We can walk on the straight path (al-sirat al-mustakim) when we sincerely seek a life of purity and keep away from sin, and when we make grace and good manners a profundity of our inner world. Hopefully then, we will not see the unpleasant aspects of things and people even if they are right before our eyes. If we happen to see them, we will not busy ourselves with them and will move forward. For, behind a life of purity are such dynamics as belief in God, knowledge of God, and love of God. By way of these dynamics, we can manage to take our thoughts and feelings under control as if inside a bulwark or greenhouse.
Unfortunately, it is sad to observe that a large proportion of our society today are deprived of these dynamics. We are trying to replace what we have lost with other things, and this leads to contradictions. For a very long time now, we have not appreciated enough what the corpus of divine guidelines promises for us, nor have we been able to represent the virtues we have as Muslims. While at the same time, certain people have presented to us the beautiful as ugly, the ugly as beautiful, the good as bad, and the bad as good, so much so to undermine our religious and ethical values. Certain terrorist organizations have sullied the bright face of Islam with their acts of violence and terrorism. As a result, many people have tried to understand Islam by looking at those bad examples and have ended up with distorted perceptions.
It is God’s great blessing amid all those adversities that God has graciously given an important opportunity to those who have devoted themselves to the service of faith and the Qur’an. He has dispersed them around the world like seeds, and He has bestowed them with facilities and institutions by which they can have access to the people in the countries they are now living in. All this provides us with an important chance to rectify those misconceptions about Islam.
We should not be concerned about the way certain evil-tongued people who are obsessed with hatred and hostility threaten us, baring their teeth. Living within their own narrow confines of space and mind, those people are so compulsive with hate and enmity that they may perceive you differently. Just as they see what is white as black, they may try to make others see it in the same manner. Yet, we are living in a time period when scores of people look for the light around you. And your duty is to refrain from wasting your energy so that you can use all your resources and abilities in order to further the ideal on which you have set your hearts.
The Lord has bestowed great extra blessings and favors on you. Whatever happened has happened thanks to His favors and blessings. It is God who has made you perform the mission which was once fulfilled by the Companions of the Prophet, their followers, the renovators who came after them, scholars capable of independent reasoning, the Seljuks, and the Ottomans. You have gone virtually to all countries. You have established hundreds of schools and other institutions in different countries around the world. Thousands of praise and glorification be to Him. The carnal soul is lower than all, but the duty is higher than all. It is God who makes ants and termites build domes that go beyond their powers and capabilities, and we don’t know the very reason by which He has made us the recipient of those favors and blessings. Perhaps, the purity of intention exhibited to a certain extent, or concord and alliance among sisters and brothers may have appealed to God’s favors, blessings, guidance and assistance.
As long as you maintain your integrity, consistence, and emotional and mental lucidity, who knows what other favors and blessings God will bestow upon you. This mission will continue to exist thanks to God’s leave and beneficence as long as you continue to walk on the path of the Prophet, as long as you are not attached to positions and statuses, you are not bought off for worldly interests, you do not come under someone’s tutelage, you hold dear the sense of making others live above your own happiness, and you walk toward the Sun without being concerned about shadows.
Do not let adverse winds or waves that have the potential to produce tsunamis or the atrocities of oppressors distract or haunt you. If God is with you, no one can overcome you. Those who see themselves as exalted will be abased tomorrow. Those who oppress the nation today will one day drift away like dried leaves in fall. Do not have any doubt about this. Indeed, God gives oppressors, time and again, a term so that they will have no excuse to voice in the Hereafter, but He will not let them go on forever. When their oppression reaches God’s ultimate dislike and His protective care (ghayrah), divine punishment will be severe. He will neutralize the oppressors by gripping them with His power and might. This is the divine custom, and there are many examples of this throughout history.
It must also be noted that spending or working in the way of God at certain periods of time is much more rewarding compared to other periods due to circumstances being more arduous. Today is one of those periods of time. Those who oppressed great prophets, saints, and other honored servants of God in the past are now oppressing you. Just as those prophets, saints and honored servants acted patiently in the face of those calamities and tribulations, it is now our turn to bear with them today. What we are supposed to do is walk steadfastly on the straight path we know, take wing like a turtledove or rear up like a steed, without caring about any nuisance or distress we may face.
Relying on God’s leave and grace, it is our duty to go to those places we have never been and open as many institutions as we can and do as many services as we can. Some continue to follow their apprehensions and deceive people with baseless accusations about you, God has granted you the opportunity to undertake significant initiatives. It is our hope that He will help us to undertake much greater tasks in the future. Eventually, those who are obsessed with how to obstruct these benevolent services will end up in total disappointment. But this is conditional on whether we will stick to the path of God, the Prophet, and the Companions and leave considerations regarding our own life aside in favor of a better life for others. Let us try to take what is entrusted to us to the farthest point with an extraordinary determination and dedication.
The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, once stated: “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it” (Sahih Muslim, Zuhd, 64). Therefore, one should say the following at all times: “Praise and thanks for everything, other than the states of disbelief and misguidance.” If we have not gone astray or have not burned the bridges to the life in the Hereafter, or have severed our ties with God, then we should be thankful for our state.
If we are able to look at life from this perspective, I think, we will not be shaken by the severity of storms or waves’ turning to tsunamis or the destructiveness of whirlwinds. Then, we will be able to go on walking on our path, saying, “There is God; then no sorrow.”
“What could you have lost, if you have found Him; what could have you found, if you have lost Him.” If you have found Him, there is nothing else left to find. But if you have lost Him, there is nothing you have obtained.