M. Fethullah Gulen
Love is an elixir; a human lives with love, is made happy by love and makes those around him or her happy with love. In the vocabulary of humanity, love is life; we feel and sense each other with love. God Almighty has not created a stronger relation than love, this chain that binds humans one to another. In fact, the Earth is nothing but a ruin without love to keep it fresh and alive. Jinn and humans have sultans; bees, ants and termites have their queens; for each of these there is a throne. Kings and queens are come to power in different ways, and then they ascend their thrones. Love is the sultan that reigns on the throne of our hearts, with no power strugle being involved. The tongue and lips, the eyes and the ears only have a value as long as they carry the flag of love, yet love is only valuable in and of itself. The heart, the pavilion of love, is priceless because of the love it carries. Castles can be conquered without bloodshed merely by waving flags of love in front of them. Sultans become soldiers of affection when conquered by the soldiers of love.
We have been brought up in an atmosphere in which the victories of love are in our eyes and the sound of the drums of love resounds in our hearts. Our hearts beat with excitement when we see the flag of love waving. We have become so intertwined with love that our lives become purely dependent on love, and we dedicate our souls to it. When we live, we live with love, and when we die, we die with love. In every breath, we feel it with our whole existence; it is our warmth in the cold, and our oasis in the heat.
In this over-polluted world, where evil is everywhere, if there is something that has been left untouched and clean, that is love; among all the fading ornaments of this life, if there is a beauty that has preserved its magnificence and charm without fading, that is also love. There is nothing more real or more lasting than love in any nation or society in this world. Wherever the sound of love, softer and warmer than a lullaby, is heard, all other voices, all instruments, are muted, and they all join together in a contemplation of silence with their most melodic strains.
Creation is the result of lighting the wick of the candle of love, the wick of “being known and seen.” If the Lord did not love creation, there would be neither moons, nor suns nor stars. The heavens are all poems of love, with the Earth being the rhyme. In nature, the heavy blow of love is felt, and in relationships between people, the flag of love can be seen to wave. In society, if there is a currency that maintains its value, it is love, and again the value of love is found in itself. Love weighs more if weighed against with the purest gold. Both gold and silver can lose their value in different markets and places, but the doors of love are closed to any kind of pessimism and nothing can alter its inner stability and harmony. Up to this very moment, only those who are immersed in hatred, wrath and enmity plan to resist and struggle against love. Ironically, the only cure that will calm these brutal souls is love. Beyond the effect of worldly treasures there are other problems that only the mystical keys of love can solve. It is not possible that any value on this earth can overcome or even compete with love. The cartels of gold, silver, coin, or any other object of value, are almost always conquered in this marathon by the devotees of affection and love. When the day comes, despite all the splendid, pompous life styles of the owners of material wealth, their coffers are empty, their fires have burned out; yet the candle of love always burns, giving light and diffusing this into our hearts and souls.
Those fortunate people who have kneeled in front of the altar of affection and who have devoted their lives to spreading love have not left even the smallest space in their vocabulary for words like hatred, wrath, conspiracy, or resentment, and even if it means putting their very lives at risk, they have never indulged in enmity. Their heads are humbly bowed, filled with love, they have never greeted anything other than love. When they rise, feelings of enmity try to find a haven in which to hide, feelings of hatred become jealous, recoiling from the blow delivered by love.
The only magic, the only spell that can destroy the tricks of Satan, is love. The messengers and prophets extinguished the fires of hatred and jealousy kindled by the pharaohs, the Nimrods, and other tyrannous kings; they used nothing but love. The saints have tried to gather together the undisciplined and rebellious souls, spread all over like loose pages; they have used love to try to introduce humane behavior to others. The power of love was great enough to break the spells of Harut and Marut,* and effective enough to extinguish the fires of Hell. Hence, there is no doubt that a person who is armored with love needs no other weapon. Indeed, love is strong enough to stop a bullet or even a canon ball.
Our interest in our environment and our love for humankind - that is, our ability to embrace creation - depends on knowing and understanding our own essence, our ability to discover ourselves, and to feel a connection with our Creator. In parallel with the ability to discover and feel our inner depths and hidden potential within our essence, we will also be able to appreciate that others also possess the same potential. Moreover, because these inner values are directly related to the Creator, and because a respect for the riches that are hidden in every creature is nurtured, we will start to see every living thing from a different perspective and in a different manner. In reality, the level of our understanding and appreciation of one another depends on how well we recognize the qualities and riches that each person possesses. We can summarize this concept with a thought based on a saying of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, “A believer is the mirror of another believer.” We can enlarge on this saying as “a human is a mirror of another human.” If we are able to succeed in doing this, as well as being able to understand and appreciate the riches hidden within every person, we will also understand how to relate these riches to their true Owner, and thus we will accept that anything in this universe that is beautiful, affectionate, or loving belongs to Him. A soul that can sense this depth says, as did Rumi, a famous Muslim saint, presenting us tales from the language of the heart: “Come, come and join us, as we are the people of love devoted to God! Come, come through the door of love and join us and sit with us. Come, let us speak one to another through our hearts. Let us speak secretly, without ears and eyes. Let us laugh together without lips or sound, let us laugh like the roses. Like thought, let us see each other without any words or sound. Since we are all the same, let us call each other from our hearts, we won’t use our lips or tongue. As our hands are clasped together, let us talk about it.”
In our present culture, it is not so easy to witness such a deep understanding of these humane feelings and values; we cannot find these easily in Greek or Latin thought or in Western philosophy. Islamic thought sees each one of us as a different manifestation of a unique ore, as different aspects of one reality. Indeed, the people who have gathered around common points, such as the Oneness of God, the Prophet and the religion resemble the limbs of a body. The hand does not need to compete with the foot, the tongue does not criticize the lips, the eye does not see the mistakes of the ears, the heart does not struggle with the mind.
As we are all limbs of the same body, we should cease this duality that violates our very union. We should clear the way to unite people; this is one of the greatest ways in which God grants people success in this world, and how He transforms this world into a Paradise. It is in this way that the doors of Heaven will be opened wide in order to give us a warm welcome. Hence, we should remove all ideas and feelings that pull us apart, and run to embrace one another.
* Two angels, whose story is told in the Qur’an (2:102), taught the fundamentals of magic to people and warned them against abusing it.