M. Fethullah Gulen
A mother is a blessed saintly being in her own world. The Ka‘ba is the spirit, meaning, essence, and atlas of the entire reality of the universe; Makka is the same for all places, and the mind for the entire body; so too a mother is the spirit, meaning, essence, and atlas for the smallest unit of a society, i.e., the family; she is its foundation, pillar, essence, and a most important material of the Creative Power. In a home, everything centers around her, enwraps her, and turns into her. As for the mother, she always revolves around her own axis, like the North Star and follows an orbit that extends above the firmaments.
Mothers are beings that are oriented on the Hereafter in this world. The reward they obtain through their role and employment in creation, the imbalance between the pains and trouble they go through, and how they are responded to in return make up the clearest evidence of this fact. There is no need for complicated research to comprehend this; a casual glance at what they sow and what they harvest through-out their entire lifetime, what they go through, and what they find in return suffices.
Their faces are as otherworldly as the houris in Paradise, their looks are as profound as those of the angels, and their feelings are as pure as that of any spiritual being. Like the roses of a blessed land whose water, soil, and air have been brought from realms beyond this one, they are so enviable, so lovely, and so fascinating that, if you look carefully, you will conclude that there is a magic within them that surpasses their material being, the world, and what it contains, that even surpasses the mothers themselves.
By probing souls which are sensitive and thoughtful, one is able to find reflections of the sweetest dreams fed by heavenly thoughts within the world of the mother, a world which is always sensitive, caring, and overflowing with affection, and thus reach a melody of pleasure that transcends human imagination. In their atmosphere we are able to be almost constantly aware of breezes that waft tranquility; this is different at night and different yet again in the day. We can feel the mercy, affection, and poetry of the heavens pour into our hearts . . . and in this way, we feel as if our horizons have been completely encompassed by angels and spiritual beings. Who knows how many times we can see in the heart of the night a spirit and meaning that comprises the essence of creation reflected in their radiant, charming faces; it descends to the world, transcends all times and locations, and we are able to sense an immense mercy that is rooted in infinity; this gleams out at us through their smiles and their sorrows. We long to jump into their arms; there is some obscure, vague, yet appealing, motivation to do this. Who knows how many times we have been heartbroken and disappointed, feeling sad and lonely, and then we are able to allow ourselves to rest on their almost magical bosom, which inspires in us hope and a feeling of security. This is a place that is warmer, livelier, and cozier than a nest that has taken wing from a state of rapture to another; we stretch ourselves, made warm by their mysterious whispers.
Each time they press us to their bosoms they become a hero of faith that does not expect anything in return; they fall into an almost magical state. Then we are able to straighten up, looking around us in security and confidence, feeling that we can overcome anything. We even feel as if we are able to challenge everybody when we hold them tight.
A mother is as profound as the skies, and she is a mysterious world of emotions where thoughts and feelings number as many as the stars in the sky, boiling and overflowing like rivers of lava or underground springs flowing every which way. She conforms to her fate-be it bitter or sweet-at peace with both joys and sorrow, without any expectations in return, and she feels no resentment toward her baby. She is such a paragon of affection and faith, someone whose nature has been crystallized by divine morals, that neither the troubles that she experiences, which rise up in her throat like the flood of sweat on Judgment Day, nor the faithlessness of her children, which covers her soul like the north wind blowing, giving her the bitterest pain of separation, can make her submit, or make her give up.
There is the story of a mother: “her blood-thirsty son stabs her with several piercing blows and when the knife lightly cuts his own finger he unintentionally shouts out ‘Mother!’ and she holds on to his arm in return, screaming ‘My baby!’” Ever since my childhood, whenever I remember this story, I cannot help but shiver and I try to feel the immensity of a mother’s affection through this small drop. Those mothers who believe in eternity and the afterlife possess a spiritual and otherworldly aspect, in addition to their physical and material aspects. Within the established world of material and spiritual realms, in the world of the body and soul, their hearts have such an incomprehensibly strong bond with their children that even relationships that are considered to be very strong and fundamental by worldly people amount to nothing more than a pale shadow in comparison. However, it would not be that easy to explain this to those who have felt neither any faith nor the delight of eternity within faith.
Yes, it would be very difficult indeed to relate how their sincerity remains so deep, how their devotion continues without pause, how their hearts are enthusiastic with love, how their looks pour into us, promising care and trust, and how they overflow with such eternal and otherworldly feelings, even though they grow up in a land of mortality and transience.
Think about it, what a long process of preparation they undergo for us, what insurmountable hardships they have come up against and what things they overcome. What challenges they struggle with, and what dreams and weariness they live with. What reveries and dreams their hearts are filled with, and emptied of, what hopelessness and disappointment they suffer. What hardships and burdens they stand firm against and how many ordeals they undergo. What pains they suffer and how they moan. How many times they cry, screaming out and how many times they console our crying. How many times they overflow with compassion and how many times they are in need of compassion. In short, what valuable things they spend for us and what efforts they make, expecting nothing in return.
If there is someone who hugs, cuddles, kisses, and caresses us, who relieves our feelings of sadness and dejection, who shares our worries, who prefers us to eat in her place, us to be dressed well instead of her, who feels her hunger or fullness when we are hungry or full, who bears unimaginable hardships with a superhuman effort for the sake of our happiness and joy, who shows us the way for our body to develop, our will to strengthen, for our intelligence to become sharp and perspicacious, for our horizons to be oriented on the Hereafter, a person who does all these with-out expecting-openly or secretly-anything in return, that person is none other than our mother.
We spend a significant part of our lives in their embrace and in their atmosphere, a place more beautiful than the feathers of peacocks, more charming than the magical world of flowers, warmer and livelier than beehives, more protective and secure than the best of nests. True, we see, recognize, and learn the joy and excitement of being protected and cared for; we learn its practice and responsibility, its system and method. And whenever our needs and weak-nesses overcome us, along with our feebleness, our shortcomings, and the other things that go wrong in life, we always take refuge in our mother, and try to overcome all the obstacles we have come across with their help. When we take refuge in them, they press us to their bosoms with all the warmth of their hearts, always breathing security and confidence into our hearts at times of distress. In such cases, I think that almost all of us have felt as if we were listening to a silent poem, a flood of emotions, a breeze of affection coming from their eyes, their smile, and their gestures.
In those emotional, dreamy nights and days that we spend with them we are almost continually in a dream of bliss. In the bright daytime, we hear the sweetest melodies of life from their bosoms, like a nightingale’s song, and say “this must be real happiness,” at least to the extent of our comprehension.
The mother is the most important element of the event of Creation, the most fertile pillar of the world of humanity, and she is the light of our eye. All of us are bent over double before her, feeling an unbearable sense of debt and the heaviest of responsibilities. We bend over double and we are immensely proud of our hunched back.
The fountains of Heaven, where angels flit like white doves, provide the water that forges the glowing steel of the mother. If this were not true, could the light of her soul ever dazzle our eyes like that? Not only her light, even her shadow burns the moths it attracts-in my own world, I still have not been able to recover from the shock of the deep emotions inspired by that sublime quality-and her light-now that I sense it better than ever-is a mysterious source of light, enlightening our hearts in the darkness.
A mother is a hero of love who keeps the delicacy and valor in her soul abreast when she is considered in terms of her affection, benignity, and grace; she is soft like a feather, fine and smooth as silk, yet at the same time she is tough and fierce as a lioness when it comes to protecting and caring for her children.
Whatever lies under the firmaments above us, her hand is above all these, and the way to Paradise runs under her feet. God has granted such a sublimity and royalty to her that earthly kingdoms are nothing more than mere crowns without status in comparison. Moreover, crowns that rest on heads which have never found a place beneath their mothers’ feet cannot be said to have any lasting value.
O sublime and precious being, who is as fine as the spirits, as innocent as the angels, and as profound as the skies; the realm beyond gives you a value above values, and sympathizes with your shyness. The melody of your fame is heard where angels abide, the song of your life rings out at the skirts of the heavens. You have always lived with the blade of emotions impaled through your heart, wearing the jewel of religion as a necklace. All of us are your slaves, and you are an uncrowned sultana who captures us with her net of affection, faith, and sincerity. If everything has a peculiar spirit, an essence of life in this world of existence, then you must be our essence of life.
May God enlighten you with His light on the morning of the resurrection! May your future be joyful like the (holy) Fridays of Paradise, and may your reunion be blessed!