In 97th Issue of the bi-monthly magazine Fountain, which is dedicated to spiritual, scientific and literary thought, the leading article was about Holy days. As in every issue of the magazine, the leading article was written by Fethullah Gulen, who is Turkish Islamic scholar and inspirational source of movement known as Hizmet. In this beautifully written, emotional and thought-provoking article Fethullah Gulen reflected on the essence and meaning of Holy days and, elaborating on individual and communal effects, shared his personal feelings about these special days.
So what are Holy days? Holy days are days such as Eid Al-Fitr, which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, month of fasting; and Eid Al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. Holy days are special days of happiness and joy when people are serene and peaceful since they know that their Creator granted people an opportunity to gain the forgiveness and redemption from past mistakes. Also Holy days are sources of delight and rejoice especially for those who feel connection with sweet memories of past and bright hopes about future.
Unfortunately, as Fethullah Gulen outlines, not all people can feel this sublime happiness during Holy days. As he says, there are some people who are stuck in the moment and can feel connection neither with past nor with future. For these people Holy days are dull and colorless because they perceive them just as ‘few days allocated to handing out some candies to children’. This is material and shallow perception, which differs greatly from the perception of people who deeply reflect on and realize the true meaning of Holy days. Therefore people with narrow perception won’t be able to feel even 1/100th of the happiness felt by people who truly realize the importance and meaning of such Holy days.
In this article Fethullah Gulen also mentions how he personally perceives Holy Days. His feelings and perception of Holy Days are so deep, emotional and interesting, that I would like to quote his words here with sincere desire that every person reads this part and changes his/her perception about Holy Days.
“To me, every holy day comes with its festive nights full of dazzling colors, shining sweet and impressive images of our history into my heart. In the coming and going of holy days, I watch in my imagination the future’s happy generations, who are both mentally and spiritually enlightened, attaining a pure and delicate heart, and embracing each other as they become one with their souls. These scenes enrapture me. At such moments, individuals at full rest in their hearts, whose minds are full with science and technical knowledge, and whose conscience are full of deep faith in their Exalted Creator and love of their Lord and all beings, appear before my eyes. My heart becomes overwhelmed with the spiritual pleasures that they carry, and I experience unique minutes of blissfulness. In that atmosphere – when I imagine the elderly as individuals who are highly esteemed and humanely honored, the youth as chaste and forbearing of their extreme sensations and refraining from wrongdoings, the children as bright and cheerful as sunflowers in the shower of light from above, and the women as the main constructors of this magical scene – I feel delighted to the bone.”
“On holy days, I visualize schools, each of which operates like a laboratory that tries to solve and reveal all the mysteries of the universe. And in those schools, I see uplifted teachers who elevate their pupils to mysteries that extend beyond the heavens, outstanding teachers whose faces are shining, whose actions are all conducted with deep sincerity, and who are straightforward in their thinking…
On such days, I sometimes feel as if I am hearing the drums of victory from the borders of our civilization! The clatter of victorious armies comes to my ears; armies of those who forsook all their personal pleasures and desires to confront dangers of all kinds so that they could ensure a balance of power among states, and stability in the world…”
This is how the inspirational source of the Hizmet movement perceives Holy Days. It is crucial to experience such a deep and broad thinking and understanding of these special days, since they present a unique opportunity to ease pain, past grievances, find peace and forgiveness and share it to whom we love. I truly hope that people would rethink their perception and celebration of Holy days and feel as delighted and serene as Fethullah Gulen described.