Posts Tagged ‘Hizmet’

Three Great Dangers


Question: It is stated that those endeavoring on the path of serving humanity might provoke envy in their fellow volunteers due to their personal merits. They may also provoke circles that are biased against them or believers associated with other religious movements. These are great dangers. What are the points of consideration for being safe against these three dangers?

Answer: Although a mild degree of envy is allowed and is considered harmless in the Islamic Teaching, this is not an absolute and has certain criteria and basics. For example, a person might see a certain merit in a fellow volunteer and wish to have the same. Such a wish can be considered harmless at the beginning. As time passes, however, this person may think, “Why do I not have the same merits?” and thus covertly criticize Divine destiny. If feelings of jealousy and rivalry toward that envied person awaken in such a man, it means that now he has stepped out of the allowed zone and wandered into the inadvisable and dubious one. As this kind of envy is inadvisable, a person behaving in a way to provoke envy in others is also inadvisable and resembles wandering into the dubious zone.
As a matter of fact, the Messenger of God stated, “Both legal and illegal things are evident, but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most people have no knowledge about them. So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor…”1 And he counseled believers to keep away from doubtful things. So the feeling of envy, which might turn to intense jealousy, resembles standing on such a boundary between the lawful and forbidden, and a person might easily transgress to jealousy and become unable to stomach the other person’s merits. Therefore, envy, and any attitudes and behaviors that might trigger it, need to be avoided. Bediüzzaman draws attention to this point in his treatise on sincerity by advising believers not to provoke the feeling of envy in other brothers or sisters.

Tanafus: Competing at Goodness
While it resembles envy in one respect, competing at goodness is an innocent deed. Tanafus means competing at goodness and righteous behaviors as well as intending and struggling to not stay behind other brothers and sisters on the path of glorifying the name of God. God Almighty invites believers to such a competition concerning deeds for the Hereafter with the verse that says, “And to that (blessing of Paradise), then, let all those who aspire (to things of high value) aspire as if in a race (with each other)” (al-Mutaffifin 83:26).
As far as worldly races are concerned, though one competitor comes first, all other competitors become losers; this affects a feeling of discomfort in them. However, a person with a heartfelt belief in the Afterlife has the following consideration about competing at goodness: targeting God’s good pleasure. As it is said, “My brothers and sisters endeavoring to glorify the name of God in four corners of the world, God willing, will run to the noble Prophet’s pool of Kawthar and take that heavenly drink directly from his blessed hands.” One must take place in this race for goodness in order not to remain behind while the others drink it. The idea of a race with no losers can be kept within the frame of tanafus; thus, it can also be seen as an innocent consequence of envy.
Actually, during such a race made in terms of righteousness—even if he or she is not expecting such a thing—a devoted soul is supposed to say, “Let the winner of the race and the first-comer be some other volunteers.” They should refer to possible rewards such as appreciation, applause, being seen as eligible for certain positions, and the like with a spirit of self-sacrifice and a noble wish for preferring others over oneself.
As you know, the principle established by Bediüzzaman about this guides us to prefer being administered instead of administrators; to be an administrator entails responsibility and relevant risks. Being in front and becoming the leader awakens different desires of the carnal soul in a person and spurs them towards such desires. One must be very cautious and self-possessed against them. Therefore, even if you seemingly stand as the most rightful one in this respect, it is necessary to prefer letting someone else come to that position and then take a place behind him.

The Spirit of Magnanimity That Extends to the Realms Beyond
If a believer is to enjoy the blessings of the Hereafter, he should not seek pleasure or adulation in this world, and should instead show magnanimity, preferring to laud his brothers and sisters. As a matter of fact, God’s Messenger informed us of the fact that scholars and rich believers will come to the gate of Paradise and both sides will wish to give priority to the other. We cannot know this, but perhaps there is a paradisiacal enjoyment and pleasure in such sacrifice and courteous behavior. Maybe there is such a mystic and spiritual pleasure in a person’s stepping back like an ordinary member in a congregation who stands in prayer behind an imam; this may even be more preferable than imamate (leadership) itself.
Actually, we should not take the spirit of ithar, the Companions virtue of preferring others to one’s own self, in a narrow sense. Namely, if you reduce this virtue solely to the issue of eating, drinking, and clothing, then you narrow down the consideration of sacrifice, which has a broad meaning, and virtually kill its spirit. Actually, just as the devoted souls, you should present a heroic and upright stance, so as to say like Bediüzzaman did, “Neither do I have a passion for Paradise, nor a fear of Hell. Given that I see the faith of my people is saved, I accede to burning in the flames of Hell.”2
You must ascribe your deliverance to saving others and thus try to make the best use of and deepen this short life by living for the sake of others. If you meet one thousand people whose hand you held and served as a means for their deliverance from the swamp of misguidance, you should behave so magnanimously as to be able to say, “O God, I do not know whether I have been able to offer due thanks for the blessings I have been granted. Please let these brothers and sisters of mine enter Paradise first.” In this world and the next, we should cross out ourselves and let others have the attention.

The Notion of Belonging and Arrogance Brought by Affiliation
As for the notion of affiliation, it is fed by people’s carnal soul and arrogance. Individual arrogance does not suffice for some people who try to bring themselves to attention. So they wish to join a collective, have its support behind them, and thus express themselves more forcefully by being a thread interwoven in its texture. They use the power of the community, movement, or current they are included in like a means for their personal propaganda. With the community they lean on, they consolidate their arrogance further. They try to show off with different attitudes and behaviors, and thus become a captive to their carnal soul and Satan; this is a form of arrogance stronger than individual arrogance.
Although some try to conceal their real intentions in a wrapping of modesty and humility, human nature can detect people with a certain degree of arrogance. In this respect, arrogance both eats away a person’s dignity, and it causes that person to be affronted by those around him and become an outcast. Those who act with this notion of belonging or affiliate arrogance either provoke envy in the affiliates of other groups or trigger a feeling of jealousy in them. Unfortunately, it is possible to find examples of each type in our time. Particularly, if people affiliated with a certain movement which has made certain accomplishments lay claims on all good things realized by the collective, always wish to be the center of attention, and disregard others’ efforts, these cause an adverse circle to form against them.
In the different sections of society, and in different communities and movements, there are sincere, clever, and diligent believers that, despite having striven for the sake of conveying truths to others, may not have achieved a hundredth of the services carried out by certain others. Therefore, those people feel disturbed when the affiliates of a certain movement, which have made different achievements, boisterously talk about themselves. In this respect, in order for the volunteers to abate the negative feelings that might be evoked in others, they must show utter self-possession and caution; they must try to tell about the services carried out by also giving credit to others as much as possible. For example, even if fair and appreciative people affiliated with other groups come to you and express their appreciation, what falls to the volunteers is to express the following fact: “Actually, all of these good results were your dreams and your ideals. You have sung ballads for these long years, longed for these results, and made serious efforts for this sake. You are the ones who initiated these services first. However, destiny included some other people at a certain part of the process and God Almighty let this ideal, which began with your efforts, come true through their hands.”
Every person with a fair conscience will accept the following anyway: Every community, movement, and current has made a serious contribution to the spiritual revival of the society in this country. Some of them opened establishments throughout the country for teaching how to read the Qur’an. At a period when the Qur’an was not taught, they went village by village, town by town, and tried to teach people how to read the Qur’an everywhere. Some of them provided young people with an education by opening the Imam-Hatip schools. And some tried to fulfill their responsibility toward the people by opening Islamic institutes, faculties of theology, dormitories, and the like. If there has been a certain degree of spiritual revival in Turkey, this happened thanks to the entirety of the communities, movements, and currents. I guess when you take such an approach, no fair person will think they have been pushed to the margins, overlooked, or disregarded, and thus will not commit sins such as making baseless negative assumptions, feeling jealousy, or practicing intolerance.

The Apprehensions and Anxieties That Trigger Feelings of Animosity
A devoted soul trying to serve humanity with sound consciousness should be able to present magnanimous behavior not only to their friends and family, but also to those who adopt hostile attitudes and behaviors toward them. This will help to remove the other person’s apprehensions, fears, and anxieties. Bediüzzaman relates the following words of Hafiz of Sheraz concerning the subject: “The tranquility of both worlds lies in two things: magnanimity towards friends and the wise management of enemies.”3
Given that we are believers and that compassion is one of our essential principles, then we need to treat everybody with mercy and lenience. In addition, in order to eliminate the apprehensions of those who are seized by fear and anxiety, you need to point out through different means that you have no expectations for the future other than gaining God’s good pleasure. You must speak out in a loud voice, time and again, to let the entire world hear the following truths: “Let alone seeking to govern a certain land of a certain country, we do not even have want to govern a single village. We have only one intention: Letting the blessed name of the Prophet be heard in the four corners of the world, letting humans—the most honorable of all creatures—be endowed with all the virtues they can take from the noble Prophet, and letting God’s exalted name be felt in hearts and wave there like a flag. We expel all other thoughts than these from our heads. Even if they offer us the sultanate of the world on a tray, just as God’s Messenger pushed away worldliness when it materialized before him and said, ‘you cannot make them accept you,’4 we also push away the worldly sultanate as individuals who try to follow the Master of the Prophets; we seek to gain God’s good pleasure, which is so much greater than the temptations of this alluring and transient world. The fact that there is not the slightest sign that we have sought such worldly gains, as some circles were worried, also supports this thought.”
This being the truth, these sincere considerations need to be emphasized at every opportunity. Otherwise, if you do not say anything and keep silent on this issue, even the most sincere people with no evil intentions might develop some wrong opinions about you by looking at the flourishing of the activities of education and dialog. If it is possible for those who stand next to you during the prayers to fall for some mistaken thoughts, then you can guess the degree of anxiety in those who take a stance against you for not knowing about your inner world and your ideal of gaining God’s good pleasure. In this respect, from a seven-year-old child to a seventy-year old man, all devoted souls must frequently point out that they do not have any expectations for the future about worldly power and the opportunities it brings. They must refrain from words, statements, attitudes, and behaviors that might trigger the fears of losing worldly means in those who see the world as everything and who attach their lives to this world only.

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Iman, 39; Sahih Muslim, Musaqat, 107.
2. Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, Tarihçe-i Hayat (Tahliller), p. 616.
3. Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, The Letters, p. 286.
4. Al-Bayhaqi, Shuabu’l-Iman, 7/343, 345; Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 4/344.

This text is the translation of “Üç Büyük Tehlike.”



Question: What things should those on the path of serving faith be vigilant against, and what kind of an attitude of vigilance must be adopted?

Answer: The word tayaqquz (vigilance) is derived from the word yaqaza, which has meanings such as waking up, keeping vigil, and becoming fully alert. Tayaqquz is inflected in the tafa’ul verb form, which denotes a forced degree of the stated act. Therefore, tayaqquz means becoming alert with further caution, profundity, and further scrupulousness. In this respect, we can also describe tayaqquz as: “Keeping all of our abilities of sensing and thinking alert; revising and checking out our decisions and opinions time and again by not sufficing with the evaluations inspired by a single view or sense.” Accordingly, a vigilant person sees himself like a pilot aware of the fact that even a very little mistake or failure can cause him and many others to topple over. Thus, in order not to come crashing down headfirst, he constantly keeps vigil.

Vigilance in the Era of Hypocrisy

As we are living in an era of hypocrisy, vigilance bears further importance for the volunteers devoted to the path of serving faith. In this respect, they first need to understand the time that they are living in and analyze the conjuncture very well. At the same time, they should recognize well the circles of those fixed on animosity, who sometimes seem to be on their side with their mask of hypocrisy. Even if the devoted souls do their best in order not to be opponents of anyone, those who are crazed with jealousy and envy might lay siege on them by forming oppositions, from the closest circle to the remotest—to such a degree that these people captured by their grudge and hatred are virtually ready to strangle them on the slightest pretext. In addition to having unshakable belief, courage, and being on the righteous path, they must absolutely reckon the damage the opposite side will cause with grudge and hatred, as if they are trying to protect a basket of eggs they are bearing. Otherwise, they might cause a failure and fiasco with respect to the movement they are affiliated with, so you can take acting with ultimate scrupulousness at this issue as a depth and dimension of vigilance. Anyway, a conscious believer always takes into consideration the future together with the present and does not, indeed must not, ever act on short-term reasoning. As it has not been possible to solve any problems with day-to-day thoughts so far, it will not ever be so in the future. Nevertheless, for the last few centuries there has been an inability to see the problems of the Islamic world with their roots, and efforts have been made to tackle gigantic problems with day-to-day policies. The people who thought that it possible to solve the problems of Turkey and other Muslim countries with such policies aiming to save the day deceived themselves and the people as well. When Muslims make a self-evaluation with an objective look as a society, it is understood that the causes of our century-long illnesses have not been diagnosed properly and correctly, and therefore the methods of treatment are not effective and thus there is no cure. The devoted souls of our time therefore must not walk on their path like sleepwalkers but rather as wakeful and vigilant ones. They must have a comprehensive perspective of happenings, check out every step they take once more, revise everything they do, and approach matters as individuals whose faculties of feelings and thoughts are fully awake. Moreover, like a sentry keeping guard at the border, they must immediately become alert before the slightest unusual noise and possibility of danger. They must always be prepared to struggle against negativities with alternative ways of solution in their hands.

Vigilance in the Face of Successes
God Almighty has bestowed an opportunity to those who strive on the path of serving humanity for His sake to express the truth and what is right in the four corners of the world. Without due vigilance at such an issue, may God protect us, we might fall into the mistake of ascribing the achievements to ourselves, instead of God Almighty Himself. What we are actually doing is only trying to give our willpower its due within the sphere of apparent causes. He is the one who makes things happen, who creates springs in winter, and who guides us to all of these beautiful works. In this respect, considerations such as “we did it, we achieved it…” should not even pass our imagination. We must acknowledge every good thing we see as a bestowal of God and ascribe them to their true owner with a consideration of acknowledgement of blessings. In fact, such a cautious approach is a very important means for the coming of new blessings. God Almighty decrees in the Qur’an, “If you are thankful (for My favors), I will most certainly give you more…” (Ibrahim 14: 7). In addition, we must refrain as much as possible from making exaggerated remarks about fellow volunteers with whom we walk. As Bediüzzaman teaches, people can fall for the saintly titles others imagined for them as a consequence of others’ thinking too positively of them. Thus, we will have broken the necks of our own friends unintentionally.1 Also, the words of praise you use about the people about whom you think positively may trigger feelings of rivalry in people who share the same road with you in neighboring lanes, pushing them to jealousy. They may be pushed to such a degree that the more you utter words of praise about the person you love, it further provokes adverse feelings in them. This actually means doing harm to that person you love. In this respect, instead of inflating like a balloon the people we love by singing their praises, we should try to be very faithful and true to one another. Instead of making remarks of declaring this or that people a saint, we should pray, “O God! Do not let us fail to be true to these fellow brothers and sisters!” If you profoundly love a certain person to the degree of feeling the bones of your nose shiver with that feeling, then you should indicate it by working toward the ideal of serving humanity that he showed you within the frame of the Qur’an and Sunnah. As for telling about that person to others with words of praise, it will mean provoking others’ grudge and hatred toward him further and therefore doing him evil. So our being scrupulous with the expressions we use about personages we love and respect is another depth of the vigilance required on the path to serving the truth.

Question: Could you elucidate vigilance with respect to its meaning for those who wish to journey on the horizons of the heart and spirit?

Answer: Sometimes a journeyer to the truth might get too hopeful before some inspirational blessings that come flowing into the journeyer’s heart at certain spiritual stations or before showers of tajalli (self-disclosure) in a general sense, and thus give up self-possession and display levity. At such states, which actually serve as a trial for the journeyer, there is a very serious need for self-possession and vigilance. In some situations, God Almighty grants some extra blessings to you; He throws certain valuable things before you. If you behave like a child, feel joyful, and start playing with those bestowals but forget about the Bestower, then you fail the trial. Therefore, at such situations where He sends showers of blessings down upon you, it is necessary to see the Giver of blessings, and hearts must only overflow with a consideration of acknowledging those blessings. As Bediüzzaman states, a person must not be heedless of the real Giver while thanking the servant who offers us the gift on a tray.2 A person resolved to travel through the horizons of the heart and spirit always needs a serious understanding of self-possession and vigilance in order to maintain the balance before some inspirational blessings to be bestowed along the way.

I Demand Nothing but Your Good Pleasure!
The aspect of this issue that relates to the devoted souls in our time is a bit different because they are already not in demand of such spiritual stations in accordance with the essentials of their path. As a matter of fact, after stating faith in God, knowledge of God, and love of God, Bediüzzaman adds spiritual pleasures as a target to be attained through spiritual journeying.3 However, there is a fine point that should not be missed here: the first three of the stated facts are related to the human willpower. That is, the apparent cause for faith in God, knowledge of God, and love of God require willful effort at the beginning. In other words, you will give your willpower its due at the issue of faith in God, knowledge of God, and love of God, and then you will want, read, explore, go through the world of creation, abide by the teachings of religion, make remembrance of God and reflect on His works, and have your heart absorbed in this issue. As for the issue of spiritual pleasures, it is not willfully asked for, but God Almighty may make such a bestowal on journeyers on the path of knowledge and love of God. However, if you make such a demand from the beginning, and make knowledge and love of God conditional to it, it means that you are seeking to reach a very minor aim. However, attaching your servanthood solely to His good pleasure and approval corresponds to such a worth that there are no scales in this world to weigh it. Compared to it, spiritual pleasures weigh so little. In this respect, the willful and non-willful forms must not be confused with one another. We must always run after what needs to be willfully sought and give our willpower its due in this respect. And when a bestowal is granted to us without our demand, we must meet it with thanksgiving and praise, express our feelings of gratitude and thanks by acknowledging the blessings. The spiritual states and stations felt and sensed by Sufis as inspirations, unveilings, recognizing what passes from people’s hearts, presentiments, passing to different realms via dreams, etc. are not essential in our path because this path is that of the Companions. They did not care about such extraordinary happenings, which harbor the risk of taking personal pride. Some wonders as presentiments and being inspired with the truth did happen to some of the Companions. However, they never demanded such wonders to happen. They had one purpose only: attaining God’s good pleasure. Therefore, we also need to act in the same way. If we also receive such Divine bestowals without having asked for them, then we should meet them with the consideration: “These are not deserved by a humble slave like me. What could be the reason for bestowing all these blessings so benevolently?” One should be concerned whether they can be Divine stratagems and shake with fear. Maybe we should also add the following: “O Lord, I wish that I would only love you crazily… that I would long for reunion with You crazily. If You gave this to spur my enthusiasm, thousands of praise be to You. However, I am not demanding anything but Your good pleasure.”

1. Nursi, Said, Emirdağ Lahikası (Supplements of Emirdağ), vol. 1, İstanbul: Şahdamar, 2010, pp. 56, 67.
2. Nursi, Said, The Words, “The First Word,” New Jersey: The Light, 2010.
3. Nursi, Said, The Letters, “Twenty-Second Letter,” New Jersey: The Light, 2007.

This text is the translation of “Teyakkuz.”

Followers of the Perfect Religion Should Be Seeking Perfection


Question: God Almighty decrees in the Qur’an, “This day I have perfected for you your Religion (with all its rules, commandments and universality), completed My favor upon you, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as Religion” (al-Maedah 5:3). He thus expresses that His good pleasure depends on perfection and completion. What are the points of consideration that should be targets for Muslims seeking perfection and completion?

Answer: Islam is the name and title for a body of values without faults, which is perfect and complete. For this reason, followers of Islam are supposed to seek the perfected and complete. To put it in simpler words, followers of the final and perfected religion should seek to fulfill their duty and responsibilities in the most perfect and complete fashion, in order to attain the beautiful and good results promised in the best possible way. As it is understood from the explicit meaning of the verse, this is the way of being able to walk to the horizons of God’s good pleasure.

The Failures and Fiascos that Happened Are Because of Me
As to the conditions for attaining such horizons, the first one is a person having the intention and resolution to use all of the opportunities and abilities granted by God in an efficient way. For example, some people have beautiful voices, some have the ability to manage businesses and administer people; others write well, and some speak well… Whatever merits a person has, they must utilize the opportunities presented to them most efficiently for the sake of expressing what is true and right. When mistakes and flaws appear, a person must self-criticize and seek ways for atonement, instead of seeking others to lay the blame on. This is particularly true for individuals devoted to serving faith and the Qur’an; no matter what their duty is, they must see themselves responsible for the failure to attain perfection and completeness, and they must see these problems as consequences of their own faults.
Actually, such admissions of mistake—including phrases like, “I did not fulfill the due of the duty on my shoulders as I should; I failed to continue this duty efficiently; this job faltered owing a personal mistake of mine”—are considered indirect forms of turning repentantly to God, and even acts of penitence and contrition (awba and inaba),1 depending on the immensity of the person’s heart and the sincerity of their repentance. God Almighty responds to such a suffering heart with His favors and grace, and, God willing, He compensates for what that person missed with His extra graces. On the other hand, if a person constantly sees the deeds he does as perfect and believes his own deeds to be flawless; sees his plans and projects to be faultless; and ascribes any faults to other people who did not listen to, understand, or obey him, this is simply a different version of the pharaoh’s delirious state as he said, “I am your supreme Lord” (an-Naziat 79:24).
Self-criticism in the face of lapses and stumbles should vary in direct proportion with the duty a person is responsible for. Therefore, as the scope of one’s duty increases, their self-criticism should also be deeper. One must think that all of these mistakes and lapses stem from personal gaps, such as one’s inability to maintain sound relations with God, to feel and sense Islam deeply, to properly interpret the principles raised by the noble Prophet, to correctly discern present circumstances, or to accurately recognize possible problems.

Beauties are from Him; Shortcomings and Faults Are from Us
Actually, this explicit principle of the Qur’an leaves no place for much talk in this respect: “Whatever affliction befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned, and yet He overlooks many (of the wrongs you do)” (ash-Shura 42:30). Mistakes and flaws arise when the eye looks, the ear hears, the mind evaluates, the mouth speaks, the hand holds, the foot walks, or emotions are revealed in a way that contradicts their purpose of creation. Yet God still forgives most of these, as directly expressed by verses of the Miraculous Qur’an. By stating in one of his sayings that, “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of the sinners are the repentant,”2 the noble Prophet pointed out the fact that the potential for sinning exists in human nature. What really matters is a person realizing their mistake and trying to make up for it. Even the Rightly Guided Caliphs interrogated themselves with remarks like, “I wish I had done such and such deed in a different way,”3 and expressed their mistakes with respect to their own horizons.

Interpreting What Happens Correctly
Individual believers must hold themselves responsible for troubles and misfortunes that befall them, even if these do not originate from their own will and intent in terms of how they happened. For example, a believer should not see a needle that pricks their foot as blind chance, but think that it is a consequence of their sins. I can exemplify this with the following: a certain diabetic friend of ours gives an insulin shot to himself two or sometimes three times a day. If the cap of the syringe falls down from his hand by accident, he attributes it to the fact of his not mentioning the name of God while doing it. Then he says, “My God, had I done that with Your Name, it would not have fallen.” In the same way, sometimes the tip of the needle hits a nerve or capillary and causes bleeding. Then he ascribes it to his inner wrongs, failure to have a straight course in thought, or not establishing sound relations with God, etc.
I think this should be the attitude that needs to be taken in the face of troubles and misfortunes; if a man does not self-criticize over a fault, shortcoming, or flaw, he cannot be saved from having unfairly negative opinions about others and accusing them of wrongdoings. Such a person constantly thinks that the people around him render his own positive attitude and behaviors into negative ones and put his tasks at risk. Naturally, as he cannot see his own faults, he does not make any attempts to compensate for them. On the other hand, a person who sees his mistakes and is aware of them will think carefully before each negative happening and seek alternative solutions for not repeating the same mistake again. A person who puts the blame on himself for a failure or fiasco will act in a plausible and reasonable way in order not to make the same mistake again and will try to take all necessary precautions. For example, an administrator will draw lessons from a situation where discord arises between the people he is responsible for; he will revise all possibilities so that the same disagreements do not recur; and he will generate solutions for every possibility. That is, for every plan and project he comes up with, he will also devise solutions to any possible problems that may arise.

Appealing to Collective Reason
An Appealing to collective reason is an important safe guard to ensure that tasks are carried out in a perfect and thorough fashion. The master of speech pointed out that one who makes consultation will not experience loss.4 Just think about it: even though the Messenger of God had the support of Divine revelation and established contact with realms beyond the heavens, he would still bring every matter to consultation. And he did that with those whom he taught the truth, right, and meaning of consultation. He would put aside his virtue in the absolute sense and meet with his Companions about the problems he faced, as an individual among others. He did this even though he was such a noble person that he would not be mistaken in his personal decisions anyway. For people like us, who are prone to mistakes, the way to minimize the possibility of such errors is to leave our issues to collective reasoning.
We encounter many problems in our lives, at both the individual and social level. If we do not consult the collective reasoning about these problems, it is far more likely we will make grave mistakes and then find ourselves in a state of guilt, in which we try to blame others, thus offending everyone around us. Although personally being the one to lay the blame, you shake their trust in you by constantly blaming them. As a poet put it, what really matters is:

“Stately authority, wealth, and gold… none will enjoy these for good;
The real merit that counts, is making up a heart that’s been ruined.”

If gold and wealth were to be enjoyed for good, they would help Korah, first of all. However, he sunk into the ground together with his riches. It did not just stop there, for he was also condemned in the spiritual sense by being cursed in the Qur’an.5 In this respect, if there is a heart that needs to be built up, the real merit is in mending it. The Yunus Emre, a contemporary of Rumi, also said, “We have not come to knock down hearts but to build them up.” As the volunteers, our duty is also repairing hearts. This being the case, laying the blame on others for personal mistakes, accusing them of wrongdoings, and thus knocking down many hearts is unacceptable.

1. For further reading, see Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, vol. 1, M. Fethullah Gülen, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011.
2. Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 49; Sunan ibn Majah, Zuhd, 30.
3. For an example about the respected Abu Bakr, see Tabarani, Mu’jamu’l-Kabir, 1/62.
4. Tabarani, Mu’jamu’l-Kabir, 6/365.
5. Al-Qasas 28:76–83.

This text is the translation of “Mükemmel Dinin Mensupları Mükemmelliğe Talip Olmalı.”

The Angelic Soul: The Soul at Rest


Question: One of the supplications of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, that is recommended is as follows: “My God! Verily I ask You for a soul that is at rest and contentment with You, believing in the meeting with You, content with Your decree, and satisfied with what You bestow.”1 Would you elucidate the meaning of the phrase “(a soul) satisfied with what You bestow” in this exalted supplication?

Answer: In one of his sayings, the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, stated, “Your greatest enemy is the carnal soul (nafs) within you,”2 pointing out that the greatest enemy that needs to be subdued first is the carnal soul. At another time while returning to Medina after engagement with the enemy, God’s Messenger stated, “Now we are turning from the lesser struggle to the greater struggle (jihad).” When the Companions asked what is the greater struggle, he answered that it was the struggle against the carnal soul.3 This is because, in comparison to struggling against an enemy we openly see in front of us, it is more difficult to struggle against a sly enemy concealed within that looks for an opportunity to attack at every moment. Although there are material difficulties as bodily fighting at a struggle made against outer enemies, there is also the possibility of making immediate material gains in case of being victorious. However, the rewards promised to people as a result of struggling against the carnal soul, overcoming and being victorious against it, are mostly not immediate ones, but are due in the Hereafter. As for human nature, it expects to obtain the fruits of efforts right away, with an inclination for immediate payments as stated in, “… but you (people) love and prefer what is before you” (al-Qiyamah 75:20–21). Human nature seeks immediate rewards. In this respect, although the struggle in the sense of outward fighting is not a little one in reality, it remains a lesser one when compared to the greater one.

The Self-Accusing Soul
As it is known, although the carnal soul is a person’s relentless enemy and potentially so harmful, it is open to change and development. If it can be duly trained, it transforms into a steed that does not distance one from God but carries that person closer to Him. A soul upon which God Almighty swears in the verse, “And I swear by the self-accusing human soul!” (al-Qiyamah 75:2), which refers to one that has taken the first step for such a change and progress, and thus realized the initiation. Even though this soul commits faults and sins from time to time, it criticizes itself for the evil or sin it has committed, interrogates itself, seek ways out of the wickedness it has fallen into, turns to repentance and asks for forgiveness, and develops alternative ways of struggle for not committing the same faults and sins again. It is very important for a person to get rid of the hegemony of the carnal soul and pass to the level of a soul that accuses itself in the face of faults and mistakes, in terms of purifying the soul and allowing it to progress. This first step is a stepping-stone for reaching higher levels of the soul through spiritual journeying. A human soul’s gradual ascension to the level of “soul at rest” and then its reaching to the levels of the soul pleased with God (nafs ar-radhiyah) and the soul with which God is pleased (nafs al-mardiyyah), and—if it is possible in this world—then to the level of the soul purified (safiyyah or zakiyyah) depends on stepping to the level of the self-accusing soul first. Just as a small aspect in the center becomes a large segment in the periphery, such a central initiative in terms of the soul, even if it is a small one, is essential but is difficult in the same degree because in order to maintain that, it is necessary to realize a change. In other words, it is necessary to erase and say farewell to the past, push aside what one has thus far been accustomed to, and embark on a new path. If a soul that accuses itself in the face of sins and faults and shows the willpower for not falling back into those sins maintains this struggle, such a soul will ascend to the level of a “soul at rest” where one can take wing and soar on the horizons of the spirit.

The Attributes of a Soul at Rest
The soul at rest is one that has found satisfaction, one that has become well established with respect to horizons of faith and spiritual knowledge, closed all doors to anything other than God’s good pleasure, and ceased to make alternative quests. Such a soul that is freed from vain quests always lives in a God-oriented fashion, evaluates the minutes, even the seconds, of its lifetime in accordance with His good pleasure, and always breathes with submission before what He ordains and decrees. If one is pleased with the glorified acts of God Almighty, this is an indication that God is well-pleased with that person. According to some insightful personages, the soul pleased with God and the soul with which God is pleased (nafs ar-radhiyah and nafs al-mardiyyah) are no different than two spread wings of the soul at rest. For a person who is pleased with God and with whom God is well-pleased, it no longer matters to them whether what comes is a trouble from His Majesty (Jalal) or favor from His Mercy. Such people equally welcome both. In addition, as they are journeyers with the principle of always asking for more (hal min mazid), they constantly try to increase in knowledge of God and respond to Him with closeness by overcoming any remoteness on their part.

Faith in Reunion with God and Contentment
Getting back to the supplication, the next thing after a soul at rest the noble Prophet requests is certain qualities that are seen as the depths or wings of such a soul. After asking for a soul at rest, there is the petition for this soul’s being one believing in the meeting with God. A person’s believing that the path being walked upon will unmistakably lead to the Eternal One, burning with the desire and fervor of meeting with God and living with this feeling will result in a profound and unshakable kind of contentment.
The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, then asks for this soul at rest to be content with what God decrees. Although some scholars describe qada as God Almighty’s determining certain things in His eternal knowledge unbound by time, according to the majority of scholars of Islamic Theology, it refers to the execution of destiny, which is decreed in the Tablet of Effacement and Confirmation (Lawh al-Mahw wa al-Ithbat). The happenings a person undergoes throughout his or her life life can sometimes be good or bad in terms of their apparent faces. However, by means of intention a person can turn everything God wills to happen into goodness. For example, a man who meets the troubles and misfortunes that he is subjected to with a feeling of patience and good pleasure, and who meets the blessings and successes he is granted with a feeling of thanksgiving and praise for God, will have goodness in both cases. However, if he complains and thus criticizes destiny in the face of a trouble, which is a manifestation of Divine Majesty, and if he is ungrateful in the face of a favor from His Mercy but ascribes it to his personal merit, then these become evil for him. That is to say, the question whether a blessing or trouble will have an evil or good result for a person is to some extent dependent upon the stance that person adopts toward them. Thus, it is very important for a person to be well-pleased with everything God decrees for him or her.
Lastly, the blessed Prophet asks God to give him a feeling of satisfaction with whatever He bestows. There are certain times where a person is not supposed to be satisfied but even to show greed, which is solely related to issues as faith in God and seeking His good pleasure. In this respect, one must act like mad at the issue of seeking God’s good pleasure and never be contented in this respect. In other words, if there is a situation where ambition should ever be regarded the same as worship that would be the issue of loving God and His Messenger. One must never suffice with what is in hand with respect to following a course in compliance with God’s good pleasure, but always keep asking for more. What really matters, though, concerning issues related to the body and physicality is being content with what God Almighty has granted. And this is one of the other qualities of that people of wisdom possess while progressing toward the soul at rest.
Through this prayer, the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked all of these important points from God in the morning and evening. He surely asked for all of these in connection with his immense horizons and his lofty demands. If we evaluate his supplications with a perspective of our own narrowness and own targets, then we commit disrespect by daring to lower him to our own level. We are supposed to evaluate the pleas of the Messenger of God in this prayer in terms of his role of guidance for us and act accordingly. Given that he teaches us to target lofty aims by raising our standard to a very high level in this supplication, we should never suffice with minimal effort but always spur our desires, never ceasing to strive for His good pleasure, persisting until our last breath in satisfaction with what He bestows.

1. At-Tabarani, Mu’jamu’l-Kabir, 8/99.
2. Ad-Daylami, Al-Musnad, 3/408.
3. Bayhaqi, Az-Zuhd, 1/165; Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikhu’l-Baghdad, 13/523.

This text is the translation of “Melek Edalı Nefis: Nefs-i Mutmainne.”

The Spirit of Guidance and a Righteous Stance


Question: In his works Seeds of Truth and Sünuhat (Occurrences to the Heart), Bediüzzaman states that what causes most common people to follow guidance is the holiness of the source rather than bringing substantial proofs. Could you elucidate on this statement?

The phrase “most common people” in this context refers to those who are not very knowledgeable in Islamic disciplines, who lead their religious life by imitation, and who do not have sound insight into the spirit of religion. Such people in general do not/cannot know reasonable, logical, and philosophical proofs, and making scholarly deductions appears too difficult for them. In the same way, they also have difficulty at understanding the data provided by positive sciences. It therefore may not be very productive to address them by using reasoning and philosophical deductions. If you say instead, “The Qur’an absolutely gives such at decree at this issue,” or “the noble Prophet said the following at this issue,” it will leave a far more substantial and effective impression on them. In their view, and in reality of course, the Qur’an and Sunnah are two very sound and holy sources to be trusted and followed.
Thus, while discussing some truths to common people, it is necessary to give priority to Qur’anic verses, together with the words and practices of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, rather than to analyses of jurisprudence and explanation of general rules. Using words that relate the relevant issue to the life of God’s Messenger himself—“The Master of the Prophets behaved this way, sat that way, ate and drank this way… ,” etc.—will have a much more convincing and guiding effect on the people addressed.
As understood from the explanations so far, when we talk about ma’haz or essential sources of religion, what should first come to mind are the Qur’an and Sunnah. Additionally, some great personages led their lives precisely oriented to the Qur’an and Sunnah, gaining people’s love and trust and, in a way, they became relative sources in this respect.

The Upright Stance of Righteous Scholars
It is stated that Imam Abu Hanifa, may God have abundant mercy on him, had thousands of students. Although some of them such as Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, and Imam Zufar had studied with scholars before him, there were many others who joined that circle and listened to him from a corner, even if they did not understand his words completely. It is very difficult for most common people to understand deep scholarly issues, their details, the principles of Islamic jurisprudence that pertain to them, and the systematic of scholarly deductions. However, that blessed Imam turned to God in such a way, had loyalty to the noble Prophet and stood upright on the path of religion in such a way, that his very stance effected a more powerful impact in the hearts of those people than a thousand proofs.
Scholars like Imam Shafi, Imam Malik, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal never made concessions from their upright stance on the righteous path, retaining this state until the end of their lives. Imam Shafi was brought to Baghdad in shackles on the orders of Muslim rulers and was subjected to interrogation there. When those around him witnessed his immensity, they stopped tormenting him and began to show him respect. In the same way, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was thrown into prison, whipped, and tortured, but he did not change his stance at all. If you view the stance of Imam Ghazzali who lived in a later period, you see that he never lost his straightforward course, always stood upright, and expressed the Divine teachings to his audience with a consideration of revivalism. Ordinary people, therefore, viewed the upright stance of righteous scholars and took them as guides to follow.

An Utterly Upright Stance at Calling to Truth
Bediüzzaman, as well, tried to be the voice of the era, to rebuild faith with reasonable, logical, and scholarly arguments against some deviances brought by materialist science and philosophy. He tried to present Islam to people anew in a form that minds, souls, and feelings would welcome. If you can enter the world of the thoughts he presented, you can reach plentiful ores in their depths. In addition, when you consider his letters published under the title of “Supplements” (Lahikalar), you see that he set very important principles and guidelines that will prevent those who wish to serve faith and the Qur’an from being misled or confused. It is still possible to say that even had there not been any of the dizzying works that he wrote, his upright stance alone during his life of more than eighty years would suffice. Like the letter alif, his perfectly upright stance pointed to truths that would take volumes to express.
So we can say that common believers all along have put their trust in the words and attitudes of people of such horizons, those totally oriented to God, rather than reasonable deductions and logical comparisons, and take their place behind them. They view the standpoint of such people as the point that should be stood on and the direction that these righteous people turn as the direction to turn toward.

Resurrection in the Horizons of the Heart and Spirit
In the movements of revival that emerged in different times (rather than those who used their reason and logic by neglecting their horizons of the heart and spirit and who tried to address others with theoretical knowledge in spite of their lack in practical observances), the people who dealt with their inner world, who engaged in serious self-supervision, who lived in accordance with the horizons of their own spirit, and who led their lives as oriented to the heart and spirit realized a revival in their society. Such heroes of the spirit and the heart have been behind the resurrections and movements of revival that have taken place. It is possible to exemplify these heroes with resurrecting breaths with personages from different schools of spirituality such as Bediüzzaman, Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi, Muhammed Lütfi Effendi, his brother Vehbi Effendi, the respected İhramcızade, and his disciple Hulusi Effendi. In the atmosphere they formed around themselves, these great guides, who unconditionally dedicated themselves to the path of God without thinking at all about the attainments in the end, edified personages much greater than a thousand people you would educate in your schools.
These remarks should not be taken as implying a completely negative stance toward science and scientific facts or suggesting that they are not good for anything. Surely sciences, means of attaining sciences, and scientific truths are very important dynamics in terms of Muslims’ revival. The point we tried to make here, however, is the fact that the holiness of the source has a very significant impact because there is sincerity, closeness to God, connection and relation with Him, the very factors that affect a profound impact on the people addressed.

This text is the translation of “İrşad Ruhu ve Hakperestçe Duruş.”

Kökü Mâzîde Bir Âtî ve Hakta Sebât

Herkul | | BAMTELI

Muhterem Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi, haftanın Bamteli sohbetinde özellikle şu konuları vurguladı:

“Kimin için Allah var, onun için her şey var!”

*“Muğnî” ism-i şerifi Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın esmâ-i hüsnâsından: Varlık bahşeden, ekstra lütuflarda bulunan, gönülleri zengin kılan; Kendisine inananları başkalarına karşı müstağni hale getiren; “Sen olduktan sonra, başka şeylerin yokluğu hiçbir şey ifade etmez; Sen bizimle olunca, her şey bizimle beraber sayılır!” dedirten. Maddî-manevî zenginliği Allah’tan görüp bilen insanlar, Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın bu mübarek isminin mazhar ve meclâsıdırlar.

*Hazreti Pîr diyor ki: “Kimin için Allah var, onun için her şey var!” Şu halde mü’min: “Allah’ım! Beni Sensiz etme!..” demeli ve bunu vird-i zebân etmeli. (…) Bunun dışındaki meseleler tâlî şeylerdir; değerleri ne kadarsa, o kadar önem verilir.

*Allah “Ganiy-yi ale’l-ıtlak, Muğnî-i mutlaktır.” Onun inayet gölgesine giren insanlar -zılliyet planında- O’ndan başka her şeye karşı müstağni davranırlar. Dünya -bir yönüyle- bütün süsü cazibesiyle, baş döndürücü güzellikleriyle, debdebe ve ihtişamıyla karşılarına çıksa da onlar göz ucuyla ona bir nigâh-ı âşinâ kılar ve “Acaba Senin bunda rızan var mı? İtelim mi? Dürtelim mi? Atalım mı bunu?” mülahazasına girerler. Çünkü Zât-ı Ulûhiyet söz konusu olduğu yerde her şey tâlîdir. İkinci derecede de değil. Tâlînin tâlînin tâlîsidir.

“Ne harabîyim ne harabatîyim / Kökü mazide olan âtîyim!..”

*Maalesef, bu mülâhazalar bizim yitirdiğimiz mülâhazalardır. Biz, Râşid Halifeler, Sahabe-i Kirâm ve selef-i salihîn efendilerimizden sonra, Allah ile münâsebet adına derinlikleri yitirdik! Bu yitirdiğimiz şeyleri bulma mevzuunda ise bir cehd, bir gayret sergileyemedik. O kadar çok şey yitirdik ki, bunları toplamaya kalksak çeyrek asır sürer.

*Bir de sağdan, soldan, önden, arkadan gelen şeytanın avenesi var! Nazarlarımızı hep buraya teksif ediyorlar ve dahası bizi kökümüzden koparıyorlar.

*Kendisine, “Sen hep maziden bahsediyorsun; sürekli Osmanlı çeşmelerini, camilerini dile getiriyorsun; sen bir harabîsin, harabatîsin” diyenlere karşı Yahya Kemal, “Ne harabîyim ne harabatîyim / Kökü mazide olan âtîyim” diye cevap vermiştir. Evet, bugünü değerlendirmek için dünü bilmek iktiza etmektedir. Güçlü bir gelecek bekliyorsanız sağlam bir kökünüzün olması lazımdır.

*Geçmişi inkâr ederek bir gelecek kurmamız mümkün değildir. Çünkü bizim değerler mecmuamız ve onun nüveleri hep geçmişteydi. Başta Enbiyâ-ı İzâm ve onların Sultanı, İnsanlığın İftihar Tablosu (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem).. O’ndan sonra Râşid Halifeler, Sahâbe-i Kirâm, Tabiîn-i Fihâm, Tebe-i Tabiîn-i İzâm, Müctehidîn-i İzâm, Müceddidîn-i Kirâm, günümüze kadar… O kökten geliyoruz! Onu görmezlikten gelmek ve onu kabul etmemek -bağışlayın- köksüzlüktür! Râşid Halifeler’den ve onların hayat tarzından kopmuşluktur. Cihanlara hükmettikleri halde fakirâne yaşayan Râşid Halifelerden kopmuşluk ise -bağışlayın- bir kopukluktur!

*Geçmişinden kopan insanın, geleceğimiz adına vaat ettiği/edeceği hiçbir şey yoktur! O bir köksüzdür; köksüz ağaçlar da bugün olmazsa yarın devrilmeye mahkûmdur!..

*Mü’min iman, marifet ve muhabbet adına derinliklere doğru kök salmalı. Bir Hak dostu diyor ki: Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın kahrından/azabından korkuyorsan, O’nun emirlerine sımsıkı sarıl, dinde sâbit-kadem ol; zira ağaçlar şiddetli rüzgârların korkusuyla köklerini bulundukları yerde daha bir sağlamlaştırırlar.” Ağaçlar şiddetli rüzgarlar karşısında devrilmemek için arzın derinliklerine doğru hep kök salarlar.

“Değerler Yetimi” Bir Milletin İhyâsı

*Biz bir yönüyle beşinci asırda inhiraf yaşamaya başladık. Saltanat ve debdebe başımızı döndürdüğü andan itibaren de o inhirafı katladık. Bir iki asır önceden başlamak suretiyle, günümüze kadar artan bir şekilde, bütün bütün kendi değerlerimizden, ruh ve mana köklerimizden uzaklaştık. Dolayısıyla “değerler yetimi” ve “din öksüzü” haline geldik.

*Sağlam bir silkinme olursa -Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle- Allah Teâlâ bugüne kadar öldürdüğümüz şeyleri ihyâ eder. Uğradığımız her yerde adeta mazinin “tın tın” sesini duyuyor gibi oluruz. Gürül gürül bir ezan edâsıyla, Ruh-u Revân-ı Muhammedî’nin şehbal açması edâsıyla çok farklı şeyler duyar, çok farklı hislerle kendimizden geçeriz. Silkinirsek -Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle- bunlar mukadderdir, tereddüdünüz olmasın.

*Muvakkat zâlimlerin, muvakkat tasallutları ve zulümleri karşısında paniğe kapılmaya gerek yok. Ne zaman, hangi devirde zalimler uzun boylu pâyidâr olmuşlar ki bugün size musallat olanlar da pâyidâr olsunlar?!.

*Eğer O’na dayanıyorsanız, O’na güveniyorsanız, “رَبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُEy Yüce Rabbimiz, biz yalnız Sana güvenip Sana dayandık. Bütün ruh u cânımızla Sana yöneldik ve dönüş Sanadır, sonunda Senin huzuruna varacağız.” deyip o ahd-ü peymânınızı her an yeniliyorsanız, asla yenilmezsiniz; gelmez sırtınız yere ve gelmezsiniz kündeye Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle.

*Kendi işimize bakmamız lazım. Fikir kabiliyetimizi falanın filanın demesine etmesine harcarsak alternatif yollar oluşturamayız ve yol alamayız. Bu itibarla da mâlâyanî şeylerden sıyrılıp şu anda bile cehd, gayret ve aktivitelerimizi ikiye, üçe katlayarak işimize bakmalıyız.

Kimdir “Gariplere müjdeler olsun!..” Tebşirinin Muhatapları?

*İnsanlığın İftihar Tablosu (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) “Gariplere müjdeler olsun!..” buyuruyor. Gariplerin kim olduğu sorulunca da onları elin âlemin fesat çıkardığı, bozgunculuk yaptığı bir dönemde bütün bozulmaları ıslah etmek suretiyle ıslah hareketi içinde bulunanlar olarak tarif ediyor.

*Bütün bu yapılanlar karşısında duraklarsak, bir frene basarsak, “Hızımızı keselim, bir bakalım bu adamlar ne diyorlar?” falan dersek, dünya kadar zaman israfına gitmiş oluruz. Oysaki zamanın bir saniyesini bile israf etmeye hakkımız yok. Yediğiniz içtiğiniz şeylerde israf, gezmede israf, debdebede israf, ihtişamlı yaşamada israf… Bunlar nasıl haramdır; zamanın israfı da -o yeme içmeden daha büyük- haramdır.

*İnsan zimmetleme, ufuklarını açma, gönüllere ruhumuzun ilhamlarını boşaltma, kalblerin önündeki engelleri bertaraf ederek onların Allah’la buluşmalarını sağlama.. dünyada bundan daha büyük bir şey yoktur. “Bir insanın senin elinle hidayete kavuşması, gözünün hak ve hakikate açılması, üzerine güneşin doğup battığı her şeyden hayırlıdır!” buyuruyor Söz Sultanı, Cevâmiu’l-kelim Sahibi, Hazreti Ruh-u Seyyidi’l-Enâm (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem).

Taassup İlleti

Soru: Muhterem efendim, daha önce farklı bir açıdan ele alınan bir konu hakkında sormak istiyoruz. Taassup ile salâbet-i diniye ya da hamiyet-i İslamiye dediğimiz ahlak arasındaki belli başlı farklar nelerdir?

*Arapça bir kelime olan taassup, işin önünü arkasını hesap etmeden sadece kendi anlayış ve kendi beğenisine göre meseleleri değerlendirme, akla uymayan ve dinin ruhuna ters düşen hususlarda bile inat ve temerrüt içinde bulunma ve Türkçemizde “dediğim dedik” sözüyle ifade edebileceğimiz tavır ve davranışlar sergileme demektir. Rasûl-i Ekrem Efendimiz (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) bazı hadis-i şeriflerde bu tutumu, lügat itibarıyla “sinirlilik” mânâsına gelen “asabiyye” sözcüğüyle ifade etmiştir. Çünkü taassup, tamamen sinir ve hisler üzerine kurulan bir davranış şeklidir; dem ve damara dayanan, cismaniyet ve hayvaniyetten beslenen bir his ve duyuşun dışarıya vurmasıdır.

*İnsandaki taassup hissi, hayırda kullanılırsa, pozitif bir kısım şeylere de vesile olabilir. Bu diğer duygularda da böyledir. İnsan mahiyetindeki benlik, şehvet, öfke, inat ve hırs gibi boşlukların yüzleri terbiye ile bâkî gerçeklere ve uhrevîliğe döndürülürse, bunların hepsi insanın önemli birer derinliği haline de gelebilir.

İnadı Hakta Sebat, Hasedi Hayırda Yarış İçin Kullanmalı!..

*İnsandaki kötü duygulardan biri “inat”tır. Çok defa kuru bir inat adına insanlar birbirlerine düşmekte, aralarında ciddî kavgalar meydana gelmekte, hatta birbirlerini öldürmektedirler. Ne var ki, inadını iradesinin emrine alan bir insan, ne olursa olsun asla hak ve hakikatten ayrılmaz ve böyle bir kimsenin önünü tama, makam, mevki, şöhret, rahat ve rehavet gibi duygular kat’iyen kesemez. Böylece fena bir huy olan ve tamamen nefis mekanizması içinde yer alan inat duygusu, iradesinin hakkını veren bu insanda hakta sebat ve hakikate teslimiyet şeklinde kendisini hissettirir. Evet, artık şeytanî bir mekanizma olan inadın yönü müspete çevrilmiş ve bu sayede inat, insanın melekî yanında yer alarak onun melekiyetine hizmet eder hâle gelmiştir.

*Yine bu cümleden olarak; “haset”, bir kimsenin, başkalarının mazhariyetlerini çekemeyip, onlara nasip olan nimet ve faziletler karşısında hazımsızlık göstermesi, diğer insanlardaki nimetlerin ve iyi hallerin yok olmasını ve hepsinin kendine verilmesini arzu etmesi demektir. Bu, insanı batıran, mahveden bir duygudur. Hasan Basri hazretleri, “Ben haset edenden daha ziyade mazluma benzeyen bir zalim görmedim!” der. Hazreti Pir de şöyle söyler: “Hased, evvela hâsidi yakar bitirir, mahsûd hakkında zararı varsa da çok azdır.” İşte, böyle Allah belası bir maraz olan haset duygusu bile tadil edilerek, yumuşatılarak “tenâfüs” hissine dönüştürülüp hak hakikat adına bir yarış vesilesi şeklinde kullanılabilir.

Günümüzde Taassup Ehlinin Mülahazası: “Benim gibi düşünmüyorsan hainsin!..”

*Evet, taassup için Arapça’da asabiyet de kullanılır; bir yönüyle damara, kana bağlılık içinde tavır ve davranışlar sergileme, körü körüne kabalık yapma, cahilce davranma ve asabiyetin değişik şekilleriyle başkalarına karşı kötü muamelelerde bulunma manasına gelir. İnsanların, kendi arzu ve isteklerini esas almaları, yetiştikleri kültür ortamına ve şuuraltı müktesebata göre hareket etmeleri; dolayısıyla kendilerine ters saydıkları şeylere karşı sertçe karşı koymaları demektir.

*Bugün de siz o taassubun muzaaf, hatta mük’ap şeklini görüyorsunuz. “Benim gibi düşünmüyorsan, sen hainsin. Beni kabul etmiyorsan, sen alçağın tekisin!” dendiğine şahit oluyorsunuz. Bazıları kendileri gibi düşünmeyen ve kendileri gibi olmayan herkesi vatan haini, millet haini, darbeci falan ilan ediyorlar. Şeytandaki taassup gibi bir şeydir bu. Böyle şeytanî bir mülahazadan dolayı, bu tarafta o kadar hayır, fezâil ve mezâyâ olmasına rağmen, hiçbirini görmüyorlar. Kendi elleriyle olmadığından ve kendileri yapamadıklarından, biraz da yetersizliklerinden ve işe yaramadıklarından dolayı işe yarayan insanları ve onların hayırlı faaliyetlerini hor hakir görüyor; mutaassıbâne bir tavır içinde karalamaya ve onların yüzüne zift saçmaya çalışıyorlar.

Mü’minin Şe’ni: Taassup Değil, Salâbet-i Diniye

*Mü’minde asla taassup olmamalıdır. Çünkü mü’min hakperesttir. Onun vazifesi hakkı tutup kaldırmaktır. Bu açıdan hakka gönül vermiş bir insanın hakka karşı çıkması, hakkın karşısında ayak diretmesi, onu görmezlikten gelmesi düşünülemez. Aksi takdirde o, hakka karşı saygısızlık yapmış olur. Bu yüzden mü’minde taassup değil, salâbet-i diniye olmalıdır.

*Salâbet, bir mevzuda dayanıklı ve sağlam olma, ayağını yere sağlam basma ve böylece kavlî, fiilî ve hâlî olarak kaymama kararlılığı içinde bulunma demektir. Sertlik, katılık ve müsamahasızlık ise salâbet-i diniye demek değildir. Salâbet-i diniye; şartlar ve hâdiseler ne kadar değişirse değişsin, bir insanın İslâm’ın vaz’ ettiği bütün hükümleri yaşama mevzuunda tam bir kararlılık ve samimiyet ortaya koyması demektir.

*Milletimiz başta olmak üzere bütün insanlığın faydasına bir kısım işler yapıyorsak, bunların milletimizin menfaatine ve diğer milletlerin yararına olduğuna inanıyorsak, ayrıca, geçmişle irtibatımız, Ruh-u Seyyidi’l Enam’ı hoşnut etmemiz ve Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın rızasına ermemiz adına muvafık ve önemli vesileler olarak görüyorsak, sâbit kadem olmamız lazımdır. Şayet tereddüdümüz varsa, yürüdüğümüz yolu bir kere daha gözden geçirmemiz, kafa kafaya vererek ortak akılla o meseleyi test etmemiz ve varsa yanlışlarımız görüp düzeltmemiz gerekir. Fakat bu muhasebe, murakabe ve testi defalarca yapmış ve doğru yolda olduğumuza kanaat getirmişsek, artık onda sebat göstermemiz icap eder.

“Bugün bu hizmetle uğraşanlar, yarın nedametle ellerini dizlerine vuracaklar!..”

*Neresi yanlış bu işin? Her rengi ve her deseniyle siz Anadolu insanı yirmi senede Allah’ın izniyle dünyanın 163 ülkesine girmişsiniz; Batılılar iki asır çalışmalarına rağmen bu ölçüde muvaffak olamamışlar. Dünyanın değişik yerlerinde değişik nispetlerde seçmeli ders olarak Türkçe okutuluyor. Bir gün dünyanın neresine giderseniz gidin, orada sizinle Türkçe konuşan insanlarla karşılaşacaksınız.

*Bir senedir gittikleri her yerde “Amanın bu okulları kapatın, bunlar sizin başınızı ağrıtır, size dert olur!” diyorlar. Böyle demelerinde acaba bir haklılık payı var mı? Sizin kültürünüz, öz değerleriniz dünyanın dört bir yanında temsil edilip bayraklaştırılıyor; sizin bu değerler mecmuanıza insanlar alaka duyuyorlar. Allah aşkına, Peygamber hatırına, bunun yanlışı neresinde?!.

*Siz kafa kafaya verdiniz, “Vallahi de, billahi de on defa test ettik, bu konunun zerre kadar yanlışı yok!” dediniz. O zaman da size, hiç durmadan hizmetinize koyulmak ve ayrıca o aldanmış insanların zihinlerindeki isi, pası silmeye çalışmak düşer.

*Endişe etmeyin!.. Bugün bu hizmetle uğraşanlar, yarın ellerini dizlerine vurup “Keşke toprak olsaydık!” diyecekler, “toprak olsaydık da bunları yapmasaydık!..”

Conditions for Shared Blessings for Collective Deeds Pertaining to the Hereafter


Question: Bediüzzaman mentions that the totality of the rewards that correspond to the collective deeds pertaining to the Hereafter will be included in every individual contributor’s book of good deeds without missing anything. Would you elucidate the conditions for being blessed with the reward mentioned in his glad tidings?

Answer: In different parts of the Risale-i Nur collection, Bediüzzaman clearly points out the issue of shared blessings that correspond to collective deeds pertaining to the Hereafter and states that every individual who stands within the sphere of serving faith and the Qur’an will have a full share of the blessings granted for the entire collective.1 I do not remember such an explicit reference to the issue in the literature of Sufism and Qur’anic exegesis prior to Bediüzzaman. Although some great personages alluded to this point in different ways, his approach to the issue is very explicit and clear.
Actually, this approach is in perfect compliance with the fine nature of the metaphysical realm, which has a character of light, and things with the nature of light are reflected exactly as they are. For example, the image of a lamp placed in a room with mirrors on its four walls will be reflected as it is in each of the four mirrors simultaneously. In the same way, the blessings that correspond to collective deeds of goodness are included in each contributor’s book of good deeds without being divided into smaller shares.

A Viewpoint According to the Qur’an and Sunnah
We can comfortably say that this approach of Master Bediüzzaman is a truth he drew by distilling from the essential principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah. When we study the miraculous Qur’an and authenticated tradition of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, we see in many instances that God Almighty’s granting success depends on maintaining concord and unity and that He bestows an exclusive abundance and reward for deeds realized in a spirit of unity and togetherness. For example, the following two verses from the Qur’an allude to this fact: “And hold fast all together to the rope of God, and never be divided. Remember God’s favor upon you: you were once enemies, and He reconciled your hearts so that through His favor you became like brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire, and He delivered you from it. Thus, God makes His signs of truth (revelations) clear to you that you may be guided (to the Straight Path in all matters, and be steadfast on it)” (Al Imran 3:103).
He has attuned their (the believers’) hearts. If you had spent all that is on the earth, you could not have attuned their hearts, but God has attuned them. Surely He is All-Glorious with irresistible might, All-Wise” (al-Anfal 8:63).
In a way, victory, dominance, and success which concern the benefit of all are related to Muslims’ concord and unity.
Acting collectively on an issue leads to great success at worldly affairs. If we view the issue with the example Bediüzzaman gives, when ten people separately try to produce sewing needles, each of them can only produce three or four needles a day. But when they act collectively by division of labor, and each specializes at a certain task, such as burning the furnace, supplying the iron, piercing the hole, sharpening the tip, etc., some 300 needles fall to each of them daily. Another example of Bediüzzaman is if four or five people unite and if one of them brings lamp oil, another one brings fuse, another one lamp glass, and another one brings the base, each one of them fully benefits from the light emanating from the lamp in the end. I think a person who sees that the principle of collectivity facilitates even worldly tasks in this degree and renders them so fruitful understands better how it will become a means of abundance and blessings in otherworldly deeds, which have a character of light.
By looking at the issue with this perspective, we can say the following: The entirety of the blessings that correspond to the acts of goodness realized in the four corners of the world by God Almighty’s support and grace will be completely reflected in the book of good deeds of each individual who endeavor for this sake, thanks to the truth of shared blessings in collective good deeds. That is to say, every individual included in this wide circle will benefit from the endeavors by millions for the sake of God. The good deeds recorded for each will be recorded for the rest as well. This being the case, a person’s turning away from such a total reward and being preoccupied with individual considerations, being crushed under egotism, and saying “I can do something on my own” means that person will be deprived of that immense reward. No matter how capable a man is, even if he has the talents of some 50 geniuses, he can neither realize a permanent service for the good of humanity, nor gain such a great otherworldly reward, on his own.

The Essence of Good Deeds: Sincerity
When we have an overall view of Bediüzzaman’s explanations on the subject, we see that there are certain conditions required for such a great total attainment. The questions we then need to ask ourselves are: What kind of a stance do we need to adopt within the movement we are trying to uphold? How must we walk together on this path, and how must we be unified so that we can be blessed with the attainments stated? As the first condition, Bediüzzaman mentions “contribution with the secret of sincerity.”
Ikhlas, or sincerity, means doing a certain deed for the sole reason of fulfilling God’s command, relating its result to God’s good pleasure, and leaving the fruits of that deed to the Hereafter. In this respect, what matters according to a person who takes sincerity as a basis on every issue and deed oriented to the Hereafter is the fulfillment of certain services of goodness, and not their being necessarily done by this or that particular person. If we put it in other words, what really matters is sometimes sounding like a reed flute to enrapture those whose hearts are beating in unison, and sometimes speaking up for truth as a chorus to let people hear the truth, helping them experience the Sufi states of astonishment, passion, and stupor, and thus letting them reach the presence of God. Given that this is the target and purpose, no matter who realizes such a purpose, others must feel glad, as if he or she personally accomplished it. While Bediüzzaman exemplifies this issue, he mentions that he told one of his students that a certain other student had better calligraphy, and the person who heard this felt glad about it. Bediüzzaman also says that he checked the heart of that student and sensed that his heart was beating with the same genuine feelings. So this is a very striking and beautiful example of contributing with the secret of sincerity.
In the same way, master Bediüzzaman compares this issue to a task of carrying a heavy treasure and states that bearers of the treasure should feel happy about more hands with fresh strength coming to their aid. Every one of us will hold from one side of this treasure and nobody will care about which side falls to their part. Given that there is a share for everyone who contributes to the carrying of the treasure, everyone must thoroughly fulfill the task that falls to his or her part and not engage in rivalry and dispute with anyone while doing that.
A person’s effectuating sincerity in this degree is possible by abstracting from one’s personal hue, being imbued with the collective hue, and being proud of the merits of fellow brothers and sisters. Individuals devoted to the ideal of serving faith and the Qur’an should never forget that they undertake a very important duty and responsibility that surpass various other titles of glory and honor. In this respect, if they say, “You achieved this; you did that…” to a man who is aware of the path he walks, he will respond by saying, “I do not remember… I do not deem it probable either. Our friends worked and endeavored. I may have been among them during this time.” This is the criterion for contribution with the secret of sincerity Bediüzzaman mentions.

A Complete Spirit of Solidarity and Brotherhood
As the second condition of benefiting from the shared blessings for collective deeds, Bediüzzaman emphasizes the principle of cooperating within a spirit of brotherhood. If genuine brotherhood is found somewhere, mutual support and solidarity is also found. As the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, tells us about the brotherhood between believers, he draws attention to the relationship among the organs of the same body. Remember, that in the case of an ailment in one of these organs, other organs share the suffering through fever and loss of sleep. In the same way, believers must establish such a sincere and serious bond of brotherhood among them that, in the case of a trouble concerning Muslims in general, every Muslim must feel suffering about it.2 Believers devoted to the path of truth must lean on and support one another like stones forming a dome, and throughout the journey they must not let any of their brothers and sisters remain on the way. If volunteers of service become one within the frame of this understanding, share such a spirit, and attain true unity and togetherness, then good deeds of millions will be included in each individual’s book of good deeds without loss to those performing them.

Acting in Concord with Collective Reason
The third condition mentioned at this issue is cooperation through the mystery of unity—namely, division of labor, tasks, duties, and responsibilities with a spirit of unity and togetherness. In other words, avoid acting individually but rather work in cooperation and acquire the habit of acting in collective. For this reason, it is first necessary to make a division of labor before beginning a task. Everybody should endeavor to do whatever his or her capability is and whatever he or she can do well.
Given that these three conditions we tried to express and explain are fulfilled, if the volunteers join their minds to entrust matters to their collective reasoning, by God’s grace and permission, they will not fall to the mistakes made by individual reasoning. According to probability calculations, it is perhaps one out of a million possibility for ten minds joined together to come to a mistaken conclusion. If the joined minds amount to twenty, the negative probability will diminish in the same degree.
It thus follows that it is very important to run issues in accordance with a collective consciousness. So much so that, even if a single person has genius capabilities, he must never decide alone on matters that concern the general collective. I do not know even a single person in history who acted on his own, made decisions on his own, and achieved permanent success. None of the people like Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, nor other tyrants who lived after them, had lasting achievements. They shone as a flash in the pan at the beginning but quickly faded, reduced to a sad heap of ruin. As for real leaders who make use of the collective consciousness, they succeed in the same degree as their acting upon consultation, and they build their society’s future with the services they realize.
To sum up, for the sake of gaining what the principle of shared blessings from collective good deeds, both in this world and the next, it is necessary to have pure intention and sincerity, a spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, as well as common reasoning and a collective consciousness.

1. Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, The Gleams, “Twenty-First Gleam, Your Fourth Principle,” New Jersey: Tughra, 2008, p. 229.
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Adab, 27; Sahih Muslim, Birr, 66.

This text is the translation of “Heyetin Sevabına Nail Olmanın Şartları.”

Weakness in Servanthood and Swelling Egos


Question: Weakness in worship is emphasized as one of the most important factors that causes arrogance and the ego to gain strength. What kind of a relationship exists between weakness in worship and gaining strength in arrogance and the ego?

Answer: Ubudiyyah (deep worship) comes from the Arabic root a-ba-da and refers to individuals’ observing their responsibilities toward God Almighty and being in a consciousness of servanthood. It’s similar to ibadah (worship), which comes from the same root, but there are some differences in meanings between these two words. Ibadah is the name and title for the act of putting theoretical knowledge on faith into practice within a certain discipline and system. Ubudiyyah means leading one’s life with a consciousness of servanthood. In other words, ibadah is observing the responsibilities of servanthood as commanded, whereas ubudiyyah means deepening in servanthood and leading one’s life with a consideration of perfect goodness, always with a constant consciousness of being seen by the Omnipresent One.
A servant who observes acts of worship by deeply feeling them in his or her conscious, who deepens in servanthood by exercising in this way, and who is fixed on the consideration of ubudiyyah will be freed from other kinds of servanthood. The sole way of ridding oneself of being a servant to others is being a servant to God, the true sense of the word anyway. Those who do not become a servant to Him become a servant and slave to different power-holders, totems, and idols.
Indeed, God is the only One deserving of being worshipped. To put it in Sufi terms, He is “The Absolute One to be worshipped and the True Desired One.” That is, our worshipping Him and acting with a consciousness of worshipping Him in every moment of our life is His right over us, and it is a duty and responsibility on our part. In other words, He is the Desired One, the Beloved One, and the Worshipped One, for He is God. Therefore, things such as totems, myths, and idols worshipped as a consequence of different deviations, in spite of their not having any such right and eligibility whatsoever, are evident marks of unbelief and misguidance. There is only One who deserves worship and that is God Almighty. Individuals fixed on such a consideration of worship, who do not think of bowing before anybody but God, never see themselves as superior to and different from other people; they do not assume a special status for themselves other than being a servant. They are always in recognition of being like a slave in shackles vis-à-vis God Almighty. As such persons eliminate their ego and arrogance in the melting pot of servanthood, they always attribute all good things they are blessed with and all achievements they have attained to God only. Maybe, with the deceiving of their carnal self, they may occasionally experience some dizziness or blurring of vision before accomplishments far beyond their capability… however, with the feeling of ubudiyyah, which always exists as an ingrained character in their soul, they curb such feelings that might arise within.

Inverse Proportion
There is an inverse proportion between deepening in worship on the one hand and gaining strength in arrogance and the ego on the other. That is, as much as a person deepens in servanthood to God, that person can manage in the same degree to maintain self-possession against the carnal soul, arrogance, and egotism and take under his or her control the negative feelings within. As for one who keeps away from worshiping God, that person becomes egotistic and even egocentric in accordance with the degree of his or her remoteness from worship. As such people are distanced from the duty of servanthood, which is reminder for people of their true identity, they forget in time who they actually are and ascribe to themselves all achievements they have made. They even wish good works done by others to be somehow related to themselves—therefore, achievements, applause, and appreciations continuously draw them like a whirlpool into themselves.
However, individuals who take a mannerly stance before God, who pass every frame of their life with such consciousness, never forget their true identity. They always act with the consciousness that they are powerless, weak, and mortal beings in shackles before God. This feeling of impotence and poverty urges them to constantly ask for more of worship. No matter how much they worship, even if they offer a thousand units of prayer every day, they keep saying, “My God, I failed to worship You as I should! O the One who is known more evidently and clearly than everything! I failed to know You as I should. If I had, I would already have melted away. O my God the rightful owner of thanksgiving! I failed to express my gratitude to You as I should.”
Such servants know that the acts of worship that they carry out are nothing in compared to the favors that they are blessed with, including the blessing of their acts of worship.

Unlimited Blessings Call for Unlimited Gratitude
A person’s not remaining as a lifeless being but blessed with life, not being a plant or animal but having the honor of being a conscious being, and further than that knowing and recognizing God, obtaining the opportunity to open the doors of eternity with the mysterious key of faith, and taking the path to becoming eligible for Paradise are such great blessings that they have no equivalents in this world. The Bestower of these infinite blessings is God Almighty.
If a person becomes aware of all of these blessings, becomes fully oriented to God, deepens in servanthood, becomes a hero of “is there more?” and constantly tries to increase one’s knowledge of God, love, zeal, and enthusiasm, God will then save that person from the whirlpool of arrogance and egotism through His favors and graces. In the words of Muhammed Lütfi Effendi:
“If you truly love the Lord, do you think He will not love you?
If you seek His good pleasure, will He not let you have it?
If you go near His door, ready to offer all you have,
And serve as He ordered, Will He not give its reward?”
Indeed, God Almighty is expressing Himself to us with some thousand happenings every moment. And in response, if we try to monitor phenomena with a systematic and disciplined deliberation, with caution and vigilance, and try to make sense of the whole by juxtaposing separate frames, and make an endeavor for always walking to Him by searching different ways, He will not let us down halfway, because He has never let down those who walked to Him that far.

The Elixir of Ubudiyyah in the Era of Arrogance
Days and nights keep chasing one another throughout history. Since the earth insisted to ignore the heavens, and the heavens commanded the eyes to become tearless, the ground has become a desert throughout. Sometimes, however, showers of mercy pour from the sky, and the earth serves as ground for stalks that yield seven, and even seven hundred, fold more. Sometimes light gains over darkness, which thoroughly shrinks. The atmosphere of spirit beings and angels is victorious to that of devils…in other words, the spiritual establishes dominion over the material. The time of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is the prime example of those bright periods. In that era, there was virtually no suitable ground and atmosphere for devils to move around and live comfortably. There were similar bright periods in later times.
Today as well there are many who feel and sense that they are a servant to God with all the particles of their body, who live with the constant consciousness of togetherness with God thanks to the Divinely bestowed inner sensations far beyond their perceptions. If it were not so, this earth would not remain in its orbit. God Almighty looks to the earth through the eyes of those who offer sincere servanthood to Him. He forgives guilty, sinful, and unsteady servants like us for the sake of those pure and faithful servants. He gives some more term to the universe, and He does not destroy it for their sake.
Although our time is an age of arrogance, God willing, a beautiful era has started with respect to worship and ubudiyyah. As is well known, the ultimate point of darkness marks the beginning of light. The horizon darkens before the coming of dawn. But this is the final darkening, and the characteristics of the night will make a surge for one last time. One more time, darkness will cover the entire horizon with a final vengeance, but then you will see the twilight of a false dawn following. Although this initial phase is not the dawn, it is the most truthful herald of the real dawn. It has never proved to be wrong: whenever an initial false dawn emerges, it is followed by a real dawn after a short time.
In short, even if in this age of arrogance, as much as a person deepens in worship and devotions, egotism will forsake that person in the same degree, and the zone of egotism will gradually narrow down. Just as the sphere of darkness narrows down with the expansion of the sphere of light, there exists a similar contrast between ubudiyyah and arrogance. One develops to the disadvantage of the other. As much as a person deepens in worship, his or her egotism diminishes to the same degree. In time, such persons ascribe everything to Divine power, assessing the worth of the achievements they have made only by considering whether God’s good pleasure and approval are there. As a result, they completely melt away in terms of their arrogance and egotism; they do not even recognize themselves, always speaking about Him and proclaiming His name everywhere they go.

This text is the translation of “Kulluktaki Zaafiyet ve Kabaran Enaniyet.”

A Comprehensive Prayer of the Noble Prophet


Question: After the first verses of the chapter al-Mu’minun were revealed, God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, prayed, “O Allah! Give us increase (in Your blessings), and don’t take from us; honor us and don’t humiliate us, bestow on us and don’t deprive us, favor us and don’t favor others instead of us; make us well pleased and be well pleased with us, O Most Compassionate of the compassionate!”1 What are the messages this prayer conveys, particularly for the believers in our time?

Answer: Initially, let me point out that as the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was the very person who received revelation, it is not possible for someone else to feel and understand these exalted truths in the level of his high horizons. For this reason, it should be understood from the beginning that the explanations here will fall short of reflecting the real depth and immensity of the meaning and content of this prayer.
As expressed in the question, the Messenger of God made this blessed prayer after the first verses of the chapter al-Mu’minun were revealed. The lofty meaning of the verses can be given as follows: “Prosperous indeed are the believers. They are in their Prayer humble and fully submissive (being overwhelmed by the awe and majesty of God). They always turn away from and avoid whatever is vain and frivolous. They are in a constant effort to give alms and purify their own selves and wealth. They strictly guard their private parts, and their chastity and modesty, save from their spouses, or (as a permission for men) those (bonds- maids) whom their right hands possess – for with regard to them they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, such are they who exceed the bounds (set by God). They are faithful and true to their trusts (which either God or society or an individual places in their charge), and to their pledges (between them and God or other persons or society). They are ever-mindful guardians of their Prayers (including all the rites of which they are constituted). Those (illustrious ones) are the inheritors, who will inherit the highest floor of Paradise. Therein they will abide forever” (al-Mu’minun 23:1–11).
After the revelation of these verses, which are a gift of God Almighty to the Messenger of God and his followers, the noble Prophet felt with its entire profundity the glad tidings that believers with the attributes counted here will attain deliverance. Thus, he made the above mentioned prayer reported by the Companions, the same way as he opened his hands in thankful response to the showers of blessings in the form of revelation in different instances and expressed his feelings to God Almighty.

The First Demand
At the beginning of this prayer, God’s Messenger says, “Give us increase (in Your blessings), and don’t take from us…” As the first possibility that comes to mind, the noble Prophet may have asked God Almighty to increase the number of Muslims, as a multitude of Muslims has always been an ideal he dreamed of. We see the following piece of information in some sayings narrated about the subject: Different communities were shown to the Messenger of God and when he saw a large group among them, he began to hope that they were his followers. However, he learned that they were the followers of Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, and he was told to look to the horizons in order to see his own followers. When he looked at the horizon, he saw that a greater crowd than the one he saw before, covering the entire horizon. His blessed heart was pleased, glad, and satisfied with such a view.2
We can see his strong demand for the increasing of Muslims in his encouragements for marriage as well. For example, he stated, “Get married and reproduce, since on the Day of Judgment I will be proud of your multitude against other communities.”3 Since marriage is an individual, as well as a familial issue in one respect, it remains simple in comparison to the substantial matters of religion, and it can be said that marriage has a relative value near those substantial matters. Additionally, the noble Prophet counseled his followers to get married and reproduce, stating that that would make him proud. Let me note that being proud in this context means overflowing with gratitude before the bestowals of God Almighty.

Numeric Multitude Should Not Be the Real Target
As a second possibility about the demand “Give us increase, do not take from us!” it is possible that there is a demand from God Almighty in terms of increase in quality, because it is quality that makes the multitude worthy. Sole numeric multitude without quality has no importance on its own. Much greater communities in number have not been able to accomplish what some ten or twenty thousand Companions did. Those first and unique heroes of Islam upset the plots of the Sassanid and Byzantine empires, the two superpowers of their time, brought them to their knees, thus changing the fate of the world.
Although it is commonly said that the Muslim population in the world is around 1.5 billion, it is not possible to say that Muslims are fulfilling a function in proportion with their number, because today they are not in the state desired by the Qur’an. Indeed, they are at each other’s throats. Muslims are struggling against one another and consuming themselves in the vicious cycle of confrontations and conflicts. As they cannot achieve a proper concord and unity, they are using up their energies in a web of confrontations, failing to be blessed with Divine help to allow them to take their place in the balance of powers between world states. Their multitude in number does not help for this great mission that they are supposed to fulfill.
Actually, when we look at history from this perspective, it is possible to see the significance of quality vs. multitude so explicitly and clearly with its striking examples. For example, so many people who set on the road with sincere intentions at a certain period in history made impressive moves, realized breakthroughs at full gallop, and realized very fruitful accomplishments. However, as the same people began to lose their qualified state in spirit, meaning, feelings, thoughts, together with the religious liveliness of their heart and spirit, let alone make progress, they could not even retain the position they had gained in spite of being greater in number in comparison to the past. When they forgot the considerations of glorifying the name of God but gave in to comfort, laziness, love of status, and fear, the multitude of their number did not help them, and they lost their power, influence, and weight. In this respect, it is possible to say that while the noble Prophet prayed “Give us increase, do not take from us!” he was making a demand for an increase of quality in terms of the believers’ state, and their credit and worth in God’s sight, and that he implored God in this respect so that He does not let them experience loss in this sense.

The Greatest Blessing Is Acknowledging a Blessing as a Blessing
The prayer continues as “Honor us and do not humiliate us!” and this means, “Raise our worth with Your favors and do not let us fall into misery!” The beloved Prophet is not asking for worldly means, power, or spiritual marvels here, but rather to be honored with Divine graces. Thus, God’s honoring is a very important bestowal that should be sought. In addition, as the original Arabic word is inflected in the causative (if’al) form, its meaning can also be: “O God, honor us, and makes us feel all the time that each of these favors is a Divine blessing.” Awareness of Divine graces is a means of protection against experiencing lapses and falls, because a person who is aware of Divine graces knows that those favors he or she enjoys are from God in actual fact. If the person ascribes these to his own aptitudes and abilities, and thus speaks like Korah who said, “All this has been given to me only by virtue of a certain knowledge that I have” (al-Qasas 28:78), then it will be an invitation for falling into misery. In this respect, one must open his hands and constantly pray: “O God, do not let me fall into any misery, either as a consequence of the evils I personally committed or as a trial from you!”

O God, Do Not Punish Us With Deprivation!
The prayer continues: “Bestow on us, and do not deprive us.” This means: “O God, bestow on us constantly and abundantly, and do not let us suffer deprivation.” Believers can ask for some worldly blessings that will not lead them astray. And it is very important to ask for everything one wishes from God Almighty alone. The noble Prophet said, “Let everyone of you ask all of his needs from God, even down to a shoelace that has broken off.”4 In this respect, be it raising a family like a corner of Paradise or a righteous child, we should ask for all of our needs from God. The criterion to determine the value of this request is a person’s horizons, position, and targeted ideal. Having a peaceful family, righteous children, and sufficient livelihood that will not leave one dependent on others are definitely blessings to be asked from God. However, a person who lives with a concern for making others live in the true sense of the word instead of living for himself, who is devoted to the thought of revival, and who is full of compassion toward the entire humanity may not acquire any of these. What fills such a person’s horizons is: “My God! I do not want to see in my lifetime any victories and accomplishments realized through me or through which I think so. But please O God, enable me to behold from a corner of my grave the message of Islam flourishing throughout the world, the Muhammadan spirit spreading its wings all around, calls to prayer resounding everywhere, and all hearts beating in relation to you!”
In this respect, it is possible to say that while saying, “Bestow on us, do not deprive us,” everybody is asking for something in accordance with the horizons of their own ideals. While one asks something of a few coins’ worth, another may ask for millions. Another still may not suffice with that and becomes a nominee for eternity. As some wish to attain worldly blessings, personages with immense horizons such as Imam al-Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, and Bediüzzaman constantly ask for attaining His good pleasure and opening the way to Paradise for others. In all of their acts, they live with considerations such as: “O God, take my life fifty times a day, if necessary, but I am begging you O Lord! Save from this misery and disgrace, Your Prophet’s followers who have never fallen to such a wretched condition!”
It is possible to say that the people who open their hands in prayer, in a way, voice the considerations inspired by the level where they stand.

The Greatest Disaster Is Muslims’ Subjugation
The prayer continues: “Favor us and do not favor others over us…” This means: “O God, if there will be a favor, please favor us over others but not vice versa.” If we elucidate that, the noble Prophet asks God to not let others come and subjugate Muslims.
God’s favoring Muslims over others can be in different forms. For example, if we do not give servanthood its due, do not prove to be worthy of trust, and make an about-face from religion, God Almighty may remove us as a player in the balance of world powers and bring others instead. For this reason, we should ask for being endowed with the qualities of people worthy in God’s sight. We must pray: “My God, do not bring others to replace us! Whatever You will to be realized, let it be done through us, please!” If God throws us aside like some old furniture and brings others in our place, it will condemn us to our own worthlessness.

Another Type of Trial: Favoritism
With respect to favoritism, the Messenger of God, blessings and peace be upon him, drew our attention to a different reality by informing us of the negative aspect of favoring: “You will meet favoritism after me. So show patience (in the face of such attitudes very difficult to swallow) so that you meet me near the pool (of the heavenly Kawthar).”5 
After he passed from this world, such things did happen. Although the Qur’an appreciates and praises the Companions who are from the first and foremost6 who embraced faith, some people from later generations failed to understand it and were openly unfair to some of those heroes who are very worthy in the sight of God and His Messenger. For example, the Khwarijites failed to appreciate the worth of the prince of the chivalrous, the valiant lion, and the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib. In the same way, most people of the time did not appreciate the worth of the noble Prophet’s grandsons Hasan and Husayn.
Some administrators who came in later periods also failed to retain the justice observed during the time of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. For example, when there was a question of assigning someone to an administrative position or dividing war gains, they immediately favored their own relatives. None of the Rightly Guided caliphs assigned their relatives to positions by favoring them. They never gave privileges to their relations and never showed favoritism; if responsibilities are not given to those eligible for them and favoritism begins, the fall of that people ensues.
The noble Prophet mentions that there will be favoritism after him and counsels his followers to be patient until meeting him as patience leads to deliverance. This counsel is a very important message for believers in our era as well, as those who make assignments might do injustice to people more qualified for a certain task. Let them do wrong! What really matters is continuing to serve on the righteous path of God without caring for these trifles. The devoted souls must retain their philosophy of not asking from others in dignified contentment and wait for what God Almighty ordains; Divine acts have always been good. As past acts are the most convincing reference for future acts, then it means that He will realize good things in the future too. Given that we do not fail at our loyalty, trust, and adherence to Him.

Peak of Servanthood: The Good Pleasure of God
The final request in the prayer is “make us well pleased and be well pleased with us!” Actually, these two have never been separated from one another because if God is well-pleased with a servant, that person is also well-pleased with Him. In the same way, a servant’s welcoming what God decrees is an expression of that person’s being well-pleased with Him. Saintly personages hold different considerations on the cause and effect between the two. Some said that a person’s giving his or her willpower its due and requesting the path that leads to God’s good pleasure yield the expected result. They related this to the following saying of the Messenger of God: “If you wish to know Your place in God’s sight, look at God’s place at your sight.”7 That is, your degree of valuing Him determines your value in His sight. If you love Him more than anything else, and value Him more than everything in the world, then you receive the same degree of value in the sight of God and the celestial beings.
Others have stated that if God is not well-pleased with them, they cannot be well-pleased with Him, and explained this view with the fact that God’s being well-pleased has priority of order in verses stating the meaning: “God is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him” (al-Maedah 5:119).8 Another group of scholars, including Imam Qushayri, state that with respect to the beginning, it depends on the servant’s willful choice and deed, and it is an unveiling of a spiritual reality and a spiritual state with respect to its result.
If we view this issue from the perspective of the Maturidi school of thought, a person must initially make a willful effort in compliance with gaining God’s good pleasure as a simple condition of causality. And this depends on that person’s reading himself and the whole creation correctly, as well as interpreting the verified truths of Islam correctly. When a person is well-pleased with God, then God Almighty will favor that person with His immense good pleasure special to Himself.
Let me make a final point here. The influence of each of the points that the noble Prophet asks in his blessed prayer is essential in a believer’s life. For this reason, we should constantly ask for these same blessings from God Almighty in our prayers.

1. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad, 1/34.
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Tibb, 17, 41; Riqaq 50; Sahih Muslim, Iman, 374.
3. Abdurrazzak, Al-Musannaf, 6/173.
4. Abu Ya’la, Al-Musnad, 6/130.
5. Sahih al-Bukhari, Fitan, 2; Sahih Muslim, Imara, 48.
6. “The first and foremost (to embrace Islam and excel others in virtue) among the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who follow them in devotion to doing good, aware that God is seeing them—God is well- pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him…” (at-Tawbah 9:100).
7. Abu Nuaym, Hilyatu’l-Awliya, 6/176.
8. See at-Tawbah 9:100; al-Mujadilah 58:22; al-Bayyina 98:8.

This text is the translation of “Efendimiz’in Kuşatıcı Bir Duası.”

Merit and Deserving Punishment


Question: It is stated that those who cannot shoulder the responsibility and cannot have merit and capacity required by serving faith deserve to be excluded from this circle, in terms of the Divine Custom (the way of God’s treatment). Will you elucidate the necessary qualities to have, in order to avoid ending up this way, and also those qualities needed to have such merit?

Answer: Merit means good character worthy of reward. Capacity denotes being capable for a certain task and fulfilling it properly; whereas deserving punishment indicates the bad deeds one commits and receiving that punishment. However, let us express right up front that even if a person has capacity for a certain task, God Almighty’s Grace and Mercy is essential for everybody at all times. In this respect, even if individuals endowed with high abilities and competence prove their merit for the duty they have undertaken, the essence of their success still lies in Divine Grace. Additionally, when the issue is seen from the perspective of Divine Custom, it is seen that merit is a means for very important gains; whereas, deserving punishment on account of bad character is an important cause for their ceasing.

Networks of Hypocrisy and Deserving Punishment
All along, networks of misguidance and hypocrisy plotted and intrigued in various different ways in almost every era for overturning certain positive and beneficial services established by believers. There is only a difference of hue and pattern changing according to the time and conditions of those plots and intrigues. When the same network of hypocrisy understood that they could not achieve the end that they desired with the argument they used at a certain period, they developed other arguments, trying again and again to put a stop to these good works with these new arguments.
So the question whether the networks of hypocrisy attain their purposes or not to some extent depend on whether the journeyers of noble ideals give their position its due, fulfill their responsibilities, and the merit they have at this issue. If they are fulfilling their duty as truthful bearers of trust and are thoroughly performing their duty with “wakeful eyes” against dangers that may come through different openings and gaps, then God will render the plots of the hypocrites ineffective. However, if they are continually losing stature in terms of the nature of their merit and are becoming dull—may God protect—it means they are shifting towards being deserved to be punished in the same degree. When justice is realized, God takes that trust and hands it to other people worthy of that trust. In this respect, if the souls devoted to serving on the path of faith and the Qur’an wish to be saved from the conspiracies against them and to retain their present position, they must give the due of the point at which they stand and constantly seek merit.

An Important Condition for Eligibility: Endeavor for Renewal
By starting from some verses in the Qur’an, we can comprehend the attributes that serve as a means for merit and those that cause deserving deprivation from it. For example, God Almighty states the following in a verse: “If He so wills (for the fulfillment of His purpose in creation), He can put you away and bring a new generation (of humankind in your place)” (Ibrahim 14:19; Fatir 35:16).
It is understood from the word “new” (jadid) that the people devoted to the path of God should feel everything freshly, as if savoring a feast descended from heaven or delicious dates from Paradise. When they take the verses of the Qur’an and begin to recite them, they should feel enraptured as if they were revealed to them for the first time at that moment, with a pleasure and delight far beyond what they have ever felt before. In the same way, they must have deep insight into their era and carry out service to Islam as befits the requirements of their era. Even their spiritual life should have its share from this novelty. Even if time flows and years pass, they should not give in to monotony of familiarity, lose color, nor become weary. Since being “new” is an indispensable attribute of merit, if a community loses this quality, they become deserving of being substituted.

Where Those Who Back Away from Service End Up
Another Divine statement about the subject that needs to be mentioned is the following verse from the chapter al-Maedah: “O you who believe! Whoever of you turns away from his Religion, (know that) in time, God will raise up a people whom He loves, and who love Him, most humble towards the believers, dignified and commanding in the face of the unbelievers, striving (continuously and in solidarity) in God’s cause, and fearing not the censure of any who censure. That is God’s grace and bounty, which He grants to whom He wills. God is All-Embracing (with His profound grace), All-Knowing” (al-Maedah 5: 54).
This verse primarily draws attention to the danger of being an apostate or deserter. Apostasy (irtidat) means a person’s abandoning a worthy position and returning back to his or her previous lowly state. Such a person is in general terms an apostate (murtad). The first and most drastic sense of apostasy that comes to mind is apostasy in faith. Such a person deserts the Islamic faith and returns back to unbelief, becoming an apostate. Additionally, there are deserters on the path of serving faith. Even though they give their hearts to a certain cause at a certain period, they cannot help dwelling on trivial matters that they cannot overcome in their minds. Thus, they lose their fervor and enthusiasm for service, together with their previous zeal and activity, and abandon the circle they were once in. Actually, these people are mostly poor ones, troubled in heart and mind, who wish all works to be carried out according to their own personal fancies and desires. When their wishes are not fulfilled, they create disagreement and dissent in the places where they are. As a consequence, they completely turn their backs on their former service.
God first warns such people with “slaps of compassion” to bring them to their senses, but if they continue adding fire to the flames of disagreement and dissent, then they become deserving of a “slap of chastisement.” Upon this, God Almighty virtually makes an address to them: “Given that you have reckoned on disagreement and dissent, I will move you away and bring instead those who take unity and togetherness as a basis, who act with a spirit of concord and alliance.” In this respect, believers who have attached their hearts to the path of serving faith must be extremely concerned about becoming “apostates of service;” they must be able to relinquish many personal rights so that they do not fall into such a situation. As this is an act of seeking merit, it is, at the same time, the way and method of avoiding to be deserving of a bad ending.

Love of God, the Essence of Merit
In the verse we quoted above, God Almighty states, “God will raise up a people….” In other words, He will replace those who cannot give their position its due with another group who can. The Arabic modal sawfa in the original verse denotes distant future, conveying the following meaning: God Almighty does not punish believers immediately owing to the certain negativities they have committed. As He values their belief, He first gives them, time and again, a term to make up for what they did. If they persist in their faults and wrongs, God then removes them and brings another people to replace them. From the fact that the word qawmun (a people) is in an indefinite form, we both understand that this community is both an unknown one and has a high worth.
The glory of this community is so exalted that you cannot conceive of, nor imagine, it. This verse also gives us some clues to recognize them: “God loves that people whose worth you cannot comprehend.” That is, He holds them in high esteem—in a way that becomes His glory—and in accordance with the immensity of His mercy and the ampleness of His love, He bestows upon them what loving calls for. This loving transforms into love of God in their hearts, and they love God, too: “…and whom love Him.” This verb is inflected in the Arabic verb form of if’al. One of the meanings this form conveys is profusion. In this respect, it is possible to paraphrase it as: “They also love God crazily.”
The verse continues as, “…most humble towards the believers.” That is, they lower their wings of modesty before believers to the degree of humiliation. However, let this not be misunderstood, for this humbleness of theirs is never a complex of inferiority. As they hang onto their own values tightly, they are dignified and honorable in the face of those who deny those values. That is, they do not kiss the feet of those who deviate to denial on the grounds of conceit, pride, wronging, lacking a sound perspective, or by asserting that they stick with the ways of their ancestry. In the same way, they never bow before obstinate and obdurate ones who take a firm stance against the messages presented by believers.

The Spirit of Striving for God’s Cause
Another attribute of theirs is referred to as “striving (continuously and in solidarity) in God’s cause.” The nature and scope of this striving is very extensive. Within the frame of definitions, this striving (mujahada/making jihad) is the removal of obstacles which stem from the carnal soul, as well as from evil desires, and which come between people and God, thus preventing the acceptance of faith and the meeting between their hearts and God. According to this definition, it is necessary to extend a hand to others by taking into consideration the contemporary era’s philosophy of life, as well as levels of comprehension and knowledge, for the sake of eliminating the obstacles between people and God.
Another way of striving is ceaselessly trying to fulfill the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. This means voicing the truth at mosques, conference halls, seminars, lecterns in parliaments, places of education, or wherever you are granted the opportunity.
However, if a day comes that invaders fixed on animosity—as it happened in different times—attack your country, threaten your chastity, and attempt to tread you underfoot, then the form of struggle will naturally change. In that case, there will be a struggle in the sense of fighting, as it happened in many examples in history, and the necessary struggling will be given its due. Surely, such a struggle to be made as an entire nation can only be done with a decision of the state and under its control. This is one type of jihad in the form of physical struggle. To reiterate a fact we have expressed at different instances, it is definitely wrong to take “jihad” solely as engaging in war, which is only one aspect of struggle. There are various different forms of struggling and striving for the sake of helping people understand truths or preventing oppression and injustice. In addition, as it is understood from the expressions, “on the path of God” or “for the cause of God,” a given task must be fulfilled purely for the sake of God, in a righteous fashion, by observing the rules and principles that our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, established. Nobody must ever act for the benefit or wrath of a certain person or group under the guise of jihad.
In short, with the statement “striving in God’s cause”, God Almighty mentions striving on this path as an important attribute of those who uphold the cause of Islam. The last point mentioned in the verse as one of the attributes of the souls dedicated to sharing the Divine message is having no fear of any censure. It is always possible for journeyers of noble ideals to be censured by people who see life restricted to the world in which they live and one they wish to indulge in. For example, they may give so-called counsel to the volunteers as: “Why are you making your own lives a misery instead of enjoying this world? Why are you turning the ‘champions of the path of deviance and worldliness’ against you?” Unfortunately, in every era there have been people disturbed by the resounding of the Prophet’s message. However, the souls dedicated to the path of serving faith and the Qur’an do not care about the unfair censuring of others and do not shy away in the face of threats, always walking on without being hindered by the obstacles that come before them on the righteous path.

Being Employed on this Path Is a Favor of God
The statement at the end of the verse, “That is God’s grace and bounty, which He grants to whom He wills,” tells us that all of these are very important attributes and that they are not just given to everybody, but only to distinguished servants whom He wills. That is, God grants the honor of serving religion, not to those who have a PhD, a post-doctoral degree, or even double or triple post-doctoral degrees, solely for the sake of building a career, but to sincere believers, who attach their hearts to God. Such a person may, for instance, appear in the mountainous areas of Eastern Turkey, completing the entire madrasa education in less than a year and thus giving a lesson to humanity in terms of teaching about the religion, observances, and the Qur’an. Thus, he pushes open doors on the way to renewal in thought. While carrying out such mission, however, he never makes any personal claims, but ascribes all of these solely to the unmerited favors of God. So the ending of the verse, “That is God’s grace and bounty, which He grants to whom He wills,” alludes to an indispensable quality of merit: never making big claims on one’s achievements, but always being modest, no matter which great duty is being fulfilled, and knowing these as favors and graces of God.

This text is the translation of “Liyakat ve İstihkak.”

Striking the Balance at Diverting Others from Evils


Question: Overlooking vices that do not harm society is mentioned as one of the important characteristics of the devoted souls. If we look at the issue by considering the fact that forbidding evil is an important essential in Islam, what are the boundaries of overlooking sins and forgiving the evils committed?

Answer: First, it is necessary to make a distinction between individual vices and sins on the one hand, and wrongs and evils considered as a violation against the rights of the society on the other hand, as the approach towards each is different. In short, it is an essential to overlook sins limited to a certain individual and treat such people as leniently as possible. As for evils that harm another person or rights of the public, it is necessary to intervene physically, if possible. If not, it is necessary to intervene verbally, or at least to condemn those evils in one’s heart

The Way of Forgiveness and Leniency
There is no need to list the sins that only concern one person or describing the wrongs that adulterate pure minds, for it does more harm than good. All words and actions forbidden by Islam can be considered within this category. A person may have committed one or more of these. If such a person is not presenting a bad example for others to follow, not taking religious commandments lightly and mocking religious values, and not violating rights of the public, then it is possible to show forgiveness and leniency toward such a person. Many verses of the Qur’an express the importance of showing tolerance to people and responding even to their evil behavior with goodness. For example:
“…Ever-restraining their rage (even when provoked and able to retaliate), and pardoning people (their offenses). God loves (such) people who are devoted to doing good” (Al Imran 3:134).
As it is seen here, restraining one’s rage, pardoning people, and doing good are counted among the important attributes of pious ones. For this reason, in the face of others’ individual mistakes and sins, believers should act in accordance with these Qur’anic principles, overlooking them as much as possible.
In addition, the attitude to be taken, particularly in the face of some treatments and behaviors shown by some ignorant people, is turning away and keeping away from them. Indeed, the Qur’an commands believers to adopt such conduct in several verses:
(Even so, O Messenger) adopt the way of forbearance and tolerance, and enjoin what is good and right, and withdraw from the ignorant ones (do not care what they say and do)” (al-A’raf 7:199).
The (true) servants of the All- Merciful are they who move on the earth gently and humbly, and when the ignorant, foolish ones address them (with insolence or vulgarity as befits their ignorance and foolishness), they respond with (words of) peace, (without engaging in hostility with them)” (al-Furqan 25:63).
They always turn away from and avoid whatever is vain and frivolous” (al-Mu’minun 23:3).

Not Revealing Sins While Diverting People from Evils
If a person insists in engaging in vices and sins, takes them lightly, presents a bad example for others with the transgressions he commits, or violates the rights of the society, then it is necessary to prevent this evil in a proper way. The Messenger of God, blessings and peace be upon him, taught us what to do in the face of such evils: “Whoever from you sees an evil, let him change it with his hands; if he cannot, let him change it with his tongue; and if he still cannot, let him be against it in his heart; this (last) one is the weakest level of faith.”1
Accordingly, the first thing to do with a man who has been stuck in a swamp is to hold his hand and pull him out of it. If you do not have the power to do so, you should receive help from somebody who is capable of it. But while doing that, it is necessary to avoid disclosing that person’s faults and sins, spreading the word about them and acting like a scandalmonger, embarrassing the person concerned and bringing shame on him in society. The real purpose here is to save that person from the evil that he has fallen into. If physical intervention is not possible, what needs to be done is to give proper counsel to the person. The manner of the counsel is of great importance here. For example, while giving a warning, it is necessary to take all alternatives into consideration and prefer a form of address that will not evoke a negative reaction. For this reason, the person who wishes to save a fellow brother or sister from a certain vice must express it only after having thought over it some ten times. And if that person’s address is likely to evoke a negative reaction in the person addressed, it is necessary to have someone else speak whose words will not make that person feel offended. At certain critical situations, it may even be necessary for the person giving the warning to disappear from sight and make the warning without even a face-to-face address. For example, you write two lines for the sake of a certain wrong that you have recognized, revise it some fifty times with your mild and sound considerations, and then push it under the door of the person concerned or leave it in his or her mailbox. Thus, you do not embarrass that person by blatantly mentioning his mistake to his face, and thus protect his dignity. The goal real purpose here is to help someone give up a certain evil. It is necessary then to consider very carefully the steps to be taken, never being as blunt as a kick in the shins. What matters is neither stating the evil to be evil, nor embarrassing the person who committed some wrong or sin. What matters is finding the most effective and softest way to divert that person from that evil.

Guidance and Warning with a Bitter Smile
For those situations where it is not possible to eliminate evils and wrongs physically or verbally, God’s Messenger taught us that it is necessary to disapprove of the conduct in one’s heart according to the scholars of Hadith. It is possible to add different commentaries as well. For example, it is possible to derive from this statement that it is necessary to cut off the heart’s attachment to a person who keeps committing evil—so much so that when you meet such a person, the sour expressions of your face, a bitter smile, and your turning away from that person can serve as a means for his realization of his mistake and cease to do it. In addition, as your stance is not against a certain individual, but against his bad behavior, you open your hands and pray to God “My God! Please save this fellow brother (sister) from this evil and make him feel disgusted by it!” Not even sufficing with that, you can say a thousand times in your prayers: “O God! Make faith beloved to us, endearing it to our hearts, and make unbelief, impiety and disobedience hateful to us, and make us among the rightly guided.”2 The Messenger of God stated that a prayer in absentia will be accepted.3
At a certain time in the past, someone mentioned a lapse by a certain friend of ours. Since that time, no day has passed without me praying for that friend. Similarly, a certain friend with a sound character was having problems of belief. God is my witness, I prayed for him at every prayer I made for myself. I saw being neglectful at this issue as disrespect and unfaithfulness to the rights of a fellow brother. Praying from the heart in this way is also a meaning that can be derived from the hadith quoted. Thus, simply interpreting the expression “in his heart” mentioned in the hadith as disapproving the act in one’s heart, cutting relations with that person, turning one’s back on him or her and leaving is incomplete. What really matters here is taking a kind of stance against a bad attribute God does not like, doing everything one can do in order to eliminate it, and thus saving that fellow brother or sister from that evil.

The Public’s Rights Are God’s Rights
Taking a stance against vices and evils that might somehow harm the society in a narrow or wider sense and thus endeavoring for their elimination is not only a societal and religious duty, but also a necessity of respecting God’s rights at the same time. Because, as it is known, rights of the public are at the same time considered rights of God in Islamic teachings. That is, evils that will corrupt a society from within are like a moth in terms of their harm and consequences. They are not like the sins whose harm remains on a personal level. Therefore, it is not possible to overlook and remain silent in the face of the evils of this first type. The officials with authority to enforce law must try to prevent those evils with the legal authority trusted to them, and believers must give their support to them, sometimes by appealing to authorities when necessary, sometimes by encouraging them at this issue, and sometimes by using their civil right to testify as a witness. Let us reiterate that the real point with all of these is not to embarrass a person at all. On the contrary, it is an endeavor to take a stance against evils that will eat away the society from within and to protect people from them.
In relation to our subject, it is possible to remember the following verse, which was revealed as a reprimand to a certain group from the Children of Israel but also sets an important essential for believers in general: “They would not restrain one another from doing the evil they did: indeed evil was what they used to do” (al-Maedah 5:79).
The people referred to in the phrase, “They would not restrain…” had not developed a collective mind to prevent the evils committed. They did not apply to the collective consciousness in this respect. There was no coordination among them. For this reason, those people who did not restrain one another from doing evil were consequently cursed. It is therefore necessary to develop a common mind concerning the duty of a person who witnesses evil, concerning the action to be taken by the officials in authority, and the general duties that fall to the society concerning this issue.
In conclusion, believers should try to forgive the unpleasant words spoken to them, which only concern them personally. Just as there are fluids and acids in a person’s digestive track to digest the food consumed, there must be similar “substances” in believers’ individual worlds of the heart and spirit to digest ugly, evil, and unfair things, so that they can comfortably digest the mistreatment they receive. However, if a group or movement is targeted and defamed through a certain individual, the issue is no longer personal. It is not correct for one person to swallow such wrongdoing on behalf of the group or movement. On the contrary, the necessary conduct in such a situation is trying to eliminate in lawful ways the wrongdoing against that person, such as with a formal statement, correction, and disclaimer. If the insistence in wrongdoing and unfairness continue, it is then necessary to resort to other legal means for the sake of silencing the transgressors, such as suing them for compensation. In the same way, although Bediüzzaman said he gave his blessing even to those who sent him from one prison to another, who condemned him to total isolation, and poisoned him many times over, he never remained silent with respect to his faith and spoke up against his oppressors, thereby defending the truth, the Qur’an, and the rights of the public.

1. Sahih Muslim, Iman, 78; Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Fitan, 11.
2. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad, 3/424; Al-Bazzar, Al-Musnad, 3/175.
3. Sunan Abu Dawud, Witr, 29; Abd ibn Humayd, Al-Musnad, 134.

This text is the translation of “Kötülüklerden Sakındırmada Denge.”

Spirit of Renewal and Divine Help


Question: What are the characteristics of people in whose hearts a love is kindled for constant renewal in religious feelings and thoughts?

Answer: It is not possible for Muslim societies to have a revival in spirit and spirituality without correcting distorted thoughts and conceptions, and without making an endeavor to make up for the many destructions of an extinguishing spiritual life, to a great extent caused by the geography where Muslims live, the shackling up the tongue and hearts by making people oblivious of religious love and ecstasy, the adoption of strict positivism by intellectuals, the replacement of sound faith and righteousness with crude bigotry, and even while praying for the Hereafter and Paradise, doing it with a consideration of continuing the accustomed happiness in the world.
Surely with God’s permission and grace it is possible to shake off the vices enshrouding our souls for the last few centuries. As Muslims, however, we first need to get rid of feelings such as worldly passions, laziness, ambition for fame, love of status, egotism, and worldliness, which are the real reasons and factors that brought our total collapse and disintegration. We then need to turn to God with hearts contented with Him and indifferent to the rest, with courage, religiousness, and deep devotion to God, and thus purify and mold our hearts with a feeling of truth. Without setting to work with this understanding and endeavoring with due diligence, it is so difficult for us, to the degree of impossibility, to put things right. Additionally, if there are—and I think there are—certain chivalrous souls, those with a will for revival and restoration, who can embrace the age while being true to the essence, then this repair and renewal will definitely be realized.

Not Even for the Blinking of an Eye
It is possible to view from this perspective the life of Imam al-Ghazali, honorably referred to as the “Proof of Islam,” as an example for our discussion. He first attained a high level in outward knowledge to such an extent that he read all the essential references that existed in his time and filled libraries, and then produced very fruitful works for the later generations. He lived in the fifth century after Hijra, which was a prolific age when Islamic renaissance was at its peak. After excelling in outward disciplines, he did not remain stuck in the narrow forms of those fields, but he turned to the horizons of spirituality and deep devotion to God, which gave a separate value and depth to his outward knowledge. According to him, the words scholars write in their books do not go beyond theory, unless they have a spiritual and metaphysical dimension. Attaining the knowledge of truth and transforming the theoretical into practical are only possible through a life experience a person has on the horizons of the heart. For this reason, those who lead a life oriented to the heart and spirit are less prone to lapses and falls in comparison to their counterparts who solely possess outward knowledge.
As far as a person who has ascended to the life level of the heart and spirit, who has stopped obeying the desires of the carnal soul, who has become annihilated in terms of his ego but has found permanence in God is concerned, it is unthinkable for the Divine Mercy to leave that person on his own in his thoughts, considerations, and feelings. God does not let such people fall into vice by leaving them alone with their carnal soul, not even for the blinking of an eye.
As it is known, the Messenger of God prayed:
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ أَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ وَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ
“O All-Living, Self-Subsistent [Lord]! For the sake of Your Mercy I beg for help. Rectify for all my states and leave me not to myself even for the blinking of an eye!”1
He taught this prayer to his followers, showing them the target. The heroes of restoration who adopt the prayers of the Master of the Prophets as the highest target for themselves and who endeavor in the same direction always advance under radiant rays of God’s light, with His permission and grace.

God Almighty Does Not Let Any Effort Be Wasted
By basing on what we said above, it is possible to say that God Almighty inspired the due considerations for reasoning, deduction, and renewal to the hearts of those great personages, who stamped their influence on centuries. If you look at the books of Ismail Haqqi Bursawi, you will see that he uses statements such as: “It occurred to my heart in the morning”; and “It occurred to my heart thus…” It is understood from these expressions that God Almighty sheds light on the path of those great personages and clears the way for them, and thus they see and interpret everything correctly. Thereafter they do what needs to be carried out in accordance with the conditions of the time, character of the society, and the duty they are responsible for.
God Almighty states in the chapter az-Zalzalah: “…Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it” (99: 7–8).
It will be a defective understanding to take the meaning of this verse solely as: “A person will receive his or her due in the Hereafter for what he or she does here.” In my opinion, the issue needs to be understood thus: Even if the deeds are as petty as an atom’s weight, the return of good and evil deeds will be met in this world as well to a certain extent. Given that even acts of goodness as little as an atom’s weight will be seen here as well, then it means that acts of goodness fulfilled for the sake of lofty ideals, as heavy as the earth, will primarily be seen and manifested as Divine graces.
In this respect, it is unthinkable for God Almighty to leave on his own with his carnal soul a hero of revival who has devoted himself to his people and a spiritual revival of humanity, who makes sacrifices from his personal enjoyments for this sake and does not care about his own fortune and future at all. God Almighty directs a person sometimes openly, and sometimes in a way that the person does not realize at all the Divine guidance. No matter how confusing the roads such a hero of revival takes, no matter in what deep valleys he wanders in, he will keep walking on the right path with God’s permission and grace.
Such heroes of truth, whose horizons have been broadened by God, sometimes see everything as clear as day right at the very beginning that they very comfortably say right away in the face of the problems that they encounter: “What is there, after the truth, but error?” (Yunus 10: 32) They point to the right way and voice the truth. And sometimes in response to the obscure nature of the situation they are faced with, they seek refuge in God with sincerity and vehemence, and pray, “My God, I only demand Your good pleasure; I wish You to make me take whichever course of action is in compliance with Your good pleasure!” As a result, they see the right; they voice the right, and direct people in the right way with God’s permission.

Nobody Returned Empty-handed from That Door
My God! Here I knock on Your door for help against the misfortunes and troubles I cannot resist, which are beyond my power, and I say, “There is neither strength nor power save with God!” My God! I knock on Your door again for the sake of being freed from the heavy pressures of faults and sins, and even for the sake of leading an immaculately pure life by being saved from the pollution of my conceptions and imagination, and I ask for Your support again by, “There is neither strength nor power save with God!”
My God! Do not leave me on my own in any of my words and actions oriented to making people revive in spirit. Do not ever leave me without Your rays of guidance upon me! Always guide me to the right way! Endow me with sincerity in all of my attitude and behaviors. Do not leave me without Your support and supervision, so that my words have an influence on others.
My God! I know that the representatives of misguidance will not leave me alone while striving to guide others; they will march upon me on the pretext of trivial matters. In order to stand up to every kind of trouble and misfortune that might come from them without bowing, making concessions, and staying upright only to bow before You, I seek refuge in Your support and protection; I knock on Your door once more and I say, “There is neither strength nor power save with God.”
My God! I fail to keep my heart pure and observe Your rights as I must. Here I knock on Your door so that my heart becomes so pure as You created it, and I say, and I say once more, “There is neither strength nor power save with God.”
If you reveal your fidelity and sincerity this way, God Almighty does not let Your turning to Him wholeheartedly be in vain; He will not leave you on your own with your carnal soul in your reasoning, deductions, and preferences—not even for the blinking of an eye.
If you lead your life with these considerations, keep knocking on His door night and day, and present your wishes to that door like a petition all the time, then God Almighty who hears, knows, and sees your situation will respond to you and never leave you unanswered. As it is mostly stated in saintly personages’ deep and moving supplications that touch the heart, nobody who went to His door returned empty-handed so far. Although they had been stumbling on their way with lapses and sins, so many others knocked on the same door, sought refuge in His forgiveness, and were eventually wrapped with His Mercy, bestowals, and support.
In short, given that journeyers of restoration and revival, who are spiritually poor but truly sincere, constantly implore to Him, “My God! Exquisite faith! Immaculate practice of Islam! Utter sincerity!” God Almighty will never leave them on their own, even if they have not experienced self-annihilation in God or subsistence by and with God, even those who have not reached the Absolute One by passing the subsequent levels of certainty based on knowledge, seeing, and experience.

1. Nasa’i, Al-Sunan al-Kubra, 6/147; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad, 13/49.

This text is the translation of “Yenilenme Ruhu ve İlâhî İnayet.”

Sacrificing Otherworldly Pleasures and Delights


Question: Could you elucidate on Bediüzzaman’s statement: “For the sake of saving the people’s faith, I have sacrificed my life of this world and the Hereafter!”

Personages who lived before this monumental figure of our time, such as noble Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, Mansur al-Hallaj, Imam Rabbani, and many others, made similar statements. They virtually acted like guardian angels waiting before the gate of Hell and exerting themselves to save other people from falling there. In the words of the poet Necip Fazıl, they opened their arms wide to divert masses and warned, “This is a blind alley!”

He Firstly Sacrificed His World

In this statement, Bediüzzaman first mentions that he forsook the world for the sake of saving others’ faith. Indeed, a person who looks at this great man’s life will see that his whole life affirms this statement, because the lifestyle he chose was not one to be lived and tolerated by an ordinary person. His entire life was full of exiles, prisons, pressures, and other examples of receiving mistreatment. Sometimes, they did not even suffice with a prison cell and—may that pure soul excuse me—they imprisoned him in a place like a latrine. Moreover, they opened the windows of that cell during the cold and freezing winter days, basically leaving him to die. Not even sufficing with that, they poisoned him nineteen times in prison. In addition to the physical tortures and mistreatment in prisons, after this great personage was released, he was under the surveillance of street wardens.
Had he wished, however, Bediüzzaman could have gained a status and worldly position like others and led a comfortable and luxurious life, benefiting from worldly pleasures. Since his youth, he possessed a prodigious sagacity which made him able to produce great plans and projects. He influenced masses with what he spoke and wrote. As early as the years of the constitutional monarchy, he wrote his work Sünuhat (Occurrences to the Heart) on the chaotic developments during those years. In the same way, when he wrote his work Muhakemat (The Reasonings), he even revolutionized the accustomed thoughts of scholars. By traveling through Anatolia, he convinced the tribes preparing for a rebellion not to go through with their plans, and with the public speeches he made, he moderated other rebellious groups. He had a degree of courage that enabled him to shout, “Long live Hell for all tyrants!” without making any concessions with respect to his feelings and thoughts, even after being tried in a court martial. If such a magnificent personage had the least bit of concern for the world and chose to comply with those around him, he would have lived like a king.
During the years that followed the struggle for independence, he could have also obtained a seat in the Parliament, sitting there shyly and thus favored at all times. Some fortunes and benefits could have been allocated to him from discretionary funds. Like others, he could have also enjoyed orchards, gardens, mansions, villas, and other comforts and luxuries of this world. However, he knew to push aside all of these for the sake of his cause and opted for an unbearable life for the sake of saving others’ faith.

What Is the Meaning of Sacrificing the Hereafter?
Bediüzzaman states that in order to save the people’s faith, he sacrificed his Afterlife as well. He does not consider himself even with respect to this issue. That is, he did not take a course of life where he would draw to a corner for strengthening his relations with God as a hermit, realize his personal progress, experience spiritual pleasures, work wonders, and be held in esteem. Since the issue of assuring the people’s faith had become his primary ideal, just as he did not seek to gain this world, he did not seek to gain the next world either. So, did not he have any expectations from God in the Hereafter? He did, of course. However, he expected that as an unmerited favor of God, out of His generosity, and as His special mercy.
By the way, it is also necessary to add that Bediüzzaman and the people who shared his same feelings and thoughts had become a whole with the people and a part of the general body. Each of them virtually resembled neurons that took place inside the head of that body. Therefore, as part of the body, they felt deeply everything bitter or sweet and were seriously affected by that. Such a person can say like Abu Bakr, “My God, magnify my body in such a way so that I fill Hell and others will not enter there.” Or they can say, “I do not mind even burning in Hell, given that I see my people’s faith secured.” However, it is not possible for a person without an immensity of conscience like Bediüzzaman to understand these words in their true sense. In order for a person to understand this horizon of sacrifice, it is necessary for people to sense within like a fire, not only the suffering people are presently experiencing, but also the consequent suffering they will possibly endure. This depends on having an immense conscience that embraces the entire humanity. You can also call it the universal conscience if you wish. So people with such a conscience feel sad with others’ grief and feel joy with their delights. So much so that wherever in the world misfortune befalls somebody like a piece of fire, it burns them too, because they feel the pain of that fire in their conscience.
Therefore, even though we cannot generalize it to all, it is not possible for ordinary people like us to thoroughly understand these immense considerations. Even if we can feel the suffering of our child, spouse, and friend to a certain extent, we do not possess an immense conscience to embrace the entire humanity. As we cannot share such horizons of knowledge of God and immensity of conscience, we have difficulty understanding the suffering of these great personages.
Once some people took a person I know to a sermon by Yaşar Tunagür. As usual with his sermons, the late preacher spoke with a deep enthusiasm and shed many tears. I thought that the newcomer would be moved by this, but I heard him say to my surprise, “Why does this man keep sobbing so sickeningly?” It made me feel very sad. On the one hand, there was a rude mind, devoid of ability to understand and feel. On the other hand, there was an immense conscience, an example of kindness reflected outwardly. Understanding what such immense conscience felt and sensed was only possible by sharing the same horizons with him.

God’s Rights Must Come before Everything Else
Since personages such as Sheikh al-Jilani, Imam al-Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, and Bediüzzaman were focused on a very large sphere and were interested in a very large area, they did not think about themselves. As for those who were so fortunate to meet such monumental personages, they must also seek to share the same horizons of altruism. The devoted souls must never run after mundane pursuits such as going to a cool mountainside during summer days or moving to the seaside to enjoy themselves in mansions when the winter comes. They must know how to push aside such thoughts that may possibly occur to them. They must also sacrifice exceptional spiritual blessings such as working wonders, reading people’s thoughts, having spiritual experiences, and taking wing alongside with spirit beings, instead devoting themselves solely to saving people’s faith. In the face of such inspirational blessings that come along in spite of not having demanded them, a person must feel concerned and say, “I wonder whether God is trying me with this?” At the same time, they must have such a righteous attitude to say, “My God, if these are not part of a stratagem that will lead me to perdition, then I offer my praises to you, but they are not what I seek.” Such a careful approach denotes at the same time giving priority to God’s rights over everything.
It can be useful to draw attention to a point that can be misunderstood here: sacrificing one’s Hereafter or feelings of spiritual delight does not mean forsaking devotions and remembrance or neglecting them. On the contrary, together with observing these in the highest possible level, it means that the goal is not to work wonders or attain spiritual pleasures, but rather to fulfill one’s duty of servanthood and try to help others feel and taste what one personally experienced. It is not possible for a person who does not protect one’s own faith with devotions and remembrance to save others’ faith anyway.
Let me make a final point: constantly living selflessly with a feeling of making others live, always speaking God’s Name, and spending one’s day and night with concern for saving humanity is a Prophetic attribute. When people are divided into certain categories in the next world, those who keep striving for the sake of religion, faith, God, the Qur’an, and humanity will—God willing—be resurrected together with the Prophets. For this reason, it is necessary to target high horizons and always run after the ideal of making others live by leaving aside the feeling of living for oneself.

This text is the translation of “Ahirete Ait Zevk ve Lezzetleri de Feda Etme Ufku.”

Genius Minds and Flourishing of Talents


Question: You refer to “genius minds” in various articles and talks. What do you mean by genius minds? What are the points of consideration in order to let those people’s talents flourish?

When we say “genius minds,” we refer to those who try to understand the era they live in, the society, humans, the universe, phenomena… in short everything, who strive to put into practice the theoretical information they have learned, and who constantly think, inquire, and investigate in this respect. As these people are fixed on searching for truth, love of knowledge, and passion for investigation, they can solve the problems they pursue by God’s grace, can make very surprising achievements, can clear up muddled thinking, and thus become a means of illumining the society they live in.

Talents Are Causes of Trial

It is necessary to note that the people who attained such a level are in a position to face certain potential dangers. For example, they may take pride in their talents, see themselves as distinguished, and thus be deceived by the misjudgment that they can overcome any problem with their own intellect and abilities. In such psychology, they can even view themselves to be the one who lays down the law. Or since they wish to emphasize their superiority, they might take an indifferent and rigid attitude towards others’ thoughts and opinions. In other words, their high achievements in certain cases might cause them to look down on the people around them and take their opinions lightly. By even developing a certain code of rebellion of their own, they might begin to refuse even very plausible thoughts developed as a result of serious pondering and forget the fact that doing things for the sake of God is exalted above all.
Actually, what lies at the root of such wrongs is a lack of learning manners. In the past, people who were responsible for education were very good teachers of manners as well. That is, true educators were exemplary persons to the people around them in every way—the way they sat, got up, stood, together with their beliefs, thoughts, and worldviews; they were teaching manners in a silent language. However, considering the education system in our time, it is very difficult to say that the teaching of knowledge and manners are in line. Even if we consider the fact that informative teaching has made great progress, it will not suffice to fill the gap we have mentioned. Education means elevating someone potentially human to the level of true humanity. As for ideal educators, they have to possess the ability to produce a monument of a human, like an able sculptor. If genius minds are not cultivated in the hands of good educators and not brought up under their influence, then it is very difficult for them to rid themselves of the diseased thought of “I know everything the best” and gain an understanding to let them benefit from other people.

Those Who Are Crushed under the Weight of Their Ego
In relevance to our subject, I previously related a certain attitude by one of the heroes of the first rank who served Bediüzzaman for a lifetime. While discussing an issue, one of the people near this heroic personage revealed an idea contrary to his thought. Still, that great personage responded with a smile and said, “It must be so my brother. It may be you who is telling the truth.” He did so because he felt that the person before him was not at a level and was not ready to accept the truth and comprehend what he had to say. However, when the person who objects there witnesses the faltering of his own considerations at times, he comes near that great guide and this time says, “Sir, I was mistaken at that thought of mine. What you said was right.” Without changing his manners, the sagacious one says again, “It must be so my brother.”
I can also say that I have had similar experiences, maybe a thousand times, and ignored these every time. I did so because such people might think they know every matter well and object to everything other people say. In this case, in order not to worsen the problem you leave the issue to the passing of time. Otherwise those people can drift to very different and dangerous points. There are so many grim examples of this throughout history. For example, together with having certain talents, Hitler had a disease as always seeing himself as superior and listened to no sound advice, and consequently condemned an entire nation to great loss for the sake of an adventure—so much so that people in his own society still curse him.

Gaining Genius Minds for the Society Requires Special Care

The only solution for protecting individuals from such a mistaken code of rebellion is to maintain their harmony with the collective by training and rehabilitating them. Through different ways and methods, it is absolutely necessary to tell them about the significance of concord and unity. It is necessary to point out that possible extra Divine favors and support depend on this factor, and that no matter how well-placed somebody’s personal opinion is, being able to relinquish it for the sake of not upsetting the general harmony is a virtue.
On the other hand, with respect to personal matters that do not concern the rights of the entire collective, it can also be a useful method to leave such people alone with their own mistaken ways for the purpose of letting them learn a lesson. Let him go as far as he can, let them hit the wall, and then come back and say, “What you said was right.” Because, letting people see their mistakes with their own preferences and freewill is very important at educating a person.
On seeing talented people wasting their lives for the sake of their ego and running after their fancies and desires, one cannot help but sigh, “If only…”
I wish the brave and competitive people with high capacity, who can ably reason in different matters and who are gifted to solve problems, would use their minds for the sake of sharing the message of Islam and our spiritual culture, instead of using their potential for proving themselves superior or for objecting to this and that. Indeed, the genius minds who can use the talents that God Almighty has bestowed upon them in harmony with the collective, for the sake of a lofty ideal, can be blessed with realizing a lot of works and activities of goodness.
At this point, a very serious responsibility falls to the people in a position to lead and manage them. Those in administrative positions must make serious efforts to gain them, have them work in harmony with their society, and thus benefit from their abilities. If those gifted people will offer a service equivalent to ten other people, those leading them must devote the time and effort that they would normally spare for ten people if necessary. As it is known, the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made serious efforts for the sake of encouraging exceptionally talented ones such as Khalid ibn al-Walid, Amr ibn al-As, and Mughira ibn Shuba to embrace Islam. The Messenger of God cultivated such talented ones that had remained in the society of the time of ignorance with special care, put them into shape, and then let them serve religion. Naturally, each one of these Companions eventually fulfilled great services for Islam.
When you look at the Ottoman history, you also see that as soon as the sultans detected a gifted person to the degree of a genius, they made serious efforts to gain that person. The administrators of that time discovered those talents with their perspicacity and senses, even if they were from different religions and cultures, and sought ways for gaining them. This way, people like Zaghanos Pasha, Evrenos Pasha, Ghazi Mihal, Sinan the Architect, Sokollu Mehmed Pasha—may God be pleased with them all—accepted Islam, came under the command of the Ottoman state, serving humanity for the rest of their lives. They became a commander, grand vizier, or an architect, and they eventually carried out great services for the people.
By avoiding imbalanced and excessive ways, sometimes by gaining their hearts, sometimes by applauding them, and sometimes by rewarding them, it is necessary to seek ways for gaining genius minds. Actually, behaving this way is Divine conduct, because we understand from His Glorified acts that He does not leave any success unrewarded. In this respect, what needs to be done is to reward and appreciate genius minds for the sake of letting different talents and potentials flourish, while evoking the feeling and thought of working for the good of humanity in their soul.

This text is the translation of “Cins Dimağlar ve Kabiliyetlerin İnkişafı.”

Task Management and Family Life


Question: In addition to his duty as a Prophet and state leader, God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, was a father, spouse, and the closest friend of his Companions. He divided his time so justly between them that he did not violate the rights of anyone. Accordingly, as far as the volunteers devoted to high ideals are concerned, how should they manage their time so that they strike a balance at observing everybody’s rights over them?

Time management means taking into consideration everything that needs to be carried out, determining their order of importance, and planning life accordingly. It needs to be done in such a way that our acts of worship, such as the prayers, remembrance, and supplications, must also be included in it, as well as our responsibilities toward the people we are primarily responsible for such as one’s family and children.
For example, a believer cannot, and must not, abandon nightly devotions on the grounds of serving faith during the day. Be it only two units of prayer, a person with a believing heart must do some worship at night. A person who gets up in the night and spends some ten to fifteen minutes for the Tahajjud (Late Night) Prayer or supplicating to God does not lose anything in terms of serving faith, but on the contrary gains much, because a person who makes use of the night in this sense is counted as have set foot on the path to revival. Nocturnal devotions are among the deeds to be applauded by the High Assembly (al-mala al-a’la) in the Heavens. Supplicating to God by prostrating oneself in the profound silence of the night, meeting the prayer rug, humbling oneself before the Almighty, and shedding a few drops of tears is incomparably more virtuous than at other times. In this respect, nightly devotions must never be neglected when planning one’s time.

Give Every Rightful One Their Due!

As individuals must never neglect the devotions which nourish them with respect to the heart and spirit, by considering all the rights to be observed in their social lives, they must put these in an order of importance and try to give each its due. As it is known, in address to the Companions who neglected their families by devoting themselves to worship, the Messenger of God, blessings and peace be upon him, stated: “Your soul has rights over you, your family has rights over you, God has rights over you… so give those with rights their due.”1 As is understood from this hadith, even a person’s devotions must not give way to neglecting the rightful ones such as one’s spouse, children, and the person himself.
Indeed, as the five prayers’ specific assignment to five different time segments of the day gives important lessons to believers for time management, the verses relating the wisdoms of the creation of night and days also gives them certain clues in this issue. For example, it is stated in chapter al-Qasas: “It is out of His Mercy that He has made for you the night and the day so that you may rest (during the night) and seek after His bounty (during the day), and that you may give thanks (to Him for both)” (al-Qasas 28:73).
With this and other similar verses, the Qur’an guides us in terms of time management and gives us the following message: if you put your life in order and do what needs to be done in the proper time of the day by making good use of the night with a separate depth and the day with a separate horizon, then you will be saved from living haphazardly, not be hindered by obstacles that stem from lacking a plan and program, and thus you will lead a much more fruitful life.

Planning of the Twenty-Four Hours
In order to be disciplined and efficient with time, it is possible to write down a 24-hour plan. If this can be done, from gathering together with friends for a talk of the Beloved to individual reading from tidying our room to spending time in remembrance and recitations from consulting with our spouse and children about certain issues to having a rest, which task to carry out what time of the day will have been clearly determined. Even the timespan to be spared for drinking tea or eating a meal can be considered within this planning. For example, if twenty minutes are sufficient for eating, one must suffice with that and not waste time with empty talk. It is even necessary to place precautionary time segments within this 24-hour planning so that extra factors to keep us busy do not upset our program.
From the essential to the trivial, if all things to be done can be planned with such elaboration, then our time will become more fruitful and the results obtained will rise from one to ten. When life gains such an orderly fashion, then in the long run the person will become fully disciplined, be accustomed to act within a certain program, and with the motivation obtained, the person will do what needs to be done without difficulty. Let it not be misunderstood—such a course of action does not mean resembling a machine. On the contrary, it means being a disciplined person and leading life in an orderly fashion. One with such discipline neither misses personal devotions, nor makes concessions with remembrance and recitations, nor neglects personal duties, nor violates the rights of family members.

Convincing the People We Walk Together
Another point of consideration with respect to time management is that a person must first reveal the plan to those in that person’s life who have rights over him or her, learn their thoughts and considerations, and then convince them in mind and heart about the significance of the duties he or she must carry out. That is, along with the rights of one’s spouse, children, and parents, it is necessary to explain as much as possible that God, religion, and the Qur’an also have rights over a person. If a person can maintain a consensus at this issue with the people who share the same home, then it becomes possible to carry out what needs to be done more comfortably and easily without being hindered by negative words and attitudes by the family environment.
Imagine a man who has convinced his carnal soul that he should devote a considerable part of his time to the path of glorifying the name of God and has heartfelt belief in this respect. Let this be a man who has internalized this issue in a way to fulfill this duty without avoiding any sacrifice. However, if the people with whom he shares a life are not aware of the greatness of the rights of God, the importance of making His Name resound in all corners of the world, the fact that this religion is a heritage entrusted to us and requires constant vigilance, and that it is a duty of crucial importance to restore a stronghold that has been damaged for centuries, from its essentials to details, then they will not wish to walk alongside him. The man, therefore, needs to make extra efforts to walk together with them. Otherwise, this will cause a weariness in the journey of that person.
However, if the person can make the latter believe in the ideal he possesses, share the same feelings and thoughts, and evoke the feeling of upholding the services he carries out, then he will have seriously facilitated his task at time management. When he does not fulfill the duties he should have fulfilled, if for example he does not attend a certain meeting or reading program that he was supposed to join, he will receive the first reaction from the people he shares his life with, which will be a strong recommendation for him.
Otherwise, if your spouse, children, or other people in the same household are unaware of the task management you have made in your mind and of the significance of practicing it, after some time it will be inevitable to have some conflicts in feelings and thoughts, and this will cause Divine support behind you to cease because the glorified guidance and assistance of God comes upon concord and unity. If you wish to become eligible for God’s making you succeed, you first must maintain concord and unity, no matter in what sphere.

Devoting Extra Time to Hizmet
Another point of consideration here is the duration of the time that we are to allocate for the sake of a lofty ideal. If a person solely spares some seven or eight hours for work using the logic of an ordinary employee, what he will do for the sake of the ideal will be restricted to the narrowness of that logic. If a person undertakes three or four responsibilities for the sake of a lofty ideal, and if doing them requires a time span of around 13-15 hours, then the person must try to fulfill that with an effective task management. That is to say, on the one hand he must devote as much time as possible on the path of serving God without wasting a second, but on the other hand he must strive to make use of that time in the most efficient way by putting what needs to be done in a certain order.
Particularly in our time, as there is a matter of restoring a spiritual stronghold which has been damaged for centuries, the people devoted to serving the Qur’an and faith have to show further sacrifice than the sacrifice shown so far and act more vigilantly in this issue. They can make a resolution for working in order to maintain that. For example, one person says that he can spare 12 hours a day for the sake of serving the people, another one takes a 13-hour responsibility per day, and another promises to work 14 hours in the path of God each day. In short, whoever voluntarily resolves to offer however much time it takes to complete a task, he or she regulates that time in a Hizmet-oriented way and tries to fulfill it. This is the understanding of the work that falls to a real believer. If the concept of working is not understood in this way, it means that this aspect of practicing Islam is not understood properly.
In spite of being able to do so, if some people are not devoting time to serving faith as expected from them, then it is necessary to convince them of this issue. It is very important to come to a consensus with the people before us at this issue. However, nobody should make any violations of rights after such a consensus. Everyone must be so scrupulous at fulfilling the responsibility that falls to him or her that neither the spouses should violate one another’s rights, nor those of their children, neither a case of injustice must occur between workers and their superiors, nor should the responsibilities in the workplace be violated.
Otherwise, while talking about working hours, if we are referring to acting with a simple worker’s logic, enjoying oneself after seven to eight hours of work, eating and wandering as one fancies, sitting idly in places to waste time, engaging in gambling and games, and taking part in some carnal and devilish activities, we are misunderstanding the issue. A person acting with such a mentality will not even be able to do one tenth of what he is supposed to do for the sake of humanity; a person with such a faulty understanding of work will not hesitate to go for a holiday at a time when he is needed; he will take leave at a point when important issues need to be fulfilled, thus upsetting the crucial responsibilities waiting to be fulfilled.
This is not the understanding of work expected from the volunteers of Hizmet. They try to fulfill the responsibility they shoulder at serving faith, and they never leave halfway a task they have started. When they fail to observe the rights of their spouses, children, and families, they strive to make up for it, trying to gain the hearts of the people whom they think they let down. For example, sometimes they appear before them with a bunch of roses, state their excuse for being late, and in the first opportunity they fulfill the promise they had given to them, making up for that unintentional mistake or neglect.
Incidentally, spouses must behave tolerantly toward one another at delays caused by some task that needs to be fulfilled. It should never be forgotten that during such a wait, the hours, minutes, and even seconds are counted as worship with respect to those who wait; indeed, such a waiting is a serious kind of sacrifice. Each one of the spouses that shares a home needs one another. There are certain issues and troubles a person needs to share and speak about with a spouse. In spite of needing to have one’s spouse at home, the seconds of a believer who waits for a marriage partner for the sake of serving faith can become as precious as years of worship unawares because the intention of a believer is better than his or her deed. While one of the spouses is busy with some benevolent act and the other one is giving material and spiritual support to the other spouse, then by God’s permission, they both have a share of the reward to be given for that righteous deed.

This text is the translation of “Mesai Tanzimi ve Aile Hayatımız.”

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Adab, 86.

Believers’ Stance at Struggling against Evils


Question: What is the right way for believers to struggle in order to prevent wrongdoings and injustice?
Answer: Islam came with a message of balance and justice to establish universal harmony against all kinds of extremism. With respect to struggling against evils, it neither counsels a passive and submissive attitude to tolerate wrongdoing and bow before it, nor does it allow violence and extremism with claims of struggling against oppressors, which results in a different form of wrongdoing and injustice. When the time comes, a believer stands upright in the face of oppression as an unshakable fortress and an unyielding wrist, without any fear or stepping back for the sake of establishing justice and does one’s best. But in the general sense, he or she is a person of extraordinary modesty and humility. Treating everybody with affection, compassion, and leniency is a believer’s general attitude. For example, when believers face enemies that attack their chastity, families, honor, land, country, independence, and state, then what falls to them is to give their task its due by fighting heart and soul with utter resolution. However, when a demand for making peace comes, they choose peace, revealing their lenient character. They try to practice and let practice the beauties of Islam in the atmosphere of peace because God commands us to do so: “And if they (the enemies) incline to peace, incline to it also, and put your trust in God” (al-Anfal 8:61). In another verse, this quality of believers is related from a different aspect: “O you who believe! Whoever of you turns away from his Religion, (know that) in time, God will raise up a people whom He loves, and who love Him, most humble towards the believers, dignified in the face of the unbelievers” (al-Maedah 5:54). That is to say, they lower their wings of modesty to the ground before believers, treating their brothers and sisters humbly and leniently, even to the degree of humiliation. However, they have a dignified stance against those who rebel against God. They never bow before such people. The poet Mehmed Akif expresses it well, “Who told you I were a docile sheep? I am only a lenient one; my neck can be cut off perhaps, but it is not likely to bow down!” So this is a prototypical person with respect to a dignified stance, but to reiterate, it is necessary to determine the proper place to present this attitude.

Did You Cleave His Heart Open?
Heroism is a good virtue. Everybody admires the heroism of the great commander Khalid ibn al-Walid. The heroism he displayed on the third day of his accepting Islam astonished everyone. However, at his early days as a Muslim, he killed some of the people who said by mistake, “We have become Sabaeans,” instead of “Muslims,” and took some of them as captives. When God’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, was informed of the situation, he raised his blessed hands in supplication and said, “My God, I seek refuge in you against what Khalid did,”1 feeling very sad about this incident. In a similar case, the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, made a very serious warning to Usama ibn Zayd, who had killed an enemy in spite of his saying the proclamation of faith; the noble Prophet said, “Did you split open his heart?”2 So from these words of God’s Messenger we understand the fact that even during an ongoing battle, Muslims must absolutely act with the principle of justice.

Reason and Diplomacy instead of Brute Force
Believers must take into consideration that issues cannot always be settled with weapons, even when struggling against an enemy. In some cases, the more you resort to brutal force, the more you provoke grudge and hatred, putting your enemies in a position of sufferers and helping them to gain many supporters. In consequence, the present problem grows greater and becomes impossible to address. However, when the issue is approached with diplomacy instead of brutal force, it is always possible to obtain much better results.
I personally love Sultan Selim I very much. He has a priority over the rest of the Ottoman sultans in my opinion, with the exception of one or two. But I cannot help but question some of his military strategies with my simple mind. As he was a robust person himself, he really had powerful soldiers under his command. He had an army of men who would obey his orders unhesitatingly, even if he gave the order to march toward death. Before him was a state formed with Persian ambitions, which had become a source of troubles for the Islamic world. So he marched upon them wanting to maintain unity in the Islamic world and world order and was victorious. But I wonder, instead of resorting to brutal force, if he had used every possible way of reason, sensibility, and diplomacy, could it have been possible to prevent some components of sedition whose roots have extended until our time? These statements reflect my hesitations in this issue. If I am mistaken in this opinion, then I apologize to that great soul. If I am committing a sin by saying this, I ask, “May God forgive me.” However, I see it necessary on my part to emphasize the significance of sensibility, judgment, and diplomacy.
For many years they have not been able to solve the issue of terrorism in Turkey. The problem exists in spite of the violent and brutal efforts to address it. I wonder if there could be another way of bringing this issue to an end? If we could gain the hearts of those people by means of teachers, policemen, chaplains, doctors, and local governors, if we could find a way to their inner world, if we could show them the roads leading to high schools and universities, instead of the pathways on mountains, and if we could give them opportunities in a way to make them not give into the money some circles pour before them at every opportunity, could we not solve the problem? This means using the language of diplomacy. Most of the time brutal force is a hindrance to proper functioning of reason and logic. The consideration of “I can bring them in line by using force anyway” often becomes a barrier to following an alternative policy and strategy.

Abasement in Expectation of Benefit Is Not Modesty
If sensibility, judgment, diplomacy, lenient discourse, and lenient manners constitute one side of the issue, never bowing before power and brutal force and always presenting an upright stance constitute the other side of it. In this respect, adopting an abased attitude towards those who commit oppression and injustice with a concern for obtaining benefit from them should not be confused with humbleness and modesty. It is a completely different situation. Unfortunately, gentle words, manners, and attitude, which are very important dynamics at calling others to Truth, are in some cases used as a mask with the aim of looking nice to representatives of brutal power. What some weak characters understand from presenting gentle words and attitudes is to raise their own esteem and credit, to be favored, or to obtain a good position they aspire for. Surely, we cannot accuse anyone of pretense or hypocrisy by negative thinking. Even if some sagacious persons sense the true intention behind those weak characters’ attitude and behaviors, they do not reveal it as if it were objective judgment. Otherwise, they commit a sin for which God will bring the person to account. However, everybody must weigh in their consciences the behaviors they present and evaluate themselves accordingly.
It is a doubtless fact that all efforts made for the sake of consensus, reconciliation, and sharing will be recorded as good deeds for a person. However, if people lower themselves for the sake of some worldly benefits, this is nothing but abasement.

Compliance for the Good of the Society
The way and manner we call compliance and peaceful management should not be confused with abasement. These are attitudes adopted in order to generate peace rather than starting a fight with the enemy. Hafiz al-Shirazi says in his Diwan that two phrases summarize the way to maintain law and order in both worlds. One of them is treating friends with magnanimous kindness, and the other is apt management with enemies. According to this perspective, being dignified against enemies does not mean engaging them in combat at every opportunity. Particularly, plunging into such a venture when no balance of power exists between the two sides means that the weak side exposes itself to peril with its own hands. For this reason, moderate conduct and managing the enemies ingeniously do not only serve to maintain peace, but also are a wiser course of action to protect the rights of an entire society where no balance of power exists. Nothing beneficial comes from provoking envy, grudge, and animosity, which can bring numerous kinds of harm. If we view the issue with the approach of Bediüzzaman, wise people, who have ninety-nine enemies, do not wish to make it a hundred. Indeed, they seek ways of reducing the number of their enemies. All of these can be considered within the meaning of managing a situation.

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Maghazi, 58.
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Maghazi, 45.

This text is the translation of “Kötülüklerle Mücadelede Mü’mince Tavır.”

Dizziness of Victory: The Testing That Ensues Success


Question: What is the ideal attitude for a believer in the face of a good result or an accomplishment?
Answer: A real believer knows that all goodness, beauty, and success come from God, whereas all evils and failures stem from the carnal soul, as the Qur’an very explicitly states: “(O human being!) Whatever good happens to you, it is from God; and whatever evil befalls you, it is from yourself” (an-Nisa 4:79). So a believer should never lay any claims on any good results obtained and services carried out, even though they served as a means. Actually, every time we observe the prayers, we pronounce by glorifying God that He does not have any partners, alternatives, opposites, or comparable ones at His administrations, acts, and Lordship. As we say this truth with our tongue, if we can feel it inside with its complete profundity and manage to make it prevail in our thoughts, then by God’s grace, we do not commit a great sin as laying personal claim on good results, achievements, and the services.

How Happy Are Those Who Know Their Limits
A person with sincere belief is supposed to know one’s place, no matter how great the accomplishments he or she has made. Bediüzzaman draws attention to this truth by mentioning the fact, “Happy is the person who knows their limits and does not exceed them.”1 A person knowing his limits and not transgressing depends upon his awareness of being a creature made of flesh and bones, impotent, and poor in essence. Moreover, by deepening his considerations further, the person must acknowledge that as he appeared in a morally corrupt society, he is mostly smeared with unavoidable impurities, and sometimes even gets immersed in sins up to his throat and say, “Actually, I would make nothing good. Then God treats me with His immense mercy, from which stem the graces and bestowals I am blessed with.” If a person thinks this way and becomes oriented toward God with a sincere belief of Divine Oneness, then he will be free from such high claims. By acknowledgment of the fact that God Almighty is the real source of all beauties, He continues to send His blessings to them.
It is very important to keep one’s sins in mind in terms of understanding that it is not possible to trust the carnal soul. As long as a person is aware of his sins, he will stop making claims. Let alone making claims, such a person always sees himself as a sinful person, and in the face of activities that seem to yield success, he knows that God Almighty may sometimes make things happen through hands of sinful ones as well and says, “Normally, I would not make anything useful, but God is making manifestations of existence on non-existence.” Thus, the person constantly brings himself to account through different means.
A person, however, should not think that it is necessary to commit sins in order to avoid making claims, because even the wrongs we commit unawares, such as giving an ear to sinful words or taking a step toward a wrong, are enough capital to make us understand that it is not possible to trust our carnal soul. What really matters is being aware of these facts. Even if a person may turn to God repentantly a thousand times after a wrong, if he can keep that wrong vivid in his mind then he will not see himself as the real source of the good results God Almighty granted in return for his efforts. Rather, he will feel deep in his heart that they are actually graces of God.
The point of consideration in such a commendable self-criticism is thus: sometimes Satan makes use of a person’s sins as a pretext and says, “You cannot turn to God with this sinful state of yours,” trying to deceive him. In such situations, as a person should employ the means of purification on one hand, while thinking about God’s mercy on the other and say, “Though I have committed much transgression, You are my heart’s admiration.” The sins a person has committed must not be an obstacle to feeling admiration for God Almighty’s glorified acts, favors, graces, and bestowals, and to turning to Him wholeheartedly. Even if the sins a person has committed make him see himself as very distant from God Almighty, the person must still seek closeness to God in feelings and thoughts. Let alone being spattered with sins up to the knees, even if a person immerses in sins up to his throat, he must still turn wholeheartedly to God, the sole sovereign of the sphere of Divinity and Lordship, and to His Messenger, love them intensely, and never leave that door. This can in a way be counted as a conflict. However, a believer has to lead his life in harmony of these contrasts and conflicts.

The Sheikh Does Not Fly, but His Disciple Pushes Him down the Cliff
Returning to our main subject, one of the most critical dangers a person may experience in the face of success is his imagining himself to be deserving of the esteem and compliments he receives as a result of that success. God may grant someone bestowals far beyond one’s deserts as a means of testing. A person must not fail to give thanks to God in the face of fulfillments, but must also not lay claims to these successes. A person who is aware of being sinful will not attribute to himself what actually comes as graces from God. Such a person looks at the rose garden that appears and looks at himself; he becomes aware of his meanness, and only voices his surprise and wonder on witnessing roses shooting up in his barren field. Truly, God Almighty sometimes sends His extra graces even to the efforts of a person with much failure. Some others who see it might gather around that person and express their appreciation. One of them might even say that he is a saintly one. Another may even see it as insufficient and say, “He seems to be a Ghawth (Spiritual Helper) with the wonders he has worked.” And another can still go further to claim that he combines more of such qualities. In the face of this much compliment and esteem, that person may let his heart fall for the high spiritual levels imagined for him as a result of positive thinking and ask, “Am I a saintly person, indeed?” Sometimes such a person may find some seemingly reasonable bases for his situation. For example, he might say, “God’s greatest favor to a person is not making that person feel the favor. I have been unaware of my condition as a blessed person so far. So many people gathering around me cannot be lying!” As the phrase goes, “A sheikh does not fly, but his disciple makes him fly.”2 In the same way, even if that person does not fly, the people around him begin to make him fly. Actually, this is not a flying in the real sense, but—may God protect us—in the sense of sending that person flying off the cliff. There comes a time when the one who receives excessive esteem by others singing his praises does not suffice with seeing himself as a great saint, but begins to seek higher titles, Mahdi the Savior or the Messiah. And if those around him make some implications about his really being so, then that poor one falls for the imagined titles that result from exaggerated good opinions about him and begins to thoroughly believe fantasies. Sometimes, while revealing this thought with pretended modesty, he recites some verses about the subject and takes a share from them for himself. In spite of not even being able to walk straight with his rebellion and sins, he sees himself flying in the sky. Such a person takes a very dangerous path towards falling off the cliff. With the consideration of Bediüzzaman, however, instead of imagining very great titles for a certain person whom we love, it is necessary to be greatly faithful to the cause. One must love his fellow brothers or sisters to the degree of not exchanging them for the entire world, but must also avoid exaggerated praises that will break their necks.

Like Raw Leather in the Hands of a Craftsman
When we look at Muslim history, we see that from sultans to poets to saintly figures, so many great people vilified themselves relentlessly. In spite of the fact that every one of them was a figure of exalted standing, they never assigned any true worth to themselves. Actually, it is not possible for selfish people who make arrogant claims to become something anyway. They cannot rid themselves from their fantasies at all, as they are in continual need of expressing themselves. And in order to realize this, they produce fantasies and resort to other ways such as trying to impress others by affectation. For example, one such man begins to talk on Imam Bukhari, but sees that his words do not receive much attention, as they convey common knowledge for those familiar with the discipline of hadith. Upon this failure to receive attention, he feels a need for saying something more original. He then reveals a different consideration about the existence of the Hereafter and tries to raise attention by using statements like a classic monist. Actually, what he tells is no different than what Sheikh Badraddin Simawi tells in his Waridat (Divine Gifts). When you study the thoughts of Aristotle about the other realm and the spirit, you may come across similar misapprehensions. When that man understands that the considerations he suggested as original had already been voiced by many people before, he begins to think about what he can say the next time and begins to talk about reincarnation for the sake of a different fantasy. Unfortunately, as that person does not seek to find truths and convey them to others, the shows of originality he performs in order to satisfy his carnal soul always end in disappointment. People like that fail to recognize that God Almighty created us as His servants and there is no greater title for a person than servanthood. Why should that not suffice us? The duty that falls to us is to turn to Him wholeheartedly and respond to His Lordship and Divinity with serious servanthood. It should also be noted that with the approach of Bediüzzaman, worship is a form of gratitude for the blessings already granted; it is not an offering for the sake of blessings to be given in return: “O soul! Worship of God is not an act through which to demand a Divine reward in the future, but rather the necessary result of a past Divine favor. We have received our wages and, in return, are charged with serving and worshipping Him.”3
For this reason it is not right to be a servant of God with the intention of solely attaining certain blessings. As God may bestow unmerited favors if He wills, He may also bestow favors and blessings out of His immense mercy, in return for servanthood offered, but this should not be expected. What falls to us as servants, who already have received their reward from the very beginning, is constantly to have feelings of praise and gratitude for God.
A person who does not become a servant to God will become a servant to his carnal soul. A person who becomes a servant to his carnal soul lives solely for himself and sees himself as the center of the world. Such a person is called an egocentric one, and a person who is continually busy with himself and feels admiration for his own horizons, thoughts, considerations, and even for his own stature, manners, and appearance is called a narcissist. Such people only like what they personally do and the achievements they have made and boast about them, and it is impossible for them to like others. Such people’s satisfaction with praises and compliments is something unheard of. They continually ask for more. Naturally, such egotistical and narcissistic persons have no deeds to benefit humanity.
It is only modest people that God Almighty lets serve as a means for realizing good works. As a poet puts it, “A plant cannot receive blessings without falling down into the soil; it is the mercy of God that makes modest ones grow.” That is to say, God Almighty makes modest ones become persons of great standing with His extra graces. Abdulqadr al-Jilani, Muhammad Bahauddin an-Naqshband, Abu’l-Hasan ash-Shadhili, and Bediüzzaman Said Nursi are examples of this. Although some of these great men lived centuries ago, we still recite their habitual prayers and benefit from their works. Every one of them has become unforgettable figures, because they were heroes of humility, modesty, humbleness, and nullifying themselves. By considering themselves as non-existent, they directed all of their efforts to substantiating God’s truth. They brought His existence to attention and humbly nullified themselves. In other words, as they were dedicated to seeing themselves as shadows in the Light of the Divine Existence, God Almighty gave them such an eternal existence that they still continue to live inside us—so much so that I feel as if I will come across a person as Abu’l-Hasan ash-Shadhili or Abdulqadr al-Jilani when I enter the room. This is how vividly they live in my heart. They strived to establish God’s truth, and God established them in such a way that in spite of the passing centuries, each of them is still serving as a guide to show us the way. Even after some seven or eight centuries, we seek solutions for today’s problems by referring to their recitations. Is there a better form of establishing than that?
In conclusion, arrogance is unfortunately one of the most widespread diseases of our time. If it appears as a consequence of victory and success; it is so dangerous that it can drift a person to perdition. What falls to us then in the face of success and good results is to acknowledge them as coming from God, and constantly bowing humbly before Him with feelings of praise and exaltation.

1. Nursi, Said, The Gleams, New Jersey: Tughra, 2008, p. 182; Al-Bukhari, At-Tarikhu’l-Kabir, 3/338; At-Tabarani, Al-Mu’jamu’l-Kabir, 5/71.
2. A humorous phrase expressing that the followers of a Sufi order tend to have an exaggerated view of their sheikh as a great saint.
3. See Nursi, Said, The Words, New Jersey: The Light, 2005, p. 380.

This text is the translation of “Başarıyla Gelen İmtihan: Zafer Sarhoşluğu.”

The Reasonable and Objective Way to Speak about Our Services


Question: You mention that it is necessary to speak about the services we carry out in a reasonable and objective manner that is free of emotionalism. Would you elucidate on this issue?
Answer: It firstly needs to be pointed out that an individual must be open to criticisms and avoid being assertive while telling about the services being carried out, for human nature is prone to faults. There can be certain wrongs even at the works they think to be most correct. For example, one must never be oblivious to the fact that there can be a lot of faults even at a prayer offered in compliance with the judgments and conditions explained in reference books. In the same way, fasting, alms of zakah, and Hajj have so many specific essentials that it is very difficult for a believer to thoroughly observe them in entirety. Particularly, if inward aspects of the matter such as internalizing the deeds carried out, observing them with sincerity, and purifying them from feelings of showing off to others are taken into consideration, the difficulty of the matter is better understood.
Human Nature Is Prone to Faults and Mistakes
Given that there are so many faults within the range of possibility, even with respect to acts of worship that you have been carrying out all along, it is inevitable that certain mistakes will be made on the path of serving humanity, which has very different dimensions and depths. In fact, we have the time-transcendent disciplines taught by the Qur’an and authenticated Tradition of the Prophet in hand, which also apply to the services to be carried out for the sake of pleasing God. Besides their unchanging principles, these disciplines have different aspects concerning different times and places. Also, the initiatives should be faithful to the essential principles, as well as transferred to real life in conformity with the time, place, and conjuncture. As there is always a possibility of making mistakes at such a difficult and complicated task, acknowledging this from the very beginning is a matter of righteousness.
The other possibility is a person sees all of his deeds as correct, becomes disturbed by criticism, lives with expectations of constant appreciation, and begins to even like being praised for things that he did not even do. These are among the general traits of hypocrites. For example, God Almighty makes the following statement in chapter Al Imran concerning the Hypocrites: “…and who love to be (famed and) praised for what they have not achieved” (Al Imran 3:188).
In this respect, one must never forget that human nature is prone to faults and mistakes, realize one’s shortcomings from the very beginning, and not be disturbed when these are voiced. Indeed, a person should be happy when his shortcomings are revealed to him and ways to be saved from them are shown.
Having pointed out the necessity of being open to criticism and not being disturbed by criticism, we can list the following criteria in terms of adopting a reasonable and objective manner of speaking about the services carried out.
Endeavor to Act in Compliance with the Essential Disciplines
The public should be informed that there is an endeavor for keeping the services carried out in compliance with the disciplines taught by religion and universal human values, because matters that do not reconcile with the essentials of the Qur’an and Sunnah become dependent on free-floating thoughts and cannot be lasting. People who do not act upon substantial rules are doomed to zigzag all the time. As their present behaviors are different than the past, it is inevitable for their future behaviors to contradict with the present ones. Thus, it is necessary for a person’s thoughts, emotions, and even all brain neurons to be in compliance with the essential teachings of religion and universal values so that the person will be consistent in attitude and behaviors.
As followers of a universal religion, the essential teachings we follow are open to embrace everyone. What really matters is to represent our teachings truthfully. After this is achieved, we should then indicate that we are open to questioning and criticism by very comfortably saying, “As we regard giving an advice a duty, we also see receiving what you will give as very important in terms of completion. If you see any shortcoming or mistakes in us, please let us know so that we can consider it.”
If you are realizing your initiatives in compliance with the essential teachings, you will never lose contact with the core by God’s grace, even if times, places, and persons change. As the great master Rumi said, even if one of your feet is among seventy-two people, if your other foot is in the center and if you are testing all of your initiatives according to the foot fixed in the center, you will keep up your line.
No Individual or Group Can Lay Personal Claim to the Services Carried Out
The second point of consideration is not to forget that others also put their efforts into the services that they perform, so do not consider this as a matter belonging to a certain group exclusively. From the past to present, there have been different groups and movements that performed services in different societies, and they made very important efforts to shed light on your way, to hearten you, and to prepare suitable grounds for you to work comfortably. They brought the services until a certain point and then basically told you, “It is now for you to continue this duty a bit.” It is also possible to look at it in this manner: when you began to function with your own means, these efforts had already become ready to yield good results. Accordingly, some had cultivated the ground, some had sown the seeds, some carried out all the services to let it flourish into a tree, and then by the help of Divine Providence, you found an opportunity to serve in the season when flowers blossom and fruits ripen. Seeing only the part that corresponds to your own efforts while disregarding others’ contribution is obvious ingratitude.
As the people of Anatolia have feelings of self-sacrifice and altruism in their spirit and essence, many people made use of this essence. But there came such a period that all layers of the society raised people to express themselves and open themselves to the four corners of the world. When the businessmen, guides, and teachers who believed the services to be beneficial settled somewhere, they invited others to do the same, and thus the services multiplied. And this was realized completely by the help and graces of God Almighty. When you try to attribute them to causes other than God and consider this accordingly, the chance of realization of the services carried out is not even one in a million.
Just as it is not correct to ascribe the initiatives made with the name of the Hizmet movement solely to the effort of one group of people, it is equally not correct to attribute it to individual persons in a group either. Those whose contribution is most visible is nothing but a work of Divine destiny. Thus, names of individuals should never be brought to the fore when evaluating the efforts. Rather, it is necessary to ascribe the services carried out to the movement itself, to the righteous enthusiasm of the group, to its inexhaustible resolution, sound will, and philanthropic love and to explain that these are the works of many. As a result of this endeavor of these people, God Almighty granted them the opportunity to present and introduce their beautiful cultural values to the entire world. Naturally, while we shared these beauties with others in different parts of the world, we also took some beauties from them, adding more to the richness of our own culture.
We believe that the works we carry out are nothing but an endeavor for responding thankfully to the showers of blessings God sends upon us. If we communicate these efforts correctly, we will avoid the wrongdoing of attributing the accomplishment made as a result of an entire group’s endeavor to a few individuals that are seen on the fore, like those heedless of gratitude do. Even at war, the reward is distributed equally among all individuals who contributed. Doing otherwise will idolize certain individuals, which is very dangerous for them as well. They might begin to lay personal claim on those services, begin to expect applause and appreciation, and thus consume their otherworldly rewards in this lowly one.
Avoid Provoking Envy at All Times
There is another aspect of this issue which is even more dangerous. Bringing certain individuals to the fore will provoke the feeling of envy in others. Everybody has an inborn potential for jealousy and envy. Particularly, if you bring certain individuals to the fore in the presence of academics, theologians, and scholars, you will have awakened this feeling in them unawares. You will turn your friends into foes. Even certain faithful ones who did not achieve to make this much of success can be pervaded by feeling on envy. Though indirectly, you will have paved the way for sin. In addition, it will be very difficult for you to explain later anything to people fixed on jealousy and envy. It is therefore necessary to try to prevent such negative feelings—at least partially—by drawing attention to the movement itself rather than certain individuals. While calming down the emotions of the people before us by speaking about the movement and its background, the manner of expression must be finely adjusted, so that nobody’s feelings of envy is provoked and new rivals and enviers are not generated.
The Services Carried Out and a Consciousness of Responsibility
Some might imagine that worldly people formed this movement as an organization to realize different goals. They might even misapprehend that the movement pursues certain political goals. However, all of the services performed stem from the essential teachings of our cultural heritage and a Divinely assigned duty is observed by that. In other words, this is an endeavor to fulfill our responsibilities toward humanity. When the issue is viewed more profoundly, it will be understood that these are not extra deeds to make people gain further value but, on the contrary, an essential duty of servanthood and a tribute of gratitude and praise for the blessings previously granted. So as people view these services to be within the frame of their religious responsibilities and since a method that combines logic and reasonability is followed, the services continue to multiply.
It is also possible to account for Hizmet with a consideration of competing for goodness at sharing truths with others. Because the good work being done is nothing but competing at acts of goodness, in accordance with the Divine command: “…So strive together as if in a race, (O community of believers,) towards all that is good” (al-Baqarah 2:148). Devoted ones who see those who run before them at serving humanity are trying to carry out the services that fall to them with the thought of not staying behind
Innocence in Intention and Reasonability in Activities
In spite of everything, some might be disturbed by the services performed, and they might feel anxious. The duty that falls to us in that situation is to explain one by one the points that cause doubts, namely, indicate the innocence of our intention and reasonability of the activities realized. We know that the services performed are a result of God Almighty’s graces for the efforts our people make. As the volunteers make certain sacrifices with the intention to serve humanity, God Almighty showers them with His blessings. Otherwise, this much activity could not be carried out by people, most of whom are unaware of what the rest are doing.
Some people who fail to understand how these services are performed might even go further to hold apprehensions about a “secret agenda.” If so, the following point needs to be explained to them: we regard it as sinful to act to hold any other consideration other than the good pleasure of God, and we prefer embracing entire humanity with universal human values over all the temptations of the world. We take seriously that God Almighty will say to us in the next world, “You held a certain person’s hand and served as a means to make him meet the truth. So I am rewarding you…” This is worth all the worlds for us. As for paying importance to considerations other than this, we see it like a gold trader’s disregarding gold and asking for copper instead, something much lower in worth.
To conclude, we need to be filled with these feelings, unaffected by offensive words and attitudes, and at the same time try to eliminate apprehensions and groundless fears with patience and peace.

This text is the translation of “Hizmetlerin Anlatılmasında Makul ve Objektif Çizgi.”

Deep Contemplation: The Helix of Light That Takes a Person to the Truth


Question: What are the points of consideration for attaining the desired level of deep contemplation, which is one of the essentials for volunteers?

Answer: Deep contemplation means a person’s forcing oneself to think about one’s own inner world, constantly scrutinizing things that exist and take place, and opening to more immense and deep thoughts by taking all of these into consideration time and time again. The original Arabic word tafakkur is inflected in the form of tafaul, which denotes burdening oneself. That is a person’s making serious effort to realize something and forcing oneself to achieve something, and giving the willpower its due in this respect. For this reason, we can say that with respect to its word formation, the word tafakkur expresses an act of thinking that is systematic, deep, and constant, rather than thinking in a simpler sense.
The Qur’an Brings Active Reasoning to Attention
Deep contemplation is one of the essential teachings of Islam. In many verses the Qur’an concludes with a perspective of deep contemplation after mentioning the skies, rainfall, plants, clouds, wind, stars, atmosphere, creation of living things, and people’s sustenance… In short, after mentioning various evidences, one can realize in both the outer world and within that the Qur’an always relates the issue to deep contemplation. For example, after God Almighty mentions the creation of the heavens and earth, changing of the length of days and nights, floating of ships on seas for the benefit of humanity, His reviving the dead earth by descending rain from the sky followed by various living beings’ creation there, movements of winds, and clouds suspended between the earth and the sky waiting for God’s orders, He points out that there are signs in them for God’s existence and unity “for a people who reason and understand” (al-Baqarah 2:164). There are many similar verses in the Qur’an. Some of them conclude with an emphasis on reasoning, some on reflection, and some on knowing. Although there are certain nuances among them, it will be seen that they essentially make the same point, which is a person’s thinking about the signs that God created in the outer world and within, making use of reason, and immersing in contemplation. The fact that so many verses end with the emphasis, “There are signs (in the stated points) for a people who reason…” also gives us the following message: By referring to deep contemplation with a present tense form in Arabic, the Qur’an constantly turns our attention to active reasoning. As the Qur’an does not even mention passive reasoning, it does not mention an act of thinking solely directed to the past either. On the contrary, by mentioning deep contemplation as a general and repeated act, the Qur’an demands believers to contemplate on the present and the future along with the past. For this reason, as a person makes connections with the past by reasoning and logic, it is also necessary to distill the present age and future time through deep contemplation and take every step on the grounds of reasonability. The fact that such verses bring active reasoning to attention is also important in terms of putting emphasis on the continuity of deep contemplation.
Incidentally, I would like to draw attention to another point here. When such verses of the Qur’an are translated, the commonly used word is “reasoning.” However, this word does not properly convey the meaning of “ya’qilun” in Arabic. Although “reasoning” is used in translation because there is not a better alternative, it should be noted that this is a weak word to reflect the original meaning. It is also possible to use longer expressions such as: “gaining insight into entities and happenings by reasoning,” “reaching to possible fruits to be yielded by reason through contemplation,” “scrutinizing the creation by making use of reason,” etc.
True Self-Discovery Can Only Be Realized through Contemplation
Given that God Almighty draws attention to using reason and deep contemplation in many instances, believers need to deepen both their outward and inward contemplation. In his book Man, The Unknown, Alexis Carrel states that even if you consider man solely with a physiological and anatomical perspective, he will truly appear before you as a monument to be respected. Humans are so perfect with respect to their inner and outer structure that—imagining the impossible—had it been possible to prostrate before anyone but God, it would be human. However, God did not allow prostrating before anyone but Himself. As for the angels’ prostration before Adam, it was a situation of testing for the sake of understanding the subtle point in obeying His commands. Moreover, Prophet Adam’s position as an altar at the prostration for God indicates that there is no other creature that combines qualities of being superior and special because Adam was in a way the intersection point of matter and spirit, of physical and spiritual realms. In other words, he was a comprehensive mirror of the entirety of the Divine Names. So when you begin to study such a perfect creature as man with his bodily and spiritual aspects, you cannot help immersing in deep contemplation. Be it bodily aspects as the hands, feet, ears, nose, tongue, or lips, or be it the truth of the human essence, man resembles a perfect book that leads one to deep thinking, given that a correct reading is achieved. Particularly, when man is viewed in terms of his carnal soul, heart, feelings, consciousness of having consciousness, and ability to use willpower, it will be seen that he is endowed with a magnificent mechanism with no gap to be found. As man holds the wheel of such a system, operates it, and stands closest to it in terms of having set his throne at its central point, he is the one who understands it best. If a person can set out inwardly and can deepen thoughts on human physical and spiritual aspects, then it becomes possible to turn outwardly in the same way, like people who set out to space after having made accomplishments in the world. To put it differently, on realizing that God does not create anything in vain after a systematic contemplation a person realizes in the realms inside, when such person turns his gaze to the outer realms, he will similarly draw different aspects of wisdom, just like a bee returning home with different essences of honey.
The Reading Circles Must Be Places of Contemplation
The duty that falls to a person is effectuating well both inward and outward contemplation, complementary like the two wings of a bird, and transforming their gatherings for their reading circles into strolls on the emerald hills of the heart, as places where the signs of God in religion and in the universe are deliberated. If this is not done, the gatherings will not be saved from levity and trivialities. At places where trivialities prevail, people cannot stop themselves from criticizing this or that person like old chatterboxes, busying themselves with others’ faults, and backbiting people. Engagement in such rumors is a cause of impurity for the time, place, and atmosphere. Such an impure atmosphere does not serve as fertile grounds for germinating contemplation. What a person who is caught by the currents of his carnal soul and fancies does is no different than tying up and paralyzing the mechanism of contemplation, which is the key to viewing and interpreting existence correctly.
At this point, I would like to relate the story about an old gentleman named Medet Effendi, who was a colonel in assistance of Sultan Abdulhamid II. We spent some time together when I was around 12- to 13-years-old, and he was 75. That bearded old man with a luminous face was a devout worshipper. In addition, he was a good example of an Ottoman gentleman. When sultan Abdulhamid II was dethroned in 1908, the organizers of the coup sent him to an asylum like they did with some others. After staying a long time with people with mental problems, he partially lost his sanity as well. Actually, if a person who has to share the same place with possessed ones does not conform with them, he will become a problem and be declared by those crazy ones as “crazy.” Medet Effendi would sometimes talk about their behaviors. One of them would hold a mirror and say that the city of Erzurum was covered under a flood, while another narrated about a treasure buried in the cavity of a stove. Another person would curse at the articles that appeared in the newspapers. The point I want to make by mentioning the stories of Medet Effendi is that, if we do not illuminate our gatherings with the light of faith, we begin to talk about matters of no worldly or otherworldly use, wasting our time away with constant chattering. Just like the people in the asylum, one person talks unnecessarily, another one discusses a futile issue, and another one begins to make useless criticisms. As a result we turn our gatherings into fruitless wastelands, set sail to the sea of rebellion, and waste our time with trivial issues. Why should we turn our gatherings into graveyards by depriving them of spirit and meaning, while it is possible to render them gatherings of faith! Why should we set sail to a troubled sea unlikely to provide returns, instead of strolling through the valleys of obedience to God! Why should we not take the opportunity of our gatherings, discover unknown openings, and set out to new immensities of the Qur’an from there!
So the way to render our gatherings fruitful is to always bring the issue to a place of contemplation where we will think about God and His Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, always making our conversations and discussions into contemplative dialogue on God, the Real Beloved. If anyone wishes to engage in idle talk, it is necessary to intervene in a mannerly fashion and give the following message: “Dear brother (or sister), if you have anything to say in the Name of God and His Messenger, please say it and we will listen. Otherwise, bring a book (at least) so that we can have a reading.” Then turn to an issue that moves hearts, waters eyes, and reminds us of our human potential again. For example, we can have one of those present recite a portion from the Qur’an, and if there is anyone who can elucidate the meaning of the verses recited, we can ask that person to interpret them, providing some spiritual relief. If there is not anyone capable of Qur’anic exegesis, we can then bring an annotated translation and try to understand the meaning of the verses recited. The more we understand and contemplate, the more we will rid ourselves from simplemindedness and shallowness in thought, and thus set out to more immense considerations. To conclude, thanks to the dynamic of contemplation, we will have a deeper insight into our impotence, poverty, and the necessity of offering gratitude—we will embrace the creation with a more immense compassion, and continue our service with enthusiasm by God’s grace.

This text is the translation of “İnsanı Hakikate Ulaştıran Nurdan Helezon: Tefekkür.”

Bamteli: Hizmet’in Evrenselliği ve Gönüllülerinin Ortak Paydası

Herkul | | BAMTELI

Muhterem Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi’ye şu soruyu tevcih ettik:

“Mefkûre muhâcirleri ile dünyanın dört bir yanında onları istikbal edenler arasındaki irtibatın tamamen evrensel insanî değerlere saygıdan kaynaklandığı ifade ediliyor. Farklı ülke ve kültürden pek çok insanın, Anadolu’nun bağrından çıkan bu hareketle sonradan tanışmış olmalarına rağmen, “Siz bu Hizmet’ten el çekseniz bile artık biz asla ondan vazgeçmeyiz!” dedikleri naklediliyor. Bu açıdan, Hizmet’in evrensel bir ufka ulaştığı söylenebilir mi? Eğer öyleyse, bu, Hizmet gönüllülerine yeni sorumluluklar yükler mi?”

Hocaefendi, sualimize cevap sadedinde şunları söyledi:

*Her şeyi Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın inâyetine, keremine ve riâyetine veriyoruz. O’nun yardımı nümâyan, görüp gözettiği açık. Başkalarının zarar dokundurmasına fırsat vermedi, vermiyor! Onca ızrâr etmek isteyen insanlar çıkmasına rağmen, Allah’a hamd olsun, bugüne kadar çok küçük bir iki yerde, belki bize bir ders verme adına, bir tekleme, bir sekme ve hafif bir kırılma olsa bile, yüzde nispetinde dahi değil veya yüzde nispetinde gibi bir şey. Yeryüzü hizmet düşüncesiyle tanıştığı andan itibaren şöyle bir göz gerdirilse en hâlisane, en muhlisâne yapılan hizmetlerin hemen hepsinde bu ölçüde bir firenin olduğu görülebilir.

Yakın Körlüğü ve Haklarında Sevgi Vaz’ Edilenler

*İçlerinde neşet eden insanı görmezlikten gelme, beşerin tabiatında vardır ki buna yakın körlüğü diyoruz. İnsanlığın İftihar Tablosu’nu da, Mekke fethedileceği âna kadar, Mekkeliler tanıyamamışlardı. Tanıyan az insan vardı. Onların sayılarını Bedir’de ve Uhud’da görebilirsiniz, sayıları bellidir. (…) Saff-ı evveli teşkil eden insanlar az olmuş. Neredeyse bütün Mekke halkı, belki binlerce insan, Mekke fethedilene kadar Efendimiz’e (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) hep tavır almışlar. Buna da yakın körlüğü denebilir.

*Siz dünyanın 160 küsur ülkesine gittiniz. 160 küsur ülkede -zannediyorum- yüzde bir, belki yüzde iki fire oldu. Bunun dışında da hüsn-ü kabul gördünüz. Adeta Allah tarafından Hazreti Cebrail’e “Ben falanları seviyorum, sen de sev!” buyurulmuş. Hadiste anlatıldığı gibi, Cebrail (aleyhisselam) bütün gök ehline, “Allah falanları seviyor, ben seviyorum, siz de sevin!” diyor ve hadisin ifadesiyle sonra onlara yeryüzünde vüdd, sevgi, gönüllerin inşirahı, herkesin gönlünü onlara açması gibi bir hususiyet vaz’ ediliyor. Allah öyle bir lütufta bulunuyor.

*Bu arkadaşlarımız 160 küsur farklı kültürle, o kültürün atmosferinde yetişmiş insanları muhatap alıyorlar. O insanlara muhatap oluyorlar ve Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle tepki almıyorlar. Tepki almak şöyle dursun, merkezinden, o arkadaşların gittiği merkezden sürekli oraya fiskos gidiyor, şeytânî vesvese gidiyor, nefsânî vesvese gidiyor: “Aman bunları iflah etmeyin, aman vermeyin!” falan gibi şeyler gidiyor. Fakat buna rağmen sahip çıkan o insanlar, “Bakın işinize, biz sizi tanıyoruz!” diyorlar. Meseleyi bir vüdd vaz’ edilmesine, Allah tarafından bir hüsn-ü kabul vaz’ edilmesine vermezseniz, bu problemi halledemezsiniz.

Ahireti Kazanan İnsan İçin Dünyada Kayıp Söz Konusu Değildir!..

*Nice ifsâdât akıntıları, tsunamileri karşısında -Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle- ne o yerin insanları sarsıldı, ne de o arkadaşlar sarsıldı. Allah sizi de sarsmasın, panikletmesin. Önemli değil! Öyle bir şeye Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle kimse muvaffak olamayacaktır! Emin olun bundan! Fakat ezkaza diyeyim ben, sizi bütünüyle bitirseler bile burada biteceksiniz, öbür tarafta -bitme yine- boy atıp gelişeceksiniz. Ahireti kazanan insan kaybetmiş sayılmaz. Allah’ın rızasını kazanan bir insan kaybetmiş sayılmaz. Hazreti Ruh-u Seyyidi’l-Enâm’ın (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) maiyyetine ermiş bir insan kaybetmiş sayılmaz. Dünyevî bir saltanatınız, bir debdebeniz, bir sarayınız, bir villanız, bir uçağınız, bir taksiniz olmadı sizin. Çoğunuz itibarıyla -işadamları müstesna; ticaret ile iştigal edenler, yatırımları olan insanlar müstesna- kira ile evde oturduğunuzu biliyorum; belki bazıları kira ile ev bile bulamıyorlar; oradan oraya, oradan oraya gidiyorlar. Belki bazıları çadır gibi, çardak gibi yerlerde ömürlerini geçiriyorlar. Umurunda değil kimsenin! Allah bizimle beraber olduktan sonra, bunlar teessür duyulacak şeyler değil.

*Bu bir mefkûre yolculuğu esasen, adanmışların yolculuğu; gönüllü hicret gibi bir şey. Bir dönemde Sahabe-i Kirâm Efendilerimiz, -Onların hepsinin ayakları başlarımıza taç olsun; onlara kurban olayım, siz de olun! Onlarla boy ölçüşülemez!- tazyik gördüklerinden dolayı, Mekke-i Mükerreme’den Medine-i Münevvere’ye hicret ettiler. Önemliydi o! O sadece bir yerde birilerinden kaçma değildi. Kendi sitelerini kurmaya matuf bir şeydi. “Hele sen biraz bekle, Allah zalimlere mehil üstüne mehil veriyor. Sonra dönüp gelip, arzın göbeği sayılan o Kabe’de dahi Efendimiz’in (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) nâm-ı celîlini bir şehbal gibi dalgalandıracağız.” Şimdi bu mülahazaya bağlı olunca, çok yüksek bir gâye-i hayale, bir mefkûreye bağlı göç ettiler. O bakımdan meseleye sadece bir kaçma şeklinde bakmak doğru değil. Bir mefkûreyi realize etmek üzere, o bir basamaktı; orası bir zemindi, oluşuma müsait bir mekândı. Medeniyet Medine’de oturaklaşacaktı Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle. Bir dönemde Söğüt’te olduğu gibi, sonra ser çekecek ve tüm dünyayı sa’yesi altına alacak ve gölgelendirecekti.

*Günümüzdeki bir yerden kaçma değil. Durmaları için daha müsait bir yerde, annelerinin babalarının, eşlerinin, ailelerinin ve akrabalarının yanında vazifelerini yapmaları mümkünken, üniversitede vazife almaları mümkünken, her türlü okulda vazife almaları mümkünken, hatta en yakın yerlerde vazife almaları mümkünken, 10 bin kilometre ötede gidip vazife almaları ve hüsn-ü kabul görmeleri çok önemli bir şeydir.

Ortak Payda: Evrensel İnsanî Değerlere Saygı

*Evrensel insanî değerlere saygı, bir ortak paydadır esasen. Gittikleri her yerde insana saygı duyuyorlar. Bu insan müslüman olabilir. Müslümanlık adına yarı yolda da kalmış olabilir. Yani şöyle böyle pek çok dalaleti olabilir. Bakıyorsunuz, onlarla da uzlaşabilecek noktalar buluyorlar. Hristiyan olabilir. İnsanî değerler mevzuunda onlarla da ortak bir kısım paydalar bulabiliyorlar. Yahudi de olabilir, keza Budist, Brahmanist, Şintoist… daha dünyanın değişik yerlerinde, farklı anlayışta olan insanların hepsiyle bir ölçüde anlaşabiliyorsunuz. Belki insanî değerlere saygı, gelecekte bu insanları barıştıracak, uzlaştıracak hususlar arasında da en önemli faktör gibi görünüyor. Ben düşüncesi, aidiyet mülahazası, ırk mülahazası, kafatası mülahazası, dem-damar mülahazası; bunlar parçalayıcı şeylerdir.

*Vakıa, herkes neye, kime, hangi anlayışa, hangi dünya görüşüne, hangi hayat felsefesine bağlıysa, ona karşı fazlasıyla saygı duyması gayet tabiidir. Hatta bazıları bu mevzuda: “Vatan sevgisi imandandır.” demişler. Hadis olmasa bile, tenkit edeceğimiz bir yanı yoktur bunun. Fakat senin vatanını sevmen, milletini sevmen, kendi mefkûre dünyanı sevmen, ideallerini sevmen; başkalarına adâveti, düşmanlığı gerektirmez. Evet, her şeyden evvel, bir kere, insanî değerler ortak paydasında onlarla berabersin, insansın! Ahsen-i takvîme mazhariyet cihetiyle ortaksın! Bir diğer mesele de bu mevzuda; şöyle böyle hangi seviyeye kadar onları çekmek veya hangi seviyeye kadar bir yaklaşım temin etmek mümkünse, belki o insanlarda o duyguyu tetiklemek adına yapılması gerekli olan şey de yakın durmaktır.

Zamanın Çıldırtıcılığına Karşı Sabır

*Dünyanın geleceği ve gelecekteki huzuru biraz buna bağlıdır. Fakat çok büyük bir proje olduğundan dolayı, hem çok uzun bir zamana vâbeste hem de bu mevzuda zamanın çıldırtıcılığına karşı sabretmeye vâbeste. Vakt-i merhûnu intizar mevzuunda ölesiye sabretmeye vâbeste bir husus. Bilemeyiz ne zaman olacağını.

*Mefkûre yolculuğu.. çok yüksek bir gâye-i hayale dilbeste olma.. bunlar çok önemli şeyler. Niyetlerinin mükâfatını alırlar. İnsan öyle yüce bir gayeye dilbeste olunca, onun mükâfatını alır. Mefkûresi adına ülkesini terk ederse, onun mükâfatını alır. Gönlünden bir muhacirlik yaşarsa.. bir yerden kaçmıyor, kaçmayıp kalması gerekli olan bir yeri terk ediyor, gitmesi çok zor olan bir yere gidiyor! Kendisi için bidayette çok şey vaad etmeyen bir yere gitmesi çok zor bir mesele. Kalkıp oraya gidiyor. Fakat hemen her şey böyle orada hazırmış, ambalajı yapılmış, tutulacak size armağan gibi sunulacak gibi de değildir. Vakt-i merhûnu intizar çok önemlidir. İşte buna “zamanın çıldırtıcılığına karşı sabır” diyoruz, sabrın bir cümlesi, bir kategorisi içinde mütâlaa ediyoruz bunu da.

Mefkûre Muhâcirlerinin Îsâr Faslı

*Hatta burada şunu da diyeyim. Biz madem insanlığa hizmet peşindeyiz. Bir yere kadar insanlara hizmet ettik; bir yerden sonra şayet onların içinden o hizmeti alıp daha ileriye götürecek insanlar, o kıvamda insanlar ortaya çıktılarsa, işte orada da bu defa îsâr faslı ortaya çıkıyor.. başkalarını kendimize tercih etme faslı öne çıkıyor. Yoksa gıpta duygularını tahrik edebiliriz. Aidiyet mülahazalarını harekete geçirmiş olabiliriz.

*Kendi ülkenizde size karşı öyle bir kıskançlık, öyle bir haset, öyle bir rekabet, öyle bir tenâfüs duygusu olunca, başka ırk ve başka milletlerde o duygunun oluşması çok tabiidir. (…) Ne kadar îsâr ruhu sergilerseniz, o kadar gönüllerde kurduğunuz o tahtın temellerini, blokajını pekiştirmiş olursunuz. Temel düşünce de bu idi: Bir îsâr ruhuyla kendini hiç düşünmemek; yaşatma duygusuyla, yaşamayı ayaklarının altına almak, çiğnemek.. “Kendimize ait her türlü arzuyu, nefsânîliği, şeytanîliği, garîze-i beşeriye, cismâniye ve hayvâniyeyi ayaklarımızın altına alıyor, başkaları için var olduğumuzu en gür sesle haykırıyoruz. Hazreti İsrafil’in suru ile haykırdığı gibi haykırıyoruz.” demek…

*Şimdi mebde’de böyle davrandığınız gibi, müntehâda da çok ciddi bir îsâr duygusuyla, başkalarını kendine tercih etme duygusuyla geriye çekildiğiniz zaman, biliyor musunuz ne yaparlar? Tutarlar, “Hayır o kadar vefasızlık yapamayız biz. Buyurun, bu güne kadar imamlık yaptınız, yine bundan sonra da o mihrapta imamlık size düşer. Sizin o kadar vefanıza karşı vefasızlık, altından kalkılmayan bir vebaldir!” derler. Tabii, bunu bekleyerek de onu yapmamak lazım! Biz bize düşeni, yine îsâr ruhuyla ortaya koymalıyız; hakikaten yaşatma hissiyle, insanlık çapında bir ba’s u ba’de’l-mevt meselesini tetiklemek suretiyle yapacağımız şeyleri yapmalıyız. Öyle bir şey döner gelirse, döner gelir. Yoksa, mesleğimiz peygamberlik mesleği olduğu için, yani onların kıtmirleri olduğumuz ve onların arkasından koşturduğumuz için, “Bu hizmetten ötürü sizden hiçbir ücret istemiyorum. Benim ücretimi verecek olan, ancak Rabbülâlemîn’dir.” (Şuarâ, 26/109) ve “Yaptıkları tebliğ karşılığında sizden bir ücret istemeyen, hiç menfaat beklemeyen, dosdoğru yolda yürüyen bu kimselere uyun.” (Yâsîn, 36/21) ayetleri fehvasına göre hareket etmeli ve katiyen yapılan hizmet karşılığında kimseden bir şey beklememeliyiz!

*Yaptığı hizmet karşısında şunu elde etmek, bunu elde etmek, -bugün o insanlar demagojilerle, diyalektiklerle başkalarını kandırmaya çalışsalar da- tarihin sayfalarına şenâet, denâet ve rezâlet şeklinde kapkara kalemlerle işlenecektir. Tereddüdünüz olmasın. Fakat bizim tarih sayfalarımızın beyaz mürekkeple kaydedilmesi için lazım gelen şey ne ise.. sergüzeşt-i hayatımızı, bembeyaz mürekkeple tarihin sayfalarına işleyebileceğimiz şekilde, öyle bir fedakarlık yolunda, öyle bir hasbîlik yolunda, öyle bir îsâr duygusu yolunda -ki, îsârlaşma dedik buna.. îsârın ta kendisi olma- götürürsek Allah’ın izniyle, ne dünyada ne de ukbâda hiçbir kaybımız olmaz. Enbiyâ-ı İzâm’ın yoludur bu! O yolda yürümüş oluruz.

Dünya “Boş verin onların dediklerini, siz işinize bakın!” diyor.

*Öyle bir sevgi, öyle bir sempati hâlesi var ki Hizmet etrafında.. “Boş verin onların dediklerini, bakın işinize! Biz 20 senedir sizi tanıdık.” diyorlar, “Kendi içinizde sizi 20, 30, 40 senedir tanımayan kimseler varsa şayet, veyl olsun onlara; sizi tanımamışlar. Sizi bitirmeye, sizi yıkmaya çalışıyorlar.”

*Bitirme kelimesi iki manaya gelir: Bir, tüketme manasına; tenkildir bu, kökten kazıma.. bir de, tohumların neşv ü nema bulması, başağa yürümesi şeklinde bir bitme vardır. Bu açıdan da haksız yere sizi bitirmeye çalışanlar, farkına varmadan, sizde metafizik gerilimi artırarak adeta dibinize su salmış, kuvve-i inbatiyenizi coşturmuş, gübre atmış, güneşlendirmiş ve havalandırmış gibi sizin bir yönüyle boy atıp gelişmenize vesile oluyorlar. Bunlara teşekkür etmek lazım. Sizde o metafizik gerilimi, o pekişmeyi, o kenetlenmeyi, bünyan-ı marsus gibi birbirinizden kopmaz hale gelmeyi sağlıyorlarsa, onlara da “thank you very much!..”

*Tazyikler, baskılar bir yönüyle terakki rampalarıdır Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle. “Karar kararabildiğin kadar zira kararmanın son noktası fecrin başlangıç noktasıdır.” Gecenin en karanlık noktası fecr-i kâzibe tekâbül eder. Fecr-i kâzibin kendisi yalancı bir fecirdir ama o, fecr-i sâdıkın en doğru şahidi ve en inandırıcı referansıdır.

Ne Kibir, Ne Nankörlük; Esas Olan Mahviyet ve Tahdis-i Nimet

*Bir yönüyle yapılan şeyleri küçük görmemek lazım. Çünkü yapılan şeyleri küçük görmek nankörlüktür. Hazreti Pir-i Mugan’ın ifadesiyle, birisi sana güzel bir cübbe giydirse, sen de o cübbeyle ayna karşısına dikilip kendi edana endamına bakıp kırıtsan ve “Ben çok güzel oldum, var mı benim gibi bir güzel?” desen, bu gurur olur, kibir olur. Fakat “Nerede o güzellik nerede ben, hiçbir şey yok bende!” desen, bu da nankörlük olur. Bu ikisi ifrat ve tefrittir. Bir de bu ikisinin ortası vardır; ona sırat-ı müstakim diyoruz. Orta yolu şudur: “Evet bir güzellik var fakat o güzellik bana o cübbeyle, o atlasla geldi, dolayısıyla da o güzellik o atlası bana giydirene aittir.” Bu da tahdis-i nimet olur.

*Cenâb-ı Hak size ve arkadaşlarınıza çok lütuflarda bulundu. Şimdi bunu görmezlikten gelmemek lazım, önemli bir lütuftur bu. Birileri de onu durdurmak için çok farklı hile ve hud’a versiyonlarıyla uğraşıyorlar. “Acaba nasıl yapsak ki bunu bir yerde durdursak, dağıtsak?” falan. Cenâb-ı Hak o fırsatı vermedi onlara. İş gidiyor Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle. Bunu görmezlikten gelmeyelim. Bu Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın çok önemli bir lütfudur, ihsanıdır. Fakat Alvar İmamı merhumun buyurduğu gibi, “Değildir bu bana layık bu bende / Bana bu lütf ile ihsan nedendir?” demeliyiz.

*Cenâb-ı Hakk’ın büyüklüğünün emarelerinden bir tanesi çok küçük unsurlarla büyük şeyler yapmaktır. Şu kocaman fizik âlemine bakın; atomlar, elektronlar, nötronlar, protonlar, partiküller.. onun altında esirden, eterden bahsediliyor ve belki onun altında başka şeyler var. Bu minnacık şeylerden başınızı döndüren şu koskoca fizik âlemini, kehkeşanları yaratıyor. Küçük şeylerden büyük şeyleri yapmak O’nun büyüklüğünün en büyük emaresidir. Bizim gibi küçük insanlarla Allah (celle celaluhu) büyük şeyler yapıyorsa, bu da O’nun büyüklüğüne emaredir.

*Hazreti Pir de “Nefis cümleden ednâ, vazife cümleden a’lâ” diyor. Başka bir yerde de, “Dine hizmet ettim diye fahirlenme, Allah bazen bu dini fâcirin eliyle bile teyit buyurur, destekler!” diyor. Haşa, o kendi hakkında öyle düşünebilir. Bizim nazarımızda o mualladır, o müzekkadır, nefsini tezkiye etmiş bir insandır Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle. Fakat rehberliği cihetiyle bize ders verir: Elinizden başarılar, muvaffakiyetler gelebilir; çok önemli başarılar sergileyebilirsiniz; o zaman da böyle demelisiniz.

“Burada da Senin nâm-ı celîlin dalgalansın yâ Rasûlallah!..”

*Meselenin bir diğer yanı da şudur: İnsanlığın İftihar Tablosu’nun (sallallâhu aleyhi ve sellem) gösterdiği bir ufuk var; “Benim nam-ı celilim güneşin doğup-battığı her yere ulaşacaktır.” Bir taraftan, o işi temsil eden babayiğitlere bir hedef gösteriyor; bir taraftan da gayb-bin gözüyle gördüğü bir şeyi söylüyor. El-hakk bugüne kadar çokları bir yere kadar götürmüşler onu. Fakat ne Raşid Halifeler’in elinde, ne Abbasîlerin elinde, ne Emevilerin elinde, ne de Osmanlıların elinde bugünün insanının sahip olduğu imkânlar yoktu. Bugün, o insanların şimdiye kadar iktiham ettikleri (katlandıkları, aştıkları) o mehâlik (tehlikeli yerler ve işler) ölçüsünde gayret gösterilir ve tehlikeler/zorluklar göğüslenirse, zannediyorum güneşin doğup battığı her tarafa gidebilir bu mesele. Onun için o hedeflenmeli. Alaska’ya, Grönland’a kadar nam-ı celîli götürmek âdeta bir sorumluluk, bir vazife olarak bize yükleniyor.

*Doyma bilmeyen hisle, hırsla -belki hırsın caiz olduğu yerlerden bir tanesi budur- kendi mübarek dinimizi, düşüncemizi anlatmalıyız. Bu, insanları nereden nereye getirecek?.. Bazıları tam sizin çizginizde veya sizin üstünüzde Osmanlı çizgisinde, Mehdi, Hadi çizgisinde, Ömer b. Abdülaziz çizgisinde, Hazreti Ebubekir, Ömer, Osman, Ali (radıyallahu anhüm ecmaîn) çizgisinde bir yere gelir. Bazıları dost olur, “ilişmeyelim size” derler, “güzel insanlarsınız” derler ama düşünce dünyaları hayat felsefeleri farklıdır. Irkları, dilleri, anlayışları, felsefeleri farklıdır fakat bir dostluk, bir taraftarlık, bir sempatizanlık beslerler. Bir de Cemil Meriç merhumun ifadesiyle “âraftakiler”, bir o tarafa bakarlar, bir de bu tarafa bakarlar; ahval ve şerait lehte cereyan ettiğinde bu tarafta olurlar, biraz aleyhe dönüyor gibi olunca “Şimdilik ilişmeyin bize, bizi olduğumuz yerde bırakın böyle. Biz âraftakileriz, durumu idare ediyoruz. Siz de ne olur Allah aşkına, bizi idare edin.” derler. Olabilir!.. Herkesin immun (bağışıklık) sistemi aynı ölçüde değildir. Dolayısıyla bazıları çok küçük virüsle hemen yatağa düşebilirler. Fakat bazılarının da umurunda değildir; on türlü grip virüsü bile musallat olsa, yine hiçbir şey olmamış gibi kalkar, gezer, çalım çakarlar.

*Böyle bir mefkûre… Götürüp onu Mars’a da dikme Allah’ın izni ve inâyetiyle; “Burada da Senin nâm-ı celîlin dalgalansın yâ Rasûlallah!..” deme. Himmet bu ölçüde âlî olmalı, dûn-himmet olmamalı. Siz, himmetin böyle âlî olmasının mükâfatını görür, defterinize hasenat yazdırmış olursunuz. Nereye kadar muvaffak olur, nereye kadar bu işleri realize edersiniz? O bizi aşar.

*Bizim derdimiz bu! Ne devlet.. ne sultanlık.. ne ülke fethetme.. ne milletin sahip olduğu imkanları elinden alma… Bu gibi şeyler öteden beri hep bizim menfûrumuz oldu.

Believers and Hypocrites in the Face of Misfortunes


Question: In one of his blessed sayings, our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, compared a believer to stalk and a hypocrite to cedar tree. Could you elucidate this hadith please?

Answer: As this hadith was transmitted by way of spiritual narration, there are some differences of wording between the reports. It is cited as follows in the collection of Imam Muslim: “A believer is like a stalk. The wind constantly shakes it; the believer is constantly struck by misfortunes. A hypocrite is like a cedar tree (seeming to stand firm). Once it is shaken, it is rooted out (not to rise again).”1
Here, we first understand from our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, that the most beautiful example to be given for describing the situation of a believer before troubles and misfortunes is that of a stalk. As it is known, the wind blows from different sides and makes stalks of grain move in different directions. In such a situation, a stalk may bend to the ground, but it straightens up again when the wind and storm abate. Similarly, a believer continuously undergoes troubles and misfortunes, faces different tests through a lifetime, but he or she never topples over by God’s permission and grace. In order to rise to spiritual perfection, attain one’s essence through self-purification, keep up metaphysical vigilance at struggling against evils, and for so many other wisdoms we do not and cannot know, a believer constantly undergoes tests in this world. As the phrase states, “a believer is a sufferer of troubles”. Another saying of God’s Messenger support this fact, “The severest of troubles befall the Prophets, and then to those near to God.”2 When we view the issue from the perspective of this hadith, we see that, for instance, the troubles and misfortunes suffered by the family of the beloved Prophet are far beyond what others experienced. They suffered various torments, were subjected to ordeals by different centers of power, to such a degree that some were even martyred. In addition, what befell them remains so little in comparison to what believers who had lived previously suffered. What these believers who are foremost in faith and good deeds suffered remains so little in comparison to what the Pride of Humanity suffered, because everybody is subjected to troubles in accordance with his or her level and inner worth.

Blizzards and Storms Occur on Peaks
As high souls are always at peaks, snowfall and hail hit them first, and similarly, they are the first ones to be frozen on top. In a way, they are the first destination for everything approaching. Let us consider Imam al-Ghazali, for example. He was not understood in terms of his contemporary society for a certain period; he was abandoned; he moved away to desolate places, and he wandered alone in graveyards. Likewise, if you study the wording of Abdulqadr al-Jilani’s supplications to God, you understand much better what he was subjected to. In the same way, what Abu’l Hasan ash-Shadhili went through was not much different from what Jilani experienced. And when you study the troubles suffered by Bediüzzaman, that great architect of mind for the contemporary age, you see that he was never left alone through most of his life. At a very young age, he came to Istanbul with very important projects beyond dreams even for today. However, as those in the environment of the sultan were too simple minded for them, they sent Bediüzzaman to an asylum with the claim that he spoke insanely. Hindered by the environment of the sultan, even the insightful people of those times could not thoroughly understand the meaning of his words. Actually, a believer does not attain perfect belief, without being called insane on the grounds of his or her faith. As that great personage had attained perfection in faith, he was called insane. Later on he joined the war, spent his days under very difficult conditions, fell captive, and also faced troubles. Then he returned to his country with the hope of finding some peace, but he met a different kind of trouble this time. He was not left alone even when he retreated to a cave near the city of Van, in eastern Turkey. He was arrested while living on his own and exiled to western Turkey. For the next 35 years, they kept mistreating him, some out of jealousy and some out of animosity to religion… exiles, dungeons, isolations, poisonings, imprisonments, trials, and prosecutions with demands for his execution kept following one another.

People Had Suffered So Much… What Did We Suffer for?
In short, the heaviest of troubles and misfortunes strike the Prophets and then other people according to degree. One of the most important wisdoms of this fact is that, if the person who shoulders a certain cause and walks in front are not subjected to such great misfortunes, then those who follow begin to complain about even the slightest things that trouble them. They cannot even endure the biting of a fly or stinging of the bee. When they see a scorpion or snake, they begin to shout even without being stung. But if they look at those who walked in front and see that they tolerated much greater troubles, they feel consoled with it and say, “See what such people went through… ours does not even deserve to be called affliction. By looking at their trials, it will be a shame to even mention ours!” For this reason, the character traits of those who represent a movement mean so much for those who follow. Inflictions which make life a misery begin to seem, sound, and feel differently to those who look at their example and, in the end, they see that even the troubles they experience become sweet.
As for hypocrites, they are compared to a cedar tree. The exact type of the tree does not really matter so much. What matters here is that, once that seemingly unshakable tree faces a severe storm, it is rooted out, topples over, and can never stand up again. Similarly, hypocrites swagger and give an unshakable appearance, but they topple over when exposed to a severe wind, never to stand up again. As for stalks, they straighten up again after lying down, no matter how severely the wind has blown; they stand up again and again.
The following consideration also comes to mind as hinted by the hadith: Sometimes there can be something that shakes a believer and makes that individual dizzy. Such an individual may have indulged in sins and underwent a temporary shaking. You can hold that person by the hand, give sound advice, show the right way, and thus help that person up after falling. It is easy to do that for an individual. However, there is a different issue when an entire society is immersed in sins, being carbonized from within, toppling over, falling like a great oak tree. Helping that society up, allowing it regain vitality is far more difficult in comparison to a single person. This difficult task, however, should be the high and exalted ideal that souls devoted to reviving faith aim for. That is, they should open their arms wide to every section of the society, throb like a pulse everywhere, and show the societies in which they live the path to a fresh revival. Indeed, the actual great duty, the real responsibility that befalls to devoted souls is raising toppled oak trees and helping them to gain vitality once more.

1. Sahih Muslim, Sifatu’l-Munafiqin, 58.
2. Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 57; Sunan ibn Majah, Fitan, 23.

This text is the translation of “Musibetler Karşısında Mü’min ve Münafık.”

431. Nağme: Fırtınalar Karşısında Savrulanlar ve Elif Gibi Dimdik Duranlar


Muhterem Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi, fırtınalar ve darbeler karşısında hakiki müminlerin “muvakkat sarsıntılar” yaşasalar da asla yıkılmayacaklarını anlattı.

Bazen husumete kilitli kimselerin hasım saydıkları insanları kasden sürekli darbelediklerini ve böylece onların ümitlerini kırmaya çabaladıklarını vurgulayan Hocaefendi, günümüzdeki “algı operasyonu”nun da bu gayeye matuf olduğunu ifade etti.

O tsunamiler ve şiddetli hortumlar karşısında samimi Hizmet gönüllülerinden fire olmadığını, sadece bir kısım oturaklaşmamış, yüzer gezer, zıp orada zıp burada, -hadis-i şerifin ifadesiyle- iki sürü arasında gel-git yaşayan sersem koyun gibi kimselerin devrildiğini belirten Hocaefendi, bazılarının üstesinden gelemeyecekleri baskılara maruz kalmış olabileceklerini dile getirdi ve şöyle dedi:

“Mü’min sadece Allah karşısında eğilir. Hadiseler ne kadar şiddetli gelirse gelsin, fırtınalar ne kadar şiddetli eserse essin, inanan insan katiyen sarsılmamalı. O yeryüzünde emniyet ve güven insanıdır, sarsılırsa, yeryüzünde emniyet ve güven sarsılmış olur. Gönlünü ona bağlamış ve ona güvenmiş olanlar da sarsılırlar. Şöyle böyle tehlikeli anlarda yer değiştirme işi münafık işidir. Siz üç, dört, beş sene bir heyetle beraber oturmuş, kalkmış, belki aynı sofrayı paylaşmış, aynı bardaktan çay içmiş, aynı tabağa kaşık çalmışsanız şayet, hâlâ onları on-yirmi sene içinde tanımamışsanız, onu -müsaadenizle, kelime çirkin, bağışlar mısınız- ahmaklığınıza veriniz. Yok o süre zarfında sizin içinizde bir tereddüt hâsıl edebilecek bir tavırları, bir davranışları olmadıysa şayet, siz kendi kendinize bir hadise karşısında yol değiştiriyorsanız -rica ederim- onu da nifakınıza veriniz!”

Herkesten aynı mukavemeti beklememek gerektiğini söyleyen ve “Biz ağaçların başında sararmış, kurumuş, rüzgâra maruz kalıp savrulmuş yapraklar değiliz. Durduğumuz yerde dururuz Allah’ın izni ve inayetiyle.” diyen Hocaefendi, savrulup yıkılan insanlara karşı bugün ve yarın nasıl muamele edilmesi lazım geldiğini şu ifadelerle açıkladı:

“Yaptıkları hatanın sonucunda hiss-i nedâmetle karşınıza çıkan, bir kısım demagojilerle kendilerini mazur göstermeye çalışan o insanlara da samimi sinenizi açın. ‘Gel kardeşim, seni de kucaklıyorum!’ deyin. Bugün bütün kötülükleri yapanlara, her gün levsiyât kusanlara, salya atanlara, etrafa zift savuranlara karşı siz okunuzun ucuna bir tane gül takın, yayınızı gerin, onlara gül fırlatın.”

Allah Rasûlü’ne ve Ashâb-ı Kirâm’ın ilklerine karşı yapılan boykot karşısında ehl-i insaf bazı kimselerin “Artık yeter!..” deyip itiraz ettiklerini ve müşriklerin Kâbe’ye astıkları boykot talimatnamesini yırtmak üzere gittiklerinde yazının Allah’ın ismi dışında kalan bölümünün güveler tarafından tamamen yenmiş olduğunu gördüklerini hatırlatan Hocaefendi, günümüzde kimisinin kendisine verilen para, makam, villa gibi şeylerle, kimisinin de hayatını nezih götürmediğinden dolayı bir kısım angajmanlıklara düştüğünü ve sesini yükseltip “Yahu yeter!” diyemediğini hüzünle ifade etti.

Allah Rasûlü’nün yolunda olan insanların falanın filanın “bittiler” demesiyle bitmeyeceklerine de değinen Hocaefendi, “Günümüzde bazı safderun kimseler “Filanları bitirdik!” diyorlar. Hikaye.. o hikayeyi siz çocukları uyutmak için, beşiği sallayarak, ninni diye söyleyin.” dedi.

Muhtevasına işaret ettiğimiz bu sohbeti 26:12 dakikalık ses ve görüntü dosyaları halinde sunuyoruz.


Relation between the Types of Patience


Question: The works of Risale-i Nur relate three types of patience.1 What kind of a relationship exists among them?

Similar to the great personages who guided people to the horizons of the heart and spirit, Bediüzzaman also refers to these three types of patience. We can say that there exists a serious relationship among them. Let us try to see this relationship with its basic lines.

Steady Worship Protects a Person from Falling to Sin

Fulfilling acts of worship in an immaculate fashion and, in particular, seeking constancy in this respect take serious patience, as it is difficult for a person to fulfill certain tasks from the beginning to end without faltering at all. It is thanks to patience that a person can attain God Almighty’s love. The Messenger of God, blessings and peace be upon him, once stated:
“The most beloved of deeds to God are the ones that are continuous even if they are little.”2 Let alone the supererogatory (nafila) acts of worship, even a person’s ceaseless observation of the obligatory acts of worship is very valuable in terms of fulfilling thorough servitude to God. In this respect, through patience—in the sense of steady worship—a person gains a very different value in the sight of God. Bediüzzaman draws attention to this with his words, “It elevates a person to the level of being a beloved servant of God. If you have fulfilled your prayers, fasts, almsgiving, and other acts of worship with no neglect since puberty—if we include the phase of orientation, then since 7 or 8 years of age—and continue until the moment you die, it means that you have fulfilled a very serious servitude for God in terms of gaining His good pleasure. If a person has become steady at worship to this degree, then his or her prayers, fasting, alms, and the like will, in a way, serve as a shield against transgressions and protect that person from falling into the web of great sins. For example, we know that harmful drinks are widely consumed in our time, particularly on the pretext of certain nights, that some people even go into a coma for this reason, and consequently those people are enslaved by evil feelings and passions to the degree of darkening their life of this world and the Hereafter. Think about a man who observes worship in immaculate fashion, who goes to the mosque as usual on such a night as well. Even though he receives pressure from people around him to indulge in alcohol, it is not conceivable for him to commit such a sinful act after coming out of the mosque, as it is clearly forbidden in Islam. The prayers, remembrance, and recitations he observes serve as a shield for him by God’s grace and help, and enable him to proceed through the journey of life safely, without having any hindrance.
It is possible to say that just as water that flows continuously wears away marble, the steadfastness of such a person at worship will similarly wear away the inclinations of the carnal soul for sins.

Worship Maintains the Straight Path in Thinking

Scrupulous observance of worship also helps a person take the proper attitude in the face of troubles and misfortunes, because worship and devotions always remind a person of gaining God’s good pleasure, of Divine decree and destiny. Such a believer has a wisdom-oriented perspective on trials that befall him or her, does not become rebellious, and does not criticize Divine destiny. On the contrary, for already having a strong relation with God, such a believer resigns to Divine destiny, thinking that “all of these are sent to test me by the One before whom I stand obediently at prayer.” Even at the times when others are shaken or even toppled over, such a believer is constantly on the horizons of being well-pleased with Him and His treatment of His servants as stated in,

Loveable to me what comes from You;
Either a robe or a shroud,
Either a fresh rose or a thorn.
Your grace and trials, both are welcome.

Turning to God, the one rightfully deserving to be worshipped and deservedly sought after, is like a shelter against sins and leads people to wisdom-oriented thinking in the face of troubles and misfortunes. Taking all of these into consideration, we can comfortably say that there is a serious relationship between the different types of patience.
On the other hand, it is possible to talk about a ranking between these types of patience with respect to their difficulty or ease, because it is very difficult for a person to show a performance of immaculate worship to God for a lifetime. It will be easier for a person who has overcome this difficulty to overcome other types of patience. If a river appears before someone who has successfully crossed a sea of blood, that person can cross the river far more easily with God’s permission and grace. Thus, the types of patience already shown in a way facilitate and provide support against future situations that will require patience.

Are there other types of patience in addition to these three?

There are other types of patience as stated by Bediüzzaman. For example, it is very important to show patience against the maddening quality of time concerning issues that require a certain time period to pass. For example, you may be wishing that everybody believes, wishing to let waves of love spread among all people, to let peace prevail everywhere, everybody to become friends, and to take all racist considerations underfoot, etc., and breathlessly strive for this end… But it needs to be known that raising a new generation and taking the issue from the grassroots are necessary in order to realize all of these good things. Undoubtedly, realizing this will take at least a quarter, and sometimes even half, a century. And this is not something impatient souls can endure. As a poet states, “Those who act in haste trip over their gown; those who carefully walk reach the destination.”
In addition, those who step forward for government and take hold of the dynamic power often believe that they can change the hue, shape, pattern, and accent of the society all of a sudden and attempt to redesign the society accordingly. However, if you do not take the issue from the grassroots, do not respect people’s freewill, but act hastily without showing the patience required for forming a beautiful environment, you will make time and events turn against you unawares. Even with respect to things that you believe you have done successfully, any building you have constructed without a base will collapse on you, suddenly, because hastiness and top-down impositions contradict the natural processes of human perfection and social development. In this respect, the volunteers who are trying to build an atmosphere of peace and love for their own society, and even for the entire humanity, must be ready for this: you may never see certain beautiful developments, although you strived for a lifetime in this respect. Seeing those days may be possible for the generations to follow. Indeed, this should be an essential principle for volunteers to follow for a lifetime: “Fulfilling our duty and not attempting to meddle in what Divine wisdom realizes.”
A fifth type of patience is patience toward the attractions of this world, even if they seem to be within the lawful sphere. When the world targets our eyes with its dazzling rays, being able to take a resolute and upright stance against it is among the most difficult types of patience. Bediüzzaman tells the story of a pious man who whenever he wished to eat some delicacy saved the money until he had saved enough to build a mosque with it.
A further degree of patience than those above is shown by those nearest to God Almighty (muqarrabin). In spite of their yearning for reuniting with their Lord of infinite beauty and perfection and His noble Messenger, they show patience to continue living in this world until the moment they walk to the horizon of their soul and depart with God’s permission. Jalaluddin Rumi, one of the important representatives of this horizon, says,

I want a bosom, that is torn by separation;
So that I may, tell the pain of lamentation.

That is, a person needs to feel suffering first so that he can understand the sufferer. You cannot tell your suffering to those who do not understand what suffering is. The great master Rumi is saying that he is essentially the child of a lost Paradise, a poor one who came from God and was thrown here. Thus, he constantly burns with the fire of his yearning. Until the moment he died, Rumi spoke of reunion. But even though he burned with a longing for reunion, he never voiced a demand such as, “My God, take my soul as soon as possible, so that I can reunite with You.” Instead, he gave his willpower its due and showed patience against his yearning for reunion, because He, glorified and exalted is He, is the One Who sends us to this world. Obedience to His Command has superiority over mannerliness, even over our love for Him. Even if ecstatic love drives a person crazy, demanding to pass to the next life, without His commanding us to come is disrespect toward Him. Given that He is the One Who rendered us His officers in this realm, it is Him Who will discharge us from our duty in this world. What falls to us then is to be patient and staying here until He issues this leave. This is the type of patience shown in spite of the intense love and yearning felt toward Him. It is an issue that only concerns very great personages who truly believed, who deepened in knowledge of God further than believing, and with this deepening took wing from knowledge to love, then from love to ardent yearning for God—well beyond people like us.

This text is the translation of “Sabır Çeşitleri Arasındaki Münasebet.”

1. Namely, patience in the sense of resisting against sins, enduring misfortunes, and insistence on worshipping God. See Nursi, The Letters, p. 300.
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Riqaq, 18; Sahih Muslim, Salatu’l-Musafirun, 216–218.

The Way to Change Transient Opportunities into Eternal Beauty


Question: What should a believer’s perspective of the world be, so that it will be possible to transform the means of this mortal world into infinite beauties of the eternal life?

Answer: Humankind is created for eternity, meant for eternity, and cherishes dreams of eternal bliss. People are supposed to value the world in accordance with its transience, and the Hereafter in accordance with its infinity. If human needs had allowed, and religious commandments had approved of it, we would say to ourselves considering the infinity of the next world: “Let us cut off all of our bonds with this world and turn our faces solely to the Hereafter.” However, as human primordial nature, carnal desires, weaknesses, and flaws do not allow saying such a thing, the Qur’an and Sunnah, which establish their principles by taking into consideration human nature, do not approve of such a lifestyle. In this respect, individuals should not disregard the laws rendered inherent in human nature by the Creator of laws and should be aware of what they are meant for, as well as what kind of wonders await them in the next world. That is, they should pursue the Afterlife in the direction which the Qur’an points to and with everything God has given them. They should follow it closely but not completely forget their share of the world. In other words, people should be able to see their worldly wishes and desires—excuse me for my improper words—as a bone or piece of bread thrown before their carnal soul and know how to proceed without being entangled by the temptations of the world. However, thoroughly sensing and feeling this world and the Hereafter with their peculiar patterns and colors depend upon a very serious sense of knowledge of God. A man who does not adorn his faith with knowledge of God, even if he is a Muslim, cannot feel the splendors on the path that will let him attain eternal bliss, and thus cannot be saved from weariness of journeying on the path he walks. Knowledge of God kindles loves in its own bosom, like colliding waves of immense seas. As for love, it turns a person’s gaze toward the Truly Loved One, which enables humans to be freed from the troublesome world of physicality, throws a bone in response to the demands and insistences of the carnal soul, and keeps going. He does not become attached to the world no matter how attractive it seems. According to such a person, the only thing to be valued in the world is letting the Prophet’s message resound in the four corners of the world, and letting the dignity of Islam wave like flags at high posts.
Only after having a lofty ideal like that does staying in the world bear some value. As far as a person walks in the direction of glorifying the name of God, making the noble Prophet become a spirit for humanity, and letting all hearts receive his message, it is worth living for some 950 years like Prophet Noah, because in that case the worldly life will have been used very efficiently. As for a life spent without finding such an ideal, it is nothing but an example of deception, a life led abreast with bankruptcy.

We Have Been Deceived! We Fell for Pomp and Applause!
Unfortunately, it is a reality that so many people are deceived in this world. Essentially, it is not possible to make good decisions if priority of importance is not determined. Therefore, it may not be possible to find what one hoped for when coming to end of the road. The person will then say, like the Sufi poet Sheikh Galib, “We arrived to that land of happiness, entered Paradise, but alas, we did not see the Beloved One!” That is to say, a person who fails to strike the balance between this world and the next sometimes strives for a lifetime here, thinking that he is doing something very important. When he passes to the next world, however, he will not be able to find God; he will not be able to see and reunite with the Beloved One hearts yearn for.
And sometimes people are deceived with carrying out good works with sanctimonious affectation to let others see, hear, appreciate, applause, and taking due pride. And thus, the person renders negative the good works he did through a lifetime. The noble Prophet once stated,
“There are many people who fast but they have no share of the fast except for hunger, and there are many people who get up for the Prayer, but they have no share of the Prayer except for drowsiness.”1 You can add to these examples. For example, you can say: There are so many people who strive on the path of God but they will not see Him, the Beloved, since they pollute the tasks they need to carry out on the path. They do not observe the manners of walking on the path, cannot find the right direction, and always walk unsteadily and fall. Those who walk that way, namely who do not lead a straightforward life in this world—may God protect us from that—will completely fall in the next world. God Almighty conveys to us His glorified decree in the Qur’an,
The disbelieving criminals will be in utter loss away (from Paradise) and burning in the Blazes. On that day, they will be dragged in the Fire on their faces. ‘Taste the touch of Hell!’ they will be told” (al-Qamar 54:47–48). Thus, those who abase themselves in this life by allowing their carnal desires to drag them along will enter Hell in the next one, being dragged on their faces. Those who become complete slaves to the carnal soul here and lead their lives accordingly will fall in such a way in the next world that no intercession will save them. Divine decrees such as “And so, of no benefit to them will be the intercession of any who are entitled to intercede (even if they are allowed to intercede)” (al-Muddasir 74:48) describe the situation of these people. In order not to end up like that, it is necessary to lead a God-oriented life. There must be something that goes from a person to God, so that something from Him will come to that person. If one leads a life here full of feelings of respect and reverence for God and extolls Him, then at a moment of utmost need, a helping hand from Him will extend and save the person from being dragged into Hell. In this respect, it is necessary to make good use of this life as much as one can, and fill the remaining gaps with the immensity and purity of intention. For intention has such a mysterious depth at filling gaps that a drop of it can fill up seas. For this reason, a person must make broad and immense intentions. For example, a man should say, “My God, grant me such opportunity and means that I will be able to change the orbit of this world, so that the message of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, will resound everywhere.” A drop of intention in this respect can gain a person otherworldly rewards like huge seas. That is, a person should exert himself for doing what he needs to do, but when he comes to a point beyond his power he should say, “My God, I was resolved to carry out this task, but this is how much I can. I am not able to do more,” and make his intention for an intercessor. Then the Owner of Infinite Will and Power will say, “My Servant, I will carry out what you cannot carry out.”

Those Who Love the World Cannot Find the Hereafter
We can summarize the issue in the words of Muhammed Lütfi Efendi:

If You truly love the Lord,
Do you think He will not love you?
If you seek His good pleasure,
Will He not let you attain?

If you go near His door
Ready to offer all you have,
And serve Him as He ordered,
Will He not then reward you?

If your tears turn to a stream
If you cry like Ayyub did
If your heart truly grieves,
Will He not show any sympathy?

This trouble is a cure to troubles,
The Sustainer loves His sufferers.
The Unique One is the cure of troubles.
Won’t He reward you generously?”

Togetherness with God in spirit, feelings, and mind here will result in real togetherness there. Those who live together with Him here will be together with Him there. For this reason, it is necessary to eagerly seek togetherness all the time. In your prayers and implorations to Him you should always say, “My God, togetherness with You! My God, togetherness with Your beloved Prophet!” Always live with Him, always spell His Name, and always speak of Him… so that this togetherness will appear before you when you go there. If you maintain togetherness with Him here, you will forget about this transient and deceiving world you left behind in the face of the surprises that appear before you there. But it is so sad that minds have been corrupted in our day, and feelings and thoughts have been disoriented. People think more of this world rather than the everlasting life and the Eternal One.
When you study the words of great figures, you see that even they complain about the pull of this world. For example, the great Sufi poet Yunus Emre wrote:

Before the cruel self, I remained helpless.
Delights of this world, it can’t get enough.
The wool of heedlessness drawn over its eyes,
Fails to recognize, it is wasting this life.

O Lord can one put on the wool of heedlessness,
Can he be called Muslim, a follower of desires?
He earns more and more, but spends in vain.
For the sake of God, he can’t spend a coin.

My God, wake me up from the sleep of heedlessness,
Do not make me disgraced at Your door, please!
Dervish Yunus says, ‘Come listen to my counsels:
The One who loves the world can’t find the Hereafter.’

It is necessary to become ready for seeing the Beloved, for reuniting with the Eternally Besought One. If you have always been writing love letters to Him here, none of them will be wasted there. When you go there, they say, “This letter had come from you…” Next to the compliments one will receive there such as, “I heard a call from God, the Truth: ‘Come O lover; you are special. This chamber is for the special. I saw that you are truly faithful.’” How can worldly compliments ever have any value next to such as these! Even becoming a glorious sultan cannot have any value next to the sultanate God grants. They are not even be atoms next to the sun.
To conclude, those who trade for this world with the capital in their hands will have no capital to trade for in the next one, going there empty handed. But those who utilize the means in their hands in order to trade for the Hereafter will meet unknown surprises when they go there. After God Almighty refers to human nature in chapter Qiyamah (apocalypse), He reveals how the two groups of people will fare:
Yes indeed! (We are able to make complete his very fingerprints to resurrect him,) but you (people) love and prefer what is before you (the present, worldly life), and abandon that which is to come later (the Hereafter). Some faces on that Day will be radiant (with contentment), looking up toward their Lord. And some faces on that Day will be despondent, knowing that a crushing calamity is about to be inflicted on them…” (al-Qiyamah 75:20–25).
May God make us all among those whose faces are radiant and pure on that terrifying day!

1. Sunan Ibn Majah, Siyam, 21; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad, 2/373.

This text is the translation of “Fânî İmkânları Ebedî Güzelliğe Dönüştürmenin Yolu.”

Tribulations of the Righteous Path and a Believer’s Stance


Question: What are the duties and responsibilities that fall to believers in the face of ruthless attacks that stem from feelings of envy and jealousy?

Answer: First, it needs to be pointed out that acts of wrongdoing and injustice stemming from intolerance and jealousy never ceased to exist in the past, and they will continue to exist in the future as well. Although Prophet Adam’s son was born into a home that was blessed with Divine revelation, he was seized with jealousy and intolerance. He became dizzy with the feeling and consequently murdered his brother. Actually, Satan played his first trick with that and made him obey his word by working on this weak side in human nature. The first person who comes to mind as a Prophet killed by his people is Prophet Zechariah, peace be upon him. As it is known, many other Prophets who invited people to God were also slaughtered by their own people. Prophet David was put in a very difficult situation by his people, whom he had saved from disgrace. They slandered that great Prophet with a shameful deed which we would not even imagine about an ordinary person. As a consequence, he was forced to take an oath by placing his hand on the ark. With falsehood and slanders, a wrong image was formed, portraying Prophet Solomon as—God forbid—a spiritist and sorcerer. The Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings be upon him, as well, slandered as a—may God forbid—magician and oracle by people consumed by envy and jealousy who could not stomach his being honored with Divine revelation. In short, the Prophets, their companions, and so many others who came later on who strived on this righteous path faced different slanders, insults, and attacks. Similar troubles will continue to happen and those who serve on the path of Truth will face different ordeals, persecution, and slanders.

The Owner of Time Determines the Duration of the Test
What falls to the volunteers in the face of all of these is to meet the misfortunes that befall them with ease of heart, not complaining, and not even feeling bitter with those who cause these, and thinking that they deserve all of these. It is narrated that Hallaj al-Mansur was punished owing to the expression “Ana’l-Haq” he used in a state of spiritual immersion (istighraq) while describing that he felt a full manifestation of the Divine Names. In his painful state, he prayed to God in spite of being covered in blood as, “My God, I do not wish to give my last breath before You forgive those who did this to me!” These are the words of a great, magnanimous man. They have no difference from the following words of Bediüzzaman eight centuries later, “I also forgive those who sent me from one exile to another and who sent me to dungeons.”
Travelers on this path must know that they will continue to suffer from different tribulations in the future as well, and thus should never be upset and heartbroken. They should not sing lamentations for their troubles like some poets do, nor complain about destiny and Divine acts, nor leave a letter of complaint for the generations to follow. In the face of their troubles, volunteers must never criticize Divine destiny by asking, “Until when…?” Even if they cry sadly, they should know how to imprison their feelings in their heart, open up to God at times of privacy, but never should they let others hear these laments, because one who determines the duration of the test is The Almighty Owner of time. If you meddle with His affairs, you disorder your own affairs. A believer must be able to meet His every act with respect. Sometimes a manifestation of Majesty can bring suffering or a manifestation of Mercy can bring relish. What really matters is equally welcoming both. That is, a person should neither be joyful for a manifestation of Divine Mercy (Jamal) nor be upset for a manifestation of Divine Majesty (Jalal). Asking questions such as, “What did I do wrong so that all of these befell me? Why are all of these sufferings and troubles always finding me? Why are these tribulations? Why are all these baseless rumors? What is the reason for such intolerance and inability to stand us?” is an indication of being unaware of how the Divine Power operates. People could not even tolerate the blessed messengers and saints of God; is it so surprising if they cannot tolerate you?

Do Not Worry about What They Say; Double Your Speed on the Righteous Path!
A sultan of words put it so beautifully:
If a stone from a slingshot hits a golden bowl,
Neither does the stone gain value, nor the bowl loses value at all!
If you are a golden bowl too, let others throw stones at you, or criticize you with baseless claims. The responsibility that falls to the volunteers before what some persons commit, is not caring about all of these and continuing to walk on the righteous path. They should not be entangled with the improper words and criticisms directed to them and not disorient their mind with such things. On the contrary, they must concentrate all of their attention and efforts to what they are supposed to carry out, try to fulfill their duty in the best way, leaving the result to God. With respect to one of the qualities of the new generation that He will raise, God Almighty states, “… they do not fear the censure of any who censures” (al-Maedah 5:54). All of these bring to my mind the following words of Muhammed Lütfi Efendi:
A lover of God talks of those who hurt.
Says, do not be hurt by those who hurt,
For the one who is hurt lacks perfection,
In comparison to the one who hurts.
If you expect to have perfection in the next world, then you must not make any claims of having perfection in this one, as that is a sign of imperfection. A person’s having a sense of superiority and expecting praises and appreciation from others is an investment of bankruptcy in terms of the losses he or she will face in the next world. Those who consume the wholesome things God grants in the world will find themselves in the situation the Qur’an warns people against: “You consumed in your worldly life your (share of) pure, wholesome things, and enjoyed them fully (without considering the due of the Hereafter, and so have taken in the world the reward of all your good deeds)” (al-Ahkaf 46:20).
It is for this reason that believers should wait for the next world for the perfections God will grant them; they should be patient and forbearing here to receive the perfect blessings there. If they can manage to do that, nobody will be able to prevent acts of goodness by God’s permission. Given that the devoted souls who dedicated themselves to serving humanity continue their lives in a course of loyalty to their pledge of devotedness. Otherwise, the moment they give in to worldly desires such as buying a house, owning wealth, and investing for their personal comfort and future, God takes away the means of service in their hands and passes this task to a fresh generation of people who have not become weary, who have not degenerated, and who have not inclined to temptations of the world. In this respect, devoted ones must preserve their devotedness until the end.

Not Asking from Anyone Is the Greatest Credit
According to the accounts related in reliable books of hadith like those of Imam Bukhari and Muslim, God’s Messenger bought food from a Jewish merchant and left his armor in pawn until he could buy it back. The Pride of Humanity passed on to the Hereafter without being able to do so. Some time later, Abu Bakr paid the price, saved that blessed armor from pawn, and entrusted it to Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Paragon of Morality did not take debt from his Companions as it would not conform with his dignified stance of not asking from others. He considered that refraining to ask any worldly goods from them as a necessity of the principle of not asking wages in return for his mission of conveying the Divine message. He once more proved that he did not ask for the slightest personal benefit in return for conveying and representing the manifest religion, teaching people about the means of happiness in both worlds, and showing them the ways to Paradise, particularly to the Companions. He once more set a beautiful example for the inheritors of the cause of the Prophets.
Abu Bakr continued to milk his neighbors’ sheep for supporting his family, even after being elected as caliph. After some time, upon the insistence of some prominent Companions, he consented to taking a minimal payment from the state to support his family, giving up milking his neighbors’ sheep, and thus sparing more time to his duty of caliphate. Although it was hard on him to receive money for a service he carried out for God, he did it so that state affairs would not be neglected. In fact, his hands would shake while using that money. When he passed to the Hereafter, he left behind a little pot and demanded it to be delivered to the next caliph. When it was opened in the presence of the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, there were some coins and a short letter. It read: “The money you spared for me was more than necessary on some days. I felt ashamed against God to spend that; as it belongs to the people, this amount must be added back to the state treasury.” Umar ibn al-Khattab could not hold back his tears and said, “O Abu Bakr, you left an example for us impossible to practice.” But in fact, Umar’s life was not much different than Abu Bakr’s.

An Understanding of Dignity and Pride Misinterpreted
Some proud people misunderstand the principle of “having a prideful stance against a proud one.” However, Umar ibn al-Khattab made others bow to him with genuine respect in his spontaneously modest and plain state. During his caliphate, the lands around Syria and Palestine were under their control. After conquering Jerusalem, the Muslim army commanders asked for the keys of the Masjid al-Aqsa, but those in charge replied that they had to know well the attributes of the person who would take the keys, and that they could not just hand them over to anybody. While they were discussing this situation, Umar ibn al-Khattab appeared in the distance. He had borrowed a camel from the state treasury and was traveling together with his servant. Those who ran to the riverside in order to welcome the caliph were astonished: the ruler of the greatest state of the time had his sandals under his arm, and he was holding the rein of the camel carrying his servant, walking humbly like an ordinary person. Moreover, he was wearing a simple dress, which had been torn from a few places by friction with the saddle. Umar ibn al-Khattab had patched them, like putting on medals of honor. When he was told that some people would scorn him if they saw him like that, he replied: “God has made us honorable with Islam; it is a vain effort to seek honor with anything else. Given that it is Islam that made us honorable, we do not want or seek dignity and honor in anything other than that.”
The spiritual leaders of Jerusalem who were watching these developments from a corner said, “We will hand the keys to this person only, because he bears all of the properties related in our scriptures” and then delivered the keys to Umar ibn al-Khattab.

What about Those Who Indulge in State Property? Who Is Their Example?
The third caliph Uthman ibn al-Affan was a rich person. In spite of gaining worldly wealth, however, he had not attached his heart to the world. When the Companions were asked to make donations in order to equip Muslims against the advancing Roman army for the Tabuk campaign, he was so generous that he gave away five hundred camels, together with the goods they were loaded with, and he did it without the slightest feeling of regret. I think that if the Pride of Humanity had told him, “O Uthman, give away everything!” he would have donated everything he possessed for the sake of God without any hesitation. When the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib became caliph, the size of the lands he ruled was nearly twice as large as the Australian continent. The state extended from Transoxiana in Central Asia to the Great Wall of China, and to the strait of Gibraltar. As the leader of this great power that extended over such a large area and could be considered the superpower of the time, Ali ibn Abi Talib wore summer clothes during winter. When they asked about the reason, he replied that it was what he could afford with his own means. As some scholars also pointed out, this attitude reflected the notion of true justice, which we can describe as social justice, noble human spirit, unification with the society, and giving precedence to others over oneself or living for the sake of others. His blessed family members Hasan, Husayn, and our mother Fatima all had the same feeling and thoughts. They and those who walked on their path always lived with this spirit of having no worldly expectation and devotedness. It is then necessary to ask those who do not act so: “Whose example are you following? For God’s sake, who is your example with your different mansions for summer and winter? While you are trying to enrich your children and embezzling state money, who are you taking as example for God’s sake? Those who benefit from the means they gained access to without caring whether they are lawful or not, do not they see the grim end of their forerunners in history such as Korah (Qarun), Ramesses, Amenophis and the like? One must fear God and be ashamed before Him!
Devoted ones walking on the earlier righteous generations’ path must protect the dignity and honor of devotedness. If they wish to conquer hearts, they must appear before those they will address with modesty, humility, and humbleness, and bury under the ground every kind of conceitedness. Similarly, they must not care for the worldly future of their children, grandchildren, worldly comfort, or buying special mansions for summer and winter; they must only work for their noble ideals and try to reconstruct the monument of their ruined soul. Otherwise, those who fail to observe the principle of not asking from anyone and being content with one’s lawful means will give in to envy like Saul did, even if they begin like Prophet David. Even if they make an appearance like Moses, they will stumble and fall like Korah did, because there is no one who did not fall down in the end, among those who desired the world and gave in to it. As Muhammed Lütfi Efendi states, “So many glorious sultans and bearers of crown drowned in that swamp of worldliness.” It is for this reason that those devoted to a noble ideal must not sacrifice to anything the spirit of devotedness, which is among the most important sources of power for them. They must never lose the high ideal of coming to this world as nothing and passing to the next one as nothing. I wish from God that He never lets the people who attached their hearts to this lofty ideal fall for worldly temptations, nor be knocked out with one such tricky move. As Ziya Pasha expressed, “Ignorant ones are having a rowboat trip for leisure, as heedful ones are swimming in the whirlpool of trouble.” We can be the ones who swim in the center of a whirlpool of trouble, but let us not ever envy others’ pompous lives. We should try to pass to the other side so uprightly that when the interrogative angels ask us in the grave before we appear in the presence of God “What did you leave in the world?” we should answer as, “By God, I cannot remember anything at all!” after having thought for a while. This is the essence of our way.
Surely, the situation of those who began to work by doing trade and continue to do so is different. They will work, earn, and then support the acts of goodness. But do not forget that your dignified contentment is your greatest credit to make benevolent people hold you in esteem and keep your advice. If you also wish to have worldly means like they do—may God protect—you fall. In order not to fall, it is necessary not to give in to worldly ambitions—so much so that even if the world comes near your feet with all of its grandeur, you should be able to see it as dirt and push it aside with your foot. This is our path. In this respect, we should pass to the next world with considerations as, “We neither indulged in the world, nor did we ask from worldly ones. We do not seek refuge in anywhere but the door of God.” If you become like this, you will stay like this. Live freely for a lifetime and do not become obliged to anyone. Therefore, you do not fall for the intrigues and tricks others devise for finishing you off. Otherwise, if you get caught once, you become their puppet and pawn, bringing down the hopes and trust of the people who are hopeful about you, then resorting to lies and deceptions in order to save yourselves. This is the greatest evil to be done to Islam and Muslims.

This text is the translation of “Hak Yolunun Cilveleri ve Mümince Duruş.”

A Spirit of Devotedness for a Lifetime


Question: What are the essential principles to be considered in order to constantly keep alive the spirit of devotedness in hearts?
Answer: Above all, wholeheartedly devoted ones must keep away from any kind of attitude and behaviors that might damage their credit of trust. I do not think that those who attach their hearts to an ideal with sincere feelings and without any expectations will ever do anything intentional to harm the circle they are in, or present any intentional misbehavior to upset their fellow volunteers. However, sometimes steps taken thoughtlessly or issues one engages in without careful consideration might give way to certain lapses, and thus losing credit. In such a situation, what needs to be done is an immediate compensative effort by other members of the collective, who have similar feelings and minds, in order to make up for that blunder. As acting this way will not only save the person who erred from embarrassment, but also will prevent negative thoughts from being established in the minds about the circle they are in.
My God, Do Not Let Me Be a Cause of Embarrassment for My Friends!
The scrupulousness of the saintly figure Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi at preserving his dignified stance of not asking anyone for anything presents a very good example for us. In order to prevent some negative considerations in his time, he made the following warnings to his students and disciples from the very beginning: “Do not ever become too close with rich people, rulers, and administrators. They might wish to offer you meals, hold you in esteem, and even to use their smiles as a means of corruption. If you come under their influence, you will be obliged to them for a lifetime. In this respect, get by with what you have and do not ask from anybody. Do not forget that rulers and administrators wish to keep you obliged to them.”
People whose philosophy of life gives priority to serving God should keep away form all doings that might cause suspicions about them, and they should never approach places that might cause suspicions about them. For example, they must not even pass in front of a bar in order not to make people think they may be coming out of there. Particularly, if there is the possibility of being slandered with vices of some others, it is necessary to act with utmost care. No matter how scrupulously we act, let us not forget that it is always possible to be the target of arrows of criticism. In spite of your constantly seeking unity, putting emphasis on love, opening your bosom to all, and not taking anybody as the opposite side, if there are people full of grudge and foaming with hatred, they will not extend their hand to you, not open their bosom to you, but respond to your smile with sour looks. In that case, you have nothing to do but petition to God and implore Him in supplication. It should not be forgotten that all of these have happened since Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, to the present, and will continue to happen. What matters here is that the devoted soul must keep away from conditions and behaviors that might bring disgrace to the movement that they are affiliated with, in terms of their familial and societal life. In addition to giving your willpower its due, you must always say when you supplicate to God, “My God, do not embarrass our friends with us, and do not embarrass us with our friends,” seeking refuge in God’s protection and asking Divine Providence for help. Otherwise, it is always possible for a person to give into the carnal soul. Indeed, there are hundreds of weaknesses and sins termed as muhlikat (things that cause people to end up in perdition), which stem from fancies and desires of the carnal soul. In addition, Satan continually embellishes them and puts them before the individual, always making sins appear tempting for humans. A person who is not vigilant against all of these dangers might give in to one of them unawares and—may God protect—can become a shame. It is for this reason that people affiliated with a movement who are held in hopeful view by millions of people must show utmost care to avoid anything that might harm their morality and innocence, stand firm against the goading of the devil and carnal soul, and never make concessions from their truthful and trustworthy quality. They must fear violating the rights of their fellow volunteers as they walk together on this path to such a degree that they must be able to raise their hands and very comfortably say, “My God, if I am to cause my friends to look down in disgrace, I wholeheartedly prefer being buried in the ground instead.” This is an expression of being faithful and loyal to the cause. In order not to let anyone make a negative remark and not allow even the slightest wrong to happen, every devoted soul must make an effort like an ambassador of trust, loyalty, and innocence. All the time, they must dignifiedly refrain from asking, not beg from anyone, not be greedy, be content with what God gives, and keep away from every matter that might harm their respectability.
Practical Representation Must Come before Verbal Messages
Those who try to become the voice of truth and righteousness should not forget that they can be convincing with their sincere attitude and behaviors rather than the words they speak; words that do not express the truth or go far beyond the intended meaning with exaggeration may possibly enchant the people addressed for a temporary while. But let alone making a lasting effect in hearts, they actually will serve as obstructions to credibility. On the other hand, constant behaviors cannot be false. They continuously flow on a straight course. A person who is always true, who acts faithfully all the time, who never makes concessions from chastity, and who continuously inspires trust in those around will be convincing. In this respect, we can comfortably say that practical representation has priority over verbal messages in Islam.
One of the Prophetic virtues of the noble Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, which is so dear like a crown to us, was communicating the message he received from God. However, if it were not for a blessed representative like him, the miraculous Divine revelation would not make its blessed presence felt until our era and would not have found acceptance in hearts to this degree. For this reason, the influence of the Qur’an, which we keep hung on the wall in our homes in velvet covers out of utmost respect, has been and will be realized with those who represent it. In this respect, the Prophet’s depth of representation has precedence over his depth of communicating the message. He was invited to the heavens for the Ascension, not only because he conveyed the message of the Qur’an, but also because he practically represented it with his personal example.
Humbleness and Not Provoking Envy
The noble Prophet states, “The master of a people is one who serves them.”1 Salahuddin Ayyubi, a hero of Islam who was a prime representative of this spirit, was the first ruler who used the title, “Servant of the Two Sanctuaries,” referring to Mecca and Medina. Centuries later, Sultan Selim I, who shared the same spirit, felt disturbed to be referred to as the “Ruler of the Two Sanctuaries,” but immediately corrected it to “Servant of the Two Sanctuaries” by rising to his knees from where he sat, as a sign of respect. Those who succeeded him also adopted the title of the “Servant of the Two Sanctuaries.” In this respect, no matter what their social status is, devoted souls must regard it as the greatest honor to serve others. If necessary, they should say, “There was need for a person to bring water and serve those who gathered around a certain shared thought, ideal, and common way of thinking,” and always be among the foremost at serving others.
On the other hand, individuals’ success at certain fields may evoke envy in others. Some with weak personalities can even become so jealous as to be taken by a feeling of rivalry. In this matter as well, it is necessary to observe the Divine principles Islam teaches in terms of disciplining the carnal soul. Bediüzzaman, who established a guideline under the light of those principles, pointed out that true disciples of the Qur’an should not evoke feelings of envy in their fellows. Normally, a moderate feeling of envy (ghibta) is acceptable in Islam. However, considering the fact that moderate envy is a neighbor of the resentful feeling of jealousy (hasad), a person who holds feelings of envy might, at any moment, transgress to the other side of the fence unintentionally. It is for this reason that Bediüzzaman mentions not provoking envy in others as a responsibility for disciples of the Qur’an. And the way to realize this, one must applaud everyone who serves for the sake of God and to prefer others over oneself when necessary. In addition, people may have different weaknesses, such as a desire for receiving applause, being appreciated, and being promoted to a high position. In this respect, it is necessary to determine a different field for everyone, prepare grounds for acting in a broad sphere, to let individuals serve efficiently within those different fields, and be satisfied with the work they carry out at the same time. Additionally, it is necessary to maintain people to be equipped with faith and morality, keep their relationship with God strong, and attribute everything one possesses to God only.
The Peril of Being on the Peak
Another point of consideration is being steadfastly straightforward. God Almighty may have taken us to a righteous path; however, merely finding the right path is not enough; it is also necessary to walk straight on the path until its end with open eyes. According to a saying of the Prophet related to our subject, all people are potentially prone to perdition, except for scholars. Scholars are also prone to perdition, except for those who act upon their knowledge. Those who act upon their knowledge are also prone to perdition, except for those who act upon their knowledge purely for the sake of attaining God’s good pleasure. Those with a good intention also face a serious danger.2 It is possible to name this great danger as “the peril of the peak.” For this reason, no matter how high God allows us to ascend, we must always fear that we might topple over any time. God guided earlier communities to the right path, but as they did not abide by certain essentials at the center, they experienced great deviances at the periphery impossible to make up for. As one community strayed to misguidance, another one was condemned as those who incurred God’s wrath. Thus, even though finding the right path is a difficult and an essential task, constantly walking on that right path is even more difficult. While it is difficult to the climb to the peak, keeping up the position on the peak is further difficult. Accordingly, Bediüzzaman stated that a person who falls from the heights of sincerity (ikhlas) faces the danger of falling into a deep pit.
Division of Labor according to Abilities
Another important point of consideration for the devoted souls to serve efficiently in the long run is to recognize what exists and takes place correctly, and not contradict with natural aptitudes. God Almighty created people in different natures and endowed them with different abilities. There are some people who may not be effective with addressing people directly as their social side is weak. For example, there are such people who become the voice of truth when they put pen to paper, who make an influence on many people, and evoke a sense of resurrection in others’ hearts. When they are demanded to deliver a speech, however, they might lose all the credit that they have gained with their books, right at the first conference, because God may not have endowed someone with an ability to speak in the same degree as writing. But the same person can be so successful at voicing the truths he or she believes through books, articles, and other written sources. So the administrators who are at a position to guide and employ people must be aware of this fact and charge everybody with a task that suits his or her ability. As it is well known, upon the demand of Khalid ibn al-Walid, the noble Prophet sent him to Yemen as a religious teacher. As Abu Musa al-Ash’ari narrates, days and weeks passed, but no news of progress came. Actually, Khalid ibn al-Walid was not a good speaker. God Almighty had not endowed him with skills to be a good choice for the task of guidance but rather for commanding the army. That is, God had gifted him with superiority in another field. Divine wisdom transcends our reasoning. If Khalid ibn al-Walid had been another sultan of words rarely seen in history—similar to some other Companions—who then would led the army against the superpowers of that time? After having stayed in Yemen for a while, he returned to Medina, and the Prophet sent Ali ibn Abi Talib to Yemen instead. After Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was a good orator and preacher, whose words seriously touched souls, whose voice reached beyond ages, and whom God endowed with special ability in this respect, the number of believers began to grow in waves. He was a personage of great standing who knew very well how to reach into souls while speaking and what he should say. Thus, what falls to administrators is to consider the different talents before them and employ everybody in the right place so that everybody works efficiently. As charging an ant with the duty of an elephant will crush it under that task, employing an elephant that can carry loads of trees for a task that can be carried out by an ant will mean wasting it. As it is so important to take individuals’ ability and characters into consideration, it should never be forgotten that true influence depends on God Almighty. For example, I knew people who could not express themselves well, who had a hard time at speaking even a few sentences, but the people before them immediately began to soften after they spoke a little. You cannot explain this impact by attributing it to that person’s appearance, qualities, capacity, horizons of thought, or power of expression, as hearts are in God’s hand. He is the one who grants guidance to whom He wills. For this reason, the volunteers must not take lightly anything they will carry out for the sake of God. They should try to fulfill their responsibilities, sometimes by offering a glass of tea, offering meal, or paying a visit… in short by making use of every opportunity for conquering hearts.
Striking the Balance between the Ideal and Reality
While ideals and realities should not be confused with one another, it is necessary to keep standards high and pursue lofty targets—so much so that those who migrate for the sake of their ideals must pursue ideals so high that they want to change the face of the world straight away. If people cherish a high goal with zeal, even if they cannot attain it with their personal efforts, God Almighty will fill the gap with their intention and reward those individuals according to the ideals that they targeted. That is, a person will even be rewarded for good intentions that he or she cannot realize. In this respect, individuals must always aim for the highest standards and keep their ideals very immense. Together with these, however, matters must be realized by considering the time, place, available means, and the human factor. Plans for goodness must be considered in terms of the relevant circumstances so that the steps taken will not end up in loss and fiasco. Sometimes, people set off to change the hue of the world, but they fantasize about utopias like al-Farabi’s The Virtuous City or Campanella’s The City of the Sun. In these worlds of their imagination, they hug one another everywhere they meet. Lions and wolves come offer their good wishes to sheep. Marketplaces are so perfect that the people who trade are almost angels. In these worlds, nobody gives up decency in the least bit and people do not get corrupted. Children enter a process of development and maturing right away without any serious disciplining and education, and they become like angels when they turn fifteen. Although it is possible to have all of these in one’s thoughts and imagination, their realization is something different. One must take into consideration human nature and interpersonal relations. Such a life did not take place even in the environment of Prophets of God. Marketplaces have never become virtuous to this degree, wolves and sheep have never become so amicable, and lions never gave up eating meat to become vegetarian. In my opinion, given that this is what realities reveal, we cannot neglect considering whether the truths sought after are realizable or not. Even if we expect our collective to carry out good deeds to change the face of the world into a new one, we will experience disappointment because of building our judgments upon dreams and engaging in unrealizable pursuits, which will also shatter the hopes of those who attach hopes to us. In order not to bear the responsibility of such a sin, it is necessary to consider individuals’ potentials and talents one by one, distribute the duties accordingly, and realize our noble ideals by taking into consideration the components of time, place, means, and human sources.

1. Daylami, Musnad, II, 324
2. Al-Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa, 2/415

This text is the translation of “Bir Ömür Boyu Adanmışlık Ruhu.”

424. Nağme: Paralel Paranoyasının Zavallıları ve Hizmet Erlerinin Yol Haritası


Kıymetli arkadaşlar,

Allah nasip ederse, Pazartesi sabahı “İman hem nurdur hem kuvvettir.” başlıklı bir Bamteli sohbeti neşredeceğiz.

Onun hazırlıklarını yaparken, muhterem Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi’nin yaklaşık dört saat önce sona eren bugünkü hasbihalini de kaydettik ve hiç bekletmeden yayınlamaya karar verdik.

Önce, Allah’ın rızasını kazanma gayesiyle ortaya konan amellerin ve ihlasla yürünen hizmet yolunun hangi büyük saadetleri netice vereceğini anlatan muhterem Hocamız, daha sonra sözü bir kere daha “paralel paranoyası”na getirdi.

Senelerdir hiçbir şiddete, anarşiye ve sokak hadisesine “evet” demediği herkesçe bilinen, dahası karıncanın hayat hakkını dahi muazzez görüp gözetmiş bulunduğu takdirle yâd edilen Hizmet gönüllülerinin son olaylarla irtibatlandırılmasının büyük bir iftira olduğunu anlattı.

Bununla beraber, ya paranoya kaynaklı ya da karalamaya matuf bu iddiaların dikkate değmeyecek ve hatta akl-ı selim tarafından çok komik bulunacak ölçüde bayağı sözlerden ibaret sayıldığını vurguladı.

Muhterem Hocaefendi, hakka adanmış ruhların, o türlü hezeyanlarla meşgul olmamaları lazım geldiğini; kendi vazife ve sorumluluklarına yoğunlaşmaları, birleri bin etmeye çalışmaları, bu cümleden olarak, Zaman ve Bugün Gazeteleri ile Samanyolu, Irmak, Mehtap ve İpek Medya Grubu televizyonları gibi hakikatin sesi soluğu olmaya gayret gösteren medya organlarını desteklemeleri gerektiğini dile getirdi.

Muhtevasına işaret ettiğimiz bu sohbeti 33 dakikalık ses ve görüntü dosyaları halinde arz ediyoruz.



Ideal Consultation-2


The Consultation Must Not Be the Place of Asserting Our Own Ideas
An important principle for evaluating issues with criteria of the conscience is the following fact that the Qur’an states: “… whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it” (Az-Zilzal 99:7–8). Namely, concerning the opinions stated on a certain issue, a view whose evil side has a grain’s weight of dominance over its good side should be put aside, and a view whose good side has dominance—be it of a grain’s weight—over its evil side should be taken as basis. That is, given that goodness has superiority over evil at the weighing of deeds and that God Almighty judges His servants accordingly, then this principle must be prevalent at our consultations as well. If goodness has an atom’s weight of dominance in one of the opinions stated, neither seniority, nor title, nor status, nor being a personage of esteem can be a factor for making another person’s opinion more credible. On the contrary, when the truth has become manifest, giving weight to these others factors and using them for pressure means destroying the spirit of consultation. There must absolutely be no impositions at consultation. According to Islam, the most ideal person in this respect is the one who says to the other one—perhaps as much as ten times a half an hour during consultation—“You are very right on this subject. I agree with every word you are saying. Besides this, however, such and such thought came to my mind. What do you think about it?” This is the person who protects the honor of consultation, who is a monument of honor. Otherwise, the person who does not show the respect to listen to the other side, but continuously sees his own opinions as right, is a poor one who has made his own carnal soul into an idol. Even if such a poor person who prostates himself before his carnal soul thinks he is speaking for the sake of religion and serving God, in reality he speaks in the name of his carnal soul. Therefore, the thoughts he reveals will always receive a negative reaction. It is for this reason that during the consultation a person must give up firmness at one’s manner, acts, and thoughts, file away the sharp sides of one’s ideas, and thus make them easier to welcome. A consultation where firmness of matters is not broken, thoughts are not voiced in a soft manner and harshness exists will give way to cracks and breakings.

Not Seniority or Superior Status But Where the Right Lies
Sometimes flawed people try to take advantage of their seniority or credit and make impositions. This way, even though unaware, they openly abuse the services they carry out in the name of faith for the sake of their seniority and status. However, no one has the right to eliminate the fruitfulness of the consultation with egotistic and selfish attitudes. I would like to relate an example about this subject. Once, the great saint and scholar Hasan al-Basri was among the people who were listening to some Companions of the Prophet. People who attended the gathering were asking the Companions their questions and consulting with them as they were supposed to do, since the Companions had been in the presence of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, and were imbued with the hue of that presence. I think being in the Prophet’s presence, even once, yields abundant blessings as if one read the entire Qur’an ten times from the beginning to end, for the noble Prophet’s every attitude reflected the Truth. In his looking, giving ear to something, opening his mouth, or moving his tongue or lips, the truths of sound belief in God would be seen all the time. A poet expressed this state by saying that every time he prostrated himself, it was a Divine manifestation. That is to say, a person who looked at him fully felt as if he were in the presence of God by recognizing how his person virtually vanished from sight. This has nothing to do with attempting to imagine the Divine Essence. On the contrary, this is an emphasis of how our beloved Messenger reminded of God in all of his attitudes and behaviors. Thus, the Companions who were honored with being in the presence of such a blessed Prophet undoubtedly had a very different experience of imbuing. Particularly, considering the fact that those people who were wholeheartedly attached to the noble Prophet tried not to neglect being in his presence a few times every day, surely they were people to be listened to and consulted with. In addition, the economic, administrative, and social lives in those times were completely oriented to religion and were run according to religious principles. Therefore, in order to solve real-life problems people implemented the unshakeable and stable guidelines of religion. It was for this reason that the people who lived at the time of Hasan al-Basri sought out the then living Companions, who had learned religion from its source. At such a gathering Hasan al-Basri also attended, they asked a question to a Companion and he answered it. After the Companion finished speaking, Hasan al-Basri, who was about 30 years old at the time and was sitting somewhere at the back, was consulted. As he spoke, the Companion admired him. As he was so fair and righteous thanks to the virtuous qualities he had acquired from the beloved Prophet, the Companion asked the people around him, “Why are you asking your questions to me while you have this man here?” As it is also seen in this example, the Companion of the Prophet did not even use his honorable status and credit as a means of imposition. Before a young man whom he thought to be endowed with more effective speech and stronger judgment, he directed the attention to that young man and believed that letting him speak would be better. I think such an approach is very significant at the issue of grasping the spirit of consultation. Unfortunately, such a degree of righteousness is not shown in our time. A person who has certain seniority wants to be the one who talks all the time and expects others to listen to him in complete silence. In addition, instead of listening to the person speaking, the individuals who make up the consultation group are preparing certain answers in their mind as counterarguments. And sometimes people show unnecessary obstinacy and feel obliged to say something for the sake of objecting to what another person says. And sometimes they even begin to scheme in a devilish fashion for the sake of refuting the other person’s opinion. For this reason, even if the words spoken at the consultation are truthful, they yield no benefit.
On the other hand, Bediüzzaman said, “Respect for justice is sublime, and should not be sacrificed for anything.” Therefore, all words and attitudes must be accorded with truth and righteousness. That great personage also told his students not to accept something for the sole reason that he says it to them, for he could be mistaken too. One needs to have this degree of immensity. As none of us is a prophet who receives Divine revelation, everybody can be mistaken—one must never forget that.

What Speaks Should Only Be the Truth
A person should not be disturbed when the truth surfaces by means of somebody else. If there is another person to voice a sensible and acceptable consideration, cherishing thoughts as, “Let me be the one who speaks and receives appreciation by expressing these good ideas,” is an improper attitude for a believer. However, if others have nothing to say about a matter that must be settled, and if keeping silent is likely to cause certain people to suffer loss, then one must speak for the sake of righteousness. In such a situation, it is necessary also to consider whether the collective is likely to accept the words to be spoken, so that no negative reaction is evoked. It is more sensible to be silent in a place where opinions are not respected and is a necessity of respecting the thought one wants to state. Because, even if the words spoken are truthful, it becomes very difficult to accept them later on if the people addressed react against them initially. People who leave that place in the face of such a situation can even devise new pretexts later in order not to let that idea be practiced. In this respect, one must speak at a moment when the general mood of the collective seems likely to show respect for the truth, so that everybody benefits from it. At the same time, everybody who joins the consultation must be very righteous. Particularly, figures of esteem whose words are listened to must act very carefully in this respect, for whatever such people say their words will be respected. However, there can also be faults and mistakes in the words those people say. At this point, esteemed ones should, as soon as they realize that what they said was mistaken, be able to step back from their mistake immediately and be very comfortable doing so. In addition, allowing others who do not deserve to speak, instead of a person who deserves to speak, will result in ignoring beneficial ideas and unnecessary gossiping.

It Is Necessary to Avoid Backbiting at All Costs
Another one of the most important points that needs to be considered is acting scrupulously to avoid backbiting during consultation and not condemning others unnecessarily. Otherwise, we might become a loser in a zone of winning. At the moment we think we are serving on the path of truth, we contaminate our tongue, which gains priority over our heart, and thus extinguish our spiritual life. In this respect, it is necessary to show utmost care to avoid backbiting. If backbiting is committed by mistake, it is then necessary to go the person who has been backbitten and ask forgiveness for having violated his or her rights. The boundaries must be very clear while talking over certain matters, so that people will not be misled and no doors will be opened for thinking negatively about certain individuals. In order to prevent such situations from arising, even the people who speak truthfully must remain silent. They must remain silent and first ask themselves, “I wonder how I can express this truth without offending anyone?” Only then should they reveal their thoughts after thinking more deeply. Concerning a believer, silence should be reflection and speaking should be wisdom. That is, it is necessary to speak if there is some wisdom in the words to be spoken, or one must keep silent. As a Sufi poet expressed, “Either tell about the Beloved, or hush!” If there is a likeliness of chattering about subjects that will not take people to ways leading to God, nor pave the ways leading to His Prophet for them, or do not convey anything in the name of religious truths, that useless tongue, which is given priority over the heart, must be bitten and the person should keep silent. If the person does not bite one’s tongue when necessary, he or she will bite others. It must never be forgotten that wounds caused by bayonets can be treated and cured, but it is very difficult to mend hearts wounded by words.

This text is the translation of “İdeal İstişare – 2.”

Ideal Consultation-1


Question: What are the method and manners of consultation in Islam?
Answer: The Qur’an clearly mentions consultation as an indispensible quality of Muslims that leaves no place for interpretations in any other way, and commands believers to practice consultation in all units of life as an essential that cannot be relinquished. For example, in the chapter ash-Shura: “And those who answer the call of their Lord and obey Him (in His orders and prohibitions), and establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions; and whose affairs are by consultation among themselves; and who spend out of what We provide for them (to provide sustenance for the needy, and in God’s cause)…” (ash-Shura 42:38). This Divine verse mentions consultation together with Prayer and spending for the sake of God and thus reminds of the fact that it is one of the most vital qualities for a society of believers and an act of critical importance to the degree of worship. It is so meaningful that the chapter is named “The Consultation.” Another verse where consultation is openly commanded is the following (as translated): “It was by a mercy from God that (at the time of the setback), you (O Messenger) were lenient with them (your Companions). Had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would surely have scattered away from about you. Then pardon them, pray for their forgiveness, and take counsel with them in the affairs (of public concern); and when you are resolved (on a course of action), put your trust in God. Surely God loves those who put their trust (in Him)” (Al Imran 3: 159).
Consultation, Even When You Have Been Offended!
As it is known, this verse was revealed during the Battle of Uhud right after the Companions temporary wavered at a very critical moment. God’s Messenger consulted with his Companions before the war on the course of action they should take. By taking their opinions into consideration, he decided to face the approaching enemy on battleground. As some of the Companions had failed to grasp the finer points of doing as commanded, they failed to pay full respect for orders and thus experienced there a temporary wavering—I am specially avoiding calling it a rout. God almighty revealed this verse at a time when the Messenger of God received a wound that spilled his blessed blood from his face and when so many Companions were martyred. In this verse, God Almighty first compliments our noble Prophet: “It was by a mercy from God that (at the time of the setback), you (O Messenger) were lenient with them (your Companions). Had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would surely have scattered away from about you” (Al Imran 3:159). If we try to paraphrase this verse, we can say: “My Beloved servant, you cannot be harsh and hard-hearted; you are not so. If you had been, these people would not gather around you at all, not come to the battleground, and they would have scattered away from you. O My beloved servant! They made a mistake of judgment. Therefore, forgive them and ask forgiveness from God for them. Then once again bring the issue to consultation and discuss what needs to be done with the people around you.”
At a moment when a temporary wavering caused havoc, as the heart of the noble Prophet could be broken as any human being, and many other hearts were upset as well, God demands the issue to be re-discussed in consultation with a very gentle command. Actually, the beloved Prophet did not need consultation at all. In the words of Abu Bakr, he was in communication with the heavens day and night. God Almighty directly let him know the words he should say, the steps he should take, and what he should do. He was never at a total impasse in his life. When it appeared that it would happen, God Almighty paved the way for him, rendered narrow footpaths into wide roads, and told him to walk on. Consultation was not simply an issue of his time; the Messenger of God consulted matters with the Companions as an act of guidance for all his followers to come, who are responsible for emulating his example. Through the language of his state, he was saying, “You may be a mayor, ambassador, or president… no matter who you are, do not act upon individual considerations alone. Consult over every issue.”
Consultation Helps Everyone Accept What Needs To Be Done
Consultation is very significant to decisions and acts that concern all, in terms of maintaining general acceptance. When people add their own ideas to an issue—be it of even a very minor level—they see themselves as connected to it and lend a helping hand if needed, even if the task is heavy. But if their ideas and suggestions are not included in the decisions made on an issue, then they do not have stake in it and do not want to undertake any task with respect to it. What needs to be done is for the tasks to be perceived as similar to carrying a heavy treasure, where many people contribute their ideas in order to lighten the overall task for everyone. In this respect, we can say that when consultation is neglected within the family, it causes familial unease and problems. When it is neglected in a committee or group, then the collective will suffers the harm. When it is neglected in state affairs, it causes nationwide unrest, complications, and problems of very serious kind. Given that the Truthful Messenger stated, “Whoever takes counsel, does not regret it in the end,”1 this essential needs to be practiced in all aspects of life, beginning with the smallest sphere.
Manners of Debate and Discussion
Having briefly covered the necessity of consultation, now let us come to the issue of how an ideal consultation should be carried out. Let me point out firstly that an individual’s making a decision on one’s own, taking it like a fixed essential, and then trying to weave all matters to be discussed at the consultation according to his preconceived plan is an expression of not knowing the spirit of consultation. Instead, in order not to involve emotions, not to take personal fancies and desires as reasoning, it is necessary to note down the considerations that come to mind about the matters to be discussed at the consultation by evaluating them with one’s inner faculties, along with sound reason, sound feelings, and a sound heart. Only then should one determine the frame of the issues to be discussed, before bringing the issue to consultation. In addition, even if we believe that our ideas and suggestions are original, we cannot expect them always to be accepted at a consultation. In this respect, with respect to our ideas and suggestions offered to the consultative collective, we must be able to say at appropriate times, “I did not understand this issue thoroughly” or “My knowledge was mistaken,” thus not insisting or showing obstinacy at the fixed ideas in one’s mind. In fact, the method to be followed at consultation is debate and discussion. But debate and discussion do not in any way mean quarreling and brawling. Many works have been written on the Islamic manners of debate and certain principles are thoroughly established, such that the debate develops around the axis of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Actually, debate means mutually stating opinions about an issue in question. For example, if a matter about the economy is being discussed, all of the opinions will be centered around the economy and will naturally resemble one another. The real target here is making the truth emerge in a crystal clear fashion: “The flash of truth is born from the confrontation of ideas.”2 Disputes, however, do not give way to sparkles of truth but to disintegrations and factions. Also, it is an essential to be fair and to respect the other side’s opinion at a constructive debate because arguing can include acting obdurately and disgracing the other side. Indeed, the one proven to be wrong has no loss on a ground of mutual discussion, because that person gains by seeing that his or her view is mistaken and learns the truth. As for the one proven to be right, that person will only have repeated self thoughts. Such a person is even under the risk of giving into pride and haughtiness thinking, “See that, what I said has proven to be right.”

1. Tabarani, Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, 6/365
2. A famous saying by Namık Kemal (d. 1888), Turkish-Ottoman prose writer and poet.

This text is the translation of “İdeal İstişare.”

418. Nağme: Mazlumlara Düşen Vazifeler


Kıymetli arkadaşlar,

Muhterem Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi, yaklaşık 3 saat önceki sohbetinde mazlumlara düşen vazifeleri anlattı.

Hizmet gönüllülerinin, maruz kaldıkları zulümler karşısında nasıl davranmaları lazım geldiğini ve bu mazlumiyyet döneminde özellikle nelere dikkat etmeleri gerektiğini vurgulayan aziz Hocamız, Camia ile irtibatlandırılıp sudan bahanelerle gözaltına alınan ya da bazıları tutuklanan emniyet görevlilerinin vakur duruşlarına da temas etti.

Çok önemli hususların ele alındığı bu hasbihali 22 dakikalık sesli ve görüntülü dosyalar halinde arz ediyoruz.


The Past, Present, and Future


Question: You previously emphasized the importance of evaluating the past, present, and the future with a comprehensive perspective. How does this fact apply in our lives with respect to individuals and the society?

Answer: Although the past, present, and future are three different segments of time for those who only live the present moment, these are only three different facets of the same whole. Those who evaluate everything in terms of their carnal pleasures prefer to lead a heedless life with considerations such as:

Neither cry for a passed day in vain,
Nor mind a future day for nothing.
Nothing but tales are past and present,
Enjoy yourself, do not let your life be ruined!

On the other hand, those who journey on the horizons of the heart and spirit, take all three into consideration and do not sacrifice any one of them for the other; because, neglecting one of them will cause a serious defect in the others as well. For example, it is not possible for people who are detached from their past and do not have an insightful perspective of the present to build a new future. As a matter of fact, in response to Ziya Gökalp who said, “You are not a ruins-dweller but one ruined! Your gaze is on the past; you are not forward-thinking!” the poet Yahya Kemal replied, “I am neither a ruins-dweller nor ruined, but a forward thinking one with roots in the past.”

Walking into the Future with the Momentum of the Past
The past is full of so many stimulating good examples to provide hope to thinking minds with ideals. The parables of the Messengers of God related in the Qur’an, peace be upon them all, and authenticated sunnah are the most striking examples of this fact. And the most dizzying of those examples is the life of the Master of the Messengers of God, peace and blessings be upon him. As it is known, he came at a time when humanity was in a world of darkness, a time when brutality, tyranny, and ignorance of the worst kind prevailed. That is, people of the Era of Ignorance did not know the answers to questions such as: “What are we? Where did we come from, and where are we going?” Indeed, they were not even aware of their ignorance. Might was right and those in power imposed their views on everyone. The entire society was polluted in these feelings and thoughts. The late poet Mehmed Akif portrayed that grim picture with the following words:

Human predators were much worse than hyenas;
A man without teeth would be food for his brothers!
Horizons on all sides used to be inflicted
With the trouble of anarchy, now destroying the East.

However, the Pride of Humanity brought down emperors in a single move and saved humanity from that dark and gloomy atmosphere. At a time when no means of telecommunication and mass media existed and when everything was entrusted to individuals, the Messenger of God realized a great revolution by God’s grace in less than a quarter of a century. It was such a dizzying phenomenon that the deeds of the Prophet and his Companions can only be explained as a miracle of the Qur’an. So if the past is seen as such a source of dynamism and is benefited from accordingly, one reaches the following conclusion: given that such a revival was experienced in the past, there is no reason for not having it once more in our time.
There is a source of hope and power in the examples after the Era of Happiness. For example, as Muslims made progress and took their place among the world powers, different hostile circles appeared. At a certain period, there were attacks by Mongols and then the Crusaders, one after another. By God’s grace and protection, Muslims stood firm and the attackers bounced back every time. Different commanders from Kilijarslan to Saladin stood as a barrier before them, may God’s mercy be upon them all. Many times Muslims were clothed in shrouds, but consequently pits of death were transformed into comforting climates with pleasant gardens in which to stroll. Thus, even though we are under the attack of many hostile circles, there is no reason for not overcoming these and having a new revival. Why should we not make the face of humanity smile once more? Why should not we become a factor of balance to speak up for truth and to maintain justice?
When history is seen from this perspective, it will be seen that in the example of the Ottomans, which began as a small princedom in the bosom of Sögüt, it can be said that God Almighty created a butterfly out of a caterpillar. A handful of people, who only filled a few hundred tents, were at the wheel of the world within one and a half centuries. To such a degree that the Western world began to term them as an “empire.” This was an indication of acknowledgement. That Sublime State brought to a halt an entire world charging over them at full gallop with the Crusades and made them stay in Europe. It is necessary to insightfully discern all of these historical events together with their backgrounds and derive a lesson from them. It is stated that one of the most important qualities that distinguished Muawiya, may God be pleased with him, from other Companions was his analyses of history. He would constantly study history and draw lessons from it. This comment about Muawiya is not surprising; although surely I acknowledge Ali ibn Abi Talib as the rightful caliph, there are so many the valuable services of Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan to the society that cannot be underestimated. For example, the Roman threat was neutralized at his time. Even though events do not occur in exactly the same pattern, it is a reality that there are certain historical recurrences in certain respects. If we interpret the past correctly, and evaluate our time by drawing a lesson from those recurrences, then we can walk on to where we should, without being hindered by obstacles.
There is one thing that we should be careful about while trying to appreciate and benefit from the past like a treasure. There may have been certain mistakes and sins we committed in different sections of the same society and may have given offense to one another. In my opinion, it is not right to depict those bitter pictures in our time, as it happens in novels and movies, and thus make long-forgotten incidents rise from the grave as a matter for dispute. Surely, the events in history are a reality and cannot be denied, but it is wrong to raise new disputes through them. While saying this I am not trying to say, “Let us solely see the clean pages of history.” On the contrary, historical events must be analyzed with all of their bitter and sweet aspects so that we can try not to repeat the same mistakes again. That is, it is necessary to analyze troublesome periods as well and understand how the difficulties were overcome; however, this should be carried out without bringing grudge and hatred back to life again. Instead, we should try to adopt amicable approaches to use those sources of wisdom as projectors to shed light on the present time and future.

No Future without a Vision for the Future
There is a future that starts from tomorrow and extends to eternity for those who believe in the Hereafter. As for those whose ideal in life is making merry, they neither care about the past nor the future. While they think they cannot obtain any truth by scrutinizing the past, they do not wish to spoil their enjoyment by thinking about the future. For the volunteers devoted to God’s path, not only the past, but also the future, bears great importance. They have hopes, expectations, and ideals. However, those expectations have nothing to do with love for status or enjoying worldliness as some claim. On the contrary, their ideal is to establish truth and justice everywhere, being representatives of peace, making the whole world feel a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood once more, developing a culture of coexistence in the globalizing world, and thus raising a warm atmosphere of peace everywhere. As it is also stated in the works of Risale-i Nur, the absence or forgetting of an ideal in life causes people to concentrate upon themselves and their own self-interest. As for such individuals who are crushed under the weight of their arrogance, they orient everything to their selfish concerns and continuity of their present enjoyment. However, members of humanity are honored with the best pattern of creation. They represent yesterday, today, and tomorrow altogether. Therefore, they definitely must cherish hope and ideals for the tomorrows. Otherwise, they get—may God forbid—stuck in their own selfishness and eventually become egotists, egocentrics, or narcissists who become dizzy and lose their balance with appreciation. As for those who aim certain ideals for the future, they are heroes of revival and monumental examples. They constantly try to blow the inspirations in their souls to others. They prepare the plans and projects of their future acts of goodness from today and try to do their best for the sake of realizing them.

The Golden Segment of Time: Present
The present time is also very important for a true believer. Such a person views the present moment as a golden segment of time and tries to make the best of the opportunities granted by God Almighty without any waste of time. Actually, all of us are at a certain point with the guidance and channeling of God Almighty. What falls on us is fulfilling our position of responsibility in the most efficient way. So much so that even if they leave us on a barren mountain top, we should take a hammer and nail and try to extract soil out of the rocks—and then call out to others, asking them to send up a few seeds, striving for greenery to grow even on barren rocks. That is, when they put a believer on a rocky ground, he or she should manage to derive water from rocks—as Moses did by striking a rock with his staff—obtain soil, and consequently even plant seeds on rocks.
One should never be content with minimal effort, instead of seeking to make the best of the available means. There are definitely certain good deeds everyone can do with respect to his or her own position. Everything granted by God must be used on His path by making the best of the present moment, and everybody must to what they can. A person should even question his-or herself frequently, asking: “I wonder whether I am thoroughly fulfilling what I am supposed to do with respect to the available means that God has granted to me? Or am I like a sick person suffering in misery?”
In short, the intellectual laborers of the future must understand well what they can effectuate with the means in hand and then use them efficiently for the sake of realizing the noble ideals that they pursue. By undertaking seemingly impossible tasks, even in the most adverse conditions, they must make the best of the present moment and let humanity enjoy new springs by God’s grace and help.

This text is the translation of “Geçmiş, Hâl ve Gelecek.”

Fleeting Storms, Perennial Breezes


Despite all odds, time seems to flow toward long awaited days of splendor and hours of bliss. Albeit, there is a shadowy presence of ominous days1 which cultivate an “evil” that is disposed to mischief; this is in spite of the looming storms that whip around us from time to time and notwithstanding the certain wicked spirits which are devoted to relentless destruction and demolition, who have the sole aim of silencing believers by lighting fires of tribulation everywhere. However, in the face of all such storms, the great majority of us—with the will of God—continue to search and pursue beauty and embellish our dreams with charm. Enlivened by such depths of pleasure, which caresses our feelings of rapture, we are aware that the doors of the palaces of bliss beyond are creaking open. From where we stand, as if coiled to jump to the heavens like a spiral, we are immersed in contemplation and we find ourselves in this luminous world for brief moments of melodious elation, in defiance of the blizzards raging outside.

By virtue of the light that faith and trust in the Absolute Truth emits within us, we are neither shaken by the noise and clamor that is being intentionally made around us, nor do we panic in the face of the dust that envelopes us. Instead, with this strength from the inner light, we are resolute in the face of tyrants and any of the cruelties that befall upon us without cessation. For we are of those who hold trust in God and arm ourselves with wisdom; we are of those whose endeavor it is to aspire to spiritual zeal and God’s superior pleasure in every place while living up to our unique cultural values.

At the present time, with the dawn of every new day and the fresh blessings that are within-may the Hand of Power behind them be glorified-we, together with all believers, seem to be elevated to a realm that in its beauty contains pavilions of heaven, exquisiteness, and great beauty; this occurs after we have been cleansed from innumerable centuries of ancient fog and smoke that cover the entire world. The seething animosity, hatred, and raging wrath on our right or on our left does not concern us. So prevalent are these perpetual breezes within those most terrifying of blizzards, typhoons, and thunder storms, which are part of the commonplace events that go unnoticed, that they cause the weak at heart to despair; yet we march resolutely on. We stride towards those peaks of ideals that gleam with the radiant days dreamed of in our souls. Unswervingly we tread in the direction of our ancestors’ spiritual ambiance.

Gripping tightly with faith and active hope, we live with the belief that one day we will be revived as ourselves and we will stand on our own two feet. This hope to which we cling at all times has, in fact, left the windows for a new resurrection open. Even during merciless times and ruthless events, we have reserved our faith for those imminent and promised heavenly days. Lying behind our submission, surrender, and trust is the fact that we have given ourselves over to the Hand of Blessing, for He will transform both this world and the beyond into flawless abodes for us. We have arrived at the conviction that all good done in this world will flow into the vineyards and gardens in the realm that is beyond. In the face of the abundant favors which are bestowed upon believers, we always discern the divine messages and humbly rejoice at the indications of such Divine attention. We rejoice and are almost completely unaware of such severe dolor.

What is more, and this is not an overstatement, in the tasks in which we are employed and on the path on which we walk almost every one of us can hear the rhymes of the Hereafter, like beautiful poetry, echoing within the depths of our hearts. Although such sensations arise in proportion to the expanse of one’s inner world, nonetheless every believing soul can intuit these elevated ideals and esteemed reminiscences that were once a remarkable poem.

However, at times and under particular conditions such elation and literacy in the meaning of events may not be perceived. On occasion, due to our immaturity, we may even view our surroundings in a fog. Particular states of affairs may cause such murkiness, however, none of this is permanent; given that faith, surrender, and submission have penetrated our souls, then all of these shall come to pass; as they do, they will impart within us a renewed spirit of endurance. In fact, for people of this caliber of insight, life is experienced afresh every day-this is a kind of life which occasions as many unexpected events as it does ordinary ones, and each day presents laughter interspersing the laments, ecstasy follows upon agony, and permanent pleasures come with suffering.

On the horizon of the believer, the summer heralds revival in the same way that spring does, while autumn and winter paint sunsets with the color of dawn and deliver the glad tidings of resurrection. Thus is the course of these four seasons, which follow one another with unique promises of bliss in the ambiance of pure delight, enchantment, and relief. Each morning delivers the exhilaration of the revival, the days give rise to a different enjoyment to all, the evenings unwrap shutters of the realms beyond, and the nights swathe all things with such charm that the language of the soul can be decoded in the heart with each blessed hour. Every minute and each second sparks a light and holiness that melts even the coldest of hearts with the warmth of mercy.

In this spiritual atmosphere, who knows what ingenious reflections people contemplate in proportion to their capacity, what inarticulate things they murmur about realms unknown by many, in what profound visions they immerse themselves, and on what horizons of the beyond their sights are set. The moment these reflections take wing toward the heavenliness of the past, they roam in the sweetest dreams of the future and they garner a variety of things from the virgin garden of considerations that is connected to the realms beyond this world.

Yes, due to the two wings of faith and hope we are able to fly through infinity with our insight and affection. As we continue to strengthen our relationship with Him, time and again we are so aware of matters that exceed our imagination that it is as if we are being embraced by compassion from all four directions. Our ambience shimmers with otherworldliness and we regard our abode as the corridor to the Hereafter. This particular world, constructed in accordance and perception of our inner universe, transforms itself into an enchanted world that announces the luminosities that lie beyond. It is because of this boundless inner sight that our horizon never truly darkens in its entirety; even though the darkness may fall, layer upon layer, most of the time our spiritual sight shines powerfully with the gleams of the Hereafter. So long as we pay due diligence to where we are, making the best of the conditions in which we find ourselves, and set focus on our permanent horizon, we will never be destitute.

Dwelling with the marvels of His blessings, we can assuredly rely on “strong support” (Hud 11:80) and with such a point of recourse we can unwaveringly challenge the most gigantic waves that can confront us. On occasions though, certain times which appear to have veered off course and which are saturated with ruthless events may appear to impede our path and they can potentially dishearten some. Yet the storms or typhoons that come and clash with our bosoms will strengthen our immunity; they go as they come and leave behind numerous gifts that are manifest in the qualities that make us who we are. This is the way through which worries vanish and concerns are truly transformed into pleasures; “all praise belongs to God” replaces the moans and the events that occur around us start to shimmer with promises of imminent bliss.

Thus far, in accordance with such light, sparked by the faith and emitting from within, and the resulting hope that rests all its security upon the Absolute Truth, we have been able to perceive and evaluate everything in a manner of beauty and elation. Henceforth, with the same fervor of hope, we stand firm in our position and remain intact; our insight will discern everything through the same light. Hence now, O you unreceptive wind of hate and bitterness! Go and blow from any corner you please! Soon the Irresistible Power will surely pronounce to you “enough is enough O arrogant one, cease your snarling … cease now!”

1. With the phrase “ominous days” the author is referring to the phrase “days of disaster,” found in the Qur’an, 41:16.

This text is the translation of “Muvakkat Fırtınalar ve Daimî Meltemler.”

398. Nağme: Her Zaman Sulh Yolunda



*Hususiyle günümüzde nifak ve şikâkın çok köpürüp durmasına karşılık, tadil edici ve tansiyonu aşağıya çekici ilaç türünden bir kısım pozitif tavır ve davranışlarda bulunmak yeğlenir. Kopma ve parçalanmayı hızlandırmamak için bazıları sineye çekmeli ve karakterleri itibarıyla oldukları yerde durmalılar.

*Bir dönemde, Hâricî, Harûrî, Zübeyrî ve benzeri isimler altında bir sürü insan, nüansların kavgasını vererek ortaya çıkmıştı. Onların içlerinde namaz kıla kıla alınları nasır tutmuş kimseler de vardı; fakat ihtilaf ve iftirâka öyle kilitlenmişlerdi ki, nüansların kavgalarını verirken aradaki bütün köprüleri yıkarlardı. Sabahlara kadar namaz kılarlar, kim bilir belki de üç dört günde bir Kur’an-ı Kerim’i hatmederlerdi ama vifak ve ittifaka gelince ilk mektebin altının altının altının altının altında bile yerleri yoktu. Dün öyle insanlar yaşadığı gibi bugün de aynı türden kimseler mevcut ve yarın da görülecektir bunlar. Bunları deşifre etmek ve bâtılı tasvir ederek sâfî zihinlerin idlâline gitmek doğru değil; ancak, bir realiteye dikkati çekip olabilecek bazı şeyler karşısında mü’minleri teyakkuz ve temkine çağırmakta da fayda var.

*Adanmış ruhların faaliyetleri ve müesseseleri anılırken “Hizmet”, “Hareket”, “Cemaat” ve “Câmia” gibi farklı isimlendirmelerde bulunuldu. Aslında bu işin içinde her tür, her anlayış, her renk ve her desenden insan var; adeta çok nakışlı ve çok işlemeli gergef gibi bir şey. Bunlar, camide bir araya gelip beraberce saf tutan insanlara benzetilebilir; belki çoğu birbirini dahi tanımıyor ama bir makuliyette, bir mantıkiyette bir araya gelmişler.

*20 sene evvel, Kıtmir, konjonktürel olarak, dünyanın belli bir yere kayışı/gidişi karşısında bir toplantıda “Demokrasi, geriye dönüşü olmayan bir süreçtir.” demişti. Bugün belli şeylerle sizi karalayan insanlar, o kara ruhlu, kara kalemli, kara mürekkeple başkalarını karalamaya duran aynı insanlar, “Baksana adam demokrasi dedi!” dediler. Aradan beş on sene geçti, “demokrasi” dendi, elli defa dendi. Onu da aşarak, “laiklik” bile dendi. Onu hazmedemeyen, sindiremeyen insanlar tarafından tepki bile alındı başka bir dünyada.

*Şimdilerde de Kur’anî bir makuliyet etrafında bir araya gelmiş fedakâr insanlar hakkında “örgüt” sözleri ediliyor. Müslümanların bunu yapacaklarını zannetmiyorum. “İhtimal ki, birileri birilerinin adını kullanmak suretiyle bunu yayıyorlar!” diyerek bir kere daha meseleyi hüsn-ü zannıma bağlıyorum.

*“Örgüt” diyenlerin sözlerine müsaadenizle “haince” diyeceğim. Esasen resmî örgütler var. 30-40 senedir Kürt’üyle, Türk’üyle, Laz’ıyla, Çerkez’iyle, Zaza’sıyla (bir bütün oluşturan) Anadolu insanının başına bela olmuş, dış mihraklı bir kısım fitne ve fesat ocakları.. “örgüt” onlar.

*Hazreti Bediüzzaman ta Meşrutiyet yıllarında, bundan yüz küsur sene evvel Medresetü’z-Zehra adıyla Van’da bir üniversite kurulmasını teklif ederken orada Arapça’nın farz, Türkçe’nin vacip ve Kürtçe’nin caiz gibi kabul edilerek hepsinin beraberce okutulması gerektiğini söylemişti. Biz düne kadar bunu telaffuz edemedik. Yine sizin gibi bu kervana gönül vermiş arkadaşlar, televizyonları, radyoları, lisan kursları ve üniversiteleriyle bu meseleye “evet” dediler. Bir cephe buna karşı “Barış sürecine katkıda bulunulmadı!” diyor. Hayır, vallahi bulunuldu billahi bulunuldu, tallahi bulunuldu. Hem de herkesten evvel bulunuldu. Bir kesim “bulunulmadı” demek suretiyle esasen “bir süreci baltalıyor” gibi göstermek istediler. Bir kesim de onu istemediklerinden dolayı ve hususiyle “Dershaneler de kapatılsın, biz de kendimize göre orada yurtlar, evler, pansiyonlar açalım; bölünmeyi hızlandıralım!” mülahazasıyla öyle söylediler; “Dershaneler kapatılınca meydana gelecek o boşluğu biz dolduralım!” düşünceleri şimdi tiz perdeden konuşuluyor. Yapılan işler isabetli miymiş, değil miymiş? Bugün insaf etmeyen bir kısım kimseler buna “evet” demeyecekler; ama gelecekteki nesiller ve tarih, yapılan yanlışlıkları lanetle yad edecek, “Bir boşluk meydana getirdiniz, yazıklar olsun size!..” diyecektir.

*Kendi kardeşlerimden daha yakın saydığım Kürt kardeşlerimin bu mevzudaki boşluklarını doldurma, üniversitelerde/liselerde okumalarını sağlama ve şekavetle problemlerin çözülmeyeceğini anlatma adına bir gayret sergiliyorsam, buna sızma denmez. Bir insanın kendi ülkesinde vatandaşları için gerekenleri yapması hakkı ve vazifesidir.

*Evet, kara ruhlu insanlar olumlu şeyleri karalamaya çalışıyorlar. Şimdilerde de “örgüt” diyorlar. Tabiri caizse, muhtelif ecnastan bir topluluk olan ve işin makuliyetinde bir araya gelen insanlardan oluşan bir camia.. “Okul açmak, kültür lokali açmak, okuma salonları açıp fakir insanlara bedava ders vermek hayırlı bir hizmettir!” düşüncesiyle sizi hiç tanımadığı halde gelip “Bir tane de ben yapayım.” deyip o işe iltihak eden insanların da bulunduğu bir camia.. böyle bir camiayı örgütle telif etmek mümkün değildir. Ayrıca, “örgüt” kelimesi terminoloji açısından çok farklı bir manaya da geliyor. Belli ki bir kasta iktiran ettirerek, arkasında bir kasıtla söylüyorlar bu kelimeyi.

*Diğer taraftan bu camiaya örgüt derseniz, -hâşâ ben o terbiyesizlikte bulunamam- şimdiye kadar dinimize, diyanetimize kalbî ve ruhî hayatımız adına çok hizmet etmiş Küfrevî tarikatının temsilcisi Alvar İmamı’nın düşünce dünyası etrafında kümelenmiş insanlara da “örgüt” deme mecburiyetinde kalır, onlara da “örgüt” deme terbiyesizliğini sergilemiş olursunuz. Üftade Hazretleri’ne dayanan, Aziz Mahmud Hüdaî Hazretleri gibi milletimizin kalbî ve ruhî hayatına çok önemli hizmetler vermiş bir insanın çizgisinde hizmet etmeye çalışan, bir düşünce etrafında bir araya gelmiş insanlara da -binlerce ruhumuz onlara kurban olsun- “örgüt” deme mecburiyetinde kalırsınız. Bir duygu-düşünce etrafında bir araya gelmiş insanlara karalayıcı mahiyette böyle bir nam taktığınız zaman, kendilerine göre bir anlayış, bir dünya görüşü, bir felsefe etrafında Muhammed Raşid Efendi hazretleri gibi büyük bir zata bağlanmış olan pırıl pırıl insanlardan oluşan Menzil Cemaati’ne de “örgüt” deme mecburiyetinde kalırsınız. Türkiye’de yalancı bir şafağın atmadığı bir dönemde yüzlerce Kur’an kursu açan Süleyman Efendi Hazretleri’ne saygılarından dolayı, onun etrafında kümelenen, Kur’an kursları açan, yurt dışında da açılımlar yapan insanlara da “örgüt” deme mecburiyetinde kalırsınız. Dahası, Milli Görüş’e de bir “örgüt” deme zorunda kalırsınız.

*Bir lokma yemeği yutmadan evvel çiğnemek ne ise, konuşmadan evvel düşünmek de odur. Keşke muhataplarım mü’min olmasaydı, daha rahat olurdum ben. Bir mü’min öyle lambur lumbur konuşmamalı. Ağzından çıkan şey, mü’mince olmalı, yere düştüğü zaman da tertemiz vicdanlar tarafından kabul kapıları ona açılmalı; “Yahu ne iyi ettin de bizim eksiğimizi, gediğimizi, yanlışımızı söyledin!” dedirtmeli.

*Yapılan şey bir makuliyete, mantıkiyete bağlanıyor ve geleceğimiz adına önem arz ediyorsa, Türkiye’nin itibarı ve ikbal yıldızımızın parlaması adına bir şey ifade ediyorsa, bence o mevzuda da kararlı ve dik durmak lazım. Kimsenin kendi devletiyle ve başındaki iktidarıyla savaşma gibi bir niyeti yoktur; bunu öyle göstermek isteyenler -zannediyorum- ortada söz getirip götüren fitneciler, fesatçılar mekirciler, keydciler ve hud’acılardır. Cenâb-ı Hak ıslah eylesin.

*Peygamber Efendimiz (sallallahu aleyhi ve sellem) Hudeybiye’de çok ciddi bir problemle karşı karşıya kaldığı zaman dehalar üstü o yüksek fetanetiyle kendi aleyhinde gibi görünen bir tavır ve davranış ortaya koydu; kan dökmeden ve kimseyi incitmeden orayı aştı ve bir yönüyle gelecek nesiller adına, onların gönüllerine taht kurmaya ve işin inkişaf edip gelişmesine vesile oldu. İşte, Efendimiz’in hepimize örnek olması gereken o firaset ve fetanetine dikkat çekmek için Hudeybiye teşbihini değişik hususlara delaleti açısından değişik versiyonlar çerçevesinde arz etmeye çalıştım.

*(Çözüm Süreci’yle ilgili sohbette üzerinde durulduğu üzere) “Eğer bir kadın kocasının kötü muamelesinden ve kendisinden yüz çevirmesinden endişe ederse, bazı fedakârlıklarda bulunarak sulh olmak için gayret göstermelerinde mahzur yoktur. Sulh hayırdır (elbette daha hayırlıdır.)” mealindeki (Nisâ, 4/128) ayet-i kerime meseleyi en küçük daire olan aileden başlatarak sulhun hayırlı olduğunu söylemiştir.Çünkü bir toplum yapısında bir aile, molekül mahiyetindedir. Bu molekül ne kadar sağlamsa, toplum da o ölçüde sağlam olur. O açıdan evvela Kur’an-ı Kerim’in bu irşadını hatırlatarak “Sulh hayırdır, nefisler cimrilik üzerine adeta kilitlenmiştir. Buna bağlı olarak insanlar birbiriyle huzursuzluğa düşebilirler. Hakemler tayin edin, hâkimlere müracaat edin, sulhu temin edin, uzlaşmayı sağlayın” dedikten sonra, Hudeybiye Sulhu’nu anlatıyorsunuz.

*Bir başka Hudeybiye teşbihi 2004-MGK’nın kararıyla alakalıydı: MGK-2004 kararıyla ilgili Hudeybiye teşbihi yaparken, o arkadaşların askerlerle ve o günkü idarede bulunan kimselerle beraber o meseleye imza atmalarını, şartlar ve konjonktürün gereği olarak, tıpkı Efendimiz’in (sallallahu aleyhi ve sellem) bir gaileyi ucuz atlatma adına geriye adım atması gibi ele aldım. Hem de şu cümleyle dedim: “Bazen geriye bir adım atmak, ileriye on adım atma değerindedir.” Mesele siyakı ve sibakıyla ele alındığı zaman görülecektir ki, esasen orada imza atan arkadaşları korumaya ve mazur görmeye matuf bir ifade tarzıydı o.

*Evet, o sohbette “Kolum kanadım kırıldı!” da dedim; zira o imzadan sonra birileri, bazı işgüzarlar, o meseleyi uygulayıp durmuşlar, fişler falan olmuş, devam etmiş. Keşke orada Allah’ın izniyle makul atlatıldıktan sonra bu mesele devam etmeseydi; duyduğumda “Kolum kanadım kırıldı!” dedim, bunu da başka türlü anladılar. Bu Hudeybiye örneğinde, MGK’da “imza atanlar”ı, “müşrik” olarak anlamak mümkün müdür? Peygamber kim orada? Oysa ki, orada onlara Peygamber yolunda hareket ediyor gibi bir bakma vardı. Takdir edileceği yerde, yine bir kısım, kara ruhlu, kara düşünceli, kara kalbli, karanlık yaşayan insanlar -keşke öyle olmasaydı- ortada fitne dellalları, bu meseleyi bu şekilde işâa etmek (yaymak) suretiyle toplumun değişik kesimlerini birbiriyle vuruşturma, karşı karşıya getirme gibi bir gayretkeşlik içindeler.

*Ebu’l-Feth El-Büstî hazretleri ne güzel söylüyor:

أَقْـبِـلْ عَلَى النَّفْسِ وَ اسْتَكْمِلْ فَضَائِلَهَا فَأَنْـتَ بِالنَّفْسِ لاَبِالْجِسْـمِ إنْـسَانٌ

“Ruhuna (mahiyet-i insaniyene) yönel, onun faziletlerini kemâle erdir! Zira sen cisminle değil kalbinle/ruhunla insansın.”

*Şeytandan istiâze adına okunabilecek dualar arasında sayılan

رَبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ

“Ya Rabbî! Şeytanların vesveselerinden Sana sığınırım ve onların yanımda bulunmalarından da Sana sığınırım!”

(Mü’minûn, 23/97-98) niyazını sürekli tekrarlamak lazım.


The Spirit of Salam


Question: True stories of the Hizmet volunteers are told in the movie Selam (or salam—an expression of greeting and goodwill). You made the comment that going to other lands with a “salam” marks a lasting presence, whereas an entrance by the sword does not make a lasting effect even after long-term presence in those lands. What do you mean by “going with salam” and “the spirit of salam?”

Answer: First, it should be known that peace is essential in Islam and war is an incidental and exceptional situation. The permission for war in Islam is for the sake of defending the (inalienable rights or) values that must be protected, such as religion, life, intellect, property, and offspring. When people fixed on malevolence threaten to give you harm or try to enter your home by force, it is impossible to meet them with flowers. When a nation faces such an attack, they should mobilize and do what is necessary to be done in battle. In addition, stopping oppression (no matter which part of the world and against whom it is done), helping those who are wronged, and thwarting those who try to prevent freedom of thought and expression are among lawful reasons for war.

The Aim Must Be Deterrence

The Qur’an emphasizes that the principle of deterrence in order to establish peace should be done first. In a verse related to our subject, it states: “…make ready against them whatever you can of force and horses assigned (for war), that thereby you may dismay the enemies of God and your enemies and others besides them, of whom (and the nature of whose enmity) you may be unaware” (al-Anfal 8:60).

As it can be seen, the Qur’an advises to prevent war before it ever begins by taking all kinds of precautionary measures against immediate dangers and thus becoming a deterrent force that discourages potential enemies. In the course of the history of Islam, however, when the lawful conditions of war were present, believers had to opt for using the sword in certain periods. Most of the time this right was used for the sake of thwarting transgressive powers, bringing tyrants who upset peace and harmony in the world into line, putting an end to chaos in certain regions, and making right and justice prevail. One may ask the following question at this point: Did they thoroughly observe these principles throughout the history of Islam? When we view the general picture, we can comfortably say that Muslims mostly kept a balanced course. It is true, however, that some people in certain periods took action based on mistaken judgments. In other words, even if they set forth with the intention of establishing justice, they may have failed to observe a fastidious sensitivity about justice by preferring relative justice over absolute justice. For example, they may have failed to adopt a peaceful course of action when problems could have been solved, not with the sword, but with the invincible and everlasting principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah. In my opinion, Muslims’ failure to stay permanently in certain regions in different periods stem from such mistaken judgments.

Salam: A Universal Human Value

The conditions of our time are different than in the past. There is a certain level of democratic culture established throughout the world, and knowledge and eloquence have gained more importance. Victory in a civilized world can only be achieved through persuasion, and thus the diamond-like flawless and precious principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah have a separate significance in such an environment in terms of speaking up for truth and letting hearts feel it. Therefore, it is very important for believers to let others know about the universal and humanly values they cultivate in the depths of their soul, such as self-sacrifice, devotedness, and living for the sake of others by voicing them through different channels of expression and conveying knowledge, including art. So the movie Selam came into existence with such a thought, for the sake of telling the story of devoted souls migrating to different corners of the world. Before releasing the movie, my friends showed some parts of it to me and wished to learn my opinion. Although I do not know much about movie making, I tried to make some comments. I appreciated the movie in certain respects on the whole, as what one finds in this movie is the beautiful thought, understanding, and selflessness of the people of Anatolia whom these values become so well. The movie tells the story of their opening to not one part of the world, but to so many different places, from Africa to central Asia, and from there to the Balkans. Our teachers’ caring for people living in these different localities and coming from different cultural backgrounds, suffering for them, their living for the sake of making those people live, and softening them with love and human values, and nurturing certain virtues in them is so important. This is what the movie Selam tries to show.

As it is known, human nature has an inclination to react against strangers. Particularly, it is much more difficult for people who had been assimilated, oppressed, and suffered exile in the hands of foreign powers to welcome foreigners. In spite of such negative factors, it calls for appreciation that the volunteers of education conquered the hearts of those people and established bridges of love, dialogue, and peace among different societies and cultures.

The Teachers Whose Feet Deserve to Be Kissed

People of Anatolia, who take the diamond principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah as their guide and who possess an immensity of heart so as to let everyone find a place to sit, became a message for the sake of a brand new world and love, which echoed everywhere. As those who watch the movie will remember, there is the true story of a teacher who sacrifices himself while trying to save two boys who fell into a river while fighting on a historical bridge. After seeing this attitude of the teacher who drowned in the river after saving them, the two boys who had been fighting hugged one another and started crying. While watching that scene, I could not hold my tears like most of you. The scenes from Africa and Afghanistan are not much different. Surely, the most important thing was that all of these scenes depict true stories. For this reason, the players who took part in the movie expressed their fascination when they witnessed the self-sacrifice of the teachers in those various places they went for the shooting of the film.

Sometimes, those selfless teachers remained in the middle of a war in the countries where they taught. They did not leave their post even when their city was under siege, and they stood by their students with an immense feeling of faithfulness. The teachers continued to educate, even by risking death which opened up the doors of others’ hearts to them.

Those chivalrous souls who migrated for their ideals, courageously journeyed to different corners of the world. Sometimes young men set forth leaving behind a newly wed bride, or with an engagement ring on their bride-to-be’s finger. Some of them made a sad farewell to their elderly parents and went away by entrusting them to God. In the face of such sacrifices, let alone their foreheads, I am ready to kiss the feet of those blessed souls.

Those people, who did not even know in depth the philosophy of the path they were walking, started walking without stepping back and followed the voice of their heart in submission to the Divine. It was God who guided them towards these places and they were going with a blessed motive. I did not witness any of them complain and return. Even if it happened, I do not know such a thing. In spite of different expectations of their parents and environment, thousands of brilliant young people who graduated from the most prestigious universities of the country gladly set forth with selfless concern for others and devotion to their cause of Divine love, as expressed beautifully in a poem (by the famous love poet Seyyid Nigari):

Can one seeking the Beloved fret over his own life?
And can another who seeks his own life be in quest of the Beloved?
We have entered the path of love; we are lovesick,
We are in no need of personal dignity.
O my heart, are you ready for this?

They Wrote Salam in Hearts

As it was reflected in books, magazines, and different television programs, those friends of ours went everywhere with salam, and they wrote a salam in others’ hearts as they wrote it on chalkboards. They taught that salam means goodwill and peace. Even to those who discredited them, they gave a salam, wished goodness, and moved on. So if you go to new lands with peaceful intentions, you may have a lasting presence. Then your message of salam will find a place in consciences and will echo in hearts. God Almighty does not let those steps go wasted. As it is stated in a hadith qudsi, if you move toward Him a hand span, He comes to you one step, if you go toward Him one step, He comes to you walking, if you approach Him walking, He comes to you running, and becomes your eye that sees, your ear that hears, and your mouth that speaks.1 With this immense blessing of God with you, why would you not succeed?

In conclusion, salam is the real capital we have in today’s world where the sword has been sheathed. The philosophy of salam requires being handless to those who beat, tongueless to those who curse, and feeling no bitterness toward heartbreakers. In this respect, we should not be influenced by discouragements, but stand our grounds uprightly all of the time, and follow the principle of constructive action by saying, “This world is the realm of perseverance, not of taking offense, and thus we must only concentrate on the tasks we need to carry out.

 1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Tawhid, 15, 50;  Sahih Muslim, Tawbah, 1

 This text is the translation of “Selâm Ruhu.”

The Grave Consequence of Murders Committed under the Guise of Religion-2


After the disintegration of the Ottoman State, consecutive disintegrations ensued in the Islamic World. Today there are new efforts by Muslims to stand on their feet and find their own spirit again. Even if you do not look at the entire picture but only at the example of Turkey, you see that things are not as they used to be in the past, that so many things have changed within the recent forty to fifty years. Some powers that are disturbed by these developments and changes in the Islamic world are instigating some ignorant people who do not know the true criteria of their religion and who act on emotions and chauvinism, and they are manipulating these people for their wicked purposes.

The Need for Paranoia and Deluded Masses

Unfortunately, it is a reality that not all people living in Islamic regions are sensible ones with a balanced way of thinking and sufficient knowledge of their own sources. As for the powers that wish to trigger paranoia and whip up the masses to form public opinion in the world to suit their benefits, they see these weaknesses in Muslims that stem from their ignorance and poverty, prepare stories to mask their plots, and thus induce those liable ones as pawns in their plots, either by deceiving them or by robotizing them through psychoactive drugs. They abuse the neglected generations condemned to ignorance and thus delude the masses. The way to be saved from delusion depends on keeping our immune system strong. If you have a healthy body resistant to viruses and germs, then you can overcome them all. However, if there are serious flaws in your immune system and others continually try to inject viruses with an intention to make the body topple over, you cannot prevent it.

For this reason, in the shrinking world of our time, the Muslims who follow the Prophet’s way need to act much more wisely, think before taking every step, weigh the possible consequences of their statements very carefully, and consider what feelings those words are likely to evoke in the other side. Pros and cons must be evaluated before speaking, and not a single word must be said without thinking about its consequences ten times. Particularly, those in a position to represent an entire collective need to act with further care, as an entire body of people pay for the consequences of the mistakes they make. For example, if an ordinary man says something as, “Such and such people desecrated your mosque, so go and do the same thing to them,” nobody will care about it. But if an unstable person in a position where his words are listened to says such a thing, it is taken seriously and this causes destruction very difficult to mend. If one lacks sound knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity, and insight along with bravery and courage, the bravery and courage of such people can lead them to such insanity that it will not be possible to rectify the mistakes they make. In this respect, it is not correct to solely put the blame on the other side for the disasters we undergo. Since the early periods, those who wish to prevent the beauties of Islam being practiced and witnessed by others, try to put such plots into action. The Rightly Guided Caliphs and the insightful rulers who took them as example did not let that happen. On the other hand, particularly within the recent two or three centuries, alien factors succeeded at manipulating some liable ones to suit their purposes, and they unfortunately marred the effulgent face of Islam. It can be said that no period of Islam witnessed the like of today’s atrocities, committed so-called in the name of religion. Different groups in different periods, such as the Muwahhidin, Karmatis, and Batinis, attempted such monstrous acts. But even they did not become live bombs and did not commit suicide attacks, resulting in mass murders of women, elderly, children, and all.

The Way of Struggle That Becomes a Believer

I would like to relate a memory of mine at this point. A person who came for a visit talked with me about Islamophobia and stated that Westerners view Muslims like monsters and that they try to defame Islam in their caricatures, newspapers, and television shows. In response to this, I told him how people make the mistake of reacting emotionally against such attacks against Islam and commit certain behaviors absolutely incompatible with Islam, and that it is not really correct for us to declare ourselves to be completely innocent. It was an unexpected reply that made him surprised, but it was an undeniable reality. When responding to badness done, we are supposed to take a way of struggle that becomes a believer. Otherwise, the wrongs committed put all the Muslims on earth in a difficult situation, because such acts provide certain circles with a weapon they can use against Muslims. As for the course of action to be followed, we should always regard our attitudes and manner as our honor (and thus act with utmost sensitivity) and try to fend off attacks in compliance with the essential principles of our religion.

Those Who Commit Atrocities Have No Share of Islamic Faith

How can it ever be possible to make people love religion through violence and rage? Religion has been defined in the following words: “Religion is such a body of systems decreed by God that it guides those who possess reason to goodness out of their own will.”1 In my opinion, this definition of religion is a consideration that excels even the most developed form of democracy, because it takes human free will as basis and leaves individuals with their own free will. According to Islam, humans are blessed with a potential for benevolence and appreciating goodness. If religion can be represented in the right way and the beauties it promises for the future can be demonstrated, people will welcome it. If you demonstrate the beauties of religion, help people to love it, and engender a desire toward it in their hearts, people choose it with their free will. Nobody can object to that. Everyone has the freedom to choose whichever religion he or she wishes. What really matters is the beauty of representation. Another merit of the Pride of Humanity, blessings and peace be upon him, was his representation of the Divine message by personal example, as well as conveying it in words. He represented every virtue he taught with immaculate correctness and thus set a throne in hearts.

Long ago, we, as his followers, also represented those virtues. However, we have degenerated over several centuries. And unfortunately some people have committed many evils in the name of religion. But in reality, people who commit atrocities have no share of true Muslimness. As it was expressed in different instances, a terrorist cannot be Muslim, and a Muslim cannot be a terrorist. Even if a terrorist appears from among Muslims, it means that such a person has lost the attributes of being Muslim. So it is not possible to call that person as a sound Muslim. How can it be! There are certain rules even for wartime. When an army was setting off on a campaign, God’s Messenger stated that Islam forbids doing harm to women, children, and people who took refuge in places of worship. For this reason, it is impossible to reconcile these murders committed in the name of religion today with the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

In conclusion, what falls to us is being respectful toward everyone and meeting every understanding with respect, along with representing religion in the right way, as coercing others to accept one’s system contradicts the spirit of religion. Marching upon people with firearms and brutal force, occupying a shopping mall by declaring a war of one’s own, and taking innocent people as hostages are irreconcilable with Islam. As followers of the religion of peace and benevolence, we regard the principle of responding to any wrong with the like of it as tyrannical and refuse to commit cruelty through tit-for-tat reactions, preferring virtuous behavior over inhuman acts against all odds. A true believer does not, indeed cannot, fall to a level to resort to such behaviors.

May God Almighty bless our hearts with true wisdom. May He protect us from all contradictory acts that go against His Divine Will! May He bless all of us with taking the path of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and following the example of those who have truly walked on his path.

1. Abdulaziz al-Bukhari, Kashf al-Asrar, 1/13

This text is the translation of “Din Adına İşlenen Cinayetlerin Vebali-2.”

The Grave Consequence of Murders Committed under the Guise of Religion-1


Question: Can murders, suicide attacks, and other violent acts that are committed by some under the guise of religion be explained solely with reference to the manipulation by powers that be? What are the reasons for such acts taking place in Muslim regions as well?

Answer: Some persons seeming as Muslims use vehicles loaded with bombs and kill innocent people or organize similar attacks on places of worship. This has nothing to do with the Qur’an, the Tradition of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, or being Muslim. Tragically, such events take place today, which truly embarrasses and grieves believers. In despite of the fact that there are stealthy and organized manipulations by foreign powers, such terrorist events committed under the pretense of religion, which also stem from misunderstanding and misinterpreting Islam, are even worse than the attacks of the Crusaders and Mongolians on the Muslim world. They cause much greater damage because such wrongdoings and murders tar the face of Islam.

Bravery and Courage Misunderstood

In my humble opinion, the foremost of the misunderstandings and misinterpretations that causes such events in our time concerns misguided bravery and courage. A believing person must have courage in one’s heart, but with that there must be wisdom and insight as well; believers need to take a sound stance that will build a feeling of assurance and trust in others. They must always act in compliance with the essential principles of religion, no matter what the circumstances are and never forget that lawful ends must only be sought through lawful means. To state it differently, true bravery and courage means that Muslims take a sound stance, having the courage of their convictions and defending their values, always standing on the ground of righteousness, and forbearing every kind of trouble for this sake, even in the face of unfair treatment.

When we view the time of the Prophet in this respect, we see that for thirteen years the Pride of Humanity and the believers who supported him endured so many things most of us cannot do—so much so that most times, the Companions with tearful eyes considered the infinite power of God Almighty expectantly while they turned their gaze toward the blessed Messenger He sent as a mercy to humanity, and then to what was being done to those who followed the Divine message. Although they could not comprehend the wisdom of the events before them, they still said, “You are so Clement O our Lord!” One day, when the Pride of Humanity prostrated himself before the Ka’ba, those who were fixed on denial and ignorance placed the contents of a camel’s stomach on his head.1 Those fierce oppressors stoned him so many times, but he never invoked curses on them to receive a hail of stones in return. On the contrary, he raised his hands to pray for those who stoned him, broke his teeth, wounded his cheek, and caused his head to be covered in blood: “My God, grant guidance to my people, for they do not know!”2 These words can be paraphrased as follows: “Had they known me, my mission, how I feel agonized over saving them, they would not do so.” The Qur’an describes the state of God’s Messenger concerning the misguided ones as follows: “Yet, it may be that you (O Muhammad) will torment yourself to death with grief, following after them, if they do not believe in this Message” (al-Kahf 18:6). The Pride of Humanity, who conquered hearts, softened them, guided everybody toward true humanity, making them meet the humanity in their essence, did not respond in the same way to the rage of those who showed animosity to him, let alone resorting to any of the outrage and atrocities that we witness in our time. Even for Abu Jahl, a sworn enemy against him for fifteen years, he did not invoke any curses. Thanks to this attitude, there came a time when Abu Jahl’s daughter Juwayriya and his son Ikrima embraced Islam, and they lived a dizzyingly exemplary life afterwards. During the Battle of Yarmuk against the Romans, Ikrima was severely wounded and was being taken to a tent. He suddenly straightened and stated that it was such an honor that the Messenger of God personally came (he had a vision of the Prophet). I find it difficult to explain the vertical spiritual progress he made despite knowing the Prophet as a Muslim only for two years. How did he ascend to such horizons of knowledge of God? How did he realize such a great inward deepening? Is it possible that the Pride of Humanity did not treat even his enemies with clemency and wisdom? Actually, had the Messenger of God made the slightest gesture towards fighting in those early days, his followers, those valiant heroes of the time, would have fought until their last blood was spilled. However, they preferred to show patience in spite of the ordeals they went through in shackles. They did not show any extreme reaction based on personal feelings to harm their trustworthiness, and such monstrous acts as in our day were out of the question, because the path of the Prophet of Compassion was that of conquering hearts and persuading minds in order to let them attain eternal bliss. And this requires behaving with wisdom, compassion, and mildness. To reiterate, such monstrous ways of acting can never be compatible with the Qur’an, Sunnah, and the Pride of Humanity’s manner, conduct, and way of thinking.

It Is not Possible to Sow Hatred and Reap Love

It is possible to give more examples of the Prophet’s Companions’ peaceful conduct. After the conquest of Jerusalem, the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab set forth from Medina with his servant in order to take the keys of the city. When his clothes were torn on the way, he patched them with the needle and cotton he carried for such a case. With his belief that he did not have the right to take two animals from the state treasury, he traveled with only one camel, taking turns riding it with his servant. In the vicinity of Jerusalem, it was the servant’s turn to ride the animal. His servant tried to insist that Caliph Umar ride the animal while entering the city, but Umar refused since it was his servant’s turn, so the servant rode the camel as they approached the city. The Jewish and Christian spiritual leaders met them at the entrance of the city, believing that Umar, who was walking, was the servant. Upon learning that  Umar was the caliph, these spiritual leaders showed him great respect, saying that they had already seen in their scriptures the properties of the person to whom they would deliver the keys of the city, and so the Patriarch Sophronios willingly handed him the keys. When Umar said it was time for the Prayer, they said, “O Caliph of Believers, you can offer your Prayer in a corner of our place of worship.” But Umar said, “If the caliph of believers offers his Prayers at your place of worship, then Muslims will wish to turn that place into a mosque as a memory, which will be a violation of your rights,” so he offered his Prayers on some rocks. This was his high degree of sensitivity at showing respect to others’ places of worship. Look at our master Umar’s respect for other religions’ places of worship, and compare it to the ugly atrocities committed today—so called—in the name of Islam.

Another example to shed light on our subject concerns the time of Ali ibn Abi Talib when strife was boiling over, similar to now. Caliph Ali’s supporters informed him that the Kharijites had gathered in the Harura region and advised him to launch a preemptive strike before his enemies could attack. Ali ibn Abi Talib, the courageous lion of battlefields whom the Prophet rendered the master of saints, replied with an answer illustrating his common sense: “How do we know that they will attack us?” Can we see how righteous his approach was? In my opinion, real heroism does not lie in a display of manly power and swordsmanship, but in giving one’s willpower its due and showing such self-restraint at a time when arrogance is likely to sound off like drums, repeating the word “I.” True heroism and courage is being able to ask at such a critical point, “How do we know they will attack us?” By taking this consideration as a basis, Imam Abu Hanifa ruled that it is not lawful to march upon a group of people if their intention is not known.3 Is not what really matters in acting with a wise strategy and trying to solve problems with minimum loss? When the conquest of Mecca is considered, God’s Messenger took all necessary precautions for the sake of preventing bloodshed, not inflaming animosity, and settling problems with mildness. Excepting one or two attempts of resistance, the Pride of Humanity entered Mecca, whose people mostly consisted of polytheists, without bloodshed and causing loss of lives. And after entering Mecca, he asked the people, “How do you expect me to treat you?” The polytheists who already knew him well since his childhood replied that he was the noble son of a noble one. The Prophet replied, “No reproach this day shall be on you. May God forgive you.”4 Like the breath of Gabriel, the words he uttered resonated so much in the souls of the people of Mecca who had been polytheists that they finally understood how misguided they had been and became a halo around the Prophet two days later. Even his most entrenched enemies softened and accepted his message. Mild behavior and genuine kindness attracted them to Islam’s atmosphere of goodness. You reap the harvest that you sow. If one wishes to reap a harvest of goodness, one must always sow seeds of goodness everywhere. (To be continued).

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Wudu, 69; Sahih Muslim, Jihad, 107
2. Qadi Iyad, Al-Shifa, 1/105
3. Al-Marghinani, Al-Hidaya, 2/170–171; Al-Kasani, Badaiu’s-Sanai, 7/140–142
4. Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyya, 5/74

This text is the translation of “Din Adına İşlenen Cinayetlerin Vebali.”

Insistence on Unbelief


Question: Although unbelief makes its presence felt in a person’s heart as a deep void and anxiety, many people continue to stick with it. What are the reasons for this?

Answer: Unbelief has nothing attractive and appealing since it makes life appear as a horrible field of chaos and struggle where anything can happen at any time, and death is viewed as eternal destruction. It is a source of constant anxiety with potential threats; it is a horrible cliff and void. There are certain weaknesses that make a person deaf and blind such that those affected by them can resist the most evident truths, be deprived of faith, and drift toward denial. These are discussed below:


A person who sees oneself as great may refuse to bow before God. But greatness exclusively belongs to God as stated in a hadith qudsi, and whoever tries to compete with Him in this respect and attempts to share it, He throws that person in Hell.1

Given that true greatness belongs to Him only, what befalls a human being is to be a servant to Him. The eternal is only One; everything and everybody must acknowledge their being zero before Him. Bediüzzaman explains this point through the concepts of “self-referential meaning” and “other-indicative meaning.” Humans need to be viewed with respect to this latter one, other-indicative meaning (or the meaning manifesting the Divine). Just as a letter that has no meaning on its own takes its place in a word in order to convey a meaning, humans similarly find their true value only through attachment to their Creator. Otherwise, viewing themselves as independent beings who bear any meaning on their own is nothing but deception. When viewed from this perspective, “self-confidence” and similar notions coined in our time do not have any value unless they gain true depth by trusting in God. Indeed, individuals’ free will, inclination, and ability of making that inclination into a willful choice are God’s gifts to us. The Supreme Will granted a place for human will. When a person makes a choice by the relatively existent human will, God Almighty makes it real with His Divine Authority. When humans see themselves thus, many problems find solutions. Otherwise, considerations such as “I am your supreme lord,” (an-Naziat 79:24) as expressed by the Pharaoh are nothing but snorts of arrogance. While this remark of the Pharaoh is an obvious claim of Divinity and thus unbelief, having thoughts such as “I saved them/ I did it/ I struggled/ I saved my people from such and such evils…” resemble indirect claims of Divinity and is a kind of hidden shirk—associating partners with God. There cannot be two “I”s at the same time. As “I-ness” or “self-existence” is a property of the Divine Essence in the true sense of the word, then the “I” is nothing but a relative existence granted to human beings as a measure (of comparison) so that they recognize God’s existence. That is, humans are supposed to understand His Supreme Will through their relative will, His doings by their doings, His infinite Knowledge with their minuscule amount of knowledge, and with their limited sight they will try to understand His all-encompassing Sight. Additionally, the shortcomings, confines, and comprehensibility of the human senses are a means of understanding the incomprehensibility of His infinite Qualities. This fact is expressed in the verse (translated as), “…and they do not comprehend anything of His Knowledge save what He wills” (al-Baqarah 2:255), as it points to this same human limitedness; what encompasses everything cannot be encompassed at the same time. The All-encompassing One is God. That is, He encompasses everything with His Knowledge, Will, Power, and doings; we are encompassed by Him. If a person fails to soundly put oneself in the proper position in relation to Him, he or she will be deprived of faith. This Pharaonic consideration based on arrogance is the underlying reason for most people’s denial of faith.


Not knowing one’s boundaries and acknowledging no limits is another major obstacle for having faith. There is no doubt that this is a kind of zulm, or wrongdoing (which includes a broad range of wrong actions from deviancy in a small matter to the unforgivable matter of denying God). This is what lies behind the denial of faith of all tyrants and wrongdoers. They become losers by attributing whatever takes place to their own strength and power. The prototype Korah is a striking example in this respect as depicted in the Qur’an: “He said: ‘All this has been given to me only by virtue of a certain knowledge that I have.’ Did he not know that God had destroyed among the generations before him men who were greater than him in power, and greater in wealth amassed?” (al-Qasas 28:78). As it is stated in the verse, God Almighty seized many powerful societies, including those people who could move mountains, and buried them to the ground for their not knowing their boundaries.

Mistaken Viewpoint

Another factor leading people to unbelief is having a mistaken viewpoint. As it is known, Bediüzzaman placed great importance on the issue of intention and viewpoint. This was to such an extent that he said that his thirty years of education had taught him four fundamental words and phrases until the age of forty, and that two of those words were intention and viewpoint. Viewpoint is a crucial factor for understanding and interpreting existence and phenomena. If you fail to adopt the proper viewpoint, you either cannot see at all or cannot see correctly what you are supposed to see. Your studies and research may allow you to cover a certain distance, but without the proper viewpoint you will get stuck somewhere never reaching the truth of the Divine Essence. What really matters with viewpoint is being able to see everything in accordance with its true nature. Namely, it is the effort of seeing something as what it is in truth. For this reason, one needs to look at that thing with a correct viewpoint. In addition, the goal of looking must be seeing. For example, you can look at a library with so many books, but if your looking does not have a purpose, you do not see the names and colors of the books before you. Therefore, they say that looking and seeing are separate things that should not be confused.

In order to indicate the deviated viewpoint of the Pharaoh, the Qur’an relates the following statement that he made: “O Haman! Build me a lofty tower so that I may attain the ways, the ways of (peering into) the skies, and that I may have a look at the God of Moses…” (al-Mumin 40:36–37). A contemporary cosmonaut with the same twisted viewpoint said that he made a tour around the earth but did not see any deities. On hearing this remark, the famous poet Necip Fazıl responded with the following reply, “You fool, who told you that God Almighty were a balloon in space!” Thus, looking for the Exalted Creator—who cannot be contained by time, place, or matter—as if He were a material object, is an extreme deviation of viewpoint. Some fail to find faith due to the fact that they are stuck in such a swamp.

Blind Imitation of Forefathers

Following one’s forefathers is another reason for unbelief. In many verses in the Qur’an, this mistaken attitude of unbelievers is highlighted. For example, it is stated in a verse (translated as), “When it is said to them, ‘Follow what God has sent down,’ they respond: ‘No, but we follow that (the traditions, customs, beliefs, and practices) which we found our forefathers in’” (al-Baqarah 2:170). Throughout history, those who do not believe and do not wish to believe find a misguided antecedent for themselves and follow him by blind imitation. According to these imitators, even if their predecessors worshipped stones, trees, or even idols made from desserts (as in the pre-Islamic Meccan society), they were “unquestionable.” No mistake could be sought in what they said or did. And this is one of the very important points that cause people to lose and leave them deprived of faith.

While Escaping the Bite of a Gnat…

When all of these impediments listed above are viewed, it is not possible to find anything reasonable, logical, or acceptable to serve as a sound reference. These factors listed as causes of unbelief cannot be referred to as points of support. Thus, people who do not believe continue in their unbelief by relying on things they misconceive as points of support, and this does not promise a person any good whatsoever. People in this situation prefer only to comfort themselves with some temporary consolations. In their own mind, they see a way of escaping responsibility and being comfortable by not stepping into the sphere of faith, because when faith or religion is accepted, then responsibilities of religious practices will ensue, for faith is not solely a theoretical issue. One needs to fulfill certain responsibilities and refrain from certain things forbidden. In other words, solely saying “I believe” does not suffice. After this acceptance, certain commandments known as good, righteous deeds need to be carried out and many indecent, wicked, and vile conducts forbidden by religion need to be forsaken. As some misperceive these as an obstacle against enjoying life, they insist on not stepping into the circle of faith. Thus, in the words of Bediüzzaman, “…even if the duty of servanthood may cause slight discomfort or bother, by denying God’s existence, they make themselves the target of spiritual troubles that are millions of times more distressing. While agonizing over the bite of a gnat, they welcome the bite of a snake.”2 Furthermore, everything seen as consolation in this world provides no benefit or support whatsoever in the next world.

Let me state one final point; even though believers have entered into the sphere of faith by overcoming all of these obstacles that give way to unbelief, they must be conscious of the fact that each of these impediments and weaknesses still poses a danger to them. As all of the factors listed above serve as obstacles against stepping into the sphere of faith—God forbid—they might also be a reason for a person to step out of the sphere of faith. When these illnesses and weaknesses gain a certain degree of dominance over a person’s feelings and thoughts, and when they pressurize the conscience and manage to inflict some holes and cracks in it, one can be swung out of the sphere of faith unaware.

God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, drew our attention, for instance, to one of these deadly viruses by stating that a person with an atom’s weight of arrogance in the heart will not enter Paradise.3 In this respect, a person must constantly face oneself, constantly see God’s blessings in oneself, constantly praise Him and offer thanks for those blessings, and must never forget that these blessings might possibly lead one astray toward perdition.

1. Sahih Muslim, Birr, 136; Sunan Abu Dawud, Libas, 26
2. Nursi, Bediüzzaman Said, The Gleams, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2008, p. 13
3. Sahih Muslim, Iman, 147

This text is the translation of “İnançsızlıktaki Israrın Sebepleri.”

What Faith Promises


Question: What are the good things that faith promises us? Is it possible to talk about differing degrees of feeling these beauties in one’s heart?

Answer: So far, much has been said about the beauties that faith promises in both worlds and the many ways to deliverance. Particularly, Bediüzzaman addresses this issue in detail in different parts of his works. When all of these are considered, it can be seen that faith provides a person with a very broad and immense view with respect to discerning and gaining insight into life and existence. For example, when a man with faith views creation, he sees it as a close friend and a sincere companion. Therefore, he does not feel any dread about the road or the companion. Thanks to the blessed light faith brings to his life, he sees the past and future as bright; he neither sees the past as a horrible graveyard, nor the future as a dark pit of death waiting to swallow him.

In fact, it is natural for people to have certain fears and anxieties about the future. But the hope and light brought by faith overcome these fears, because a person with a faith based on sound essentials understands that it is beyond human power to find a cure against such anxieties and finds a way to rid oneself of the suffering inflicted by their potential threat. Is the darkness of the grave and intermediary realm a worry? Faith will be a light there. Is passing the Sirat1 a cause of worry? Faith is a steed to make one pass over it like lightning. Is a person worried about the final reckoning? Faith is the soundest shelter to be saved from Hell. In this long journey of life, faith is like a truthful guide standing beside the road and promising safety and trust.

Death and the Ostrich

In fact, faith virtually bears the spiritual seed of a Touba tree of Paradise, as a person with faith leads a peaceful life even while in this world. It is through faith that one is freed from the fear of decaying into nonexistence. No matter what they say and how they approach the issue, it is not possible for a people devoid of faith to free their heart and mind from the worries of nonexistence completely. These anxieties and worries sometimes become so severe that they make one experience a hellish life while in this world. For the sake of ridding oneself from such depression, a person mostly plunges into entertainment and making merry. Sometimes by indulging in alcohol or using drugs and sometimes by indulging in carnal desires, they try to free themselves from worries depressing their soul, generated by the thought of becoming nothing and decaying into soil. In other words, they try to plunge into oblivion by lotus eating. This resembles an attempt to hypnotize oneself. Although these may seem to console a person temporarily, they are only vain efforts with no true or lasting help. As burying one’s head in the sand has no use for being saved from a stalking hunter, it is impossible for such entertainments to save people from what they fear the most. The only thing that will save them from all of these worries and take them to the safe haven of deliverance is faith, which is a safe ship, truthful guide, and a powerful source of hope.

No matter how sinful individuals are, they will cherish hope about a good ending, assuming that they really believe; this truth is inherent in the nature of faith. As a matter of fact, according to Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’a (Sunni way of belief) belief, no matter how sinful a person is—with the condition of having faith—he or she will not be punished with Hellfire eternally.2 If one possesses even a grain of faith, then sins are not inherent in that person. Sins do not originate in faith. On the contrary, they stem from not taking the stance true faith necessitates. In other words, sins are viruses that make their way into a person through the holes left in one’s faith. As for unbelief, sins and transgressions spring from its very nature. For this reason, they are essential to unbelief. To reiterate, all mainstream Muslims agree that even a person with a grain of faith will enter Paradise. That is, may God protect us, even if a man (or woman) commits adultery, theft, or some other sin, he will attain eternal bliss in the end, given that he has faith. If he repents for his sins and God accepts his repentance, that person may go to Paradise without being punished in Hell. All of these are beauties which faith promises and cannot be replaced by anything else. Faith, therefore, is a very powerful source of hope. With this endless source of power, it is always possible to be freed from one’s narrow personal world and set sail to the beauties of eternal life.

Amity as Reflected in Realms Beyond

Faith makes a believer a person who inspires trust to one’s environment, even to the entire creation. It makes one’s narrow world into a universal one. True Muslims see the universe as a cradle of amity, and thus see everybody as brothers and sisters to a certain extent. As Ali ibn Abi Talib stated, they see others as brothers and sisters, Muslims being in faith and others being in humanity. Surely, their perspective of believers is very different, owing to the belief that they will be together in the intermediary realm, on the Day of Judgment, and the final reckoning. People with such faith will not reduce their relationship with their environment to opportunistic expectations from others; on the contrary, they will try to establish a bond and relationship that will continue in the next world as well. If such a bond and relationship have a different value in God’s sight, then this will let believers become closer to God and make them succeed in both worlds, which is another promise made by faith. It is possible to see the Prophet’s blessed statement, “God’s hand (of support) is with the community,”3 from this perspective as well. That is, as God Almighty protects people who act with a collective spirit in this world from evils and grants them success, He will grant exceptional blessings to them altogether. In other words, acting in the collective yields not only worldly fruits, but otherworldly ones as well. As it can be taken from the Divine decree, “On the Day when the earth is changed into another earth…” (Ibrahim 14:48), from atoms to celestial bodies, everything will undergo change. Therefore, a person’s feelings and thoughts will gain a different nature, and good works done in this world and amicable relations will gain a different profundity there. Who knows how people will enjoy it and how lovable the relationships will be with other believers. May be encountering them will effect such relief in your heart that you will consider it equal to the blessings of Paradise. In fact, as it is stated by the noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, God prepared in Paradise for His righteous servants, blessings that no eyes have seen, no ears have heard, and that have never occurred to any human heart.4 The blessings God will grant in Paradise are beyond imagination. And those blessings are nothing but many times transformed states of the good works that you did in this world, appearing before you in a different nature.

As for the second part of the question, we can briefly make the following explanation: everybody feels and experiences these beauties promised by faith in accordance with the immensity and depth of their own faith. Some only feel it in the theoretical level of what they heard from their teachers. However, this is only the beginning for them. Some support their theoretical information with truthful knowledge and deep reflection, base it on sound essentials, internalize it through religious practices and worship, and transform it into knowledge of God by experience. In other words, they start with theoretical information, progress to certainty based on knowledge, and then ascend to certainty based on seeing, or ayn al-yaqin as it is termed. After reaching the level of ayn al-yaqin, the secret of ihsan5 unfolds. That is, the consideration of being seen by God at all times and a high consciousness of His presence as if one sees Him permeate a person’s behaviors, and he leads a life at this level. You can understand it as abandoning the animal level of life, leaving behind physicality, being freed from the cage of the body, and journeying to the lofty life led at the level of the soul. There, everything is seen more immensely, clearly, and brightly with its exclusive charms and is sensed. For this reason, one does not care about the physical and worldly life at such a high level. One stays in this world for the sole reason that God commanded so, fulfilling his or her duty. And when the time to be discharged from duty comes, a different serenity is experienced; death is met with the joy of a celebration, and one walks toward the beauties promised by faith, and meets God.

1. The bridge over Hell leading to Paradise.
2. Al-Taftazani, Sharh al-Maqasid, 2/229–231
3. Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Fitan, 7
4. Sahih al-Bukhari, Badu’l Khalq, 8; Sahih Muslim, Iman, 312
5. Ihsan, or perfect goodness, denotes worshipping God as if one sees Him and full awareness of being seen by Him.

This text is the translation of “İmanın Vaat Ettikleri.”

The Faithful and Trustworthy Person


Question: A Muslim is described in a hadith as a person from whose tongue and hands other people are secure. How can we ingrain this good character in us, and what is its significance?

Answer: As it is included in reliable sources of hadith, God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, describes a true Muslim as a person whom other Muslims are secure from (possible harms to come through) his tongue and hand.1 In order to open a door to the meaning you mentioned in the question, I would like first to expound on the meaning of “Muslim” with the definite article (al). The phrase “al-Muslim” shows that the hadith refers to an ideal Muslim in the true sense of the word. That is, according to the principle, “An absolute mentioning refers to the perfect example of the type,” the Muslim mentioned here is not someone who just seems or claims to be so; it is one who confirms the truth in a heartfelt fashion and accepts it, surrenders to it, fulfills the requirements of this faith, and a person who makes this faith into the pervading spirit in one’s life.

If we expound further, the verb used in the hadith is “aslama” (to surrender) which comes from the same root with “silm” (peace) and “salamah” (being safe and sound). The noun “Muslim” is an active participle, functioning as the subject, from the same verb, as it means “one who surrenders to God.” It also bears the meaning, “one who lets others be safe and sound, feel secure, and one who establishes peace and mutual freedom from harm.” In this respect, the word “Muslim” describes “a person who surrenders to God, and therefore who observes His commandments fastidiously, and is trustworthy to the utmost degree.

The Divine Names “As-Salam” and “Al-Mu’min”

Ideal Muslims making others feel secure is a consequence of their adopting Divine morality with respect to two Divine Names: “As-Salam” (the Supreme Author of peace and salvation) and “Al-Mu’min” (the Supreme Author of safety and security Who bestows faith and removes all doubt). They appear consecutively at the end of the Surah al-Hashr (59:23). As a Divine Name, As-Salam means He who is absolutely immune from imperfections and who grants wellbeing to His creatures. Al-Mu’min means God is the one who creates the faith in people’s hearts and promises them deliverance, and who fulfills His promises. Therefore, if God Almighty makes a promise to His servants, it must be trusted. Actually, this belief is the source of the feeling of hope (raja) in a believer’s heart. Therefore, a person who seeks to adopt Divine morality, or in other words, a person who strives to manifest a shadow of the Divine Names and Attributes in oneself should always inspire trust in those around him or her; no one should feel any anxiety of possible harm from that person. One must possess a heartfelt belief in God and inspire trust in others to such an extent that they should comfortably entrust their most valuable possessions with this person, walking away without any worries whatsoever.

The fact that sidq (truthfulness) and amanah (trustworthiness) are among the properties of God’s Messengers is important in terms of indicating the significance of this issue. As it was truthfulness that took the noble Prophet to the peak of perfection, it was lying that took the false prophet Musaylima the Liar to the lowest of the low. Indeed, unbelief is a great lie against God. It means denying everything in the universe that bears witness to the Creator, owing to failure to comprehend the splendid order and harmony in the universe, turning a blind eye to it, and rejecting the perfect correspondence of reasoning in the universe and the Qur’an. In this respect, it is such a horrible murder that Hellfire is decreed as the due punishment for it. On the other hand, faith makes one eligible for Paradise by taking that person to peaks of spiritual perfection. It is this truthfulness that took all of the Companions to exalted levels, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, being the first.

In addition to truthfulness, another property of God’s Messengers is trustworthiness. Each of them acted as an example of trustworthiness throughout their lives and always inspired trust in others. The most trustworthy person,2 the Messenger of God, inspired such trust in others with his attitudes and behaviors that when people needed to have someone watch their daughters or wives until they returned from travel, he was the first person that would come to their mind, as they knew that he would not even raise his head to look at their daughters’ or wives’ faces. He was a paragon of modesty. When our mother Khadija implied her wish to marry him, the noble Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, sweated profusely. These virtues were deeply ingrained in him. For this reason, his trustworthiness was appreciated by all accounts.

The Credibility of Trust

The same situation must actualize for his followers today. Particularly those heroes devoted to ideals of making others love God and His Messenger must make others in their atmosphere feel secure all of the time and evoke a feeling of trust toward themselves in everyone—so much so that people should be able to turn their back to them and comfortably say: “If that person is saying it, then it must be true. His (or her word) can be trusted.” To the extent that people support your activities today, you should know that this feeling of trust is the underlying factor.

Without making special tests and spying, people observe you in many instances along the natural flow of events that in the end they will say, “It is possible to trust this person.” For example, when you recommend an organization during the Eid of sacrifice for taking meat to poor people, they will come unhesitatingly with some fifty sacrifices to entrust to you unhesitatingly. Acting with utmost sensitivity, building this trust, and maintaining its continuity are imperative.

If the devoted souls in our time can make the genuine breeze of trust around them keep blowing as they have done so far, new people who meet them today—by God’s permission and grace—will see that they are sincere and not change their minds. In this respect, the volunteers who migrated for their ideals must give their position its due in the face of the most difficult conditions. They must keep an upright stance and always live in compliance with the essential disciplines. They must fear being deserving of punishment as described in the verses, “…but you love and prefer what is before you (the present, worldly life), and abandon that which is to come later (the Hereafter)” (al-Qiyamah 75:20–21); “… because they have chosen the present, worldly life in preference to the Hereafter” (an-Nahl 16:107).

Devoted souls value the world only as that transient abode it deserves, and the Hereafter as much as its infinity deserves. Indeed, when you value the Hereafter as it truly deserves, you make your worldly life more valuable as well. This is so because those who lead their lives with this balance become so sincere and present such faithfulness and feel so secure that everything becomes efficient in their hands. Nothing is wasted. For this reason, they better the world also. Without any doubt, as those who dedicated themselves to the Hereafter and gaining good pleasure of God let Andalusia thrive, as the Ottomans did the same in their region, today’s trustworthy ones can help the contemporary world to thrive if they resolve to do so.

In this respect, a person devoted oneself to serving God must always keep away from luxury and lead a simple life. Such people’s home must be accordingly, and when they pass away, their friends must try to raise money to pay for their shroud. A person devoted to serving God cannot be bound by fortunes, the world, status, or comfort. Thanks to devoting one’s heart solely to serving none but God, nothing can fetter such a person. There naturally are, and should be, people who engage in business and serve God by donating from their lawful earnings. This is a different issue from the sensitivity expected from those whose sole job is to serve God.

Administrators’ Representation of Their Values

Devoted souls must always inspire trust in their own fellow volunteers as well. They should always refrain from attitudes and behaviors that might lead their friends to distrust. They must refrain from doing things that might raise suspicion and always act transparently. They must be so sensitive and careful at this issue that no one should feel that they have been deprived of something or their field of action has been restricted.

It is for this reason that we always need to be transparent toward the people we walk with, make all of our decisions with consultation, avoid oppressive attitudes and behaviors, and continually take into consideration the feelings and thoughts of the people around us. In the same way, we must be careful to assign duties suitable with others’ abilities and arrange their working hours accordingly. We must build such trust in them that people given a certain duty are sure that their seniors are acting with good intentions and common sense all of the time. In addition, people need serious counseling to internalize the duty they have been given. In short, division of labor must be done with so much transparency and sensitivity that no feeling of mutual distrust should ever be evoked.

When Umar ibn al-Khattab discharged the army commander Khalid ibn Walid from duty and similarly when Uthman ibn Affan sent Abu Dharr to Ar-Rabadha, they did as ordered without any objection at all, thanks to this very feeling of trust. If you have been able to inspire trust in the people under your responsibility with your attitudes and behaviors, if you have protected your innocence in terms of your thoughts, feelings, reasoning, and logic, then the decisions that you make with respect to them will be accepted. When people are assigned with a new duty and are sent somewhere else, they will do so without hesitation. For example, if you tell them to go to a certain place, they will think to themselves, “The ones who made this decision must have thought that this was the best thing for me to do,” and they will gladly forbear the lack of means in the places they go. Even if you tell them to reside in a narrow place like a cell, they will do as required, because they know that the demand was made with certain wisdoms. In sum, your demands will find acceptance in accordance with your trustworthiness as an administrator. The most reliable method of finding a way into people’s hearts is to inspire trust with genuine feelings. People must trust you in such a way that they must comfortably say, “If a duty—no matter which—befalls on me for serving on the path of faith and Qur’an, God’s good pleasure must be there.” And this undoubtedly, will be realized by the power of administrators’ fastidious care about representing the values they believe.

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Iman, 4; Sunan Abu Dawud, Jihad, 2
2. Prior to the advent of Islam, the noble Prophet was nicknamed as “Muhammadu’l-Amin” (Muhammad the Trustworthy), peace and blessings be upon him.

This text is the translation of “Müslüman: Sadık ve Emin İnsan.”

An Insight into the Rightly Guided Caliphs and the Events in Their Time


Question: How was Ali ibn Abi Talib’s relationship with the other three Caliphs? It has been claimed that he had serious disagreements with them. Would you please explain the truth of this issue?

Answer: In order to make a sound evaluation of the issue, it is first necessary to know the character of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the other three Rightly Guided Caliphs. Any comments made without any knowledge of the true worth of these great figures can give way to different interpretations and, thus, to wrong conclusions. Now let us try to have a better understanding of the Rightly Guided Caliphs in the context of some particular examples from their awe-inspiring lives.

The Crown of the Golden Line of Saints

Our master Ali is one of those who spent the longest time under the training of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. He established an extra aspect of closeness to the Prophet by marrying his blessed daughter Fatima, mentioned in a hadith as, “Fatima is a piece from me. Who makes her sad, makes me sad.”1 The noble Prophet often visited their home and sat with them; he took his grandchildren on his lap and loved them. Therefore, Ali ibn Abi Talib always found the opportunity of breathing the atmosphere of the Prophet. In addition, his blessed grandchildren were born in that fortunate home, and the Prophet’s lineage continued through them. People from the lineage of Hasan are titled as “sharif,” and those of Husayn are titled as “sayyid.” In this respect, our master Ali has a very different position in terms of being the forefather of the greatest saints such as Abu’l Hasan ash-Shazili, Ahmad Rufai, Abdulqadr al-Jilani, and Sheikh an-Naqshband.

There Would Be No Islam If It Were Not for Abu Bakr

The other caliphs also have special virtues of their own. For example, Abu Bakr’s firm stance at some critical points is very important. His being the first man to support the Prophet, his facing up to dangers during their emigration from Mecca, and in many instances his coming between attackers and the Prophet to shield him saying like one of the relatives of the Pharaoh did, “Would you kill a man only because he declares, ‘My Lord is God!’” are all very important instances.2 For this reason Ali said, “If it were not for Abu Bakr, there would be no Islam”3 and was among the foremost who appreciated Abu Bakr. At another instance, Ali expressed Abu Bakr’s greatness with the following words, “A single night of Abu Bakr is worth our lifetime.”

The Insurmountable Wall That Stood between Truth and Falsehood

Umar ibn al-Khattab similarly had his own special virtues. During his Caliphate, he virtually served as a barrier before all factors of hypocrisy and dissent which threatened the unity of Muslims. In addition, the two superpowers of the time, Byzantine and Sassanid empires were defeated and many people accepted Islam. When Iran (Persia) surrendered after the Battle of Qadisiyah, they began to harbor a grudge against Umar ibn al-Khattab. Bediüzzaman refers to this truth in The Gleams by stating that it was not their love for Ali but their grudge against Umar. Ali ibn Abi Talib served as the religious consultant—the title that would be termed as sheikhulislam later on—during the time of these two great caliphs since he knew their worth. That is, these two caliphs mostly consulted him at issues that required a fatwa, or a religious ruling. In particular, Umar ibn al-Khattab asked him many questions and received fatwas from him. The following case narrated in books of hadith is meaningful in terms of showing the relationship between them. Our master Umar said, “I know that you are just a stone. You bring neither benefit nor harm. If I had not seen God’s Messenger kiss you, I would not kiss you.” Ali spoke to him very comfortably, “Had you known the secret of this stone, you would not have spoken this way, O Umar.” On hearing this, Umar responded by saying, “If it were not for Ali, Umar would be lost.”4 As it is seen, they were people who knew each other well and appreciated each another.

If I Had another Daughter, I Would Give Her in Marriage to Him Also

Uthman ibn Affan had a different depth, a different kind of specialty. The Messenger of God gave his daughter in marriage to him, and when she passed, he gave a second daughter as well. In response to those who spoke against it, he stated, “If I had another daughter, I would give her in marriage to him also (after the death of the second one).” Uthman ibn Affan governed the state peacefully at a period where alien thoughts penetrated into the Islamic world; this is a very important fact in terms of understanding his greatness.

Different Depths, Different Qualities

To put it briefly, each of the Caliphs had a particular virtue which makes them better than others in that particular respect. As it is known, when a particular virtue is concerned, one can be superior to another person who is more virtuous in the overall sense. In this respect, it is a proper approach to look at each of them with his own character, position, true worth, and essence, and to believe that each one represents a different quality of the Prophet. It is for this reason that Abu Bakr is titled as “Siddiq” (the truthful one), Umar as “Faruq” (one who separates truth from falsehood), Uthman as “Zinnurayn” (the bearer of two blessed lights), and Ali with such titles as “Khaydar al-Karrar” (the attacking lion),” “the master of saints,” “master of the chivalrous,” and “the Prophet’s son-in-law.” It is impossible for anyone else to reach these Caliphs with respect to the particular qualities that each one possessed. I will not call them transcendent, for it is not quite theologically correct to use this word for people; they have a very exceptional status in terms of the fact that they have unreachable and unsurpassable aspects. For example, they are virtually matchless at governing a society and being a rightly guided caliph. For numerous other reasons that we cannot list here, each of them is worth the entire world. As it is known, when the Prophet named the Ten Companions who received glad tidings of Paradise while in this world, he counted the four Rightly Guided Caliphs as the first four. Accordingly, their worth needs to be considered in terms of their being from the people of Paradise.

Inconsistent and Baseless Slanders

After taking all of these into consideration with a holistic perspective, assuming Ali to be an opponent of Abu Bakr and Umar, claiming the former to be the righteous one whereas the latter two were wrong, is first of all a great insult against Ali himself. It is impossible for a hero of bravery and valor like Ali to obey Abu Bakr and Umar at a matter he considers not to be righteous; he was fearless. As it was seen during the siege of Khaybar, he was so daring that he walked toward death comfortably. According to a compliment ascribed to the Prophet, “There is no youth like Ali; there is no sword like dhulfiqar.”5 Claiming such a person to have bowed before Abu Bakr and Umar in the face of injustice is a disrespect and insult to the spirit of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight that such claims are actually contradictory in themselves.

Additionally, when we approach the issue by considering the fact that the Prophet kept Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman around him throughout his blessed life, it becomes clear that negative approaches about these three people convey an insult to the Prophet at the same time, because it can be concluded from such a claim that the master of the Prophets failed to recognize that—God forbid—they had certain schemes of their own. This is actually a great disrespect against God’s Messenger. However, one of the significant depths of the Prophet’s perspicacity was his knowledge of the people around him and discovery of their abilities. When he looked at a person’s face only once, he instantly knew where that person would serve best and assigned him accordingly, owing to his prophetic perspicacity far beyond genius. Claiming that the noble Prophet—from the first time he received revelation until his passing from this world—was unable to assess his closest companions and failed to have an insightful understanding of their behaviors and characters is a very serious mistake of reasoning. As for what sound thinking and reasoning are required by us concerning this issue, it is valuing the people valued by the Prophet and having due respect for them. Indeed, virtues of the Companions are reported in many different hadiths. And in Hadith collections, there are separate chapters devoted to the Companions’ virtues. The Pride of Humanity drew attention to the unreachable position of the Companions by stating, “My Companions are like stars. Whichever you follow, you find right guidance.”6 One time, he held the hands of Abu Bakr and Umar and said that they would be resurrected in the Hereafter in the same way. At another time, he stated that he had two viziers in the world and two in the heavens; those in the world were Abu Bakr and Umar, and those in heavens were Gabriel and Michael.7 Making negative remarks about such people stems from not knowing the Messenger of God and these Companions well.

Also, in addition to giving them the glad tidings of Paradise, the Prophet not only married daughters of Abu Bakr and Umar, he gave two of his daughters in marriage to Uthman and one to Ali. Thus, he established another special relationship with them. If we look at the issue from the perspective given in Ibn Arabi’s Fusus al-Hikam, marrying someone’s daughter and giving one’s daughter in marriage convey different meanings in terms of understanding the inner meanings of happenings (ta’wil al-ahadith). Since we are ordinary people closed to such spiritual depths, I will not get into these but explain the issue in a plain fashion.

A Small Blemish in the Center Grows to the Periphery

In spite of the Prophet’s recognition of these Companions’ special virtues, diverging views about them appeared. As they did not seem to be great blemishes at the center, it was not apparent at the beginning how great the real the deviation would become. What was once a small blemish in the center grew so huge to reach the periphery. It grew to such a point that as time passed, some went to the extreme of declaring Ali as—God forbid—an unbeliever; others claimed to step forward with love for him, but in doing so they spent their lives with enmity against Abu Bakr and Umar instead. They used the name of Ali as justification for their enmity, and even went so far as to extoll him with attributes that he, the great person whom he was, would have never approved of. Some esoteric sects appeared who took the issue to the degree of even deifying him. Thus, since the early period, such claims about Ali have been behind different misguided currents as in the case of Hassan Sabbah, the Karmatis, Ismailis, and Nusayris, along with so-called Mahdi the saviors that appeared in different parts of the world.

Though it is criticized in terms of the criteria of evaluating hadiths, Bediüzzaman relates a saying of the Prophet that two groups of people will be misguided because of Ali. There came a time, Persians dismissed Abu Bakr and Umar completely, and they displayed an antagonism toward the two to the degree of naming them after the two pre-Islamic idols jibt and taghut, and slandering Aisha, the Mother of Believers.

The Cultural Codes that Feed Grudge and Hatred

Those who hold this divergent view in our time do not voice these ugly things in public, probably by taking into consideration the general condition of the Islamic world, international relations, and present conjuncture. However, if we look at their expressions of grudge and hatred that surface in different events, it is understood that they cannot rid themselves of these negative elements, and that it is very difficult for them to do so because of the cultural environment in which they were raised and the sources they have used. They developed certain methodologies and wrote certain books. Thus, their general belief and opinion developed in this way. For example, if we look at an essential source as Qadi Abdul Jabbar’s Usul al-Khamsa, which contains the essentials of their belief, it will be seen that they made the issue of imamate into one of the five essentials of faith. Accordingly, the imam must definitely come from the lineage of Ali ibn Abi Talib; it is not possible for anybody else to be imam. By considering such secondary issues among essentials of faith, they caused horrible deviations.

Actually, if what matters is loving Ali and being attached to the family of the Prophet, all Muslims can be considered as followers of Ali in this sense. Our books of Sufism and world of literature are a witness to this. When these are carefully studied, it will be seen that they overflow with love for the Prophet’s family. It is not correct to make an emphasis to a secondary aspect of the issue and turn a blind eye to the issues related to the primary essentials. As I previously expressed in different contexts, I grew up with love of Ali in my familial environment. He was a hero to me in my childhood. I pictured a man who could take fifty heads when he drew his sword. Given that I imagined him as such a hero, it is natural for me to have such abundant love for him. Love of Ali pervaded my soul and cortex so much, and let me state that I had great difficulty at maintaining the balance for a long time and putting Ali to the same rank with the other Caliphs.

Keys of Love That Open the Rustiest Locks

As for today, in spite of all of these things in the past, what befalls us to extend a friendly hand to everybody without discriminating between Alawi, Nestorian, Assyrian, etc., doing goodness and thus neutralizing the negativities that can possibly be abused by dark powers of inner and outer origin.

Previously I made the following comment about solving the problems in the Southeast of Turkey: it is necessary to show the magnanimity within the spirit of the people of Anatolia to the Southeasterners once more and make it into a continuous process whose format is constantly renewed. For example, it is possible to hold different activities in the region by making good use of the blessed nights. If you do this by organizing a program at a mosque and bless their nights by piercing the darkness, then you will be doing something important with respect to finding common ground and conquering hearts. Besides, if governors, police chiefs, doctors, and religious teachers—with the condition of all being perspicacious ones—are sent to the region and work for healing the wounds of the society, then all the schemes will be eliminated in time.

It is necessary to come to grips with the problems with the keys of love and affection, which can open any door in the world, with the style of Rumi and the system of Yunus Emre, and a universal magnanimity of conscience. If there is one thing that can root out problems for good, it is sincerely opening your heart to everybody and thereby finding a way into their hearts. While it may be possible to suppress problems by force for a while, it is not possible to show a human problem that has been solved with brutal force. Even if it seems to be ended, it will surface in a different form eventually. It can be said that such examples of sedition have a character of reincarnation; they will keep appearing before humanity until they are completely eliminated. In this respect, brutal force is one of the greatest obstacles to full functioning of reason and sensibility. That is, when you wish to deal with problems by suppressing them, you cannot use your reason efficiently to produce different alternatives. Certainly security forces must exist, but they must be guided by reason, sensibility, perspicacity, and insight, and under the control of the conscience and fairness. I believe that when such an understanding is adopted to address this problem inherited from earlier historical periods, it will begin the journey to a promising solution.

1. Sahih al-Bukhari, Fadailu’l-Ashab, 12
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Fadail us-Sahaba, 5
3. Al-Daylami, Al-Musnad, 3/358
4. Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 1/628
5. Ibn Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq, 39/201
6. Aliyyulqari, Al-Asraru’l-Marfu’a, 388
7. Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 2/290

This text is the translation of “Asr-ı Saadetteki Hâdiseleri Okuma Adına Bir Bakış Açısı.”