M. Fethullah Gulen
With strong conviction and high hope, poised to move forward; with firm resolve, our will ready as a taut bow-string is ready in sweet imagination of paradise-like scenes of tomorrow, whose beauty we experience in spirit-we speak of the future once more, alert to its being near. It is as if the dark clouds-clouds that have been covering our foundations built of a deep spirituality, and our shining past built of ivory and pearl, crystal and coral, and our culture woven with threads of satin and silk, and gold and silver-the dark clouds are moving away and an attractive, enchanting world is gliding across the horizon. The scenes appearing to us, as yet afar, produce such thrills of pleasure in our souls that we feel as if the happy, promised time had all but arrived.
Realities mixed with imagining, we feel we are half way to the peaceful union of the modern with the traditional, the scientific with the religious and spiritual, the reason with the heart, the experienced with the revealed, and the military power with sense, justice and right. We are travelling toward this goal and feel as if we heard lyrical melodies that harmonized the past and the future. With the hope that the day will certainly come when souls conceive of nothing but goodness and fairness, when feelings overflow with love and compassion and eyes become more generous than clouds in pouring tears of mercy, when the soil fully awakens to life and the earth becomes as safe and comfortable as a nest, when human beings compete with spiritual beings in goodness and virtue-we try to meet in cheerful faith all the requirements of travelling to those horizons where we shall taste life once again as it should be.
We are hopeful because all the preparations made, the efforts exerted, and the hardships endured, are like melodies of the happy future world in whose warmth the past and the future will be embraced and the present time will unburden itself to its faithful, blessed friends, and we will sing joyful songs of the lost paradise regained.
We are hopeful because things begin to voice the wise purpose in their creation; the sun, the moon and stars begin to discourse about the past; worlds far beyond our own send smiles ahead to those expected happy days, and the preparations of a coming celebration are observed everywhere. Hoping to God that an adverse wind does not rise up to pull everything down; that space, this island of time, where souls, deeper in spirit than their actions, whose beliefs and actions are louder than their words, whose hearts and minds are set upon eternity, alight and depart, will be the island where mankind have been longing to dwell since the beginning of their worldly existence, the island which will transport them to eternity from its harbours and quays and platforms.
It is truly so. If we stir up things around us just a little, they will, as a part of history, begin to speak and sing the praises of the future. We may liken our moment in time to a clock waiting to be wound up. In appearance quite still or ‘out of order’ it is ready to work with the slight effort of winding. This moment of time too is about to move, like an athlete at the starting-pistol. Indeed, may we not say that it has already started-to be united with its roots in the past and to search for new horizons in the future. Its movement is a rhythmical one directed by wisdom and promising springtimes, one after another; from it are heard sounds of profound resonance and music sublime.
The basic dynamics of this movement are belief and hope, while its future lies in Prophetic resolve to persevere without leaving room for any kind of deficiencies in reasoning or understanding or feeling. It is God, and only He, Who will produce the result, and it is an offence to Him to strike attitudes that imply that our hands determine and produce the result. If we reflect upon the present situation and the unimaginable effects of the dynamics we have from yesterday to the present, we could not help but be amazed by seeing how great rewards are given for the least of efforts. Ponder the fact that, although the values belonging to us have been unfairly chewed up between the teeth of time, still they have been able to reach the coastlines of our century and we can re-achieve them as the indispensable elements of our civilization and culture. We find them still as fresh as the first day and use them as either keys with which to open the long-locked doors of hearts, or the doors of castles on the way to conveying civilization to all parts of the world, or as torches of learning with which to illuminate the world. They are still so powerful and enchanting that while some of them introduce us into the world of Ibn Khaidun or Biruni or Zahrawi or Shafi’i and Abu Hanifa, some others bring us roses from the gardens of spiritual masters like Ibrahim Adham, ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Shah Naqhsband, Shaykh Uftada and Shaykh Ghalib, and still others take us to the evergreen summits of Iqbal, Baqi, Fuduli, Sa’di, Nizami, Nawa’i and Rumi.
With its natural environment unpolluted and in good order and harmony, its lovely towns and villages re-planned and re-designed, and its population equipped with such human values and virtues as belief, love, knowledge, mutual loyalty and high morals, this world would be a place fit for joyful, sincere-hearted people to dwell in; a place where rivers of love and other sublime feelings flow; where works of the finest artistry appear side by side with those of the sciences into which religion has breathed a new life; a place where families dwell whose members are attached to one another with love, respect and compassion. Those destined to live in this world will find it a paradise-like place cleansed of all kinds of impurity and foulness, and purified of all kinds of misery and dissipation, where angelic souls fly around and all are for each and each is for all.
This world will convey meanings from the other world, and plains and mountains will radiate peace and contentment. Emotions will be much deeper and fed by eternity. In this world whose material is woven of belief, morals, knowledge and love, life will be more beneficial and nothing wasted.
We are now on the way to this world of love, peace and vitality. Our final destination is He, the One to Whom we have devoted our hearts. We are walking toward Him along the way He has established. With our trust placed in Him and relying on His favours, our struggle is to reach Him. He will produce the result, Who never breaks His Word and always fulfils His promise. So why be hopeless? Why speak of thorns in the garden of roses?
We are servants chained at His doorway. He always makes us understand our servanthood. Our aim is to be able to perform the duty of thanksgiving for His making Himself known to us. We always seek refuge in His Court. He will surely admit those who, after long journeying, knock at the door of His Court. He will surely admit them to the final union.