M. Fethullah Gulen
Truth means the essence and reality of a thing. It is to know clearly what a thing is, what it means, and what it signifies beyond its appearance and cognition. What is the essence and reality of the human being, the universe, and all things? What do they mean, both as individuals and as a whole? What is beyond this entire existence—from atoms to nebulas, from the smallest particles of a human being to his material and spiritual depths—and their orderliness, harmony, beauty, and wisdom? Since these facts cannot be attributed to coincidences, there must certainly be a truth upon which everything—from particles to planets— is based on. Indeed there is such a truth which is the ultimate basis of everything, and every individual has a duty to know this truth with their own particular qualities. To pursue such a duty with deep longing and interest is called “the love for truth.”
Such a love can also be referred to as the feeling, excitement, effort and passion of becoming aware of the essence and reality of everything by scrutinizing all existence, things and events; such a love is the safest way to reach the Truth of all truths. To stimulate such excitement and desire in one’s spiritual world, to activate in him the sense, curiosity and thought of understanding the meaning beyond every being, and to enliven his will and determination, are the first murmurs and stirs in the name of love for truth. Among sine qua non principles for this matter are that he peruses and evaluates the outer and inner worlds with perfect joy and seriousness of worship, that he reviews the beings and events with the perspective of new scientific developments and changing paradigms, that he endures all problems he faces during all these, his determined attitudes and mental effort, that he does not fall into despair and feel panic when facing with some intricate and inextricable matters, and that he takes reaching the truth as the goal of his life against all odds.
We can also summarize such a journey as “deliberation” (tedebbür), namely reflecting upon and evaluating the beings and events with their premises and consequences; as “reflection” (tefekkür), namely thinking in a comprehensive way as if brainstorming; as “observation” (tebassur), namely testing every object and event in the vast horizon of insight; and as “endurance” (tesabbur), namely enduring against the maddening effect of time (namely, difficulty of waiting for the fulfillments) with a determination without tiring.
If one can read the universe, beings and events with these considerations, everything in his near or far environment begins to talk in time, every object begins to sing eulogies about its condition and meaning, unburdens itself making indications to the Creator, and spreads lights to his horizon and relief to his heart with the immense meanings beyond itself. Electrons with their amazing movements and fascinating harmony; molecules with their dynamic and disciplined activities as if they are officials on active duty; the cell with its perfect structure and operation; our organs with their hundreds of functions; the mind with its myriad activities in connection with the spirit and divine command; the conscience with all its profundity; humankind with his relationship with the Creator through faith, wisdom, love, yearning, closeness and reunion; countless creatures on land and in sea with their different formations and life adventures; the earth with all its conditions convenient for life and resources gushing out from its bosom; the sun with its dazzling energy and its contact with every creature on earth; namely, all the cosmos, macro and micro, with their majestic appearances and trembling depths, are all sending various messages to everyone in the name of truth, enlivening souls on the path towards truth, and providing the insatiable experiences for those who can contemplate.
The earth especially, which we see and observe every day, excites our hearts with the love of truth, as it is more beautiful than the most beautiful exhibitions, more magnificent than the most magnificent palaces, more informative than the most informative books, more orderly than the most orderly systems, more fascinating than the most pompous promenades, and always fresh and colorful—we can also call it the projection or the enchanting corridor of the Paradise.
If one reflects on aspects of nature and life without prejudice and with a fair mind, he will deeply admire every being he witnesses and meditates on that he will not help but observe them again and again and perhaps will always dream like a lover to reach the essence of existence; he will become a curious researcher and a loving discoverer of the truth beyond all beings, by his every new scrutiny, analysis and synthesis. Every curious and prudent mind looking at and interpreting the universe in this manner will see the things differently, and colors, patterns and languages transform in his sight. He will experience a spiritual ecstasy whenever he observes the heavens and the earth, and is enchanted when gazing at the splendid beauties of flowers. He nearly hears the hymns glorifying the Creative Power in every sound, from the thunders of lightning to the heart-felt and fine melodies of birds. He experiences a tasty rapture in all phenomena from the atmospheric events to the purls of rivers, and he feels beyond all these the infinite will and mercy encompassing the whole existence, becoming as joyful as a child. Like a curious one approaching the truth, he is searching, or like a lover sensing the scent of his beloved one, he is sometimes hopeful; but now and then he says “not yet” and goes on, only to comprehend in phenomena the deep and immense truths that could not be expressed in books.
And one day, he faces with the glaring manifestations of the Supreme Being, who is beyond our comprehension and descriptions, in the sound, breath, color, pattern, form and spirit of everything he witnesses in his near and far environment. He then finds himself in a unique tune of sensing and intuition. He goes further and reaches the horizon where everything recites “God the Worshipped, God the Intended, God the Beloved...” Then all the inconveniences turn into graces, and the hardship of searching into pleasure.
In fact, for such a vigilant spirit, the whole nature or entire existence is an exhibition of beauties, a gallery of art and marvels, a promenade of pleasure and delight. Those who look at this exhibition and gallery with the eyes of their hearts, and those who observe this promenade with the light of faith feel as if they are walking in a corridor leading to Paradise, often swoon with the ecstasy of the eternal truth, and run towards new horizons by combining their will to their insight. They receive a unique greeting from every being they meet, and listen to special lessons of wisdom from them. They travel from one valley to another by internalizing the knowledge and love expressed by each creature. They salute and are saluted by everything. They feel in each step that they are getting closer to the Truth of all truths that they have been pursuing. They sense that they are bestowed a special kindness, and feel like receiving messages from Him by the help of their strengthened faith and wisdom. When its time comes, they reach the horizon of, as if, seeing Him. They see the unseen and hear the unheard. So they do not want to leave this cove of pleasure, enthusiasm, and awe.
Such a love of truth generates an aspiration for serious research, another important subject that requires separate treatment.