Ashura, the Sacrifice of Ibrahim, & a Note on Haji Bektash Veli’s Teachings
by Muhammad Ahari El
(A speech given at the Taylor, MI. Tekke, May 1997)
Bismi-Shah, Allah! Allah!
Ya Imam! Ya Husayn!
I first wish to thank Baba Flamur and all of you for the honor of being allowed to speak here on this day honoring the supreme sacrifice made by our Imam Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah bless him). His sacrifice is one that all Believers should be heartened by. He stood against tyranny with seventy-two loyal supporters.
In the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Alaihi Salam) we are reminded of the high honor Allah placed upon the Family of the Prophet. Husayn is called ‘my son’ by the Prophet. Hazret Ali is called the door to the city of knowledge. Lady Fatimah is called the Lady of Paradise. Lady Zainab is called the witness and was the strongest supporter of Imam Zayn-ul-Abidin (Alaihi Salam). All of their sacrifice, high honors, and examples must never be forgotten.
Many commentators on the Holy Qur’an say the sacrifice Ibrahim was allowed to give Allah was not a ram but a future descendent, the Holy Imam Husayn (Alaihi Salam).
Hunkar Haji Bektash Veli tells us in the Fevaitname (which is known in Arabic as Kitab-ul-Fevaid and in English as The Benefits of Sacrifice for Your Lord) in Benefit 71 thefollowing:
“One day, a dervish in order to get instruction, asked of Haji Bektash Veli as follows: When the prophet Ismail arrived at the age when he could perform the rites of pilgrimage with the prophet Ibrahim, Ibrahim said, `Oh, my son, I have seen in a dream that I must kill you as a sacrifice. Now what do you think?’ The prophet Ismail said: `O my father, do as has been commanded you; you will find me of those who are patient. When they had embraced each other, and Ismail had lain down to be sacrificed, God called to them, saying: `O Ibrahim, we have justified your dream; behold, how we will recompense those who have acted well! Behold here is the evident proof. We have paid the ransom of Ismail by sending a great sacrifice.”
“What is the real meaning of these verses from the Qur’an? Haji Bektash Veli responded thus: 'The prophet Ibrahim is an allusion to the Spiritual which is the true father; and the prophet Ismail to the heart which is between the spirit and reason; and the archangel Gabriel is compared to reason which is the judge between the heart and the carnal soul. One may explain the beast of sacrifice as the carnal soul, whose apparent and spiritual desires one must annihilate, or the seeker of Reality cannot attain his purpose.”
As you can see this lesson of Haji Bektash Veli was spoken not written by him. The same is true of his Makalat (in Arabic), his commentary on the Qur’an, Sharh-ul-Basmallah, and his Letter on Mystic Utterances called Sathiyyah. His method was that of the traveling village preacher. This Saint taught love of God, acceptance of all prophets, and love for all humanity. These principles allowed a message of love taught by a Persian to spread until Turks, Albanians and others accepted this Universal Message.
The power of this message and its ability to be understood by the common man as opposed to the intellectuals and lofty philosophers helped it spread. Many have seen this as a sign of illiteracy and backwardness by that is not the case. Sirri Dede wrote eloquently in Arabic and Albanian but was called illiterate and uncultured by many non-dervishes that met him. The same is true in the case of our Beloved Baba Rexheb. He was a master of Turkish, Albanian, Persian, Italian, Greek and Arabic.
As followers of Haji Bektash Veli we need to preserve his memory and teachings. As children of Baba Rexheb we must not allow these academics outside the tariqat to defame his memory. As practitioners of love, we must spread the Universal Message of Pir Hunkar Haji Bektash Veli.
I have had the blessings to sit with Baba Rexheb on many occasions and see this message in practice. I will always treasure memories of those visits.
I close with a reminder taken from an old adage:
“Make every place a Karbala and every day an Ashura.”
Zoti Kabul! May Allah Accept!