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Sensing Time Anew

| M. Fethullah Gulen | Issue 142 (Jul - Aug 2021)

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Sensing Time Anew

For us to be able to fully perceive the holy days, it is first necessary that our spirits and consciences are ready to feel such music and poetry from the heavens and beyond. Those whose inner depths, outward experiences, and colors of life are only skin-deep seek truth not in their souls but elsewhere, and for them the holy days are nothing but days on a calendar determined by changing crescents in the sky.

The general atmosphere of our day has become so gravely polluted: the noise coming out of radios, televisions, car horns, airplanes, trains, ferries, trams, the unseemly and irritating sirens, and the shrieks and screams of advertising and propaganda. All of this makes it very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to sense the celestial nature of the holy days and to hear the captivating music of the realms beyond unless we undergo a comprehensive surgery of spirit and thought, and even become entirely otherworldly all over again.

Souls purged of spiritual impurities and open to heavenliness savor, as it were, such blessed slices of time that culminate with the sacred nights contained within them. Those souls smell holy days like a rose, listen to it like a musical composition, and sip it like a river of Paradise. If we could even pay slight heed, virtually all of us could perceive the rising of these months on our horizon, feel in the most enchanting manner as though we were entering a heavenly grove or celestial cove, effervesce with our entire being as though we were journeying in the realms beyond, and be unbounded from our mortality.

In actual fact, this was once our most natural state and climate: the otherworldly pleasures and celestial delights that we erstwhile sipped and savored throughout all the seasons of the year, delights most of us are now utterly deprived of. In order to experience those pleasures and delights with their retrospective grandeur we must be purified of mundane feelings, be freed from the pollution engulfing our thoughts, and deepen even more in our hopes and expectations. So long as we can accomplish this, we will be able to perceive a great many realities which are forever hidden within creation; realities that are enchanting, delicate, and moving. Then we can surpass our finite nature, especially during the blessed days and nights when the human being is enabled to travel across otherworldly horizons.

Indeed, for those who are able to listen to creation with the ear of their heart each of the sacred days and nights become, so to speak, a poet and composer murmuring something through the tongue of the worlds beyond. What wonders they whisper to us! Pushing aside other images and clamor enveloping our carnality, the breezes we feel and experience enable us to reach the unknown and magical slopes of the Hereafter through the special doorways and corridors in the depths of our heart, which open to the other realm and intoxicate us with the pleasure of beholding them. In such a world of reflections, mornings bring the intoxication of taking the first step into Paradise, afternoons are adorned with the delight of throwing off the day's weariness with a vision of the Beloved, evenings with the joy of walking in twilight towards ultimate reunion, nights with the unfathomable beauties of austerity, and each passes by our heart's horizon with a different pleasure and jubilation.

This is especially true on the specially designated sacred dates which are the coronets of the night realm, the pinnacles of time closest to God that serve like a quay, harbor, or a launching platform leading to the Divine. On such days and nights, hearts shine with a special sensibility; as the spirit flutters towards eternity in an extraordinary manner, everything accompanies the eternal ode of the realms beyond, a complete celestial charm surrounds everyplace, and a melody of prayer that is impossible to describe envelops every bosom.

By presenting to us hills lush with belief and hope, peaks open to visions of the Divine like the sacred Fridays of Paradise, and by offering our parched hearts such elixirs as the water of life, windows opening to the realms beyond with certain special manifestations, time that crystallizes with the transformation of hopes and expectations into entreaties, and the Book of God, which purls with the promise of a new life as though it was only just revealed with each of its chapters – each section, every verse and sentence. All these gifts present the inconceivable bounties of being a believer to our spirits. They appear with inexpressible meanings and manifestations in hearts which turn to their Lord, imbuing everything we see with its own color; this boundlessness and spiritual richness takes us to realms beyond. We thus find ourselves sipping in reverent awe in a circle remembering celestial beings. Or, it’s as if we were in the spacious and soothing climate of Paradise, listening to the melodies of a chorus of heavenly servants therein.

In particular, this abundant spirituality that sometimes envelops the spirits of some among us draws us beyond the constricted temporal dimensions in which we find ourselves and pulls us all the way up to the gates of Paradise, such that we would imagine ourselves to be on the shores of an enchanting realm, exceedingly intimate, never before sensed or seen, and impossible to be expressed in words.

Even if we do not ponder or speak in such an inward state, the worlds beyond offer us melodies without words from their own voices and proclaim, “We are forever within you as a vibration in your ear, a light in your eye, and a delight in your heart. We are within you, in the ports, harbors, and platforms open to your sensibility, and if you so desired, you could take us within your palm and take possession of us.” We can almost sense the distinct existence, spirit, meaning, pleasure, and charm of all of these: the celestial lights that we believe to rain upon our hearts within these effervescing feelings extend beyond the realms afar and even further. We can nearly touch the prevalent atmosphere forever glowing with feeling and entreaty, the lamps adorning the purple, pink, white, and yellow streets as well as the minarets. Then there are the places of worship to which we rush several times each day to gaze upon eternity with our spirits, and the pure people who share with us the same feelings and who voice our sentiments. When our spirits that are filled with precisely this meaning and substance return to their own essence, they delve into beholding their inner worlds, more profound than everything else, and begin to sense anew the things and objects in their surrounds.

Indeed, these sacred days, wherein the human being and the realms beyond are sensed and perceived with a heightened perfection, kindle the most forceful thoughts in our minds, nourish the most delightful poems in our spirits, unveil to our hearts the most mysterious doors of Divine gifts, and prepare us to express our most intimate feelings.

On occasion, some of us immediately fall silent with the reverent fear of this blessed slice of time and begin conversing, so to speak, with our own inner world. Who knows, perhaps such a silence in the way of trust, love, and esteem has a more meaningful impact than the most eloquent speech. Indeed, sometimes such a solemn silence, expressing self-reflection, feeling, and the notion of experiential knowledge of the Divine (ma’rifa), can be more effective than the most profound words. This silent eloquence is in all likelihood that for which we most yearn.

Sacred days and nights, through incessant exposure, have permeated our spirits to such an extent that from the moment they first appear on the horizon we begin to sense their sweetness on the lips of our hearts, feel their profound meanings pour forth deep in our spirits in the form of melodious speech, and witness firsthand grand thoughts streaming from pens in a richly embroidered fashion onto paper. Alongside our current existence, we long for the days blossoming like buds in our beliefs and hopes for what we yearn to become and suppose ourselves to be taking flight towards brand new worlds with respect to our aspirations and deeds.

In our believing hearts, we have all seen and loved these sacred times and their lofty days and nights in the form of incessantly reflecting rays of light. Many years may pass and people's thoughts and points of view may change, but these sacred days and nights will forever allow us to travel upon the slopes of these same feelings and thoughts and pour forth the same inspirations into our hearts.

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