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Serenity, Innate Needs, and Loyalty to the Cause

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Videos on Fethullah Gülen

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There are three matters that lead people to peace and serenity:

Sound judgement, sound heart, sound spirit; we can also add ‘sound sense’ to these as well.

These will take people to spiritual satisfaction, to an atmosphere of serenity.

Even in the worst of times, these people will breathe with serenity.

If one’s mind is sound; heart, spirit and human values are sound, they will be free from deficiencies, and if the virus of carnal desires has not infected them, they will always be serene.

They will not disturb anyone and everyone will say, ‘I wish he would come and sit with us’.

Like when Ibn Abbas would use rose water perfume, and when he walked by, people ran to their windows and said, ‘Did a perfume seller just pass by?’

A human should portray beauty wherever he/she goes in the same manner.

Our attitude should facilitate serenity and peace and the public should say:

‘We wish we could always meet with him, that he would say something so that the rust from our ears are removed, and our neurons get invigorated, so we can hear things we have never heard of and make them a part of our lives.

‘People of serenity’ are different; they don’t hurt, injure or offend anyone.

Firstly, they consider everyone as human.

If a person is truly ‘human’, whatever their background and worldview, they are ‘human’.

Why?

Embroidery cannot exist without a designer; a piece of art cannot be without an artist.

A human is embroidered by God; has been brushed with His power, and Divine will, as He says, ‘I created the human being as the perfect pattern of creation’, ‘in the best of stature’.

It is such an amazing creation, internally and externally, as seen by recent research of anatomists.

In terms of probability, regarding the smallest of its pieces, considering it mathematically, in a trillion chances, it is impossible for such a thing to exist by itself.

Such a work of art it is.

Respecting God for the creation of such art, and comprehending and respecting that you are that piece of art.

Faith gives it another dimension and depth, Islam provides it another dimension and depth, and lastly a spiritual life provides it another dimension and depth.

However, all of these are, in a way, related to that person’s physical and spiritual anatomy.

Alexis Carrel analysed physical anatomy really well. It was probably in 1958, his book was translated into Turkish.

There is also the ‘spiritual anatomy’ of a person, that is ‘belief in God’, ‘knowledge of God’, ‘love of God’, ‘spiritual pleasure’ and ‘yearning for a reunion with God’.

‘I drifted apart from the beautiful ones,

Now I woe,

with this longing’, being at one with these thoughts.

‘I have been distanced from You, but I have been yearning for a reunion as soon as possible.

The rhythm of my heart, it always pounds for You, my pulse is bouncing for You.’

With such a desire.

You know how they call the death of Rumi a ‘wedding (reunion) night’, yes that is the moment of a friend meeting his ‘Friend’.

A person who has linked his intellectual world to such sublime aims and lofty ambitions wouldn’t suffer from what he experiences in the world.

Because he or she already achieved in the beginning what he or she wanted.

When facing troubles, they gaze at what was achieved in the beginning, consider only that and become one with this.

and then say to oneself, pardon my language,

‘Bud, forget about it.’

What exactly?

Being chained.

Being shackled to the ground like Prometheus.

‘Man, forget about it.

Never mind!

Goodness and beauty must be desired for both the world and the Hereafter, and we must live always in the orbit of hope, caution and stability in order to reach the reward in both realms.

All the great ones suffered, the Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings be upon Him, and the great Messengers.

From Prophet Adam to our noble Messenger they all suffered.

Those who have been useful to mankind through their thoughts and lofty ideas have also suffered.

Socrates suffered; he was poisoned. Plato suffered; anyone who was useful has suffered.

For that reason the one who possesses honour and glory, the Master of Eloquence, peace and blessings be upon him, states:

‘The fiercest troubles strike firstly the Prophets, and then based on their rank, other people’.

Troubles and plagues are ‘relative’ to one’s rank or spiritual level, or in other words ‘directly proportional’.

However, one should not seek troubles and tribulations.

For, God has taught us what should be sought:

‘Our Lord, grant us in the world what is good, and in the Hereafter what is good, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire’ (Al-Baqara, 2:201).

My Lord!

Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter.

Beauty in everything; in thought, in emotion, in bodily serenity; beauty, beauty.

God has taught us this in response to those who have tied their desires and expectations only to worldly power and splendour.

That is what will be given to them and they will be left with only that.

But there are also those as mentioned in the last verses about the Pilgrimage in the Chapter Al-Baqara:

‘And among them are those who pray, "Our Lord, grant us in the world what is good, and in the Hereafter what is good,

and protect us from the punishment of the Fire’ (Al-Baqara, 2:201).

They ask for good in both this world and in the Hereafter.

They say, ‘keep us safe and away from the torment of Hell’.

Amen.

In fact, no one should lose faith in God’s mercy.

‘O soul!

Do not despair of God’s mercy.

Sins are like the foam of the sea when compared to God’s ocean of mercy’.

‘It is hoped that when God distributed His mercy, our part will be proportional to the quantity of our sins.’

It is as if God Almighty's mercy is proportionate to peoples’ bad deeds; however much they are in the wrong is proportionate to how much pity they deserve, God is the All-Pitying and the All-Compassionate.

On one side are these considerations, while on the other hand is to be poised and stable.

To act with poise, is the highest degree in Sufism.

To be measured and careful is more admirable than being vigilant and watchful; as being watchful and alert is the first step, that is, to take your first step with caution, to not sleepwalk.

In his story, ‘The Dreams of Abdullah Effendi’, Tanpınar explains this state as sleepwalking.

One shouldn’t walk as though sleepwalking; their eyes should be wide open; their heart alive and wake; the neurons in their brain working to this end.

At the same time, we carry a small asset.

This asset being that one shouldn’t ever lose hope from the mercy of God. Rather, one should think that they are valuable in His eyes and they mean something to God Almighty.

May God Almighty allow us to successfully establish and maintain this balance.

For our noble Prophet, to let others live instead of oneself was more preferable, to cater for and provide for others more enjoyable and to be a source of happiness a sweeter preference. When he left this world he had his blessed armour tied down as bond for a debt.

Some people want to hold their relationship with God in high esteem; they aim to achieve total annihilation in God, subsistence by and with God, living by God with God, and the next degree, journeying from God.

Journeying from God means living solely to let others live.

That is, ‘Life only has purpose and meaning in letting others live’.

As you know, the meaning and significance of our noble Prophet’s return from the Ascension is this.

After seeing the sacred beauties in his Ascension, he probably said, ‘How could I enjoy all of these strictly for myself?

Isn’t it my responsibility to take people by their hand and make sure they also experience such beauties and attain this horizon?’

Despite witnessing all that beauty, neither his vision blurred nor his judgment was clouded.

In the words of Bediüzzaman, ‘A thousand years in Paradise isn’t remotely equivalent to a minute encounter and vision of God’s Beauty.

Similarly, thousands of years in this world isn’t equivalent to an hour spent in Paradise.’

After witnessing all this beauty, he desired one thing.

What did he desire?

He said, ‘I should bring with me the people who I can take by the hand’.

He suffered for eight years in Mecca, he was subjected to a boycott, and he was left without food and water.

When he was prostrating in front of the Ka’ba, an unfortunate sinner, the most wretched one like Uqba ibn Abi Muayt wrapped the intestines of a camel onto his back.

The most evil, wretched and vile person of that community.

You know the individual during the time of Prophet Salih; he is like him.

He strangled and attempted to kill the noble Prophet.

Many times the sultan of the loyal and faithful, Abu Bakr, came to his rescue, much like the believing man from among the clan of the Pharaoh.

He stood up to them bravely and said, ‘You cannot do this’.

He protected him from death; no, we should say, ’from walking to the horizon of his spirit’. He said, ‘If there is anyone who was to walk to the horizon of his spirit, this should be me; if there is any spirit who was to walk to the beyond, this should be my spirit’.

Similarly, a believing man from among the clan of the Pharaoh acted in this manner.

Just as a believing man from among the clan of the Pharaoh opened his arms towards the Prophet Moses and prevented Pharaoh from harming him.

The elder brother of our mother Asiya, and the commander in chief of the armies of the Pharaoh, a believing man from among the clan of the Pharaoh.

There is the Chapter Al-Mu’min in the Holy Qur’an that mentions him.

The manner in which this man, this believer acts and speaks, I fell in love with his manner.

How he begins.

How he ends his words.

And how he finally says, ‘I commit my affair to God’.

Once death knocks at his door, he says, ‘I commit my affair to God’.

And God protects him.

If you truly love your Lord, do you not think He will love you?

If you seek His good pleasure, will He not let you have it?

If you go to His door, ready to offer all you have,

And serve as He ordered, Will He not give you your reward?

If you overflow like water, if you cry like the Prophet Job,

If you rend your heart, will He not show any sympathy?

So, when he acts in this manner, God protects him.

That is what the Qur’an says:

‘So God preserved him from the evils they schemed (against him), while a most evil punishment overwhelmed the clan (the court and military aristocracy) of the Pharaoh’ (Al-Mu’min, 40:45).

Some say ‘the Pharaoh killed him’ but this is not true.

In fact, according to the reputable Prophetic biography books, the believers of the Pharaoh’s family gain influence over the future of Egypt only after the drowning of the Pharaoh.

Like many other similarities, this had not previously occurred to me.

The ‘sincere believer of the Pride of Humanity’ (Abu Bakr) also gains influence over the future of humanity at his time.

Yes, the Messenger of God returned from the Ascension in order to let the others experience what he experienced, saw and heard during that journey.

Such a magnanimous man.

He constantly lived with the intention of letting others live, saying, ‘My life has no meaning if I am not enabling others to live’.

And God, may he be Glorified and Exalted, continues to give to him, continues to bless and provide.

When he asks for one, He gives ten. When he asks for ten, He gives a hundred. When he asks for a hundred, He gives a thousand.

Our noble Prophet, the Perfect Guide, does not seek worldly blessings; he is content with just satisfying his essential needs.

He ties his noble life to the bare necessities; so much so that when he leaves this world, his shield is with a Jewish man as security for a loan.

He took out a loan in order to cover the expenses and maintenance of his family.

This is how he departs this world.

The necessities of human life are not in conflict with utter devotion and loyalty; indeed, an exemplary person of ideals can balance their human needs and conditions with their utter devotion and loyalty to their noble ideals.

In addition to this, the Prophet was vigilant with respect to his family’s rights, and his own health, and reminded his community to do the same.

For instance, he would say: ‘God has rights over you, your self has rights over you, and your family members have rights over you. Make sure to fulfill all of these rights’.

(When Abu Darda completely withdrew from the world) the noble Prophet first sends this message to him via Salman al-Farisi, who he first tests to ensure the message is from our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and is subsequently satisfied that it is.

Now, he is the Truthful one of the Truthful ones.

Will you call him ‘the eminently truthful person, who is also loyal, faithful, sincere and upright’ or ‘the most truthful one, most loyal, most faithful, most sincere, most upright’?

I guess it is called comparative adjectives in grammar, we have to say ‘the truthful of the truthful people’.

When his truth is reflected onto Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, he becomes the ‘loyal and faithful’, in the superlative sense of the word.

Not just any kind of ‘truthful’ but an undisputed truthful person, who represents the truth in every way.

As you know, Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, also had a wife and children.

At the same time he had a house even though it was nothing more than a small shed.

The government gave him a salary but he refused this with his sense of justice and said, ‘Give me a salary that is equal to the income of a middle class or a lower class citizen’ while being the ruler of the state.

Yes this truth should penetrate the hearts of those contemporary people who refuse to comprehend the meaning of it like a spear.

‘I am the follower of such a Prophet that he used to have only two dates and a cup of water for the entire day.’

They appear to be religious and people love their lifestyle!

What they consume in one day is way above the expenditure of a whole village of people.

Yes, we are the people of such a Prophet.

Truthful.

Umar al-Faruq, may God be pleased with him, became a prominent factor in the balance of power on an international scale.

He reformed the world order.

His sense of justice became legendary in the Roman and Persian empires.

If the common people of that nation who did not have an understanding of true religion had not resisted, maybe the Roman Emperor Heraclius would have become a Muslim.

Nonetheless, the noble Prophet’s message, which was delivered to him by Dihya al-Kalbi, had softened his heart and he said, ‘He is a Prophet and one day he will come to rule over the places I’m stepping on right now’.

In certain periods of history, these regions came to order in the face of deep human values.

It is not long sentences or legendary fables that brought them to order.

Not Sheikh Ghalib’s poems or Rumi’s verses.

Essentially, a deep sense of disposition, representation, truthfulness, justice and humanitarian values allowed their hearts to be softened.

They said, ‘If we won’t even surrender to these people, then why would we surrender to anybody else?’

They were a representation of balance in the world, yet when they departed from this world, they left their children penniless.

They did not benefit from public goods and opportunities at all.

‘And so, whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it’ (Al-Zilzal, 99:8).

They do not want to be received into God’s presence even with a particle’s weight, atom’s weight, electron’s weight or a neutron’s weight of someone’s rights on their shoulders.

This is how they lived.

They lived this way, however as you can see, they still fulfilled their needs to survive.

To whom of these can you say were not ‘loyal’; they were all ‘loyal’, all ‘truthful’ and still fulfilled their duties.

Prophet David was also loyal and truthful; however with his own hand labour, he would make armour to earn his livelihood.

He was a ruler; a time when the Israelites were at the summit of their power.

During the period of Prophet Solomon, his dominance extended from East to West to many places.

It is narrated that he governed all the way to Sheba; this is observed through the Queen of Sheba, Balqis, submitting to him.

However when you look closely at their personal lives, you see they lived like any ordinary person.

Alongside this, as human beings, they certainly did not fail in duties that were incumbent upon them.

For, if you try to battle with your nature, you will be defeated.

From eating to sleeping, to providing for people’s needs, from their spouses to their children and to a place in which their family could reside.

So yes, if you fight with nature in this matter, instead of achieving your aim you will receive a slap in the face.

Are these only my words?

The Messenger of God states:

‘Islam is the religion of ease, suitable for everyone’s nature, a religion that takes into consideration all types of people.

Those who make it hard and difficult according to their own whims and desires will certainly fail.’

Again, he states:

‘Make things easy for the people and do not make things difficult for them.’

‘Give them good tidings, good news, don’t discourage people and dissuade them.’

It is necessary to take people’s nature into account.

Observe and perceive these people according to their positions.

This is the speech of the Master of Eloquence; they are not my words.

But these do not form an obstacle to following the straight path without deviation.

They do not infringe on the rights of others, they do not violate the rights of others in the least; they are virtuous, magnanimous, and chivalrous.

‘The signs of greatness in the great are humility and modesty, while the signs of pettiness in the petty are arrogance and vanity.’

The great people have protected their sincerity directly in proportion to their greatness and closeness to God, but have also fulfilled the needs of being human.

Remember how I always mention Tahiri Mutlu who had a house and children to look after.

But during a period, when Bediüzzaman was not able to find the means required to publish his books, without telling anyone, he goes to his village.

He decides to sell his acreage.

As you know, in an economy there is the concept of supply and demand. If there is great demand for what you're selling, it will become more and more valuable.

But he publicly announced, ‘I’m selling my acreage’.

People around him said, ‘Why are you selling now, it isn't the right time to do so’.

And when you announce that you are selling something, people do not offer the price it deserves, but instead, they would offer half the value.

Tahiri Mutlu replies:

‘My master Bediüzzaman is going to get his books published, but was unable to find the money.

If I do not sell my home and my acreage now, when is the time?’

This poor man was lucky enough to meet him and sat in his presence many times.

But next to others, he used to look down upon himself.

How great was he?

The measure of greatness, as the sage said:

If someone is tall, in order to be seen by others, he would crouch; if someone is short, they would try to stand tall in order to be seen by others.

The sign of greatness in the great is humility and modesty.

The sign of pettiness in the petty are arrogance and vanity.

Yes, I’m not going to mention it, but for the sake of God, contemplate the attitude of today’s people and compare it to the measures I have just mentioned.

Examine the motivations of people, and see how are they trying to seem great in the eyes of others.

Signs of greatness are humility and modesty.

The Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings be upon him, used to sit on the floor with others.

When someone arrived, if they weren’t familiar with him, they would ask ‘I wonder if that’s him, or is it the other one?’

For instance, his superb beauty resembled the noble Abu Bakr; at times, they would cling to Abu Bakr’s hand.

Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, would indicate with his hand, saying, ‘Him, him.’

His greatness was in direct proportion to his humility; he would respect people, the art of God, whoever it might be.

Jarir, chief of the Bajila tribe from Yemen, came to visit.

Their act of chivalry at the Battle of Qadisiyya is widely remembered; for the sake of the Oneness and Unity of God, for the sake of spreading the Prophet’s name and message, many of them are martyred there, and most of the martyrs are from the Bajila tribe.

When the chief came, no one knew who he was; the noble Prophet immediately took off the robe from his blessed back, placed it under him and said, ‘Here, please, sit down.’

The Pride of Humanity was in such a modest, humble state.

Yes, I’ll stop here, but the idea continues.

We are the community of such a Prophet.

And we claim that we are following his path.

I cannot say anything regarding the matter that you aren’t on that path, I seek refuge in God. I would be making false assumptions; but let's be aware that we are on the path of such a Prophet.

Following him are the Respected Companions.

In a way they are his ‘halo’.

In one of his poems, Nabi says:

‘The one you see is not a preacher on the pulpit,

He is a Moon with stars surrounding him, explaining the verses of Light to that light filled community’

He sees it as the Luminous Moon, with a halo of light around it.

Explaining the verses of Light to an army of stars.

He says this in regards to an orator of his time, but I say;

O master Nabi!

You are mistaken, that statement was essentially for the Prophet; this could only be said to him.

But I think this is a sign of his positive attitude towards others, especially those close to God.

Yes, he was in such a state of modesty and humility that, in the eyes of others, he was seen to be even greater.

On one occasion someone who was looking at him with sincerity and without prejudice was enamoured; like Abdullah ibn Salam.

He was a strong and wise man among the Jews.

He looked at the Prophet, without prejudice, ‘I swear there is no lie in this face’ he said; he made the testimony of faith and joined him, and entered the circle.

He joined the circle around the moon, entered the army of stars.

If a person is not devoted to a lofty ideal, he cannot be saved from being attached to his ego; sometimes he will be an egoist, sometimes egocentric, sometimes he will be a narcissist.

A man of a cause, a man of an ideal.

Ziya Gökalp introduced the term ‘ideal’ into the Turkish language.

But Bediüzzaman used the term ‘grand purpose’.

‘Grand purpose’ should be the purpose of one’s life.

‘The absence or the forgetting of a grand purpose (in life) causes people to concentrate upon themselves and their own self-interest.’

If a person is not devoted to a noble ideal, he cannot be saved from being attached to his ego; sometimes he will be an egoist, sometimes egocentric, sometimes he will be a narcissist, God forbid!

We have all of these in our current age; there is no need to say, ‘Look and see’.

If you lift your head and look from the closest to you to those further away, Almighty God has not deprived you of that, you may come across thousands of them.

Bediüzzaman also says, ‘This century is the century of egotism’.

The century of those who love themselves, this century; may God protect us from it.

There must be a grand purpose in life; a person must be devoted to a noble ideal.

What does it mean to have a grand purpose in life?

For one thing, from our religion’s perspective, our noble Prophet says; ‘My name will be raised like a banner everywhere the sun rises and sets.’

There is a grand purpose in life for you.

In terms of your near future.

The master Necip Fazıl used to say:

‘If the Turkish nation is truly with its deeper meaning a nation, it has reached this depth of nationhood with Islam.’

This is something that is a thousand years old.

In a stage of the 10th century, coming towards the 11th century, they were only a thousand tents.

One thousand tents.

These are not the type of tents we know of, like tents fitting three people; these are the types that hold one or two families in them; a friend of ours set up a tent here, which we stayed in at some point.

There were one thousand tents that people took refuge in.

I do not believe that this is an exaggeration, I am saying:

This religion surfaced in the Arabian peninsula but went to various boundaries; these boundaries led to the emergence of your people and forefathers such as Bukhari’s, Muslim’s, Nasa’i’s, Tirmidhi’s and Abu Dawud’s.

It began in those times.

At the same time, when we come to the tenth century, that is nearly four centuries after our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

Think about it, Imam al-Ghazali, who lived five centuries after the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was a monumental figure in Islam.

He was called the ‘Proof of Islam’; they said, ‘If there was no evidence for the religion, Al-Ghazali would be enough as proof’.

These people arose from amongst you; from this perspective your traditions and culture have great value.

When you went to the different parts of the world, displayed these characteristics, they were kindly received.

But as human beings, there are nice things that are exhibited by others too.

Look now; you’ve been exposed to forced migration; the man gives you the keys to his home, he says, ‘Do not be exposed to trouble with anything, I am giving you half of my salary’.

So, as human beings, many people have kept their humane values.

Thus, it must be said there is a mutual agreement taking place.

Yes, in your key disciplines, in your essential principles, in one way, you have values that have been filtered and calibrated, traditions and customs.

The Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Consensus of the Muslim Community and the Analogical Reasoning of the scholars are primary sources, but there are also secondary sources of law like customs and traditions.

You represent these beautiful collections, as if you wear them as your garments, they are apparent in your manners and conduct.

You have opened up to the world, everywhere people have seen you, have opened their bosoms and embraced you.

Although now some minds are damaged and spoiled.

Once some money was put before some of these people, only in some situations, in one case out of ten, they experienced a slight confusion.

But disorder and destruction is easy to bring about.

One child can burn a whole palace down.

Then a hundred architects, and who knows how many builders, can only rebuild that palace over a long period of time.

Those who side with destruction have only been able to destroy one tenth of the institutions that you have established in more than one hundred and seventy countries.

Even though they put all their political power to use, they were only able to achieve so little destruction.

And even that, I assume, was not through completely convincing those people of the legitimacy of what they are doing.

These must have been the result of political engagements and interests, and some requirements of diplomacy.

And in fact, they probably mutter to themselves, ‘It would be insensible for us to bring harm to all this rapport, because we also have interests, and of course we will be with them in the future’.

However, I believe that one day all of this will not matter, and that you will continue to walk on this way even faster, full of upmost sincerity.

For if you have not stopped,

if you haven’t got stuck on the path,

If you not going to begin again...

Maybe you have simply changed gears; you were going on eighth gear, and had to come down to fourth gear.

You might have come across a car in traffic that doesn’t know which lane it is meant to drive on, and so you might have lowered your gear simply with the thought of ‘No need to cause a traffic hazard now, I might as well slow down’.

And now if you have not come to a complete halt, with God’s permission and grace, you will rise from the eighth gear to the sixteenth, from sixteen to thirty two, and from thirty two to the sixty fourth.

Could there be any higher?

Maybe like that of an airplane.

Anyway, let it be as high as it is.

May God’s beneficence be with you.