"I am Searching for a Troubled Heart"

Do you purposely punish yourself? Or is it that you don't have the strength in your soul to take a step outside?

Fun and games, pleasure, are not in my nature. Even when I was young, I was doing something like riyazat [esoteric self-realization] that was appropriate for me. Sometimes I would go out to a cafe and sit there if I thought that it might be useful. I do not want to do something if it is not useful. Even if it is just walking around, I want it to have some purpose. That's why I sit inside, and read the Koran or say my daily prayers and ziqr [religious chants for the remembrance of Allah]. If I have the time, I might edit someone's book or possibly try to write some. I find it more useful to kindle a light, to be useful to people. Indeed, it is possible that I have only gone to the lake maybe three times in the last five years. I have not explored every corner of my surroundings.

Nature has a soothing side. Why did not you want to benefit from this? Bubbling brooks, huge trees...

Physicians say the same-- at this age, I need calcium. During the summer, kind of forcefully, they would take me out for 15 minutes and making me sit next to the camellia over there. It is not that my soul is unhappy or sickened, as I did not go out often even when I was in Turkey. I get busy with books wherever I stay. If anyone comes and sits next to me, I prefer to chat with them. It was the same when I was in Istanbul as well. Perhaps, I had ventured out when I was young. I would go to tombs and read Yasin [a Verse of the Koran]. Nowadays, I prefer this more.

The things that are happening in Turkey disturb me; they make my heart bleed. Hearing about the dismissal of positive things, the spoiling of stability, the people who bad mouth and say unstylish statements, and the existence of undeveloped minds in a Turkey that I thought of as being developed, disturb me a great deal. I cannot comprehend that such backward people exist. The religious were seen as being backwards; however, I think there is no place where reactionary thought is more prevalent than in Turkey.

Many people love you, but do you have a friend? It seems as if you are all alone in a crowd. Am I wrong?

Certainly when I use the word "level" when talking about some issues, it is as if I see myself on a certain level and I am ashamed of that. I am looking for a person who is troubled on the inside; one with whom I could talk about the Islamic world, the situation in Turkey, and share my troubles. I am searching for a troubled heart.

But there is no such person, is there?

At that level, I wouldn't say that there is anyone who would share everything with me. Sometimes, I feel stifled in the night. Something sticks in my mind, something I saw on television or something I heard. You get up and either pray or practice praying. Sometimes, you get tired of it too. You want someone to be there, someone with whom you could share your troubles. Troubles recede when they are shared. In that regard, I wouldn't say that I have found a loyal friend. I have many close friends, friends who love me very much; however, a friend in thought needs to be like you, not to reveal the sorrow. That kind of friend needs to burn inside like a fireplace. He would need to have a strong bond with Allah but at the same time remain humble. This friend would be able to share the subjects that you would talk about.

In a way, I kind of regard it as being disrespectful if I think about myself. I shouldn't think about myself. If I am a believer of Allah, then all my considerations should be for Him. I should always think about Him. If am a believer of the Prophet [Muhammed], I should always think about him. I have never thought about anything but my nation, I should not do it. I should think about its well-being. Now, when you do not have anyone on the same level to share your troubles - indeed, I don't, you may have determined that--you are bright, so you may have determined that - I should confess that I am lonely.

This is the fate, it seems, of much loved men of religion. Willingly or unwillingly, a distance comes between the lover and the beloved. They cannot be friends with their masters. There is a psychological dimension to this. I wonder, has this happened to you?

As much as I can, I am trying to cleanse myself of reasons that would prevent me from receiving the kind deeds and benevolence of the Almighty Haqq (The Absolute Truth, an attribute of Allah). I say: "Pray for me. Don't forget me in your prayers. If I say something, I could say it to your face." I say, "You are the source of inspiration." But, by saying these things, thinking these things, and humbling myself a few times a day, -- if we do not humble ourselves before an infinity, Allah is infinite and we are nothing, we cannot bring our praise to the highest level -- perhaps these things give rise to the feeling of praise on the other side. I mean, I would not know this. As long as you see yourself as small and always speak with humility, piety, shame you cannot say it, I don't know how to say it, or I cannot convince the other party. Therefore, it does not happen by siege. Muslims do not sanctify anyone. It is obvious what is holy. It could be praise for a thought. They may say, "Everything cannot be said to him, let's not disturb him so much. Let's leave him alone to live his own world. He has an upper limit befitting him. Let him keep flying as a turtledove." It is impossible to rid people of this thought. We sit at the same table, have meals, and drink tea together. When several friends are here we sit and chat from time to time. However, the point you made is possible all the time as a thing that cannot be brought out. I would not say anything about this.

I wonder if your inability to find a soulmate might be related to the fact that the people who are bound to you with love cannot perceive your upper limits?

I am not a person who is hard to understand or perceive. I am a simple human. My feet are not above the clouds. As of where I arise from, I am like so. But, I cannot prevent their appraisals, I couldn't. I cannot say that they do not understand. It would be unjust of me. As a matter of fact, I stood at the pulpits of the mosques, in public places, and at conferences and seminars and stated what needs to be done. I mean to say that this is not organized. These people follow these suggestions. They spread out around the world. They accomplished something in those places and continue to do things. Today they do what we say as well. Namely, they understand who you are, moreover, they understand more. You mention educational activities and tolerance. These are done perfectly. That is also a statement of praise. If they are not respectful to your thoughts, they would not act like that. If they don't trust you, they wouldn't do anything. In my opinion, friends are more believing and more trustful than is necessary. This is one issue and sharing some certain concerns is another. Maybe they do not reflect on the outside what they feel on the inside. Maybe I suffer because of the trouble. I am lamenting because I cannot reach the beloved because I am busy with other beings. They don't do this. Therefore, according to me, what they keep on the inside remains secret. I am probably impatient. One says, "There is a fire some place." I get upset. But, probably they are patient. They do not make these things an issue and keep them inside. Such a thing, perhaps, is not conducive to dialogue. This causes rifts. It is not a complete break off. We are able to sit and talk, meet everyone and share some troubles.

Incidents made some people suspicious; but some conspiracies cannot be denied

There is a view that the Islamic community has a tendency to engage in conspiracy theories. For example, there were some theories that September 11 was plotted by America. There are other conspiracy theories that are used as a method of perceiving the world...

There are wide-spread conspiracy theories in the world. And these are pursued. And in one half of the world, there are thoughts ready to burn the other half as a consequence of their calculations. Perhaps there are thoughts of stimulating paranoia in society to find a basis for their fears. Intimidation might be used. However, I will not say whether or not we should consider September 11 in this category. But, a wide-spread conspiracy will always be dwelt upon. The same things are done the world over. Thus, some things appear a few years later but in a different form; then we all start to believe such conspiracy theories. Explosions occurred in Istanbul. These things happen elsewhere as well. Willingly or unwillingly, people say, "I wonder, is this done by making these men into robots?" Or is it because some wanted to bring this world and that world together, that we are all experiencing the same unjust treatment, oppression, cruelty, terror? Is this done because some say, "Come, let's join together"? Because there are many examples. Eventually, one sees them as possibilities. Even more so, people have become skeptical of everything that is openly written or drawn; such that they ask themselves, "I wonder what is really meant when he says that."

A few incidents that have taken place in the world made people so suspicious that they look at everything as if it were a conspiracy. The same is true in the media. There are people who are shown as willing to engage in conspiracies. That is, even though we do not accept the issue completely as such, it is impossible to deny the existence of some conspiracies in the whole world.

Did September 11 have a bad influence on the education programs that you encourage, i.e. the movement to open schools around the world?

It did not affect that much. Maybe, in a few places, people were anxious. They have not been subjected to such a thing so far. There were a couple of instances where people were taken in for questioning, but they were released. They were told, "We were mistaken." I attribute that to the manners of our people and to the manners of our friends and their decent work. I attribute that to our friends' establishing dialogue in those places with local people. They performed great work and behaved like diplomats, I would say.

But September 11 had a serious impact on the American people. It stimulated an anxiety-- a fear in them. They took measures. They formed a new department [Homeland Security]. It could be said that a great seriousness overtook America. You see this at the airports too. Now fingerprints and photos are taken. While they used to issue residence permits fairly easily, now it has become difficult. But they were not anxious about the subject related to us, especially, they were very anxious about Turks. Turks are Muslims too. They could have been regarded in the same category. But Turkey is different. We benefit form this. Turkey is a democratic and secular country. Such things [terrorist activities] do not occur there. Things occurred such that terror cannot be performed by the religious. Arab, Palestinian, Jordanian, Saudi mosques were taken under close watch. But I do not think that such things [fingerprinting and taking photographs] will be done to Turks. I have not heard of it either

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