The prescription for a magnificent but unfortunate continent; a glorious yet hapless state; a valuable yet helpless community is Islamic Unity.
In this period of time when we begin to breathe a spiritually and materially brand new season, a spring which will embrace all the ummah and when we begin to hear the footfalls of the good news of the Prophet (PBUH) which says, “Doomsday will not materialize unless a group from among my ummah raises up upon the Truth!”, in order to establish the ground for a consultation which will facilitate for us that sacred path and, inshaallah, will open up our way.
Thus far, many spiritually mature people have heralded the fact to this ummah, deserving of mercy as it suffers the tribulations of the End Times, that after those hard times there will be a blissful time period.
They said, “a light will shine from the East and it will disperse the darkness of bid’as.”
The flowers blossom in the spring. This ummah has waited long for the emergence of this light. The heroes of this age have so far tried to prepare the ground for such sacred flowers and illuminated persons, through all sorts of services which have been done together.
Remember the good news that “one day, you will declare truths from the rooftops which you were afraid to talk about in the darkness”.
Alhamdulillah, today we have been witnessing this royal nawruz step by step both in our country, Turkey, and many places of the Islamic world.
And it is as if we are hearing that sound of the blessed Imam of the age, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, telling us in those tumultuous days:
“O Saids, Hamzas, Umars, Uthmans, Tahirs, Yusufs, Ahmads and others who have been hidden after the three hundred years and who have been listening to my words silently and watching us from a hidden unseen viewpoint! I am addressing you.
Raise your heads and say “sadaqta”, saying that is a debt for you. Let these my fellow contemporaries not listen to me. I am talking to you through the wireless cables to your high future across the valleys in the past called history.
What should I do, I hastened and I have come in the winter; you are going to come in a spring like a paradise. The seeds which are being sown now will blossom as the flowers in your ground.
As a reward for my service, I am expecting from you that when you come to pass to the era of the past, you drop by my grave. Leave a few of those gifts of spring on the top of the custodian of soil which hosts our bones.
We will caution the custodian to call us when you come. You will hear from our graves (Hani’an lakum) “may it be good for you, good for you!”
Let those kids who do not suck the breast of the time together with us and who look back to the past and whose visions are perfidious and differentiated just like them suppose the truths of this book a mirage.
Because I know that the themes of this book will reflect on you as truth.”
The Prophet (PBUH) said in one hadith that “Afdhalu’l a’mali ahmazuha – The most blessed of the deeds are those with the most labour”.
Of course, there will be some hardships and troubles in this world as a necessity of the sunnatullah which is like the examination hall of a long journey that starts in the realm of the spirits (alamu’l arwah), continues through the womb of the mother, through childhood, old age, the whole of our worldly life, the grave and the resurrection.
the Prophet (PBUH) experience the hardest tribulations along with his companions? May Allah make us little brothers and sisters of those distinguished companions, and fellow travellers in the grave and friends sitting on chairs facing each other in Paradise.
As the Prophet said, “my companions are like stars”, we remember that those distinguished people, each one of whom is like a star of humanity, suffered a lot during their lives!
For they showed us through the way they lived their lives that we too have the stamina to endure hardships by demonstrating their endurance under very difficult conditions with perfect assurance and excellent confidence, with limitless conviction and power of faith, without being shaken and dismayed, with extraordinary taqwa, extraordinary worship, extraordinary seriousness and resoluteness.
The imams who have brought these truths to us through the centuries and who struggled in order to restore the religion focusing on the mischiefs in their time, such as Shah Naqshiband, Abdulqadir Gilani, Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Sayyid Ahmad Badawi, Ahmad Ar’rifai, Maulana Jalaladdin Rumi and all of the millions of the illuminated fruits had to deal with many different hardships. Qaddasallahu asrarahum.
Imam Bediuzzaman, representing the last link of that golden chain, taught us these following principles as an imam of the age in order to show us the way out in the face of the problems facing the Islamic world in this age of disasters and troubles, which he describes when he says, “I knew nothing about worldly pleasures during my eighty-year life”:
The greatest fardh duty of the time is establishing Islamic unity.
The prescription for a magnificent but unfortunate continent; a glorious yet hapless state; a valuable yet helpless community is Islamic unity.
Our greatest enemies in this age are ignorance, poverty and conflict. We will fight against these three enemies with education, production and unity.
Yet there are many obstacles before great works of good. Satans put up a powerful struggle against those who help with those works. One has to rely on the strength of one’s sincerity in the face of these obstacles and satans. We should avoid things which harm sincerity in the same way that we avoid snakes and scorpions.
For that reason, in this age, which is becoming more and more secularized and globalized with the contributions of improved technology and communication, we are responsible for making the command of Allah, and its result, the pleasure of Allah, the incentives for our every move, and we are responsible for focusing only on our work with a positive attitude, and not being concerned about will of Allah (SWT).
With collapse of the Ottoman caliphate, which was the representative of world Islamic unity, the Islamic world, which was left completely without a leader, has had to face up to two dire situations in this age:
Firstly, in this quite destructive time period of the mischief of the End Times, during which with the collapse of the walls around the Qur’an and caliphate, our new generations, struggling with problems all alone in many places of the world from Asia to Africa, from the Middle East to the Balkans and the Caucasus, are being battered by the effects of many negative movements in a globalized world.
The only way of saving the people of faith from absolute unbelief, and from the misguidance caused by science and by addiction to dissipation is to show the spiritual pain involved in following worldly sinful alluring pleasures, and in this way to convince the feelings of the perpetrator, which is the method of the Risale-i Nur.
Imam Nursi explains the second dire situation in this age as follows:
In the past, this kind of stubbornness in unbelief was less than in this age.
For that reason, the lessons and proofs of previous scholars were enough.
Since faith in Allah was general, many atheists could easily change their position when they were given information about
Allah and warned about the torture in Hell.
But now there are one hundred absolute atheists in a single town, whereas before there was only this number in a whole country.
Since these stubborn atheists oppose the truths of the faith with the arrogance of a pharaoh and with horrible unbelief, of course we need a powerful faith lesson which will be able destroy their basic ideas and thus stop their attack.
Now, the service that Imam Bediuzzaman devoted his life to was to set forth the lesson of the Qur’an in a way that would save the faith and convince the stubborn atheists – that is, in a way which would not be motivated by anything material or metaphysical.
Because for everyone the opportunity has been presented by which they may either win, in return for belief, or lose, eternal properties as broad as the earth set with palaces and gardens.
If they do not secure the document of belief, they will lose. And in this age, many are losing this opportunity because of the plague of materialism. Can anything take the place of that lost suit, even the ability to rule over the whole world?
Now, in such an age, the reason why we have difficulty in the face of these many different kinds of attacks which corrupt the general conscience and heart in the Islamic world, shake the faith of laymen which is imitative, and destroy the values which had been shaping our cultural codes for centuries, is that we have lost a sense of unity amongst ourselves and each one of us is trying to get out of the situation separately.
However, we have such unshakable points of interdependency, both material and spiritual, and such excellent and undefeatable armies in terms of Islamic unity and the togetherness of Muslims that even if the whole world were to come together, they could not stand against them, and something which can’t destroy the whole universe can’t engage with it.
If we do not want to be captured in the denigration of others we have to pull ourselves together! Against those tyrants who are taking advantage of our conflicts we have to take refuge in the sacred fortress of “Muslims are nothing but brothers”.
Otherwise, we can protect neither our life, nor our rights. Look at Myanmar, Syria, Gaza, Mavi Marmara and the like which have been taking place before our eyes and hurting us.
However, the key to a glorious future for Asia is consultation and negotiation. As individuals negotiate with each other, in the same way, the groups, communities and continents should also carry out that kind of consultation.
In this way, the despotism and the many kinds of chains tied to the feet of Islam in a geography ranging from Cambodia to Patani, from Burma to Bangladesh, from Syria to Palestine, from Burkina Faso to Mali and Balkans will be destroyed and unlocked.
Look what Imam Bediuzzaman is telling us. In a time such as this, when the European civilization of debauchery is tending towards disintegration and when the civilization of the Qur’an is about to emerge, positive work cannot be done in a careless manner.
The leading illness which has left the Islamic world underdeveloped is unfortunately despair and hopelessness. Our way out of this illness is to have hope in the mercy of Allah by depending of the verse “Despair not of the Mercy of Allah.”
We should support each other with this hope without discouraging ourselves, rather than competing with each other. Obeying the natural laws (fitrah) without losing our calmness, indulging in individualization and personal benefits, we have to keep our efforts active. In the face of the problems confronting us we need to make these principles our basics and we have to work harder, abstaining from laziness or leaving work for others to do, and we must remember that ultimately comfort is in labour and pain is in comfort.
As our Ustaz Husrev Efendi used to say in his lifetime, we will be able to rest more in our graves, we have to work here. Imagine he used to sleep 2 – 3 hours a day and was saying that he would want to shoot sleeping with a rifle, if he could.
Because the one who is excited in terms of temper finds his comfort only in working and struggling.
We have to represent true Islam and show truthfulness in serving Islam and we have to know and sustain the spiritual connections among us, making love rather than enmity our principle.
If we could really show the beauty of the good morals of Islam and the truths of the faith through our behaviour and attitudes, followers of other religions and even the people of some states and continents might start converting to Islam in large numbers.
We pray that may Allah grant victory and ease to our brothers and sisters who are awaiting a solution and a way out in anywhere around the world, Syria being the first place that comes to our minds.
May Allah (SWT) grant our country, where after cold winter days the flowers are beginning to blossom, a unity and comfort with a consciousness of “ummatun wahidatun” and grant faith to the hearts and minds of its leaders.
* Modified from the “Opening Speech of 6th International Risale-i Nur and Islamic Unity Symposium”