Lead Article

  • Issue 118 / July - August 2017



    The Travelers of Light

    M. Fethullah Gulen

    The travelers of light have always endeavored to surpass mere corporeality. Their attitude has always manifested in a determination to bid farewell to ordinary, human feelings. Voicing their heart and soul at all times, they hasten to enjoy the scene of the soul’s horizon. They have always marched toward the source of illuminations.

    During an inauspicious period when the masses suffered concentric separations and succumbed to darkness, and when societies were stranded and stunted, their people losing hope as they were diverted from the path, these travelers of light essentially taught all exhausted travelers the qualities and conditions of being privileged as “the best of creation.” They invited the weary to self-respect, rousing the eyes and ears of those who had stopped walking on the path, and promising resurrection to lifeless hearts.

    Thanks to their profound disposition and representation, over time, the abyss between the soul’s horizon and humanity became nothing more than a plain. The seemingly insurmountable peaks turned into highways. Each sea of blood and pus became a crystal clear waterfall. The travelers of light led the stricken, hopeless souls towards the horizon of light beams.

    The travelers of light were created from dirt and clay, too; however, after spiritual transformations, they took wing in tandem with the creatures of light. They lent their wings to those in their environment so they could soar towards the peaks of “annihilation in God” (fana fillah) and subsistence with God (baqa billah). These are realms with no element or quality. Leaving their corporeal edifice a step behind and finding their metaphysical profundities far better, they ascended toward the realms where angels resound “May God bless you!” (barakallah). They even ventured toward the inexplicable domains far beyond the essence, where they urge, “Ride forth, for you have the ball and the mallet.” 

    Almighty God, with His Divine will, majestic might and power, perfect favor, and profound compassion, reciprocated their step toward him with miles of proximity, bestowing innumerable favors on them for their turning toward Him, even if they just turned an inch. He conferred on them boundless Divine favors in return for their loyalty. He replied to their limited love and affection with His infinite and boundless kindness. He produced downpours of favor that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined.

    Due to this, the travelers of light started fluttering between amazement (hayra) and stupor (hayman). They couldn’t think of leaving that atmosphere, even for a while.  How could they, when they always had an eye far beyond the horizons? When their hearts beat with eagerness for infinity and their emotions burst forth with the joy of love and unity? Of course, as they ascended to the “inexplicable” peaks on top of the atmosphere, they – by conferring all that pertains to the carnal self to anger and sensitivity – were filled with a profound sense of humility, modesty, shame, and awe, and each was inversely proportional with their horizons of sensation.

    Sometimes, they sobbed and said:


    “If the Compassionate One weighs me with these sins,

    The Scale at the assembly place of Judgement will break!”


    Sometimes they thoroughly criticized themselves:


    “I glanced at the universe’s book of deeds,

    I have not seen any book rivaling the anthology of my sins!”


    As opposed to these blessed soldiers of truth who have always been dedicated to veracity and still run from one peak to another, there are also ill-fated, ever-shackled slaves of lust, fame, pomp, show, and power. They are those following Satan and his posse. Since they have turned away from servanthood to God, they have chased innumerable idols. Besides losing the hereafter, they have turned their world into hell thanks to stress, angst, and paranoia. They have lived with the fear and worry of losing all they have acquired, and by fabricating whimsical foes, they have engaged in fighting them, both plainly and secretly. They have spent their power and strength on tyranny, injustice, domination, oppression, aggression, and molestation. They have stooped to the position of being more evil than the most damned tyrants.

    Within the constant cycle of historical recurrences, the slaves of pomp, power, reign, and fame have always displayed parallel attitudes to one another. They have all resorted to similar tricks, fooled the masses with similar conspiracies, and eventually fell into a pit of their own digging. How nicely Sheikh’ul-Islam Ibn Kemal puts it:


    “Given a pick in the hand of your carnal self,

    Do not dig a pit on the path of anyone.

    Whoever digs a pit on the path of another,

    Himself falls face down into that pit.”


    With no exception, the arrogant, egotistical bullies of the past perished in similar finales. Surely, today’s fanatical and delirious tyrants, who disregard fairness, consideration, and justice, will meet the same end in the very near future.

    In contrast to them, the radiant faces who are directed towards the right course always see the truth, think accurately, and strive to deliver others toward the truth. They lend a saving hand to those tripped and dragged by Satan. By showing them the signs along the road, the radiant souls arouse the shaken ones, orienting them toward light and radiance. It is their indispensable wish to save those who deviate from the oppression of falsehood. It is their mission to deliver them to the joyous clime of truth and justice, hence crowning their lives with the sentiment of letting others live.

    No matter how dark days may turn, what distress weeks may bring, or what months may start and end in oppression, the radiant souls smile towards the future, believing:


    “The night is always gravid with joy and sorrow,

    See what emerges from the womb of the night before the daybreak!”


    They walk on toward that sacred destination that is the object of their wishes and say, “Every night has its dawn and every winter has its spring.” They walk on by seeing each trouble and predicament as a font of purification, heedful that domination and tyranny are two inseparable trials placed on the path of prophets. Aware of walking towards infinity and turning down worldly offers, they walk toward eternity and reach beyond the world, to where the splendors of infinitude are apparent. They do so already intoxicated by and languid with the reflections on the beyond.  

    May God bless the diligent travelers of this path thousands of times! Shame on the futureless, miserable tyrants who want to turn them away from this path!

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