Question: What position should believers take in the face of some improper negative incidents?
Answer: Initially it should be noted that this is not the first time certain negative occurrences have taken place, nor will it be the last. Presenting this truth to our consideration in vivid pictures, the Qur’an mentions the Prophets’ stories, which have their own hue and pattern, and it also relates various incidents, each of which is an astounding example on its own. While these verses provided the blessed Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with consolation, they also point out the truth of historical recurrences. When we sieve through all of these past events, the following picture appears before us: God Almighty reformed corrupted societies with the Prophets He sent. After the final Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the task of effecting a new spirit of revival in society and rectifying corruptions has been realized through the hands of revivers.
Oppression did not Seem Likely to Cease, But…
No society in any period of history suffered from the evils that existed at the time when the Messenger of God was sent. The poet Mehmed Akif describes the Time of Ignorance with the following lines:
Human predators were much worse than hyenas;
A man without teeth would be food for his brothers!
Chaos pervaded all the horizons of the world!
The trouble of anarchy was an epidemic, now destroying the East.
The poet then points to a “tradition of God” seen in social life:
The bloody feet trampling heads came to the end of the road,
The weak, whose due had been mistreatment, were revived.
And oppression, did not ever think of ceasing, just died.
Today, and after today as well, it may not occur to the weak that they will be revived and not occur to the oppressors that they will be defeated. But this has been realized so many times in history with God’s permission and grace. And what has happened is the greatest reference for what will happen. One of the benefits of looking back and making a connection with the past is understanding this very truth. The fact that a pattern of corruption and restoration constantly follow one another, and that the alternation of day and night ceaselessly continue, both attest that with God’s permission and grace, restorations will follow corruptions and days will follow nights in the future as well.
I Was Subjected to Pressure for a Lifetime but I Never Lost Hope
Humanity might go astray many times over. They might fail to keep up their decency and might disperse around like prayer beads whose string has been broken. Metamorphoses might follow metamorphoses, and a serious deformation in society might be experienced. It should never be forgotten, however, that tidying people up with a new light and new wisdom and bringing them to an ideal state are in God’s hand.
Personally, I cannot claim to be a person with strong faith. And although my life has passed under pressures since I was twenty, I never lost hope. Before I went to carry out my military obligation, I was taken from the mosque window where I stayed and escorted to the police station. I was insulted and threatened. But such things did not have any negative effects on me. Not even for a moment did I think of stepping back from the path on which I was walking. I did not care at all about the threats and pressures of arrest and imprisonment. When I found two people to listen, I just sat in the mosque and tried to teach them. The hardships I went through continued after my military obligation as well. But I never gave in to hopelessness. For an entire lifetime, I kept up the considerations expressed in these words:
The joyous days of divine promise shall appear;
Who knows, perhaps tomorrow or even sooner…
God Almighty tells us that only unbelievers lose hope in His mercy: “And do not despair of God’s Mercy, for none ever despairs of God’s Mercy, except people who disbelieve in Him” (Yusuf 12:87).
Actually, I think I am voicing the feelings of the devoted ones with my words because, in the face of their troubles, each of them will say like Nasimi:
I am a suffering lover O Beloved, I will not turn away from You.
Even if You cleave my heart through, I still will not do so.
If they cut me in two like Prophet Zachariah,
Put my head to the saw O Lord, I will not turn away from You.
If they burn me to ashes,
O Veiler of sins, I still will not turn away from You.
The only thing that matters to devoted ones is His good pleasure, attaining His Mercy, and making the caravan of service proceed. As far as the caravan continues its way, how can the ordeals we undergo be a matter of importance? None of the acts of goodness depends upon our personal existence. To put it with an ironic phrase, “We are not the ox bearing the earth, and do not need to worry that the world will collapse with our death!”
Fearlessness and Resolution Spoils the Plots of Those with Evil Intentions
No matter what upsetting ordeals break our hopes and fade our enthusiasm, we should neither panic nor give in to hopelessness, which prevents every kind of progress. On the contrary, it is necessary to always keep an upright stance, without defiance and snarls. This fearlessness and resolution by faithful ones will also silence certain circles with evil intentions. Laughing in the face of death threats and responding to them as, “Most welcome, I was expecting to be martyred and meet my Lord as soon as possible,” perplexes the other side and condemns them to helplessness. Believers’ resolute stance and remaining unshaken are important expressions of their trust in God and, at the same time, are a dynamic to upset the plots of the adversaries, leading them to panic.
Patience and Victory
Patience is the mysterious and magical key leading to deliverance. Attaining bliss in Paradise, witnessing the beauty of Divine Countenance, attaining God’s good pleasure, and being blessed with eternity are all possible through patience. Similarly, one of the most important means of being saved from worldly troubles and gaining worldly victories, which are of lower value, are also through patience. Not failing to observe worship, resisting against sins, putting up with misfortunes, not bowing before oppressions, not hurrying at issues that require time, not changing course before desirable attractions of this world, and soothing our yearning for the Divine Countenance with thoughts of serving humanity… all of these points can be considered within the category of patience.
It is possible to term these points as types of patience. If none of them is neglected, it is possible to open many doors with this mysterious key. However, those who do not act with patience but hurry will be doomed to stumble. As a poet put it,
Those who go too fast will trip over their skirt;
Those who go slowly will reach the destination.
Those who lose patience and hurry will trip up, but those who act sensibly will make progress. In this respect believers need to reckon their steps well. Reckoning one’s steps or acting patiently should not be confused with inertia. Individuals should always be active and walk toward their target, but they should walk with deliberation, mindfulness, reflection, and sobriety. They should ponder over an issue with respect to its beginning and its end, take into consideration those who envy them and cannot stomach their achievements, and never be heedless of the grudge and hatred of adversaries.
Frog Croaks Make No Harm to Pure Water
In the meantime, we should not be distracted by the conspiracies, libels, and slanders orchestrated against us by some oppressive transgressors. As it is stated in a Turkish proverb, frog croaks make no harm to pure water. What really matters is that the water is pure and clean. Given that you walk on a righteous path and a lane of goodness, the adverse remarks by some dirty mouths fixed on strife and malice bear no importance at all. I see benefit here in mentioning the lines Bediüzzaman quotes with reference to those who talk against the Qur’an: “If you threw a stone to every dog that barked, there would remain no stones in the world.” So let the barkers keep barking. We should never be distracted by those who growl at us.
Incidentally, although such expressions do not reflect our general character and style in terms of our attitude, it should not be forgotten that even in the Qur’an the example of a donkey or dog is given for the sake of conveying certain truths. When the holiest and immaculate style of the Qur’an is taken into consideration, it appears that that particular matter needs to be expressed in this way.
If you orient yourself to your people’s spirit, to let them unite with their own mind and heart, to let them take a celebrated position in the world, then you should not care about ugly remarks from here and there. If you are sure that you are walking on a righteous path and that you do not have any target but attaining God’s good pleasure on this path, then you should not consider the activities orchestrated against you and not be entangled by them.
Let Those Who Travel on the Wrong Path Fear Their End
If someone is to get anxious, panicked, bewildered about what to do, and experience paranoia, it should be those who walk on the wrong path. As people who act this way are representatives of destruction, which is so much easier than building, they still cannot be saved from making zigzags despite this ease and cannot make the least progress. In spite of their use of every negative and destructive method as intimidation, raids, demolition of values, and attacking your system of values, it is still not possible to say that they have made an inch of progress.
So these incurable troubles and irreparable ruins should not cause despair in our hearts; they should not panic us. This does not mean, however, that we should close our eyes to the destruction being made. On the contrary, it is very important to recognize this terrible destruction, because seeing the destruction will remind individuals of their responsibilities and the duties that they should fulfill. Before such a picture an idealist person with such consciousness of responsibility will try to figure out what God expects His loyal servants to do and will focus on what needs to be done by saying, “I wonder how a prophet would act in the face of such a situation?”
But if the picture is not seen completely, and these happenings are not felt with their entire profundity, it will not be possible to know what to do. And as a consequence—may God forbid—some might give themselves to comfort and suffice with minding their own business, in spite of the upheavals experienced by the society, ruins, wreckages, and desolate wastelands. This in a way is selfishness, indifference, and callousness. In this respect, one should be full of reliance on God and hope, not caring about ugly remarks and attitudes and having an altruistic understanding of sharing the sufferings of others, and one should never perceive seeing what needs to be done and doing it as different things. On one hand it is necessary to see and analyze well the existing picture with its general lines, and on the other hand to exert ourselves with an unshakable faith, hope, and determination for restoring the present destruction in accordance with the basis of our heritage of values.
 Al-Anfal 8:76; Luqman 31:19.
This text is the translation of “Kine Doymayan Nifak Şebekesi Karşısında Mü’mince Duruş.”