It seems that we have forgotten how to act like human beings. We are far removed from representing our unique status among all of existence. Despite all the qualities we possess which the angels envy, we engage in acts that even evil spirits would be embarrassed of. We are overcome with rancor and hatred, flushed with fury, and regard one another with feelings of vengeance. Our breasts are drained of love, a haze of loathing obscures our feelings, and for so many years now the magical aura of love is alien to our perceptions. We constantly produce evil in our thoughts. Destroying our environment, assimilating everything into those things we like, and suppressing the “other” have become almost routine. So many of us act upon our emotions and abandon rational thinking. We trample and silence those who do not think the same as us; this, indeed, is our most distinct character. We plunge forward, headstrong, on our own way, without considering for even a moment that there may be other solutions to different problems; thus, we lead the way to destruction in many cases where we could have been a means for constructive solutions. Winning hearts by addressing one another in sincere tenderness is like a long-forgotten tradition that has fallen out of fashion.
We are frenzied by facing the numerous challenges of oppositional thought and their representatives, all generated by our selfishness. We easily become enraged and filled with hatred; we crush others if we are powerful enough. If we are not, then we do not hesitate to defame them, damaging their dignity with all the power of the media and the facilities at our disposal, causing more grievous harm than death can possibly cause. In the face of all these inauspicious facts, all that can be heard in the world is either the joyous laughter of the tyrants or the screams of the wronged. There are so many countries that have been suppressed for decades, their victimized peoples engulfed. Minds are pacified, emotions and enthusiasm are extinguished, and people becoming alienated from their own values, and thus find that they approach one another with enmity. In such societies, differing thoughts and approaches have become a cause for contention and conflict, painful fights are endless, and mischief is spread between individuals. One party carves out the eye of another or murders them; the other responds by running into crowds as suicide bombers or driving a car filled with explosives through them. Violence is everywhere, as savage as, or perhaps even more atrocious than that caused by any barbarian.
Many are devoid of any trace of the human soul, their consciences paralyzed: The human freewill chases tyrannical plans; the mind, which is supposed to be an observatory for the knowledge of the Divine, surrenders to contaminated desires; the world of feelings, that purest source of love, becomes a pit full of treachery and danger; the heart, potentially an aperture for witnessing the Truth, becomes a pitch-dark tunnel in a blackout; contradicting the human purpose of existence all human systems are in an exile of waywardness.
As a matter of fact, the world has suffered from similar unpleasant recurrences many times in history; nevertheless, partially due to globalization and the substantial advance in technology, the level of destruction and evil is more tragic and terrifying now than it has ever been before.
Every single day we are terrorized by a different scene of horror on the television, internet, or the pages of the press, and many times we avert our gaze, looking in another direction. Even though we close our eyes and ears, whatever can infiltrate our memories, beyond our control, pierces through our chests, leaving incurable wounds in our hearts and spirits. At times, masses of evil are felt all at once, and we find ourselves bent in pain with the victims in blood and tears; we feel beaten as the worlds of so many people are destroyed. It is like autumn everywhere; people are like dry leaves breaking off from the trees. In the words of Akif, “Cities in ruin, homes devastated, wayward communities / Bridges destroyed, canals smashed, roads without travelers / the pitiful faithful killing coreligionists in the name of a ‘holy war’ / desolate residences, deserted villages, roofs collapsed / days deprived of sweat, evenings wasted without any future plans . . .” The malice that fills us to the throat bursts out in screams, and unable to do anything more, we moan regretfully.
Everything and every one expect a helping hand from us; however, responding with indifference and poverty in most cases, we aggravate their desolation. With no sign of emotion, indolence pervades, and their cries are not echoed. Those who sympathize with them do not have the power or the means to help. Witnessing all this violence every day is no different than dying over and over with each incident. Frozen, they voice their anguish in the words of Suzi : “Rain does not fall, the tulip does not grow / Will it always be like this? / This is all that comes to this city from the ocean of Mercy / Miserably blow the winds! . . .”
Shaken in despair, we cannot help but say “Then, this is how nations will devour one another; friction will continue between the masses and no one will sincerely love others. People will no longer be concerned for others and no one will extend a hand to the wronged; no mercy will be shown for the victim, people will not welcome one another, no sense of security will remain, mad people, whose thoughts, speeches, and hands are stained with blood, will shape the fate of the world, and once again it will be an era of tyrants . . .” This situation cannot continue; if it does, then the end of humanity and human values is eminent.
Then, why are you hesitating? Having reached a critical intersection in human history, come today and let us lend an ear to the divine calls that are echoed in the voice of Rumi, Yunus, and the like; let us speak out for “love” and “brotherhood and sisterhood”! Come and let us show the entire world the privilege of being human with all the colors and patterns! Come in genuine love and dialogue at a time when hatred and revenge have darkened the face of our world! Come and let us open up the gates of our conscience and welcome all in due proportion to the vastness of divine mercy! Come, and let us be saved from preferring to be like a drop of water standing individually and destined to dry out and vanish; instead let us join with waterfalls to become one with the ocean! We are all humans; this means our genes all come from those of Prophet Adam and our essence is from the Truth of Ahmad. Then, come! Let us rise up against all the evil motives and cry out to all the worlds that we are vicegerents on the earth and that we are racing for the heavens! Let us make angels appreciate the eminence of being human! Come and let us transform all our paths to secure avenues and turn to God, hand in hand, our hearts beating as one.
1. Mehmet Akif Ersoy (1936), the poet of the Turkish national anthem.
2. Suzi (1524) was a renowned Turkish poet from Prizren, Kosovo.
Longing for Love
- By M. Fethullah Gulen
- Category: Issue 64 (July - August 2008)
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