Enchanting Nights

Lead Article
Although the night, as alive as it is, appears to be in the same form as it magically passes over our heads, it whispers to us so many different blessings and implications!
| M. Fethullah Gulen | Issue 150 (Nov - Dec 2022)

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Enchanting Nights

In This Article

  • While in connection with the Divine, we surpass being “the child of our time”; instead, we imagine both time and space to be our children and aides under our command.
  • Despite our familiarity with it, nights have such a delightful beauty that they are more open to the beyond than daytime is. They are each like a corridor to a “wedding night” (shab-e arus), a world of imagination, a state of ecstasy and mutual love.
  • For us both our days and our nights are open to light and color. For us, every second is a golden slice of time, we live with the constant expectation of eternity, and we foam with the dreams of brilliantly blue days that know no sunset and the fruit of which we will gather in the future and taste in the beyond.

When the sun sets and everyone returns home, a silence envelops the streets from all sides. Everything turns quiet, and the night begins to speak in a way only the people of the night understand. How unique is the letter-less, wordless murmur of nighttime for the people of the night! When the night dominates our horizon and starts its silent music, we allow ourselves to set sail off to new feelings we have not yet discovered and become absorbed by unimaginable dreams.

In such a state – in proportion to the profundity of our feelings and depending on how sound and vigorous our connection to our heart is – we start seeing everything differently: parents, children, the whole household, even objects in our home, look different although they are in their usual places. Then, we turn our full, sincere attention to them, as we unite with this new world with all our being. As we include them into our personal space, we feel like we see our home for the first time, and it appears as a cozy corner of the heaven. Our home, which is otherwise squeezed and narrowed by physical senses and rough logic, expands as broad as possible in this magical atmosphere of our imagination. We are enraptured from one amazement to another on the one hand, and shudder with awe on the other, as we witness how connection with the Divine can influence our soul.

The night falls upon existence coloring everything with its darkness, bringing down sorrow and obscuring our horizons. Yet, while in connection with the Divine, we feel the flow of otherworldly imaginations through the windows of our homes and heavenly pleasures into our souls to the degree of our perceptions—it is as if the heavens are revolving right above our heads. Just as we are swimming in the blue space of this dream—for those who can swim—suddenly the minarets resound one last time with the deepest delight and create an uproar everywhere. The sound rising from them reaches beyond the mosque gallery and comes into our house, finds us, and empties its poetry and language everywhere, including in our bedroom, and offers us the sweetest sherbet of nighttime prayer. We respond with all our being and tie resting to the other world with the night prayer. With the consideration of seeing sleep and death as brothers, our hearts and eyes are with God, our feelings are locked on Him, and we seek peace in His presence once again. We review the account of the day’s adventure. We chain the feet of evil thoughts and prevent them by begging forgiveness and penitence. We strengthen tendencies towards goodness with pleading and prayer. Cleansing our hearts, “home of God,” from the dirt of all things other than God, we become ready for the inclination and manifestation of God. Thus, we try and adorn even our sleep and rest with the color of worship. To the degree we are successful in this, our corporeality escapes from the gloom that naturally envelops our horizon, and we begin to breathe with contentment. Meanwhile, our home, including our bedroom, turns into a warm motherly lap, and time and space become so intertwined and whole that sometimes we think they are only two faces of the same reality. In fact, we often see ourselves as the most important dimension and most basic element in the unity of time and space. We surpass being “the child of our time”; instead, we imagine both time and space to be our children and aides under our command. Our hearts and spirits overflow with different celestial gifts, and time begins to divulge its most intimate secrets to us.

Although the night, as alive as it is, appears to be in the same form as it magically passes over our heads, it whispers to us so many different blessings and implications! We listen to eulogies from them about the noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are filled with joy with their litanies for God. We are amazed with the rays of light that gush out from their dark hearts, and we hear the most unheard sounds in their silence.

Despite our familiarity with it, nights have such a delightful beauty that they are more open to the beyond than daytime is. They are each like a corridor to a “wedding night” (shab-e arus), a world of imagination, a state of ecstasy and mutual love. In this mysterious and magical climate, we can always feel the delicacy of the breezes coming from the presence of the Beloved and the excitement of the spirits in this state. The heart calls out to all the people of the night to its unique station to observe eternity from there. As İbrahim Hakkı said:

Why sleep, o my eye, come, wake up at night
Come and see how galaxies move about at night
See how with wisdom all of these manifest

Find the Artist who makes it all and be His guest at night.

Some respond to this call immediately and observe the horizons with contemplation. They get signs from the moonlight and swoon in enchantment with the magical look of the stars. They begin to swing between wonder and amazement all night long and say:

Listen to this pleasant sermon of the stars,
See what wisdom has written about this epistle of light
They all began speaking together with the language of Truth:
We are each a proof of the sultanic majesty of the Almighty

And the spreading light of the Creator.
We are witnesses to both unity and power!
Thus we show one-hundred thousand proofs with one-hundred thousand tongues.
We make humans hear, the true humans
The damned, blind unbelieving eye cannot see our face,
Nor do they hear our words;
We are but signs speaking the truth.
(Bediüzzaman)

Some run to their prayer rugs, stand in full submission. They move from glorifications to praises and thanks, resound chanting His greatness, and make their reverence heard all the way to the heavens. As they do so, their seconds become as worthy as years; they try and squeeze eternities into hours.

Some walk silently to their prayer rugs. They lay low to hunt blessings, jump into fantasies of union, leave their own shores, and their eyes seek roads on the horizons to come closer to the Sultan.

Some look for isolated places. They always resound with constant yearning in their hearts. They lament longing and sorrow; as they voice their expectations for a reunion they steam off like an incense burner until morning…

Some burn with longing for the glorious ages of the past and moan, “I wonder if good fortune will ever smile at our faces again.”

Some voice their helplessness with sighs and moans, walk around like madmen, and try and be consoled by singing songs to dawn and its cavalrymen.

Some run from project to project on the road to the illuminated days of the future and wait for the propitious moment when dawn will break.

In short, thousands respond to the current state of affairs in this way as they moan on all sides, lament like reed pipes, and build worlds of unimaginable colors and sounds on these pitch-black nights.

Yes, for us both our days and our nights are open to light and color. For us, from dawn to evening, and from evening to dawn, every hour, every minute, and every second is a golden slice of time, and in each of those moments we live the ebb and flow between longing and union. We live with the constant expectation of eternity, and we foam with the dreams of brilliantly blue days that know no sunset and the fruit of which we will gather in the future and taste in the beyond. We murmur with the indescribable pleasures of infinity, and believe that these minutes, seconds, and tenths of seconds take on very different deep and colorful shapes, and flow into an eternal pool on our behalf. Nothing will be wasted in this account. We think that the illuminated days we lived in this world, the enlightened hours, and the poetic times of love and enthusiasm will bloom roses in another realm, will sway like trees with blossoms and fruit, and all beautiful things will continue with an indescribable otherworldly depth. Then, it feels like we start feeling this narrow realm in the spaciousness of the beyond.

Our lives along the lines of faith (iman), trust in God (tawakkul), surrender (taslim), and eternal happiness enrich us with the most profound pleasures, so much so that we are never bound with the most attractive and pleasurable desires.

Thanks to our faith and hope, we live a life of joy in which we are blessed with such unspeakable things in almost every moment of time, things that are as refined as the highest prose and the most enchanting poetry, so much so that we ask ourselves, “Are we hearing conversations of spirits?”

These are what we can hear and perceive in this world of light, across this magical horizon, and in those blessed moments, to the best of our capacity. Who knows how much more profound and colorful things are heard by spirits beyond time and space who has been able to color time with their own thoughts? However, it should not be forgotten that there is a need for a rehabilitation mentally, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and deep down in the heart in order to be able to sense the enchanting mystery of time with its own vastness, even to a certain degree. The shortest and reliable path to such a rehabilitation is to follow in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and travel on the emerald hills of the heart and spirit in his guidance.


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