IN PRAISE OF DERVISHNESS
Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN
Islam, August 1998
In an authentic hadith, our beloved prophet said, "Unless you believe you cannot enter paradise; unless you love one another, you cannot be true believers."
There are many more hadiths informing us of the conditions necessary to be a true Muslim. First, one must wish for his brother what he wishes for himself. Second, he should always respect his neighbor's rights and be in peace with him. Third, he must be pious. Fourth, he must train and control his ego. Fifth, he must have good characteristics and avoid envy, pride, eccentricity, hypocrisy, treachery and falsehood. In short, it is important for a person to acquire all attributes, such as wisdom, perfection, humility, faithful love, religious knowledge and respect for Islamic laws, listed in books dealing with morality and sufi writings. Unless these qualities are part of a person's life, he will not be able to find peace and serenity in this or in the next world.
To achieve that, a person must abandon his stubbornness. He must accept true religiousness, the essence of belief, and the truth in the name of religion and religious laws. He must think clearly and research the matter thoroughly. Before the end of his life, before it is too late, he should change his bad characteristics into good qualities. He should find true unity and try to get God's affection. Making dhikir and being involved in some good causes will help.
A person should leave behind the deceiving and misleading purposes of this ephemeral life and concentrate on earning his permanent place in the hereafter. Many religious people have lived and died. A person should take one of them as a model. For example, he could take Prophet Muhammed as his guide. Prophet Muhammed brought the truth about life and death. He showed us the best path for us to follow. He showed us the best way to live. To do that a person can read about the prophet's life and learn from it. Those who bring to life the practices of the prophet when the community is corrupted will be rewarded here and in eternity.
After doing some careful research, a person will find out that the sufis understood the prophet best. They implemented the commandments and prohibitions of Islamic laws carefully and fastidiously.
Consequently, the highest degree, the ultimate goal, believers can achieve is that of dervish. Some truly Islamic scholars--Ghazali, Molla Jami, Mevlana, Yunus, Hudai and Ibrahim Haqqi--completely agree with it.
(Islam, August 1988)