In the Surah al-Furqan, the Almighty God refers to the believers as ‘the servants of The Most Merciful’ and mentions some of their attributes. The verse states: ‘And the servants of The Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them harshly, they say “Peace!”‘ (Surah al-Furqan, 25:63).
There is a significant subtlety in referring to the believers as ‘the servants of The Most Merciful’ instead of ‘the servants of Allah’. This implies that they are constantly engaged with Allah’s attributes of the Most Merciful (ar-Rahman) and the Most Compassionate (ar-Rahim), leading a life oriented towards His mercy and compassion. As they embody the morality of Allah, their every action and behavior exudes gentleness, compassion, mercy, and kindness. They conduct themselves on earth with the dignity, seriousness, and humility befitting a believer. The refinement and beauty of their morals are reflected in all their actions, even in their walk.
They instill trust and hope in those they pass by, being convincing in their demeanor. They have such a gentle aura and atmosphere unique to themselves that anyone who enters it is influenced. If they accidentally encounter ignorant people and are addressed improperly and subjected to poor treatment, they display the qualities required by their character. They do not stoop to their level or respond to evil with evil, but say nothing but good words, ‘Peace be upon you’, and move on peacefully.
Although it is noble to act with self-possession and cautiously and maintain one’s character and decorum around those who are learned and God-conscious, the true greatness of generosity is revealed in how you respond to those who accost and confront you at different corners, baring their teeth and spitting venom. As Sayyidina Jesus (peace be upon him) said, ‘True goodness is to be good to those who do evil to you, not to those who do good to you’ (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Azim, 6/296). This is the goal the Qur’an sets for us.
Some ignorant people may fabricate lies about you, cast aspersions, launch smear campaigns, hurl threats, and commit various evils to discredit you. What matters is how you respond to them. The Qur’an instructs us not to dwell on the ignorant actions of others, but to overlook and say ‘peace be upon you’, maintaining our composure and values in the face of adversity. As inspired by the teachings of the Qur’an, carry yourself with serenity and dignity, and focus on your own actions and attitudes, regardless of the surrounding challenges or negativity: walk through thorny fields as if you are walking in a rose garden.
Attaining such moral elevation is undoubtedly dependent on the depth of one’s relationship with Allah. Hence, the following verse states: “And those who spend the night in worship of their Lord, prostrating and standing” (Surah al-Furqan, 25:64). Their prostration and standing in prayer are beyond words! They constantly articulate and spend nights with Him, whether sitting or standing in worship. They have internalized faith in Allah as a deep-seated conviction. As a result of such faith and conviction, by an almost innate inclination or an ensuing blessed impulse, they are always in an ardent rush towards Him.
They are graced with the Divine Presence, always conscious of being under His watch. The subsequent verses express their prayer as follows: “Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell. Indeed, its punishment is ever adhering; indeed, it is evil as a settlement and residence” (Surah al-Furqan, 25:65-66). The attitude of those who have reached such a horizon of faith, when they are compelled to interact with challenges or negativity, in particular with coarse and ignorant people, is clear. Everyone exhibits behavior in accordance with their character. A certain unawares group, who have lost their way, may display various kinds of insensitivity without even being aware of what they are saying or doing. They can fabricate lies and slander against innocent people, resort to various slanders and distortions, and try to corrupt public opinion against them. In all these situations, what is required of a believer is to act according to the dictates of their faith, guided by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Even if they encounter fifty types of rudeness, they should not change their stance or compromise their character. Being subjected to hurtful and offensive words and actions should never deviate them from their rightful path. Just as one protects their honor and dignity, they must also protect their character and manner of speaking.
It is a reality that we live in an era where everything has gone astray, where masses are in turmoil, where the ego reigns supreme, and many live their lives engulfed in complexes. For some, their egos have turned into icebergs, even solidified into granite, impervious to the melting rays of the sun. There is nothing those with such inflated, bloated egos won’t stir up. Indeed, Satan can easily take the reins of such individuals, directing them at will. From those under the sway of their lower self and Satan, all kinds of evil can be expected. Today, you can view with this perspective those pitiable ones who sit with malice, rise with hatred, grumble with anger, froth with rage, and live through paranoias. If you are not careful, their negative atmosphere can engulf you too, and the radioactive effect of their hate-filled words can reach you.
During periods when the atmosphere is polluted with such sparks of evil, it is very challenging for believers to maintain their noble moral qualities. Therefore, in such difficult times, it is necessary to act with extra caution and care. It is essential not to reciprocate evil with evil, to try to repel evil with good, and to act with as much gentleness as possible. As the Qur’an states, since evil and good are not the same; one is more negative than negatives, and the other is more positive than positives, the responsibility of the believer is to be a representative of positivity and goodness.
In such tumultuous times, try to deflect those who approach you with rage and hatred with a smile. Do not retaliate, even with spit, to those who bite you. Do not curse those who curse you, do not respond in kind to those who insult you. Embrace the magical power of goodness that softens hearts, changes emotions, influences thoughts, and beautifies the person. If someone distances themselves from you, stay where you are to prevent the gap from widening further. This way, those who might regret and return in the future won’t have to traverse a great distance. Would you rather have people roll down into Hell due to their monstrous acts, or have them remember their true humanity, their privileged creation in the best of molds, and that they are followers of the Prophet and come back to you? The conscience does not lie. When you consult your consciences, you can find the answer to this question there.
The Hizmet volunteers, who are committed to a noble ideal, have always strived to be in the path of Allah, to create realms of goodness and beauty wherever they go, and to embrace all beings, animate and inanimate, with compassion. God willing, they will continue to serve with sincerity and dedication, without getting caught in the whirlpools of ego. They do not fear criticism, do not stumble upon obstacles, and do not compromise their character to conform to the ignorant. They are imbued with the morals of Rumi, with the ethics of Yunus; they act and operate on the principle of being handless to those who beat, tongueless to those who curse, and always willing to serve altruistically. They strive to live this transient life in accordance with the Divine will, aiming for eternity. The “servants of The Most Merciful”, fully aware of ‘Whom’ they serve, know that even if oppressors take all their worldly possessions, no one can touch their Hereafter.