He is the one who has raised the veil on the face of creation and unearthed the secrets ingrained in the spirit of things. By removing the disruption in between he recoupled the earth with the heavens. He made the mind and the heart meet within the frame of the soundest essentials, thus liberating the power of reasoning to metaphysical immensities. He is the one who has unraveled the truth behind all things, living or nonliving, and he established his interpretations on universal rules much earlier than everyone else and at a level that surpassed that of the greatest scientists. He is the one who said the most essential words about the universe, who probed things and events with his words and drew aside the veil of secrets in order for us to behold that which is beyond everything. It was he who exalted human thought to the point of intersection between body and soul and who turned this corporeal world into a corridor to the heavens, shattering obsolete understandings. He is the Prophet Muhammad, the final Messenger of God, peace be upon him.
In this world, in which we used to live heedlessly, we have learned about our Creator through the Prophet. We have felt and become aware of the blessings that shower down on us thanks to the illumination he provided for our vision. We have learned from him once again feelings of gratitude for blessings, the notion of perfect goodness (ihsan) and praising God. Thanks to the messages he brought to us, we are able to comprehend the relationship between the Creator and the created, the relationship between the worshipper and the worshipped in a way that is fitting to the greatness of the Creator and becoming to our servanthood.
Before he set foot in this world—his foot is our crown—light and darkness were intermingled, the ugly and beautiful went side by side, roses were pierced by thorns, sugar remained hidden in the cane, the earth was dark to spite the sky, the sky was a terrible and chilling void, the metaphysical was confined to the narrow considerations of physicality, the spiritual was overshadowed by the corporeal, the spirit was a dry and empty phrase, and the heart was obscured by the flesh. It was thanks to the light that he poured on our vision that all the former world and worn-out thoughts fell, one by one… darkness was overpowered by light. And once more, the soul and spirituality took the reins. It was thanks to the interpretations he made about humankind, existence, and God that the universe became a comprehensive and legible book of the Divine. From one end to the other, this huge universe became an exhibition of Divine art. Natural phenomena became nightingales that related tales of the Creator, calling to God, and proclaiming the praises of God’s ability to create perfectly out of nothing.
Feelings were in darkness until the eyes of humanity awakened to his light; thoughts were inconsistent and hearts were brought down by loneliness. There was neither joy without grief, nor was there a sign of pleasure without pain. There was not one single drop from the realms beyond, so the slopes of the heart were devoid of spring or greenery. By his honoring this world, the spell of the drought that prevailed everywhere was broken. The eyes in the heavens filled with tears, and hearts assumed the color of the slopes of Paradise. And then the suffering of the hearts, which had dried and cracked from the drought, came to an end. And the fountain of light appeared on the horizons of the souls that had been writhing in agony in the claws of death.
Until the moment he honored this derelict world, lies and truth were intermingled, goodness and sins were companions, the notion of virtue was an obscure concept, and dishonesty was rife in the market of passing desires and fancies. The condition of all of humanity was dreadful because of the life they led, which was in complete contradiction to the true purpose of their creation; they had the stamp of rebellion on their foreheads and delirium in their souls. Almost everyone was anxiously watching out for one another in that wild arena of calamities… Right was stamped underfoot, brutal power controlled everything with all its insolence; being predatory was virtually a privilege, for only those with sharp claws had a say… Struggling in beastly ways was the norm. Preying on each other was honorable. Might was right. The thought of justice was unimaginable; the weak suffered nightmares of oppression… Righteousness, innocence, and chastity were at their lowest, even worse than in our day. Neither the heart, nor the mind was of any concern; sound thinking and religious feelings were despised. The conscience was an alien idea of lost notions, pushed to some corner of the mind. The spirit was mistreated, and it crept along a few levels below biological life. Theft was popular, robbery was equal to chivalry, pillage was a sign of courage. Thoughts were miserable, feelings were wild, hearts were merciless, and horizons were pitchblack… He came at such a period, with the magnificent immensity of his heart which sufficed against everything. He came and cleaned the filth of the world in a single move. He cleared up the darkened horizons and revived hearts with the hope of light. He called to all mankind to behold a new day in the bright face of dawn. He raised the veil from people’s eyes and let souls enjoy the pleasure of witnessing different things, things they had never seen before. He made the pulse of the mind follow the rhythm of the heart. He transformed various ravings in people into spiritual zeal.
When he came, the sincerest of smiles replaced the grief on the mourning faces. He came and oppression fell silent. The lamenting of the oppressed ceased, and feelings of justice in the hearts were revived. He came and halted the reign of brutal power, taught the transgressors a lesson, and unchained the tongue of the righteous.
If we are still able to talk about certain perfections in spite of so many nightmares and disasters, we owe it to the magnificent heavenly Book he offered to us, which is a collection of universal values. The feeling of seeking the good, beautiful, and humane in our hearts comes from the light he shed, the light with the color of infinity. The longing for eternal bliss we feel in our souls is from the light of faith he sparked in our souls.
Since knowing him, all of us have changed, everything has changed; we have comprehended that we have been created for eternity, we were meant for eternity. And then our ruined hearts turned into splendid gardens. Then our surroundings suddenly assumed the colors of Paradise. When Providence smiled at us and we took his side, all the monsters lying in wait failed, one by one. Wolves and jackals took shelter in their dens, with their tails between their legs. Snakes changed their attitude and become friends with the doves. Devilish fires were extinguished, one by one, and the devils moved to valleys of hopelessness; then an aura of spirituality began to make its presence felt.
O light that has illuminated our dark worlds, O rose that has turned worlds into perfumeries with your wonderful scent, your sudden departure, like a sunset in our hearts, has turned our mornings of hope into a pitch-dark night of grief. Visibility has been lost in a fog, and the roads are totally confused. A time has come when the mind has been diverted from your path to other valleys. Thoughts have totally refused to understand you and the monsters who lay in ambush for years have filled everywhere. They have attempted to obliterate your name from our hearts and make new generations forget you. These wicked efforts have entangled our derelict world in inauspiciousness and the fate of the community has become hunched in misery. We have failed to stand our ground; we could neither be as we were supposed to be, nor have we been able to reach our claimed destination. We have become detached from our spiritual roots and we have failed to interpret the matter and the world. We have let ourselves into the withering atmosphere of a dismal fall. As everybody ran to the horizons of their own world of thoughts, we have just remained immured where we were, in a chilling annihilation.
Now a frightening uncertainty in your world prevails; insights are narrow, thoughts are twisted, and feelings of renewal and revival are totally paralyzed. For years the blessed lands where you were born have lain completely barren; they bear no fruit now. Your beloved hometown is in silent protest at our faithlessness. Be it Damascus or Baghdad, they all produce anomalous births. Balkh and Bukhara are questing for nothing in valleys of emptiness. Konya is seeking consolation in folkloric performances. From one end to the other, the spirit of the great Andalusia is mourning the past. Istanbul goes through constant fluctuations in the claws of aimlessness. And an entire world is alone, orphaned, writhing in paroxysm, and tortured by time.
A black shadow has been cast over the magnificent meaning you brought. Now there is a terrible obstruction between you and our hearts, caused by heedlessness, ignorance, and lack of insight. In this eclipse that we are experiencing, we cannot see our surroundings nor make a sound evaluation, let alone utter a remark about the future. I cannot tell whether the souls to whom your light has not reached can be revived. Actually, how can revival be possible for the masses who do not assume their light, color, or style from you?
All of us have grimly watched the setting of your spirit behind the slopes of our hearts in an unhappy period. We were not able to do anything before that chilling sunset and we remained passive, presenting an example of complete helplessness. And then all the divine blessings, grace, peace, happiness, and the sweetest poems of the period of bliss ceased. In these days, when we long for your blessed face and character, grief is our portion, and silence is our part. In this unfortunate period, as we pass through pitch-black voids, the skies never look promising. The stars never wink at us. The sun and the moon never assume the color they had in your time. We see darkness around us constantly and are startled by the grunting of night creatures. You are not among us anymore, and the hissing of snakes and insects can be heard all around; the screaming of bats echoes everywhere. I cannot tell whether your heart is broken because of us—if that is ever possible—but there is one thing I know, we may have hurt you; indeed, to imply mere possibility in this phrase is nothing but a statement of hopefulness. However, if you do not grant us a kindness and honor our hearts, then we will be completely shattered, broken into pieces. And if you do not come and clear the smoke and dust on the face of our world, then we will suffocate in this heavy air, never to be revived again.
O most beloved one of our hearts, please let us be your host one more time. Set your throne upon our hearts and order us to do any service you wish. Please come and expel the darkness within us, make us feel the inspirations of your spirit in all our being and show us the way to a new revival. Come and disperse the shadows that grow worse every day with your lights that crown the sun and extinguish the fire of oppression and injustice that causes us all to suffer. Come and unlock the chains around the necks of these poor souls who are set on rancor, hatred, and enmity; enliven our hearts, which have been deprived of mercy and compassion, with the enthusiasm of love and tolerance. Come and make our spirits meet the bright light of the mind and hearts with the immensity of logic and reasoning; save us from alienation within our own selves.
After you left, some of us became entangled in reason and began to lose our way from the straight path. And some of us surrendered to sweet dreams and wasted time in various fancies; we were unable to delve into the depths of spiritual life and we could no longer understand the language of reason. We ignored reason and corrupted the world; we completely neglected our hearts and oversaw our own deaths.
O sun and moon of our dark nights, O sole guide of those who broke down on the way; you were not and are not born once, like we were. Every period is a time of sunrise for you, and our hearts are humble skylines for your rise; our wretchedness is an invitation to you, and we are looking forward to your light. Please have mercy on our crying hearts and come; shine upon our souls for the love of the Creator, do not abandon us nor burn our souls with the fire of being without you. We are not learned enough, nor do we have power to do goodness; our sins and transgressions are immense. What we offer you is not even equal to merchandise of scant worth (Yusuf 12:88)… There is no one left whose door we have not knocked on; those we cherished hopes about and those we ran to have always cheated us and left us halfway. We have neither the energy to walk nor to retain our present position. Given that you are the owner—there is no doubt about that—then why should the orchard be left untended? Even making such a call to you is another form of disrespect. Given that being at the command is your right, then who can dare to speak on behalf of that post!
O sultan of hearts, whose mercy comes ahead of his justice, we acknowledge that we have been oblivious and disrespectful of you, but you have seen worse before; even though you were hurt, you did not cut off your relations with those who were unfaithful to you. You even opened your hands and prayed for those who injured your head and broke your tooth. Taking their ignorance of who you are as an excuse, you did not invoke curses on them, and you did not say amen to this kind of wish either. You opened your bosom so much that even people like Abu Jahl became hopeful, and you related your every word and act to the immensity of the mercy of the Almighty. Even though our expectations have no right to be claimed, we have no doubt that all that you do is a consequence of your exemplary character.
O friend, so many springs have passed while we have been stuck in this fall, but we still follow in your tracks, even though we stumble. Come and cheer us on one more time; we are in a state in which your name can be heard all around by the fresh saplings of your orchard. The world is in desperate need of your light. Even though we cannot make the best journey with our broken wills and cracked hopes, we are always on the path. You are the beloved we are seeking, even though merely with our feelings; come and shine in us for a final time so that our hearts will be filled with light and the long nights that darken our horizons will vanish to be replaced by bright daylight.
Even though our eyes do not see the signs of your sunrise, your flavor, delight, and scent enrapture all of us even now. Come and lead us again, so that your light will be shed on our souls. You are, as Itri expressed, “a date palm of Mount Sinai which casts no shadow; a sun filling the world, light from head to toe.” Your message, thought, horizons, and every aspect of you is pure light; remove the veil from over your face, let the world be filled with your light, and let your name be heard all around!
O exalted friend, these words I have uttered are not a poem of praise, nor are they a serenade; they are a lament without a rhythm, the essence of which is longing, the spirit of which is grief; they belong to your loyal follower, a recurring lament…