Reading Passage: Will you light two candles for me too?

I was talking to an associate professor about belief in Allah and denial. Meanwhile, she said:

“– Do you know, I was an atheist at high school. I was studying in Paris and I did not know anything about my religion. Our philosophy teacher, who was a complete atheist, had influenced all of the class and had rendered all of us faithless.

Especially when I was in the last grade, I made ardent speeches about atheism. However, it is very interesting that after my each speech, I was filled with remorse and I silently said, “Forgive me, forgive me”.

However, I did not say, by any means, who was going to forgive me. I never said, “O Allah, forgive me.” If I had said so, our claims about atheism would have been refuted. Therefore, I could only say, forgive me!”

In hard times, especially when there were exams, most of my friends went to church and lit candles there. Anyway, most of them were Christians in origin. I was nominally a Muslim in origin but as I said I did not know anything about Islam. Therefore, I sometimes went to church with them and lit candles. 

I had a lot of difficulty during the last examinations. During those days, I went to church like my Christian friends, lit candles and prayed for my success.

I had nominally no faith but I could not help going to church and lighting candles. Therefore, I felt embarrassed and ashamed near my friends. They seemed more sincere in their atheism. Seemingly, the most sincere of them was one of my classmates, the daughter of the Hungarian ambassador. When she saw me in front of the church one day, I felt embarrassed but I acted honestly. When she asked what I was doing there, I said I was there to light candles in the church. She said to me:

“– Will you light two candles for me too, please?”

I was astonished, I was shocked. However, she was quite serious. I did what she wanted. However, from then on, I realized that atheists were never sincere and that they always had a secret and covered belief in them. 

– How did you get rid of faithlessness? How did you find Allah?

– As I had told you whenever I made speeches denying Allah, I felt a terrible fear inside me. It was such a great fear that, in the end, I could not help saying, “forgive me”. As I said, “forgive me, forgive me” contritely, I felt somewhat relieved.

Then, I thought like this: If Allah did not exist, what is that terrible and unbearable fear inside me? Where and who does it come from? Why am I afraid? Is it possible to be afraid of something that does not exist? Since one cannot fear something that does not exist, it means that thing exists. Yes, after a while, I said it exists and I got rid of it. Now, I am relieved, thank Allah, I have completed what I missed, I became integrated.”

Vehbi Vakkasoğlu, (Öğretmenin Not Defteri -2 : Teacher’s Notebook)


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