Creation began with a syllable of speech made up of two letters, namely “Be”. The roads leading from unity to multiplicity, from single to plural, appeared with speech and were illuminated with words, which are parts of speech. Before speech resounded in their hearts, man was in no way different from animals and animals were not different from rocks or earth.
When Pen was created, it could not know what it would write. In this bewilderment, speech whispered its mystery and ink began to shed tears. Since then, when pen arrives at speech, it laments and ink weeps.
Had it not been for speech, we would never have been able to hear anything of eternity or understand anything of the mysteries pertaining to the All-Exalted Creator, which satisfy our insight and inmost hearts.
It is by means of speech that the universe has become a place of exhibition and the books coming from the Truth serve as heralds. When speech was placed on the head of the ruler of the earth like a crown inlaid with beryl, the meaning of existence was manifested and we, human beings, became as if made of speech only. It is speech, which connects the earth with the heavens and unites the world with the Hereafter. Although its innate beauty and exalted being are not apparent of themselves, we may say that everything is indebted to speech and has its source therein.
Speech is such a standard demolishing fortress towers and such a flag conquering castles, that commanders, who have not been supported by it, have not been able to conquer even a single village. Even the greatest commanders have not been able to capture the places that speech has captured, kings have not been able to obtain as much glory as it has obtained, and no mortal has been able to live as long as it. Those who have come have gone, and those who have gone have gone also from memories, whereas speech has remained ever fresh and lively, losing nothing of its value.
Those who can use speech effectively or who can write and speak effectively and eloquently are celestial nightingales. Their tongues exhilarate their friends and alarm and dispirit their enemies. The bayonets of speech they produce are sharper than the swords of warriors and more awe-inspiring than their lances. Physicians are able to heal the wounds of swords and arrows but have never been witnessed to heal the wounds opened up by words. It is the Prophets who wielded the most effective and penetrating of words and, after them, those with sincere hearts open to inspiration. Over the passage of time they have torn up the veils of darkness with their arrows of word; at times they have lit fires in hearts with the sparks of the words they have put in them; at other times they have sometimes sprinkled words like showers of mercy, changing their surrounding into gardens of Paradise.
When those birds of inspiration have taken wing, even angels have hastened to them in order to collect the pearls that have scattered from their mouths.
Those who write and speak eloquently in the way of truth are like the sun: at the cost of burning inwardly, they light up their surroundings. They may also be likened to oceans, which hold the world’s vastest treasures yet are not made haughty by their wealth. They are perfectly humble among people and profoundly devoted to God and most careful of all in their relationship with Him. They scatter jewels around without needing to make any show thereby. And while they continue to produce new jewels, they do not think of themselves as having made anything worthy of praise.
They enliven minds and hearts with their precious words and enchant men and jinn, attracting those both in mosques and taverns to their jewels. Today, imprisoned within the thick walls of matter and shut off to the realms of inspiration, it seems impossible to produce the same jewels as those produced by our predecessors. Even the words of those who have some fame for their rhetoric and eloquence are feeble and lacking in the depth to hold hearts and minds. The wings of inspiration are broken and in the hearts needy of inspiration the witches of imitation have settled. For this reason we are left with nothing to do but pray to the Creator of speech to help us.
By M. Fethullah Gulen
See also: Kalam