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Startling Scenes

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Towards the Lost Paradise

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With bewildered eyes and a heart shaking between disappointment and hope, I watch events throughout this country in particular and the world in general. I watch some who are beaten by storms like pine trees in a gale; some who collapse and are broken; some who, despite all misfortunes and against all odds, carry on, with a bold swing of the arm, sowing the seeds in season; and some who are tried and tested in the crucible of suffering and attain eternity while still on earth.

Floods come, one after the other; great tidal waves like falling towers; and mighty convulsions, also in series. I wonder at these events, preparing the ground for a new formation, a new birth: I watch and bewildered: how diamond is separated out from coal, gold from false stone, the wholesome from the rotten.

Lofty ideals are ridiculed and a whole past cursed. A dark thought pervades hearts and minds, flatters dark souls and paves the way for destructive movements. It causes rifts and troubles in the society, progressing through unimaginable falsehoods, false accusations, tricks and betrayals, it paralyses the labour of a whole nation, their very power to think. Vast regions of mankind groan under the tyranny of despotic rulers more pitiless than Nero. The struggles and services of those who would teach the nation to find again their real essence and identity are branded with being reactinoray in thought, obscurantism and the like. There are many who have as yet been unable to come to their senses, who waste their lives in self-indulgence and entertainments, run after vain luxuries. There are many who, for fear of getting into trouble, prefer to remain indifferent to what is happening around them, who bury their heads in pointless competition with one another for banal advantages. There are those who, while charged with healing the ills of the nation, have been too long habituated to preying on others, and sniff about for blood to drink, dry the nation's veins. There are those compelled to silence in the face of every disaster... I watch and wonder, in profound distress, amid enraged, embittered tears...

Although religious life is founded upon solemn sincerity and earnest, some change it into a species of folklore and their means of livelihood. I watch those who make the Qur'an into sing-songs for a living, whose revenue is the religious life sold as ceremonies: I watch all this; and I witness it, before my Lord, trembling in utmost shame.

The modern Neros commit the most blatant, outrageous atrocities in various parts of the world; among the millions of the oppressed, incalculable numbers are massacred or abandoned to hunger and thirst, slow deaths. I watch all this, and other causes of shame for modern 'civilized', 'liberated' man. I watch, and look for signs of Divine compassion through all these calamities and cruelties, doubtless pregnant with eventualities unforeseen.

I watch those who, having set their hearts on a sacred, sublime cause, nevertheless drop back half-way; who, having set out with earnest spiritual resolve to attain a destination, turn on their heels before reaching the battle-lines; who, having left to hunt stars, return with fire-flies on the points of their spears. I watch and wonder in grief.

I watch those who, despite the primordial nobility of their spirits and the sense of eternity, the yearning for it in their deepest nature, yield to animal impulses, blind to the beauties of the eternal life beckoning them with smiles but three steps ahead. I watch them crushed under the burden of those animal impulses, and I watch in pain.

I note the patience of the All-Merciful, His clemency, in His granting respite to the ignorant and unmannerly, to the unjust and cruel, even to heretics and aggressors. I note His constancy of custom in His arrest of those who in their atrocities have gone beyond the wide limits He established... I note these in full conviction and shiver.

Bewilderment hangs like a mist before my eyes; hopes and disappointments beat in my heart; I watch the events and I await their issue. Sep 1984, Vol 6, Issue 68