The People We Are Longing For (by Fethullah Gulen)

For many years, our nation has longed for liberators who will treat our wounds and cure us of our afflictions. Especially today, when the sky is dark and our paths multiply in confusion, we cling to this hope as if it were the water of life. Even when we begin to doubt that they will ever come, we never stop asking about them and singing ballads for their arrival.

The People We Are Longing For (by Fethullah Gulen)

Fethullah Gulen

For many years, our nation has longed for liberators who will treat our wounds and cure us of our afflictions. Especially today, when the sky is dark and our paths multiply in confusion, we cling to this hope as if it were the water of life. Even when we begin to doubt that they will ever come, we never stop asking about them and singing ballads for their arrival.

Diogenes, overcome with pessimism, proclaimed the loss of humanity in his society. I wonder if we are able to hear this same bitter truth. As a nation, we long for virtuous people to welcome us, cherish us, soothe our pain, and protect us from evil ambition. Our failure to find these long-awaited ones is the root of all our sufferings. We long for thoughtful people who will put aside their pleasures for the sake of others. How many such heroes have there been in our recent history? How many people can you point to who comprehend the mystery of their own existence and embrace the responsibility of representing the Creator on earth?

We are desperately seeking such people of the heart for they are also the people of truth, committed to transcendence. They inquire after the riddles of life, directing their questions to every part of existence and expecting answers from the infinite. They pursue truth as if it were the water of life. Wherever they find it, they savor its refreshment and attain immortality. They establish in themselves the universe of faith wisdom, and love. They are heavenly in their appearance, and transcendent in their inwardness. They are like a tongue that expresses the true meaning of events and translates them into the language of the conscience. They are the ones who reach new paradises within themselves.

No one in our recent history has been able to fill this role. For we act as if we are indifferent to the truth, ignorant of our own depths and unable to interpret the book of the universe. Many charlatans have appeared to mock us, like imposters who find their way to the stage.  But they have not won our loyalty and will never be mistaken for the expected ones.

We are ready to embrace the people of wisdom and thought. They hold the gems of meaning fast in contemplation. They ascend to angelic heights, where they witness the mystery of their spiritual origin. They can perceive the sun in an atom or the ocean in a drop. In them, there is no quarrel between spirit and matter. As they study, they are purified by wisdom and elevated by faith. Through their spiritual pleasure, Paradise is brought into the heart of humanity.

These awaited people side with the truth and stand with the community. They are sincere in all their actions: Their voices echo the concerns of the society, and no ego dominates their feelings. They do not boast of their achievements or celebrate their own victories. When they succeed, they are filled with the noblest feelings. Neither personal concerns nor the interests of their coterie can sully their purposes. Hatred and enmities cannot cloud their vision; love, forgiveness, and tolerance are always secure in their gaze.

But those who want to bring happiness” to humanity by the means of violence and bloodshed, they are certainly the miserable ones, who continue along the path that all divine scriptures reject.” (1) I wish our nation would discern the falsity of this deviation. Perhaps we would then be done with these pests. Alas! Today, we are far from such discernment.

February 1980

(1) The author refers to the leaders and actors of the violent social and political movements in Turkey around the year of publication of this essay.

Source:

A Fethullah Gülen Reader – So That Others May Live” Edited by Erkan Kurt. 2013. New York. Blue Dome Press. Pages 133-34.

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