Weekly Letter

 The Role of Women in the Hizmet Movement and the Principles of Coexistence

The circumstances of our times require solidarity between all members of society; old, young, children, men and women, all have to do their part.

If we look at the fundamentals of our religion, in the Age of Happiness serving the religion of God was open to all men and women.  
We see this when read through the biographies of narrators of Prophetic Tradition:  
Aisha narrated close to five thousand Prophetic Traditions, and a great number of men and women benefit from her knowledge.  
They take all the authentic reports and compile it in the ‘nine books’ (Nine books of authentic Prophetic Traditions).  
They evaluated both her reports and the words of the Prophet in these books.  
The women at the time of the Glorious Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, served their people and community as much as the men did.  
However at one point, when militarism began to dominate social life women were cut off from society and limited to their homes.  
Very rarely have there been figures like Hürrem or Kösem Sultan who held significant power.  
This was the case with the Ottoman Empire and I don’t think other civilisations such as the Abbasids or the Umayyads were that different.  
Women might have specific circumstances and it will be unfair to impose overwhelming standards on them but they should be given duties to the best of their ability.  
Some may have parts of the day in which they will be busier than usual, this is a separate issue.  
What is important is to take a realistic approach and to include women in all facets of social life; just as it was in the Age of Prophethood.  
However, this has not occurred.  
After the formation of the Republic, women were promoted in society, they were made to be part of all social matters but this was only figuratively, they were used to sexualise society and push it towards base desires; I apologise to our sisters…  
This began in the time of the constitutional monarchy, it has continued during the Republic Period, to the utmost degree.  
Within the bounds of our culture and discipline, we must allow women to become part of every facet of society, this seems to be a requirement of today.  
And that is why I called this a ‘campaign’, meaning a movement involving both men and women.  
Just as Abu Sufyan went to Yarmouk with his wife and she fought by his side.  
Just like that, with that philosophy, men and women must rally together for this task side by side.  
This is the first matter, I am in no position to explain such a thing but I have tried humbly within the frame of my thoughts and emotions.  
The Second matter:  
In regards to these issues, to not tread on toes, alienate people and lose our friends through our language and words.  
When having the intention to say, ‘Let us come together and endear God and His Messenger’ it is crucial to put the matters through the filter of discussion and consultation in order to not scare people away we our words and disposition.  
If we don’t calibrate our words and if people speak their minds without being mindful, this can cause problems.  
Just as how there is a method or manner when one eats; first the soup is served, followed by the salad and then pastries, followed by the sweets.  
This is a very serious matter, if we are striving to endear God, His Messenger and our religion, striving to make these ideas blossom in our own world, it is crucial to refer it to the power of collective reasoning.  
Otherwise, we might make a mistakes, end up making things worse.  
Now, what is our main issue, our main goal?  
Our Glorious Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, stated:  
‘Instigate the love of God in His servants’ hearts so that He will love you’.  
There is no narration as the following.  
But let me say it as its meaning is true:  
‘Instigate the love of God’s Messenger to his Ummah, to humankind so that God’s Messenger will love you.’  
This matter is true; it is essential and necessary to do this, it is an obligation upon everyone; a responsibility for everyone.  
Even though it may vary according to one’s strength, intellect, logic, reasoning, field and participation in social life, it applies to everyone regardless.  
Just as it applies to men, it also applies to women, our sisters and mothers.  
Indeed, we will instigate the love of our beloved Prophet to humankind.  
Let’s say you meet a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Brahman, and a Confucian; if you immediately speak of our Prophet, this may lead to negative reactions.  
They may say, ‘Why not Buddha or Brahma?’  
‘Why not the Upanishads?’  
That is why you need to exercise caution in your tone.  
I would like to include as a side note:  
When our noble Prophet walked the streets of Mecca in the first years of his Prophethood, he told everyone he saw “Say ‘There is no one to be worshipped by right and the True Desired one but God’ and attain salvation.”  
He did not mention his name even though ‘There is no deity but God’ is followed by ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’  
In a weak narration, the Prophet Adam did not lift his head to the skies for forty years due to his shame, a sin.  
His was just a stumble; he was walking on ice, and he stumbled without even realising.  
He exercised his reason but he stumbled.  
Therefore he did not lift his head up to the skies for forty years due to his high regard to God.  
‘My Lord,  
Eve and I have wronged ourselves,  
if You do not forgive us and do not have mercy on us, we will surely be among those who have lost!’ he begged.  
He recalled after some time; he had seen his name there as he was driven away from Paradise.  
He said, ‘O God, forgive me for the sake of Muhammad!’  
God Almighty replied to him, ‘How do you know Muhammad?’ ‘As I was departing Paradise, his name was on the top of the gates of Paradise, gates open to all the great Prophets. The writing on the gates of Paradise read, ‘There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’  
I saw the two names next to one another.  
I realised that there is no more name as precious in the sight of God.  
That is why I am turning to You by making him an intercessor, forgive me.’  
To be forgiven, there had to be a reason for him to be honoured by Gods boundless mercy, and it was this utterance. This was off our main subject  
However, this human being spent the first thirteen years telling the unbelievers of Mecca, ‘say There is no deity but God and attain eternal bliss.’  
This is where he implicitly expresses his Prophethood.  
Who are you to say with authority that, ‘You repeat this and enter Paradise’?  
In this regard, if you are not assigned by the heavens, assigned by Him, you cannot say this.  
He implicitly says this but those he is speaking to are monuments of egotism.  
Just as the humans of our present day turn into monuments of egotism, egoists, egocentrics, the idolaters from those times, the followers of Lat, Manat, Uzza, Isaf and Naila are all idols themselves, desiring to be worshipped.  
Similar to some in our present day, some say, ‘If you touch him, its worship’, and they are fond of that.  
They say, ‘I am worshipping you’, they are fond of that.  
They make fun of the verses of the Qur’an.  
They adore that. They do not object to any of these.  
This is falling weak to egotism, falling weak to the carnal self, falling weak to caprice.  
They have fallen weak to the caprice of their carnal souls; They will say, ‘The grandson of Abdul Muttalib, an orphan who grew up without a mother or father, is coming to us and saying:  
Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’  
I am God’s Messenger; I am the spokesman of the skies; whatever I say here must be adhered to.’  
They say this.  
This is there manner of speaking.  
What is the essence or truth here? ‘There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ That is the key; the key to unlock the matter.  
The key that unlocks sealed doors and when uttered by a person travelling to the other realm, is saved with God’s permission and grace.  
If one enters the grave with that key in hand, the angels Munkar and Nakir might look at them and with the face of truth ask;  
‘Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet?’  
That person will know what to say anyway.  
However, the Messenger of God does not say one of the words of this key. Indeed, this is a double jagged key: ‘There is no deity but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ However when you interpret it from their selfish perspective and make a mistake in wording, you may give rise to antipathy.  
Let me mention a different, small matter:  
Whenever I am questioning myself, I say:  
‘In the past, we should have done this in this way and that in that way.  
Perhaps we could not do it. Our capacity was not at that level.  
And thus we made some mistakes.  
Those jealous people were not able to tolerate this. They attacked us with oppression and betrayal.  
They put a world of people into oppression, into cruelty, expelled them.  
They completely destroyed the highly-educated people in Turkey that had emerged over the past 50 or 60 years and left themselves to the cascade of ignorance.  
That is how it is now.  
I wonder if we were to toss to them, I should not call them ‘bones,’ as they too are people nevertheless, a piece of bread with honey, would it have satisfied them.  
And such.  
You will understand what I mean when I say this; there were so many institutions; a purpose, a function could have been given to them too; ‘Here, take this as your salary’ could have been said.  
Just like some welfare was provided by the Ottoman state, and people who couldn’t support themselves would also sign up to it.  
There are those that use the term in The Imploring Hearts; many men of piety and spirituality…  
With no discretion on who is good or bad, something is given to everyone who is there.  
Maybe, you could give something like that.  
But my friends say that:  
They would not have been satisfied or satiated.  
They are completely controlled by their desires and ego, they worship their souls and egos so deeply, they have no tolerance for anyone else getting attention.  
They walk continue with envy and intolerance.  
Jealousy is such a sickness. The honourable Bediüzzaman says:  
‘The envious one will consume himself before anybody else.’  
The honourable Hasan Basri says:  
‘I have not seen an oppressor who so appeared in the form of one being oppressed as I did of one who was full of envy.’  
Because they do the damage unto themselves, breaking their serenity.  
In another context, it could be said as follows:  
This intolerance and envy is such a sickness, that it cannot be cured by a psychiatrist, or be treated in any institution.  
People today, however carry such a demeanour; it is always about ‘me’ consistently. Like the beating of a drum and I am assuming that despite what you give, they will never change their voice to that of a flute.  
You will always hear the thumping sounds of a drum from them.  
This is the general reflection amongst my friends.  
However, I cannot help but interrogate myself either.  
Since, everyone will experience distress for those they are close with, for their fathers and mothers.  
But it seems the whole issue is linked back to me, even if I don’t deserve this.  
As they used the term ‘terrorist’ to label you.  
Consequently, those that have any relation with you are arrested and taken away.  
They are giving life sentences for the most ridiculous charges.  
And that is what happened; many valuable and precious people are stuck.  
When I think of all of this, I cannot forgive myself.  
For more than half my day, such thoughts occupy my mind.  
I am not saying this to complain.  
There are days that I lose sleep, I turn the pillow this and that, try to sleep while sitting, I have a eat something with the hopes that it would help alleviate my thoughts.  
Yet I cannot remove such thoughts from my mind.  
As a result, I now resort to answering to such questions with my inner speech; I am always thinking about it, wasting time, losing sleep over it and affecting the things I need to do the following day. For example, I could not write a rough draft for two months.  
This is as a result of my weakness, my inability, or dissatisfaction to my fate.  
May God Almighty forgive me for your sake.  
In such a period, when I think of our noble Prophet’s resilience, I let go of myself.  
I said:  
‘I am not you, O Messenger of God!  
You are under almighty Gods constant gaze and protection, always giving you moral support, and telling you that he is with you.’  
As an example, in the dominion (cave) of Thawr.  
In that moment the Prophet said, ‘Do not be worried my friend!  
God is with us.’  
‘For certain, God helped him when those who disbelieve drove him out (of his home during the Hijrah), the second of the two when they were in the cave (with those in pursuit of them having reached the mouth of the cave), and he said to his companion (with utmost trust in God and no worry at all): “Do not grieve. God is surely with us.”  
Then God sent down His gift of inner peace and reassurance on him, supported him with hosts you could not see’ (At-Tawbah, 9:40).  
And in such an emotional state, I said, ‘But I am not you’.  
In this context, I need to know my position, my weaknesses, and my impotence.  
However much we can endure, we should.  
Not get into a state of inertia, remain in a state that we describe as active patience.  
Some people do harm, some people are cruel and unjust; and in response, you keep your character and endure these quietly.  
No, not like that.  
Essentially, I should do what these conditions; my circumstance and position allow me to do.  
Similarly, with God’s permission, what you do with friends, brothers, with young people, with these sisters and with your mothers (elders) is the same.  
Once we endure the current situation, just as it happened in the past with charity events, foundation of schools, universities and preparatory schools, they occurred at the hands of your brothers and sisters, I believe you will be able to realise even greater things.  
Being spread across the whole world is an important step in realising the noble Prophet’s wish and ultimate goal.  
Since God has spread and scattered you; you should make the most of this position and spread your message in an appropriate manner.  
Everyone is aware of the issues, so this is an opportunity.  
Therefore, the majestic name of Muhammad will be raised like a flag everywhere on which the sun rises and sets, as he states.  
Yes, we should allow ourselves to have such an ultimate goal and one day God will definitely make us realise that goal, to that lake.  
Then we will find our way from there, turn into water vapour and raise up as drops; once the positive and negative charges come together, we will turn into rain drops, and fall on the earth again and run to humanity’s aid, rescue nature, become a cascade and pour into the oceans again.  
You know the expression in medicine:  
‘Imperfect cycle’, today they refer to it as a ‘vicious cycle’.  
In response to this we call it a ‘righteous cycle’, ‘prosperous cycle’; yes this will be the result with God’s permission and grace.  
In the face of indispensability, “We must clutch our teeth and consider some things; we must study the philosophy of the Prophets life; we must look over the Prophet Muhammad’s life, we must re-read The Risale-i Nur Collection, written by Bediüzzaman, the Spokesman of Our Age, and hence we must listen to the grievances of our age from them.  
The generations of today will then feel the need to make these considerations, they will consider their responsibilities, and their thoughts will deepen.  
I always lived in a Turkey when communist thought was wide spread and popular.  
You must have witnessed those talks and sermons I made.  
The youth would sometimes enter the mosques without ablution, and they would ask some odd questions.  
So what were their grievances?  
Hence, in order to avoid making them fear and escape these realities, they must be answered with strong thought provoking exertions.  
What have the thinkers of our age said? of course we must consult and consider what they say.  
After a while, time, conditions, will make them become more competent in what they do.  
Perhaps for some, they may need to be encouraged and pushed.  
You are capable, with many qualities, and you express your thoughts so eloquently; everything you say feels like you are reading from Ferdowsi; one feels most soothed.  
If there are people with such capabilities, then we must in a push them forward in a positive manner.  
The world needs to hear such voices.  
Because in the past, people saw Muslims as potential threats. Sadly, today, the people who represent Islam have openly made the public call Muslims terrorists, the linked terrorism to Islam.  
We must explain that in fact it is not like that, and that in essence, Islam is a heavenly religion that is much greater than humanism.  
We must explain that people choose their own path, and hence live what they live.  
They do it with free will, with the observation of justice, with the thoughts of justice. That’s all…  
Therefore, the system must be presented accordingly, so to say a utopia must be formed.  
Perhaps, in this regard the first thing that comes first is integration.  
In the countries we live in, we will stand out with the way we appear and dress, and with our actions, all within the basis of Islam; just how our sisters do currently, like you all do.  
Maybe being seen with a robe like this.  
If they see us like that, they would not judge us or would not have bias towards us in a place of worship, however sometimes in the places we live, in everyday life they may have judgement towards our clothes.  
I believe we should not be fixated on details like this; otherwise you might lead towards loss within only the primary essentials.  
Integration is very important.  
Those who are rational, the younger generations, women and men both, young and old should not have nor find any fault with integration.  
So much so that they should say, ‘They belong to us’.  
However, when you speak they should be able to say, ‘You are actually not from amongst us.’  
Just like this.  
However on the other hand, when you get too close, assimilation may occur.  
I think to a much more extreme level, this will have an impact on the youth and children who have given in to the whims of their carnal desires.  
An American academician who knows of and believes in God’s Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, almost in a begging manner, said:  
‘For God’s sake, please sir.  
Look, you have travelled to these lands; do not diffuse and disappear amongst these people.  
Continue as you are.’  
You heard it too didn’t you?  
Yes, he begged; these friends here witnessed it too.  
‘Those who came before you scattered to different places; however their immune systems were too weak, they had no resilience; they let themselves be lost within that cascade and could not find it within themselves to save themselves.’  
He begged us here.  
The first matter for him is integration; the second is to establish greenhouses against assimilation.  
The sole solution is; if possible, to find talented, well-equipped, idealist people who have devoted themselves to this cause to guide others.  
If they are not present in the country/region we are in, then we should look to other places to bring them in; talented, capable people must take to this task.  
And on top of all of these mentioned, when we gather together to engage in ‘talk of the Beloved’.  
As the poet said, ‘I wish all the people of the world loved whom I love.  
I wish our talk would always be about the Beloved…”  
To me the matter is to begin with God and His Prophet, with our religion, to ‘condition’ these people with the remembrance of God.  
In fact it was almost as if to inspire a desire in them to hear these things.  
So much so that it reaches this horizon:  
Thinking that ‘we will conquer Istanbul’.  
This is a matter at a secondary degree. So what…  
What is the fundamental matter?  
To bring to life in hearts the belief in God and His Messenger.  
The real resurrection is this, the real ‘resurrection of the dead’.  
Necip Fazıl would use that saying, ‘the resurrection of the dead.’  
The resurrection of the dead.  
To make all worldly matters secondary; to devote oneself so much that one’s soul is completely connected to God.  
We must truly devote our soul to it; so then one day we might make that a part of our natural disposition.  
Our noble Prophet states:  
‘The level of desire you have towards bodily lusts is the level of desire and satisfaction I have towards prayer.’  
This is to say that it must be a part of one’s nature; it means for it to be a deep part of one’s spiritual anatomy.  
What is ‘Spiritual Anatomy’?  
A person’s conscience, heart, feelings, sensations, willpower, consciousness, comprehension; these are all alongside our ‘physical anatomy’.  
One must try to reach such profound levels; in one way to continuously act in a stimulated impulse, for the lack of a better word.  
And so, it’s not really about looking for evidence anymore; it has become an integrated part of our nature, it has been so deeply embraced.  
For example when the time for prayer comes, we must come to action before even hearing the call to Prayer. Our heart and ears should always be at the place of worship, we must say, ‘Oh if only it could just come already, if I could prostrate before God and pour out my heart to Him.’  
It’s about getting to this level.  
This is not something that will happen overnight.  
If you actively desire and strive for this, one day you will reach that summit.  
There is a proverb that says, ‘If a person chases something with serious intent to attain it, if they actively desire it and work for it, they will surely reach what they hope for.’ Similarly in Arabic:  
‘If a person follows up and focuses on something, just as the earth constantly rotates around the sun, if one were to rotate around that goal, then surely, with God’s permission and grace, they will reach what they seek.’  
If we could approach our holidays with such an attitude with our youth, if we could present it as such to the families and children, we would not experience a loss there, with God’s permission and grace.  
From one end it will be a means to facilitate integration; and from the other end it will serve as a means of protection from sliding into other pathways, with God’s permission and grace.  
In fact, these should be done without breaks.  
Even in the worst of times, even when coups were taking place, our friends were constantly organising retreat camps that served somewhat as rehabilitation and as a source of morale.  
There was a time when soldiers would raid such camps, but they were nowhere near as merciless as today’s ones.  
They would make a raid, no problem, they would take people for interrogation; sometimes they would release people quickly, sometimes they would keep them for a month or two.  
Nobody was given ‘lifelong imprisonment’ back then.  
Yes, even in those dangerous times there was a serious increase in camps and programs; in fact they spread rapidly to all across Turkey, and there were camps taking place everywhere.  
And gradually these camps became more modernised, they became hosted in hotels, motels, and places of the sort.  
Who knows, with the way things stand, what else does the future promise; it is impossible to make a guess at the moment.  
Here, with generations that have grown equipped, and at the same time, with developed immune systems.  
Their resilience is developed, the body shows resilience against any sort of germ now; the germ endangers itself when it enters into the body; in a way, it is as if the body has a constant antibiotic intake, with God’s permission and grace.  
The educated generations are going to be resilient in such a way.  
You will see this.  
We will have already passed to the other side but I will ask you ‘How did it go?’ when you come.  
God willing.  
May God Almighty spare me to you, may He bring us together there if He wills.  
And this was another side of the matter; I have said these things to protect ourselves and our generations.  
I have beaten around the bush, caused headaches; please forgive me.  
May God Almighty make you lasting with your sincerity and the immensity of your conscience.  
May He make you the causes of very important services, and may He make each one of you worth one thousand people.