Print

Determinism in History

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

User Rating:  / 13
PoorBest 

The perfection and happiness of the generations of tomorrow will be the product of today's generous souls and men of action. It is self-delusion and self-consolation to expect perfect and orderly tomorrows from the wearied, discouraged, slovenly, and vagrant masses who today have given themselves to comfort and lethargy. Tomorrows will develop and flourish in the womb of today; they will be nurtured and nourished by the breasts of today, and thus will reach their prime. As our existence today, with its good and bad sides, carries the traces of yesterday, so too will our tomorrows be copies of today, copies which have developed, expanded, and emerged from individuality and become part of society. Our national life, with its particular colors and qualities, is like a river draining from the plains, mountains, and springs of the past, flowing into the future with its own hues and tones; while advancing toward the future, this river takes up and drives along the characteristics of the places through which it flows. If we look attentively at this river upon which we are also flowing, we will perceive our ancestors' touch, their footprints, excitement, worries, ideals, and the products of their minds and muscles within its flow and currents. Therefore, we can assume that they are our source of life and that we are the sap of future generations with our historical dynamic.

If the gist of such an inheritance can be grasped, the spirit of a nation will always remain young and survive eternally, no matter if the world on all sides gets older, if time changes completely and if ages alter; those who came before will go and those who are gone will be followed by newcomers. Therefore, if in such a change and transformation, Abu Bakr evolves into Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, if Umar transforms into Fatih, if Ali's spirit becomes that of Battal Ghazi's, and if the Lions of Badr manifest themselves in the depth of the spirit and essence in Manzikert, Kosovo, and Gallipoli, then it means that everything is directed toward eternity. I think the magical formula for renewal and staying forever young must be this. Sacrifices from our individual lives will form the basis for our national existence and continuance. Facing all difficulties with a smile will guarantee eternal life both in this world and the hereafter. The heroic characters who surpass all the heroes in the utopias and who can prepare the future for us and humanity are those who make the best use of the stages of life, from the rose-colored early period when we came to realize ourselves in the colorful and exuberant world of youth, to the period in which maturity is superior, with strength, power, and willpower, to the steady, dignified, self-possessed periods of old age. These heroes are the people who take every step carefully and thoughtfully through these stages; they are those who are ready and willing to sacrifice for others something from their own lives at every bend in the path of life; they are those who, even while dying, die with their faces turned to the higher realms and who are full of love for people, of their own choice and will. Such unknown heroes will always walk and act in this way, of their own free choice and will always run in front, but never put themselves forward for a reward; they will always live from generation to generation as a good recollection or memory, and desire to meet their death in such a way that "it is said a forlorn passed away."

It is impossible for us to promise something for the future of the world and to survive in our tomorrows if we do not raise people with these characteristics, if we do not give them the opportunities to represent these dynamics, or if we do not arrange the different stages of their lives on the networks of such dynamics of the soul and essence of life. If we accept the period we are now in as the basis of the golden slice of the time ahead, such a basis must be appreciated and used well; we must use it with insight, consciousness, comprehension, and patience. This foundation must be made open to the future, yet we still must preserve the spirit and essence; its facets that are open to interpretation should be allowed to acquire a richness that will be able to embrace the future, so that our tomorrows will not develop disconnected from today. If this foundation is neglected, a poor outcome is inevitable. For, considering the spirit of religion and the principles of the natural laws that govern the universe (shariat al-fitriyya), wherever the causes are neglected—within the plan of causes, of course—it is completely incorrect to assume that the consequences related to those causes will take place. Determinism (mu'ayyaniyyat), which we are always able to observe within natural phenomena is true for historical events as well, conditionally and to a certain degree. The events and persons that have become history now were like seeds which were sown in the soil of history or like eggs that were kept in the incubator of history, and can be considered as the sources of the foundation on which the present is formed and molded. Likewise, the causes that are scattered like seeds on the slopes of the hill of history—again from the perspective of causality—are the factors or causes that will determine the consequences to be shaped by wisdom, colored by justice, expressed in stability, and formalized with integrity.

Indeed, has it not happened thus so far? Are the darkest days that were once lived through not the result of the dirty doings and affairs of previous periods? Did not the Flood gush out of the soil on which the sinners who once defied the Prophet Noah tread? Were the winds blown in Ahqaf, that turned its land upside down, not an action to purify the site that the tribe of 'Ad had sullied (Qur'an 46:21)? Was the sacrifice of Sodom and Gomorrah not the alms given by Earth to the Heavens in recompense for the atrocities committed there? Were the discord, ignorance, and misinterpretation of the world by the Central Asian nations, which became wolves waiting at one another's doors, not the reasons why they were destroyed by Genghis Khan and Khulagu in ancient history, and why they have suffered in modern times under the ruthless reigns of Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism? Were not the sighs, groans, and wailings of the oppressed, from the hopeless cries of Carthage to the innocent, hair-raising cries of the early Christians, cries which rose to the Heavens, the reasons why the pomp of the Roman Empire turned to rubble? Was the understanding that some among them were viewed as "pariahs" not the cause for India being trodden down by imperial ambitions over such a long period of time? Even in the recent history, almost all of those who betrayed that great state of Ottomans and their honorable nation, a nation which was considered to be the element of balance in the regions from the inlands of Africa to the Balkans, and thence to some Asian countries, paid many times greater a cost in return for their betrayal. Was it not the injustice, tyranny, and persecution of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and the like, who were more evil and greater despots than the most malicious oppressors in history, that caused not only their views, but also their statues to be dismantled and thrown away, like malignant nodes and cysts from the body of humanity?

Despite all the tyranny and unfair treatment they suffered, the first Muslims drowned their enemies within their own enmity, and with their justice they raised their flags all over the world. Badr and the conquest of Makka were the domination of justice and fairness; Uhud was the victory of innocence and unfair treatment. As their swords were in the hands of their hearts, their victories followed one upon the other. During that blessed period, what appeared to be fields of defeat turned out to be fields and zones of victory and triumphal arches on the way to the future. In contrast, since the time when might took hold of the sword and since the tongue of the heart has been chained, has not every material domination and rule in the guise of success brought about crushing defeat and complete failure in the spirit, thus turning the zones of victory into arenas where pangs of separation, bitterness of heart, mental pain, longing, and regret patrol?

Until now, no matter under what name, title, or form evil nurtures evil and oppression evolves into a vicious cycle of oppression, all those who have sown sedition have always reaped evil. However, those who sow the seedlings of good always reap good and abundance. Occasionally, although the consequences of good or bad attempts are delayed, their season comes and they will certainly appear, blossom, and make the oppressors groan in pain. As for the oppressed, they become a means of salvation and bliss. Years, or sometimes ages, may pass between cause and effect; but when the preordained time of the effect comes, it makes itself so perceived that the consequence for the innocent, for the guiltless, is Paradise absolutely, and for the disobedient and the oppressor it is hell-fire absolutely.

It is possible to interpret all this in terms of cause and effect in the essence of history; in fact, just as it is possible to interpret this in the sense of justice in the natural laws that govern the universe, so too can it be accepted as an important cause in the cycle of history. There are probably many causes behind historical events, yet the Owner of Infinite Power makes the causes a veil to His acts and makes our world surrounded by them. They are a mysterious blessing, just like the attribute of willpower, which He bestowed upon humanity, and are our material and necessary accessories which we use to fulfill our responsibilities.

In this respect, just as sometimes a little effort can be the initial step of a very important formation, so too a wrong opinion or a mistaken act can bring about several unpleasant results. We can therefore expect happy, colorful tomorrows and blessed ornaments in which all humanity will be interested to emerge from the miniature embroideries worked with the idea of good by some fortunate generations of today.