Issue 68 / March - April 2009
Towards Spelling Out Our Own Line of Thought
M. Fethullah Gulen
In the past, â€śIslamâ€ť used to come into our peopleâ€™s minds first as far as â€śreligionâ€ť was concerned, and it would resonate with wonder in their conscience. Above all, Islam had left on sound-thinking souls a deep and powerful impression which challenged all kinds of decay or deterioration. Worldwide peace and the eternal serenity of humankind were the main objectives of Islam. The arguments it offered to realize its promises were so strong that those who recognized it with all its proofs and implications were considered to have attained the utmost glory. Originating from God, it was such a powerful and convincing call inviting people to Him that those who lent a listening ear without prejudice would instantly be wrapped in its aura. Its influence on them would remain forever, for its voice echoed a continuous happiness both in this world and in the world to come. The key to becoming angelic was encoded in this voice, a voice from beyond the heavens, and the system it communicated was nothing other than the religion of Islam.
Through this religion, humanity welcomed the most profound and rewarding transformations spreading in ever-widening circles from the center and witnessed the most vital changes. It was Islam which indicated the paths leading to absolute peace and salvation; it offered decisive solutions to the problems of humanity that had amassed over centuries. And today, despite the age-long efforts of many aggressive and brutal people to defame its luminous face and prevent its advance, Islam still maintains its position as a unique source of hope and treats everyone who takes refuge in it with an elixir of immortality.
Although there have been some who chose to darken their fate by breaking away from Islam during a gloomy period or by opposing it for the sake of obstinacy in a false cause, Islamâ€™s ever fresh and fulfilling message has always been like a lighthouse for those on the voyage and a safe haven for those in peril. For all some people may say, the entire world will one day appreciate this great truth thanks to the real representatives of this religion and will run to its climate of soothing breezes. Who knows? This religion may embrace us all, just like in the first ages of revival, and blow a new soul into this moribund world! May the followers of this religion not disappoint those who pin their hopes on them by dallying and wavering; may they not shake the trust in them that has started to grow in public opinion.
In a single breath, this religion once saved the masses that had sunk up to their throats in heedlessness, ignorance, and aberration, and it elevated them to lofty horizons beyond imagining; likewise, it will certainly be a source of inspiration for todayâ€™s dispersed and aimless masses and speak to them of the privilege of being human.
One day, with its well-preserved heavenly nature, this religion will wake the riotous masses of this age to being truly human and will reveal the divine in Islamâ€™s essence to everyone; for this religion is not an empty system that consists of nothing but abstract measures, principles, and theories. Islam is a combination of systems that is perfectly compatible with human nature and rich enough to meet all the material and spiritual needs of humanity. It is the voice originating from the realms beyond the heavens that promises a bright future for every individual and society. And now, with its unique rhetoric and enchanting effect engrossing everyone, it offers to humanity a mysterious key to unlock the gates of this world and the afterlife by way of carrying them to the heavenliness once attained in the past.
Although our religion is not being fully expressed due to some of its disloyal followers and destructive enemies-as is no doubt the case today-its voice will be heard in the skies and beyond at a providential period of time, by means of the efforts of its auspicious students who have managed to wed their heart with their mind; this will be the true shab-i arus (wedding night) for the people of their time.
If such splendors were achieved in the darkest days of history, why should they not be realized once again? As long as they are aware of their own wonder and spiritual merit, human beings are the same human beings that they were in the past, happiness in this world and in the hereafter is the main goal as it was in the past, the disciplines need to reach the goal are the same disciplines as they were before â€¦. All that remains is for the representatives who are spiritually alert with faith, hope, and tenacity to roll up their sleeves ready for work. Hearts are under Godâ€™s control; so all this can come true one day. â€śWhen God manifests Himself with His favor, He makes everything easy / He creates the means for attainment, and grants it instantlyâ€ť (Ibrahim Haqqi). We cannot say representatives of the necessary caliber do not exist at all today. It is true that there is some slackening of enthusiasm and we are acting slowly, but it is also true that many exceptional projects have been realized so far.
So many of our precious values have been revived all over the world that to ignore that fact would be ungrateful, just as it would be unfortunate to remain in despair while they stand before our eyes. How many other developments can we refer to that have been achieved as fast as that in our day? How many other revivals were there that have been as immediate as that of our day? And how many philosophies and worldviews have we seen that have been embraced by the masses in a time as short as this revival we see in our day? The world is the same planet, humanity is the same humanity, the goal is the same goal; then, why should past achievements not be realized again? Once the long-awaited truthful representatives can make their voices heard, albeit at low volume, but in a tone appropriate for all humans of diverse natures, and if those with sensible minds and spirits are made aware of their own true values, then fair-thinking souls who have always sought a glimpse of light throughout the ages will be saved from the confinements of this world and will rush forward to the expansive lands of these enlightened representatives, discovering a very different life.
Opposing revivalist movements, hedonistic circles try to sabotage every positive development; resistance comes especially from a powerful minority whose minds are completely fixed on gaining this world at the expense of the afterlife. These circles go all out to damn and smear the most positive and innocent activities that do not fit into their worldview, if it can be called a view. While they engender a new conflict every day by attacking every thing that is carried out on behalf of religion, sometimes with words like â€śbackwardnessâ€ť and at other times with delirious slanders like â€śfundamentalismâ€ť and â€śfundamentalist,â€ť the pure souls who have awakened to true human values have always smiled back and entreated God the Ever-Patient, hoping that even those hostile circles-who are also favored with the wonder of being human-may one day feel regret for what they have done and ask pardon.
What falls to our share today is to put our faith in God, to walk with added determination on the path we know as straight, to embrace everyone as compassionately as we can, and to pronounce even to hostile groups our overflowing love for humanity. What remains beyond this is to be content with Godâ€™s will, to assume active patience against the exasperations of the time, and to move forward with consideration.