“They won’t believe,” he said

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: October 31, 2010

AHMET KURUCAN

“They won’t believe,” he said. “They won’t believe that we work for peace and the salvation of humanity. They won’t believe that we endeavor to create an island of peace where all of humanity can live in brotherhood. They won’t believe that you do not have expectations for this world or the next. They won’t believe that you do not want anything other than securing God’s contentment.”

As he said this, his body was extremely tired and his voice so low that only a few people near him could hear, but his logic and reasoning was, as can be understood from the integrity of what he said, quite solid and whole, and his determination and commitment were, as usual, apparent with their customary calm, and his spirits and enthusiasm were as fervent as what would be expected from a young person.

He then turned and asked, with an air of self-questioning: “Why don’t they believe? Why do they, inside and outside, enter a process that can be explained only with reference to the psychological disease called paranoia? Why can’t they get rid of their doubts and qualms? What has been said and done is evident, and despite there being nothing adding substance to their suspicions, why do they still look suspiciously at us?”

Answering, he said: “They do not look at the world from the same window as we do. They don’t believe in the hereafter as we do. The values that are dear to us mean nothing to them. We seek the hereafter, paradise, the divine beauty, and we say, ‘We do it to please God without any other motive,’ but they focus on this world, seeing everything other than that. We say we are not motivated by fame, glory, position or money, while they put them at the center of their lives. While we say, ‘One should not be deceived by this transient world, and we should do whatever we do in this ephemeral world with the hereafter in mind and to please God,’ they think and believe exactly the opposite. Knowing that ‘the tastes of this world are like a poisonous honey and pleasures are always accompanied by woes,’ we believe that all pleasures, legitimate or illegitimate, are means for being tested in this world, but they do not have such criteria in their hands.”

After uttering these words, he sighed deeply and said he was tired. He was really tired because for several days he had been suffering from a disease that should be treated at a hospital. He sighed because he was not or could not be understood. Obviously, what upsets, distresses and aggrieves people like him is not being understood. Especially when the people who cannot penetrate his world entertain the same values or are from the immediate vicinity of the same atmosphere, his sufferings can grow “towering high,” to borrow a phrase from Ziya Gökalp. In such cases, he would frequently quote the following lines: “If you are aggrieved, you should not complain about troubles / Do not expose your troubles to the unaggrieved people by sighing.”

Well, you may then ask why he is talking about them. I think this question betrays one’s perspective on life and even one’s quality or footing. Indeed, here we are talking not about an ordinary person, but one who is in love. We are referring to his inner world, his heart-oriented perspective, the lens through which he views the world and his horizon of objectives.

People who are in love with their troubles make remarks that seem to come out of nowhere. They are not bound by time or space. They adjust their style or wording according to the level of their addressees and express their troubles in any environment with carefully tuned dosages. They then direct people to what they think are the remedies for those troubles. A number of times I have heard him say: “If I had the capability or opportunity to do so, I would sow seeds of trouble, suffering and sorrow in the hearts of people and wait for their coming to leaf. The biggest trouble for today’s world is the lack of troubles.”

Perhaps, you noticed. I did not simply say “troubled” but “who loves his troubles.” This is because it would be an insult to characterize those who “love their troubles” as “troubled.” I have frequently heard him say: “O my Lord! Make me acquainted with the grief [trouble] of love. Do not separate me from the grief of love even for a moment!”

‘We should not develop despair’

At this point, he looked around, glancing appraisingly at every person in the room. Who knows what he had in mind? Apparently, he was worried that his words might be misunderstood as he resumed, saying: “But we should not be desperate. Yes, we should not develop despair. Lack of hope is characteristic of the unbelievers, according to the Quran. This does not mean that a Muslim who becomes desperate will become an unbeliever. Still, desperation is an attribute of disbelief. You should not grow desperate under any circumstances. If your intentions are sincere and if your goal is to please God, why should you be desperate? Even if you are at the bottom like Prophet Joseph, do not lose hope. Look at the story of Joseph. His story is depicted in great detail, but he never voiced any complaint before or after being thrown into the well. So we can conclude that these troubles did not affect him. He kept on his way. When he was jailed, he remained unaffected. He continued to have full faith in his Lord and did not deviate. And eventually he became a popular vizier.”

He then came back to the beginning: “Even if they do not believe and continue to be suspicious, you will not change your way. You will go on with your plans and projects for revival and the strengthening of universal values. Your attitude and behavior will continue to show that you are unfazed by worldly wants or goals. Without giving rise to paranoia, and by using various means, you will say strongly that you do not have motives other than achieving peace and the salvation of humanity. You will use everything from painting to music, from novels to poetry, from cinema to sports as a means. Some may raise objections. So be it. Some may have doubts if this is the right thing today. Let them. Why should we not use these means for revival and repair when they have been used for destruction up until now? I am a child of my time. I don’t think anyone who is sane and who can make sense of the world properly will object to them. Even if they do, it means nothing. And you will be patient. You cannot treat chronic and gangrenous wounds all at once and magically.”

Who am I referring to? As you may have guessed, to Fethullah Gülen, also known as Hodjaefendi.

* Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a theologian.

Source: Today's Zaman , 20 April 2010


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