Print

The statue of our souls

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in The Statue of Our Souls

User Rating:  / 13
PoorBest 

Earlier I briefly outlined the attributes of the inheritors of the Earth. Now I shall clarify and expand on these attributes.

The first attribute of the inheritors is perfect faith. The Qur'an establishes that the purpose of the creation of human beings is faith in God with the horizon of knowledge, the spirit of love, the dimension of ecstatic love and joyful zeal, and the hues of spiritual pleasures. Human beings are responsible for constructing their world of faith and thought, either by establishing pathways from their own essence to the depths of existence or by taking various crosscuts from existence and assessing them within their essence. This also entails the emergence of the latent human truth in their soul. Only by the light of faith, can we perceive our essence, the depths in our essence, and the goals and objectives of existence; then we can become aware of the interior aspects of the universe and events and what is beyond. Then we can comprehend the existence within its dimensions. Unbelief is an obstructed, blocked, and choked-up system. In the eyes of an unbeliever, existence started with chaos, developed within the frightening uncertainties of coincidence, and is sliding away rapidly into a terrifying end. Within this shaky rolling and rumbling there is no breath of God's compassion to lend relief or joy to the soul, no small sheltering place for us with our human aspirations to bask safely in cool, consoling breezes, not even a small foothold onto which we can step.

In contrast, a person of belief, who perceives their route and destination and their duties and responsibilities, sees everything as wholly bright and luminous; they step where they are supposed to without the least anxiety, and walk toward their destination fearlessly, confidently and securely. On their journey they investigate existence and what is beyond it innumerable times; they distil things and events countless times; they try to open every door and to seek to establish relations with every object; where their knowledge, experience, and discoveries fall short they are contented with the facts as far as they have been confirmed by themselves and others, and they press on with their journey.

By these criteria, a traveler of faith can be seen to have discovered a very significant power source. The ammunition and treasure, which is expressed in "There is no might nor power, except with God" and which belongs to the beyond, is such a significant source of power and light that the one who acquires it is no longer in need of any other. This person then always sees and knows Him; they rush to join His company and retinue and direct their life toward Him and according to Him; they can challenge all the worldly powers in proportion to their knowledge and trust in Him and with the hope that they can overcome everything; even under the most adverse circumstances they live in joyful zeal and never fall into pessimism. As this point is the subject matter of works such as the Risale-i Nur and so many other books, I refer the readers to those works and shall now pass on to the second attribute.

The second attribute of the inheritors is love, which is considered to be the most important elixir of revival. The person who equips and improves their heart with faith in God and knowledge of Him in proportion to that faith and knowledge, feels a profound affection and a vast love for all human beings and in fact for all creation; and thus they live their whole life in the ebb and flow of an all-embracing love, being in a state of rapture and ecstasy, attraction, and the feeling of being attracted toward God, and spiritual pleasures. As in all periods, now it is necessary for hearts to become exuberant and enthused with love and overflowing with joyful zeal, with a new understanding in order to realize such a great revival. For without love it is not possible to realize an effort or movement which is lasting and effective with respect to its consequences; likewise they should focus on the Hereafter. We can understand divine love as being before God, the establishment of our place within the relations which give existence and existing to feel the pleasure of being created by Him, of our being the shadow of the light of His Being, accepting that His pleasure is the aim of the created and the reason for the creation, and being always after His love and pleasure. Such a love for God is an infinite and mysterious source of power and the inheritors of the earth should not neglect this source, but live and enjoy it fully.

The West acquainted itself with love, in its materially hued dimensions, following the philosophers and in the foggy climate of philosophy they only tasted it, but experienced doubts, indecision, suspicion and uncertainty throughout. We will look at existence and its source through the lens of the Qur'an and Sunna. By resorting and referring to the balancing principles of these two sources and setting forth for their vastness open to metaphysics, we will realize the love—the fever of love that we ignite in our hearts—for the Creator and realize the attachment we feel, just because of Him, to the whole of existence. For, within these two sources (the Qur'an and Sunna), the origin of man, his place in the universe, the aim of his existence, and the way he will follow and the end of it are so in accord with his thinking, feeling, consciousness and expectations that it is impossible not to wonder at and admire it after perceiving it to be so.

To the person of heart these two luminous sources are a rushing spring of zeal and a mine of attraction. Those who turn to them with purity and sincerity of feeling and in need will not be sent away empty-handed and those who take refuge in them do not die eternally. That suffices as long as those who refer to and take refuge in them do so with the sincerity and profundity of an Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Shah Wali or Bediüzzaman Said Nursi; as long as they approach them with the enthusiasm and excitement of Jalal al-Din Rumi, Shaykh Galip or Mehmed Akif; as long as they turn to them with the faith and action of Khalid ibn Walid, Uqba bin Nafi, Salah al-Din Ayyubi, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror or Sultan Selim II. Blending their zeal, which overflows and embraces all times and places, with the manners, styles and methods of the contemporary age to reach the spirit of the Qur'an, which never ages but surpasses all ages, and thus to reach a universal metaphysics will constitute our second step.

The third attribute of the inheritors is turning to science with the trio of reasoning, logic and consciousness. In an era in which mankind is being dragged along behind some dark fantasies, such a turn, which will also be a response to the general tendency in human beings, will be a significant step for the salvation of the whole of mankind. As Bediüzzaman pointed out, at the end of time humanity will turn to knowledge and science with all they have; will take all their power from learning, and might will pass once more into the hands of science; purity of speech (fasahat), eloquence (balaghat), and superior expression or rhetoric will be a subject all take interest in; that is, we will experience again an era of learning and language. Indeed, in order to clear the foggy atmosphere of the conjecture surrounding us, and then to reach the truths and the Truth of the truths, there is no other way. Overcoming the void of the last few ages, achieving fullness in skills and information, and proving ourselves once more by repairing the subconscious damage of the faint and wounded state that we have been enduring year after year, all depend on the representation and expression of science which is made to pass through the prism of Islamic thinking.

As regards the near past, as its direction and target were not defined, sometimes knowledge was mixed into positivist science, and knowledge into materialist philosophy, we had serious chaos in scientific thinking and scientists came to experience an irreparable loss of esteem. This vacuum has been of use to foreigners. They have established schools and institutions industriously in every corner of our country and injected estrangement and foreignness into our offspring by means of those educational institutions. Some members of our community placed their talented, intelligent children into those institutions, in abject humiliation, and thus hastened the estrangement and foreignness a bit more. After a while there remained nothing, neither faith nor religion, in those young, inexperienced and betrayed generations. Faith and religion were ruined and rotted away. Nationwide we were subjected to the lavishness, the cheapness and the commonplace of egoism in thought, senses, conceptions and art.

The reason why it happened so was obvious. Within thoseschools and institutions, without any exception, those schools to which we entrusted the minds of our young without any worries or second thoughts, American culture, French morality, and English customs and traditions, and so forth, were maintained and purveyed before science and scientific thought. Therefore our youth, instead of catching up with the age in which they lived by means of its science, methodologies and technology, grouped into various camps and factions, and started to play the games of Marxism, Durkheimism, Leninism and Maoism. Some consoled themselves with the dreams of communism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, some went and sank into Freudian complexes, some lost their minds to existentialism and became entangled with Sartre, some slobbered over the sacred by quoting Marcuse, some started to waste their lives among the delirium of Camus… All of these were lived through and experienced in our country, and the so-called homes of science were responsible for nursing and nurturing such ideas and experiences. During that crisis period some voices and mouths of the darkest souls continuously blackened and slandered religion and the religious but ceaselessly brought to the fore the madness and insanities originating from the West. Certainly, it is impossible for us to forget those times and their cheap pawns. Those who prepared such circumstances to the detriment of our people and country will be remembered forever as the guilty, condemned in the collective consciousness.

Now, leaving those darkest periods aside and their stewards alone with their evil acts and states, which still turn our stomachs and pain our hearts, we would like to talk about the workers of thought who will construct our future.

By means of scientific thinking and understanding, as we realized long ago, long before the West did, we must immerse and imbue our younger generations with science and ideas, and thus realize our revival, our Renaissance. The affliction and pain of the unfortunate destiny of the past felt in the collective conscience, the exasperations and palpitations produced by the years of foreign domination, and the reactions the negligence and exploitation of the last few ages cause in our people still raise laments like those of the Prophet Adam, groanings like those of the Prophet Jonah, and sufferings and moanings like those of the Prophet Job. After such sighs and wailings, thoughts, feelings, and efforts, and guided by historical experience and what the outcomes of the efforts and events indicate, we feel that time and distance have started to shrink and the anticipated days are not so far away, in fact just a few steps away.

The fourth attribute of the inheritors is the action of revising their perspectives on man, life and the universe and assessing and criticizing their own rights and wrongs. We will look at three points in this regard:

a. The universe is a book which is displayed by the Creator before the eyes of man to be referred to frequently. Man is a lens open to observe the depths of existence, and a transparent index of all worlds. Life is a manifestation, the assumption of forms, the meanings of which are filtered from that book and index, and is the reflection of that which reverberates from the Divine discourse. If man, life and the universe are considered to be different on account of their outward forms and colors when these are but various faces of the same truth—and that is the reality— then their separation from one another ruins the harmony of the truth, which is a wrong, an injustice and disrespect toward man and existence.

As it is an obligation to read, understand, obey and submit to the Word of God, which comes from His divine attribute of Speech, so it is an indispensable essential to know and understand God in the entirety of things and events, which He planned by his Knowledge and created by His Divine Will and Power, and then to seek for and confirm conformity and congruity in all things and events. The Qur'an came also from God's attribute of Speech; it is the soul of all existence and the sole source of happiness. The book of the universe is the body of this truth and a very important dynamic of this world directly and of the other world indirectly with respect to the various branches of science it includes and represents. That is why understanding of and transferring these two books into practice and organizing the whole of life in accordance with them merits reward; and neglecting, ignoring, and even being unable to interpret and apply them to life merits punishment.

b. The true depth of a human should be sought in the sense, thoughts and character of a person. Likewise, that person's credit, esteem and value in the eyes of people and God, should be sought in the same. The superior human attributes, profundity of sense and thought, and firmness of character, are like a note of credit-worthiness or reference letter which is accepted everywhere. One who taints his faith and understanding with thoughts and attributes like those of the unbelievers, who causes anxiety and fright around him because of his character, can never attain the help and favors of the Truth, nor is it possible for him to retain his credit, esteem and trust in the eyes of people. For people and God Almighty judge individuals by their human attributes and superior characters, and reward them accordingly. That is why those who are poor in human attributes and weak in their characters can hardly achieve great things and sustain those achievements, though they appear to be good believers. On the other hand, those who are some steps ahead in firm character and superior human attributes can hardly fail altogether, even though they may not appear to be good Muslims. Just as God's appreciation, dispensation, and reward are according to one's attributes, a friendly welcome or acceptance by human beings is to some extent dependent on this too.

c. The means to attain a lawful and right target must also be lawful and right. For those who are on the Islamic line, that the object of their efforts in every enterprise should be lawful is a right, and lawfulness of the means to reach that right is an obligation. As the pleasure of God and union with the Truth cannot be acquired without sincerity and being for the sake of God, so service to Islam and the direction of Muslims to the true goals or targets cannot be achieved by evil ways and means. Quite the opposite of this seems to be true; those who have lost the favor of God Almighty and people's favorable inclination toward them by consuming their value, credit and esteem in vain, invalid, false ways cannot be expected to be successful for long.

The fifth attribute of the inheritors is being able to think freely and being respectful of freedom of thought. Being free and enjoying freedom are a significant depth of human willpower and a mysterious door through which one may set forth into the secrets of the self. One unable to set forth into that depth and unable to pass through that door can hardly be called human. For a long time we have been writhing in the terrible shackles of slavery which have subjected our thoughts and feelings to various strains coming from both inside and outside. In circumstances in which restrictions have been imposed on reading, thinking, feeling and living, it is impossible to retain one's human faculties, let alone achieve renewal and progress. In such a situation it is quite difficult to maintain even the level of a plain and common man, let alone to raise great personalities who leap with the spirit of renewal and reform, and whose eyes are on infinity. In such conditions there exist only weak characters who experience deviations in their personalities and men of sluggish souls and paralyzed senses.

In our recent past distorted, deviated views and unsound, defective criteria were pumped into our souls from homes, streets, educational institutions and circles of art to the detriment of everything, from the material to the immaterial, from physics to metaphysics. During those years, we would express our obsessions while we supposed we were thinking; we would plan everything egocentrically while never reckoning that there might be other views, beliefs and understandings beside ours; as soon as we found the opportunity, we would turn to might and with brute force administer punitive measures against right and freewill; we were always persecuting and bullying someone. It is a great pity that even now it is impossible for us to say that such things no longer happen and will not happen again.

However, as we draw toward renewal, it is imperative that we should review the historical dynamics of the last thousand years and question the changes and transformations of the last one hundred and fifty years of our past. It is imperative because judgments and decisions are nowadays made according to certain unquestioned taboos. Certain views which govern these decisions render them invalid and defective and can never be productive and can never ever prepare the awaited bright future. If it were prepared within the current understanding, clashes of the masses within the deadly web of ambitions, melees between the political parties, fights between the nations, and skirmishes between the powers would result. This is the reason today why one section of society clashes with another, why the differences turn into fights, and is the reason for the overwhelming terror, brutality and bloodshed in the world. Had it not been for the egoism, greed, ambition, and ruthlessness of humans, the world most probably would have been different from its present state.

That is why, as we are drawing toward different worlds, taking both our own attitudes to others and our own selves and ambitions into account, we have to be more free-thinking and free-willed. We need those vast hearts who can embrace impartial free-thinking, who are open to knowledge, sciences and scientific research, and who can perceive the accord between the Qur'an and Sunnatullah in the vast spectrum from the universe to life. In the past individual geniuses undertook and carried out these great tasks. Today, however, they can only be fulfilled by a community which takes upon itself the missions of such men of genius. As everything has become so detailed, particularized, specified, and enumerated, these tasks now assume such forms that even unique, outstanding individuals cannot accomplish them by themselves. That is why the place of genius has been now replaced by collective consciousness with consultative and collective decision-making and social conscience, which is the summary of the sixth attribute of the inheritors.

It is a fact that in the recent past the Islamic community did not possess such an understanding. In fact, it was not possible to implement collective consciousness, consultative-collective decision-making, collective mind and conscience when the schools were only spelling out their particular dogmas; colleges were dealing with only a few superficial aspects of life; dervish lodges were totally buried in metaphysics; and barracks were posturing and roaring of "might." During that period schools remained under the influence of narrow scholasticism and breathed in and out in its air; colleges were closed to science and thought, deprived of their capacity to develop and lived as if paralyzed; dervish lodges consoled themselves with anecdotes of the past instead of zeal; those who represented power felt falsely that they were forgotten and suffered from a constant need to remind others of and to prove their power. Therefore, everything became upset and the tree of the nation was shaken and almost uprooted from the ground. Unfortunately it seems that we may go on experiencing similar shakes till the day those awaited fortunate people employ the right dynamics in the right time and right place, remove the blockages between mind and heart, and establish the corridors of thought and inspiration in the esoteric dimension of humanity.

The seventh of the attributes of the inheritors is mathematical thinking. In the past the people in Central Asia and later on in the West achieved their renaissances by means of the laws of mathematical thinking. Man discovered and brought to light many uncertain and unknown things in the mysterious world of numbers. Without going to the extremes of the Hurufis,[1] what we say is that without mathematics it is not possible to understand the relations of humanity and natural phenomena with one another. It illuminates our roads like light on the line that stretches from the universe to life; it indicates to us what is beyond the human horizon, even the depths of the world of contingencies, which is very difficult to think upon; and it makes us meet with our ideals.

On the other hand, being mathematical does not mean knowing everything related to mathematics. It is to think mathematically, to think within mathematical laws, and to be aware that it permeates everything from man's thoughts to the depths of existence, from physics to metaphysics, from matter to energy; from body to soul, from law to Sufism. In order to comprehend existence completely, we have to accept a dual method of Sufi thinking and scientific research. The West essentially lacks essence, and has tried to compensate for this loss, as far as it can, by taking refuge in mysticism. In our world, which has always been intimate with the soul of Islam, there is no need to look for anything strange or foreign, or to take refuge in anything. We have all our sources of power within our system of thought and faith. That suffices as long as we comprehend that source and spirit with its original richness. Then we will see some of the mysterious relations in existence, how harmoniously such relations run, and reach a different knowledge of observing and taking pleasure in everything.

This is only a brief summary or introduction to mathematical thinking. Even though it may seem vague and a waste of words at the present, I believe that it will have great echoes in the future.

The eighth of the attributes is our understanding of art. However, due to certain considerations at present, I will say, "Some circles are not ready yet to set out such a journey within our criteria, leave it to some time in the future."

[1] Hurufis: The sect, of the past, which drew conclusions of letters, used onomancy.