Heroes of Proper Stature

Heroes of Proper Stature
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Humanity grapples with a myriad of challenges in personal, familial, and societal spheres. Regrettably, lasting and decisive measures often elude us in addressing these issues. To find remedies for seemingly incurable ailments and resolve seemingly insurmountable problems, the solution lies in the unwavering efforts of individuals of steadfast and proper stature.

Throughout human history, the Prophets sent as guides to societies have tirelessly striven to elevate people to this stature. They exerted relentless efforts in molding, maturing, and refining individuals, ceaselessly struggling to raise them to the true horizon of humanity. Even when faced with thorny fields and seas of blood and sweat, they pressed on without stumbling, persistently forging ahead.

For instance, when Prophet Muhammad, the Pride of Humanity (peace and blessings be upon him), was entrusted with the prophetic mission, humanity was experiencing a dreadful degeneration. Poet Mehmet Akif expressed this prevailing degeneration and those times with these verses:

Once, the inhabited world was in turmoil,

Engulfed in crises, even worse than today.

Humanity had surpassed hyenas in ferocity;

A toothless person, devoured by their own brethren!

Darkness had enveloped the entire horizon,

Divisive discord, the contagion that shattered the East today.

And then, Akif adds:

In one breath, that innocent soul saved humanity.

In one move, he laid bare emperors and kings! [[1]]

This was because, in the Prophet, the stature had reached its pinnacle, turning those around him into heroes of virtue.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had formed such a sacred community during his time, where their sole focus was sincerity, seeking the pleasure of Allah, and the love of attaining closeness to Him. To the extent that during a specific battle, fought in defense of their faith against relentless attackers, when a companion would be struck by a spear, falling to the ground, from their lips would flow the expression, ‘I swear by the Lord of the Kaaba, I have succeeded.’ Another, after losing both arms to protect the Prophet, fashioned his own head as a shield against sword blows. They embraced death with a smile, considering being killed in the way of Allah as the true attainment of salvation. This is indeed a matter of stature.

Attaining the Proper Stature: Paths to Achieving Virtue

There were significant dynamics that vertically elevated and transformed the honorable companions into heroes of virtue. Firstly, they shared the same atmosphere with the Pride of Humanity (peace and blessings be upon him) and were colored with his essence, becoming recipients of prophetic emulation. Secondly, Quranic verses were revealed successively, and they purified themselves under the downpour of this Divine revelation. Directly relevant verses were revealed concerning their conversations, ongoing events, and even some of their inner thoughts, guiding them in their lives. In other words, they lived a life constantly under the scrutiny of revelation. Thirdly, they knew how to see everything they awaited, hoped for, and aspired to through the doors opened by the Quran. All of these factors instilled in them such a profound faith and metaphysical tension that, in the face of hardships and calamities, they remained unshaken, confidently continuing on their known path, and even in the worst-seeming events, they knew how to smile.

In today’s world, as accurately pointed out by Bediüzzaman, the nature of our struggle has indeed undergone a transformation. In the current era, the material sword has been replaced by the diamond-like principles of the Quran and Sunnah. While ardently adhering to our own path and values, we embrace everyone in their respective positions, engage in open dialogue with all, and take steps towards fostering a universal atmosphere of peace. Furthermore, we emphasize universal human values and endeavor to discover common ground, even if minimal, with individuals holding different emotions and thoughts. In this contemporary landscape, where the strategies to bridge the gap between Allah and people have evolved, success still lies in attaining the proper stature.

While we lack the direct advantages enjoyed by the companions, such as being in the blessed atmosphere of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and receiving Divine revelations firsthand, we are not without resources. The messages conveyed by Allah’s Messenger have illuminated the world for centuries, although for some, their impact, freshness, and sweetness may wane.

Nevertheless, we have access to both the message of the Quran and the exemplary life and teachings of our Prophet, as well as the experiences and contributions that Muslims have made for centuries based on these two sources. If we genuinely turn to the Quran, engage with it continuously, and, in a sense, ‘become Quranic,’ we can find everything we seek and need within it. By approaching the Quran with a fresh perspective, reading it as if it were revealed to us, understanding the philosophy of the Prophet’s biography, and embracing the legacy passed down to us from our predecessors, we too can become heroes of virtue.

The Duty Awaiting Heroes of Proper Stature

Bediüzzaman portrays the weighty responsibility awaiting dedicated souls as akin to the ‘restoration of a fortress that has been damaged for centuries.’ Unfortunately, over the past few centuries, the foundational values that have sustained society have crumbled, leading to a dreadful deformation. Respect for religion and the sacred has waned, the ties binding Muslims together have been severed, unity disrupted, and the duty of spreading the word of Allah forgotten.

Devoted souls, who see themselves responsible for repairing this fortress that has been in ruins for centuries, must find solutions to these multifaceted problems, and their success hinges on their stature. For those who have truly found their proper stature, there is no problem that they cannot solve, with the permission and grace of Allah.

When the people around Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) were commanded to enter Jerusalem, he instructed them: “O my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has destined for you (to enter). And do not turn back or else you will become losers.”[2] However, they were not yet ready to march toward the designated goal. They demonstrated this with their response: (Yet) they said, “O Moses! (Still) we will never enter as long as they remain there. So go—both you and your Lord—and fight; we are staying right here!”[3] To enable them to find their true stature, Allah subjected them to hardship in the deserts for forty years, a sort of spiritual journey. After completing these forty years of spiritual development, Allah opened the gates of the holy city for them under the leadership of Joshua (Yusha) ibn Nun, and they entered the city.

Attempting to instrumentalize Islam for daily politics, using demagogy, making grand claims, employing fervor and rhetoric, and resorting to lies and deceit not only fail to solve problems but exacerbate existing issues. Unfortunately, what is commonly referred to as ‘political Islam’ today has, in many instances, diminished the true spirit of Islam, reducing it to mere rhetoric and demagogy.

From this perspective, it should be well understood that the problems faced by the Islamic world and humanity as a whole are intricately linked to attaining the proper stature. Achieving the desired stature is contingent upon the lived experience of heart and soul, education in Islamic sciences, and a discerning approach to understanding things and events in creation. In Bediüzzaman’s approach, ‘the radiance of conscience is the knowledge of religious sciences, and the light of the mind is modern sciences’. The manifestation of truth occurs when these two come together. The dedicated individuals of this era should make maximum efforts to reunite these truths that have been separated for centuries, considering it their greatest responsibility. Only then can it be said that the path to solving the problems of the world has been initiated.


[1] In this context, the “innocent soul” refers to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the central figure in Islam.

[2] Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:21.

[3] Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:24.

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