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In the Presence of the All-Compassionate

Renewing Our Oath to God
For us, the night is a climate where thousands of beautiful things are scattered in the face of nature by the hands of light, existence, life, and power, and are germinated like seeds in its bosom.
| M. Fethullah Gulen | Issue 140 (Mar - Apr 2021)

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In the Presence of the All-Compassionate

In This Article

  • All we have wished for was to bring an end to our several centuries of lightheartedness and to invite people to cry together so that we could perhaps start composing a musical score of life in the depths of the night.
  • For us, the night is a climate where thousands of beautiful things are scattered in the face of nature by the hands of light, existence, life, and power, and are germinated like seeds in its bosom.

O the Most Merciful of the Merciful!

You are the One who spreads these vast universes like a book before each of us. You are the One who makes our consciences sense their secrets, and again it is You who makes our consciences a shore to the realm where the otherworldly mysteries rise in waves! We are nothing but servants at Your door. The sparkles that reflect onto our spirits are nothing but the light of Your existence. All that we have in our possession are Your blessings and gifts. I am announcing one more time, with the admission that we are servants to Your door who do not accept emancipation: we want to renew our solemn oath.

For centuries in this old world – whose hair long ago turned gray (a sign of death) and in whose body illnesses have long since made a home – how many generations have opened their eyes to a night that never ends, a night that is the longest of the year. How many times have our necks fell down and our eyes filled with tears at the sight of these generations with their hunched statures, locks of hair in disarray, twisted necks, scowling faces? We have always carried in our bosoms Jacob’s tears together with Zeliha’s love and longing for Joseph, as we have waited for the time when he would be released from prison to come for help. Generations live as if their brains were dried out and their hearts were fed to their stomachs; they could not see anyone around them who would understand their state of being. For, those who ran to them to supposedly ease their pain were really only coming for their own gluttonous desires.

In this longest night of the year, some just saw darkness, their thoughts were pitch-dark; and eventually they were defeated and eliminated by the night. Others ignored the voices they must have listened to and the scenery that they must have seen; instead, they spent their lives among the thorns choosing to listen to the raucous voices of magpies.

The night is, in fact, such a wondrous and mysterious conservatory of time that it is when those who are hurt compose and voice their pains deep from their hearts. Yet, many others were unable to hear its mysterious sound or understand what was happening around them under the cover of night. Actually, nothing else could be expected from their faithless looks, dead intentions, crooked thoughts, and twisted opinions.

As far as we are concerned, we have been lighthearted and worry-free for too long. We have been laughing at our lamentable state and have forgotten to cry throughout history. All we have wished for was to bring an end to our several centuries of lightheartedness and to invite people to cry together so that we could perhaps start composing a musical score of life in the depths of the night. For us, the night is a climate where thousands of beautiful things are scattered in the face of nature by the hands of light, existence, life, and power, and are germinated like seeds in its bosom.

Our wish was to cry for our ignorance. To cry for our unawareness of the things we have lost. To cry for our state of being, which has become like a statue of shortcomings, for our feelings, which have become atrophied, and for our hearts, which have become coarse. To cry for fear of dying in this state and of being resurrected in this state. To cry that in that big trial in the Hereafter we may stand with collars and shackles around us, and that we may not find a place among the glorious ones of the past and the fortunate ones of the future who will pass by in groups in that great parade. To cry for our loneliness like a fruit that has fallen off a tree; for being trampled upon; and for being deprived of mercy. Our wish was to flap our wings and fly as high up as we could like doves and give out such a sigh at the highest point in the sky so that our tears would turn into clouds, and thus into drops of rain that would extinguish our fires. Our wish was to put out the fires of hostility and hatred, and the fires of this world and the next.

O, the Sultan of hearts, the remembrance and contemplation of whom gives peace to our spirits! O, the Exalted Creator, the Most Beautiful of the Beautiful, who brings us into existence and makes our hearts feel the eternal pleasure of existing!

We are in this night – a night with humming waters all around, occasional radiant lamps, and dreams that come scattered in its bosoms with seeds of faith, determination, hope, and beauty, dreams that come over and over to envelop our spirits; a night which gathers all of the elements of poetry and art to become an unforgettable memory. In this realm of secrets where the colors of the sky, the sounds of water, and the humming of birds flow and fill spirits, as life and existence become more paradoxical and profound, we strove to convey what You taught us and instilled into our souls, and then unto those whose hearts are like ours; perished and wrecked. We have sometimes explored things and events; at other times we have looked into our souls so as to discern out of all of these happenings the windows that show Your existence and the pathways that will elevate us to Your presence.

When setting out on this path, we set the eyes of our hearts to a golden slice of time to come, in which human values would have prospered and deepened, feelings have become entirely otherworldly, the body has started sampling the same values with the spirit; a time of marvels which would be formed by pieces of the “lost paradise”; marvels so delicate that they would have surpassed our imaginations, the paradise we have sought for a long time in our world of feelings. As we watched this slice of time in our soul, we also felt its inspirations would come our way again and again and flow into our fantasies and dreams. In our imaginations, those fortunate people of the future would pursue their lives in the most enchanted atmosphere of spiritual pleasures and delights thanks to their immense faith, genuine reliance on God (tawakkul), and sincere submission. We imagined them to be sole possessors of this vast pleasure and delight, their hearts always beating with goodness and beauty, their eyes opening and closing with tolerance and leniency, they would live and sense the world just like heaven, and almost always they would hear from all souls – and in fact from all the creation – the most colorful poetry. We shared their utmost joy at the high ebb of our hopes, and we poured out smiles on the good fortune of this generation to come.

In the youthful and heavenly bright blue days of this new spring rising in our world of hope, expectations, and faith, life would pour unto us so softly, so warmly, and so colorfully that it would be as if we always heard heaven’s unimaginable depths in them. We would embrace all of existence, greet all living things with compassion, hug all people with affection, and say to ourselves, “This must be the Creator’s purpose for creating the realms!” In that world, there would be no coarseness, roughness, worldly ambition, vain hopes, arguing, contention, treachery, lying, wrongdoing, oppression, corruption, or embezzlement. In that world there would be altruism, refinement, determination for revival, love of life, mildness, dialogue, respect for the truth, feelings of trust, the feeling of loyalty, the spirit of truth, and the idea of justice and stability. The people of this world would have excised true hostility, hatred, and conflict from their dictionaries and establish their lives upon love, softness, and human relations. They would accept people around them as they were, and instead of seeing different understandings, interpretations, and behaviors as grounds for fighting, they instead would recognize these differences as opportunities so they could display to others their broad horizon of thought and show them how it would be possible to live humanly in different variations. This rainbow world still fills our dreams.

Yes, while looking at our world of dreams from today’s soot-filled, rusty windows that are surrounded and full of every kind of coarseness, we can still sense that new life has been born again like the sun and that dawn has broken with beauty on all sides. We sense that flowers in red, pink, and yellow are swaying and casting their coquettish glances everywhere, that daises are dancing, and Judas trees are taking flame from the tulip. We still sense that the general mood and atmosphere are inspiring our hearts with the promise of happiness, and that a vast prosperity overflows in our souls with an eternal tone. We sense the emergence of a resurrection as joyous as filled with the bleats of sheep and lambs, the tweeting of birds, the sounds of trees and water, and the rustling of leaves. It is a resurrection that comes into being that is as sweet as the excitement of mothers rejoicing at the sight of their children, as magical and influential as in the faces of loved ones, as full, convincing, delicate, and refined like the excitement of mothers and the joy of children, enchanting and effective as in the hearts of lovers.

Our Lord! We were on a lofty journey that gave hearts seeking divine knowledge the possibility of rising to heavenly realms to the best of their capacity. This journey was made possible after the Chosen One’s heavenly ascension, which is portrayed in Your word and the map of which was drawn to the finest detail. We ask for Your forgiveness and attribute it to our immature spirits that do not know good manners and rules of conduct if on this journey we were too bold as to touch the knob of Your doors of secrets. While wishing to inform needy hearts of that happy day when we will meet You and Your Exaltedness without veils or obstacles, it is probable that we did not remain tied to high truths described in the purest and clearest expressions. While trying to explain certain truths to some immature spirits who could not go past the shell of this life into the reality of this world, and whose hearts had been caught up by its feigned beauties, perhaps we undermined the sacred walls of the metaphysical and instead glorified the physical. Perhaps we are guilty of not presenting the most open truths in their purest essence and instead served our desires and wishes. 

If we are at fault, we did so while coming to You and while trying to show others the way. If we made a mistake, we did it on Your path. A mistake is always a mistake, and a fault is always a fault. With broken hearts, humbled spirits, and chains around our necks, we wait with a thousand souls for the judgment You will give. While saying this, we know that Your mercy, which is infinite, has always come before Your wrath. It is certain that fault does not befit Your door’s servant who are aware of Your blessings, but please allow us to say that forgiveness befits You very much!

Yes, my Sultan! “The royalty befits a Sultan and servitude befits a slave.” In this respect, we beg from You once again: Give tears to our eyes and make us cry! In order for You to be merciful, make us cry for not feeling longing because of our distance from You! Make us cry for our hearts which do not rupture with the pain of separation and longing for reunion. Make us cry so the fire of separation will sear our bosoms and let out from therein a scream which will cause a clamor from the angels and the celestial sphere. Have compassion upon our darkened spirits and make them cry! Make us cry, for even our cries require a cry for themselves! Have mercy on my broken stature, locks in disarray, faint color, twisted neck, and broken heart, and make me cry! At this calmest moment in the minutes when You answer prayers, I turn to You with my head that does not prostrate before anyone other than You. With shaking lips, I beg You not to make us miserable in these deserts and to turn this wilderness into a rose garden with our tears.

My Lord! Give softness to our hearts not in regard to our remoteness from You, but in respect to Your closeness, and make us cry so much that we lose ourselves, pass from shame and dignity on Your path until other people call us “mad.”

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