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  • Issue 96 / November - December 2013



    Forlorn Ones

    M. Fethullah Gulen

    "You are a forlorn one in this world
    Ergo laugh not but cry o heart!" (Yunus Emre)


    Forlorn ones are only a few; a few heroes of the heart, and unknown holy ones. A forlorn person is one who sighs and groans, whose heart burns and aches. A person who is forlorn is beaten and persecuted because of the sublime truths they hold. They face trouble every day, and are threatened by all different kinds of death. They are despised and held in contempt.

    Forlorn ones are not necessarily away from country or home, isolated from friends and companions. Forlorn ones are the ones whose societies do not understand them. They are considered odd and scrutinized by those around them. A forlorn one's supreme ideals and transcendent thoughts are considered strange. They contradict the rules of their society through their willingness to sacrifice personal yearnings for communal good.

    The masses forlorn ones run to help persecute them, sometimes exile them, sometimes throw them into prison, and sometimes even threaten them with death. The forlorn ones, however, grapple with these threats every moment, and live to rescue other victims. At times, they challenge dangers like Heraclites. When they can, they rush to put out fires; at the very least they moan like caring mothers. Society never tires of cruelty, and forlorn ones never tire of loyalty!

    Mostly, forlorn ones feel alone and separated from their society on material terms, because they cannot establish a permanent dialogue with them. Nevertheless, a feeling of altruism and the thought of living for the sake of others takes over a forlorn one's entire spirit. This feeling is deep and multidimensional enough to make them forget their separation and loneliness. Despite the fact that they might moan with a feeling of loneliness for a moment, they can be happy and elated with the idealist worlds established in their souls.

    Forlorn ones are like the early spring grass. These flowers of the dawn face snow and ice. They undertake a sublime fight against blizzards and thunderstorms, occasionally finding reprieve from the snow and ice.

    Yes, forlorn ones running to the light with a thousand joyous shouts in the realms beyond the heavens are just like the snowdrops, showing off under the sun, their dimples and white muslins rising from multicolored snow. They appear before heat warms the land, before the ices melt. Their survival is a hard one; they grapple with hazards defying them, are injured and torn, are devastated and destroyed without even experiencing a breeze of the earthly joys. They go, but their going is brave. They do not go under the earth without a few hyacinths. They die once, but revive twenty times.

    Every day, forlorn ones, with a dozen of the most sacred thoughts in their hearts and minds, stand on the gate of society to offer life to the dead ones, and to return the values they lost. They knock on the door a few times, cry out the inspirations of their soul, and then turn back. They are roughed up, scolded and exiled; but they never fear, they never grow tired, and they especially never resent. They always keep their eyes on the spiritual realms and expect tidings of revival every time the sun rises and sets. They are freshly enthusiastic every new day, rushing to every corner to assume responsibilities, and to show the masses the path to Khidr fountain.

    Those who understand and sympathize with them achieve eternal existence. Those left apart fade away forever. They have united with Archangel Gabriel and met Khidr fifty times; as the dirt on their feet becomes an elixir of life, the earth beneath them grows very green.

    Disbeliefs, heresies, and misguidance melt away like ice under their warm breath, and it is their breath that turns arid places into gardens of paradise.

    They always suffer. They are disappointed and bent over double in the face of the varying emotions and thoughts and deteriorating customs of the society that raised them. Nevertheless, they are also faithful, hopeful, and marvelously motivated. Occasionally, they are left alone and unattended, and are insulted by society. Yet, they are always joyful and in peace.

    No familiar face like it is empty everywhere;
    Roads are curly and slopes are steep:
    Suffering, agony; cry, groan and there is the path!
    How sweet is this path despite everything, and how pleasant it is to be forlorn!


    All sorts of sorrow and sadness are apparent in the broken hearts and misty looks of the forlorn ones. With their groans and sighs, they remind us, respectively, of Prophet Adam and Prophet David, peace be upon them. Because they are reproached and are far away from home, they say, "Now that I am left apart from the beautiful ones, I say woe, my longing!" They groan, and yearningly await the moment of reunion, the moment when they will become a constant companion with the Beloved One. They wait, and reach a distinct union and zeal in every moment with the winds blowing from the city of mercy to the longing hearts. And if they find familiar hearts to discharge the intuitions of their spirit into, they let themselves go, turning into a waterfall. The forlorn ones never demonstrate sorrow, even if their wealth is looted and their family perishes on this path they took with love. As they see that the light they've spread amongst the spirit of their people is shining, the forlorn ones soar to infinity singing "O friend!" with the delight of the heavens!

    A thousand heralds of good news to the forlorn ones! A thousand glad tidings to those breathing hope and fulfillment, forgetting their personal pleasures and tastes for the welfare and happiness of the public in a period of anarchy and turmoil that terrorizes everyone!

    * * *

    And there are also forlorn ones - in other words, the poor in character - who become estranged from their own people and their own culture in their own country, and they are very similar to the former ones with their sorrow and misery. But they are slovenly, wretched, hopeless and unenlightened. More than anything, they are lackluster and debilitated in their heartfelt and spiritual lives. Their days are darker than their nights; their nights remind of the grave. These miserable ones, their spirits torn by numerous paradoxes and deprived of a root and a personality, almost forget what it is like to be human. Questions arising from their minds and afflicting their souls make it impossible for them to benefit from the joys of this life ÔÇô in fact making it even more miserable. They are dark inside; their thoughts are foggy; their eyes are misty. The questions they endlessly puzzle over remind us of one stuck in hell. Would you call this experience a "life"? But because they think of death as final, they have no choice but to prefer this life comprised only of hesitation and doubt.

    For them, life is torment; being a human is another misfortune; death is a maelstrom, a black hole; existence is chaos, and the only way to avoid pain is intoxication.

    How unfortunate this way of thinking is and those miserable ones are! Have pity on these kinds of forlorn ones!

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