Posts Tagged ‘Sufism’

Ideal Consultation-2

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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.”

The Past, Present, and Future

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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.”

The Spirit of Salam

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

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:

Arrogance

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.

Wrongdoing

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.”

Distorted Quotations and the Virus of Sinful Suspicion

Herkul-EN | | HEARTSTRINGS

May God not leave us without guidance. Otherwise, we would never know what is right and what is wrong, or what is good and what is bad. We would think we are progressing; nonetheless, we would, in fact, be regressing. This is called losing in the zone of winning, which means to seem to advance, but you are only left jaded at the end of the day.

A Muslim should think well whenever it is reasonable. You should consider the person in question, and his way of life as a whole. In addition, the environment, the views and beliefs, the philosophy of life, and even the devotion of the people must be taken into consideration before jumping at unwarranted conclusions.

Those who have a negative viewpoint will always misinterpret others views and arrive at unfair conclusions. Doing this, they not only oppress themselves, but also those whom they criticize. We must inspect, test, and verify. The first action must be avoiding misinterpretation, and the next, verifying the accuracy of whatever was reported.

Orphanhood of Hearts

Herkul-EN | | BREEZES OF REVIVAL

يَا رَبَّنَا يَا رَبَّنَا طَهِّرْ قُلُوبَنَا، نَجِّنَا

“O Lord! Purify our hearts and save us.”

In this prayer, the word “save” is stated to be subject to the purity of the heart. The purer the heart, the more likely it is for its owner to be saved, to be redeemed, and to attain a blessed rank.

For God, the heart matters. He judges people by their hearts and assesses us by how our hearts are. Our looks, skin color, or nationality do not matter to Him.

Spiritual weightiness is very important at the Scales in the Hereafter. 

What we refer to as “the heart” is not the muscular organ that pumps blood. It is entirely associated with our spirituality; yet, it is related to the organ as well, which is described as “the spiritual faculty sensing God directly.” Given that the purity, whiteness, profundity and sensitivity of the heart is what matters, I believe we should check up on it, day in and day out.

The Pride of Humankind talks about “rayn” when he warns us of factors that can put the heart in harm’s way. These can stem from misusing it. Another cause might be the imagination of negative notions. 

I cannot speak for all Muslims, but most Muslims are orphans of the heart. Since the day our hearts deceased, we have been orphans. It is the main cause that lies behind the dissension among today’s Muslims. Other causes include the orphanhood of sentiment and sensibility, and of relationship with God.

“O Lord! Please do not let our hearts stain. Do not leave me to my carnal self and the devil even, for a moment, or even shorter than that. Do not leave me to anyone else. God, I cannot do without You.”

Slanders and Conspiracies

Herkul-EN | | WEEKLY SERMONS

Question: The tolerance and dialogue process that began in Turkey years ago and was met with opposition is now a fact that almost everyone accepted. Would you please give your views on this phenomenon?

Answer: It doesn’t surprise me. I see that the resistance to the above-mentioned process appears to be an extension of the struggle between believers and unbelievers. As I have said on different occasions, it is not a new phenomenon for unbelievers to act against believers or for insults to be hurled at the faithful. It has gone on from time immemorial: It is a phenomenon that began with the first battle between Satan and Adam and has continued on, changing according to the times and conditions, sometimes gaining in intensity, sometimes easing up. At certain junctures, the deniers of our day are planning particular games, and they continue their fighting by changing arguments, instruments, and strategies. Here the attitude against faith never changes. Their hearts don’t change; their resentment, hatred, animosity, and hostility toward religion never change. The Holy Qur’an and the sound hadiths call this type of people “Satan’s minions,” meaning those who assist Satan. Because Satan has not changed, it is not possible for Satan’s minions to change either.

From the beginning Muslims really had to accept that this was the reality. Because of that, very trustworthy, angelic people may come and say, “The devils have changed now. The snakes embrace the doves and the wolves graze with the lambs.” But you should not believe them in any way. Otherwise, we will be people who are always lied to, deceived, and cheated.

Against this, we don’t have even one thing in common with them. We have the attitude towards them as we would towards the most monstrous animals that are committed to opposing us. As history has established, our attitude is always humane, because our religion commanded that we should be like that or behave like that. We are even saddened when a fly falls into the jam and is struggling, because our compassion and mercy are centered on even the smallest creature. Many years ago, my beloved friend, who was a flawless theologian, broke the back of a snake in the countryside. I think I didn’t speak to him for a month or two. “What right did you have? Why did you cut that animal’s life short and keep him from living,” I said in reproach.

Now our manner of interpretation is like this. Even people who have the natures of snakes and scorpions are treated with compassion and mercy.

Question: This approach means that they have not changed their attitude at all—why do they fail to soften their stance?

Answer: As I tried to express before, this is in the nature and character of unbelievers. To change one’s nature is hard—as in the folk-saying, “A leopard can’t change its spots.” Don’t forget: From the time of the creation of Adam and Satan’s people until now there has been a continuous rising animosity between these two groups. Before, this animosity was connected to ignorance, today it is based on their interpretations of science, philosophy, and the social sciences. Because of this, now the matter is a little more difficult to resolve and has taken the form of an enigma.

Yes, this hostility that is inherent in the character of unbelief impels them into rebellion against faith. They haven’t the least bit of forbearance for the things that come from faith. They have no ability or intention to share. These people have not matured enough to share. Rather than unite against a common enemy, they will wolf each other down, don’t doubt it. There are their clubs and organizations. If you’re not in their circle, they will not even accept you as a visitor. And our mosques? We need to think very seriously about them.

Question: In your opinion, do Muslims know about this as much as they should?

Answer: I don’t believe that they know. Of course, if you don’t know about something, you can’t be opposed to it either. Thus in the times when there were serious attacks against a group of Muslims, there were also Muslims who supported these attacks through deeds and publications. A number of false sheiks and scholars, perhaps unconsciously, served the misguided clan. They used their mouths, they published intrigues. Didn’t they really know what they were doing? I don’t know. But I can say this much: If these people—people of unbelief and misguidance—did not think about why there was this much hostility toward Muslims who were already exposed to a thousand kinds of brutality, then they were both enmeshed in behaviors that were disrespectful to religion and they were completely naive. And even further, they will be punished for their credulousness.

Really, isn’t it necessary to think, “Why are the enemies of God and the Prophet so hostile to them?” Isn’t it necessary to say, “Why do the enemies of the mosques take such a hostile attitude toward them?” Shouldn’t we ask, “What is the reason they declared their hostility to the religion?” On the other hand, a Muslim who can discern even the smallest detail should understand that these people are nothing but Satan’s servants, his representatives and accomplices who take his attitude.

Question: What gave rise to the most recent slander?

Answer: Everyone who lives in this country knows that in this type of structure, people with intelligence and character have so far heard of fifty types of slander and allegations against me. Maybe “conspiracy” would be a better word. The biggest was the “cassette storm” that I went through in June 1999. From the beginning to the end, there was this scenario, but there were details that they didn’t take account of. They didn’t realize there were serious holes in their logic. They said, let’s finish everything up quickly, but they couldn’t do it either strategically or technically without making mistakes. This is the way it was. They hurried through everything and tripped over their own feet. They made fools of themselves in the eyes of the public. Every time I hear it, I admire the prudence: According to the results of a survey of Turkish society, 85 percent said “We don’t believe this.”

We can learn this from looking at a point in history. Let me express my perceptions and feelings: The Prime Minister of the time, Mr. Bülent Ecevit, bravely spoke up and came out against this matter, saying in a loud voice, “I don’t believe this,” and “I don’t understand anything about these allegations.” He reacted to this bravely every time something happened. History will always remember his behavior with appreciation.

Yes, that was a storm but it never really died down. From that day to today, just as they did before, they try to destroy me. Every time they ignore the truth, they say brazenly, “This man has nine lives.” As you’ve seen, they may think you’re dead, but you aren’t really dead at all. I want this to be known: I am ill but I am not afraid of death. I see death as something like a holiday. People who do not believe in God should fear death. I am stubbornly longing to meet with God and our Prophet. Death is the greatest jewel that can be given to me. It is like a pearl found on the road.

There are several possibilities we could consider as to why this last slander arose. Let’s start with the flimsiest possibility: Some sly person wanted to get something into the media. He sat down and wrote some fake news and sent it to one of the news agencies. As it happens all the time with us, it was published on a website without anyone checking to see if it was accurate. Even though there are press ethics, they are not enforced because there is no penalty for false news. The press and publication houses have a relevant set of laws, but as I heard from Oktay Ekşi himself, we have a problem with enforcement.

On the other hand, they don’t even think about how this deceptive news affects my family, relatives, and those close to me. Previously, I said that they had tried to kill me. I’ll never forget: A while ago, my brother called me and said, crying, “We heard some news that someone attacked you as you left the mosque and split your head in two.” After that, his voice cut out—I think he fainted. As evidenced by the publication of this sort of false news, they clearly have no respect for people or for human values. In Turkey no one goes out and says, “All right, enough. Fear God. This issue has gone completely overboard.” Because no one says this sort of thing and the law has not been framed appropriately, lies and those who lie are allowed free reign. With these lies, the liars make a premium, increase circulation, and win new customers. And with that they can earn more from the increased advertising, too.

Second:—God knows, this is how it seems to me—Turkey is moving in a good direction toward cooperation through the united efforts of the state and smart politicians in the government. With a certain degree of agreement and compromise—even though there are always opposing voices—good things have been accomplished. For forty or fifty years we’ve had this dream of joining the European Union, and for the first time we are taking real concrete steps toward that goal. Turkey has successfully taken ownership of its role by hosting a meeting of NATO. We are experiencing many important developments, such as improvements in the field of economics, a reduction in inflation, foreign capital invested in Turkey’s development, an increase in tourism, etc.

God knows, there are people, as well as groups, neighborhoods, internal and external powers, who want to undermine and sabotage these developments. Whenever Turkey goes through a good period, there are those who always do underhanded things to all that has been accomplished. There’s no Turk who is unfamiliar with this. The people who have risen to such peaks, haven’t they just worked to benefit their allies? Didn’t they smuggle goods right in front of the eyes of the intelligence agencies? I’m embarrassed even to say it—what should we say about the whole embezzlement affair? Rather than talk about these things, they just shoved it all under the carpet, and instead switched the daily news topics to “reactionaries” in Turkey, “Fethullah Hoca,” and news like that. They turn the eyes of the public in another direction so they can comfortably continue their fraud!

That’s another possible explanation for this slander: Because of what they were doing, they put out this false news because they wanted to change the topic away from themselves.

Third: They think I’m at the threshold of death, and they say I always wanted to pass my last days in Turkey. All right, how did a person such as this come to stay in a different country for the past five years? The people who like to show off want to create an environment of pageantry when I arrive at the airport, with thousands of people who would come and meet me and form a convoy. People always think that everyone else is just like them. So it is thought that I want what those spectacle-loving people want.

On the other hand, throughout my life I have never wanted more than one or two people to meet me when I have arrived from another place. I wanted someone to come to meet me because I don’t know how to drive and I didn’t own a car. When I returned to Turkey from the United States in 1997, I called only one person from the plane and let him know I was there. I didn’t want either the media or my friends to come. Those close to me, including my siblings, only heard after I had already arrived in Turkey.

This is my nature. When I was little I used to do this when I would come home. Was everybody really waiting for me? If they were, so what? All right, it isn’t important if they looked for me or not. When I return to Erzurum, I would prefer to come home at night. My father, may he rest in peace, used to say, “Our stork, he comes home at night.” Let people—the neighborhood, guests, and neighbors—say “He came and he went, etc.”, but I didn’t want them to say anything. My character compelled me not to like those things.

By the way, let me say one more time that I consider it an insult to attribute to me all the educational activities and worldwide achievements made by the workers, teachers, women, and men of this altruistic group (Hizmet). I am not of the opinion that I did anything. Everything is done by these generous people. But some people misjudge and ascribe all this to me. I’ve been here for years in voluntary isolation, as you see and know. But work continues everywhere, with God’s guidance and favor. Even despite all the obstinacy and unbelief.

Let’s go back to the earlier point: If I return to Turkey and I am met by thousands of people coming to the airport in convoys and in the middle of it someone can stick in some provocateurs, they will change the focus. Come on, didn’t they do this in even the most innocent demonstrations? 

Fourth: With this false news, they may have wanted to interfere with people who just want to be in their own home, in their own garden, with wife and friends, enjoying the summer, or innocently reading the Qur’an or hadith. It’s not just my individual perception; it is general common sense that they snitch on people. As a result they come and seize innocent people and—excuse me—work you to a pulp until they can get you to spill everything. And no matter how much you protest your innocence, they’re sure you are guilty. That is, they work opposite of the law. You will be declared guilty, and then you have to prove your innocence. But they should follow the basic principles of law: “You can’t prove a negative.” “People are innocent until proven guilty.” “Allegations must be proven.”

In order to blacken the reputations of such innocent people, it is not difficult to sneak into people’s homes and plant a bunch of CDs and books, and things like that. Right now in the world of terrorism, this is a most common method. With these sorts of sneaky plans they can enthusiastically declare innocent people to be terrorists and portray innocent acts to be somehow connected to terrorism. You can see this is a basic conspiracy theory, but you cannot assure me that this isn’t what is really going on.

Fifth: I heard that some people influenced by the evil suggestions of Satan would say a certain person is dying and that would act be a curse to make that death possible. When they did, people think he really is dying, and people give up on him. I don’t believe in such things, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility that such false news with this aim could be fabricated. It is possible, as I discussed before, that false sheiks and scholars are capable of doing such a thing.

Question: How do you want us to behave in the face of all of these things that are happening?

Answer: You know of the behavior of our blessed Prophet and the Companions during the Slander Incident. Now the Companions were a discreet group. Despite this, there were some hypocrites mixed in with them. In order to get revenge against the Messenger of God, they spread slanders about our noble mother Aisha. This was the scenario. Behind this was the well-known hypocrite Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul. It is always like this—pardon me—there are always people who will believe such ridiculous scenarios. There were even those among the Companions who started to believe this. I’m not going to say their names, but all together there were three people. I think there are some Muslims in Turkey who are like this. As I said before, I am all for discernment, but there might be those among our people who believe in such lies, misrepresentations, and conspiracies. Because of a lack of evidence and despite the fact that I haven’t had any influence for years, they can believe the lies because they don’t see me since I am living far away as an expatriate. And those people who have these beliefs fill the airport and this situation benefits the conspirators. As I said on STV in a live telephone interview—and as I am saying again—I do not give my blessings for people to act this way.

Question: How do you feel about these slanders?

Answer: I can’t say I’m not sad. Of course I’m sad. I’m sick at heart. But I found this consolation: People slandered our blessed mother Aisha during the Age of Happiness. The heretics even slandered God. How many times are such slanders against God mentioned in the Holy Qur’an? God forbid! “God has a child,” they said. “The angels are God’s daughters” they said. These expressions that are so disrespectful of the Divine Essence always fill me with compassion. First the heretics did this to God and to our dear mother Aisha. Now in our day, the heretics do this to a simple man like me. But I don’t suffer that much, I cheer up.

Question: Finally, is there anything you would like to add?

Answer: Well, the people who have the ability to oppress always oppress. Your work is painful—actually, you decide if it is painful or delightful. If you don’t have the capacity to hurt people, then you won’t hurt them. In my opinion, this is better. If there are such oppressors, let them continue oppressing. Let’s call down God’s mercy and forgiveness upon those with an aptitude for caution and vigilance. Let’s wish for them to be saved from the path that leads us astray.

Second, you will be subject to slander whatever you do. It has been the fate of those who walk this road to face conspiracies and this will continue. But sagacity sweeps it all away. Against wisdom no conspiracy or slander can work.

Third: It is ungrateful to ignore the activities of people who bring Turkish culture and language to all corners of the world. I say these activities are like the sun. The sun can’t be covered up with wet clay. Let them do what they do, this wise society sees and knows everything. Because those who oppose us can’t help but see the good things that are happening—the light has not been extinguished—they are driven to delirium. They become unbalanced. This also needs to be known. Those with that mentality are like those who believe in the caste system. I dare not say it—they think they were created from God’s mouth and ear, but the pure children of Anatolia were created from His fingernail (God forbid!). No matter how improper it is, they make this judgment against those who do the good activities, “Give no quarter! Don’t save them, shoot them! Kill them!” Their basic logic is based on the idea: “Kill them, and later we’ll find proof.” It is also important to know this.

Finally: Don’t be discouraged. Those who serve this nation and this nation’s future and even serve all people will continue with God’s permission and grace. Like a caravan, they will forge ahead. This caravan—again with God’s favor and generosity—will not be stopped by slander or by deceit.

This text is the translation of “İftiralar-Komplolar.”