The Twenty-Second Letter

بِاسْمِهِ وَاِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ اِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ

[This Letter consists of Two Discussions. The First Discussion summons the people of îmân to brotherhood (ukhuwwah) and love.]

First Discussion

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

اِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ اِخْوَةٌ فَاَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ اَخَوَيْكُمْ ٭ اِدْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ اَحْسَنُ فَاِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَاَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ ٭ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ1

Among the mu’mins, nifâq and strife, partiality, obstinacy and envy, which cause grudge and enmity, are ugly, rejected, detrimental and dhulm with respect to haqiqah, hikmah and  Islam, which is the highest rank of human nature, and with respect to personal, social and ma’nawî life; these are poison for the life of mankind. We shall declare six of the extremely numerous aspects of this haqiqah.

FIRST ASPECT: These are dhulm in the view of haqiqah.

O unjust man nurturing grudge and enmity against a mu’min! Just as if you were on a ship or in a house, there were nine innocent and one cruel criminal with you. You would know how great cruelty he committed who was to try to make the ship sink or burn the house. You would cry out to the degree that will make samâwât hear his cruelty. Even if there were one innocent and nine cruel criminals, no laws of justice would allow that ship to be sunk.

So too, in the being of a mu’min, which is a house of Ar-Rabb and a ship of Allah, while there are not nine, rather twenty innocent attributes such as îmân, Islam and neighbourhood, due to his one cruel attribute that you dislike and is harmful to you, in a ma’nawî manner your having worked or desired for that being’s ma’nawî house being sunk and burned through nurturing grudge and enmity is abominable and brutal cruelty like that.

SECOND ASPECT: These are also dhulm in the view of hikmah.

For it is well-known that enmity and love are opposites, just like nûr and darkness. While having their true meaning, they cannot come together.

If love is truly found in a heart due to the preponderance of its causes, then enmity would be metaphorical; it transforms into the form of pity. Yes, the mu’min loves and should love his brother. But he only feels pity for his badness. He works to reform him not through dictating but rather with kindness. Therefore, through the nass of the hadith: “For more than three days, a mu’min should not vex to another mu’min and cease speaking.”

If the causes of enmity predominate and enmity is truly found in a heart, then the love would be metaphorical; it takes the form of pretence and fawning.

O, unjust man! Now, look how great dhulm is grudge and enmity towards your mu’min brother! Because, if you say that ordinary small stones are more important than the Kâ'ba and greater than Mount Uhud, you will do an ugly stupidity. In the same way, although numerous Islamic attributes like îmân, which has the sacredness of the Kâ'ba, and Islam, which has the grandeur of Mount Uhud, demand love and alliance, preferring some deficiencies, which cause enmity towards the mu’min and are ordinary stones, to îmân and Islam, if you possess the mind you may understand it is injustice, stupidity and a great dhulm to that extent!

Yes, tawhîd in îmân demands the tawhîd of the hearts. And wahdah in belief necessitates wahdah of society. Yes, you cannot deny that by being in the same battalion with a man, you form a friendly bond with him, and since you are under the command of the same commander, you consider a friendly connection. By being in the same country, you feel a brotherly relationship. However, there are connections of wahdah, bonds of the alliance and relations of brotherhood (ukhuwwah) to the numbers of the Names of Allah that îmân shows and makes you know by the nûr and consciousness it gives.

For example, Khâliq, Mâlik, Ma’bûd and Razzâq of both of you is one… one, one… to the thousand... Also, your Prophet is one, your religion is one, your qibla is one… one, one… to the hundred. Then your village is one, your state is one, your country is one… one, one… to the ten. Although all of these “one, one…” necessitate wahdah and tawhîd, concord and alliance, love and brotherhood (ukhuwwah), and although they are the ma’nawî chains that will tie the universe and the globes to each other, if your heart is not dead and your mind is not extinguished, you may understand how great disrespectfulness to those bonds of wahdah, contempt to those causes of love and such dhulm against those relations of brotherhood (ukhuwwah) are preferring insignificant and weak things as a spider's web causing strife and nifâq, grudge and enmity and holding a grudge, nurturing true enmity towards a mu’min!

THIRD ASPECT: According to the mystery وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ اُخْرَى2 which expresses pure justice, while in an intensive form of  3 اِنَّ اْلاِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ , the haqiqah, the Sharî’ah and the hikmah of Islam warn you about how great infinite dhulm it is to hold a grudge and to nurture enmity, which are convicting a mu’min’s innocent attributes due to a cruel attribute present in him, and especially how extremely great dhulm it is to spread his enmity to the relatives of that mu’min by vexing to him due to his one bad attribute; how can you consider yourself to be right and say “I have the right”?

In the view of haqiqah, badnesses, which are the cause of enmity and sharr, are dense like sharr and soil: they cannot spread or reflect on to others. If someone learns from it and commits sharr, that is another matter. Goodnesses, which are the cause of love, are nûr like love; the requirement of them is to spread and reflect on. It is for this reason that the saying "The friend of a friend is a friend" has become a proverb. Also, it is for this reason that "Many eyes are loved on account of one eye" is a common saying.

So O unjust man! While haqiqah sees it in this way, if you are a person who sees the haqiqah, you would understand how contrary to haqiqah it is to nurture enmity for the lovable and innocent brother and relatives of a man you do not like.

FOURTH ASPECT: These are also dhulm from the point of view of personal life. Listen to some Principles as the base of this Fourth Aspect.

First Principle: When you know your way and thoughts to be haqq, you have the right to say, "My way is haqq or better." But you do not have the right to say, "Haqq is only my way." According to the mystery of 4 وَعَيْنُ الرِّضَا عَنْ كُلِّ عَيْبٍ كَلِيلَةٌ وَلكِنَّ عَيْنَ السُّخْطِ تُبْدِى الْمَسَاوِيَا , your unjust view and fallen thought cannot be a judge and cannot convict the way of another as being bâtil.

Second Principle: It is obligatory for you that all you say should be haqq, but you do not have the right to say every haqq. Everything you say should be true but it is not right to say every truth. For a man whose intention lacks ikhlas like you sometimes excites the veins with his advice; it affects reversely.

Third Principle: If you wish to nurture enmity, nurture it towards the enmity in your heart; work to remove it. Nurture enmity towards your nafs al-ammarah and its desires which harm you most; work to reform them. Do not nurture enmity towards mu’mins for the sake of that detrimental nafs. If you wish to nurture enmity, there are numerous kâfirs and zindiqs; nurture enmity towards them. Yes, just as the attribute of love deserves to be loved, so too, the trait of enmity itself deserves enmity before everything. If you wish to defeat your enemy, respond to his badness with good. For if you respond with badness, the hostility will increase. Even if he will be outwardly defeated, he will harbour a grudge in his heart and preserve the enmity. If you respond with goodness, he will regret it and become your friend. According to the rule: 5 اِذَا اَنْتَ اَكْرَمْتَ الْكَرِيمَ مَلَكْتَهُ وَ اِنْ اَنْتَ اَكْرَمْتَ اللَّئِيمَ تَمَرَّدًا , the necessary result of being a mu’min is being noble. He will be subjected to you by your noble treatment. Even if he is apparently ignoble, he is noble with respect to îmân. Yes, it often happens that if you tell a bad man, "You are good, you are good," he will become good; and if you tell a good man, "You are bad, you are bad," he will become bad. Therefore, listen to the sacred principles of the Qur'an like these, وَاِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا ٭ وَاِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَاِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ6 , for happiness and salâmât are in them:

Fourth Principle: The people of grudge and enmity perpetrate dhulm and transgress against both their nafs, their mu’min brother and the rahmah of Allah. For they condemn their nafs to excruciating torment with grudge and enmity. He makes his nafs suffer the torment arising from the ni’mahs his enemy receives and suffer the pain arising from fear of him; he perpetrates dhulm to his nafs. If the enmity arises from envy, it is utterly torment. For envy firstly crushes, destroys and burns the envier. Its harm for the one envied is either little or nonexistent.

The cure for envy: May the envious man think the consequence of the things he envies. So that he may understand that the worldly beauty, strength, rank and wealth possessed by his rival are transient and temporary. Their benefit is little, and their difficulty and trouble are great. If they are the virtues belonging to the âkhirah, essentially, there cannot be envy towards them. If one harbours envy for them, he is either himself a hypocrite, he wants to destroy the goods of the âkhirah in the world or he supposes the one who is envied to be a hypocrite; he does injustice and perpetrates a dhulm.

Being pleased with the calamities that struck him and being grieved by the ni’mahs he receives, he vexes the kindness shown towards him by qadar and rahmah of Allah. It is as if he criticizes qadar and objects to the rahmah. One who criticizes qadar hits his head on an anvil and breaks it. One who objects to rahmah will be deprived of it.

I wonder which justice and which conscience would accept to respond with a grudge and enmity for one year to a thing does not worth an enmity for a day? Whereas attributing the harm that came to you from your brother to him altogether, you cannot convict him. Because, firstly, qadar has a share within it. Deducting that share of qadar and qadhâ7 , it is necessary to respond to it with contentment and acceptance.

Secondly, dividing also the share of the nafs and shaytan, to not harbour enmity to that man, but rather it is to pity to him for having been defeated by his nafs, and it is to await his repentance.

Thirdly, see the deficiency in your own nafs that you do not see or do not wish to see; give a share to that too. Then, for the small share remaining, if you respond with forgiveness, excusing and magnanimity, which will defeat your enemy swiftly and safely, you will be saved from dhulm and harm. Or else, like a drunken and mad Jew jeweller, who buys fragments of glass and ice with the price of diamonds, responding transient, perishable, temporary and insignificant matters of this world with intense ambition, a permanent grudge and perpetual enmity, as if you were going to remain in the world together eternally, is — with the intensive wording — extreme dhulm or drunkenness and a sort of lunacy.

Thus, do not let enmity and the thought of revenge, which are detrimental to personal life to such extent, — if you love yourself — enter into your heart. If it has entered into your heart, do not obey it. Look and listen to Hâfidh Shîrazî who sees the haqq:

دُنْيَا نَه مَتَاعِيسْتِى كِه اَرْزَدْ بَنِزَاعِى

That is "The world is not a possession worth a dispute." Because, since it is transient and temporary, it is valueless. If the huge world is such, you may understand how insignificant the minor affairs of the world are! He also said:

آسَايِشِ دُو گِيتِى تَفْسِيرِ اِينْ دُو حَرْفَسْتْ

بَادُوسِتَانْ مُرُوَّتْ بَادُشْمَنَانْ مُدَارَا

That is "Two letters expound the ease and salâmât of both worlds: Having relations with friends generously, treating your enemies peaceably."

If you say: "It is beyond my will; there is enmity within my fitrah. They also injured my vein; I am not able to abandon."

The Answer: If the sign of bad character and evil manner is not displayed, and if ghiybah and its consequences are not practised, and if you understand your fault, it will not harm you. Since it is beyond your will and you are not able to abandon it, knowing your fault and understanding that you are wrong in that habit, which are a ma’nawî repentance, a hidden tawbah and concealed istighfâr of yours, will save you from its sharr. We essentially have written this Discussion of this Letter so that it may provide such ma’nawî istighfâr; he may not know the injustice to be haqq; he may not expose his enemy possessing haqq with being wrong.

An event worthy of attention: I once saw, as a result of this malicious partiality, a pious man among the people of ‘ilm vilified a sâlih ‘âlim, whose political opinions were opposed to his, to a degree to pronounce him to be a kâfir. And he respectfully praised a munâfiq who shared his own opinions. Thus, I was appalled at these evil results of politics. I said: "اَعُوذُ بِاللّٰه مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَ السِّيَاسَةِ "8 and since that time I withdrew from the life of politics.

FIFTH ASPECT: It declares that obstinacy and partiality are extremely detrimental with respect to social life.

If it is said: In the hadith, it is said اِخْتِلاَفُ اُمَّتِى رَحْمَةٌ9 . As for the disagreement, it requires partiality. Also, the sickness of partiality saves the oppressed lower class from the evil of the oppressor upper class. For if the upper class of a town or village unite, they will crush the oppressed common people. If there is partiality, the oppressed may seek refuge with one side and save themselves. It is also from the collision of thoughts and the difference of opinions haqiqah appears completely."

The Answer: To the first question, we say: As for the disagreement in the Hadith, it is the positive disagreement. That is, each strives to repair and give currency to his own way, does not work to destroy and annul that of the other, but rather to complement and reform it. As for the negative disagreement, which is to work to destroy each other maliciously with enmity, it is rejected by the Hadith. For, those who throttle each other cannot act positively.

To the second question, we say: If partiality is in the name of haqq, it can be a refuge for the right. But malicious partiality on account of nafs like the present-day is a refuge for the unjust; it forms a point of support for them. For if the shaytan comes to a malicious partial man and helps to his ideas and supports him, that man will pray for Allah's rahmah on that shaytan. If a man like malâikah comes to the opposing side, he will do such an injustice that he will — hashâ — curse him.

To the third question, we say: As for the collision of thoughts, which is in the name of haqq and on account of haqiqah, while being united in aim and principles, it disagrees only in the means. Manifesting all aspects of the haqiqah, it serves the haqq and haqiqah. The flashes of haqiqah do not emerge from the partially and maliciously boastfulness on account of nafs al-ammarah, which became a pharaoh, and from the collision of thoughts in a manner of seeking fame but rather the fire of fitnah emerges. While it is necessary to unite in aim, there is not to be found a point of convergence of the thoughts of such people even on the globe of the earth. Since it is not in the name of haqq, it continues on ifrât infinitely and causes divisions not capable of being cured. The present state of the world testifies to this.

In Short: If the lofty principles, اَلْحُبُّ لِلّٰهِ ٭ وَالْبُغْضُ فِى اللّٰهِ ٭ وَالْحُكْمُ لِلّٰهِ10  are not to be the principles for the actions, nifâq and strife find the opportunity to spread. If one does not say, 11 ٭ وَالْبُغْضُ فِى اللّٰهِ ٭ وَالْحُكْمُ لِلّٰهِ and if he disregards those principles, he will do dhulm while wanting justice.

A warning event: One time, Imam 'Ali Radhiyallahu ‘anh threw a kâfir to the ground. As he drew his sword to kill him, the kâfir spat at him. He released the kâfir and did not kill him. The kâfir said: "Why did you not kill me?" He said: "I was going to kill you for the sake of Allah. But you spat at me; I became angered. My ikhlas was harmed since the share of my nafs interfered. Therefore I did not kill you." The kâfir told him: "I wanted to make you furious in order to cause you to kill me swiftly. Since your religion is pure and sincere to this extent, such religion is haqq."

An occurrence worthy of note: One time, since a judge showed signs of anger while cutting off the hand of a thief, the just ruler, who noticed him, dismissed him from that duty. For if he had cut in the name of the Sharî'ah, on account of the law of Allah, his nafs would have felt pity for him. And he would have cut in a manner that his heart will not anger and also will not mercy. That means, since he gave a share to his nafs from that judgement, he did not do his work with justice.

A sorrowful social state and an appalling disease of the life of society, which will cause the heart of Islam to weep: Even though the wildest tribes appreciate and practice the social benefit of forgetting and abandoning internal enmities when external enemies appear and attack, what has happened to those who claim to serve the Islamic community, while there are numberless enemies who take positions to attack, one after the other, not forgetting their minor enmities, they prepare the ground for the enemies' attacks? Such a state is a decline and savagery. It is treachery against the social life of Islam.

A story of warning: Among the Bedouin tribes, there were two tribes of nomads of the Hasanan tribe hostile to each other. Although they killed more than maybe fifty people on each side, when another tribe of nomads such as the Sibkan or Haydaran came out against them, forgetting their former enmity, those two hostile groups, shoulder to shoulder, were not recalling their internal enmity until they repelled that external tribe.

Thus O, Mu’mins! Do you know how many tribes of enemies have taken a transgressing position against the tribe of the people of îmân? There are more than a hundred circles like circles within each other.

While it is necessary to take a defensive position by cooperating and supporting each other; do maliciously partiality and hostile obstinacy, which is facilitating their attack and opening the doors in order to let them enter into the sacred sphere of Islam, at all befit to the people of îmân?

Those enemy circles, from the people of dhalâlah and ilhad to the world of people of kufr and to the dangers and calamities of the world, there are maybe seventy sorts of enemies who have taken harmful positions against you within each other and look on you with anger and greed one after the other. Your powerful weapon, shield and castle against all of them is the brotherhood (ukhuwwah) of Islam. Know how contrary to conscience and the benefits of Islam it is to shake that castle of Islam by minor enmities and pretexts; revive!

According to the noble Hadith, by exploiting the greed and strife of mankind and Muslims, detrimental and terrible individuals of the âkhirzaman like Sufyan and the Dajjal, who will lead nifâq and zandaqa, will cause turmoil and upheavals in mankind and enslave the vast world of Islam with small power.

O people of îmân! If you do not wish to be enslaved in disgrace, come to your senses! Enter and entrench yourself in the sacred castle of 12 اِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ اِخْوَةٌ against those dhâlims who exploit your disagreement! Otherwise, you can neither protect your lives nor defend your rights. It is well-known that while two heroes are fighting with each other, a child can beat both of them. If two mountains are in balance on a scale facing each other, a small stone can move them by upsetting their balance; it causes one to rise and the other to fall.

So O people of îmân! Your strength decreases to nothing due to your inordinate desires and hostile partiality; you can be defeated by a minor power. If you are concerned about your social life, make the lofty principle of 13 اَلْمُؤْمِنُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ كَالْبُنْيَانِ الْمَرْصُوصِ يَشُدُّ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضًا the principle of life, be saved from wretchedness in this world and from being far from Allah's grace in the âkhirah!

SIXTH ASPECT: Ma’nawî life and health of ‘ubûdiyyah are shaken by enmity and obstinacy. Because ikhlas, the means of salvation and safety, is destroyed. For partial obstinate wishes to be superior over his enemy in his deeds of khayr. He is unable to achieve properly sincere deeds for the sake of Allah. He also prefers the one who takes his side in his judgement and dealings; he is unable to do justice. Thus ikhlas and justice, the fundamentals of all acts and deeds of khayr, are lost due to enmity and hostility.

This Sixth Aspect is so long, but we cut it short since this discussion had a capacity for a brief explanation.

* * *

1 [The believers are brothers to one another, therefore, make reconciliation between your brothers* Repel other's evil deeds with your good deeds. You will see that he with whom you had enmity, will become your close friend.* Who control their anger and forgive other people for Allah loves such charitable people (muhsinîn)…]

2 (No soul burdened with sin will bear the burden of another.)

3 (In fact, man is dhâlim, ungrateful.)

4 (The eye of contentment is blind to faults; it is the eye of discontentment shows all ugliness.)

5 (If you treat the noble as noble, you will gain him, and if you treat the ignoble as noble, he will revolt.)

6 (When they come across falsehood, they pass ˹it˺ by with dignity.* But if you pardon, overlook and forgive their faults, then know that Allah is Ghafûr, Rahîm.)

7 (Allah's decree, by which all events occur; the accomplishment of Allah’s decree which is in Qadar)

8 (I seek refuge with Allah from shaytan and politics.)

9 (Disagreement among my ummah is rahmah.)

10 (Love for the sake of Allah* Bear hate for the sake of Allah* …judgment belongs to Allah ˹alone˺…)

11 (Bear hate for the sake of Allah* …judgment belongs to Allah ˹alone˺...)

12 (The believers are brothers to one another.)

13 (A mu’min to another mu’min is the bricks of a building, enforcing each other.)

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