M. Fethullah Gulen
WATERFALLS OF ASSISTANCE AND EFFORT GURGLE IN THE BED OF DIVINEBLESSINGS; THEY PASS OVER OR BYPASS ANY OBSTRUCTION THEY FACE ANDTHEY TRY TO REPRESENT THE MISSION ENDOWED BY DIVINE DESTINY IN DETAILWITH THE BEAUTIFUL GEOMETRIC LINES THEY LEAVE BEHIND.
Since the creation of humankind, day followed night, and light was accompanied by dark. Just like the alternation of light and dark over the Earth, bright days were followed by days of pitch dark, and relief-laden eras were replaced by periods of crisis. From time to time, almost every corner was obscured by the darkness of atheism and conflict. Roads were left without illumination. Humanity was defeated by darkness. Some unfettered people with vain ideas crowded the scene, sending their inauspicious muttering throughout the world. At times, the collective conscience held its breath in the face of the noise they made, entering into a contemplation of silence. Then, the word fell into disrepute. Slaves acquired the seal of authority. Masses became toys of demagogy. They were manipulated to silence or action at will. Unsuitable persons were declared stars while many talented persons were barricaded from stardom. False pretensions and dialectical philosophy blocked logic and reasoning. Evil thoughts replaced decent ideas. The institutions from which society expected mercy and compassion were occupied by crude souls obsessed with hatred and animosity. Using these institutions, they sowed seeds of mischief among people, making them enemies of each other. Considerable damage was done to religious thought. The longstanding criteria were undermined and everything turned into chaos. Cups of sweet drink were replaced with goblets of poison, dishes of honey and cream with pots of filth, and light with darkness.
In these dreadful and ominous eras, minds became so confused that people could not help but feel agitated even when they extended a hand to the most decent and noblest of things. Without trust, we referred to each other as “wild,” “animal,” “savage,” and “barbarian.” A small group of faithful and conscientious people, if they existed, were humiliated and rendered speechless. The slaves of darkness became ferocious while the souls who longed for light waited for a helping hand to appear on the horizon of miraculous blessings; they yearned for sunrises; they daydreamed of times that would emerge from mercy. When lips would twitch with the tiniest of smiles out of these considerations they were swept away by subsequent storms of worry; temporary moments of happiness were effectively replaced with years of sorrow.
In line with the notion of “history repeats itself,” the foregoing account applies to our time as well. All of a sudden, clear and sunny horizons are covered with mist and smoke, our view is blocked and our hearts shudder with gloom. Days of joy are dim. Darkness shades our thoughts; our wills are cracked, and our hopes are demolished. At times, one feels as if the sun will never rise again and that daylight will never appear. Unguided souls are shivering with internal desperation and resultant curses.
As for us, as always, we are sure the he latest chaos boiling with filth will soon be terminated, and felicitous days will come in which the divine destiny will clear roads for our nation. As a matter of fact, stories of people of heart are already being related everywhere. Everywhere, pure souls are breathless with the desire to find the Paradise they have lost. Hundreds or thousands of people are meditating upon such considerations, contemplating the purpose of creation and the causes of nature. Yet, we are passing through a rather foggy period of time with respect to our spiritual lives. Moreover, a chilling wind blows for a while, filling the air with the vibration of sorrow. Even the places that overflow with ultimate joy are, from time to time, suffused with worry and despair. Nevertheless, we all know well that worry and despair can no longer stand firm. And when the horizons are bright to help us distinguish good from evil, all the hardships endured on the road will be immediately mitigated. Distances will readily submit to endeavors and efforts. Hills will turn into valleys, and valleys will become smoother; and then, ideals will be intertwined with the journey, and no trace of hardship will be felt in the face of the glamor of the horizons of the goal.
Nowadays, hands are reaching out, though feebly, to the rope of the heart, and the breaths of the soul are heard everywhere. Reason and heart go hand in hand. Thought is embracing inspiration with its dazzling depths. Logic is subordinated to divine revelation. Science guides us to faith; knowledge is led by intuitive knowledge; laboratories raise apprentices to the prayer hall; wills are lively and resolute with the help of the water of life that is offered by faith; eyes wander on the same horizons with insight; contradicting physics, metaphysical springs emerge everywhere. It seems obvious that snow or ice, however cold they are, cannot survive long in the face of the heat kindled in the sources. Blizzards, however strong they are, will fail to extinguish the torches protected by the lanterns of the natural tendencies of human nature - as long as it is permitted by God. Although, at times, most of us turn crimson red, shivering with various worries or making a fuss over strong winds, it is obvious that we send our warmest smiles to our surroundings like roses bursting from their buds, effervescing like nightingales flitting from one branch to another. We cannot deny the fact that our hearts leap with hope and expectation for the sounds of “waterfalls of life” to reach us, for “the white hand”1 to hover over our heads. The already awakened souls ponder these considerations with confidence; it is as if they have reached the borders of their hearts, and are full of joy with the enthusiasm of having sensed the odors of the Paradise, however slight its trickle may be.
Yes, those capable of filtering current events through their hearts and souls can feel the coming of spring, which brings a shining sun and all the shades of green under foot. Waterfalls of assistance and effort gurgle in the bed of divine blessings, heading toward the sea free from all obstacles; they pass over or bypass any obstruction they face and they try to represent the mission endowed by divine destiny in detail with the beautiful geometric lines they leave behind. As they walk, the roads hail them; seemingly insurmountable obstacles are flattened and nullified, as if they are prostrating themselves before these holy ones.
As a matter of fact, this state is always the case for the matured souls: at all times, they send fragrance to their surroundings like censers. Burning like sticks of incense, they convey the joy of burning to everybody through their moans. When necessary, they roar like lions, displaying their characters. When necessary, they sing like nightingales, filling souls with joy and relief. Their foreheads have been impressed with the seal of being both dear and humble; they are neither oppressed nor are they tyrants. It is a spectacular sight when they show their modesty before their Lord, acting humbly to the highest extent. In short, they are the heroes who have managed to merge lion-like manners with dove-like customs in the same vessel, and those who are gifted in getting to know their inner profundities always want to be with them.
How I wish my body would always shiver like swaying tress before my Lord in a state of openness to this delicacy, knocking on His door with a yearning for acceptance! How I wish I could occupy myself with my own faults instead of concentrating on the errors I observe here and there, to ignore their mistakes! How I wish I could detect my own defects and failures at each beat of my pulsing heart! It is my sincere wish that the values to be weighed on the scale of life be the products of conscientious reckoning that have been filtered through my internal contemplations. It is my sincere wish that my scale of acquisitions is always full to the greatest extent, and that all credit is attributed to Him for my acquisitions - I continuously long to completely forget comfort and languor, to seek the peace of the heart in toil, and to become calm with hardship. I yearn to moan like Job and to cry like David for my faults and for my erroneous manners, no matter how small - I long to devote my self to the peace and security of humanity as long as I live. I have a desire to have so vast a love that it will embrace everybody with warmth and non-discrimination and I wish to be forgetful of rage, hate, and animosity.
Now, let us devote ourselves to the illumination of humankind with profundity; let us melt like candles in our endeavors so to enlighten our remote or close environment in preference to our selfish desires. Wherever we go, let us be the voice and translator of the truth with a spirit of real devotion, telling Him and communicating His message. Let us be so respectful in our relations with God and so sincere in submission to Him that we make celestial angels envy our manners and make spiritual beings feel obliged to retreat a few steps in the face of the meanings that overflow from our selves. Let us wrap our selves with the color of the dawns that follow the nights on which the most sincere prayers are offered to God and assume the role assigned to us at the time of creation; let us behave ourselves. Let us put an end to our comfort without fearing hardships and run in such haste that birds watch us in awe; let us cry out the truth with such sincerity that savages seek refuge in their lairs with fear. When we feel like a lion, let us not instill fear in people; let us instead attempt to cast off the shackles on our will. When we feel like fire, let us not ignite new fires, but illuminate the people around us by setting the candles alight. When we turn into a flood, let us flow toward gardens and orchards to give them life. When we blow like winds, let us carry seeds for propagation; let us bring drops of moisture together to teach the clouds how to become rain as a divine mercy.
Indeed, we must show earnest respect to those esteemed by God. God treats and views people differently. He may place a person in the lead to serve as an altar in glorifying Him. He may whisper the enigma of existence into their soul, crowning them with a special caliphate. By taking this person to new horizons through faith and intuitive knowledge, He enables them to feel the truth of His presence. He prepares eternal happiness for such people in the Hereafter. He opens doorways to the Paradise in their heart; He makes this dungeon-like world a waiting room for the coming Paradise. He honors those who manage all their actions based on insight in this world by allowing them to watch His beauty in the Hereafter. He brings thousands of aspects to single-dimension living. In their magical worlds, He transforms seas into the rose-covered slopes of Paradise, and ever-boiling hells into babbling springs of life. He creates new worlds with incredible wonders for them every day.
Certainly, those who live in this world like the blind, the deaf, and the dead will not even get a glimpse of the above. Those who act unwarily, even taking lightly these grave conditions today will be likely to continually wail from penitence in the future. Then, let us be vigilant today so that we will not be troubled for rest and sleep tomorrow. Let us weep abundantly today so that we will not cry from regret tomorrow. Let us concentrate at all times on the horizon where we are heading, so as not to be distracted by the attractive things on the side of the road. If we fail to regard this world as a marketplace where trade is carried out for acquisitions to be taken onto the Hereafter and manage our life accordingly, if we lead our life in line with the whims of carnal desires, then we should not be surprised when one day somebody puts a packsaddle on us and mounts us. This is indeed the kind of treatment that the narrow-minded, feckless, and conceited people will receive. The value of mankind is directly proportional to the degree of their connection with God and the continuation of their sincere relations with Him. A human-shaped body contaminated with carnal desires and alienated from Him will have less value than mud, even if decorated with gold, silver, and satin.
Then, come and liberate yourself from bodily worries and carnal troubles! Turn toward Him with your whole existence and fix your gaze on Him for in this way these initial gifts will increase greatly in value! Never forget that His favor turns a drop of water into a sea, a particle into a sun, and transforms your impotence and poverty into your greatest strength. On the other hand, if you rely on your own power, you will blunder - like trying to heat great cauldrons with a single spark, you will lay yourself open to ridicule. Know the limits of your power and resources, and make your plans accordingly. If you ignore this important point and set on building facts on fancies, whatever you do will come tumbling down, crushing your faith and hopes. Assess yourself frequently through internal self-criticism and contemplation, specify your position well according to your capabilities and resources, and be aware of the relation between your potential and the effort you have exerted. Avoid becoming “a carrier of divine gifts with no fidelity,” that is, try not to be regarded as a spoiled person who has become arrogant with benefactions from other people.
Rely on divine grace at the highest degree, but never fail to fulfill whatever free will requires of you. Do not expect secondary winds to carry you to your target; consider the fact that those who have been taken to higher levels by today’s winds may one day be thrown into the deepest pits by tomorrow’s storms; try to live in line with the realities.
Know that religion is a road leading to divine proximity, and sincerely hold fast to a life led by religion. Seek shelter in the secure harbor of faith, and submit to the Creator! Never falter in reliance on Him and keep your manners always decent before Him; endeavor to be a modest believer without any vanity or ostentation! Abounding hearts are silent like boxes loaded with ore. Empty souls make a great deal of noise just like children’s money-boxes that contain several fake pearls. Always remember that your heart is monitored by God many times at every instant, and therefore, keep your heart clean and immaculate at all times and you will head toward that eternal altar! Until now, whoever has headed toward that altar has never lost while whoever sought faithfulness from other places has never won. Rather, those who sought shelter at that gate have remained lively and have been honored with eternity, saved from the disgrace of being slaves of other entities. When one finds Him and faces Him, when one reveals one’s deepest feeling in His presence, one glorifies and exalts Him. To remain silent is to contemplate in meditation and self-criticism. Those who manage to be in His presence and proximity always feel the water of life, even if they are in a desert; those who rely on Him in all their acts always reap roses, even if they have sown thorn-bushes. Even under hell-like conditions, they are always at peace and calm. And the following is their motto:
Servants of God cannot be slaves to another slave,
Never will true servants be stranded.
Their souls are filled with joy in reunion,
Never will they be deceived, even if everybody else is
Perhaps, we will find an opportunity to deal with this issue one day.
1. The miraculous hand of Moses