The spirit does not belong to this visible world. It issues from the world of unconditioned existence where Divine commands are carried out instantly without the mediation of causes. However, like energy requiring cords or bulbs to function, the spirit needs matter in order to be operative in this world. But matter also restricts the activity of the spirit. So, in order to make the spirit more active and less confined within time and space, one has three ways:
1. To make the realm to its activity more spacious for the spirit, one should have a firm religious belief and develop spiritually through regular worship and asceticism. The more refined matter is, the more free and active the spirit. Austere practices-less food, more fasting, less sleep, refraining from all kinds of sins and regular and more frequent worship-are advised in this way. If one has innate capacity to develop one’s spiritual faculties, one can go beyond the limits of this material world, travel in the spirit in other dimensions of existence and, to some degree, get in contact with the past and future. It may be understood by means of the following analogy:
While you are in a room, you can see the things within the confines of the four walls. When you go outside, your viewing range will be broadened and include your immediate surroundings. You can see a still wider area from the top of a hill. As you ascend higher, the area you see is further enlarged. It is the same with time. The more free the spirit is from the imprisonment’ of matter and the body, the broader the realm of its activity is with respect to both time and space.
This way is usually the way of the Prophets and saints. Either through travel in spirit in time and space or through being taught by God, the Knower of the Seen and Unseen, they can penetrate into the depths of time and space just as the light of the sun, although it is a material body, can be present in numberless places at the same time, so the spirit of a Prophet or a saint, especially one belonging to the group called ‘substitutes’ (abdal), can be present in many places at the same time in the immaterial or energetic form of its body. The Qur’an points to this: the Spirit (many interpreters of the Qur’an are of the opinion that it was the Archangel Gabriel) was seen before Mary the virgin, mother of Jesus, in the form of a human being. There are many authentic narrations about some saints who were seen in different places at the same time. This is, as pointed out above, like the sun being reflected in innumerable transparent things at the same time.
The spirit of a saint which has acquired enough enlightenment or luminosity comes across symbols or signs of past or future events while it is travelling in time. The saint interprets those visions of his and gives news of certain past or future events. This is comparable to interpretation of dreams. However, the saint may sometimes err in his interpretation. However, a Prophet, since he receives revelation and is directly taught by God Almighty, the Knower of the Unseen, never errs in his interpretations and predictions. Whatever the Prophets predicted always came true. For example, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings predicted numerous future events. Most of his predictions have already come true, while others are waiting for their time to come true. (For many of his predictions, see, Said Nursi, The Letters, vol. 1, pp. 111-130; F. Gulen, The Infinite Light, vol. 1, pp. 67-82).
Muhy al-Din ibn al-’Arabi is a Muslim saint who lived in the thirteenth century. Although he died about half a century before the foundation of the Ottoman State at the beginning of the fourteenth century, he predicted numerous important events of Ottoman history. His work Shajarat al-Nu’maniyah, manuscripts of which are available in libraries in Edirne and Istanbul in Turkey, is like a history of the Ottoman State written in symbols. For example, he predicted that his burial-place would be discovered when Salim entered Damascus, and it happened as he predicted. Again, he predicted that despite nine months of siege, Hafiz Ahmad Pasha would not be able to capture Baghdad and Murad, the Sultan, would conquer it in forty days. He also predicted that Sultan ‘Abd al-’Aziz would be dethroned and killed. All these predictions of his came true.
Similarly, Mushtaq Dada of Bitlis, who lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, predicted that, following a war, Ankara would be made the capital of Turkey by one named Kamal. It happened exactly as be predicted. His Diwan, the book containing his poems, where this prediction can be found, is available.
It is certain that these beloved servants of God, whether Prophets or saints, make predictions only by God’s leave and power. God Almighty enables and allows them to make predictions. He declares: My servant can draw near unto Me in no safer and better way than performing his obligatory religious duties. He becomes nearer to me through supereregatory prayers. Once he becomes near to Me, I become his eyes with which he sees, his ears with which he hears, and his hands with which he holds.
2. The second way to travel in the spirit in time and space or to penetrate into further and deeper dimensions of time and space is to follow the guidance of the relevant Divine Name or Names. All existence depends on the manifestations of Divine Names. We see because, as the manifestation of His Name the All-Seeing, God Almighty has made us able to see; as the manifestation of His Name the Self- Subsistent and the One Causing to Subsist, we are able to continue to exist. If He were to cease the manifestation of His Name, the One Causing to Subsist, in connection with existence, the universe would go to ruin all instantly.
Similarly by following the guidance of God’s relevant Names, spirit beings, like angels and jinn can take on the form of another being by God’s leave; for example, they can assume the form of an animal or human being. Especially jinn can enter the body of an animal and govern its actions. Likewise, they can even take a human being under their influence. So, by discovering the Divine Name which gives one the ability to penetrate into farther dimensions of time and space and to follow the guidance of that Name in a particular affair, one can travel by God’s leave in time and space and see and hear certain things which others cannot.
3. Supranormal phenomena like telepathy and spiritualism are widespread in the world. Millions of people, who seek peace and happiness in a world where technology and materialistic world-view and tendencies dominate human lives, minds and spirits, attend special seances for the sake of so-called transcendental experiences.
Some people are more inclined to and have the innate capacity for supernormal phenomena. For example, a woman medium called Madame Gibson had predicted the partition of India in 1947 and the murder of John Kennedy. Likewise, Fenni Bey from Ordu, Turkey, who fought at the front of Madina during the First World War, relates:
‘We were under siege in Madina. I was unable to communicate with my family in Istanbul. One night in a dream I saw fire and smoke in my house. In the morning I sent for a private of mine, who was a medium. I told him to go into a trance and, travelling to my house-I told him where it was situated-describe to me what he saw. He did what I told him and began to describe: “1 have reached the house, I have knocked on the door and an old woman in a head-scarf has come out with a child in her arms.” I told the private to ask the woman if there was anything wrong in the house? He related to me: “She says your wife died yesterday.”
Spiritualism is one of the more widespread supranormal practices nowadays. Before further explanation, I should point out that my aim in mentioning such supranormal phenomena is to emphasize that existence is not normal phenomena is to emphasize that existence is not restricted to matter. Rather, as in the case with a book or a piece of writing whose main existence lies in its meaning, what is metaphysical or spiritual or immaterial is the essential part of existence; matter is accidental and a changing means for the manifestation of the immaterial. It is true that some great saints like Muhy al-Din ibn aI-’Arabi, are known to have communicated with the spirits of the dead and even of those who had not yet been born-the spirits of all human beings were created long before the first man came to the world and the spirit of each person is breathed into him while he is about a six-month old embryo in his mother’s womb-but those who practise spiritualism in the modern world today communicate, rather than with the souls of the dead, with the unbelieving jinn or satans who appear to them in the form of the dead person with whose soul they wish to communicate. Also, mediums who predict future events usually make contact with the jinn from whom they report what they report jinn are a kind of beings who live longer than humans, are active in broader dimensions (realms) of time and space and act much more speedily than human beings, and who can see some things which normal people cannot. However, they are unable to see the future and we should not believe their predictions even though, very rarely, these may prove true. Actually, it is a known fact that the intelligence services of the US and the Communist Russia competed with each other in making use of supranormal ways of communication like telepathy. As will be explained later, in a not too distant future, world powers will be using jinn in communication and especially in secret intelligence activities. However, it is dangerous to seek to contact and communicate with jinn or satans, because they can easily bring the people who contact them under their influence and govern their actions. And, as was pointed out above, those who practise spiritualism usually communicate with members of the unbelieving party of jinn, who appear to them in the form of the dead ones whose souls they are calling.
A friend of mine, who is a psychiatrist, relates:
‘I was invited to a practice of necromancy in a house in Samsun (a province in Northern Turkey). The youngest daughter of the family arranged cups and letters on a table. One of the friends present invited the soul of his late grandfather. After several calls, a man appeared. When we asked him insistently who he was, he answered: ‘Satan’. We were greatly astonished. A while later, I asked him why he had come although we had not called him. He wrote on the table with the cups: ‘So I come!’ I asked him whether he believed in God. He wrote ‘No!’. When I asked whether he believed in the Prophet, again, he wrote, ‘No!’. I began reading to him some passages from a book concerning the existence of God. When I read, ‘A factory with such and such features points to the engineer who planned and built it’, he wrote, ‘True’; but when I read, ‘So too the universe with all the planets and particularly the world with all plants and animals in it indicate God’, he wrote, ‘No!’. This continued for some time, and I began reciting to him from Jawshan, a collection of supplications to God. While I was reciting, the cups were moving on the table. Meantime he wrote: ‘Give up that nonsense!’ When I continued to recite, he could not endure listening and disappeared.
Like such supernormal experiences, observations of some doctors at the time of death also prove the existence of the spirit and spirit beings. What Bedri Ruhselman reports in Ruh ve Kainat (‘The Spirit and the Universe’) from a doctor is in complete agreement with the observations of a group of doctors from Holland, which were published in newspapers.
A doctor narrates: ‘My wife was ill. When she went into the pangs of death, two things resembling two clouds descended into the room and hovered above her head. Meanwhile a form appeared, which was connected to my wife on the nape of the neck with a cord and was fluttering. This continued for five hours. In the end, the cord broke off and the form, the spirit, rose away. This was the end of my wife’s life.’
By M. Fethullah Gulen
This article is borrowed from The Fountain Magazine.