Dedication to Faith and Service: Overcoming Challenges and Striving for Unity

Dedication to Faith and Service: Overcoming Challenges and Striving for Unity
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We are living in a challenging era, where overlapping destructions occur, religious values are demolished, and even people facing the same Qibla are turned into enemies. The walls that once safeguarded the Quran, the Sunnah, and the sacred have crumbled. Many wicked deeds and deviations contrary to faith, belief, and the Quran have been draped in the guise of religion. Religion has been turned into a means of worldly gain, and political considerations have usurped the throne of religion. There are many problems, but few who truly care. Unfortunately, even those who should be concerned about the essence of Islam are preoccupied with their own ambitions and futures. The truths about faith and the Quran are left unattended. The universal principles brought by the Pride of Humanity (peace and blessings be upon him) are not at home; as if they are in a foreign land, and it feels as if they are strangers. I believe that even the devastation during the Crusades was not as profound as this. Because at that time, hearts beat together. There were no such horrifying divisions within society. There were heroes who, with the permission of Allah, melted and reversed the attacks that came their way.

In this tumultuous era, where destruction and fractures follow one another, where the sincere concern for Islam has been forgotten, and where we need courageous individuals to revive the essence of our souls more than ever before, there is a great demand for the resolute people who have dedicated themselves to faith and the Quran. The task they are about to undertake is both incredibly heavy and, in proportion to its weight, invaluable. It must not be forgotten that the clarity and development of a single religious issue for a single person can surpass thousands of miracles. Whether walking on water without sinking, gliding through the air like birds, or strolling hand in hand with angels, all of these pale in comparison to the getting religious truths accepted in the hearts, making them a profound part of human nature. When the situation is like this, imagine what the efforts to revive an entire community and achieve a new resurgence will correspond to; I leave that calculation to you.

One of the primary tasks in rectifying the prevailing damage is to prevent the widespread malady of discord and divisions that have become so prevalent today and to work towards reconciling hearts. We must ensure that no resentment festers in our hearts towards anyone. Everyone should find a suitable place for themselves in our world, whether it be a private chamber, a reception hall, or a corridor. Ultimately, no one entering our world should be left standing or excluded. Repairing the fractures and disintegration in humanity, especially in the Islamic world, requires this approach. At the very least, someone should open their heart to everyone and embrace them, setting an example for others, and eventually softening even those who constantly seek discord and division. When hearts soften, the world’s atmosphere will also soften.

Another crucial duty in this regard is to help people understand the secret of embodying the Best Stature as the perfect pattern of Creation (ahsan al-taqwim) and assist them in fulfilling its requirements. In other words, there is a greater need than ever to rekindle people’s awareness of their humanity, to help them grasp the meaning of being human, and to recognize the uniqueness and nobility in their creation. If we aspire to break the chains of anger, violence, hatred, and resentment and long for a world characterized by an atmosphere of love and peace, we must find ways to elevate humanity from its potential level of humanity to its actual level of humanity.

As Bediüzzaman articulated, faith contains the spiritual essence of a tree in Paradise (tooba), while disbelief conceals the seed of a spiritual tree that sprouts from the depths of Hell (zaqqum). Another responsibility for dedicated souls is to channel their efforts towards serving faith, allowing the core of this heavenly tree to grow, flourish, and spread everywhere. Simultaneously, it is crucial to ensure the decay and eradication of the seed of the tree of hell. In other words, it is to raise people from a superficial, formal, imitative, and materialistic Islam to the level of spiritual and heartfelt existence. By doing so, they will grasp the secret of embodying the Best Stature as the perfect pattern of Creation, find the joy of faith, perceive beauty, think benevolently and positively, seek goodness in all things, and experience paradise in their hearts while still in this world. Those who proclaim, “God exists, there is no sorrow,” will not lose themselves in the face of life’s hardships and will not be ensnared in various whirlpools of anxiety and fear.

In the contemporary world, the prevalence of the denial of the Divine is notable. Movements like atheism, deism, agnosticism, and others are attracting followers with considerable force. Consequently, establishing strong defenses against various forms of misguidance and disbelief, confronting denial and anti-religious ideologies, and committing oneself to the service of faith stand as paramount responsibilities for those dedicated to their beliefs. As believers, we hold the conviction that devout servants who believe in Allah will await eternal blessings in the Hereafter, and we yearn for all people to partake in these blessings. Did not the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) tirelessly strive for this throughout his life, carrying a profound concern and compassion for others in his heart? He aspired for everyone to attain the beauty he saw, heard, and comprehended. A person who genuinely believes in Allah should also harbor such sentiments.

Conveying the same truths to people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures, and guiding them onto a common path, is undoubtedly a challenging undertaking. What matters most is the ability to communicate with everyone based on their own understanding, position, or circumstances. Some may develop an interest in your values; others may have their absolute disbelief shattered; some may enter a state of questioning and uncertainty rather than outright denial; others may become sympathizers or friends; and in some, the spark of faith may ignite in their hearts. All of these are achievements. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) conveyed to us that even if one person were to be guided through our efforts, turning their gaze toward eternity and God, it would be more virtuous than possessing valleys full of red camels, expressing this in terms of wealth and abundance from his time. Who knows what the means to revive a group, a community, a nation, or all of humanity in the sight of Allah will equate to!

It is crucial to understand that those who commit themselves to such a noble cause do not find peace from worldly individuals with hidden agendas. These dedicated individuals may encounter various pressures, threats, exile, oppression, confiscation of their lawful earnings, wealth, and property, deprivation of their basic human rights, and even unjust imprisonment. However, in the face of such hardships, they should say:

Whether it comes from Your wrath or Your grace,

Both Your favor and Your chastisement are delightful to the soul.

They should know how to endure whatever comes their way with patience and contentment. In an era where numerous Quranic and faith-related issues await attention, they should not be deterred by these trials and tribulations. They should remember that many great individuals in the past sacrificed their comfort and even their lives for just one Quranic issue, spending their entire lives persecuted and imprisoned.

I believe that as I was mentioning this, the name of Ahmad ibn Hanbal must have come to the minds of some.[1] He was indeed one of the great scholars of hadith, one of the most ascetic and pious individuals of his time. Not even a morsel of the forbidden had entered his mouth, and his gaze had never been tainted by the world. This great Imam, however, was imprisoned for months, subjected to hunger, lashing, and torture by order of the Abbasid caliph who had fallen under the influence of some proponents of dissent and their deviant perspectives, all because of a single Quranic issue. Imam Ahmad was willing to endure all of this because he feared that if concessions were made in this matter, if room for different interpretations were allowed, it would open the door to further audacious interpretations of the Quran. Therefore, he paid no heed to the whips and lashes hitting his back. Thanks to such magnanimous individuals, the values we believe in have reached us intact.

Praise be to Allah that the truth-seekers of our time (the Hizmet movement volunteers) have rendered significant services to faith and the Quran. They endured various sacrifices to revive fallen values. Through their efforts, they worked to remove barriers between Allah and people. They carried the name of the blessed message and spirit of the noblest of creation, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), wherever they went and engraved his love in hearts. They poured their hearts and souls into the service of the faith and the Quran they believed in, supported students, and extended a helping hand to the youth and needy. Through the institutions they established, they fought against ignorance, discord, division, and poverty. Through their dialogue activities conducted all around the world, they softened hearts, built bonds and bridges of love, and constructed breakwaters to prevent clashes, violence, and hatred. In short, Allah allowed them to accomplish great deeds. They were granted the opportunity to perform benevolent, altruistic services similar to those of the Companions of the Prophet.

This is a tremendous privilege, and whatever hardships you endure in its pursuit are undoubtedly worthwhile. Therefore, do not be disheartened when the followers of malevolence oppose your efforts. Do not magnify the difficulties, victimization, oppression, confiscation, confinement, or imprisonment you may face; let them not divert you from your path. Remember that those persisting in wrongdoing will eventually meet their downfall. Even if Allah grants respite to the oppressor, He never neglects to punish them. Just as the oppressors of the past fell and suffered in misery, so too will today’s oppressors find themselves in a pitiable state in the near future, falling like rootless trees and looking at you with a pitiful expression as if seeking help. Therefore, if anyone deserves pity, it is those intoxicated with power and arrogance. I say all of this based on my belief in sunnatullah, the Divine decree and law ordained in creation, which prevails in human history.

Hence, it is crucial to entrust the oppressors to Allah and concentrate on our own work. Allah has blessed us with spirited, generous-hearted brothers and sisters who have offered their unwavering support. They are the courageous souls who embarked on this journey, not knowing its ultimate destination, carrying only their essentials in their bags. The dedicated hearts, committed to a life of service, have fortified this cause. We must harness this potential, granted by Allah, to establish the essence of our services. We must ensure that the message and spirit of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) become known far and wide, unite hearts with Allah, cultivate love and compassion among people irrespective of their beliefs, and soften hearts. Thus, we will truly uphold the right of the address, ‘My brothers and sisters,’ made by our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). If we devote ourselves to this task, he will support us on the other side, and no one can ever deprive us of his support. With Allah’s grace and permission, we will pass through insurmountable gates and become recipients of eternal blessings.

[1] Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855 AD) was a prominent scholar of hadith and a leading figure in Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and asceticism. He is renowned for his piety and contributions to the Hanbali school of Sunni jurisprudence. Ibn Hanbal was the most influential scholar of his time and remains one of the most respected figures in Islamic history. His emphasis on relying on scriptural sources for Sunni Islamic law and way of life is a cornerstone of traditionalist perspectives within Sunni Islam. He also compiled the Musnad, one of the most important Sunni hadith collections, which continues to influence the field of hadith studies today.