M. Fethullah Gulen
In our gloomy lands, we have waited years for a breeze of revival, expecting the momentous sound of a resurrecting trumpet. Though we hope God will not make us wait any longer, we are determined to actively wait until the day we find our lost values. But I wonder, are we qualified for such an expectation? Is our spiritual enthusiasm high enough? And are we able to stand before God as duly required?
If not, obviously such a passive stance is everything but being in expectation. If the resurrection we are awaiting is a revival during which we become ourselves in our feelings, thoughts, spiritual lives, and lives of the heart – and there is no doubt that it is – then it is necessary to once more review our situation and our expectations. For according to the principle of causality, there is a proportional relationship between our current attitude, behavior, and our expectations.
This great expectation is not a task for the ignorant, those without ideals, those bereft of a cause, or those poor in wisdom. It is an ideal for those spirits who possess knowledge and wisdom and who are dedicated to the truth. If one day our ill-fated fortune is to change, it will change with God’s permission by the hands of these heroes, and anything other than God’s will is an unnecessary condition (shart al-adi). To date it has always happened like this – God knows best, after all, but it will be like this again, and attacks from both inside and outside will continue. Loyalty that is normally expected from friends will not be shown. Destruction will follow destruction. Our spiritual roots that make us who we are will constantly be harmed. Our hearts will long for love, and moans of death will be heard from all sides. But, despite all these negative things there will always be the vanguards of revival who will blow life in every direction.
Our society has suffered from many different ruptures and disintegrations throughout history. People’s cultural and religious values were snatched from their hands while they were made to endure the most painful alienations. Their sun was stolen, the moon was extinguished, and they were subjected to eclipses one after another.
While writhing under their adversaries’ oppression, they cried because of the disloyalty of “friends.” The bands of evil that were destroyed and dispersed were followed by new ones that always made their predecessors look good. The oppression of tyrants has never ceased nor did the hostility toward and hatred of the faithful; it did not end and they turned this world into Hell.
Today, the same despotism, oppression, and assaults are continuing. There is an attempt being made to put out the lights of people’s hope, and their rights and justice are being infringed. Those who want to live what they believe, as individuals or as societies, are not given the opportunity to do so; in fact, they are being subjected to an inquisition.
Despite all of this, the torches of hope that promise revival on behalf of the future, and in different dimensions are burning brightly. Those enlightened spirits who interpret everything according to love and respect are continuing on their journey. They move towards reviving our exalted human values without getting caught up in anger, hatred, and assault, and they do not falter. God has never forsaken servants faithful to His door, as opposed to oppressive tyrants and despots – may His grace upon these servants never diminish!
Although sporadically false thought has drowned the surroundings in noise and done everything to cut the voice and breath of the truth, the cawing of society is always transitory; the voice of truth is heard in a higher pitch. Even if God gives tyrants respite upon respite in some periods; but when their tyranny reaches to a point where divine response becomes inevitable, He eventually takes them in His grip and punishes them. He raises up the innocent and shows them the path to gathering themselves together. He always alerts them of the roads to scientific, social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual revival.
Thus, the people God held and supported, and those He will hold and support, will give voice – in the near future, if not today – to those deep feelings of compassion that constantly rise in their spirits. Like a celestial angel, they will embrace the innocent everywhere; they will say to all the oppressors and high-handed tyrants and those merciless cutthroats, “This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: God will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (12:92) They will not hesitate to open their bosoms with compassion to even the bloodiest madmen who, until the revival, always thought blood, talked blood, spilled blood and drank blood.
Yes, it’s certain that one day these idealistic people, who represent the manifestation of such broad mercy; these heroes of faith and action; and these servants who are cautious and vigilant in their relationships with God, will appear from all four sides, each embodying mercy, and they will offer us goblets filled with the tonic of revival.
Now, if God is going to realize such a revival with people of this high level, first, He will spiritually resurrect them according to the principles necessary in this world, and then He will revive all of us. It is not possible for believers who have no purpose or goals in this life, who are tired in their feelings and enthusiasm, and who are not fully alive, to help revive others.
God’s promise of reviving people and making them a vehicle for the revival of others is dependent upon people turning towards Him sincerely and that they have a prophetic resolution and determination. These people are such monuments of sincerity that if God is going to give special favors, He will give them to these servants because of their steadfastness and devotedness. They possess an unshakable faith, always stand firm in their place, ignore all the pressures that may come from any direction, and are never distraught by the difficulties and disasters that they may face. On the contrary, they are always a source of morale for those around them, are advanced in service and duty, have no desire for monetary rewards, and are absorbed in silent self-accounting. If God is going to blow life into people, He will do it using the breaths of these servants.
At any rate, these heroes of resurrection, who have dedicated themselves to the revival of mankind, are determined to use, to the last centimeter, their capabilities and capacities that God has bestowed upon them to establish their ideals. They are always willing to make enormous sacrifices, are as sure as possible in seeing and monitoring the trust they have taken upon themselves, possess a deep feeling of submission, and are waiting with active patience for the commendation and favor of God. These are things that must be done by a spirit that has truly dedicated itself to the Truth. They do everything necessary to gather themselves together and stand on their feet, yet they are also aware of the fact that results cannot be obtained when their time is not yet due – they know how to wait for years and years; they never panic.
Yes, sometimes all responsibilities are fulfilled; however, standing up and expressing oneself as a servant of revival may not be realized immediately. Sometimes this is because the person waiting for revival has not fully ripened, or, even if they have, are not being able to concentrate all their energy to awaken their spirit. At other times they are distracted by busying themselves with things that they should not be, things that can in no way contribute to the process of revival.
Reviving and becoming ourselves is a divine favor, and indeed it is. If that favor is given before the people are ready for it, its value will not be appreciated, thus it will go as immediately as it comes, and it will cause some new deprivations to be experienced, the compensation of which will be very difficult.
In addition, if God has tied His material-spiritual blessings to people’s giving their willpower its due – which we believe to be the case – then divine favor will probably be delayed until the moment they can utilize all the opportunities.
Other matters related to this topic are as follows:
Sometimes, God does not immediately give to the travelers of this path what they want, because they have either fallen – or there is a danger that they may fall – into the mistake of considering their own power, strength, and capability to be absolute – and relying solely on them, thus straying from God. This is to protect them from this mistake of associating partners to what is within the domain of divine power. In this what may be called a favor that is rather compelled upon them, God turns their faces towards a perfect faith in His uniqueness. Sometimes, servants of revival may fail to fully achieve this turn, although all the conditions are convenient; in such a situation, they are subjected to different oppressions, attacks, and pressures, and God does not respond to their efforts at revival for a certain period of time in order for them to turn towards Him with a spiritual state of need and to divulge their difficulties to Him. Sometimes, they may entertain some worldly expectations and not be able to purify their hearts from considerations of position, status, high rank, and their personal future aspirations. They may also have difficulty being fully selfless. In this respect, until the moment they can fully escape from other considerations and turn towards God with pure resignation, they may not be able to obtain the results of revival.
In addition to all these matters, such tribulations serve as a litmus test to see who is sincerely involved with pure intentions and those who are not. Such difficult tests also reveal the true identity of the tyrants and oppressors to be recognized as they are by every sector of society. Based on their partisanship with the oppressors, masses who are easily deceived might oppose the heroes of revival, and this is partly due to the fact that things are not clearly revealed to them as they are supposed to be. In this respect, until the moment when good and evil are separated from one another, and where everyone, the learned and the ignorant, will position themselves become apparent, everyone is given an opportunity to reflect; consequently, the result becomes delayed a little.
Regardless of the reason, it is our duty to perform our jobs according to the rules and within the circle of wisdom, and refer the rest to God. Every servant of revival should know that as long as they respond to the call of God and His messengers, God will show them the paths to revival and will never allow them to fall.