M. Fethullah Gulen
Having free will-which we can briefly describe as the power or inclination to make a decision whether to do something or not-is a distinctive element of being human and is the very essential of ethical conduct. Without this concept we can talk about neither virtue nor being human. Cognizance of free will means being aware of one’s self. The opposite is the degeneration of the individual, and people who undergo such degeneration will be hesitant in their behavior and disoriented in their thoughts. Avoidance of hesitancy and disorientation is possible for such people if they can find themselves and become integrated with their free will. Otherwise, they can never expect to have stability of soul, nor can they have balance in their behavior, nor can they make a serious effort towards being themselves.
Willful action needs an initiative plan and decision, and this depends onthe vitality and activity of the mind. In this respect, among the creatures with which we are familiar, willful action is a trait only peculiar to humanity. God Almighty honored humans with innate free will so that it will serve as an invitation to His
Supreme Will, that is, as an initial means. Free will is a decipherer and a torch; wherever it shines, the Light and Supreme Will of the One Who governs all of creation and space is manifested there as well. People who unify their limited free will with the Supreme Will of the Creator reach infinity with their finite will; they become powerful while they are helpless, strong while impotent; they turn from being a drop into a sea, from an atom into the sun, becoming an entire being when previously they were nothing.
Even though it is limited, human will is a Divine gift from the infinite Will of God to the most distinguished being on the earth. Those who are able to make use of this gift as a key to secret codes can manage to solve the most intriguing matters, to illuminate the darkest points, to open the strongest doors, and obtain the most valuable treasure. Free will does not consist of mere thought, nor is it an action. It is the primary source and bastion of spiritual power, soundness of heart, and physical activity; it is the sole means that opens doors for human beings to attain infinity in spite of their finiteness of opportunity. In the same way that those who are aware of the significance of possessing this means are able to tackle many problems in a single attempt, they can also close the doors of Hell and discover the path of the stars lead to Heaven. Every cause and ideal comes into existence with plans and projects that are put forward by our free will; they overcome the greatest obstacles thanks to the driving force of the will. And then via the mysterious interaction of free will that is related to the upper realms, they are able to attain continuity and become permanent. The distance to the moon was covered on the wings of free will. The peak of Mount Ararat was explored thanks to free will. The oceans, a ground of manifestation for the Supreme Will, were illuminated with this same torch, human free will. In the days to come, a great part of space will become a luminous book for us under its light. People’s observance of a spiritual life, their resistance to the numerous temptations around them and the comprehension of their humanity by overcoming carnal desires is dependent on the language of the free will and its prayers. People who use their free will and establish contact with the Infinitely Merciful Lord rely on His power, come under His protection, and are saved from falling into the abyss of a carnal-centered life. In the same way that every kind of existence and ascension depends on the wings of free will, so too every collapse is closely related to the breaking of those wings. On the one hand, people like Barsisa,1 who sought the highest spiritual ranks was knocked down by a small matter and a moment of heedlessness. On the other hand, the noble Prophet Joseph, while he was surrounded with lust in the palace of the Egyptian vizier, parried all the attacks of his carnal self with a sign of God; in addition to his physical beauty, he acquired a different grandness with his rising soul, and he was exalted to the realms beyond the skies. At every turning point in life, before all demonic events and monsters that lay in wait for a moment of weakness, only the chivalrous souls who are in resonance with the Divine Will, and who rise with the wings of free will, holding the universe in their hands, can resist. Chivalrous souls who are tempered with every new event, they are hardened and made more alert with every calamity and they break out like a storm on the enmities that surround them. The unskilled souls whose thoughts and emotions have not yet settled, who panic at every noise, who are destroyed by the slightest tremor, who are disorientated when they should stand and resist, might temporarily produce flashing lights to dazzle those around them, but they cannot maintain a permanent light or save the masses from confusion.
Not only can they not save anyone, every noise made by such people provokes the opposing ones even more, making conditions worse. If you wish to comply with the conditions of the present time, Become not a fountain, but a whirlpool, A mystery, outwardly narrow, inwardly sublime This is why we need to be vigorous souls with unshakable hearts who yearn for eternity and keep up a never-yielding perseverance. We have no time to lose with those who make mountains out of molehills! What we need today is a meaningful tune from the suffering coral that is deep inside the reef, and to enliven the people on the shore, in spite of the sharks circling around. A tune only to be sensed by the spirit… as quiet as can be and free from pomp. A tune in compliance with the relevant pauses, one to be felt in the hearts… a tune that reflects the striving of those who walk on this blessed path.
- Barsisa was a saintly recluse whom Satan led astray with a beautiful woman.