Nature is, in its particulars and as a whose, an exhibition of Divine miracles. However, rather than call it an exhibition, we prefer to call it a ‘book’. For we sense and study it as a book and observe it in admiration as if looking through a book gilded in a very splendid way. Appearing before us every morning arrayed in a new, dazzling and richly decorated dress, it breathes into us a new life and spirit and enraptures us.
This ‘book’ or exhibition was once much more dazzling; like a magnificent vessel sailing in the ocean of love and ecstasy or a chandelier with one thousand and one lights, it was beautiful beyond imagination. With its emerald hills and slopes and exhilarating valleys and plains, with its forests inhabited by thousands of kinds of cheerful animals and paradise-like gardens, fields and orchards, and with its singing birds and merry-making insects, this ‘book’ was the realm neighboring the other world. Divine mercy poured onto it in the form of rain to make the earth more fertile and, in return, hands were held open towards it in profound gratitude.
Those who sensed nature in that manner could not help but establish a deep heartfelt relation with the sound, melody, taste, smell and beauties which issued from it by the Hand of Power. For they were so intimate and familiar with it that whenever they gazed on it, they felt different things pertaining to the worlds beyond.
Like the elegance and grace in the architecture of a palace inspiring in us different things beyond the palace itself, nature, this exhibition of the miracles of Divine art, inspires in our hearts an intuition of the existence of One who, being the real source of all harmony and beauty, has brought it into existence and designed it, One who, although He makes us feel Himself through every work of His, is beyond the capacity of direct human perception.
The natural world and the heavens are as if in each other’s arms. It is as if in response to the strong desire of mountains to meet with heavens which they show by making their peaks lean on their skirts, heavens hang their skirts down over them. Like bees flying from one flower to the other, human imagination travels through the reflections of the Creator’s beauty and goes as fas as the horizon. When it reaches the horizon, thinking that the road goes on far into eternity beyond heavens, it sets out for a new journey and man begins to hear the melodies belonging to the worlds beyond. Those who, through their imaginations, can stay in those worlds for a long time, succeed in meeting the true beloved, with the love of whom they are consumed and for the union with whom they long.
For those who have resolved to make a journey through this realm of nature which provides knowledge of God for the traveller and where the heart, spirit and conscience overflow with innumerable kinds of pleasures, with its exhilarating spectacles, multi-coloured hills and slopes, impressive mountains that lead one into day-dreams, amorous gardens, awe-inspiring forests, streams and rivers murmuring in their way to union with seas-it is especially in spring and summer, a realm of joy, pleasure, peace and imagination.
There is a magnificence, a charm, and a poetical harmony in every corner of this ‘book’ or exhibition. It is as if-with all its variety of beauty diversified in colours and forms, and the sheer charm of its general appearance, such that one would say, It is impossible for it to be more beautiful than this!-nature were in a sort of beauty competition. Those who have awakened to those beauties observe it differently and hear from it melodies of unimaginable beauty. Those ‘intoxicated’ spirits see trees dancing mentioning His Name and flowers announcing Him in the languages particular to themselves, and they hear everything in nature whispering peculiar messages from that symphony of beauty.
There are parts of nature which know of neither winter nor autumn. They are so dazzling and charming that you feel near the pont of touching the ultimate reach of beauty where this and other worlds are as if concentric with each other. The slopes of those places give you the impression that you are in gardens of Paradise, the rivers flowing through them bring to your mind the rivers of Paradise, and the swaying of their trees bring you a gust of breezes in gardens of Paradise. In short, in the beauties exhibited in those places you feel and observe the eternal beauties and, thinking that the worldly life is too short to experience all those beauties perfectly, you feel an earnest desire for eternity and turn to the Infinitely Powerful One so that that vital desire of yours may be realized.
What a pity it is that this magnificent book, this charming exhibition, which the Infinitely Merciful One has created and presented to man to observe and study and to be exhilarated by, is no longer given any more care than is given to a heap of junk or rubbish. Worse than that, it is more and more becoming a wasteland and like a dunghill.
Today, air, that magnificent conductor of Divine commands, is a suffocating smoke and a perilous ‘whirlpool’. Water, that source of life and other Divine bounties, is either a hazardous flood or forms desolate expanses of pitch. And earth, that treasure of Divine grace and munificence, is a wilderness no longer productive and a ruin without any ecological balance.
Like everything else entrusted to us, we have deplorably treated this ‘book’, this magnificent exhibition, which is an embodiment of Divine grace and mercy. How deplorably and awkwardly we have treated plains and residential places, which we have changed into deserts and heaps of ruin. How deplorably and gracelessly we have treated seas and rivers, which we have polluted. Again, how deplorably and awkwardly we have treated air and water, and fields, forests, and gardens, which we have made unfavorable to any life. Truly, by changing this Paradise-like world to a hell, how deplorably and awkwardly we have treated ourselves!
Unless we improve this world, whose order we have destroyed and which we have polluted, and restore it to its essential beauty and magnificence, it will inevitably collapse on us in heaps of wreckage.
The Nature We Have Destroyed
- By M. Fethullah Gulen
- Category: Issue 15 (July - September 1996)
- © Blue Dome Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.