The Major Cause Of Our People
This article covers the next generation of Muslims (Our People).
It is true that there are ruthless battles going on in the fields of politics, the arenas of interests, and at the turnstiles of profit; some brag, “Let’s save the country,” “Let’s enlighten our people,” “Let’s advance our nation.”
The whole world is now moving toward spring. Despite problems in the past, almost everyone agrees that the future is bright. Rather than dwelling on this phenomenon though, it is more important to consider the state of those who exert their resolution, willpower, and high performance in order to achieve this future. To think of the future of one’s country and nation is undoubtedly the duty of every intelligent and enlightened individual. However, I cannot say for sure whether everyone is conscious that they bear such a responsibility. What I know is that a handful of people in our country over the years have lived day and night, continuously working for and being preoccupied by aspirations for the future, and used, spent, and sacrificed everything they have had in the hope that one day the road they are building will reach the level plains.
This country and land, for which millions of people once sacrificed their lives in a variety of ways, is in an exciting time of a passage from the past to the future, accompanied by so many loyal children; this has happened once before, and this country and its people are now full of hope and deeply conscious of and enthusiastic about the idea of the advancement of their people. This is true to such an extent that when they are carrying out daily, mundane work with one hand and foot, then they are trying to produce plans and projects for the future with the other hand and foot, using their feelings and consciousness that are given over to the disposal and command of their ideals. So we can say the major cause which this honorable and majestic history and fortunate and glorious nation of ours has been defending and protecting, a cause which has formed and developed for over a thousand years, is once more starting to kindle in the spirits with a deep emotion; an emotion like homesickness and a longing for return. Many of today’s generations, with their consciousness of union and solidarity, their determination and perseverance to make their own nation the number one nation of the era, seem to be both evidence to this cause and the representatives of this mission. Unless an opposing wind blows and scatters everything, it seems that the future will be theirs.
This cause was spread by the first great men of Islam to the four corners of the world over a very short time, and gained a different momentum with the Umayyads and Abbasids, a different value with the Seljuks, and finally with the Ottomans became a matter of the highest importance, although it was also subjected to great inauspiciousness over a certain period. It has once more started to be experienced as a process that goes from village to city, family to state, street to school, art to science, work to morality, and thanks to those who have awakened the country with the excitement and enthusiasm of their hearts and who have colored and watered the map of the country with their continuous tears. Therefore, despite everything, the faint and predictable light of dawn has started to appear gradually, sending its light everywhere. In a sense, although we have been subjected to the deception of false dawns over and over again, it is those false dawns which are the most reliable witnesses that the sun will soon rise.
During that unfortunate period, issues such as greed for the material, love of position, passion for life, desire for fame, and desire to hold on to the world, came and occupied the place of our intellectual and spiritual causes, and the lowest things were consecrated. However, now the spirit and essence—or reality— are directing in charge, and things have started to resume their place. Instead of the immature thoughts and fantasies of that time, which boasted their claim to save the country and advance it to the level of Western standards—a claim which appeared to be true, but which was in fact no more than idle posturing— there are now, in huge numbers, lofty representatives—or candidates soon-to-be—of science, knowledge, art, morality, and virtue who are inheritors of all the values of our glorious past.
Meanwhile, it is true that there are ruthless battles going on in the fields of politics, the arenas of interests, and at the turnstiles of profit; some brag, “Let’s save the country,” “Let’s enlighten our people,” “Let’s advance our nation.” We always pay the penalty for the whims and passions of those who have concocted stories that mislead the people, leading the nation into chaos. However, I earnestly ask you: Is it possible to show that there was ever any period during which such things did not take place or exist? Such things have always existed, and will always exist, today and tomorrow. History is not the history of good people only. Along with the history of good people is the history of those who swear, bite, gnaw, trap, betray, and accuse one another. You do not have to go far to find it. If we look back at our recent past, we will see this, and we will shiver at how many times souls were assassinated in the name of democracy, how many times the different sections of society were turned into wolves to devour one another, and how many times our hearts were made to drink hatred, malice, and resentment.
Looking at some sections of society from the perspective of some matters, the things we have been doing today will not be different from those of yesterday, and tomorrow’s actions will be no different from those of today. In even the purest and the most ideal societies, there have existed, and will exist, some dark souls who continually cheat and deceive, thus dividing, exploiting, and oppressing, and who continually change the masks on their faces and are thus able to conceal themselves and their true identity. On the other hand, apart from such people, there most certainly exists a world of positive people and positive efforts.
Today the movement for education has been realized under various names and titles, and the efforts for love, tolerance, and dialogue are indeed important attempts toward bringing the parts of society together and making the sources of its spiritual power move and function; and they are indeed sufficient within the hands of the generations whose metaphysical-spiritual tension is complete and who really believe, to re-float the nation’s ship, a ship which has run aground, and cause it to sail safely on. There is no doubt that today’s generations, who have been ill-treated and misused as regards their spirit and character, and who have suffered great losses one after another in their morality, virtue, thinking, art, indeed, in all general human values, will reach a new resurrection thanks to their spiritual freedom and intellectual stability.
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries became an age of disintegration and going backward for us. For a long time, the true reasons for this were not perceived and the views on this were deliberately distorted. Therefore masterpieces of real backwardness were produced and displayed in religion, science, art, and aesthetics, and in time, some currents occasionally in the form of conflicts of ideas turned out to be the currents of rejection and atheism. These conflicts of ideas arose due to fantasy and confusion. This was true to such an extent that in the place of scientific genius, jugglery and trickery, instead of enlightenment, illusion, and instead of struggle and perseverance, defamation became fashionable. Those who considered deceit to be a skill exerted all their energy and efforts and strove to bring down historical truths through fabrication, willful misrepresentation, deceit, slander, and malicious instigation. Look at the manifestation of the Divine Destiny on which those historical dynamics and the spiritual roots of the people are still standing, and contrast this with how the deceitful ones who have fallen and gone have themselves become.
This nation awakening to the path of the Prophet once more, like the snowdrops everywhere dancing in the spring winds, is whispering the songs of newest existence, of freshest revival. We seem today to be more lively, agile, and determined with the hope, ease, and cheerfulness of the realization of finding and coming to ourselves; I wish that our every effort henceforth, every tear we shed, may become the remedy for our grievous wounds and the light of the tomorrows which seem so dark!
Having entered the twenty-first century, the future of the nations related to us can be considered to be under the trusteeship of the doves of the army of light soaring on the wings of light; these, in turn, are now considered to be the representatives of science, knowledge, virtue, and morality. We hope these blessed generations a great majority of whom have dedicated themselves to teaching and education, will be our guides with the voice of light and with the thought of light, and will not only make us regain all the historical values we have lost, but also enable our people settle their accounts with the era.
Indeed, the cause and goal of our existence has nothing at all to do with might or force. Recognizing that the power which has surrendered and submitted to the Truth has its own reason for existence, we wholeheartedly acknowledge and respect the necessity for techniques and technology, the necessity and immediacy for industry, the value of science and knowledge. In addition to these, there is the vast perspective of our thought, our outstanding acceptance and interpretation of art, and our understanding of the implementation of true justice, which is meticulously sensitive, and also our belief in the obligation for our country to be nurtured and supported by these. Therefore, we need today, more than anything, well-bred minds, vast perspectives, and spiritual teachers with broad horizons who can establish due balance of all these, for and on behalf of our country and people, who can raise our nation and people to the apex of thought, who can direct us to the roots of our essence or spirit, and who can provide opportunities for, and give a start to our souls that are in need of, and in love with, the Sublime.
Rather than party politics or cliquishness, our country needs disciples of knowledge, morality, and virtue who are well-equipped with faith and hope, full of enthusiasm, and who have divested themselves of any wish, desire, and distress, be it material or immaterial, pertaining to this world or the other. Until we can find them and put ourselves in their hands, this intertwined exile and slavery, though relative, seems set to continue. We beseech the Owner of Infinite Mercy to send soon the long awaited generations to our aid, with those consoling signs which we have already seen appear on the horizon.
By M. Fethullah Gulen