Dhikr, Remembrance

“Remember Me so that I will remember you…”.  Qur’an 2:152

“The Dhikr is the shortest way to achieve God. You have to do it lovingly, and you have to feel the Love of God”.  Sheikh Muzaffer al-Jerrahi

The Halveti-Jerrahi Dhikr symbolizes the power of Divine Love, as well as the celebration of the human heart caught in the grips of mystical ecstasy reaching for that very Love. The Dhikr is the invocation of the Unity of God. The rhythmical repetitions of God’s Names and Attributes, the music, the movements, all of them are mystical practices designed to attain spiritual unity with the Divine and the Truth of all his Creation.

The form and movements of the Dhikr are based on the Tradition that before God created the worlds, before He created man, He created a Universe of souls, alam al-arwah, and this Universe contained all the souls which were destined to inhabit all the bodies of man for all time to come. After the Creation of the Universe of souls He ordained that the seven planets and all the celestial spheres and their related heavenly bodies be set in motion. The souls then heard the divine harmony of Creation in the movement of the Universes and their corresponding celestial bodies. Then God created Adam and with His breath He blew Adam’s soul into his body. Adam’s soul was familiar with the divine harmony of the Universe. God then activated Adam’s heart to beat, beating in rhythm with Creation and He gave him a voice to sing, and Adam sang aloud the praises of God and His Creation. This is the essence of all music and it is this essence that the sacred music of Islam still retains. And it is the sound of this blessed human voice that the instruments of the islamic tradition are designed to imitate. The ney and kemenche are the two instruments closest to the yearning voice of the devout calling out to God, the Creator and Source of all Creation; and the kudum and bendir are the closest to the rhythm of the heart. The heartbeat measuring out the rhythm of life.

Sheikh Muzaffer al-Jerrahi has said:

“Adam was the first Sufi. Allah taught Adam all the Names. In the Dhikr we are painting the image of the beautiful Names of God and tracing the Creation of the Universe, its development, its breakdown and destruction, and finally its joy. 

The music of the Dhikr is symbolic of the sound of the Creation. It is the sound of the falling of the leaves in the Garden of Eden”.

The aim of the sufis is to be ‘the Truth within the Truth’. This is the level of baqa’ billah (eternal union with God). Those at this level cannot express their state in words, for the words necessary are not given in human language. Yet when Mansur al-Hallaj cried: “Ana al-Haqq” (“I am the Truth”), Truth came from his lips but it was not he was really speaking. For how could one speak in a state which could not be reached without total annihilation (“fana”) of the self, where neither the mind nor the body nor personality nor its characteristics, in terms of words, exist any longer? To experience and express this state, the dervishes practice theDhikr-ullah (Remembrance of God). The Dhikr of the Halveti-Jerrahi consists of an unfolding, and at once also evolving, ritual of specific signs, movements, modes and indications that comprise a symbolic language illustrating the way to reach baqa’ billah.

The circle of dervishes represents the visible world (‘alam ash-shahada) where the lovers are gathered to express Real Love for the Beloved: Allah Most High. The sheepskin post is the symbol of submission, taslimiya, the mystery of dying before dying, mawta qablan tumutu, the constancy on the path to Truth. The center of the sheepskin is the place of the Love of God; the east is indicative of religious law, sharia; the west is the spiritual path, tariqa; to the north is the Absolute Reality, haqiqa; and the  south represents inner Truth, marifa. The act of laying down the sheepskins in the Dhikr circle, halqa, is a vow of being willing to burn to ashes, to turn to dust on the path to Truth.