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Those who migrate for noble ideals and the chivalrous souls that welcome them

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Endeavor for Renewal

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Those who migrate for noble ideals and the chivalrous souls that welcome them

Question: After Prophet Lot, the Prophets were sent from among strong families.[1] Relatively speaking, can we consider the spiritual person of the Hizmet Movement as such a strong support (rukn al-shadid) for the volunteers in our time?

Answer: Prophet Lot, who was Prophet Abraham’s nephew,[2] was sent to the people who lived around the Dead Sea region, which included the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A certain immoral sexual act had become commonplace. The Qur’an refers to this issue in the context of different verses.[3] Before they were destroyed, God sent angels in human form to Prophet Lot as a miracle. They appeared as beautiful young men, as a final factor of Divine testing. When the people of Lot saw them, they became fixed on the newcomers as the target of their immoral behavior and it was the end of spoken address; they totally lost the test and were buried into the ground. God Almighty punished them with a shower of meteors.[4] So when those morally corrupted ones saw the angels near Prophet Lot and ran there drooling with their indecent intent, Prophet Lot said: “Would that I had power to resist you, or that I could lean upon some strong support!” (Hud 11:80). Any decent person who was in that great Prophet’s position would say the same thing, but nobody would express it so neatly like a Prophet did. For this reason, the Messenger of God stated that the helplessness of Prophet Lot was accepted as a prayer: “And after him, God Almighty sent every Prophet from among a large community in their people.”[5] That is, by sending every Prophet to come in later periods as a member of a certain tribe, God Almighty did not let possible attackers reach him right away, as the tribe served as a protective circle.

Divine providence through the veil of causality

The Pride of Humanity was from the Banu Hashim tribe, which was a very strong tribe in Mecca. His grandfather Abdul Muttalib was a distinguished figure in Mecca. After Abdul Muttalib passed, he was succeeded by his son Abu Talib, who was the Prophet’s guardian during his childhood and youth. So even the question of beating the noble Prophet with a flick of one’s little finger would be sufficient to cause the Banu Hashim tribe to mobilize. For this reason, the pagans of Mecca would not dare attacking the blessed Prophet. In the realm of causes, God Almighty screened His Divine protection for His beloved servant behind such apparent factors.

We can consider the event narrated in the second page of the chapter of Ya-Sin. Accordingly, God sent two messengers to a city, Antakya according to most books of Qur’anic exegesis,[6] but the people of the city refused to believe them. He reveals “We reinforced them with a third” (Ya-Sin 36:13) that they have his support behind them and they are not alone. A third one being added to the first two indicates that a fourth may come if need be. This provides them with an opportunity to carry out their duty further. When the history of the Prophets is considered, we can mention other cases to exemplify our point. I would like to leave that issue to the experts of the field and answer the second part of the question.

The devoted souls in our time travel to the four corners of the world with the love of humanity in their hearts. In some instances, only a few people, or even just a single person, go to a certain country. In the places they go, they face children of very different cultures who come from different backgrounds. They speak a different language, follow a different religion, and put emphasis on different values. For this reason, the volunteers who go to those countries might face various difficulties. As it is underlined in the question, the spiritual person of the movement can serve as a sound point of reliance and a safe haven. People of Anatolia supported this movement, and there were even some statesmen, who had political authority, who helped the volunteers wherever they went. In the same way, the support given by businessmen who went to those countries as investors sufficed to make the volunteers feel they were not alone. With such high morale, they made a very good impression on the people they encountered.

Language Olympiads, relief for hearts

When seen from this perspective, the language Olympiads that are annually held in Turkey can also be regarded as strong support for the volunteers serving in four corners of the world. Students from very different countries do not merely speak Turkish; with the language they speak, they present a view missed and expected by humanity, a view in the name of love, peace, and tolerance. The people of Turkey—from ordinary people to statesmen—sincerely appreciate these students and those who provide them with educational services. These activities are held in a growing circle. Though they used to be held only in the cities of Istanbul and Ankara, many other cities have joined the list. In the coming years, God knows how many more cities will open their arms to these activities, and students from four corners of the world will continue to relieve hearts with their hope inspiring poems, ballads, and songs. The fact that an entire nation, including people in administrative positions, applauds this issue will raise the volunteers’ spirits and become a source of morale and strength for them.

I would like to express a different point about the issue. From the words of Prophet Lot “Would that I had power to resist you, or that I could lean upon some strong support…” we can infer that anybody who serves on the path of God needs to lean on a strong support. It is very important to have a source of power, a dynamo to boost their morale and help their trustworthiness be recognized by the people they address. For example, administrators in Turkey visited and gave sincere support to the educational institutions in the country. They stated they would continue their support and attended many institutional activities. All of these constitute a very important support for this movement, which has become a global event. Undoubtedly, God’s power, help, and protection are the greatest support for a believer. However, it should not be forgotten that we live in a realm of causes and are responsible for fulfilling the requirements of causes. Therefore, we cannot ignore the causes before us.

Let me also point out that no matter what happens, while sharing our feelings, thoughts, and inspirations of our souls with others, we must absolutely refrain from arrogant considerations along with wishes or inclinations to impose our feelings on them. We must even keep away from attitudes and behaviors that might be perceived as pushing. We need to express our thoughts and feelings with a very soft manner that will be welcomed by the people we address. We should even not forget that besides the good and beneficial things others will learn from us, the same is true vice versa. In the globalized world of our time, very important things may have flourished in different regions of the world. Different ideas and considerations we will receive from others can take us to new combinations in our world of feeling and thoughts. Then what befalls on us is to take any beauties that can be good for serving humanity and try to benefit from them.

Markets where roses are bought and sold

When it comes to making our beauties felt in others’ hearts, we try to express any beautiful value we have through our system of education, and through our cultural centers and existing media organs. We try to make the issue virtually into a marketplace where everybody can reveal what they possess. Thus, the values that find their buyers reach people on demand. Pushing an entire heritage of values on others and presenting matters in a manner of looking down on them is the wrong approach. It must never be forgotten that even if your values are something others desperately need, a mistake of style will make people react against every outer element of goodness. In order not to cause such a reaction, it is necessary to approach the issue as an exchange of values where we learn good and beneficial things from them and present the beauties in our hands in an acceptable form.

Actually, our globalizing world badly needs such an interaction, because we can prevent disagreements and irreconcilable differences only through mutual contact and cultural exchange; thus we can build an atmosphere of peace to cover the whole of humanity. If such bridges of dialogue are not formed between different cultures and civilizations, differences and conflicts might drift humanity toward irrevocable fights and wars. Such a clash in our time will not resemble any of the two world wars. It will undoubtedly be much more deadly and destructive. There can be no winner in a war made with nuclear weapons. Such a war means the end of humanity. In order to protect humanity against such a danger, it is necessary to build bridges of peace between different understandings and cultures, receiving certain things from them while also conveying certain things to them, and thus showing that different societies and cultures are not alien and hostile. If this can be done, diverse cultures will recognize that there are no enormous, irreconcilable differences that should lead to conflict. At a period when understanding and reconciliation are seriously needed, such dialogue is a crucial service, done for the sake of humanity.

[1] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Tafsir as-Surah (12), 1; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad, 2/533
[2] As-Sa’labi, Al-Kashf wa’l-Bayan, 6/283; Al-Baghawi, Ma’alimu’t-Tanzil, 3/251; Al-Qurtubi, Al-Jami li Ahkami’l-Qur’an, 13/339
[3] Al-Hijr 15:51–77; ash-Shuara 26:160–175; an-Naml 27:53–58; al-Qamar 54:33–39
[4] Hud 11:69–83
[5] Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Tafsir as-Surah (12), 1; Al-Bukhari, Al-Adabu’l-Mufrad, p. 212
[6] Az-Zamahshari, Al-Kashshaf, 4/10; Ar-Razi, Mafatihu’l-Ghayb, 26/45