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Days of Depression and Our Atlas of Hope
Jan 1, 2009

Today, almost everybody speaks about "material welfare and comfort," without seeing any values other than these, or rather without wanting to see them.

Humanity has come up with many beautiful things, and has made great inventions up to now. In a way, it is thanks to these efforts that the people of our time are enjoying a life of comfort, never equaled in any period of history; at least, this is potentially so. Even though it would not be correct to speculate today on the days to come, those who predict the future of the world say that it will, in a way, become so attractive for the people of physicality and carnal pleasures that it will make them forget Paradise. With a feeling and passion that gives priority to immediate pleasures and delights, they will say like Omar Khayyam, "The past and future are all but tales; enjoy yourself, do not spoil your life." Thus, they will see life as only eating, drinking, and lying down, constantly making their choices in favor of worldly ease and comfort.

Actually, we can see this even now in many developed countries, and a great number of people around the world are enviously trying to imitate them. Almost everybody speaks about "material welfare and comfort," without seeing other values than these, or rather without wanting to see them. However, in spite of the dizzying developments brought by science, the new opportunities offered by technology, and so many means promising us welfare and happiness, the people of our time do not seem so happy. Let alone seeming happy, they are seized by unease and depression more than ever. Though it could not be expected to be any other way, mere worldly opportunities, which are not supported by their relation to faith or knowledge of God, not deepened and given meaning, would obviously not mean much. In this respect, what we need in this modern age is nothing but to choose the best stature as suggested by the truth of having been created as "the perfect pattern of creation" (Tin 95:5), and to read the essence of being human accordingly. We can call this human beings’ realization of their difference with respect to spirituality and heart, reviewing their relation with the Creator, and finding their own orbit as befits the purpose of their creation. It seems that until they learn to read their essence correctly, it will not be possible for human beings to put their affairs in order and attain the happiness they expect. And particularly so if they are trying to suppress their spiritual appetite through luxury, comfort, and seeking to satisfy their physical pleasures due to not being able to know their real problems.

Even though the gravity of problems varies according to the country and society, almost all of humanity today faces serious dead ends. Almost everywhere, in every society, the masses experiencing a void in the name of faith and knowledge of God are pushed-consciously or not-into a disordered life, their animal desires are constantly triggered, and they are intoxicated into oblivion. Obviously, there cannot be sound spirit, sound thoughts, and sound judgment in such carefree, lawless, and immoderate masses. Masses of this sort have no aim or activity other than satisfying their carnal senses and consoling themselves with alcohol and drugs. Such a society can be considered to be spiritually dead, or to have entered the grave before dying. For such miserable souls who have lost their feeling of being human to some extent, it is just ordinary to have perverted habits, nervous problems, stress, and depression. Unfortunately, along with the entire world today, Muslim countries are also afflicted with the same diseases, and they are going through their most unfortunate days in desperation. In this world, individuals are diseased and shaken, the home is miserable and messed up, the masses are delirious and aggressive, and the representatives of brute power are cruel and merciless; nobody knows where it will lead and what kind of an end awaits humanity...

Due to such intermingled uncertainties and misery, most are unaware of what they are doing, what purpose they are serving, and what kind of disintegration they are heading toward. Most are completely unaware of the background of these dreadful problems, the real reasons for the total degeneration of societies, and the spiritual deformation of masses. The cause or causes of disease are not known exactly, and therefore the remedies offered are mistaken to a great extent. The question of how many people have been able to diagnose the problem is always arguable. And God knows how many of them are even given the right to speak.

It is for these reasons that in spite of all means of welfare, humanity is unhappy, weary, worn, delirious, and bent under the burden of bad conscience. Individuals and the masses are in an intimidating void-the void of conflicting with our primordial nature-generated by not knowing one’s Master. This is the void of being ignorant of faith and wisdom and the void of having been dragged into the pitfalls of the carnal self. Therefore, people are in constant anxiety as if journeying through the corridors of Hell and are extremely uneasy. Neither leading their life in luxurious buildings, nor their fantastic clothing mean anything in the face of this void in them. Sometimes the delirium of intoxication is resorted to, and sometimes contentment is sought within material and carnal desires… but to no avail. None of these suffices to fill the void inside, and the generations of today, who are deprived of spiritual support, keep drifting from one delirious state to another.

Because of mad crowds detached from their past, with no connection with their future, and vulnerable to committing crime, almost everywhere human life and property are under threat, those who care about chastity are anxious, and those responsible for security are ashamed of being unable to cope with the different illegal organizations they face every day. Those who see these on television or in the newspapers wonder, "Is it the end of humanity?" and they shake with the fear of being dealt a divine blow. We cannot consider them wrong, since Sodom and Gomorrah were smashed to the ground in chastisement for such spiritual disintegration and debasement. The people of Noah was destroyed for a quarter of today’s present immorality. If the destroyed peoples of Ad, Thamud, and Ayka were to witness what is happening today, they would probably be deeply ashamed. As the poet Mehmed Akif expressed it:

Modesty has been raised, shamelessness all around,
What ugly faces that thin veil proves to have disguised!
No fidelity, no loyalty to promise, not a sign of the word "trust,"
Lies are favored, betrayal required, right is out of sight.
Let virtues be ignored, let consciences fall into silence.
If this moral corruption lasts, there will remain no independence.

In the face of such realities, the only way to be saved from the present dangers and from being caught in the torrents of misguidance is faith in God, the belief in resurrection and the afterlife, consciousness of the final judgment, and a new call to a total revival toward being ourselves. On the other hand, other cures which have been resorted to so far are obviously of no use at all.

The entire society is afflicted and faith is the treatment,

For souls starving for faith, other ways are torment.

We will wait and see; maybe one day God Almighty will open our eyes too.