The beginning of all good deed or beneficial work is important because it is the first step on a path that, hopefully, leads to a good conclusion. Yet it is only a beginning; a beginning alone is not sufficient for the continuity of goodness. There are so many good beginnings that do not reach the spring and are buried in history, leaving broken dreams behind. Every journey or action that blooms to existence and smiles at life needs further positive dynamics to realize its own identity and become a tree that yields fruit and maintains its liveliness. The most important of these dynamics is the will and struggle for self-renewal. Everything is kept alive by renewal; when renewal stops, decay and decomposition begin, and a once promising endeavor becomes like a corpse whose soul has been taken.
The most important thing is understanding renewal correctly. Self-renewal should definitely not be confused with a fancy for renewal. True renewal is realized by retaining the purity of the seed and the root, and by synthesizing an entire inheritance of values with new thoughts and wisdom appropriate to the age. Thus, one can reach clearer horizons of reflection. Self-renewal is a purely metaphysical phenomenon, a spiritual revival; one must stay true to the sacred values. In other words, a thorough revival can only be realized with the efforts of the spirit, intellect, feelings, and willpower working in concert. Utilizing the spirit’s power to the fullest, making flawless use of the knowledge inherited from the past, being constantly open to spiritual breezes of inspiration, not being trapped by blind imitation, and always following a sound methodology are some dynamics of an ideal renewal.
A person leads an impulsive and energetic life in their youth. When the age of maturity comes, everything finds its right place and the person begins to lead a life shaped by sound judgment and reason. But there sometimes comes a phase when feelings and thoughts lose their color and become dull. This does not signify maturation of character; on the contrary, this state expresses losing the spirit of things that once meant a great deal to you.
Actually, such transformations experienced by individuals also hold true for collectives and communities. In their heyday, strong communities flow like rivers. They beam with smiles at their periods of youth and maturity, but then begin to dull with the fall of their seasons. By utilizing their inner dynamics well, some survive for a long time and some for a shorter period, but they all move toward their destined ends.
In this respect, both in individual and social life, one’s eyes must be directed to peaks, one’s wings must be open wide to reach higher levels, and one must pursue noble ideals. Without such determination, these ideals will never come true. Without such resolve, stagnancy and disintegration become inevitable. In the person of the Prophet’s blessed Companions, the Qur’an calls believers to such a revival: “Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should soften with humility and submit (to God to strive in His cause) in the face of God’s Remembrance (the Qur’an) and what has come down of the truth (the Divine teachings)?” (al-Hadid 57:16).
Believers who respond positively to this call must maintain enthusiasm for progress, so that they will be protected by Divine providence, will stay fresh as long as possible, and will not topple over. They must do this so that they are not blown adrift by every new wave of change and transformation.
It is possible to speak up with a new voice and offer the world a new righteous understanding of civilization. But it should never be forgotten that the realization of this ideal depends on the human factor. It depends on individuals who think, judge, draw on sound reasoning, and experiment; who have a say in every field, from sciences to arts, technology to metaphysics; who seek ways of deepening their knowledge of every issue that concerns them; who use a constructive spirit to realize self-renewal without losing respect for the Divine Essence, and who oppose all kinds of narrow-mindedness. These vigorous souls with steel willpower must keep running on the path of serving humanity with an insatiable love for research, an ever-evolving passion for knowledge of God, and an otherworldly profundity beyond comprehension. This book conveys the feelings and thoughts of a person who has dedicated his life for the coming of such a generation and who suffers, in heart and mind, for this ideal.