DECLINE AND FALL:The loss of spiritual energy

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We used to have a magnificent civilization founded on faith, resolution, altruism and valour. The dark world of Europe’s Middle Ages was illumined and revitalized by the learning, faith, compassion and love with which our ancestors inspired it.

The era of illumination which began with the coming of our Prophet, upon him be peace, lasted for centuries. Then, we began to lose the dynamism of our civilization, to collapse. As a result, we came to regard the enemy as more powerful than ourselves. Our power of will and strength of spirit were paralysed. We sought excuses for our defeats, and considered the enemy invincible. The people, in consequence, lost their hope and resolve.

For many centuries we have deluded ourselves into believing our enemies irresistible, singing the praises of their military superiority. On occasions, we have even accused our ancestors of failing to match the technical advances of our opponents and have spoken ill of them. At other times, we have moaned that the enemy is cruel and pitiless. What we have not done is to criticize ourselves and honestly evaluate our own attitudes. In doing so, we have inflicted further heavy blows to the hope and resolve of people. It will remain impossible to establish the real reasons for our collapse, impossible to achieve a true revival as long as we continue to ascribe our defeats only to the military or technical superiority of the enemy and the superior number of their mechanized troops.

So ask yourselves, and then tell me, have you actually fulfilled your obligations? Have you been able to pursue the right road in your activities? Do you have enough will-power and resistance to overcome the obstacles that you face? Are your thoughts and actions in conformity with your beliefs? Have you been able to keep clear of such sinister motivating forces as hatred, malice and vengeance? And your plans and projects–are they carefully, accurately and appropriately thought out?

Only those afflicted with paralysis of will-power and spirit are so blind to their own faults that they busy themselves in finding fault with others. Such poor souls will never be able to perceive the truth, nor make a spiritual recovery, unless they admit that they are themselves fallible.

Every defeat and decline from greatness arises, first of all, from spiritual bankruptcy, and it will continue until there is spiritual recovery. What is most ominous for the well-being of the community is that the spiritually bankrupt individuals do not hold themselves responsible for the decay of the social order, and persist in laying the blame for it on others.

For God’s sake, stop blaming others, and allow yourself to carry a little of the blame. Be self-critical, at least a little. If indeed you are on the right road, if indeed your hearts are set on the service of the truth, and fully alert to your responsibilities, then no one will be able to do you any harm. Remember that only by the Will of God does harm or good come to anyone. Remember that the way has always been paved by Divine Destiny for those pure, loving souls who are determined to serve and support the truth.

How often has a small, resolute band, devoted to jihad, overcome, by God’s leave, a more numerous host. Many devout, godly persons have spent their whole lives in the way of God, and not quailed in front of whatever has befallen them. They have neither been weakened, nor brought low. They are the fortunate ones who are welcomed by the angels, and it is they who will be commemorated by succeeding generations.

 

Gulen, M. Fethullah. Fountain Magazine. Issue 5 / January – March 1994