Weekly Letter

 Faith’s Flavour, Love for Humanity and Hope

The ending of the deformation and corruption in this world depends on us finding our true form.

Without changing ourselves there is no point in waiting for others to change.
I can say with hopeful consideration that we have started out in this direction.
However we have not made any substantial progress, it is not yet complete.
As someone says:
‘I studied in the school of love with Majnun,
I finished reciting the entire Qur’an while he couldn’t get any further than the Chapter Al-Layl.’
In other words ‘I reached my goal but Majnun kept saying, ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’. He expresses this in the same manner as Sabk Hindi (the Indian style), in two verses.
The reconstruction of the whole world into a corridor of Paradise is a source of hope for many, for a large portion of people across the world.
It is important to have such enviable ideas and goals.
I believe there is no other formation or movement anywhere else.
I cannot link this issue to the point of belonging and say, ‘You have this, this movement has this, this congregation has this…’ it would be an allegation.
But if I claim otherwise, that would be rejecting the Glorified Blessings of God.
The things that have developed are from the generosity, virtue, inclination and praise of God.
And the things that are bound to happen are His extra favours.
The things that have happened are a point of reference for future events.
We have to believe this and engage in the struggle of renewing ourselves.
The Qur’an indicates this:
‘O you who believe! Believe in God and His Messenger (Muhammad) and the Book He has been sending down on His Messenger in parts, and the (Divine) Books He sent down before’ (An-Nisa, 4:136).
The verse says: ‘O you who believe’ not ‘Disbelievers, Hypocrites, Sinners and Wrongdoers’.
And grammatically this verse says: ‘O those who are continuous in their belief.
In one way those who refresh their belief in their consciences continuously.
Who run after proofs of belief.
Those pierce their hearts with knowledge of God and act with reverence and awe of God.
By using your minds in this way and directing it to positive thinking, come and believe one more time’.
The Companions fully understood the meaning of this verse and at times asked those people they met on the streets:
A Companion would tell the other: ‘Come! Let us reaffirm our faith in God together.’
The Companions…
They believed in a way that exceeds our level of comprehension.
They believed in God as though they saw Him; they displayed high levels of God-consciousness in all their actions.
The Messenger of God set an example to them; they shaped themselves according to him, peace and blessings be upon him.
They strived to be like him in all aspects; what he did, how he strived to spread the message of God, shed tears, stood long in prostration; they strived to be worthy of him and keep their loyalty to him, with God’s permission.
It went on like this until a certain time.
He mentioned this as:
‘The best of you are those who live in my time.
And then the ones who follow them, and then the ones who follow them.’
‘The best of ages, the one that benefits the humankind the most, the most envied one is the one I live in.’
The following age is that of Successors, the second generation of Muslims following the Companions, still following the very bright light of the Prophet.
He, peace and blessings be upon him, was a Luminous Moon.
The Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman also uses this expression.
His Companions were the circles of light, halos around him.
In a way, God’s Messenger was calling on all people to hold them in high esteem.
He said: ‘My Companions are like stars. Whoever amongst them you follow, you’ll be led to true guidance.’
‘My Companions are like stars.
They are like stars travelling around the Sun or in big constellations.’
Especially the Rightly-Guided Caliphs…
God’s Messenger especially asked mankind to follow the path of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.
Therefore, the Companions were pure representatives of Islam who exhibited their faith with their way of life.
The ones who followed them also lived according to that Source of Light, and shaped themselves accordingly; they constantly checked whether their actions were in compliance with the Prophet’s life, and adjusted themselves over and over.
They said, ‘This is how the Companions did it’ and they followed suit. They adjusted themselves to their heart and feelings.
When you move away from that, you slowly move away from that atmosphere of holy light.
It didn’t die out completely, but it did not radiate like it once did.
Following the successors, other disturbing ideas and philosophies became popular; Neo-Platonism, Socratic thought, Aristotelian thought and Greek philosophy made their way into the pure thought of our intellectual world, and led to sicknesses in our intellectual world.
Incidentally, let me make a side point here:
This does not mean we cannot get ideas from others, but the things we learn have to be filtered through our own sources and accepted once approved.
Do these ideas suit us or not?
Are they reconcilable with our understanding of God?
Are they reconcilable with our understanding of Prophethood?
Are they reconcilable with our understanding of the Divine Names, Divine Attributes and the Divine Being?
In this respect, there is no problem with ‘getting’ but doing it blindly is very problematic.
Slowly, as this blind acceptance began, essentially, that ‘light’ lost a lot of its radiance.
It went from ‘radiating light’ to ‘pure light’; in a sense, it turned into a small spark and then a candle light, it was put out when it was a spark and now it is just ash.
And that is what we have inherited.
Rekindling the life of the heart
Inducing rhythm into the heart by feeling belief in God and knowledge of God in the heart.
A tremor induced within us, it will in a sense force our thoughts into action; serious contemplation, reflection, discussion will take place and put us onto the right path.
With every step we take towards him, we will come face to face with new forms of attainment.
If we stay where we are and if we are content with minimal effort, we will dry up.
Going a step forward each day, spreading new branches each day, calling people to the truth every day.
They should not see us in the same condition they saw us the previous day.
We must have new things to offer so that people run towards us; and by running to us they should in a way run to the path of emancipation and reach salvation.
I think that people are hurting themselves, but we are all hurting humanity.
Because we cannot exhibit and do not portray the ideal consistency, they see Muslims as such.
There are countless numbers of causes creating blurred focus.
Look around you. There are people who will behead a person stating, ‘Why do you not think like I do?’, darkening the bright face of the faith.
Those who see this shiver. But this is not a shivering with knowledge, love and adoration for God. They shiver and say, ‘Oh, God forbid! Thank God we are not of this cemetery!’
I am not expressing a name. I am not saying, ‘This group or that group.’
It is so disgusting that for a person to look at these monsters, to then choose Islam, to take a step towards it, to accept it impossible.
In fact I believe that they would even cause those who accidentally turn to them to change their minds and say, ‘Do not be tired for nothing, you have left on a journey towards darkness.’
Look at the Muslim world around you; look at it holistically.
Use your perception and intelligence as a telescopic lens; with your holistic perspective try to come to a conclusion about things as they are.
I think mine may be flawed but you have the ability to gather it completely. You will say, ‘May God not place us in this state.’
Yes, as I express this humbly, I believe you imagine those scenes in your minds scene by scene; In the form of abstract pictures, it plays like a film on a cinema screen.
And I think if you were to think a little deeper, even in this holy place, holy because it is a place in which we pray, not because we reside in here, you are clenching your teeth to not be sick.
You experience nausea.
You say, ‘Oh, may God not allow us to be similar to those of such and such place, to be of their status.’
May God protect us from it.
The world is dirty as such.
For they are covered from head to toe in tar.
There is a Turkish proverb, ‘How do you view others to be?
Like myself.’
If they terrorise anyone one in their vicinity who does not think as they do, it is very normal for them to call you terrorists. For they see you as they see themselves; they think you are like them.
I said the world is experiencing an alarming deformation.
Essentially, looking into the deformation into our own world, ‘Perhaps, it goes like this.
It has always been like this’, they say.
Therefore, a point of view in which one ‘promotes good and strives to stop evil’ is very important.
I believe having this viewpoint is as if not even more important than actually promoting good and striving against evil.
Actually, this is the most important quality in a community. ‘(O Community of Muhammad!),
You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind.
Enjoining and promoting what is right and good, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil, and (this you do because) you believe in God’ (Al Imran, 3:110).
‘Bringing a person to truth through enjoining good and forbidding evil is better that flocks and flocks of sheep.’
The master of speech, peace and blessings be upon him expresses this.
Imagine a group, a congregation, which embody and reflect a subject like that in a choir and represent that with their action, with actions.
When others see this, they are going to feel compelled to say, ‘This world has become a liveable place after all’.
They’re going to say, ‘Perhaps the only way to prepare for the next realm is to act like this’.
In today’s climate that is prone to different sorts of violence, to warn the average person of such considerations, to establish this in people is an important duty.
To the world, a whole movement, like a choir, to voice these ideas.
Those that manage that choir have come and gone and brought with them certain principles.
When you consider these principles, you don’t need to reinvent the choir and its melodies from scratch.
Things that have been said continue to echo in our ears.
Echo in our heart’s ears.
Yes provided that we once again try to establish true close proximity to Him, who is nearer to us than ourselves even.
Say, ‘I can’t sleep from the torment of separation, help o My Lord!
I live my life awaiting, help o My Lord!’
These words belong to Niyazi al-Misri, a man of the heart.
Just as he says:
‘Do not adhere to a random guide, lest he takes you through steep paths;
Those who walk behind a true guide, surely take a path of much ease.’
So which guide should humanity take, so we do not travel through steep ways?
Would you not want to be such a guide?
Those who make observations with a wholesome approach, who analyse mankind under a microscope, see the hope that this movement is offering.
‘It seems as if these people are proposing things to mankind.
Or else everywhere weapons of destruction are being manufactured, one wishes to take the other’s position after disposing of him.
Essentially, to stay relevant in hearts, to blow breezes of reconciliation. To enable people to grow close and hold onto each other, and to allow people to escape their hatred with a tight embrace.
It seems to me that this was already demonstrated with the Turkish Olympiads and with the opening of schools all around the globe.
This means that if they had been a little more patient, they would have set a precedent in making the world a better place to live in.
If the world is in expectation of this, we must steer in another direction and take careful steady steps to not cause trouble for those and to lead them astray with our zigzag paths.
‘Our actions might be interpreted in this way’.
In thought of losing more than we do good, we must tread carefully, with circumspection.
Beside the point, circumspection, or the stabilization of one’s spiritual state, is the final step in Sufism.
By acting more carefully, we are ensuring that both our interactions with God and people will not shock, hurt or cause others to lead astray.
Again the noble Messenger states:
‘There are three qualities whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of faith:
To love God and His Messenger more than anyone else; to love only for the sake of God; and to hate returning to infidelity after God has saved him from it as he would hate to be thrown into the fire (of Hell).’
The spiritual flavour of faith…
Above everything lies faith; and to embellish your faith with spiritual knowledge.
The faith that does not stand on knowledge of God is always subject to tremors and might topple.
Similar to the case of many in today’s world who are shaken by troubles, calamities and evil deeds.
On one side, based on the verse ‘And that He may purify the believers (individually, of all base metal, and collectively, of the hypocrites among them), and gradually blot out the unbelievers’ (Al Imran, 3:141), this was a differentiation like the separation of residue from pure gold or silver.
However on the other side, with their attitudes toppling over, they showed where they stood and how they stood.
This means that these people were not ready to walk towards more serious issues.
If they were to live in the era of the Pride of Humanity, they would have caused a fiasco at the Battle of Badr, and a blunder at the Battle of Uhud, and would have tried to cheat and escape from the Battle of the Trench.
Similar to what the hypocrite Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul did.
He was one man but there were many fools following him.
Now there is an inflation of Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul’s in today’s world.
Yes, faith in God…
Then crowning faith with the knowledge of God.
And letting the knowledge of God soar with the love of God.
Finally, crowning the love of God with longing for God.
This topic is well addressed in Sufism, but not deeply mentioned amongst Islamic jurisprudence neither in the books on morals.
Then spiritual pleasure that stems from the longing for God.
The Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman touches on this issue:
‘Belief in God, knowledge of God, love of God, spiritual pleasure’.
But from my perspective:
The state of spiritual pleasure is only possible if we act for the sake of God without any expectations, with a passion that comes from deep inside.
Then we would welcome this state by saying, ‘This is a grace, a bounty, a favour, a mercy, respect, protection and care from God’.
May God not deprive us from this treat, and may He always reward us with this state.
Belief in God, knowledge of God, love of God and spiritual pleasure, yearning for reunion with God….
Loving God more than anyone and anything, loving the Prophet more than anyone or anything.
For example, as was mentioned in my previous poor discussions.
The Honourable Umar ibn al-Khattab, at a moment when he was engulfed with love and ardour, looks at the glowing, dazzling face of the Messenger of God, and says: ‘O Messenger of God, I love you more than everything except for myself; more than my family, my children, my country, everything’.
Now, this is a very important proclamation.
This is such an utterance that I believe if we had truly heard its elegance, its depth, its euphoric quality like that of the reed flute, we would begin to float and start whirling like the mystics of Rumi.
However, the Messenger of God does not respond as expected.
‘If you do love me more than your own self too, then you will not have truly believed’, he says.
Umar ibn al-Khattab is so quick and alert.
He is almost like a receptor, a receiver that has the capability to pick up a thousand signals at once and decipher and interpret them at once.
He has the capacity for instant ascension and advancement.
He says right away:
‘O Messenger of God!
I now love you even more than my own self’.
I do not believe there is a one in a million chance that his words are contrary to his reality.
May God grant everyone this same level of thought and sentiment.
When one is equipped with this mindset, you will see everything they do after that point is perfectly on point:
Similarly, if one loves and connects with other people, his/her attitude and inclination towards them should be in proportion to the quality and depth of their relationship with God.
Why did I elaborate on this so much?
If certain individuals stand right beside you in line, like residents of a high assembly of angels forming concentric lines surrounding the Ka’ba, they share your vision, mission, and passion, and then they deserve the first place on your heart.
If others are a little more half-hearted and neglectful, they deserve second place.
And if others watch you with admiration, thinking ‘Let’s see when they will bow in Prayer’, having love and appreciation towards them in proportion to their love and appreciation.
And if others say, ‘It is possible to go a long way with these people;
‘They are trustworthy, we can build a future with them,
this global deformation can be eradicated together’. If this is the viewpoint that is being observed, imitated and desired, as well as being connected to them.
From degree to degree, showing some sort of attachment to everyone.
Because from all the issues I have mentioned, some people are integrated wholly, some are only one third within the framework, some are only a quarter and some are one fifth of that circle.
In this way, loving for the sake of God…
Since humans are God’s notable and distinguished art, since they are the perfect pattern of creation, they are to love God as they are the polished mirror of His creations.
‘God has created humankind as the reflection of His All-Merciful essence.’
We need to try to understand this holy saying from the Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman’s explanation.
Indeed, when one of the Successors reported this, Yahya ibn Said al-Kattan critiqued him.
He is a critic of the Prophetic traditions; in the traditions that you see as complete, if there is a hidden catch; he will concentrate on that relentlessly.
Consequently he humiliated the individual who reported this and called him a ‘wounded person’.
However, the Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman has the explanation of this Prophetic saying.
I am saying:
If Yahya ibn Said al-Kattan, may my soul be sacrificed for him, as I love him very much, had heard the Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman’s explanation of that matter, he would not have critiqued the individual from the Successors.
If there is a shining mirror which reflects the Divine Essence, along with the All-Beautiful Names of God and His Divine Attributes, it is humankind.
Yes, when these aspects and characteristics are utilised, humans can surpass spiritual beings.
For example, the Archangel Gabriel will say the following to the Messenger of God:
‘Go, tonight is your night.
If I take another step, I will burn, but you won’t.’
The Pride of Humanity, in a way, was made from flesh and bone; he came into this life from a mother, he was a being of honour.
However, the Archangel Gabriel was created from Divine light.
When the Prophet comprehended him, he described him with his profundity; he used the expression ‘wing’ to describe him.
When he stepped outside of the dominion of Hira, from east to west he saw that Gabriel’s wings covered everything.
He viewed him in him real composition; it was so profound that its existence was too big for the eye to behold.
Again during the Ascension he did witness and contemplate, strengthening his admiration.
But during the Ascension, the Pride of Humanity surpassed him.
Now, from this perspective, isn’t man a mirror which resembles and manifests the Divine Essence and the All-Beautiful Names of God?
You decide.
Mankind is this kind of creation.
Consequently, the admiration of mankind is admiration of the art of God Almighty.
Therefore, this is a demonstration of respect towards God.
And not in the immediate circle, not in the essential scholastic circle, when you take the matter at hand in consideration you will come to realise that there are different ways that make themselves manifest in embracing everyone.
‘This too is a person which must be welcomed.
And this person must be embraced too.’
They’re coming here.
Head of such-and-such, leader of so and so; on a different path and belief.
But they say, ‘Please allow us to hug you.’
When I entered your world, I saw people that prayed.
I request of you, ‘Please sit at the back whilst we are praying.’
But he said, ‘When all of these people are praying and if I am to sit back, I would be disrespecting the worship that they have displayed for their Lord.’
He prayed hobbling.
He had never prayed; he displayed his worship to our Lord in a different format according to himself.
But he is praying here.
Yes, when he is bowing in Prayer, he moves back and forth; the same when he rises from prostration, sometimes faltering; the hearts will be influenced when you present your devoted servanthood to God through worship.
Now these people wish to hug you.
As a ‘Divine manner’, one must take ten steps to a person who takes one step towards them.
If one takes ten steps towards you, you must take one hundred steps towards them; embrace them.
And in the tradition it says, ‘human’.
Do you understand?
Firstly, of course those who are in the first row, secondly the second row and the third row and so on.
Until the hundredth row…
Everyone must have a share in such a welcome and embrace from different levels, depths, dialects and circumstances.
Everyone has a character. May God Almighty protect us from deviance and allow us to act in accordance with our character.
Your friends who produced the Turkish Olympiads, which at face value seemed like a worldly production, were successful in using their unique characters for good.
I have only watched these Olympiads on television.
I sincerely believed through them that all hearts can be conquered through universal values and authentic reasoning of the people of the future.
After seeing two people, one black one white, hold onto each other in tears as they had to farewell, I could not hold back my tears, and proceeded to cry with them.
It was a situation which showed immense promise. It must be continued.
One must not reduce it to ‘game and fun’.
Instead, it was an opportunity for deep mingling and socialisation.
But everyone has their own cultural values.
If you do not respect their cultural values, they will not show you respect.
What you expect from others is exactly what they expect from you, so give them what they expect, so that you may receive what you expect.
Yes, the tradition is narrated with slight differences in various sources.
In one of the books of tradition, Muslim, the following is added:
After God has pulled one out of disbelief, if they do not view the possibility of going back to disbelief, denying God, heresy, atheism, deism, positivism, naturalism, and so on, as bad as sinking into filth and tar, as bad as falling into Hellfire, then they have not yet tasted faith.
Once you approach the matter in this way you will realise that you are actually in a very fortunate position, or that you are gradually approaching that great position.
And I believe that you will tremble with fear for others, who walk around announcing, ‘I am doing good’, but are actually falling into a deep pit. You will pray to God for protection from such a lowly state.
‘If your will remains, do not despair.’
Willpower is such an important blessing that God has bestowed upon mankind.
It empowers man to be able to reach out and attain whatever they desire.
‘Inclinations and control over inclinations’ might seem simple, but it is important enough through which to gain Paradise.
You are requesting Paradise, whose single moment is greater than thousands of years of blissful life in this world.
What kind of a deal is this?
This seems to go against the principle of cause and effect.
The established principle of causality from physics.
Good gracious!
Such a small act of willpower can be rewarded with Paradise?
Is it not so?
‘God has bought from the believers their selves and wealth because Paradise is for them’ (At-Tawbah, 9:11).
Who do you think you are by desiring eternal Paradise?
This is willpower; God’s greatest gift for you.
A shadow of the shadow of the shadow of the shadow of His own Will.
Just like the Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman says, ‘Human existence is a shadow of the shadow of the shadow of the infinite shadow of His existence.’
If your willpower is active.
‘If you can, be a source of hope for all’
So, in a way, being hopeful means to not be in despair.
Because, ‘Those who live with hope are hopeful; those who live with hopelessness bind their spirits and consciences.’
Despair is such a swamp that if you fall in, you will drown.
Attach yourself to hope, then see where you will get!
Those who live on, live through their hope and determination.
Those in despair bind their spirits and consciences.’
‘O you living dead, the two hands are for one head.
Get moving, the hands are yours, and so is the head.
No emotion, no action, no suffering.
Is that a carcass before me?
You surprise me; this is not how you used to be!
I do not know why your determination is so discontinuous.
Is it you, or your hope that is spineless?’
Blessed statements, which we can consider as guidance from our national poet whose conscious suffered in the face of deformations.
‘Those who live with hope are hopeful; those who live with hopelessness bind their spirits and consciences.’
The Honourable Sage Bediüzzaman adds to this:
‘Despair is an obstacle to any kind of perfection.’
If you really want to seize the future, you have to walk with hope. Hope is crucial.
Being hopeful is an issue.
But during such critical moments, a person should behave as though nothing is wrong, being a source of hope by displaying action and will.
Almighty God pushed us into a different situation.
So His Will was to carry this out in a transformed manner.
Why did He spread us all around the world like seeds?
We were a small circle, only present in our country.
Even the Islamic world said, ‘Religion began with us.
The language of the religion is our language.
What is going on?
They came from Central Asia, they are speaking nonsense in Arabic; they begged religion from others.
What’s up with them?’ They would just look at us like that.
Now, God has expanded these deeds that were once done in a narrow circle.
A universal cause shouldn’t be exclusive to the narrow circle of Anatolia; it must reach the aim of the Pride of Humanity:
‘My name will permeate everywhere on which the sun rises and sets.’
So now, have you not scattered all over the world, everywhere the sun rises and sets?
In places where you fall like a ‘seed’, as a trust in the powerful nature of the earth, are you going to rot in the soil, or not?
Good job!
As a seed you will rot in the heart of the soil, but will you leave one or two or three seedlings.
According to the devotion in the intentions, according to sincerity, according to God-consciousness, sometimes even ten spikes can emerge from one seed.
And if there are ten replicas per spike, you will make one hundred instead of ten.
If this is God’s wish, no one should feel hopeless.
On the one hand he purifies us with those afflictions; if we go before Him, let us go there clean.
On the other hand, He is referring us to different ways of service, with much bigger objectives.
If so, what falls on us is to make the best of God’s will.
Since He scattered us like seeds, let us grow into spikes like seeds.
Since He implanted us to various places of the earth, let us search for ways to be like a willow trees.
The Kayı tribe came, like a seed; it grew into a willow tree in the narrowest of places; it has spread all over the world, it was once a power amongst the states of the world.
And humanity, in this way, witnessed real humanity.
We say that:
‘Hold our hand God.
Hold our hand, we cannot do without You!’
This will suffice you.