One of the most important means of evoking such an enthusiasm is stimulating a person’s tafakkur (reflection) and deepening their system of thought. The Arabic definition of tafakkur means a person does more than just think; they make serious mental efforts. Therefore, the perspective of tafakkur is acquired when one makes reflecting deeply their habit. Tafakkur does not mean sitting there and brooding over matters, or making superficial and simple connections about things one sees or hears. On the contrary, tafakkur means taking the beginning and end into consideration together; moving one’s reason between the cause and effect like a shuttle and developing wisdom through that thinking; absorbing the consequent inspirations into one’s soul and making these inspirations into a part of their feelings; and even seeking to make more of these inspirations by examining them further. For people to learn fervor and enthusiasm, they must become habituated to serious thinking and reasoning, and they must be able to see right and wrong correctly.
One Should Always Be Spelling the Name of God, Living with This Truth, Each and Every Night
Continuity of the mind is very significant. It is so important that even if we think those around us are journeying down the paths pointed out by the verse, “It is in the remembrance of, and whole-hearted devotion to God, that hearts find rest and contentment,” (ar-Ra’d 13:28) one should never see his or her own spiritual level, or rather another’s level, as sufficient. Believers need to support one another in this pursuit. As the great thinker Bediüzzaman put it, like stones that make up a dome, we need to support one another in order to not fall. Taking this example solely as advice about avoiding disagreements and upholding social unity is a deficient understanding. We need to tackle it from a wider perspective: We should adopt serving religion as the highest ideal of our lives and always support one another at maintaining our spirituality on the path to realizing this lofty ideal. Accordingly, when we gather to worship, we should never be unserious. We should make the assembly meaningful by reading and discussing subjects to make us more conscious of God. After such gatherings, we need to question whether we experienced any of the truths expressed in the supplication:
“O God, increase us in knowledge (ilm), faith (iman), certainty (yaqin), reliance on You (tawakkul), surrender to You (taslim), commitment to You (tafwiz), knowledge of You (marifah), love of You (mahabbah), intense love of You (ashq), yearning for reunion with You (ishtiyaq ila liqaik), chastity (iffah), innocence (ismah), perspicacity (fatanah), and wisdom (hikmah).” Even at our gatherings for worldly matters, when we find a chance, we should shift the subject to such topics and try to whisper the beauties of faith into our hearts.
Knowing what happens in our present culture, it is understandable that people are influenced by popular norms. Knowing what happens in our day and following certain matters of actuality is surely acceptable. However, given that there are so many people immersed in these matters, those who devoted themselves to serving the truths of the Qur’an should try to fulfill their spiritual potential, and deepen their faith. For this reason, they should always be spelling the Name of God, and living with this truth each and every night.
In short, we are supposed to do whatever must be done to help people passionately love God Almighty, and to cherish their love for the blessed Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him. This love should be so intense that upon hearing his blessed name, the listener should feel a shiver down his spine. Sustaining our enthusiasm for this cause, and keeping our devotional spirit fresh, requires continuous maintenance.
The same principle is true in our physical life. For example, when a certain limb is not used for a long time, the muscles atrophy until they finally become completely useless. The same is true of our heart and spirituality. We cannot overlook the wisdom in the commandments to pray five times a day and to fast during the month of Ramadan. Believers who release their buckets into the fresh fountain of Islam five times a day are washed and purified with what they receive from it. That is, they try to feel Him, sense Him, and know Him five times a day. We are supposed to grasp this essential point in the act of worship, and orient our behavior and our time toward sustaining the Islamic love and enthusiasm born of prayer.
The Seas before Us Cannot Be Passed with a Ramshackle Ship
In order to emphasize the importance of continuous spiritual maintenance, the beloved Prophet’s advice to his Companion Abu Dharr is very important: “Restore your ship, for the sea is deep. Take your provisions perfectly, for the journey is long. Lighten your load, for the ascent is steep. Be sincere in your acts, for the Watchful One sees everything.”
As the distance to be covered is very long, and the sea to pass is very deep, there is no tolerance on the journey for the slightest heedlessness. May God forbid, but in the face of temptation, one can sink like the Titanic to the bottom of the sea. If the ship represents our spiritual life, and our heart’s relation with God Almighty, then we need to restore it with every new dawn. It is not possible to undertake a long journey with a ramshackle ship, a neglected heart, and a faulty mentality.
The wise pieces of advice continue. The noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, advised his companion to take his provisions perfectly, for the journey would be very long. That long journey begins in this world and ends in the next. The provisions are neither food or drink, nor weapons; they represent a person’s servitude and obedience to God. For example, our prayers will accompany us in the intermediary realm of the grave, and our fasting will help us pass through the Rayyan gate of Paradise. If these are not taken here, on Earth, as provisions for the afterlife, then a person will face misery there.
There is also the warning about the steep ascent, and the recommendation to lighten one’s load. Accordingly, believers are supposed to avoid immersing themselves in worldliness—to keep the load on their backs light so they can surmount that steep ascent. Finally, we are reminded to be sincere in our actions, for the Watchful One sees us every moment.
Although such preparations are important to our worldly life because they uphold the truth, establish justice, and continue efforts to dignify believers, they are even more important to our eternal life.
God Almighty reveals the following truth in the Qur’an: “If He so wills (for the fulfillment of His purpose in creation), He can put you away and bring a new generation (of humankind in your place)” (Ibrahim 14:19 / Fatir 35:16). Here, rather than meaning a new people appearing on the stage of history, we can take the phrase “a new generation” to mean enthusiastic souls devoted to God—ones who did not give in to weariness, who did not take their religion for granted but felt its profundity freshly. In the next verse, it is stated, “That is surely no great matter for God” (Fatir 35:17). When He wills something to happen, He says “Be!” and it happens immediately. Unless they welcome a spiritual revival, those who become weary, who resemble worn-out goods, and who lose their spirit of religious enthusiasm are replaced by a new generation, through the noble lives of the Great Prophets or the activities of the respected expounders of Islamic laws, or the renovations of the great revivers of faith.
If those who experience a revival by showering God with favors become proud of their status as the “new generation,” they risk losing the Divine blessings and support. This support depends on humility and modesty. When we are given a responsibility, we should carry it out in the best way, while still remaining humble by remembering our servitude to our Creator. Only through an active understanding and faith can we survive long journeys, even those that take centuries. With a renewed enthusiasm and devotional spirit, we can walk toward the future.
This text is the translation of “Heyecanla Dopdolu Adanmış Ruhlar-2“
Tags: altruism, commonsense, conscience, devotion, dialogue, faith, Fethullah, Fethullah Gulen, Gulen, Gulen Movement, happiness, Hizmet, Islam, love, modesty, peace, philanthropy, religion and science, sincerity, spiritual guide, spiritual journeying, spirituality, tolerance, virtue, wisdom