Issue 81 / May - June 2011
An Ardent Prayer
M. Fethullah Gulen
The Almighty Creator is He whose existence is the origin of all existence, whose might is the source of power for everything, and whose will is the only means by which all things and events occur. The very soul of our essence is nourished by divine knowledge. He is the one and only Sovereign who has created the whole universe, establishing the world and the heavens as an exhibition, putting His creation on display, fashioning a feast every single night with the stars, planets and the moon, presenting the lowlands, mountains, forests, rivers and seas with all their forms, colors and features to the view of the people of perception, like a book that is to be read, all serving to bring the heavenly beauties to the mind. It is He who opens the ways for us mortal humans to observe the Heavens through the emerald hills of the heart; it is He who expands the breasts of the believers through faith, brightening their senses with their worship; it is He who grants a transcendent value to their standing before God when they bow in prayer, crowning them with the mark of prostration on their forehead. It is He who intensifies the goodness of His servants with divine favor and grace; it is He who puts those with God-conscious spirits on a par with the angels. It is He who overlooks His servants‚Äô mischievous feelings, thoughts, and behavior with His mercy and forgiveness, both in this world and in the hereafter; it is He who forgives the transgressions of wrongdoers, exempting them countless of times from the punishment they deserve. It is He who manifests His majesty and grandeur in a manifold variety of shades and hues at every moment, sufficing for all existence and who has power over all things; it is He who shows us the ways of seeking refuge in Him, lifting the veils from our eyes slightly, reminding us of our triviality and trifling nature, our insufficiency and discrepancies. It is He who is the supreme ruler of eternity, awakening those who zigzag between the past and present in grief to endless longings and cravings that stem from their very human nature.
Given that the entire creation bears witness to all this, here I pray:
O King of Kings, whose signs of Lordship we perceive from the collars around our necks! Make us feel and understand our servitude to You fully and execute Your decree on those who make use of Your blessings a means of getting wild and straying into evil ways.
All those endless range of shades and hues of the realm of divine mercy and blessings which are present in human consciousness quiescently and which flow into the heart with heavenly joys on different wavelengths, even before getting into the Heavens-all these endless variety of shades and hues are from the divine grace and favor which are incommensurable with any quality or quantity. Were it not for divine favor and liking for us, what difference would there be between us and the flesh in the butcher shop? He not only livens up the earth with the fluffy clouds, rain falling down to the earth in drops, running rivers, and effervescent seas, but also enlivens our inner world and faculties, opening them into eternity through the inspirations, breezes, and springtides of divine grace.
It is He who has created the soil mixed with rocks and has filled the earth with infinitesimal creatures, turning all the corners of the world into heavenly gardens. It is He who introduces the human being, which He has created with flesh, blood, and bones, to the angels and other celestial beings and has them strive as if in a race toward good works. It is He who has paved the ways from the passageways-which can also spread out to the cesspools-to Paradise and from the seventh heaven to the observation of the divine ‚Äúcountenance‚ÄĚ and has shown how coal can turn into diamonds.
O King of Mercy, who restores life to the rocks and soil and with His grace brings those whose spirit is also open to devilry into the realm of angels-furnish us with endowments beyond our capacity and improve us in our endowments! Either show those who are ignorant of You, with souls as black as coal, how to turn into diamond-like souls or condemn them to punishment!
If the pulses of the faithful quicken with hope now, if their hearts beat with the excitement of future bliss, and their minds are enraptured with the beauties of the otherworld, this is because of the divine breezes we feel in our conscience and due to God‚Äôs making us aware of the divine presence at every stage. From Him is the light of the heavens and the earth; the openings to the treasuries of both this and the other world are not even like a keyhole to the door of His Kingdom. In comparison with the real worth and virtue in God‚Äôs sight, the world that we constantly run after, filled with fancies, has not as much value as even the wing of a fly before God. Even a particle of this world-which is in fact futile in its entirety, but which gains a manifest value in accordance with Divine principles-becomes great enough to pave the way to eternal bliss.
O Mighty King who brings-through His Existence-all existence out of non-existence, who endows a drop of water with the immensity of the sea, and who grants an atom the power to be the sun! Every thing and being, from the animate to inanimate, from human to animals, from the faithful to the nonbeliever, from the conscious to the unconscious, and from the fortunate to the unfortunate, subsist under Your banner-may this divine banner always fly above us and may we continue to live in the shade of Your light which emanates from Your existence! Were it not for Your special Will and turning towards them, nothing would have come into existence, humanity would not exist, faith would be unattainable, Your existence would be imperceptible, and those fortunate souls upon whom You have bestowed an endless depth of thought with faith would not excel themselves.
You are the source for all the sparkling and fading lights. We come into the world, grow up, and die, whereas You are the Necessarily Existent One beyond any time or space. You call hundreds of thousands into being at every moment, You manifest Your existence through them, You remind us of Your will and knowledge by the divine wisdom in their creation. You draw attention to Your perpetuity by evolving and transforming everything, whispering the secrets that lie behind things and events to those who are on the way to God, and talk confidentially about the glamour of the road. Your Name is the dearest thing in our conscience-may it reside in our heart constantly! Your Essence is the one and only source of light for our spirits. Our hearts, which have been seeking for an eternity on each and every horizon-as if they are programmed for an awareness of eternity-shout out the infinitude of Your Mercy. The earth cringes in servility and submissiveness to Your command and has been on a blessed journey since the very first day it was created: The heights and mounts stand in awe of You, showing their readiness for Your commands. The rivers bow down onto the ground, rapturous with the flood of Your light, flowing with vivacity and calling out Your beautiful name, the All-Living. Gardens and orchards, and birds and chicks are in a cheerful rush everywhere so that they can observe the beauty of the manifestation of Your ‚Äúface.‚ÄĚ The snow and the ice, and hail and storms accompany the composition of Your majesty and grandeur. The spring and the fall, and the night and the day make constant mention of You in their diverse languages, as they change colors, turning green, yellow, white, and black.
It is blindness not to have knowledge of You despite seeing all this, and it is ingratitude not to adore You in servitude while being blessed with Your favors in all places, at all times. It is our duty, as Your servants, to remember You all the time, and it is a need of our spirit to flee to You at every moment in every situation. What is left for us other than displaying our displeasure and taking a stand against those who deny Your mercy. It is the voice of conscience and the very requirement of being a loyal servant at Your door to not mention those people who do not mention You.
O the eternal King, even the dust of Whose doorway is kohl powder to apply in a fine line around our eyes! We are constantly on this journey since the day we achieved-or we supposed we achieved-an awareness of being on Your way, laying our head on Your doorstep. We enthuse our hearts through Your guidance and persevere to be Your guests. Your unceasing favors-which are reference to Your blessings for the future as well-give so much vitality to our hopes that we become distanced to everything and everybody, turning to You only with expectations that cannot fit even into our dreams. With the shackles of Your Messenger on our ankles and the collars from the divine will round our necks, we are zealous, determined, and bound by our oath to not let a stranger touch even one strand of hair on our head.
If we are like much-loved doves in Your private garden, then bless us with an unending breath and a tongue that never tires out in our requital for our existence and everything You have given us! We become enthusiastic only if You enthuse us and experience feelings that only You make us feel. We accept all that which is not from the Divine abode as senseless prattle and seek refuge in You from the tongue that does not mention You.
If all this is nothing but spelling out our state and situation to You, then loose any knot from our tongue, elevate our speech in the shade of Your speech, give our hearts steadfastness, and deepen and bolster our breaths with divine breaths. We cannot have anything if You do not give it to us; we can never drop a word if You do not cause us to speak. How can these poor wings of ours be capable of reaching the horizon of Your pleasure? How can this poor heart open up to the secrets of the treasury of the knowledge of You? How can this poor tongue be adequate to praise You? We are doubled up and ashamed of our withering conduct and grating talk, but at the same time we are relieved from worry due to our turning to Your immense lenience and mercy. Our sins are of the same magnitude as the revolt of those who have been sunk into the earth and our aloofness is within the borders of Your wrath; however, Your forgiveness is so immense that it will exterminate all wrongdoings and faults, and Your proximity is nearer to us than our jugular vein. Admit us not in accordance with our rebellion, but rather in accordance with Your forgiveness; treat us not with our remoteness, but with the warmth of proximity. Make us feel Your being with us, comfort our weak hearts, and foster our spirits with Your favors.
The ways ahead are difficult and steep: many evil spirits are waiting guardedly at every corner for an ostensible motive to attack, always wheeling out words of retrogression, backwardness, theocracy, and fundamentalism in their denunciatory language, holding every means and power in their hands, and a great many intrigues in their mind. O God, if we are against faith, knowledge, science, or progression in any way-as some claim-save us then from going in this wrong direction! If we are not good enough for this, take us then to Yourself and open the ways to those who are pious, refined, erudite, and progressive! If those who claim us to be as such are, however, in the wrong, then favor those among them whose spirits are open to faith and salvation with Your guidance; destroy the unity of those who obstinately persist in their deviance and who continually engage in evil! Bring their schemes to nothing and let them fall into their own traps! Leave them with unalleviated misery and sorrow! Safeguard the loyal servants of Your door and all the believers from the outrages, derision, scorn, and schemes of such evil minded, extremely wicked, and demonic people!