Fear, Hope and the Dimensions of the Soul – 2018/07/02 (Heartstrings)

Let’s begin with this prayer: ‘O God! We desire from you a sense of justice and feelings of steadfastness, so that we may be protected from all kinds of torment and oppression.’ At a time when there is no justice, when rights have been entrusted to Satan, when evil thoughts and emotions influence human beings it will be redundant for me to tell you how much we need justice and guidance. You definitely recognise this. Another supplication: ‘O God Who has hidden bounties, protect us from the things we fear.’ My late father used to add the following to this prayer: ‘Also protect us from the things that we should fear but we don’t.’ Some things may appear as surprises and with one swift move, cause people to stray from the right path. May God protect us. ‘Protect us from the things we fear. And from the things that we don’t fear but should’. As a matter of fact, those who don’t fear cannot develop steadfastness and without realising they will stray. We call this ‘fear of God’ and in a nuanced version, ‘awe of God’. People should always pray for a heart that fears God with awe. The Holy Qur’an says, ‘Of all His servants, only those possessed of true knowledge stand in awe of God’ (Al-Fatir 35:28). Yes, those who possess knowledge can truly stand in awe of God. Those who know God through knowledge, through observation and those who know God through experience, they are the ones who know Him through fear and awe. It is fear, but as Mehmet Akif states: ‘What elevates morality is neither knowledge nor conscience. Fear of God is what generates all virtue and excellence. If hearts were ever to be emptied of the fear of The Almighty, Neither knowledge nor conscience would preserve its efficacy.’ If knowledge and conscience preserved its efficacy, those people who appear to know the truth would have not kept silent in a time of oppression. Some of them are controlled by Satan; they act according to evil suggestions. Others are observing oppression as if they are watching a festival, their tongues silent. Fear has been erased from minds and consequently the feeling of virtue, sense of justice, respect of rights and similar values disappear. Those who worry about their end will meet an end free from worries. Those who are not anxious about their fate will face an end to be anxious about. As Imam al-Ghazali says, a human must shiver in fear throughout their life. As a saintly person once stated: ‘If the One Who Calls Into Account judges me with these sins The scales in the Hereafter will break.’ The poet actually uses the ‘All-Merciful’, and I respect this consideration. When expressing his fear and anxiety he uses ‘All-Merciful’ out of hope for God’s grace and mercy. But when talking about myself I say, ‘If the One Who Calls Into Account judges me with these sins’ The One who calls and brings everyone and everything to account. ‘The scales in the Hereafter will break’. Such fear… He says, ‘If He weighs me with my sins, those scales in the Hereafter will break’ In this regard, living with fear and awe. In a Divine hadith, God says, ‘I will not grant two assurances nor two fears to My servants at the same time.’ ‘I will not grant two assurances or two fears to my servants at the same time.’ If individuals live their share of fear in this world, they will be free from worries in the next; on the other hand, if they think that they did nothing in this world and are living graciously, they will meet an end to be worried about. Fear must be experienced here so that safety is left for the Hereafter If individuals live in security, comfort and experience all worldly and bodily pleasures in this world, yes, they will be left empty handed in the Hereafter. Sounds very simple, doesn’t it? They will be left empty handed. In this respect, from one side there must be fear but on the other end one must be hopeful. Imam al-Ghazali says that such a fear should be the overpowering emotion over hope but also states that, ‘When one does not have long left in this world, they should overflow with the feeling of hope for God’s grace and mercy’. Nevertheless, prominent scholars have always given priority to the state of fearfulness without neglecting hope. Those who see themselves as sinful say the following with hope for God’s grace and mercy: ‘Even if my sins have reached the size of mountains, O Almighty One! Compared to Your Mercy, they are just small things.’ When I look at Your Mercy, the depth of the ocean of Your Mercy, my sins remain but a drop in the ocean. This is the feeling of ‘hope.’ On the topic of hope, you are all aware of Imam Shafi’s saying; ‘When my heart was tied to gloom and roads became steep, I made hope a ladder to Your forgiveness. My sins grew before my eyes but when compared to Your forgiveness, I found Your forgiveness to be greater than any comprehension.’ ‘When death has come to my lips, I rest my ladder of hope against Your great mercy.’ He says this to voice his emotions That is the lesson of hope. A person should never fall into hopelessness, but their heart should always tremble with fear so that it does not tremble in the afterlife. The Noble Messenger of God states… Eyes that do not cry with fear, reverence and concern for their fate will be sobbing in the afterlife, where their eyes will transform into something else; their nails will become something else. They are going to cry a lot. Come, for the love of God, let us experience this crying now. According to the expression of the greatest friend of God, we should say, ‘I seek refuge in You from eyes that do not weep,’ forget that dryness, and when we place our heads on the floor, we should let our tears flow with fear and awe. For it is mentioned in a blessed hadith: ‘If there is something that can put out the burning flames of Hellfire, it is the tears that flow in fear of God.’ And he explains this with an example: An angel comes with a bowl, a cup of water. He is asked, ‘What is that?’ He answers, ‘It is the tears of those people who fear You.’ If there is one thing that can shatter the flames of Hell that come to envelope people, it is their tears. These points remind me of the last few words of Muhammad Iqbal’s sermon in Lahore. He delivers this sermon, which holds meanings that applaud the victories of a specific time in the Ottoman era; this is implied throughout the entirety of his words. He states: ‘Everyone is held accountable; they are asked something. If I am asked there by the Glorious Messenger, ‘Doctor Iqbal, what have you brought for me?,’ I will say: My dear Master, I present to you in a bowl, the blood that has been shed on your path; I would not change this for the worlds.’ If I were put in the same situation, I would present that bowl filled with tears and say: ‘O Messenger of God, I could not come to you with a gift, pardon me. But I come with tears that were shed for you.’ O Beloved Erudite! O Beloved of the All-Merciful! With ardent longing for You, ‘O God! Above all else, we ask that You bless us with an intimate love and attachment to You, with the desire to meet You, and with the ambition to reunite with Your Beloved One, peace and blessings be upon him, and those You love. We ask for these as eternal and timeless requests.’ If our eyes do not water with this deliberation, if hearts do not shiver, then the heart should be ripped out and fed as meat to dogs. Yes, fear and hope… A servant should continue their life between these two Then they will be sheltered and preserved from all kinds of menace. Scared, quivering in fear; these tremors break all evil. By turning to God and expecting everything from Him, by God’s leave, this will lead to angels carrying Divine lights into their hearts. Those lights will allow a person to think right, take the right steps, live right and gather the fruits of the truth. Just as one gathers those fruits, they will gather Paradise, its streams, God’s Beauty and Good Pleasure. One will live poor in this world but will be honored to live like a sultan in the Hereafter. Some have used the phrase ‘simple soul’, I do not see harm in using it. This means ‘the humane soul’. But when it first comprehends itself, that soul becomes ‘the Evil-Commanding Soul’. Then it becomes ‘the Self-Condemning Soul’. Then some involve ‘the inspired Soul’; that acts like a mysterious key to open the doors to angels, and with it, the doors to the heart opens up to Divine inspirations. Then ‘the Soul at Rest’ comes, soul that has reached rest and contentment. ‘Be aware that it is in the remembrance of, and whole-hearted devotion to, God that hearts find rest and contentment’ (Ar-Ra’d, 13:28). We may say: ‘Be aware that the heart reaches contentment by austerity. Be aware that the heart reaches contentment by the awe of God. Be aware that the heart reaches contentment by the fear of God. With these, the heart attains contentment. Then this satisfied soul has two wings; just like a turtledove, the wings rise for ‘the Innocent Soul’ and ‘the Purified Soul’. The Soul Content with however God treats it and the Soul Pleasing to God… When one arrives at that observatory, one constantly utters gratification to Almighty God. An inappropriate word came to the tip of my tongue, I would say ‘mumbling’ but people at such degrees who state such matters are called ‘uttering’. And beyond this state, the place of those whose whole nature is pure, who are best servants, who are completely purified, the station of those great ones… But still these great ones evaluate their souls constantly. You know the view of the great Messengers, you have observed it. If people ever read about it, they will understand how it causes them to shiver in fear. (Referring to the article, titled, ‘Confrontation with Oneself with Prophetic Depth’ from the Caglayan magazine). The Prophets went through a process of purification with the aide of the All-Powerful. To clarify further, through Divine mercy, or through the means of their mission, they went through purification, they have become amongst the ‘best servants’. So the evil-commanding soul of a person who has reached ‘contentment’ takes a back step, it falls under the orders of the heart or the faculty that senses God directly. It would be correct to say it like this. Some believed that in this case the carnal soul is dead, departed. Others believe it has transformed from evil-commanding soul to satisfied soul by obeying the orders of the heart or the faculty that senses God directly. The term ‘breath’ has been used here, referring to the Divine breath. This refers to the moment when one is first conceived, this is referring to that Divine breath. The noble Messiah, with this ‘breath’, the Messenger of God, when he said, ‘God’s first creation was my light’ is actually referring to this Divine breath. The investigative and insightful scholars refer to this as bringing one’s ‘breath’ in compliance with the changing modes of Divine Essence. The breath here grammatically refers to a relaxing, peaceful breath. One can transform their carnal soul into a peaceful breath, a holy breath with God’s consent. When the evil-commanding soul leaves one alone, its instruments are handed over to various aspects of one’s temperament and sentiments, so that the meritorious struggle with the soul may continue until death. If there were no more enemies left in this world, like at the Turkish Olympiads, or festivals of language and culture, like the merging of the white, black, blue and orange, as they embraced one another and become united, if people were at such a state, I am assuming, there would be no wars. At the same time, in the face of possible tribulations they say, ‘What can we do?’ and prepare themselves for any danger. These are ways to protect oneself from upcoming danger, and to prepare the foundation in which the pillars of faith and conventions can be protected. Now, if people did not have a carnal soul, a soul that is devoid of the Divine breath, then they would not supplicate and appeal to God. There’s no danger. For that reason, from as much as I can remember from the master Necip Fazıl, perhaps it is worthwhile to appreciate the soul: ‘Glad you are here’ Why? Because when we remember the danger you pose, we say, ‘O God, I turned to You’. We say, ‘O Our Lord! It is in You that We have put our trust, and it is to You that we turn in utmost sincerity and devotion, and to You is the homecoming’ (60:4). We say, ‘God is sufficient for us; how excellent a Guardian He is!’ (3:173). We say, ‘Sufficient is our Lord, and there is no deity but He. Say, “In Him have I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Supreme Throne”’ (9:129). When we see a crucial matter or as we are informed, we seek refuge in God from their assaults. The soul uses various tricks and ruses. It even tried to attack the Great Messengers; however, because they were engulfed in complete immunity and innocence, being in the level of the Innocent Soul and the Purified Soul, Satan was unable to surround them and eventually returned to his pit. Or else they would also be attacked. So they said ‘I seek refuge in God from Satan, who is eternally rejected from God’s Mercy’. And say, ‘My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils, And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me’ (Al-Mu’minun, 23:97–98). ‘My Lord, conceal our faults and assure us of our fears. My Lord, protect us from the dangers that may approach us from our front, our back, our right, our left and above us; we seek refuge in Your Grandeur from being seized by dangers under our feet. O Merciful Lord!’ Normally, these supplications would be made in the singular form; I made them in plural form for all of us. When the Great Prophets seek refuge in God and supplicate and appeal in this way, Satan could not harm them. However, because this is an ambushing enemy with guises and trickery, it leads to a mistaken heart, a kind of degeneration of the subtle faculty, staying long in the level of the evil-commanding soul, a prevention to reaching the horizon of contentment, and consequently causes people being away from the Soul Content with however God treats it and the Soul Pleasing to God. The Soul Content with however God treats it and the Soul Pleasing to God refer to the state of God being pleased with His servant and the servant being pleased with God, and when challenged with an obstacle being able to prostrate and say, ‘We are content with God as our Lord, Islam as our religion and Muhammad as our Messenger’. God is content with you; if He wasn’t, you would not have been able to be content with Him, may He be glorified and exalted. First comes the pleasure of God as He already knew that you will be content with Him. A saintly person says: ‘Be pleased with us so that we can be pleased with you.’ He draws attention to this fine principle. The Soul Content with however God treats it and the Soul Pleasing to God… Thus, the carnal soul (and Satan) is a powerful enemy. It will confront you with various tricks. Sometimes from the right. He will hit you with the bullets of hypocrisy, self-pride and self-conceit while you are unaware. For example, you are standing before God in respect and admiration. Suddenly you think of the possibility that someone might have seen you. The thought of ‘He saw me standing’ crosses your mind for the split of a second. Then, you bow your head for prostration and say: ‘O God, to You I have bowed, in You I believe, to You I have submitted, and in You I put my trust. You are my Lord. My ears, eyes, brain, bones, flesh, each and every part of my body carried by these feet obey and have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.’ The thought of ‘He heard’ and ‘He will now see and understand how to pray properly’ has just touched your mind. As a result, you have destroyed the fruits of the bowing position; you have destroyed all the glorifications. It comes from the right with the weapon of hypocrisy trying to declare your good deeds. Wasn’t it the honorable Abu Musa al-Ashari’? One day Abu Musa al-Ashari’ relates the challenges he has been through during the Expedition of Dhat al-Riqa’. His shoes and socks were ripped off; his feet were cut by stones and bleeding. Even in that position they continued following the trajectory drawn by the Messenger of God. He recounted these to someone not as a virtue but as a narration; then sincerely regretted: ‘I wish I hadn’t told this. It looks like I have attributed a share of this to my ego.’ Hypocrisy, showing-off, self-pride, self-conceit… All these are results of the tricks of Satan approaching us from the right. For example, the following phrase that is always misinterpreted ‘Arrogance towards the arrogant is considered a charity.’ This phrase is often utilised by politicians. Ostentation, appearing important… If some people seem important or great in your eyes.. Accept my excuses; I do not know how to even cross my legs. Sometimes I ask a friend of mine to demonstrate this: ‘Would you mind putting this leg over the other?’ However, they have such a good experience that they can very easily cross one leg over the other. They say things like, ‘It is charity to display pride against prideful people’. But Satan is playing you there, and without realising, you become arrogant and justify this to yourself by saying: ‘I only displayed pride against the prideful’. And with some, Satan plays with conceit and vanity. And this is Satan approaching from the right. When Satan approaches from the left, he is approaching with vices and carnal desires. To use the eyes for illicit purposes. To use the mouth for forbidden purposes. To commit backbiting and slander. To use the pen, or writing, for sin. To use the keyboard of computer for an unlawful purpose. To slander and defame, for example, by saying: ‘So and so did such and such’. By God it is fabrication! For example, they claim ‘So and so died but it is his image speaking’. Fabrication… This is Satan approaching from the left. By tapping into animalistic emotions, corporeal and bodily desires, he employs the eyes for his own purposes. ‘Let’s have a small party for the eyes’ Pardon me, he says: ‘Let’s have a party for the eyes’. He opens the ears to all forbidden purposes, opens them wide like the gates of a castle and says, ‘Let’s listen to these a little’. To listen to backbiting and malicious talk wholeheartedly is just as sinful as to commit it. The Qur’an commands us to walk away from a place where there is inappropriate talk. But meanwhile, Satan uses the mouth and tongue for his own intents. Yet, each body part and each blessing should be used for the purpose for which it was created. It is impossible to attribute the body parts God has given us to causes, both probability wise or from a purely mathematical viewpoint. Consider just this face that God blessed us with. In fact, people now describe the functions of the nose, the functions of the ear, or even its individual parts such as the inner ear or the outer ear, the functions of the mouth in volumes of books. When they write anything about the brain, it becomes clearly evident that it is impossible to attribute its coming of existence to natural selection, evolution, mutation or such. But Satan… And his tactics… May God protect us! Why did God give us eyes? For example, to read the creative commands of God, this incredible book of the universe. Why? Because while the Qur’an speaks essentially to the ears, in the foundations of faith, this is referred to as ‘sound and voices’ or ‘Divine messages’ and it is incumbent on us to listen and follow them. The other one is referred to as the ‘visible objects’. They only mean something when they support each other. To analyse the creative commands, to figure them out, disentangle or unwind them… Necip Fazıl used to use the phrase: ‘They fluff out or unwind [like cotton wool] God’s creative commands’. The analyses are brilliant; but if messages are not backed up by religion, if philosophical concepts are not founded or supported by religion, it will lead to blunders on many occasions. Hence people fall to Naturalism, Positivism, etc. The eyes need to be used to see; the ears need to be used to hear. By using both of these tools something productive can be made. They need to try and produce something in synthesis. The sage Bediüzzaman says: ‘Be quiet. The Qur’an reads the universe in the vast mosque of creation. Let’s hear it. Let’s be illuminated with that light. Let us act according to its guidance, and let’s read it regularly! It is the ‘speech’ in the true sense. The Qur’an is the truth, coming from the Ultimate Truth. It guides to the truth, spreading its light everywhere.’ You are the only one that is the Divine Word, O Qur’an! Yes, when the organs are not used for their intended purpose, Satan approaches from the left. He approaches from the front: In one regard, by putting Satanic thoughts into your mind regarding your future… You will die, you will enter the grave, there is the life of the grave, there are the Scales, there is judgement, there is the Bridge, and there are the doors of Paradise or the doors of Hell. One of those people who are saying, ‘religious politics’ says something to one of your friends. ‘I am religious; in reality we want religion to take over life. We are trying to build walls around this with laws to prevent interference with it.’ When our friend tries to tell this person about this world, the Hereafter, judgement, etc. he responds: ‘You have focused your hearts on things very far away; the real matter is this world.’ Now look, Satan makes the person blind in reference to their future. Yes the Qur’an openly states, ‘Whoever is blind in this (world) (who has followed no guidance towards true faith and righteousness and accountability in the Hereafter), will be blind in the Hereafter, and even further astray from the way (that leads to Divine forgiveness and eternal contentment)’ (Al-Isra, 17:72). Whoever lives blindly here, and doesn’t see what they are meant to see and sees what he is not meant to see, and in effect if he lives blindly, he will be resurrected as a blind one on the other side. This is an analogy; whatever is equivalent to being blind on the other side, that’s what he will be. God forbid, without even realising it, he will fall to the bottom of an abyss. And Satan will come from behind and hit him. Look, the cursed one has many tricks and tactics. Sometimes I feel it; there are some people of spiritual knowledge amongst you. They must know the awful one’s tricks but I am also in strife; I beg forgiveness from God many times a day. Believe me, I have said, ‘O God! I seek refuge from the whisperings and goading of the Satan; I seek refuge from their tricks, so many times on my way here. The Satan comes from behind and rips you from your roots. Your roots stretch all the way to ‘Pre-eternity’; in the Divine Knowledge, they lay next to the Messenger of God; according to the saying ‘God’s first creation is my pure light’ with the Self-Disclosure of ‘Divine Uniqueness’. Then, your roots goes back to Prophet Muhammad, the noble Ahmad, peace and blessings be upon him, who is the rhyme of the poems of the Prophets. Then, with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali, the noble Prophet says, ‘You should walk on the path of myself and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Hold on to this road as if you are holding onto your own teeth’. With that, an amazing history was established. This is your history, your past. This is what you left behind. Then, different states of power came into being; people like those first Companions were then raised among those people. You will not consider Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, Hadi, Mahdi, Orhan Ghazi, an Osman Ghazi, Sultan Suleiman, Murad I, and Murad II any inferior from those first Companions. They were just behind our noble Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him; when he raised his foot, they placed their foot where it was lifted from. Among them, chivalrous souls were raised, with God’s permission. This is your past. Yahya Kemal’s response to Tevfik Fikret is the following: ‘I am not ruined, nor have I disappeared I am the future with roots in the past’, as we are the future with roots from the past. Now, if we are ripped away from our past, all of our values will be destroyed. Yes, this is also the coming of the Satan from behind, May God protect us from it! Still Satan says, ‘I will pounce onto their backs, and cause an interruption in their thoughts’, like people who suffer from doubts and delusions as well as people with suspicions. I am not speaking of sophists or skeptics. The Qur’an says, ‘Surely they were (lost) in hopeless doubt’ (Saba, 34:54), regarding the explanation of their intentions. It’s not just ‘doubt’, it’s not just ‘suspicion; it is a doubt which causes restlessness. In their methodology and philosophy books, our predecessors used to use the term ‘those with hopeless doubt’ for the sophists and skeptics. Yes, as Satan pumps varied thoughts into the mind, in a way, he dirties your neurons, and dirties your memory power; consequently he makes you essentially lose concentration from the things that you should be concentrating on, without realising. It comes from underneath; I don’t know, it is a different trick for Satan to strike from underneath. That is why, our Prophet says, ‘I seek refuge from being stricken from underneath’; ‘I seek refuge from being stricken from underneath’. It is not apparent how he lays in ambush. Yes, this is Satan. During the daytime, I mentioned: The noble Sharani says, ‘I came across Satan, I struggled against him. He said to me: ‘You cannot compete against me.’ As I was combating him, I struggled and was sweaty. He said to me again: ‘You can do whatever you want; the Owner has allotted me time until the Last Day. I will plot against you in fifty different ways, I will occupy you with ways you never knew existed.’ The noble Sahl al-Tustari also says the same things in a different manner. Both of them are enormous, colossal figures: He says, ‘When he came across me, ‘I can’t say I defeated’ him; but he made me sweat and struggle’. It is something for a person to struggle in sweat; but those people who are in sweat up to their necks or those who feel no need to sweat, have already been knocked out in regards to this issue but have no idea, may God protect us from it! Back to the main topic: Look, in regards to this issue with Satan; the carnal soul is Satan’s trumpet inside of man or the decoder of Satan’s signals inside man. Satan makes a code pattern (di-di-dah-dit  / dah-dah-dit ) and the carnal soul says, ‘This means F and G’, it figures it out straight away. Consequently the carnal soul pumps the negative signals from Satan to all of the inner faculties of man, may God protect us from it! It is this kind of mechanism. In such a matter, you must engage in remembrance of God, you must reflect on your soul, and you must nourish yourselves spiritually to stay on solid grounds with self-exertion to also rise in the life of the heart and the spirit, observing the life of the spiritual faculty ‘the Secret’, to be in close contact with people who engage in matters pertaining to the Soul Content with however God treats it and the Soul Pleasing to God. This is how you will be secure from Satan, the most evil of the evil ones, and thus your carnal soul. But one day, as you are separating your carnal soul from these habits; through these ways you are separating such habits. Thus, it will be like your enemy is destroyed. I haven’t seen this in any other book; but Bediüzzaman says that the carnal soul can pass on its mission to nerves, sensibility, and other natural dispositions. Consequently, as we have been created as human, we are always prone to erring and sinning Even Prophet Adam was involved in such an issue. Our noble Prophet states: ‘Everyone makes mistakes. But the best of those who wrong are the ones that repent often.’ All humans are vulnerable to doing wrong, but the best of people are those who quickly follow up their mistakes with repentance and strive to purify themselves. ‘Adam wronged, and so did his children.’ His was just a small lapse. God’s Messenger says that human error is part of his or her very nature. Thus, the evil-commanding soul says it farewells and moves away from you. But, it entrusts its mission upon nerves, sensibility, and other natural dispositions. And so feelings of lust and humanly urges still remain, may God protect us! Such that we struggle and sometimes even battle against such desires until the death. But how will one put forward this struggle and battle? One must constantly remember God, must pray to him, must not delay worship, must eat, drink and sleep little, must look beyond scraps of flesh, and reach the garden of the heart. And then one must say, ‘Let’s see what The All-True Master and Protector does. Splendid is whatever He does!’ ‘The Ultimate Truth and Ever-Constant turns evil into good. Never think that He does otherwise. The wise one beholds the moment. Let’s see what The All-True Master and Protector does. Splendid is whatever He does!’

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