Who is Musa topbas? What kind of person Musa topbas? When did Musa topbas live?
Musa Topbas (The Loyal One) [1917 – 1999]
Our honourable master, Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him), came to this world in the year 1917 (hijri 1333) during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. He was born in the district of Kadinhani in Konya. His noble father was Ahmad Hamdi Topbas Efendi, and his mother was Lady Adile. Ahmad Hamdi Efendi’s grandfather was Ahmad Kudsi Efendi (d. 1887), a great scholar of hadith and a wali of Allah who had obtained his khilafah from Muhammad Kudsi Bozkiri who was the successor of Khalid Baghdadi.
Topbaszade Ahmad Hamdi Efendi was a man of the heart, pious and selfless, who concerned himself with the problems of the community. Approximately six months after the birth of Musa Efendi, he migrated to Istanbul. Musa Efendi’s childhood and youth was spent in the suburb of Erenkoy in Istanbul. His primary, middle school and two years of high school coincided with the first years of the new Republic. At a time when the truths of religion and Islamic heritage were being rejected outright, his honourable father directed him towards trade to protect his heart from corrupt ideas and currents. Musa Efendi had a great passion to study and he began to complete both the outer and inner sciences by taking private lessons from the leading scholars of the time. He studied under many great and honourable men such as the greatest commentator of that time, Elmalili Muhammed Hamdi Yazir, the famous scholar of hadith, Babanzade Ahmed Naim Efendi, and the literary scholar Tahiru al-Mawlawi. He attended the circles of precious scholars such as Omer Nasuhi Bilmen, Bekir Haki Efendi, Mustafa Asim Yoruk and Haci Cemal Ogut. After gaining an interest in tasawwuf he began to frequently visit the leading spiritual men of that time, including Nuri Efendi from Sariyer, Abdulhay Efendi, Seyyid Sefik Arvasi, Ali Haydar Efendi, Suleyman Hilmi Tunahan and Said Nursi. Some of them he served and received their prayers.
However, the scholar and gnostic who had the greatest influence on his life was undoubtedly Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu (may Allah have mercy on them both). After meeting this great man, an endless horizon opened up before Musa Efendi. He was now a new person and felt in his spirit an unprecedented state of otherworldliness and a fire began to burn within him.
The love and devotion Musa Efendi felt for his teacher was indescribable. His following words are a witness to this love:
“After affiliating myself with Sami Efendi, my whole outlook and perspective on life changed completely. I stopped loving those things I had loved before. I had friends whom I used to eat and drink with every day; they were all wiped away. They neither called on me nor did I call on them…”
When I first entered the presence of my revered teacher Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu, I knew nothing about tasawwuf. I thought he would give me some awrad and I would perform them and that was it. I had no idea about spiritual change… However, it was then that I realised that they inspire in the heart a strong love. The traveller, if they are truly intelligent and understanding, realises the value in this and preserves that state of love. As for the one who is a little deficient, even if he benefits his perfection is limited”.
Those who knew Musa Efendi well watched and admired his admiration for his teacher Sami Efendi, his deep love, his submission, his respect and his service of him. Even after the death of his master, it was almost as if he continued to live with him.
Beginning in the year 1956, this spiritual journey was crowned in the year 1976 when he was given his ijaza to guide others. In 1984, on the 12th of February, when his master Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) passed away, he became the new perfected guide, under the indication and desire of his teacher, and began to carry out the duty of spiritually guiding the travellers on the path of Truth/Reality.
The following is the certificate presented to Musa Efendi, by the Sultan of gnostics, Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu:
A Simplified Version of it is as Follows:
“In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.
All praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad, and His family and all of his Companions. After this:
I would like to openly declare the following matter to our precious brothers and the people of certainty:
We congratulate you, our spiritual son Musa Efendi due to your service, efforts and sincerity in the Naqshibandiyya way.
From the licence given me by my precious master, I now give you permission to train those who wish to enter upon the path of guidance and perfect themselves, and teach the principles of this tariq to the righteous servants of Allah, thereby allowing them to attain the prosperity and blessings of this elevated tariq.
May Allah, Most High, the sole source of all prosperity and blessings make your heart a source of faith, and your tongue a river of wisdom. May He allow those brothers of ours who keep company with you to benefit from your noble words. Amen!
Peace and blessings be upon our Master and Guide, Muhammad, on all of his ahl al bayt and Companions. Our final prayer is ‘All praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds’.
His Beautiful Character
There was a certain dignity and majesty present in the stance of Musa Efendi. He would instil in the hearts of those who saw him, love and awe at the same time. Hidden in his beauty was a certain kind of majesty and hidden in his majesty was a certain beauty. Those who saw his blessed face were reminded of Allah, and felt the beauty and honour of servanthood.
The deep love in his heart was reflected on his face and he would look upon everything with love. There was a pleasure to be found in his words. His voice was as soft as silk and his words were full of wisdom. He would speak little but very concisely and would not draw out his words unnecessarily but only say what needed to be said. His words were like dewdrops filtered from a clover leaf which fell upon the heart of those who listened to him and were like the water of life for those hearts thirsty for divine wisdom and truth.
Adab, grace and kindness were felt in his every state. It was as if he was born with this state of gentlemanliness. There was a nobility in the way he stood, sat, and walked.
His dress was very clean, beautiful and simple. He did not like untidiness and his soft glance would change immediately (if he saw any).
From the cap on his head to the shoes on his feet, from the scarf around his neck to his coat, everything he wore had a certain grace, proportion and beauty. He was a sight to see especially when he was in the Haramayn and covered in white.
Some of his sweetest memories that remain in the hearts of his disciples are the awe, reverence and peace felt in his prayer; his grace and subtlely in giving gifts, making offers to others; his calmness and presence when eating; the grace in which he held a glass; the way he caressed a young child’s head with love.
The gentlemanly way in which he addressed people, the sincerity of his relations with people, the compassion and kindness overflowing from his heart, the depth of his silence and the ocean-like greatness of his generosity, were all of an indescribable beauty. He had an extremely good memory. He never forgot a person he met for the first time.
His loyalty was legendary. He was ever loyal to Almighty Allah, to His Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), to his honoured teacher, to his blessed ancestors and to those who loved him. This is why he was known amongst those who loved him by the term ‘The loyal one’ (Sahib-ul vefa).
In short, he was beautiful both in appearance and in character. His servanthood to Allah throughout his entire life flowed over to all aspects of his life and was reflected in his every state and act. In truth he was:
A beautiful servant in worship,
A beautiful servant in his interactions with others,
A beautiful servant in distributing justice,
A beautiful servant in showing love and kindness to other creatures for the sake of their Creator,
A beautiful servant in striving to be a compassionate healer for the pain and hardships of others,
A beautiful servant in his witnessing, with awe, the divine power and majesty throughout the universe,
A beautiful servant who left behind a beautiful memory with his grace and gentle heart!
He Placed Great Importance on Spiritual Training
Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) believed that spiritual education was absolutely essential and would remind his brothers of this truth at every opportunity.
He would say:
“Even if a person spent their entire life in prostration and fasting, all they would gain would be the reward for this. Spiritual progress, however, can only occur through the path of sayr u suluq. Through this journey a person comes to know their nafs (they understand how powerless they are). When they know their nafs they begin to know Allah, Most High. It is only those who know their nafs who can know Allah. Those who do not know their nafs will never be able to reach a state of perfection, no matter how much of an ascetic they are, no matter how much they worship, or how much knowledge they have’.
Once a person comes to know and understand the nature of their nafs, the meaning behind everything changes. It is then that they begin to refer everything back to Almighty Allah. Whatever happens they say ‘this is a favour of Allah’ and they accept it. This is because their outlook has changed, their every act becomes an act of worship. A servant who begins to know Almighty Allah and who wishes to obtain wealth now does so for a different reason. Before this he would have been struggling with the thoughts of his nafs, saying to himself: “I want to be wealthy, eat and drink and buy a home so everyone will applaud me”. However, now, as he grows spiritually, he begins to say: “I can now lawfully provide for my family with the wealth given to me by Allah, and I can serve the community of Islam. Consequently, since his intention has changed, his worldly work now becomes worship. Once a person’s thoughts are always focused on Allah, their every act becomes worship. Their eating, sleeping, relations with their family all become acts of worship…”
“Once a person enters the path of spirituality their enthusiasm and love increases. Nothing is now too difficult for them. Worship and avoiding the haram all become pleasurable. Enduring hardships becomes possible and easy through accepting fate and destiny. There is nothing that can block the path of spirituality for the one who is willing and aspiring”.
“Allah Most High opens the way for those servants of His whom He loves and who has the potential to be a wali. The traveller who enters upon this path must know with certainty that he will be able to reach the ranks of the great awliya through sincerity, perseverance and striving. Our path is the path of the great awliya. Since it is such we must prepare ourselves for it accordingly. Since Almighty Allah has given us great awliya such as Bahauddin Naqshiband, Abdulqadir Geylani, and Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu, and since we are on their path, if we abide by adab and sincerity, we will also attain a degree of those beautiful bounties, if Allah so wills. Since we love them and we are on their path; Almighty Allah will give us the same as long as we strive, for Allah’s treasure is wide indeed. Let us do this work seriously and willingly so that we can advance”.
“The entire essence of the matter is dependent on the person abandoning their ego. Once a person annihilates their nafs then they will be able to advance in the way of perfection. On the surface it seems so easy, but it is extremely difficult to abandon one’s nafs. Once one overcomes one’s nafs, everything becomes a source of calm and peace; everyone becomes a friend. Such a person harbours love in their heart and a good opinion of everyone, and the Muslims in particular”.
“Once a person has reached Allah, they have attained everything. If they have not been able to reach Him, they will have nothing of any value, even if they are famed throughout the world, or the whole world applauds them”.
Some Important Matters in Spiritual Education
Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“What is looked for firstly in those who seek the spiritual path are generosity, honesty, modesty, a big heart, gentleness, getting along with everybody, sincerity and uprightness.
What is looked for secondly is striving, genuineness, and sacrifice…
The shaykh does not immediately accept everyone who applies to the path of sayr u suluq. He looks at his character and appearance. If he finds his intentions to be sincere and has the potential for spiritual growth, he performs the istikhara and if he sees no potential, he delays it. Their aim is not to just gather anyone, but rather to determine those who are capable and help them reach perfection”.
“Undoubtedly the main successes in this elevated path are sincerity, modesty and striving and effort. Those who take up these, those who are careful and seek the pleasure of Allah will be successful in gaining it. When those who wish to benefit from this elevated path use the willpower given to them by Allah in the best way, and act with great determination and wisdom they will begin to smell the essence of reality bestowed upon them by Almighty Allah.
For this to occur, the following conditions are needed:
1) The aim in servanthood must be purely for the sake of Allah, with no desire for reward.
2) One must abide by the commands of the Holy Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and seriously avoid their prohibitions.
3) One should take care in particular to earn one’s livelihood by lawful means. There are many people today who are considered to be pious but who are in no way God-fearing at all because their earnings are doubtful.
4) One should submit completely to a competent perfected guide. In reality, one is actually submitting to Almighty Allah. A person benefits more from their submission than their worship. A traveller whose submission is lacking, will not progress properly.
5) One should perform one’s awrad with great care, devoting their heart to Allah, and in the manner shown to them by their murshid.
6) One should continue to attend the suhbah of their murshid or their brothers.
7) One should take care in preserving one’s state, in eradicating love of this world, in acting in contrary to the wishes of the nafs, and developing and beautifying one’s character.
8) One should enter the path of service with loyalty. Every person can serve the believers, in fact, they can serve all of the creatures, in accordance with their potential and capacity and according to the requirements of the time.
“Many people think that advancing spiritually is only through much worship. No, indeed true progress is to know that one is in the presence of Almighty Allah, and do whatever is required by the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). There are many people who are always performing supererogatory worship; but they do not care about what is lawful or unlawful, and do not strive to attain an Islamic character. They spend their free time gossiping and back biting others. They use whatever they obtain in order to fulfil the wishes of their nafs. If only such people would reduce their supererogatory worship and be more aware of and strive to have good character and abide by the rights of others”.
Another matter that our revered teacher would remind those who loved him of is as follows:
“One should know this well that just as there is no limit to servanthood there is also no end to the sayr u suluq. Those who say: “I am finished” are still half way on the path and those who see their own faults have progressed. The traveller who says: “I have come to the stage of ‘muhabbah’ and my spiritual training is complete”, and sees himself as sufficient will have erred”.
That is, the believer should not remain where he is no matter what degree he has reached, but strive to advance even further.
Our noble teacher summarised all of these conditions as follows:
“As a result we should know this matter well: Our salvation, our peace and happiness can only be through completely following the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) in every circumstance, with our every breath, our every step, our every state and act, to colour ourselves with his colours, to adopt his character, and to strive to never part from his blessed Sunnah”.
His Manner of Guiding Others
With his own personality Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) displayed a model life of servanthood. His whole concern was to be a sincere servant of Allah, above all else. From time to time he would say:
“A person should think as such: In this world there is my Lord and then there is only me as His servant. I should act out my servanthood accordingly”.
This feeling of his would inspire in those who loved him the enthusiasm and zeal to become a servant of Allah.
Musa Efendi established the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah at the foundation of spiritual training. According to him, any system of training that was not based on these two sources would not reform the human being, but rather corrupt him. In fact, the reason for being of the spiritual path is to completely combine these two sources. He expressed this as follows:
“Every act which does not conform with the commands and prohibitions of Allah, Most High, that is, are not in harmony with the rulings of the Qur’an, is false and misguided… First of all are the rulings of the Holy Qur’an. That is the foundation and does not change; for if a person has no sharia, they have nothing…What we must do is to concern ourselves completely with the commands of Almighty Allah. We must be persistent in knowing and following what Allah commanded, what He has forbidden. This is the first step in spiritual progress. If one does not take care at the first step, then one cannot benefit from spirituality”.
On the other hand, divine and prophetic training has always been founded on love and compassion. Musa Efendi loved everyone and also offered love to the hearts as if they were the source of life.
He would say:
“The greatest gift given to us by Allah Almighty is love. To love Allah, His Messenger, the friends of Allah, one’s brothers, the believers, animals… love, love, love… it follows one after the other…”
Allah, Most High, places love for Himself in the heart of the servant that He loves, and that He wishes to make precious and noble. If that servant then recognises the worth in this and uses it well, that is with complete sincerity and embarks upon the path of submission, doing whatever is required of him, the veils will open up for him. A state of familiarity with Allah will manifest with ease. He will then have found what he was looking for and this is a divine favour from our Lord. Sometimes this state can be achieved through the attentive glance of a sincere servant; that is a perfect guide. However this is rare.
The glance of the murshid-i kamil does not influence everyone, but only those who Allah wills, and only a few of those even, who are serious and sincere in every matter and who have extremely good character and have reached a state of perfection…The one who reaches this state of love carries out their duties towards Allah, Most High, willingly and with great ease and presence of heart. Some worshippers do not feel complete pleasure and presence in their worship due to a deficiency of love in their hearts”.
In the eyes of Musa Efendi, every human being was precious. However, this value did not come from his fame, rank, wealth or lineage. He was precious only because he was a servant of Allah. Those who loved him and who were esteemed and loved by him each felt that they had a special place in his heart and eyes, and felt the warmth of being loved by them in their hearts.
Whatever the age of social standing, he would call everybody by respectful and polite titles such as ‘efendi’, or ‘bey’, or ‘brother’.
To those who loved him he would show his love for them sometimes through gifts, sometimes through visits and sometimes in other ways. It would not be an exaggeration to say that everyone who loved him had a gift given to them by him – some rose oil, a prayer mat, some fabric, a rosary bead, a prayer cap, special gifts on holy nights, a greeting, a work of calligraphy, a flower… Each of them was graceful and delicate, just as the ‘efendi’ who presented them.
In short, he knew how to enter a person’s heart and he loved to please others. In various ways, he would satisfy the hearts of those who loved him. He would say: “We must start somewhere with everyone in order to save them”.
From time to time, Musa Efendi would politely remind those who loved him or who served him of their mistakes in order to train and educate them and he would explain how to do something.
From time to time he would also become angry. Generally this would be due to an act that was against the will of Allah or a foolish act. However, his anger was contained within his beauty. This is why nobody was ever offended or hurt by his warnings and cautions.
He would caution people by attracting them towards him and by approaching them, not by pushing them away and ostracising them.
From time to time, our noble master would enter into a deep silence, in order to apply some methods of special training for our brothers of wisdom. Those near him would benefit spiritually from this long state of silence and not be able to hold back their tears. Their hearts would enter another world.
He Gave Much Importance to the Suhbah
Musa Efendi placed the suhbah at the centre of his guiding others. If three members of his family got together he would not allow them any vain talk and say “We deserve a suhbah’. One time when he had to stay in hospital he gave a suhbah to those who stayed with him, which left an unforgettable memory on those who were there.
Musa Efendi would remind people that they should attend the suhbah with the enthusiasm of worship. In his eyes, the suhbah was not just an ordinary meeting, but a spiritual and elevated assembly. He would say:
“Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) perfected his blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) through his suhbah at the ‘suffa’ of his mosque. Muhammad Bahauddin Naqshiband and his peers gave great importance to suhbah and the great saints (may Allah have mercy on them all) were trained and educated at these spiritual study houses. There are great mysteries within the suhbah from the aspect of inner and outer knowledge.
If suhbah is carried out solely for the sake of Allah, with no other expectations or worldly benefits, the angels will join in that assembly…these suhbahs strengthen the familiarity, sincerity, love and muhabbah amongst the believers. No matter how much those who do not attend the suhbah fulfil their wird there will not be any reciprocal love. The traveller should continue his nightly awrad and not neglect to attend the suhbah. They say that the suhbah is the completer of dhikr and awrad. Any person who continues to attend these spiritual suhbahs with sincerity, on condition that he performs his awrad regularly, will no longer have any place in their heart for love of this world, and will not even have love in his heart for the hereafter. There will be room left only for love of Allah.
The one who loves Allah will be honest, upright and carry out their religious and worldly duties. Through the suhbah, the dirt from this world and love for it will be removed from the heart. Their place will be filled with love for Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). Even though those who attend are tired and weary when they first arrive, they leave having no trace of their previous fatigue or weariness…they are fresh and filled with peace. Once love of Allah enters a heart, everything is complete.
The pleasure and joy received from a suhbah that is in accordance with proper manners (adab) is indescribable. Those who are there delve into presence and peace. If, in particular, the person who performs the suhbah is competent, through his providence, love, respect, sincerity, all kinds of blessings manifest amongst those who are present. However much one abides by adab, Almighty Allah increases one’s success and blessings”.
This is because Musa Efendi gave great importance to the heart in spiritual training he would always make this the topic of his suhbah. The expression ‘give one’s heart to Allah’ was a sweet term very often repeated by him.
He Himself Would Serve Others First
Musa Efendi did not like laziness and lassitude. He would give continual reminders that tasawwuf was not about retreating into a corner and said that there was some service every person could perform according to their opportunity and capacity;
“Every person should do what they can. For instance a teacher should strive to educate a student in the best way… An architect should build beautiful mosques, and houses in harmony with the principles of Islam. There is something everyone can do.
Everyone should allocate their time to carrying out the most beneficial task in accordance with their capacity… Some people are able to perform much worship…Some people are people of courage…when you gather them all, they all amount to the same goal but their ways are different… even an ill person has a duty to do. If an ill person refrains from thinking about themselves only, they can pray for the well-being of the community of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) if they are capable of nothing else.
Some people advance through salat. Some people like fasting. Some people advance through acquiring wisdom, others through publishing. Publishing Islamic books and journals, in particular, is one of the most leading acts of service in these times…”
“Many people are at ease believing that they have carried out their religious duties because they pray and fast. However, this is not enough. In addition to abiding by and respecting the commands of Allah, we should also be compassionate towards all creatures. This can only be achieved through sacrifice and sincere service. Thus, every Muslim, with a sound mind, should be beneficial to and serve the society they are in after having carried out their obligatory acts. Those who do not serve with their bodies, their minds or their wealth, solely for the sake of Allah, cannot attain the state of being a perfected believer. These things that we have enumerated complete the obligatory acts and are from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)…
If our financial situation is suitable we need to open our wallets. Miserliness is not an acceptable thing for those who are travelling the path of Allah. If we have knowledge we need to find those who are capable of receiving it and distribute it to them. If a person wants to serve, Allah gives him the opportunity. Whatever our profession, we can benefit the society through it and in every other matter. We can visit our neighbours, and our sick. We can participate in funerals. Once a person makes the intention, there are many other sweet and good deeds to be done…
Some of us are reluctant to serve the community because we fear our state of presence (huzur) will be harmed. This is one of the wiles of the nafs. The real skill is being able to continue our prayers, our service and be in a state of togetherness with Allah”.
Musa Efendi stated that adab in serving others is more important than the act of serving itself and indicated the following subtle matters that needed to be taken into consideration;
“As people who serve others continue in this path, they need to adopt the virtue of i’sar (preferring their believing brothers and sisters over themselves). Those who insist on carrying out all acts of service themselves will tire quickly, they will become constricted and their approach will change. They begin to belittle everyone else. May Allah protect them; they will recede in their state. They will become a slave to love of leadership”.
Before encouraging his relatives and disciples to serve others, our teacher demonstrated this first himself. His support and encouragement can be found in many establishments and institutions. He always supported Quran courses, Imam Hatip high schools, mosques and similar places. For instance he himself took the lead in establishing Erkam Publications in 1980 and of the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi Foundation in Uskudar in 1985, and the publication of the Altinoluk magazine in 1986. He supported these both financially and spiritually. He also led the way in many similar establishments.
He would warn those who served in such charitable institutions that they should not become lax just because they are working in such places and neglect their own spiritual progress. He would say:
“The one in the duty of serving others must advance spiritually as long as they are in this service. One should give one’s heart to one’s Lord and strive to perfectly carry out one’s duty of servanthood to Him with sincerity, adab and humility. Otherwise those people of service that are not suitable to spirituality and this method, if they do not develop and advance their spirit, their service will lose its spirit…Because his intention is weak he will be deprived of the help of Almighty Allah”.
Musa Efendi strove to help the community of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and strove to do whatever he could to solve all kinds of problems. One time he described the painful and heartrending state of the Muslim youth who had strayed from their religion and showed some necessary solutions. However he was unable to quell the fire in his heart and he prayed to his Lord as follows:
“O Great of greats, of Elevated of elevated ones, o Allah whose power and might is infinite! We see the intensity of the fire and we perceive its terror. We weep but our hands are tied and we can do nothing. We are bewildered and do not know what to do…”
Guiding Others Through His Letters
Our honourable teacher would use letters as a method of training and guiding others. Here are some extracts from his letters as an example;
“My dear child!
…Serving others spiritually occupies a great place in the spiritual path. Those in this path of service (who await nothing in return) will be raised to great ranks, on the condition that they are sincere, upright, compassionate towards their peers, and courteous…No person of Allah can be conceived of as being insincere and lacking in modesty… Hearts are conquered through courtesy and mildness, and love increases. Those who are gentle and treat others with gentleness and mildness will be of the chosen ones. Allah loves them and will make His servants love them also…
What is written here is only a small part and for those people of wisdom there are many fine mysteries to be perceived. Esrefoglu Rumi said:
“Let those who are capable of hearing without seeing the moving of the lips come!”
Sincerity and Uprightness
Musa Efendi sought out sincerity in every matter. He would say:
“The entire essence of the matter, the best principle is sincerity! The most important affair that everybody should take careful note of is to ask Allah for sincerity. If there is sincerity in an assembly, then there is everything. If there is no sincerity, it makes no difference how many books are read, how many Quranic commentaries etc. are studied, there will be no benefit or blessings. In my prayers I always pray as such: “O my Lord increase me in my sincerity!” Sincerity is the best thing. Almighty Allah bestows everything in abundance on the one who is sincere”.
After one gathering, money was collected to help those in Bosnia-Hersek. After everyone gave a certain amount of money in aid, Musa Efendi took out a large amount of money and said:
“This is from a friend who entrusted it to me to give it here”. Except for the people of insight present there, everyone assumed that someone who could not attend the gathering sent this money. However the trust was in fact his own money and the ‘friend’ was Almighty Allah.
Musa Efendi lived by the principle that “Uprightness is a never-ending obligatory act” and lived in accordance with the standard of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The most defining principles in his life were undoubtedly sincerity and uprightness. This is why these were the greatest wonders he displayed.
A life of reverent and zealous worship
Another of the key principles in the life of Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) was undoubtedly reverence. As a result of the degree of marifatullah he reached in his life, he was in a state of utmost reverence and awe of Allah. He would say: “Worship can take one to Paradise; worship carried out in reverence can take one to Allah”. He would link the blessings and benefits of worship to the reverence shown during it.
He experienced great pleasure and delights from his servanthood and expressed this in an endless sense of gratitude as follows:
“Thanks be to Almighty Allah, He made us His servant, and made us from the community of His Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and directed us to this beautiful and elevated path. There can be no greater happiness. Alhamdulillah again and again…”
He would say that worship should be done solely for Allah and with great zeal:
“If a person, as a servant of Allah, abides by the commands of Allah, in every matter, he will reach great ranks. However, we should not be lovers of rank. We do whatever Allah has commanded us to, willingly and happily and we shun whatever Allah has forbidden us, willingly and happily. We will continue to serve Him. As we continue to do so, our Lord will bestow upon us beautiful states. In this way, by His permission, we will have saved ourselves”.
When it was time to pray, Musa Efendi would wear his best robe and put on his whitest of white cap. He would scent himself with the most beautiful fragrance and offer some to those around him. He would then wait in reverence for the adhan. He would take care to lay down his prayer mat as neatly as possible. He would not allow anything to distract his heart nor his eye.
His reverence for the adhan was something else. He would respond to the call, as advised by the Sunnah, and listen to it in peace and then make the adhan prayer in reverence.
After performing the prayer with all its requirements and proper adab, you could hear the phrase ‘alhamdulillah’ coming from his blessed lips with a subtlety that soothed the soul, as if he had drunk cold water on a very hot day.
The reverence and sensitivity he showed for prayer could also be observed in his other acts of worship. Especially during the month of Ramadan, at the iftar meals that he offered at the Haramayn, prepared with the utmost care, the deep state of contemplation he entered when performing hajj, the respect and reverence he felt when visiting the grave of the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), his familiarity and friendship with the Book of Allah, the endless gratitude, courtesy and sense of entrustment he felt when giving sadaqa and zakat, all came from his reverence and respect for Almighty Allah.
His Deep Love
Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) was a great friend of Allah, who imbued divine love. His heart was an ocean of love. Love flowed from his tongue and his eyes. Like As’ad Efendi, who had recognised his worth as a child, he said: “O my Lord! I have lost my senses out of my love for you, but I have no fame”. How else can the following letter be understood, which he wrote to one of his spiritual sons:
“I am utterly powerless, and full of faults; my only consolation is this: I love the beloveds of Allah more than my own life, existence and everything. This is such a love that I am not even aware of it. It cannot be expressed in words or writing”.
Our noble guide desired that his love and ardour for Almighty Allah increase even more and asked for this in his prayers. The following supplication is an example of this:
“O Highest of Highs, o Allah! To You belong glory, honour, might, power and all elevated attributes. How can we, as created beings, perceive Your subtle artwork and unlimited deep character. Allow our windows of foresight to open so that we can perceive You if only a little in accordance with our capacity.
Increase our love so that we can carry out our servanthood with great enthusiasm and adab. Perfection is Yours; defect and faults belong to us. Forgive us and do not punish us for our mistakes. O Allah! We seek refuge in Your forgiveness, Mercy, and Clemency. Treat us not with Your justice, but with Your grace”.
“O Lord! Do not deprive us of the bounty of love! Everything emerges through Your love, is given life, and finds strength. O Lord! Make beloved to us those You love. Just as You have made the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) beloved to us, let us love every friend that is worthy of love. Make us the dirt on the feet of all of the ahl al bayt, the blessed Companions and those who love Islam and serve it.
O Lord! We love You through You.
And it is again through You that we love that which You love.
It is through You that we love those who love You.
And it is again through You that we love those who love those who love You”.
Our noble guide would frequently emphasise the importance of directing the potential for love one has in one’s nature in the right direction and he would draw the boundaries of love. He would place at the centre, love for Allah and then other loves were connected to that. He would say:
“When we talk about love, what we first think of is the Creator of the Universe. Then we remember the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Then come the other prophets, the Companions, and the friends of Allah … We love the believers, we love animals, we love and love and love…love follows one after the other…
The one who loves Allah, Most High, cannot love other than Him, in the true sense he will have no strength left. His other loves will continue; for instance he will love his mother and father and his family and children and his wealth and property. However this love will be a measured and proportionate love that arises out of his love for Allah. Such proportionate loves are acceptable. It is a requirement of being a human being that a person shows love to his fellow human being. A person loves his mother and father, because they were the means for him coming into this world and for him learning his religious knowledge.
He loves his dignified, virtuous family. If this love is for Allah then it too is acceptable…When it comes to wealth and property, if he spends them in the way of Islam and for the benefit of other people, then this is praiseworthy. When a person’s love is perfected, he loves only that which Allah loves. He does not love those who Allah abhors, the enemies of Allah, and the idolaters, and in fact he too abhors them”.
Musa Efendi also said that love would bring a person’s servanthood to the peak of pleasure and delight and would fill his life with peace:
“Those who truly love Allah can make this world a Paradise. Their hearts are filled with so much love for Allah, which encompasses them to such a degree, that they can see nothing amiss. They love, love, love and love again. Every other topic apart from love will constrict them and take away their peace…When this love is transformed into enthusiasm and ardour it will bring the person to a state of ecstasy. For now he is removed from the picture, and exists only through that which he loves…
The gnostics have expressed this state well when they say: “When you are removed from the picture what is left behind is your Creator”.
The one who attains love will carry out their duties to Allah willingly and with great pleasure, ease and peace of heart”.
Compassion and Mercy
Musa Efendi’s deep and profound love made him an ocean and model of compassion and mercy. His embracing compassion was a source of consolation for the poor, orphans, lonely, ill, and sinners, who sought salvation, and in fact all other creatures.
He loved everyone and everything except for the known enemies of Allah. This love of his would flow forth in the form of compassion and mercy from his hand, his tongue, and his eyes. When looking at a rose, when caressing a child, when offering some food for the cats in the garden or the gulls that perched on the trees… one could witness this state always. He would say:
“The Divine name ar-Rahman is one of the elevated attributes of Almighty Allah. Mercy is the attribute of the prophets of Allah, the blessed Companions, the great awliyaullah, the gnostics (arif) and the lovers of Allah.
Allah, Most High, loves the compassionate person and the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the awliyaullah and all the people, in fact all of creation loves the compassionate person…
People draw near to Allah through the degree of their compassion… As the servant takes care and is perfected, Almighty Allah gives them compassion and love towards all creatures. If a person has no compassion for creation then that person is in great loss. A person cannot be a servant of Allah, in His path and not have compassion for the people that He created – and even the animals – he would be incomplete”.
Musa Efendi loved the poor and needy. He would say:
“If we cannot love the poor let us implore Allah that He give us this feeling of love for them. There are many devotees in our time who cannot love the poor due to a lack of compassion in their hearts…
Whereas if the people of tawakkul and tafwiz (those who submit themselves and their affair totally to Allah) knew the worth of the poor in the sight of Allah, we would want to kiss their feet… Our duty is to love them, be kind to them and gain their prayers” .
If was almost as if Musa Efendi’s pure nature was moulded with compassion. He was deeply saddened when he could not physically work in his Hudayi clinic that he established for the poor and would say:
“If I had the strength I would go and help and serve the ill people personally”.
Another group of people he extended his compassion to were sinners who had fallen into the pits of sin. Undoubtedly he would abhor the sin but he would have pity on the sinner. He would not allow his dislike of the sin to flow over onto the sinner. He would pray for such people so that they would be freed from their state and he would help them as much as he could. A friend from Bursa narrates the following story which demonstrates this beautiful state of his:
“Our noble teacher loved Bursa very much and from time to time, he would reside in the homes found along the path of Uludag for a period of a week or ten days. Since it was an isolated place and there was some anarchy during that period, as a precaution he and some brothers would be on guard during the night in the courtyard of the house. One night around three o’clock in the morning, a man jumped down into the courtyard from the surrounding wall. He turned to the door and tried to open it; when he could not he went for the window. He had evil intentions. I immediately caught him and laid him down on the ground. It was our master’s habit to pray the tahajjud prayer at that time and do some dhikr and so he was generally awake at that time. I wanted to inform him of the situation so I rang the bell. He appeared at the door a little while later.
When he saw the man lying on the ground he realised what had happened and he went inside to put something on and came out to the courtyard. It was summer so he went out to the pergola and sat the man next to him and asked him why he inclined to such an illegal act. The man apologised saying that he was unemployed and he was forced to obtain some money for his children in order to provide for them. Our noble master was extremely saddened by this. He went back inside and brought back a tray of food and said:
“You must also be hungry; let us fill your stomach first”. He then began to advise him gently. He later handed him an envelope with a large amount of money and said:
“You can meet your immediate needs with this for now. (Then pointing to me) he said “By the will of Allah this friend will help you find work as soon as possible. If you have nothing preventing you, every week you can also attend our talks which this brother will show you”. He did not leave it at that but, to crown his compassion and kindness he said:
“It will be hard for you to walk home now our brother will take you home by car”. He then turned to me and cautioned me as follows:
“Brother! We shall not disclose what this friend did. Let it remain a secret between us until the end of time”.
This brother whose name will remain a secret with me for all time, was then settled in a job. He continued to attend the weekly suhbah and finally achieved a peaceful family life. He is now a man of great spirituality and has joined us as our teary-eyed brother, all praise be to Allah”.
His Epic Loyalty
Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) was a great wali of Allah who bore the beautiful traits of the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). However his trait of loyalty was something else. This is why the people of wisdom gave him the title of ‘the Loyal one’ (sahib al wafa)
He was loyal as a servant of Allah. For an entire lifetime he was faithful to the promise he made to his Lord before our creation when Allah Almighty asked us ‘Am I not your Lord?’: in the ‘alast bazmi’. He would frequently repeat the verse: “He is with you wherever you are…’ (Hadid, 57:4) and he lived his entire life, and his worship in particular, with a complete feeling of ihsan, that is with the knowledge, adab and peace of being constantly under divine watch.
His loyalty to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was something else again. During his long years in Madina he would go to the Masjid an Nabi, usually to perform the tahajjud prayer, and visit his rose-scented Blessed Tomb in deep presence and adab. Even though the guards of the tomb would hinder a lot of the visitors who came, and were quite harsh at times, they were affected by his profound courtesy and silence. After the visit he would perform the tahajjud prayer and then wait in a state of dhikr and muraqaba until the dawn prayer. During his times of health, he would wait in the Harem in a state of complete presence until the late morning.
He would say that true loyalty to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was by completely embracing his Sunnah and that this would be possible by imitating him in form but also learning from his heart.
Another form of his loyalty was to the people of Allah, which was manifested in endless love and devotion to them. He was filled with an epic sense of loyalty towards his master Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu (may Allah have mercy on them both). For him, the most important moments and days of his life were those he spent together with his master. For the entire thirty years that they were together he was totally dedicated to that great wali with complete loyalty and made sure to look at life and events through his eyes. He lived his life both outwardly and inwardly with that great wali of Allah, he became annihilated in him and at his last breath, it was as if he had become him.
Other examples of his loyalty are the acts of generosity he showed towards the small service of his grandchildren and other close relatives, his sending of chapter Fatiha for each of the greats, friends and beautiful people who served the country and who migrated to the other world, by saying each one’s name separately.
As a personal example, he sought out and found the nurse who had cared for me while I was still a baby. When he found her 55 years later, he gave her gifts and treated her with great respect.
Another example of his profound courtesy, his appreciation of others and his loyalty is this: he would send a gift or a letter every year to each and every doctor that had treated him. He did not neglect to do this even when he was in Madina and he would ring us and have us do it on his behalf.
One of these doctors was extremely moved by this loyalty and appreciation and he said:
“I have treated so many ill people. Some of my patients have thanked me and given me gifts, but this is the first time I have seen a person continue to thank me a year later and in the years to come after”.
His Generosity and Enthusiasm To Give Out
Finding broken-hearted people and making them happy and seeing to the needs of the needy were two forms of social worship that Musa Efendi carried out with great spiritual pleasure. He gave out in a planned and ordered manner. He was practically an endowment institution in himself. He had different funds for different things. For instance he had an ‘orphan’ fund. He would allocate a certain amount of money to orphans and give this to his close ones whom he had given this responsibility and say:
“Your job is not just to give them money. However you treat your own children, this is how you should treat these orphans”.
He also had a ‘book’ fund. Whenever he saw any book, and especially those of Sami Efendi’s, which was beneficial for the youth or the community, he would buy many copies and give them as gifts to those he saw fit. He would give out books about Ottoman history and the heroes of Islam to university youth.
Our noble master had an ‘illness’ fund. He was very sensitive in the service of health. He would concern himself with people who were ill but had no money or opportunity to buy medicine or be treated and he had given this responsibility to a relative of his who was a doctor. He would take care of their expenses without them being aware.
Musa Efendi would prepare his budget at the beginning of every year in order to determine these various funds. All of these were of course in addition to his obligatory alms (zakat) for he wished to give out anything extra after he had taken care of his needs.
He would advise giving out at every opportunity. He would encourage his loved ones and those close to him to spend generously out of the bounties Allah had bestowed on them in the way He willed and would say:
“My child, make sure to live a life of ‘riyada’ and spend what Allah has given you for Him. Let not your state of riyada be the state only in the three holy months or Ramadan. Extend it to your entire life and spend what is beyond your needs in the path of Allah. Know well that even if you were living in the Dolmabahce Palace or the Topkapi Palace you would have to live with riyada.
That is why you should not carry your wealth and your property in your heart. If you do not give out what is above your needs in the way of Allah, then you will have shown ingratitude for His bounties. Do not forget that that which is not given out is wasted and wasted bounties are a great sin in the hereafter whose weight is very heavy indeed”.
In training us, his spiritual children, when we were still young, Musa Efendi would ask us the price of the orange or apple we bought and say:
“Did you search the market to find a cheaper price?”
He would consider it extravagant to pay three lira for the same item which could be bought for two lira. He would thus caution us to be frugal. In short, when he spent on himself, he would split hairs. However, when it came to spending in the way of Allah he would take great pleasure from giving out generously.
I still have a notebook with me left by him. In it are his notes about alms, charity and good deeds. From time to time my honourable father would show it to me only – in order to avoid showing off – and would explain:
“Look son, my alms is this much and my other voluntary charity is this much…”
His voluntary charity was always much greater than his zakat. The reason for showing us this was to make us familiar with giving out.
He made important contributions to many charitable institutions in many places in Anatolia, and even overseas – in the building of mosques, establishment of Qur’an centers, and Imam Hatip high schools. When contributing he would never distinguish between different groups. While travelling through Anatolia if he saw a mosque half built or a tomb of a wali which was neglected he would say: “Let us concern ourselves with these”.
He would rush to the aid in any matter concerning the Muslims and he would encourage those close to him to do so too. He started up campaigns to help the oppressed in the wars in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Kosovo and he made the greatest contributions himself.
The trait he disliked most was miserliness. He would say that misers could never grow spiritually:
“Generosity is an important trait of our Lord. Without exception all of the prophets, and the Messenger of Allah, the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in particular, the blessed Companions and other great awliyaullah adopted this beautiful and elevated trait. It is inconceivable that a person can be a wali of Allah and also be miserly. Misers are people who have no worth in the sight of their Creator.
Generosity is the adornment of those who love Allah. Stinginess however is the illness of the worthless and their stain. Generosity is the key to all other beautiful attributes. Miserliness, however, is the key to the lowly which bears all evil”.
Even though our noble master gave out like an ocean, he never attributed this to his own self; he perceived himself as a teller and was always aware that it was Allah who allowed him to give out. He taught us by being an example himself, that adab and courtesy in giving out was just as important as the act of giving itself. He would give out with the greatest of grace, kindness and complimenting. He would wrap his gift in the best way before giving it. Whenever he was to give someone zakat or some other charity he would put it in a new envelope and write a polite sentence on it such as: “Thank you for accepting our offer”. That is, he was aware that before the needy, the charity was accepted by Allah in accordance with the verse: “(It is Allah who) accepts what is offered as charity’ (Tawba, 9:104).
This sensitivity that I witnessed since my childhood has established this standard of generosity in my heart. From time to time delicious meals would be prepared in our house on Sundays. My father would make sure that the servants in our house would also eat from this meal. He was aware of the mystery of the verse: ‘a transaction, which will not prove profitless’ (Fatir, 35:29).
Order and Regularity
Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) placed great importance on orderliness and regularity. He did not like disorder and clutter at all. Since order and planning had become a routine part of his life he was never rushed or felt haste to do anything but he always acted with dignity and calm. His heart felt the peace of being in a complete state of submission to the divine will.
He was a man of measure. There was always a measure in his eating, drinking, his dress, his worship, his giving out, his speech, his love, and his dislike. In describing tasawwuf he would say: “Tasawwuf is to spend your time on the most precious things”. From this respect, he saw time as a great bounty and he advised as follows:
“When we contemplate on all creatures in the universe, from the living to the non-living, from the planets to the atoms, we see that everything is in great order. In the face of such divine artistry, the human being, who is the most noble of all creatures, should not be in a state of disorder, giving no regard to his time, and should carry out all his tasks on time”.
One of the most inescapable principles of a life of consistency is to be moderate and not go to extremes. Musa Efendi said about this matter:
“Those who are moderate will also be persevering. They will not give up at the slightest setback. This is also true for the sayr u suluq. Those who act in moderation will carry out their duty until the end of their life. Some people get very excited but do not follow through”.
“A small amount of worship done consciously is better than a lot done in heedlessness. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded us to act in moderation and with measure, rather than doing a lot, and this principle also applies to worship. Sometimes too much worship can lead to fatigue which can cause disgust. Then one loses one’s determination and enthusiasm and reaches a state in which they cannot do even a little. One can expect good from tasks done with caution and prudence but those tasks carried out in haste will fail to lead anywhere…
As a requirement of the divine mercy of Allah, Most High, He has not burdened His servants with a heavy load. He has only willed that His servants perceive their own powerlessness and weakness and worship and obey Him with adab and with depth of heart”.
His Kindness and Elegance
Our Lord bestowed on the nature of Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) a unique regard and love for extraordinary pleasures and elevated beauty. When this beautiful nature of his was combined with the adab, good manners and elegance that were the peak of the Ottoman period of Islamic civilisation, he became even more graceful. The beauty that came from tasawwuf crowned it all.
Musa Efendi would show his teacher Sami Efendi (may Allah have mercy on them both) as a model and say:
“Our master would speak to everyone without exception, with grace, a smiling face and a sweet tongue. He would never address them by name only but would use a respectful title such as ‘bey’ or ‘efendi’. Unfortunately in our day courtesy has become like the mythical dodo bird. People speak to and treat each other without courtesy and they call this familiarity and warmth. What has rudeness to do with familiarity? Courtesy is born out of warmth. With the exception of those who are pleasant and polite by nature, we find it hard to encounter these rules of courtesy, only in those ladies and gentlemen of Istanbul who has reached the age of 60 or 70 years. Whereas courtesy and good manners are one of the main principles of Islam”.
His Contentment and Submission
In the eyes of the awliyaullah, it is of the utmost importance to be content with the decree of Allah and to submit to it and to rely on Allah always. Musa Efendi said in regards to this matter:
“If the human being really understands that it is Allah who is the sole Lord and Master of all creatures he would realise that people, whatever their station or rank, are weak and powerless and have no power other than a limited ability. They will not rely on those closest to them and not even their children. They will not trust in their wealth nor in their position. They know that every event occurs through the help of Allah. Their knowledge of, devotion to, love for, submission to and reliance upon their Creator will increase, and they will come to a state where they expect nothing from creatures”.
One of the matters which our master most emphasised was submission. He would bow down to Allah and His Messenger’s (peace and blessings be upon him) every command, wholeheartedly and say:
“It is only possible to reach a state of peace in this path through submission. Some people are tried and tested with their children, some with their wealth, and others in different ways. The believer can never be completely at ease in this world. Almighty Allah is ever with those who are sorrowed and broken-hearted. Those whose hearts are constricted are ill at ease in every matter and they constrict those around them also. Even if such people perform much extra worship they do not have much of a share in spirituality”.
“Submission to Allah will remove the sorrow and distress in the heart; the spirit will be with the one it loves. The degree of a person’s spirituality is in accordance with his degree of submission… Many unwanted, unproductive states come about due to a lack of submission. It increases one’s doubts and misgivings”.
Musa Efendi would act with intelligence and discernment in every affair and strive to take all inner and outer precautions. However whatever the result, he would say: “We accept this situation and we are content with it”.
The greatest works of the perfect guides are undoubtedly the perfected people they trained and educated. In addition, they penned many beneficial books in order to reach a far greater number of people. Musa Efendi wrote the following books which were about the deeds and acts of tasawwuf:
1) Heroes of Islam. This consists of three volumes. The first volume is about the bravery and courageous acts of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all), the second and third books are about the heroes who lived in the Seljuk and Ottoman times.
2) Altınoluk Talks. This consists of six volumes. It is a compilation of the articles that appeared in the Altinoluk journal.
3) Sultan al Arifin Shaykh Mahmud Sami Ramazanoglu. This book is about the life and character of his Guide, Mahmud Sami, and contains memoirs from his loved ones. A unique modesty and elegance can be felt in every sentence.
4) From the world of a Friend of Allah: Suhbah with Khwaja Musa Topbas Efendi. This is a compilation of the interviews published in the Altinoluk during his last year (1996). Important information about his life and worldview are to be found here.
His Last Days and His Return to Allah
The entire life of our noble teacher was spent in the knowledge of the following verse: ‘Inna lillah’ (‘we belong to Allah’). When he reached his eighties the rest of that verse began to be manifest ‘wa inna ilahyhi raji’un’ (‘and we will return to Him’).
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most intense of tribulations comes down on the prophets and then the righteous and other servants in turn…” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 57/2398).
As an heir of the prophets, Musa Efendi was also tested severely. These trials increase the purity and growth of the believers and also increase their feeling of togetherness and closeness to Allah.
During his last days it almost seemed as if Musa Efendi was preparing inwardly for his meeting with his Lord and other loved ones who had already passed away. Most of the time he could only make eye contact with his visitors and he would give them a look as if to say he was entrusting them to Allah.
In an article he wrote a short time before his death and which was published posthumously he wrote:
“The other day we came eye to eye with Azrail. He appeared smiling, in the guise of an Egyptian, about 40-45 years old, without a beard. I warmed up to him. This must have been a warning that my death was near. Azrail’s glance was sharp but he was joyful. He appeared to be bearing glad tidings”.
He had been immobile due to his illness that lasted for two years, and his legs were damaged due to the lack of circulation in them. A day before his death it became necessary to cut off his leg from the knee down due to gangrene. The doctor who performed this operation narrates:
“I had really wanted to see him but had never had the opportunity before. Then the responsibility for cutting off his leg fell on me. I heard two little words in that short time: “Allah… Allah”. Was not He the sole source of refuge for the people of dhikr in times of ease and of distress?”
A day after this operation, on a Friday, the feast of the believers, amongst the calls to prayer in Uskudar, this martyr of divine love breathed his last breath and delivered his spirit to his Beloved. He had always had a special reverence for Fridays. He would dress in white and go to one of the houses of Allah with presence of heart and tranquillity. This Friday was no different. He was dressed in white, but this time he set out for the Owner of those houses, he set out for Allah.
For his entire lifetime, our noble master sought out that ‘Elevated Friend’ and now it was time to go back to Him.
His blessed spirit parted from his enlightened body and took flight towards the Rafiq al Ala on the 16th of July, 1999 on a Friday.
May our Lord reward him with the best of rewards and fulfil his hopes… Amen!
O my Lord! Bestow on us a share of the spirituality of our honourable teacher and guide who spent a life of almost a century on Your path, who did not part from the Qur’an and the Sunnah for even a breath, who considered it an honour to serve this Clear Religion. Grant us success in continuing his precious service. Conclude our fleeting separation with an eternal reunion in the assembly of Your Beloved Muhammad Mustafa in the Firdaws al-Ala… Amen!
On the 17th of July, united hearts in the way of Allah flowed in a crowd resembling the Day of Judgement, after the funeral following the noon prayer. At that moment in time, countless numbers of people, all as if one body, had been freed from the anxieties of the world and were feeling the reality of the hereafter, and the prosperity and blessings of being a true servant of Allah. Heads were bowed down, tears were warm and this was a most patent manifestation of the true state required of servanthood.
That epic crowd found it hard to take a step and for those with the eyes to see, they would notice countless angels over them in the form of a cloud of mercy, bidding him farewell as he moved towards his grave.
Finally after completing the 83 years of life which had been given to him in trust, which he filled with countless instances of beauty that pleased His Lord, he came to the gate of the Sahrayi Cedid Cemetery in order to appear before his Lord. This True Friend of Allah who made modesty and humility his mark during his entire life, entered a humble grave. In this spiritual atmosphere which was a mix of sorrow, tears, mercy and peace and with prayers and supplications he joined the eternal resting place of his family friends.
After every good deed he did, Musa Efendi (may Allah have mercy on him) would say ‘Alhamdulillah’, and thank his Lord for allowing him to carry out that deed, never once forgetting Him. It is our hope that in giving up his spirit to his Lord in honour, he was able say a last ‘alhamdulillah’ from the heart. He had left behind a last testament which was to be opened after his death by those closest to him. A part of it is as follows:
“O Allah, Creator of the universe, o Owner of the heavens, the earth, the planets and the atoms, human beings, jinn and every creature, elevated of elevated ones, lofty of lofty ones!
When my heirs open this envelope, I will have entered Your divine presence.
You gave me a long life and made Your most precious Friends my guide. You did not deprive me of anything, worldly or otherworldly, and bestowed on me in abundance! Despite all of this, I was unable to serve You as You are worthy of being served and a whole lifetime passed by. Faults and defects followed one after the other. I was not able to grow and develop as I wished. I was only able to find consolation in Your Mercy, Your covering up of my faults and Your forgiveness.
Forgive the sins and mistakes of this lowly, weak servant of yours for he loved You, Your Messenger and those who loved You and who You loved. This was all possible of course through Your grace, favour and help.
Help my heirs and those of my progeny who follow and will follow them. Give all of them strong faith and do not make them of those who are idle so that they can continue their own servanthood and also serve Your servants. Make them people who proclaim Your oneness at every instant of their lives!”.
“Every creature that comes to this world will give its last counted breath at the appointed time, and migrate to the eternal realm. Happy is the one who spends his life in the way of Allah and migrates to the next world in honour. I too, know this matter, but I was unable to carry out my duty properly.
Even though I reached old age I was unable to pull myself together. I read the honourable and pious lives of the great men of Islam but was unable to apply this to my own nafs. After a life of error I hope for the forgiveness and clemency of my Lord Most High, because He is Most Merciful and Most Forgiving. It is my hope that my heirs will evaluate their lives in accordance with Islamic law”.
Words of Wisdom
- “The believer should know that if his good state changes to a bad one, it is the result of a sin that he committed, either knowingly or unknowingly”.
- “The believer should consider any small sin of his to be great. The awliyullah see their tiniest slips as being as big as mountains and seek Allah’s forgiveness weeping, in deep humility and great sorrow”.
- “The intelligent person is the one who mends the hole in his sack and then fills it. A cracked or holed vessel will not be able to contain whatever you put into it”.
- “The intelligent person should protect himself and those close to him from people of low character and weak religion. He should keep his distance from them as much as possible. Whoever a person keeps close company with, that person’s state and character will easily reflect onto him”.
- “The kernels or seeds that will allow the servant to attain marifatullah are ready and waiting in the soil of their body. One needs to be grateful, give thanks, remember Allah and contemplate on Him in order for them to sprout… The beginning of knowledge of Allah is to contemplate on the mysteries in the Divine artistry”.
- “As a result of contemplation done with a sound heart freed from worldly attachments, a human being can learn many aspects of spirituality which it is not possible to learn from a book”.
Almighty Allah says:
“…Have taqwa of Allah and Allah will give you knowledge… (Baqara, 2:282).
- “When trying to teach people of ill character about the religion, one should use a soft and gentle tongue and be humble. One should never condemn or criticise them, for a person who criticises others will end up doing that very same act while still in this world”.
- “It is necessary to learn the religious rulings from righteous scholars. This is because they have taqwa; their rulings will be more exact and effective. By the same token, one should avoid as much as possible those worldly ‘scholars’ who sacrifice their knowledge for rank and position”.
- “Those mothers and fathers who do not teach their religion to their children are the world’s most merciless people…To raise children without giving them religious training is like growing a tree in order to burn it in the stove”.
- “If you gather together one hundred incomplete people you will not have one complete person”.
- A Muslim should take his precautions and be careful but never cowardly”.
- “The pioneers of the Sufi path have said that purification of the nafs is fard ayn (an obligatory act incumbent upon every individual)”.
- “After the obligatory acts the most important form of worship is to conciliate the believers”.
- “There is no greater proof of a person’s intelligence, knowledge and mildness than the fact that he is able to get along well with people”.
- “Know this well that the real miracle is to carry out our duty of worship to Allah, remaining distant from ostentation and without expecting anything from anyone, in complete sincerity and submission to Him, until our last breath. That is, true karamah is uprightness”.
- “The traveller must on the one hand perform his awrad with great precision and care, and on the other hand, carry out the necessary duty of finding the faults and defects of his nafs”.
- “The murshid loves the traveller (saliq) who is merciful, generous and of good character and humble and they are refreshed by them”.
- “There is no great or small promise. To refrain from keeping one’s word is a sign of hypocrisy”.
- “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) made debt disliked for the Muslims. Debt in the eyes of a free and healthy person is a heavy load and painful burden”.
- “All of the acts of worship commanded by Islam are for the benefit and good of the believers. Otherwise Allah, Most High, has no need for them. Allah, Most High, is free of all need and has elevated His servants through His commands and prohibitions and opened up the path for them to rise up. What befalls us weak and powerless people is to properly give thanks for this great bounty”.
- “The true Friends of Allah have taken up as their principle that they take on the heavy load and burden of others”.
- “Our struggle is to serve others, but as simple believers (without expecting leadership)”.
- “One should not ignore the minor things because one is occupied with bigger tasks for when small things accumulate they become great”.
. See From the world of the Friends of Allah: Suhbah with Khwaja Musa Topbas Efendi prep by. Erkam Publications, 1999, p. 45, 58.. See Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, V, 42.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 45.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 45; VI, 24, 65, 98; Sultan al Arifin, p. 55.. See From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 172.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 46.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, I, 40-41.. See one of the letters he wrote to those who loved him, in Altınoluk, issue: 162, p. 6, August 1999; Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, I, 52-53; III, 210.. Sadiq Dana, Sultan al Arifin, p. 19-20.. See Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, I, 43; V, 79.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, I, 184.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 98; IV, 84; V, 40.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 22, 80-81.. See From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 10.. See Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, V, 43-44, 57-59; VI, 64, 67, 94-95, 100; From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 76.. See From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 103, 180-181.. See Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, III, 117, 167; V, 78-79.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 248.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 237.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, IV, 167.. Altinoluk, issue: 162, p. 6, Ağustos 1999.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 181.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, V, 76.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 82.. “From his letters”, Altinoluk, Issue: 162, p. 5, Ağustos 1999.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, II, 86.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 189-190..See Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 164; V, 21-23, 80-81; VI, 106.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 164, 189; V, 22.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, I, 191, 192; V, 80.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, III, 123, 127.. A special note written and sent by Muzaffer Işıkveren Bey. See Chapter A’raf, verse 172. Abdullah Sert, “A Friend of Allah subject to the name of al Wadud”, Altinoluk, Issue: 245, p. 11, July 2006.. Riyada: To make do with just enough when partaking of bounties for oneself and thus controlling one’s nafs.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, III, 40-41.. See Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 125.. See From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 148.. See Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, V, 142; II, 98-99; Zahide Topcu, “The late Musa Topbas”, Sebnem Journal, issue: 4, p. 112, April-June 2003.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, VI, 70.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, III, 91-92.. Zahide Topcu, “Journey to Bursa with Musa Efendi”, Sebnem Journal, Issue: 9, p. 7, 2004.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, I, 112-114.. See Chapter Baqara, 156.. “Kendi Kalemlerinden Kısa Terceme-i Hâl’, Altinoluk, issue: 162, p. 12, August-1999.. “In place of his last testament”, Altinoluk, issue: 162, Front cover sleeve, Ağustos 1999.. “In place of his last testament”, Altinoluk, issue: 162, p. 20, August 1999.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, I, 198.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, II, 63.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,II, 36.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,II, 33.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 35-36.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,II, 89.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, V, 257.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,IV,171.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, IV, 116-117.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,V, 56.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 192.. Sadiq Dana, Altinoluk Suhbah, VI, 24.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,I, 9.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,II, 24.. Sadiq Dana, ibid,I, 57.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, I, 146.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, I, 191.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, III, 44.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, III, 192.. Sadiq Dana, ibid, IV, 158.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 81.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 82.. From the world of the Friends of Allah, p. 105.
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş,The Golden Chain of Transmission Masters of the Naqshinandi Way, Erkam Publications