative of his had him operated on by a trusted doctor and he was able to see again. Even under these painful circumstances he was always praying and seeking forgiveness.

Twenty five years ago his loved ones had allocated for him a grave site in the graveyard of Ayyub Sultan in Istanbul. He was not very pleased at this and said:

“If you ask me my opinion, my heart yearns for the Jannat al Baqi graveyard in Madina”.

Allah, Most High, was letting this pure, untainted servant of His live his last days.

It was approximately 4:30 in the morning, on the 10th day of the month of Jamadi al awwal, in the year 1404 (12th of February, 1984) that this perfect human being, this Perfected Guide that the centuries had raised, and which the poets called ‘the Pride of the wise ones, and the Badr-i hafa[58]’, Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) flew to the most elevated station. He kept repeating ‘Allah, Allah’ and was like an embodiment of the verse: ‘…return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My slaves! Enter My Garden’ (Fajr, 89:28-30). That is he migrated from this fleeting world to the eternal realm. After he was washed and shrouded, his funeral prayer took place in the Masjid an-Nabi, and this pure son of the prophet was carried past the Blessed Tomb, in complete silence upon the hands of righteous people, to the Jannat al Baqi, the place he had so desired, to be buried in the holy earth next to the graves of Uthman Dhinnurayn (may Allah be pleased with him) and Abu Said al Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him).

In a very short time news of his death reached the whole world and funeral prayers were performed in his absence. That great friend of Allah gave his entire life to Islam, making great sacrifices to illuminate the hearts hungry for spirituality…”[59].

The grave of this wali of Allah, who followed in the footsteps of the beloved prophet, is now in line with the tomb of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

May Almighty Allah allow him to intercede for us all! Amen!

Words of Wisdom

  • “Not everyone is a servant of Allah, but they are a creature of Allah. The true servant abides by the commands of Allah completely, and avoids His prohibitions. This is the real servant. People who waste their time in heedlessness and give no importance to worship or obedience are not servants of Allah”[60].
  • “A son who rebels against his compassionate father would be called a madman. No words suffice to describe the person who goes against the commands of the Most Merciful of the Merciful”[61].
  • “True modesty is to abandon sins when one is alone and no one is there to see them, in the belief that Almighty Allah hears, sees and knows everything…”[62].
  • “If a believer would be ashamed if others knew of his inner thoughts and hopes, then he is not a true believer”[63].
  • “Both worldly and otherworldly happiness can be attained by using the body for the lawful acts of this world, and the heart to turn to Allah”[64].
  • “Striving to gain the pleasure of Allah is the highest rank of the duty of servanthood”[65].
  • “The most virtuous of all worship is to befriend the friends of Allah and to be the enemy of the enemies of Allah (that is love to those who are worthy of it, and hate for those who deserve it). To be able to act as such comes from sincere and pure love”[66].
  • “Islam commands Muslims to be people of balance in all affairs related to one’s religion and one’s world and to distance oneself from fanaticism and going to extremes. Islam encourages the Muslims to treat the non-Muslims with gentleness on the condition that they are not betrayers or they are not at war with them”[67].
  • “The sole refuge of the travellers on the path of truth in approaching Almighty Allah are their tears”[68].
  • “The distress of this world is clearly much lighter than the distress of the hereafter. This is why it is essential that the servant is never heedless in his worship, his obedience and dhikrullah[69].
  • “On the night of Beraat a ruling is given about every person. It does not befit the one for whom a ruling is to be given to spend that night in sleep. Rather they should pray, supplicate, worship, repent, seek forgiveness, show gratitude, and remember Allah and beg that the ruling given about them is a good one”[70].
  • “The Holy Qur’an is the written invitation to the believers to enter Paradise”[71].
  • “A person who continues the habits of pride and oppression can never be happy for there are two sources of happiness:

1) Respect for the commands of Almighty Allah;

2) Compassion and kindness towards all of His creatures…” [72]

[1]. Sadiq Dana, Sultan al Arifin as Shaykh Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu, p. 73.[2]. See Hasan Kamil Yılmaz, The Golden Chain, p. 231.[3]. M. As‘ad Efendi, Maktubat, p. 52-53, no: 25.[4]. M. As‘ad Efendi, ibid, p. 161-162, no: 134.[5]. Mustafa Erish, Memoirs from the life of Mahmud Sami Efendi, I, 24.[6]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, II, 8.[7]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, IV, 117.[8]. M. Sami Efendi, From a letter.[9]. See Sadiq Dana, Sultan al Arifin, p. 35-36.[10]. See Sadiq Dana, Sultan al Arifin, p. 35.[11]. See M. Sami Efendi, The noble human being, p. 62-63; Eid suhbah, p. 39.[12]. M. Sami Efendi, Eid suhbah, p. 39-40.[13]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentary on Chapter Baqara, p. 154.[14]. See M. Sami Efendi, Eid suhbah, p. 28-29. See  From the world of the Friends of Allah:Khwaja Musa Topbas and His suhbah, prep by. Erkam Publications, 1999, p. 195.[15]. Mustafa Erish, ibid, I, 20-21.[16]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, I, 118.[17]. M. Smi Efendi, ibid, I, 101.[18]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 64.[19]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentaries on Chapters Yunus and Hud, p. 145.[20]. Abu Nuaym, Marifat al Sahaba, Riyadh, 1419, I, 264.[21]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, II, 13; Eid Suhbah, p. 41; The noble human being, p. 26-64.[22]. M. Sami Efendi, The prophet Ibrahim, s. 163-164.[23]. M. Sami Efendi, Eid suhbah, p. 76-77.[24]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 13.[25]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 156.[26]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 176.[27]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 146.[28]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid,, I, 124-125.[29]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 127-129.[30]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 151.[31]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentary on Chapter Baqara, p. 273.[32]. M. Sami Efendi, Eid Suhbah, p. 30-31.[33]. M. Sami Efendi, The Noble Human being, p. 18-19.[34]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 95.[35]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentaries on Chapters Yunus and Hud, p. 148.[36]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentary on Chapter Baqara, p. 259.[37]. M. Sami Efendi, The prophet Yusuf, p. 26.[38]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 160.[39]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 14.[40]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 18-19.[41]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentary on Chapter Baqara, p. 361.[42]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, 346.[43]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 207.[44]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 111-113.[45]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, IV, 171.[46]. M. Sami Efendi, The prophet Ibrahim, p. 143.[47]. M. Sami Efendi, The prophet Yusuf, p. 30.[48]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 36.[49]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 40.[50]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid,  III, 249.[51]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 152-153.[52]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, II, 67.[53]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 69.[54]. M. Sami Efendi, The prophet Yusuf, p. 19.[55]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, 21.[56]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentary on Chapter Baqara, p. 249-250.[57]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentaries on Chapters Yunus and Hud, p. 79[58] The full moon which is hidden behind the clouds of which the Gnostics are proud of.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş,The Golden Chain of Transmission Masters of the Naqshinandi Way, Erkam Publications

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[59]. Sadiq Dana, Sultan al Arifin p. 95-100.

[60]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, VI, 217.

[61]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 219.

[62]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 207.

[63]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 210.

[64]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 201.

[65]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 63.

[66]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 96.

[67]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, II, 140.

[68]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, VI, 193.

[69]. M. Sami Efendi, Commentaries on Chapters Yunus and Hud, p. 42.

[70]. M. Sami Efendi, Eid Suhbah, p. 69.

[71]. M. Sami Efendi, Musahaba, I, 46.

[72]. M. Sami Efendi, ibid, I, 91.

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