Is life as sweet as to be sought after?
O my wretched soul, sunk in heedlessness, which sees this life as sweet and,
in oblivion of the Hereafter, seeks it only. Do you know what you resemble?
An ostrich! It sees the hunter, but cannot escape by flight, so sticks its head
in the sand so that the hunter may not see it. However, its huge body remains
in the open, so the hunter does see it. Only, its eyes are closed in the sand,
and it cannot see him.
O my soul, consider the following comparison, and understand the reality!
Considering only this world changes a great pleasure into a grievous pain.
Suppose there are two men in this village. Ninety-nine out of every hundred
of the friends of one of them have immigrated to Istanbul, where they are living
happily. Only one has remained here, and he too will go there. For this reason,
the man longs for Istanbul and thinks of it; he desires to join his friends.
When he is told that he can go there too, he will be overjoyed and go happily.
As for the second man, ninety-nine out of every hundred of his friends have
departed from here. He thinks that some of them have perished and the others
have entered places where they neither see nor are seen. He imagines that they
have all gone to utter misery. This hopeless man seeks consolation in the friendship
of the single remaining friend who is also about to go. He wants to compensate
for the heavy pangs of separation through him.
O my soul! God’s Beloved above all, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but also
all your friends are on the other side of the grave. One or two remain here,
but they too will depart for there. So do not be afraid of death, fearful of
the grave, nor avert your attention from it! Look at the grave bravely, and
listen to what it seeks. Laugh in the face of death manfully, and see what it
wants. Beware, do not be heedless and resemble the second man.
O my soul! Do not say, “The times have changed, this age is different, everyone
is plunged into this world and adores this life. Everyone is openly committed
to the struggle for livelihood.” But death does not change; separations do not
end and become eternal unions, nor become eternal companionships. Man’s intrinsic
impotence and poverty do not change, rather they increase. Man’s journey (from
the World of Spirits to the Hereafter through this world and the grave) is not
cut, it becomes faster.
Also, do not say, “I am like everyone else.” For everyone befriends you only
as far as the grave. The consolation coming from sharing the same misfortune
with everyone else will be of no benefit to you on the other side of the grave.
Also, do not suppose yourself to be free and independent. For if you look
at this guest-house of the world with the eye of wisdom, you will see that nothing
is without order and without purpose. How then can you be left to yourself outside
the order and without purpose? Know that events in the universe like earthquakes
are not random games of chance.
You see that, for example, the earth is made to wear extremely well-designed
and finely embroidered clothes, one over the other, one within the other, with
the variety of species of animals and plants adorned and decked out from top
to bottom with very important purposes. Also you know that the earth revolves
like an ecstatic Mawlawi dervish in perfect order for most exalted aims. The
recent earthquake may be understood as the earth’s shaking off itself the weight
of certain forms of heedlessness of which it disapproves in mankind, and especially
from the believers. How is it, then, that there are people who suppose the essential,
death-bringing events in the earth like the earthquake to be without purpose
and the result of chance? How is it that there are people who, by showing the
grievous losses of all those affected by such events as unrecompensed, as having
gone for nothing, they so throw them into a dreadful despair? Such people are
committing both a great error and a great wrong.
Such events happen at the command of One All-Wise and All-Compassionate,
in order that the worldly property of the believers which has been lost because
of them might become as worthy of reward as alms and thereby gain permanence.
That loss is also an atonement for the sins arising from ingratitude for Divine
A day will come when this subjugated earth will see the works of mankind,
which adorn its face, to be tainted with associating partners with God and devoid
of necessary gratitude: it will disapprove them. Finally, at the Creator’s command,
it will wipe them off its entire face and cleanse it. At God’s command, it will
pour those who associate partners with God into Hell, and say to the thankful,
“Come and enter Paradise!”