Knowledge is to know knowledge,
Knowledge is to know yourself.
If you don’t know yourself,
What do you read for [i.e. study for]?
We take faith lessons on our travels through the pages of Qur’anic interpretations. In addition to this, we have many gains between the lines during our readings, and we open the door slightly for contemplation. Here is one of them:
“O human who knows himself as a human! Read your self!”
This word involuntarily reminds us of the above reminder of Turkish poet Yunus Emre. The quatrain gains a deep meaning.
There are many scientists or scholars who have read volumes of books and have letters after their their names, but they have not paid attention to that kind of reminders. They have drifted away. Yes, they have gained some knowledge, and they have learned a lot. They have attained authority and position. However, they could not follow the essence and main purpose of the sciences. They have missed the rank of “Genuine Humanity”, which is expressed as the vicegerent of the earth.
They have forgotten their responsibilities within the most important circle of their life – which is the purpose of their creation. Most of them have passed away (and are still passing away) in darkness, relying on their “headlight” of intelligence to illuminate the universe – which in fact cannot even illuminate their own way.
Well, what can we do to open a door to reading and then knowing the self as Yunus Emre pointed at? Let’s put aside the stubborn who already closed the doors for their minds; how can we help the fresh minds of our children and youth find a door?
We must first ask ourselves the following question:
Where does reading the self begin?
The answer: In Bismillah.
Bismillah is the beginning of every good. That’s right. At the beginning of this good deed, there should be Bismillah too. Both in word and in attitude. In the adventure of reading his self, with the introduction of “Bismillah”, the human heart and soul will move forward in peace. He will be victorious against the spiritual attacks coming from his lower-self, bi iznillah (with the permission of Allah)!
A person who discovers two important features in himself, such as powerlessness and poverty, will have already started to read his self, under the influence of “bismillah”, at the very beginning of the journey. With these features, he will acquire the secret of intisab (affiliation) and establish a bond with the power and mercy of his Lord. When he watches the tree of universe of which he is a fruit from the same window, he will witness this bond. He will be aware of the results of the affiliation of other living things which are like the leaves of the tree of universe. In fact, this affiliation will appear in many treats, especially in the ones bestowed upon Prophet Moses and Abraham (alayhimussalam).
Yes, powerlessness and poverty…
A person who gets to know his self with these two features and who directs his words and actions with the inexhaustible power and endless abundance of Bismillah, will lead to the perfection of humanity with the secret of affiliation in Bismillah.
What is the purpose of reading your self then?
The answer: It is the perfection level of humanity.
In other words; it is to achieve the consent and love of our Lord by getting closer to the Pride of the World (PBUH).
The way to do this is to talk like him, to act like him. In short, it is about living like him and following him.
The Age of Bliss stands before us as the greatest witness. How could a person who buried his daughter alive in the ground transform and become incapable of hurting an ant? Didn’t a wild Bedouin go to other lands as a teacher with a one-day lesson from the Prophet (pbuh)? The Age of Bliss… The centre of the prophetic faith lessons that turned the human being into a diamond and the darkness of ignorance into light…
Locks will be broken and hearts will come to life with the “elixir of the prophetic lessons” in the faith lessons we have today. The “transformation of the Age of Bliss” and the “journey of the perfect human being”, which are the purpose of reading one’s self, will begin.
How does the faith lesson teach itself then?
The answer: With contemplation…
We go between the human being, who is the smaller universe, and the universe, which is the greater universe. We discover the connection between the two. We understand that the core called human is the essence filtered from the universe. We reach tawhid (oneness) with the awareness that the One Who created us created all which come into existence with the command “be”.
Then we look at our self and we realize our superior creation that can show all the Names and attributes of our Creator on us. We see our creation which is in ahsan-i taqwim (the best form). We read the truth in the verse with this contemplation once more.
We realize that the human has more abilities than all beings, even angels. We know that when we use all of our abilities for Allah, they will gain a meaning.
We express that the answer to His address “I did not create jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (51/56) is servitude, which is the highest position for human beings.
With a contemplation of faith all the time.
It is this contemplation that introduces man, who is the first and most important page of the book of universe, as an index, and also introduces man as a mirror.
And this contemplation springs from the source of the prophetic lesson. That is the secret leading us to reach marifah (knowledge) of our Lord from the degree of knowing our self.
With what feeling should we read ourselves?
The answer: Of course, with compassion…
Does he who does not pity himself ever pity another?
In today’s world where oppression is all around, people should be able to transform compassion from a feeling into a life principle.
They should know the value of Allah’s mercy and know the compassion as its manifestation.
The result of reading yourself with compassion would be a self that is tried to be guided and educated, and a human model that does not oppress living beings, wouldn’t it?
How much we need mercy to be able to compassionately come to the aid of the needy, don’t we? At least, as much as we need powerlessness-poverty-contemplation!
In that case, let’s open our hands with feelings of gratitude for the blessing of being human and having faith:
Blessings and peace be upon the person You sent to Your servants as a teacher to introduce You and teach us how to be a servant of You, the describer of the treasures of Your Names, the translator of the verses of the book of universe, and a mirror to the beauties of Your lordship with his own servitude, and (blessings and peace) be upon all of his family and companions!
Have mercy on us. Amin! By Your mercy, O most merciful of the merciful!