Issue 83 / September - October 2011
Believers as They Stand Before God
M. Fethullah Gulen
The believer is one who believes and trusts, one with prospects for a secure future who is trustworthy to others. S/he is a monumental figure marked by a special distinction imbued with contrasting colors, one within the other. Throughout their lives, believers bind all their actions to the consideration that God is watching them; they always act in a refined and courteous manner-whether in the presence of God alone or in the company of others-which is enviously admired by all. Their feelings are vast and deep, and they stand with politeness; good conduct, respect, and kindness are their main attributes. Even if their lives are at stake, or they face oppression or slander, they never deign to behave crudely and act only in lawful self-defense. Believers are exceptional, for they display an elegance and profundity that arises from the awareness of their status as servants of God-they are as kind as much as they are cautious, fully conscious of what they say and do; they avoid frivolity in all matters, while maintaining calm and lenience with a generous heart open to all.
Believers have hearts that are rich and spaciousâwith room and prosperity enough to welcome all, offering bowls of love and embracing others with compassion. They share the blessings of their closeness to God with those with whom their paths cross, and strive to inspire their souls. One can see them at times joyous, even intoxicated with dreams of the day they will encounter the Real; other times, they are anxious in fear of the Divine, shivering in the thrill of such a splendid reunion. They see through the mist and smoke of hatred and revenge; they do not feel the thunder, gusts and waves of jealousy or slander that hit their soul and disperse, nor are they depressed by palpitations from the misery caused by adverse circumstance. They are in a lofty Presence, and all incompatibilities are deleted from their imaginations and thoughts-their hearts, spirits, and feelings are purified and clear. Verily, there can be no other condition for those who cleanse themselves of impurities several times a day. There can be no rips in the canvas of their graceful souls as long as their inner spheres have been filled with bliss that descends from beyond; their behavior corresponds to the affluence and wisdom thereof. Their path is well-set, their destination lofty, and none of these are to be bartered for. With commitment to their faith, they acknowledge the great ones as great, and the smaller ones as a rose to be smelled with compassion. Everything is classified properly in the taxonomy of values.
Believers maintain their distance from plans and projects that are unrelated to their high ideals, confused thoughts that do not ultimately lead to the Supreme One, profane behavior, or empty words and considerations. They are active in thinking when they are silent; their speech is remembrance and all of their outward and inward faculties are locked onto the One. They are complaisant, as deep and pure as an angel ready to soar. Their motivation is head-spinning, but respectful toward the Exalted Station to which they have turned; they are judicious enough not to prioritize their personal plans or projects as highly as an ideal. Their eyes observe the horizons; their endeavors are powerful enough to pierce mountains. Believers are men and women of insight, and while they are stimulated by an intense desire to introduce the beautiful patterns of belief to others, they are also aware of the necessary subtlety their works involve.
Believers make their brief lifetimes long enough to build this world and to invest in the next. They do not waste even the smallest of the many innate blessings bestowed upon them; they do not busy themselves with useless things that promise nothing for this world or the world to come. They can give away all that has been bestowed on them for the pleasure of the One while scrupulously making sure a single penny is not wasted. They pay strict attention to righteousness and to what is lawful and what is forbidden. All that they do, they do within the framework of raising the glory of the One’s name, so that all their actions become heavenly waterfalls and rivers. They live cautiously and thoughtfully, searching for possible means to convert one drop into an ocean or claim the sun with an atom. They strive to eternalize transient things.
Believers love for the sake of the One; they breathe love and kindle love all around. They rush to stop tears and agony, they apply antidotes to pain, they transform weeping to laughter, moaning to praise, and storms of fire to breezes of pleasure. They scream to stop the screams of the world and their tears flow like rivers. They develop self-esteem only if it means something to others, thus preferring "us" over "me." They are not selfish but altruistic; they are not drowned in corporeality, but are soulful and absorbed in the truth that lies beyond. They do not allow their hearts to be hidden in their bodies or their spirits trampled under their corpses. They seek a prophetic dignity and protection from sin. Champions of discipline, believers are content with the pleasures and tastes within the lawful domainâthey outperform their carnal selves and sensuality, reach the respective horizons of their spirit and overcome each obstacle with one single move, God willing.
Believers are so firmly determined to represent good conduct and prevent mischief and hideousness that they race beside the angels, who say, "All-Glorified You are (in that You are absolutely above having any defect or doing anything meaningless, and Yours are all the attributes of perfection). We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. Surely You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise." Such believers never abuse the blessings that are innately bestowed in contradiction to the purpose of their creation; they are loyal and God honors them with His company in turn.
Existence per se is a trust to every individual, and it is to be equipped with noble human values. Aspiring to Heaven, having the capacity, realizing the method to attain the same, and potentially being able to encounter the beauty of the One-these are each a trust bestowed to human beings in order to set them on the path determined by the Almighty Creator. Committing sins, straying from the path, and leading a life of sensuality are treacherous acts that crush such innate blessings; they delight the devils and embarrass the residents of the Divine Abode.
Believers of mature faith use their initial gifts as a means to attain further blessings of servanthood to God, His proximity, and His good pleasure, as an indication of their true identity. Those with weak or nonexistent faith cannot comprehend the gifts or their meaning, and thus cannot benefit from them in the course of belief, divine knowledge, and love; they will be deprived from secondary and eternal favors.
The latter group not only neglects the afterlife, but its constituents are discontent in this life as well. They must endure many additional problems and their lack of faith leads to depression. They destroy their own peace with hysteria and paranoia, and transform this world, which is an aisle to the illuminated realms beyond, into Hell. They cannot truly love others; they hate them and hatred is what they receive in return. They agonize with avarice and lament with longing for what they cannot obtain. They tremble out of fear of death and undergo many tribulations in order to live longer, frequently leading to health problems and mental disorder. White becomes black, good becomes bad, and vice versa. Those who do not think like them are enemies and traitors. Nightmares of betrayal engulf their sleep, causing even more suffering, as the seeds of the Hell in their conscience bring about the experience of the actual Hell in advance.
True believers, on the other hand, ameliorate each favor in abundance, like an ear of grain producing as many as seven, seventy, or seven-hundred more grains. Each of these favors becomes a staircase ascending to the One, a ramp to attain His good pleasure. Then believers march to their destination together with the inheritors of the Heavens.