Forty Sessions (Chehel Majlis)


He (Sheikh Semnani) asked a Khadem (Servant or Attendant), ‘Are the Dervishes satisfied with you or not?” And then the Sheikh continued, “Dervishes are happy with the Khadem (Servant) no more that three days. I have been doing this for forty years and when I was serving my sheikh I saw a few Khadem(s) (Servants) and never saw the Dervishes happy with them. Truly Khadem (Servant) should focus sight on Allah Almighty and to understand every work he embarks upon is for Allah’s awareness of his action and he should carry out this action such that It sees the work to reward him.

If the sight of the Khadem (Servant) is upon the satisfaction & gratitude of people, satisfaction of the Lord is lost and people’s appreciation never obtained.”


Mohammad Peace Be Upon Him informed the Muslims that the best amongst them is the one who is a Khadem serving the people. Object/Subject of the serving is of no consequence. Khadem’s (Servant or Attendant) intention in the heart is all that matters. He/She serves people, believer or disbeliever rich or poor family or strangers poor or affluent mundane or important. When people turn against his very generosity and grace, he understands that this is the proof of Allah seeing him and had his heart was upon the sight of Allah then all is won and if his heart sought after the acceptance & gratitude of people all is lost.

Modern Sufi, specially the ones in the West should prepare themselves to be Khadem (Servant or Attendant) instead of ceaseless fascination with fetishes and Yoga like rituals and exercises. Clearly today’s Sufi sees massive misery and cruelty around the planet, from his Western country to villages of the third world and he/she should set the sight upon the Beloved and make friends with broken hearts. Because midst the shards of the shattered hearts resides the Beloved.

The nature of the services mattes not! The duration of the services matters not! What matters: It is done regularly with the same conviction and zeal and is performed for the resplendent eye of his Divine Beloved to behold him serving the people. Serving coffee in the cold mornings to anyone passing by, or plowing the neighbor’s drive way, or simply removing trash and broken glass from the sidewalks are fine examples of work for a Khadem (Servant or Attendant). Going around the neighborhood and helping children with their homework, or playing with them when the parents are busy or resting are other fine examples of service.

In lofty corners of the charitable organizations you find nothing but in the moments of passing the ball to a fatherless child you find the Beloved. In the books and temples you find nothing but serving coffee in a cold day you find the Beloved.

The old poor grandmother simply watching a child while the parents away is closer to the Beloved than all the fancy spiritual gurus, authors and leaders.


© 2004-2001,  Dara O. Shayda