M. Fethullah Gulen
With their vision, faith, and deeds, people of heart are integrated heroes of spirituality. Their profundity relies not on their knowledge or acquisitions, but on the richness of their hearts, the pureness of their souls and their closeness to God. They believe that the principles presented to humanity in the name of knowledge are valuable only if they lead humanity to the truth. Similarly, they regard information, and especially abstract knowledge that has no practical uses, as being insignificant, as they do not assist human beings to understand the reality of the creatures, the matter and human beings themselves.
People of heart are monuments of humility and modesty who are devoted to a spiritual life, determined to stay away from all the material and spiritual dirt, always vigilant to corporeal desires of the body, and ready to struggle with such evils as hatred, resentment, greed, jealousy, selfishness and lust. They always endeavor to give what is right the highest esteem, to convey to others what they feel about this world, as well as the next, and they are always patient and cautious. People of faith and action who, rather than talking and making noise, live as they believe, present an exemplary personality for others. Such people move on, never pausing, teaching those who are walking toward God how to do so. Inside, they have a pyre that can never be extinguished. Yet, in order not to disclose this painful burning inside, such people never complain to others. As such, they are constantly emitting heat to the spirits of those who seek shelter in them.
A longing for the transcendent realms is evident in the eyes of people of heart. Dedicated to the consent of God, they are such people of progress and of struggle with distances that they run like a purebred Arabian steed until they reach their Beloved One, without expecting, in the meantime, anything in return.
People of heart are such sincere adherents of the truth that all they think of is to stabilize the justice on earth and they are willing, when it comes to His consent, to give up their own desires and wishes. They open their hearts to everyone, welcoming them affectionately, and appearing as an angel of preservation in society. Regarding their deeds and attitudes, they try to be compatible with everybody, they try to avoid vicious competition with others, and they avoid resentment. Even though such people make choices from time to time in favor of their convictions, beliefs, methods and ways, they do not compete with others. On the contrary, they love all who serve in the name of their religion; they love their country and their ideals. Furthermore, they give generously to other people in pursuit of positive activities and they try to show as much respect as possible to the philosophy and ideas that other people adopt.
Along with such endeavors and activities, people of heart who are seeking ways to incur His help also give utmost importance to God’s aid and assistance. They pay particular attention to union and solidarity, which are considered a means of God’s aid. They are ready, wholeheartedly, to cooperate with anybody who is on the straight path. Moreover, for such an understanding of union, they, in spite of themselves, follow a path. Believing that union incurs mercy, and dissension and disunion lead nowhere, such people do their best to gain the help and good will of all, ever receptive to showers of Divine aid.
People of heart are lovers of God, and devoted seekers of God’s consent. They connect their deeds to His pleasure, regardless of the circumstances. They display great ambition to please Him, and are willing for the sake of this purpose to use or abandon all that they possess-of this world or not. There is never any room in the realm of their thoughts for unpleasant expressions like “I did it,” “I succeeded,” or “I managed it.” Such people take pleasure in the fulfillment of the tasks of others, as if they had carried such actions out themselves, they take the same amount of pleasure in such achievements as if it were their own and they follow humbly after these people, leaving also the honor and the title of leading to them. What is more, as they consider others to be more eligible and successful in serving religion and humanity, they provide other people with more comfortable facilities, and, taking a step back, continue in their service as an “ordinary person.”
People of heart are too busy fighting their selves and their misdemeanors to be interested in the misdeeds of others. In contrast, they set an example to others of what a good person should be, leading others to attain higher horizons. They turn a blind eye to what other people may do wrong. Responding with a smile to those who have displayed negative attitudes, such people nullify bad behavior with kindness, not thinking to hurt anybody, even when they have been hurt over and over again.
For the man of heart, a soldier of the reality that has been devoted to gaining God’s good pleasure with feelings, ideas and deeds, the first priority is to lead a life based on perfect faith and equipped with sincerity. Thus, it is unlikely that such a person will be dissuaded from reaching their goal, even if they were offered the heavens in addition to the world.
People of heart never compete with those who bear the same ideals and who walk on the same path, nor do they envy them. In contrast, they complete what has been left incomplete by others, and, when interacting with other people, they treat them as if they were as closely connected as organs of the same body. With a complete understanding of renunciation, pushing their counterparts into the limelight, in every earthly as well as unearthly matter, they withdraw to the background. They act as spokespersons for the accomplishments of others, applauding them and welcoming their achievements with the same joy that they feel on a festival.
Relying to a great extent on method and manner, people of heart conduct all of their acts in accordance with their nature. They try, however, to remain respectful to the acts and thoughts of others. They are able to live harmoniously and to share, developing common projects. They struggle to replace the word “I” with the word “we.” Above all, they sacrifice their happiness for that of others. In so doing, they never expect any appreciation or respect from anyone. They even think that such expectations are a form of moral corruption and, thus, they avoid appearing in the limelight, they avoid fame and fortune, much as they would a snake or a scorpion, hoping only to be soon forgotten.
People of heart do not violate the rights of any other people, nor do they seek revenge. Even in the most critical circumstances, they tend to behave calmly, and do whatever a person of heart should do to the utmost. They always reply to evil acts with kindness, and, considering badness to be a characteristic of evil, treating those who have harmed them as monuments of virtue.
People of heart lead a life illuminated by the light of the Qur’an and the Sunna, and also within the framework of the consciousness of taqwa (piety), blessing, and sainthood. They are on constant guard against feelings of egoism, pride, fame, etc., feelings which kill the heart. The glories performed by such people are attributed to the Real Owner, saying, “All is from Him.” With those things that depend on will power, they avoid uttering “I,” instead taking refuge in “We.”
People of heart are afraid of no one. No single event can send them into a panic. “Relying on God, he works hard, expecting the rest from His aid,” sums up their character, and they never break their promise.
People of heart never lose their temper with anybody, nor are they offended by those whose hearts are attached to God. When they see any of their brothers or sisters-in-religion doing wrong, they do not abandon them. In order to avoid embarrassment they do not make any wrong-doing publicly or personally known, either. On the contrary, they blame and question themselves for witnessing any immoral act.
People of heart avoid commenting on the attitudes of believers that are apt to be interpreted differently. They think positively of what they see and hear and never perceive such actions as being negative.
In every act and deed, people of heart keep in mind that here, this world, is not a place of reward, but rather one of service. Accordingly, they perform the duties that they are responsible for in strict discipline, regarding it as being discourteous to God to be concerned about the consequences. They consider it a priority to perform actions in the name of God and with God’s consent in order to serve the religion, belief, and humankind, and however great their achievements may be, they attribute all to God, without thinking about taking a personal share for themselves.
The destruction of order cannot leave people of heart in despair, nor does the opposition of other people disturb them. “This world is not a place for conflicts or rows, but one for endurance,” they say, and patiently clench their teeth. They seek ways out of any situation that they may find themselves in, not losing hope even at the most critical of times, and they are constantly producing with adamant perseverance multifarious strategies. Today, when we find that human values are despised, when there are cracks appearing in religious thinking, when every place resounds with the disturbance caused by the carefree ones, we need people of heart as much as we need air to breathe and water to drink.