Could the essence of human being changed?

Could the essence of human being changed?

Long time ago an Ottoman sultan visits a derwish (a member of a Sufi order) convent. Sultan feels really impressed by the depth of sheikh’s knowledge and loves the dhikr (repetition of certain prayers and names of Allah) of derwishes. After attending the convent for couple of months Sultan says to the Sheikh, “I have been deeply impressed with you and the dervishes after my visits. I would love to support you in any way possible. Please ask me for anything.” Considering the offer coming from one of the most powerful rulers of the world at that point and limitless resources anyone would be impressed by this offer. However the sheikh answers “Yes my sultan, you could do something for me, please  I ask you not to come here again.” Baffled by the answer sultan asks “Have I done a mistake? I don’t know the intricacies of tasawwuf (the process of realizing ethical and spiritual ideals) but if I have offended you in any way please accept my apologies he says. 

“No, no” says the sheikh, “you haven’t offended me in any way and the problem is not on your side but rather it is the derwishes. Before your arrival they were repeating dhikr of God’s Beautiful Names just for His sake but now they think about you during their dhikr and practices. They think about the richness and power one could gain if approved by you. No, my sultan, you are not the problem but rather we are. I am afraid we don’t have the spiritual maturity of handling your existing here. For this reason I have to ask you not to come here again.”

It is unknown to all of us who will be the master and who will be the slave in the thousand-year-old war between the spirit and nafs. We will either be the complete  human being who masters the spirit or the oblivious who deny the truth by enthroning the nafs (self, id). This war is so tough, it allures even the hearts and minds of travelers of truth who is taught to have let go of the world long ago. Anyone might find himself amongst those whistling for worldly pleasures, arm in arm with his own nafs. While trying to understand what’s happening, only a big regret is left behind.

The world

Breaking and from brokenness we have come. When we lay in our beds in the evenings we have all the calculations, projects, things to do, books to read in our minds…Instead of thinking about what is good, we blind our eyes to what is good and instead worry about what we could do more for the world. We try to find ourselves by sipping cups of coffee from a cartoon cup complaining of tiredness and sleeplessness each day. This endeavor is in vain, as the soul only finds peace, rests and finds itself in a clear mind. Occupied with calculations, books, severance pay, Public Personnel Selection examination, food cards, Sodexo, Lavazza and many others; for these are concerns not belonging to a human being, it is not logical to expect a soul surrounded by these to find itself.

Watch the fights between people who have not found themselves; there is nothing between them in the name of humanity or beauty, but a deafening howling and a purposeless crowd who has forgotten the soul that was blown into them by the creator, they just destroy everywhere for the material gain. A lot of us are in that fight but isn’t it time yet to ask ourselves “is it all worth it, what am I doing?” Whether we know it or not, the world is searching for a meaning. The human being, beaten by the materialistic defeat, ignorance and tyranny is looking for a refuge in a clean space.  A new space for existence and thought without the evil, treachery, and sedition.

World citizens long for gracefulness and unrequited works. An example on this sort of gracefulness is given from Anatolia. Some of the tradesmen have a day of “salawat” (the salutation upon the prophet Muhammed) and when the tradesman say to himself “Today everything in my shop is free, they should only say the salawat upon the prophet thus he is to be remembered in my shop and bring barakah (blessing) and fayz (abundance) to my family.  Talking about this beautiful tradition Prof. Mahmut Erol Kılıç shares a memory of his, “about 10 years ago when we were in Iran with my family and our kid had a mild illness. They couldn’t figure out what it was. They said to us “Theres is a doctor who was living in America but now back in Iran. If anyone is to figure this out it would be him. But it is very expensive.” We went to the doctor, he checked our kid and wrote a prescription. I asked about our debt. He said “today is the day of my salawat”. At first I couldn’t understand, so I asked him “Are you going to give us a discount”? He said, “No, I’m just asking for one thing, could you say the salawat in this place.” The reason for this is to pray for  “my workplace to be blessed by the salawat; the negative energy, illness, troubles, and evils will go away. This spiritual attitude that no worldly parameter could explain is the only way that will rid the dirty system off the professional human being who was transformed. The salvation will be with those who seek it within salawat which is million times more precious and powerful than the GNP (Gross National Product) .

The Road

In a time where everybody knows everything, just knowing our limits is enough for us. Even showing this simplest endeavor, we shall be traveling from this world with a badge of honor. Provided only we side with the good.

We will die and it will all be over. Only thing left in this world will be the trace we leave behind. They will talk about how rich, successful, beautiful, good or bad we are after we are long gone. Have you ever heard somebody saying “What a good tradesman he was?” after a person passes away. We usually say “what a good person he or she was!” Then, what do we do for the state of goodness? What is the benefit we have offered to the poor of this world besides saving small fortunes and paying big mortgages for ourselves? When did we last put a plate on our table for an orphan and at least supported her by saying, “this shall too pass”?  

The war between the good and evil will never end and the number of evils will always outdo. But while evil only affects one person, a good person will spread compassion amongst a thousand. We need the good to come forward, to speak and to take action more than any other time in history. In this period of time where evil and darkness is the norm and the trend we need the individual who will stand against these without fear, who will defend the truth and remind human being who he really is, we need clean hearts who know everything that is  ever created  is a piece of himself.

The nature

Prophet (PBUH) says in one hadith that “Believe when you hear a mountain is replaced but do not believe when you hear the nature of human being is changed.” Human nature has qualities that come from creation (air, water, fire, soil) they exist and in some human beings some outweigh; however they cannot be completely changed; they could only be directed towards good or evil. Then how does the soul, unearthly, coming from a higher truth, embodies unwanted qualities?

The soul living in a human body feels like living a life in prison; soul having seven layers of depth would like to return to the main place and be free of the body. In this imprisonments soul gets used to the body and the body gets used to the soul, they learn to act in harmony. For the good and evil, soul is the activating factor, and the body has the means to perform the decisions. So who is responsible for our bad actions; the body or the soul?

In the aftermath the body will accuse the soul saying “I didn’t have the power to do any evil” and the soul will accuse the body saying “I didn’t have the means to do any evil”. According to Muzaffer Ozak Efendi the accusations of the soul and the body will be answered as following “You are like the cripple and the blind in helping each other for the evil. The cripple saw and order but the blind had the body and the power to apply the evil. Both are guilty.”

The human being, regardless of his or her inclination, owning a limited will, should always have the intention of keeping his or her heart clean. Without torturing the nafs that we have, hold the intention of enlightening the dark side of the soul, live in clean bright places and do not let the darkness inside and around us to take a hold of us.

This has some simple ways: Cleanse our friend circle from evil, seditious, poisonous  people and surround ourselves with people who know the truth and say only the truth, those who stay away from worldly evils, who reminds us the good and the beautiful at all times. We shall stay close to them; and do good insistingly and adamantly especially for those who are used to the evil. We shall eat clean food, drink clean water with good and clean people. We shall, as much as we can, be with Allah’s beloved people and never forget God is closer to us from our jugular vein. Verily He is the one who will take us to the light and true happiness. I hope when the road ends we are with the true survivors.

Gökhan Ergür

NUN Schools Psychological Counseling and Guidance Head of Department