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A spirited and active life of service

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Recent Articles

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Question: What are the essentials to remain constantly spirited and active, both in our individual and social lives?

Answer: Stagnancy or complacency must not have any room in a believer’s worldview. From human to soil, and from things in existence to time, everything is active. A believer must be spirited and active in their pursuit of good deeds, and that money, soil, time etc. must be used in the most fruitful way possible.

The essentials of faith are the most important issues a believer must be lively and spirited about. For this reason, we always say in our prayers, “Our Lord! Increase us in knowledge, faith, and certainty.” To achieve these ends, believers should utilize books and consider the fruitful lives of the Righteous Believers of the classic period, sometimes by reflections, and sometimes by remembrance and recitations. Concentrating on prayers will open very different horizons before them.

Being spirited, vigorous, and active will enable us to solve the century-long problems which have harmed our world. It will allow believers to live their lives without being crushed and dominated. Unfortunately, when vigor and liveliness are lost, societies fail to save their position as a factor of balance between world powers. This will eventually cause them to lose their position, and then will bring them under different sets of domination in political, cultural, economic, and other fields.

When Bediüzzaman said, “O you miserable walking dead who abandoned Islam, which is like the spirit of the two lives! Do not stand in the way of the coming generation. The grave awaits you. Step aside and make way for the new generation who will wave the truth of Islam over this universe!” he was drawing attention to this reality: The universal religion cannot be represented by worn-out people, stale thoughts, and those of minimal effort. It is for this reason that Bediüzzaman demanded slothful souls devoid of excitement who could present a bad example for the future generation to get aside; so that the active and lively generation to come after them can take the right shape and carry out the right actions.

What lies behind the stagnant and passive state of a generation is, in a way, the failure of previous generations who could not surpass simple patterns of thought when evaluating the world and failed to catch up with their time’s horizons of comprehension.

God endowed humans with willpower. People are neither beasts nor inanimate creatures. As long as individuals give their willpower its due and use their God-given power and strength effectively, then—with God’s permission—they may blow breaths of resurrection to the entire world. Like in the story of Nasreddin Hodja, they can use their willpower to ferment all seas to make them into yogurt. When willpowers are spurred and others’ torches are kindled, then the whole world can be illumined like a place of festivity.

The essentials of remaining spirited

As for the essentials of remaining active and spirited, the following can be mentioned concisely:

  1. Showing everybody a lane they can walk, giving them a field of activity, and saying “here is your task” is one of the most important factors for keeping people active. Even if a person breaks free from arrogance and acts in the name of the collective, one still wishes to know the frame of the work he or she carries out and the point it reaches.
  2. Receiving appreciation for one’s personal endeavors spurs that person’s zeal and enthusiasm. Even though some grow more arrogant as they make different achievements, it is necessary to guide them to the thought of sincerity in an appropriate fashion.
  3. On the other hand, if you help bring others to life, you also help yourself to stay alive in spirit. It is unthinkable for a person who resurrects others to personally remain dead. If you help some others to their feet, give them a start, and make them run like a marathoner, then you cannot just stay behind and look at them as they run.
  4. Knowing the true worth of time, which is but a relative line, is also very important in terms of remaining active and spirited. We usually fail to recognize that time itself corresponds to a certain worth. However, given that it is wisely used, it is a matchless treasure by which Paradise is gained. If it can be wisely used, a person steps to timelessness within a short and narrow segment of time, and gains eternity with it. In this respect, knowing the essential value of time and blowing life into every moment with good deeds and positive action is an indispensable essential for the sake of a life of serving faith in an active and spirited way.

This article by Fethullah Gulen has first been published on Fountain Magazine, #116, Mar-Apr 2017