They are the recipients of the salutation “Glad tidings of paradise be for the strangers.”
The world revealed its ruthless face and offended them.
Their only fault was to be “different.”
They were stoned just like the Messengers who had been told by their people: “Indeed, we consider you a bad omen. If you do not forsake (the values that you possess), we will surely stone you, and there will surely touch you, from us, a grievous wrath.” In return, they said: “Your evil omens are with yourselves. Is it because you were reminded of truth? Rather, you are a transgressing people, and you waste your God-given senses, emotions, and faculties.”
They were inflicted with “a worldly wrath so grievous.”
Just like the magicians who were threatened for not obeying the Pharaoh, they were told: “Verily, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will certainly crucify you on the trunks of the palm trees, and certainly you will come to know which of us is the more severe and the more abiding in chastising.” They replied: “No harm, we would never prefer you to the miracles that we have seen or to our Creator. Do what you want. This life is only for a fleeting time.”
They didn’t bow to cruelty and didn’t ask for forgiveness.
Sharing the destiny of Yusuf who was slandered by Zulaikha, despite their apparent innocence, they were sent to prison to vindicate the slanderer and to gain time for the powerful.
Just like Maryam whose purity was questioned despite the evident miracle she was holding in her arms, they vowed a “fast of silence” in front of impertinent assaulters.
Like Hazrat Hussein, who was besieged at Karbala, they were deprived of any human rights, and not even their children were shown mercy. They were wounded by the arrows of hatred that belonged to their long-term friends.
Just like Habil, who was threatened by his brother with the atrocity of “I will kill you,” they refused to resemble the evil brothers and replied: “If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists. Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.”
Those were people who have never been to a police station, who have never raised a hand to slap a face, who have never hurt an ant on purpose.
They were engulfed with calamities. They offered themselves in the divine presence of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the cauterized wounds of Khabbab Ibn al-Aratt.
Following the path of their Mentor, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, they were treated as criminals in courts, banished in exile as scoundrels from city to city, and were put in solitary confinement for months in their homelands. They were intended to be killed. They were subject to all sorts of insults. There were times when they wished for death over life. They have rewritten the sentence “If my faith had not forbidden me to commit suicide, perhaps Said today would already be rotten under the ground” with their own names.
In the sheds of sorrow, they have shed tears; they migrated like Moses, praying “O My Lord! Surely I am in desperate need of whatever good that You may send down to me.”
They were deserted to the desert of destitute, the loneliness of deprivation. Some couldn’t bear it. Their hearts have been torn out; their cores bled in unbearable sorrow. Surrounded by the coldness of betrayal, they wasted away in front of their loved ones (some were even bereft of this). Some died on the road. They intended to arrive in front of Allah and His Messenger, and so they did. Some were still babies, little children; they have passed away into eternal bliss without knowing why they were deprived of their parents. Some were ill; they were left unattended and were maliciously left to perish. In their eyes were layers of pain, in their voices were knots of resentment. Their names, their whereabouts were given into the hands of terror organizations. They were wasted by a state that has set up traps for its own citizens; they were consumed by the utter darkness of a game of politics that is filled to the throat with sins.
They were beaten to death, their unbeknownst stories only to be witnessed by the marks of torture on their bodies. They were thrown out of windows, and they were said to have committed suicide. They disappeared under custody, and their lifeless bodies hit the shores of other cities. Faced with the burden of what they suffered, they prayed “My Lord, take my life!”, and they entrusted their souls to Allah on the very spot.
Their woes were heard from the seventh heaven; yet, were inaudible from the houses of their relatives and neighbors.
They were ordinary human beings. Through their own sorrows, they experienced the pain of an entire history and humanity. They were innocent, downtrodden, wrongly-convicted, victimized, exiled, desperate, and wounded. With their remnants, they were millions of mothers, fathers, siblings, children, friends, and relatives. They died and did not have a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. Those who attended their funerals were labeled. They were begrudged a burial place. There were even those who were refused funeral services.
‘He’s dead, that sad stranger’
Hearing of it forty days later,
They’ll wash my corpse in cold water
A stranger as forlorn as I.”
They have shown Yunus the Poet that there is more to it.
“The two realms I abandoned” was the rhyme on their tongues. They joined the blessed caravan of the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous.
They expressed their complaint for the feebleness of their strength and their being held in contempt only to Allah.
They have breathed their last as claimants of unpaid rewards, left their loved ones with unpaid rewards due.
(September 8, 2017)