How can man straighten his feelings? How can we attain stability in practicing our religion?

The Details of the Question

We have difficulty in remaining on the true path; we sometimes act very religiously and sometimes in a very relaxed way. When we think we have attained the level we want in terms of the religion, we demolish our sincerity and piety with one deed suddenly. What is your advice regarding the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We are ordered to pray as follows: in the chapter of al-Fatiha: "Show us the straight way”. Descriptions that are close to one another like “the moderate way”, “the straight path”, “the smooth path” and “justice” are used for the true path. The Quran explains this way as “The way of Allah, to whom everything in the skies and on earth belongs”. And this way leads to Paradise.

Believers read the chapter of al-Fatiha in all rak'ahs of prayers and ask the true path and guidance from Allah. Those who complete this path without deviating from it attain Paradise, which is the unique land of happiness. Hell is under the Sirat; he who deviates in any way will fall into that terrifying land of penalty.

When we ask the straight path from our Lord, we want to be on the straight path throughout our life in this world, that is, we want to pass through the Sirat Bridge, which is thinner than hair and sharper than sword, in this world. It is really difficult to be on the straight path with all of our deeds, words and attitudes in this world. However, it is not possible to pass the Sirat Bridge in the hereafter unless we complete this thin and sharp path without going to extremes.

The Sirat is located on Hell. All of our deeds virtually have Paradise in front of them and Hell under them; if we do any deed by deviating from Allah’s line of consent, we will have committed a sin and disobeyed Allah. They are the heralds of Hell in this world.

Being on the straight path leads man to the land of consent. It takes man to the eternal land of real pleasure and happiness. The straight path is the moderate way away from all kinds of extremism. Is it not also the way to be happy in the world? Is it possible for us to attain happiness unless our body is on the straight path with all of its organs and our heart is on the straight path with all of its feelings?

Our eyes should be neither short-sighted nor far-sighted; our blood pressure should be neither high nor low; the electric current of the mechanism that makes our brain work should be neither low nor high; our heart should beat within certain limits; the same thing is valid for our body temperature. 

All of the activities that take place in the seventy trillion cells of the body should be between certain limits so that we can continue our life normally. Otherwise, we will spend our life in hospitals.

We face with a game, a hoax. There is a hidden enemy in us. We instantly feel anything that harms our body and try to find a solution to it but we do not show the same sensitivity toward the spiritual illnesses that wound our heart, deviate our world of feeling and lead our mind to dangerous areas. What is worse, we like them. This hidden enemy, which shows us what is black as white and which drinks poison with pleasure is the soul. When this enemy in us cooperates with devils of humans and jinn, or soul is shaken and moves away from the straight path. However, the real danger for us is not the deterioration of our worldly relaxation but the loss of our eternal bliss. Nevertheless, the soul manages to push it into the background and puts the other to the foreground. 

We pray to our Lord to lead us to the straight path in the face of those ferocious enemies. We know that the way there is through ‘worshipping only Him and asking help only from Him”.

I think about it but I cannot manage to forgive a friend who has wronged me. I want to retaliate and take revenge. This thought leads me to the following reality:

“I cannot silence even one feeling of mine; how can I arrange my whole world of spirit? It can happen only through my Lord’s grant, generosity and guidance. It is not possible for my spirit to be on the straight path with all of its feelings without the grace of my Lord.”

Believing is the biggest guidance for the heart. A believing heart is on the straight path. The heart of a believer turns toward its Lord, who is free of place. He will see a manifestation of His divine names on anything that he looks. He puts himself next to that work of art imaginarily and says, “Praise be to Allah who educates both of us in a nice way.” Then, threes, fours, thousands and hundreds of thousands are added to that two. The heart turn toward the Lord of realms with praise. A heart that reaches that point is on the straight path no matter what it loves.

A heart that is heedless of Allah adds one more curtain of heedlessness in front of it and moves away from its Lord a bit more.  

It is something very important not to lose one’s way among those endless creatures and incidents. This hard test can be passed only through Allah’s guidance. Otherwise, man will be drowned in matter, be lost in causes and be destroyed.

A heart that is saved from the dangers of being a denier or a polytheist continues on the straight path. This is possible through the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah. An example regarding the issue:

Qadar is a part of belief. The madhhab of Jabriyya, which denies the will of the slave, and the madhhab of Mutazila, which holds the view that the slave is the creator of his own deed, moved away from the straight path. The moderate way is to believe that the slave wants and Allah creates the voluntary deeds. That is the straight path.

In the book called İşârât-ül İ’caz of Nur Collection, it is stated that sirat al-mustaqim (the straight path), “is justice, consisting of the blending and summary of wisdom (ikma), chastity (iffa), and courage (shajā‘a)” and the following explanations are given:

Deficiency in the power of animal appetites is apathy and want of appetite, while its excess is profligacy, which is to desire whatever is encountered whether lawful or unlawful. Its middle way is uprightness, which is desiring what is licit and shunning what is illicit."

"Deficiency in the power of savage passion is cowardice, that is, fear of what is not to be feared and delusive imagining. Its excess is uncontrolled anger, which is the progenitor of despotism, domination, and tyranny. And its middle way is courage, which is giving freely of oneself with love and eagerness for the defense of the laws of Islam and the upholding of the Word of divine unity."

"Deficiency in the power of intellect is stupidity, that is, not being aware of anything. Its excess is the gift of the gab, that is, being so cunning as to show what is right as wrong and to show what is wrong as right. And its middle way is wisdom, that is, knowing what is right as right and adhering to it, knowing what is wrong as wrong and avoiding it.”

Thus, man becomes a believer on the straight path when all of the faculties, senses and feelings in his spirit get rid of excesses and deficiencies.

When the heart attains guidance with the heart, it is time for righteous deeds. Man needs to be on the straight path in terms of his deeds so that he will be on the real straight path. His looks should be on the straight path and should not look at haram things. His words should be true and he should tell the truth. He should neither praise others excessively nor criticize them unjustly. He should be honest in trade and he should be away from deceiving, taking interest and profiteering. They are all things that are not liked by the soul. Besides, the straight path is the opposite of the path that the soul shows.

One of the definition of being on the straight path is to follow the moderate way, by keeping away from extremism, in all aspects of ethics.

Generosity is an aspect of high ethics. A person who is neither extravagant nor stingy is regarded to have this aspect of high ethics.

Justice is another aspect of high ethics. Man should not oppress others; nor should he cause his addressee to oppress him by being too weak to protect his rights. Man oppressing himself is another issue. A person who does not use the things entrusted to him by Lord will oppress his soul when he goes to Hell. 

Another aspect of high ethics is reliance on Allah (tawakkul). A person who acts in accordance with causes and who shows consent to the result is regarded to have acted in accordance with tawakkul and is on the straight path.

When a believer prays by saying, “Guide us to the straight path”, he asks his Lord to be on the straight path in all aspects. And he includes all believers in his prayer.

All faces turn toward the Kaaba in prayer; similarly, all spirits need to obey the Quran so that the community will be on the straight path. 

Our Lord, who teaches us the prayer “Guide us to the straight path” in the Quran attracts our attention to the fact that peace in the world is based on the straight path just like happiness in the hereafter. He informs us that those who deviate from that path will be “maghdub” and “dallin”. Maghdub means the people upon whom is  Allah’s wrath. Dallin are the people who have been enslaved by their own faiths. Both of them will face penalty and will be losers. Tafsir scholars say what is meant by maghdub are Jews and what is meant by dallin are Christians. The following fact becomes clear under the light of those explanations:

“Cultures based on neither Judaism nor Christianity are on the straight path; they cannot lead us to peace and happiness.”

Let us turn our faces away from what is wrong and turn toward the truth. Otherwise, we will be punished for our wrong choice in the world by ethical crises, spiritual problems and anarchy; our penalty in the hereafter will be very severe.

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