Question: It is mentioned that Satan harries everybody in accordance with their level. Could you explain this fact?

Answer: Satan is a creature that does not have the slightest inclination to goodness, one totally fixed on malice and full of evil feelings. From the moment he rebelled against God Almighty, he has been humanity’s greatest enemy. In order to understand this, you can imagine a furious man who is like a bomb ready to explode—though man cannot completely become like Satan. You sometimes see such people around you. If the wishes of such a person are not satisfied, you might witness wild behaviors, like yanking the cloth off a table and bringing everything crashing down, utensils and all, or like kicking a nearby chair, or knocking picture frames off the wall. If you try to mention the virtues of mildness at such a moment, you might get punched, since that person is not of sound mind. Such rage is a fit of delirium, which entails disastrous consequences.

Question: What were the functions of the mosque during the time of the noble Prophet? How can it be possible to re-vivify mosques with respect to both architectural features and their place in social life?

Answer: Those blessed places are referred as “cami” in Turkish, which means “one that gathers together.” There is also the original Arabic word masjid, which means “place of prostration.” Mosques are not named after words related to bowing or standing. Although these are among the essential movements in Prayer, they can never be compared to prostration, which is a person’s closest state to God as stated by the noble Prophet himself,[1] because prostration combines both meanings of expressing God’s greatness and admitting one’s own pettiness. When these two considerations unite, they form the closest state to God. They complete one another and bring the person closest to God. When a servant prostrates oneself in modesty, humbleness, and humility, with the intention of placing one’s head even lower if possible, it results in closeness to God. In other words:

Head and feet both on the ground, the Prayer rug kisses the forehead. Closeness to Him is through this road.[2]

In this respect, we can say that “mosque” is the name of the blessed place where those who put an end to separation and seek closeness to God—ones who take this closeness as an elixir—run to be discharged from strain and find relief; it is a place of spiritual recharge for them.

Qestion: A hadith mentions two kinds of eyes that will be free from Hellfire; one of them refers to a guard keeping watch near borderlines. What does “wakeful eyes” mean, and what is the message to be drawn from this notion with respect to the present conditions?

Answer: This term is used for valiant soldiers vigilantly keeping watch near borderlines against possible violations. They keep watch until the morning for the sake of their country, faith, children, future and the like. As it is mentioned in the question, the hadith gives glad tidings: “Two kinds of eyes will never be touched by the fire of Hell; an eye which weeps out of fear and awe of God and an eye which spends the night alert, keeping watch for the sake of God.”[1]

Question: The devoted souls take the opportunity of the (Eid of) Sacrifice, which is a means of closeness to God, and go to different corners of the world, particularly poor regions like Africa, and build bridges between hearts. Could you share your considerations on such activities during the Eid of Sacrifice and recommendations for bettering them?

Answer: Everything commences with a small angle at the starting point. Those who come later give support, shoulder that task, develop new ways and methods, and generate different alternatives. This is what happened with the sacrifices in Turkey. While people used to offer their sacrifices as an individual responsibility and shared the meat with their close surroundings, they first started to share it with people in other regions in their country, and then with people in different regions of the world; eventually it became an important means for warming hearts.

Question: How is the volunteers’ understanding of working hours supposed to be? Will you share your considerations on how self-sacrifice relates to working hours?

Answer: Our time spent working for the sake of Divine truths can be considered in the same category with money and possessions donated for the sake of God—or with infaq to use a general term—with respect to their essential philosophies. Particularly in the conditions of the Meccan period, the issue of infaq was taken in the absolute sense: “…and out of what We have provided for themthey spend (of wealth, knowledge, power, etc., to provide sustenance for the needy and in God’s cause, purely for the good pleasure of God and without placing others under obligation)” (al-Baqarah 2:3).

As it is seen, God Almighty encourages us to spend as much as we can out of the blessings He provided us. In the same way, acting with a complete spirit of devotedness and spending our time on the righteous path with the absolute understanding of the Meccan period is a consequence of such horizons of self-sacrifice. However, one important point should not be overlooked. In order to motivate the volunteers, we can make statements like “They should spend as much as they can” or “They should run like noble steeds until their heart stops…” As such a style can be adopted for the sake of encouragement, some situations may truly necessitate one to give whatever one possesses and run breathlessly until he or she perishes. However, considering everybody in general, it is necessary to take human nature into consideration both regarding spending for the sake of God and planning the hours of working. That is, we are human beings, we have families to support and other responsibilities, and thus expectations from us should not be beyond what we can bear. There can be exceptional figures who do keep running until they perish. However, such sacrifice should not be expected from everyone, and such performance and program should not be taken as the basis for everybody. We need to make our plans by taking general facts into consideration and present our issues accordingly.

It is not conceivable that a Prophet defrauds; and whoever defrauds (by stealing from public property or war-gains) will come with what he gained by his fraud on the Day of Resurrection. Then, every soul shall be repaid in full what it has earned (while in the world), and they will not be wronged. (Al Imran 3:161).

Qestion: The verse mentions ghulul[1] (defrauding, misappropriation), which is considered among the major sins. Could you explain what ghulul is? Will you tell about the general frame of ghulul and what is the message to be drawn from the verse by contemporary believers?

Answer: In its general meaning, ghulul means taking something unlawful for a person, benefiting from it, and breaching the trust. In a more specific context, it refers to stealing something from war-gains before they are distributed, and to take secretly from what belongs to the public and abusing what belongs to the state.

Question: Individuals’ being easily offended and harboring bitter feelings toward one another for a long time has almost become a widespread “disease” in our time. How do you think it is possible to cure this disease, which gives way to personal, familial, and social problems?

Answer: In a situation as described in the question, individuals feel broken-hearted toward someone and consequently distance oneself from that person. They take a negative stance against that person, and refuse to continue friendly relations with him. It mostly entails other negative behaviors as well. For example, one who harbors resentment against a friend does not only stop there, but in time he or she begins to think negatively about that friend. This mood might even give way to backbiting or slandering that person. When a misfortune happens to the latter, the one harboring resentment feels glad about it. What is worse, as a resentful person lets oneself deeper into these negativities, he or she does not realize the greatness of their mistake and sin, owing to inclinations of seeing oneself as innocent. However, all of these are condemnable acts in the sight of God, which might cause one to fall into eternal ruin. The noble Prophet’s warnings and advice on this issue are of crucial importance. In one instance he stated that it is not lawful for a Muslim to break relations with his brother (or her sister in religion) for more than three days.[1] That no matter what happens, a Muslim can continue such a state of bitterness for no more than three days. Incidentally, let me add that if the case of being offended is not based on reasonable grounds, or a sound reference (manat) as termed in Islamic Law, even a period of three days will not be allowed. If the causes that led to breaking relations are real and acceptable—only then—can they break off relations for three days, which is the uppermost limit. This period lets anger abate and bitter feelings disappear. It allows broken feelings to weaken, and it will be possible to reconsider the rights of the other person in a calmer mood. As a consequence, the feeling and thoughts of brotherhood or sisterhood will revive once more in the believer’s spirit; they will fill the distance you put in between, and you will become close friends again. So by giving certain measures, the hadith teaches a way for freeing ourselves from resentment.

Question: How can we save our minds and hearts from the bad effects of negative subconscious accumulation?

Answer: Such a background that pollutes our mind, spirit, world of emotions, reasoning, and judgment, appears before us like an obstacle to block our mechanisms of reasoning and judgment, and can yield disturbing results. It is an unpleasant realization. It paralyzes a person’s religious feelings and pollutes their spiritual subtle faculties. For this reason, one must try to give the willpower its due and try to get rid of such influences as much as possible. Such ugly and harmful accumulations may have emerged as a consequence of situations out of our own will. But it should not be forgotten that such negative factors become elements of the world testing us. Therefore, we need to see them as agents that trigger wrongdoing and sinning, and thus take due precautions. For example, the eye encounters a negative scene somewhere and the memory takes a picture of it. That picture, stored in the subconscious, can surface later on. This situation might drift the person toward obscene thoughts, ugly memories, and slippery grounds. To reiterate, it is necessary to give the willpower its due and keep it under control as much as possible. Indeed, when one feels ugly memories awakening, the verses of the Holy Qur’an recommend moving away from that atmosphere immediately.[1]

Question: After Prophet Lot, the Prophets were sent from among strong families.[1] Relatively speaking, can we consider the spiritual person of the Hizmet Movement as such a strong support (rukn al-shadid) for the volunteers in our time?

Answer: Prophet Lot, who was Prophet Abraham’s nephew,[2] was sent to the people who lived around the Dead Sea region, which included the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A certain immoral sexual act had become commonplace. The Qur’an refers to this issue in the context of different verses.[3] Before they were destroyed, God sent angels in human form to Prophet Lot as a miracle. They appeared as beautiful young men, as a final factor of Divine testing. When the people of Lot saw them, they became fixed on the newcomers as the target of their immoral behavior and it was the end of spoken address; they totally lost the test and were buried into the ground. God Almighty punished them with a shower of meteors.[4] So when those morally corrupted ones saw the angels near Prophet Lot and ran there drooling with their indecent intent, Prophet Lot said: “Would that I had power to resist you, or that I could lean upon some strong support!” (Hud 11:80). Any decent person who was in that great Prophet’s position would say the same thing, but nobody would express it so neatly like a Prophet did. For this reason, the Messenger of God stated that the helplessness of Prophet Lot was accepted as a prayer: “And after him, God Almighty sent every Prophet from among a large community in their people.”[5] That is, by sending every Prophet to come in later periods as a member of a certain tribe, God Almighty did not let possible attackers reach him right away, as the tribe served as a protective circle.

Question: Could you explain the meanings conveyed by the terms “religiousness” and “religious sensitivity”?

Answer: Religiousness has different degrees, from being reverent toward religious principles in theory, to practicing religious commandments and making religion the pervading spirit in one’s life. For example, some people know and believe in the essentials of faith and observe daily worship accordingly. On the other hand, some take faith in a rather immense sense; they follow what it commands and keep away from what it forbids with this approach. They go so far that, in addition to refraining from sin and fulfilling the obligatory commandments, they even take a stance against doubtful things, concerned about the possibility of committing something forbidden. They try to lead their lives as God-fearing believers. As for those who practice religion with a deeper consciousness, they always observe worship with a feeling of offering it to Divine inspection, and live with a full consciousness of God and His omnipresence. In this respect, there are various degrees of religiousness, stretching from the ground level to the stars in the sky. Incidentally, let me add that even with its primary level, religiousness bears a crucial value for people, and it should never be dismissed whatsoever.

As for religious sensitivity, it refers to very meticulous observation of religious principles in one’s personal life first, and then being exceedingly sensitive about the religious practices of one’s family members, close environment, and other people willing to benefit from his or her spiritual guidance. In other words, religious sensitivity means living with the fervor and enthusiasm as expressed by a saintly figure: “If only all people in the world loved the One I love; if only all of our words would be a narrative of the Beloved One” (Yahya of Taşlıca).