The Rumi Forum aims to increase community harmony & social inclusion through dialogue and education. The forum is part of a global civic movement inspired by the ideas of its Honorary President Fethullah Gulen - commonly called the Hizmet Movement (aka Gulen Movement). The forum is active in DC, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, and Kentucky
Saturday, October 6, 2012
FETHULLAH GULEN: Respect For Humankind
M. Fethullah Gulen
Loving and respecting humanity merely because they are human is an expression of respect for the Almighty Creator. The other side of the coin, loving and showing respect to only those who think the same as one thinks, is nothing but egotism and self-worship. More than this, it is irreverent and self-conceited behavior to hurt the feelings of others who may not think exactly as we think, but who still are on the same main road with us in their thoughts and visions.
We dream of a generation who will embrace and build the future upon interpreting problems not according to the sources or reasons from which they arise, but with respect to their ideals. If we are passengers who are on different paths and using different strategies, but all heading for the same destination, then why should we defame the others who are with us on this sacred journey that has such a lofty goal?
The circumstances that will shape humanity in the future, in particular current world affairs, are forcing us to act with utmost care and alertness; in fact, they are forcing us to do so to such an extent that any decision hastily taken for temporary measures will result in errors that have no compensation. The architects of the future are obliged to build their world on the foundations of what human love and respect stand for and what they appear to be.
With its many dimensions, the modern world has pushed humanity into many dark alleys. And we have come face to face with many problems, the nature of which we have no idea. We are trying to cope with these problems, but they are extremely slippery and inconsistent, and in due proportion the outcomes are full of contradictions. There are thousands of Khidrs who are committed to fetch the water of life from Mount Qaf for humanity, but none of them possess any sign of the elixir of immortality. Despite all the efforts of these people who are “apostles-to-be,” respect for the human soul has been severely challenged by real dangers.
We have struggled for many years in this way; nevertheless, we have not accomplished any synthesis that will constitute the pillars of tomorrow. This has indeed been impossible. Our feelings and thoughts have promised and brought about discrete things, and we were like musicians with a broken record and an incomplete composition, swaying from one door to another, looking for a producer. When every individual denies all the other truths because of the portion of truth which they hold in their hands, and when they compel others to stick to their respective portions, will it ever be possible to have ideas line up one after another, to attain new syntheses, or to discover remedies that save? Can this ever be possible while some are harassing others with accusations of unbelief and sinning, or even physically assaulting them?
The present situation that we have reached today is very dramatic and thought-provoking. Those who walked side-by-side in the past are strangers to one another today. The truths and untruths have been shifted, in accordance with group preferences, from their foundational pillars to rest on slippery rails. Under such chaotic conditions, it is impossible to discern either the loftiness of the goal or the differences of the means to attain it.
Humanity today appears to have become fixated on a single flower alone, although they had set out to enjoy the spring. They have lost all their hopes for reaching the goal that is on this path; the means to do so are what they have been fighting for. Their efforts and actions are merely to engage in effort and action. Just like a guide who has forgotten the responsibility of serving the temple and their servanthood to God, who is absorbed by trying to entertain the visiting tourists, so too have those who devoted themselves to a clique or a party today become foreign and indifferent to the ideal and the goal.
The humanity of our time has been imprisoned by focusing on one flower on the way to the spring, and has been deceived by a drop while chasing the ocean. I feel that such slavery will be impossible to overcome until we have liberated humanity and given them a new outlook. We are burdened with the task of expressing the truth . . I wish that we had been able to have done so!
No matter how charming and enchanting the atmosphere that catches the eye or fills the heart is there is no permission for us to forget the truth to which we are committed. We cannot stay alien toward each other while we are in the same camp. We do not have a monopoly of the good and the beautiful; therefore we cannot be allowed to wage a war with the passengers who are heading to the same destination but on a different path.
We may have some criticisms about the path and system of someone who thinks differently from us; this is an expression of minds that operate in different ways. But, if we are striving to reach the same horizon, we must at least respect the way others think. This is a prerequisite of heading in the same direction, sharing the same belief, utilizing the same terminology, and finally and above all, of respecting the sacred meaning glorified by God Almighty.
Let us be respectful to humankind! Let us respect the exalted truths they possess. Let us love them because of their Almighty Creator. If we can raise a community upon this perspective, people will eventually recover and they will manage to compensate for whatever they have lost.