Surface and Depth

Ehl-i Şeriat (people of the Sharia, meaning, the ulema) looks at the surface (zahir) and are only concerned with it. Ehl-i Tarikat (people of the tarikat) enters the inside of the ‘Palace’ and talk from inside the ‘Palace’. Ehl-i Şeriat say, ‘all we see is just the surface of the building; here are the columns, here the windows, here the doors. We do not accept anything apart from this.’ The others [people of the tarikat] say, ‘we do not deny what you talk about; but we have entered the building you see from outside and we are talking about what is inside.’ Ehl-i Şeriat, who are stubborn, say, ‘No, there is nothing like that.’ We say ‘Yes, there are many things, beautiful, precious things inside the Palace. We saw them. You do not enter inside, nor do you want to enter; that is why you cannot see. You look at the surface of the sea! Nothing can be seen on the surface of the sea. Dive and see many sorts of things there! You look at the surface of the Koran and tell the meaning you grasp from it. Will you come out empty after diving into the depths of the sea of the Koran?… Therefore, Ehl-i Şeriat observe the surface of religion, do not dare to dive into it and, therefore, do not accept the news that the ones who dare it gives from inside. The building is the same. However, when you come into it, the picture is different and more beautiful. There is no one from Ehl-i Tarikat that rejects the Sharia. He both accepts the surface of the palace of Islam and tells what is inside it’.”

~ Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani

Taken from a personal interview with Tayfun Atay on 5th March 1992, published in his book, A Muslim Mystic Community In Britain (2012), page 66.

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