M. Fethullah Gulen
Devoting oneself to communicating the truth is an expression of humanity’s privilege of having “the perfect pattern” in creation; it is an unparalleled rank for those who can attain it. There are devotees who take every opportunity to speak of God and to endear Him to others. They work hard to open the doors of people’s hearts to God and to His Beloved Messenger, peace be upon him, who is a trustworthy avenue to attaining the Divine. He is an avenue, but as worthy as a destination. These devotees may not be aware of it, but they are being, and will be, applauded by the denizens of the celestial abodes.
The travelers on this path endear their beloved to those they reach through the tongues of disposition and representation, their most powerful arguments. They always inhale the truth and spread it wherever they go. Hence, they attain Divine love, stage by stage. They constantly repeat the statement of the Prophet, the Master of Discourse: “Endear God to His servants, so that God may love you too!” They travel to the farthest corners of the globe, carrying “talk of the Beloved” on their lips. This is a Divine rejoinder, as vast as oceans, that rewards drop-like kindness. The expression “worth the world” fails to state it befittingly.
Being under the tutelage of the Prophet and following his footsteps is one of foremost ways and means that lead a person to endear the Almighty. All who know and accept Him and enter His spiritual atmosphere are saved from inattentiveness as far as they internalize and live according to His light-diffusing scriptures, which are messages coming from His attribute of speech. Hence, they start seeing everything through the lens of insight. While their eyes watch the signs in the temple of the universe, their ears effervesce with zeal when they hear the miraculous word of God reciting the laws of creation in the huge sanctuary of events. They respire by the following lines of the poet:
“You exist, O Lord; You exist once and always,
You are always in my mind, in my heart and in my soul!”
They deeply weave together contemplations starting from faith (iman), knowledge of the Divine (marifa), love of the Divine (muhabba), and love and yearning for a reunion with God. They start murmuring the melodies which are portrayed and voiced by the paragraphs, sentences, and words of existence and events, and they say, “He.” Hence, they mention Him and constantly remember Him in words. See how exquisite a man of love and elation put this experience into words:
“This universe is entirely a colossal book,
Whichever letter you search, it denotes God.”
Hearing this voice, and reading that anthology of messages and understanding the immensely expansive meanings expressed by them, requires a seeing eye, a hearing ear, a rationalizing reason, an unrestrained discernment and understanding, and a vast curiosity and love of knowledge. It is very difficult, rather impossible, for imitators who are entangled by the glaze of imitation and unable to jump over the fences of forms and figures to sense and eventually internalize this. When all neurons in the brain lack such an expansive sense of faith, and hearts lack sincerity and profundity, the light of Divine knowledge does not exist in this spiritual anatomy either. Love does not exist in a heart and soul where there is no light and illumination of Divine knowledge. The breezes of ardent desire for reunion with God do not blow there.
Individuals who dedicate themselves to communicating His message and endearing Him to others enter the atmosphere of being loved in this way. They crown their lives with manifestations of presence in the Divine. They passionately utter His names day and night, without committing any blunder, just as they continuously run the marathon of good deeds. They sigh and say, “sincerity”; quiver as they remember “being under the constant watch of the Almighty”; contemplate resignation to God and hasten from one vista to another for more reflection. Without being delayed by steep hills, deep vales, and seas of pus and blood, they march toward God’s favor and reunion with the All-Truth, without expecting anything corporeal or ethereal. Individuals attaining this horizon watch with deep sorrow those who are entangled by worldly pomp and fame. As they weep and moan inwardly, they avoid the traps the unfortunate ones have tripped over and move forward to rip love and interest for the vanities of life from their hearts!
They say, “We hit the path of love like mad and we seek no honor!” (Sayyid Nigari) and they always mention Him. They consider the most enchanting expressions as a waste of words if they are not about Him and shift to talk about the Beloved. They scan the horizons observed in their dimensions of the soul (ruh) and inner secrets of their heart (sir).
They know their willpower is connected with all of these feelings, thoughts, and privileges, but only as an unnecessary condition; they are fully aware to credit everything to a distinct Divine favor and the exclusive will of God – they never compromise their faith in the Uniqueness of God, for the sake of which they could renounce everything. According to them, the confines of willpower are very narrow: determination and perseverance are not adequate causes; corporeality and bestiality are handicaps blocking the path leading to real humanity. In the face of all these, they deem considering all privileges as their natural right a sort of obscured blasphemy. Hence, notwithstanding all types of achievements and rewards, they murmur the considerations of:
“A slave as I am, I am not worthy of this gift
Why am I being granted this favor?” (M. Lütfî).
Attributing everything to the breadth of Divine compassion, the expansiveness of His favor, and His surprise manifestations, they voice the constant recitation of “Everything is from You, You are the All-Sufficient / O Lord, I turn toward You!” They hurry towards the Paradise of the Sultan of the Sultans, the One Who responds with His infinite favor.
Indeed, this caravan of the holy, which always marches toward Him, has set out on this path by sealing the openings of their inner realms against strangers from the beginning and drawing breath from the Divine attendance. They have constantly remembered Him along the way and been engaged with the consideration of Him. They have not wanted to hear alien songs in the realms of their hearts and emotions. They started speaking by first reasoning that all words should be in reference to Him and each discourse should be rhymed by His mention. They concluded their speech by citing Him. Moreover, by considering all expressions and conversations that do not mention Him as waste of words, they made their discussions and consultations more profound by their talk of the Beloved. Almost always, they made the following considerations the voice of their inner excitement:
“I wish all the creation in the world would love my Beloved,
I wish our talk would always be about the Beloved…”
Saying, “Either speak about the lover or stay silent / If you will, open your arms wide for that!” (the first line is from Fuzuli, the 16th century Turkish poet), they completely seal their doors against strangers.
In contrast to those souls devoted to God, who constantly inhale these considerations on the path of prophets, there are others who are deprived of a lofty goal in their lives, who are egotistic, victims of avarice, power-addicted, rotten human beings with dark souls and feelings are the aides of the devil. This latter group has never quit maligning the devotees on the path to Him. These dark souls have used various methods of oppression and domination to annihilate the devoted souls – yet, they have been the ones annihilated. They have waged war against the light, which the Divine has endowed to the devoted souls who endeavored to represent it. They have lied and defamed, trying their best to block the path of the travelers of light. However, they themselves have been defamed by means of their own wickedness and meanness, for the travelers of love and munificence have been following the footsteps of the prophets and they are under the protection of God. Nobody will be able to eradicate those who have been scattered by God on the plain of service and have grown like ears of grain. Nobody will put out the torch lit by God. Because behind that illuminating torch is the mercy of God, the will of the All-Glorified, and the decree of the Beneficent Bestower of Bounties. How nicely Ziya Paşa puts it:
“God’s Decree is not moved by muscle strength,
A candle lit by the Lord cannot be blown out!”
Therefore, it may be said that the wrongdoers have revived the practice of the hypocrite Ibn Salul, yet in vain was their endeavor! Because behind the travelers of Truth is the help of God;
“God, the beauty of whose glory is apparent in all corners,
In hearts is a shadow of that manifestation;
Sensing this, one wanders and seeks Him everywhere,
And the sweetest memories loom before his eyes.
Each color, voice and pattern is an expression of His existence…”
May God speed you, O the valiant souls of Hizmet and the people of the Qur’an!