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Listening to Hodjaefendi

by Ali Unal, Zaman on . Posted in Commentaries

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To understand Islamic development and growth, and how Islam rules minds and hearts in its own unique way, we must grasp the relationship between the great Muslim guides and their followers. This is the basic key to understanding the structure of Islamic society.

Human history flows in two wide streams. Those at the head of the "negative" stream are the Pharoahs, Nimrods, Neros, and Shaddads. Just as no one asks for mercy on such tyrants, they are always cursed. On the other hand, Prophets and their followers who have directed the stream of light are always mentioned with mercy. Abraham lived approximately 4,000 years ago, Moses 3,500 years ago, Jesus 2,000 years ago, and Muhammed 1,400 years ago. Billions of people have followed these suns of the firmaments of humanity. In addition, because they followed the path of the Prophets, the Imam Ghazalis, Imam Rabbanis, Bediuzzamans, and thousands of others maintained their predominance during their own lifetimes and for centuries to come, even if they were subjected to partial misunderstanding during their own times.

Sacred Attraction

One day a student of Ibn Sina, the great mathematician, doctor, and philosopher, said: "Master, proclaim your Prophethood and hundreds of thousands will follow you." Ibn Sina did not reply. Later, he was in the desert with his students on a cold winter day. When it was time to pray the morning prayer, Ibn Sina asked that same student, who was staying with him in his tent, to bring him a pan and pitcher of water so he could make wudu' (ritual ablution) for prayer. But the tent was warm and it was cold outside, so the student procrastinated. A little later, Ibn Sina repeated his request, but again there was no response. As he repeated it for the third time without success, the morning call-to-prayer was made from the minaret.

The time was ripe for his answer, and Ibn Sina said: "You are my student, and I have certain direct rights from you. Until now I have made only one request from you, and you didn't fulfill it. Do you hear the muezzin (caller to prayer)? For centuries without complaining about heat or cold, summer or winter, day or night, he and thousands like him have climbed the minaret five times a day to proclaim the name of the Prophet and his Prophethood that they have never seen or had any direct relationship with. Now do you understand the difference between the Prophet and me?"

Prophets and those following on their path rule hearts. There is not the slightest coercion or even invitation in this, because religion is innate in human nature and conscience; it is a feeling and a culture that is not easily torn out and thrown away. Religion is the name of the relationship between God, who has placed love in the center, roots, and all cells of existence and creation, and His servants. As this relationship deepens, God loves people and makes them loved by others. Those who do not understand this truth because they have not lived it look for an organizational structure in Muslim communities. They try to find different intentions in the activities of those Muslims who base their lives and behavior on God's knowledge, love, and approval.

Hodjaefendi is the seed of a sublime tree whose branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruit have spread over the world.

The Truth Hodjaefendi Put Forth on STV

The other evening while talking on STV, the real truth that Hodjaefendi put forth was this. While explaining about the schools in Turkey and Central Asia and openly refuting various accusations, in essence he said: "You can't say: 'Don't serve people in God's way and don't open schools" to a person who represents the relationship of infinite compassion, mercy, and love between God and each member of His creation. Service to others is his nature, a necessity of his make-up. Just as the sun gives warmth and radiates light, and everything in the world needs the sun's warmth and light, those who were created mortal but found immortality in serving others radiate warmth and light around them in a stronger way than the sun."

Hodjaefendi sacrificed himself once more at this critical point of introducing the Creator to the created; taking the created to the Creator; and making peace, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and tolerance predominate in the country. His sacrifice is like a seed from a tree sacrificing its material existence underground so that its branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruit can serve others. He did this to shade people under the leaves of generosity, peace, and tolerance; to make men and women intoxicated with the flowers of love, compassion, and mercy; and to fill them up with the fruit of virtues. Hodjaefendi did his historic duty once again by opening the daily agenda of events that has been deadlocked due to some people's continuing mistakes; by opening the darkening skies and bringing rain instead of storms and typhoons to the oppressive atmosphere; by sheathing drawn swords and the binding artificial wounds; and by turning an environment of conflict into a foundation for peace. Those who should benefit most from this historical duty, which I have tried to summarize without going into specific details, are the groups that appear most likely to be affected by the coming crisis.

Ali Unal, Zaman, 03/31/1997