M. Fethullah Gulen
Every moment in life is composed of certain opportunities to obtain new treasures. It is up to every person to take advantage of these opportunities. They can choose to honor their humanity and live in enlightenment, or pass up these opportunities and be left in the dark.
First and foremost, life is one of the biggest graces granted to humanity. To exist itself is a grace. But to exist as a human being - instead of an animal - is an even greater blessing. Of course, whether or not we are granted a life with a human identity is something over which we have no control. However, once we have been blessed with life as a human, we are tasked with the responsibility of making the best use of this blessing. If we do this, we will attain bliss in both worlds, which is another divine gift, one that is tied to our freewill.
Exploring life and all its dimensions within the framework of the Creator's laws and principles is a glorious duty for us all. The human being, with its inborn capabilities and predisposition, is likened to a marble stone that has not yet been sculpted. Just like the sculptor cuts and chisels the marble according to the plan in his or her imagination, human beings, as sculptors of their own souls, can also bring a second existence to life in themselves. According to the plan that has been granted to them, they can engrave the secret within their conscience onto their visage – provided that they are able to read the secrets deep within their conscience; the conscience which is tantamount to the book of the universe and a conscious mirror to the glorious truth. They endeavor to realize exalted ideals, instead of merely running after short and ephemeral achievements. Instead of keeping busy with simple, idle thoughts, they are engulfed in ideas that are deep enough to make their temples throb. Instead of examining arbitrary things, they scrutinize and study serious works that will prepare them for both this world and beyond; works that will mature their souls.
Those unrefined souls, failing to set their hearts on exalted ideals and failing to calibrate themselves towards a higher purpose, are unable to break free from simple thoughts and an atmosphere full of darkness and opposites. They are unable to reach innovations and improvements through the things they've seen, heard, and read. Without the passion of real love for their fellow man, they can't be considered to have really lived.
Human beings have been sent to this world as a vicegerent of the Exalted Creator, to achieve great things and to produce precious works. If they are aware of this obligation, they will penetrate into things and events. They will intervene and, through various analyses and syntheses, produce new works of art. All the while, with each passing moment, they will sense the endless will and power of the Almighty behind their own will; thus, they'll bend over with gratitude.
The gear needed to fulfill such glorious duties has already long been granted to humans: self-discipline, freewill, and excitement to ascend to the fullest potential of their humanity; curiosity and a love of beauty in order to get to know and love the universe and all that it houses; a conscience for integrity and justice; a heart to feel empathy and love for all existence; a mind that allows one to use these graces properly and to be able to distinguish, to some extent, between good and evil; and finally, a pure atmosphere enlightened with the divine light of revelation in order to accomplish these tasks without any set-backs or disturbances.
Amongst all creation, the human being, having been honored with both physical and spiritual blessings, is unique and by far unparalleled. But when humans fail to make use of these divine gifts, it will be inevitable that they fall to the lowest degree in a most wretched way.
From this perspective, the first chapter of life is for attaining both consciousness and favor of His presence, whereas the second stage is a threshing floor in which individuals concentrate on the Almighty's orders with the utmost sensitivity, and function through self-discipline and planning. Yes, by utilizing our willpower, consciousness, and obligations, it will always be possible to enrich our world, to immortalize it with virtue and divine consent, and to transport it to even newer dimensions through the abundant and vibrant flow of time.
Victories of every shape and kind are available to those who know well and act according to the principles this path requires, and who behave reasonably, having comprehended the conditions of the time and who continue their studies without any interference. However, the ignorant, impatient, ill-mannered ones—especially those who do not live according to their current period of time—do not stand a chance.
Those who consider each day a new spring and scatter seeds throughout their environment; who see every coming dawn as an enlightened and abundant doorway to divine treasures; and who hurry to open the doors to these very first divine gifts, will turn their lives into ever-blossoming fields of grain. With their souls alight, they will reach immortality.
Humanity is faced with a choice: to pursue a selfless path of humility and service, or to live selfishly, wasting time on trifles.