The attitude of a believer in Islam is very important because he/she is a person who has taken a lesson in manners from Muhammad’s (pbuh) desk of instruction. It is not possible for a believer to leave the circle of good manners, courtesy and decorum because his/her every behavior will be automatically attributed to Islam. If so, then a believer with his/her behavior shaped by Islamic refinement must continue without changing in a manner that becomes a Muslim even against the most faithless hearts and cruel events. When we look at the Prophet’s life, we see that he never changed his attitude, not even against Abu Jahl. For this reason, if we become angry about something, even when we give vent to that anger, it must be in an Islamic form.
In some verses of Surat al-Waqi‘ah, the Qur’an uses a relatively reproachful style against unbelievers. However, this style is actually directed towards some distorted ideas and thoughts rather than individuals. The Qur’an does not oppose and ill-treats any individual. Rather than the unbelievers and atheists themselves, what it criticizes are unbelief, hypocrisy, polytheism, transgression, rebellion, and antagonism. So, students of the Qur’an are expected not to act differently.
Just as we have taken into consideration this truth on the individual level, we can also do so on the state level. For example, when saying, “America, England, Germany,” our manner might be harsh from time to time. But we should not forget what we should oppose or criticize must be injustices, violation of basic human rights and freedoms, oppression, and support for unlawful actions and manners, not the countries, or states and peoples themselves. In every matter, we have to refer to the measure and criteria distilled from the spirit of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
If you like, we can clarify the subject with one more example from the Qur’an: When God sent Moses to the Pharaoh, He said, “Speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or feel awe of God.” (20: 44) This means that the Qur’an does not call us to punishing people or condemning them to Hell. Rather it invites us to build bridges between people so that they can come together and encourage what is good. Even if the person we are speaking with is a Pharaoh-like man, we should express ourselves with soft words and a mild tongue because the aim is to guide people to the truth and call them to salvation, not to get revenge. There’s an important matter to be taken into consideration here: the Qur’an draws the attention to the fact that we can lead people to think and review their attitudes by approaching them gently. If we are harsh, the person addressed will not think or feel any awe of God. In that case, regardless of whom we address, gentleness and tolerance are essential in order to be able to explain anything. This means that a Muslim must always have a gentle attitude, a mild state, a soft heart, a gentle conscience and soft words in order to be a true guide for others. Otherwise, if one’s internal world is not soft and gentle and shaped in the mold of the Muhammadan spirit, his/her state and attitude will be artificial. Even if he/she smiles, when a sore spot is touched, he/she will immediately expose him/herself and show his/her real character. Anyway, how long can a firefly fool an observant one?
Within this framework it is possible to understand the matter of Christ’s descending to the earth toward the end of time and conforming to the way of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. This means that an essential agreement will take place between the Muslims and Christians on the fundamentals of religion and such basic principles as justice, love, compassion, gentleness, spirituality, and morality will be given priority. As stated by Yunus Emre, we should be “hand-less to those who hit, tongue-less to those who curse and heart-less to those who break hearts.” In this matter, we have excellent examples.
It is not possible to explain anything, especially to convince anyone, by shouting, force and anger. Perhaps using violence was a method in human’s tribal past, but time abrogated it and terminated its reign. Now the principle of “convincing through civilized relations” is in effect. Today “heroes of love” should follow this principle. As I mentioned above, in the last days the Messiah will undoubtedly descend to earth to fulfill his important mission. He is going to descend to the essence and spirit represented by the character of the heroes of love. He will descend in order to be a model for that essence and spirit. If there’s no such spirit, his coming as a body does not mean anything.
Then, instead of sitting and waiting for the Messiah, those who want to follow him in embrace the future should strive to shape themselves with love. When he comes, he must find “heroes of love” with whom he will advance to a bright future. Regardless of what happens, revival in the last days is going to be accomplished by representatives of gentle dispositions, mild behavior, tender hearts and soft words.
“Love and the Essence of Being Human“, 2004, 2nd Edition, Journalists and Writers Foundation Publications, Pages 127-29.Tags: Dialogue | Fethullah Gülen's philosophy | Peacebuilding | Tolerance |
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