English Articles

In the presence of hundred hungry

TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS ago, as a fifteen-year-old young, I spent my summer holiday reading the Risale-i Nur all through.

I was reading the Risale for the first time.

From my first reading, I received from this Risale the amount as fifteen year-old boy receives. My effort in the direction of receiving what I have not derived is still going on.

During this reading, among the long topics, I remember noting short but concise sentences, like aphorisms.

One of the sentences that I wrote down in a book, was ‘Before the one hundred hungry men it should not be eaten with a full appétit’ that occurs in the Treatise on the Contentment.

Later, I discovered, in the Seeds of Truths, the other sentence marking with the same meaning: “Formerly, there was no hunger among Muslims; there was the desire for ease. Now they are hungry, and they have no wish for pleasure.”

In those early years of my youth, the first sentence has been embroidered into my mind and conscience as a code of life. When the second sentence that I discovered, in time, was established in my mind, thanks to God, the mean conducts such as making the others envious with the bounties given to me would not come closer to my quarter.

Moreover, the resistance to leading bourgeois-like life style and tasting extravagant pleasures would take shape in my inner soul.

Besides, Bediüzzaman, too, mentioning ‘at this time of poverty and hardship, the distress those with consciences feel at the anguish of the hungry and needy’, does not draw attention to that anguish ‘sours’ the pleasures arising from these bounties?

Bediüzzaman observed in 1930; ‘in the regime of preferring the world to the hereafter, even people of Islam chose the worldly life to the hereafter knowingly and willingly’. I saw this very trend in 1980s, 1990s, and two thousands; I saw the consecutive waves of secularization in these decades.

This process, now, is going on.

As the figures show, in this country and in all over the world, while the injustice of incomes are increasing, and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, among the people of religion, too, a group who getting rich by gathering the profits of some certain relationships is emerging.

Let’s make clear, on the other hand, of course, there are some people who, not because of such relationships, earn via lawful ways, and become rich. We can only say for this kind of earnings, congratulations, may Allah bless them.

However, even there, a reality which is as important as the lawfulness of the gain is being neglected.

The reality of as unlawfulness of spending of lawful gain via frugality as well as unlawfulness of the illicit profit is also important.

Increasingly, among the prospering religious families, the sense of competition and a desire for displaying oneself is emerging to both the worldly and to each other.

To be frankly, there are many people of religion who are competing with the worldly, and their brethren of belief with the price of the house they buy, with the brand and model of car that they buy, with the brand and price of the cloth that they put on, with the ‘charisma’ of the restaurant from which they eat.

And, when all these occur, the following realities are being neglected: In this country, many people are living at the edge of hunger, many families make their ends meet hardly, although their all members are working. In the slums of the metropolitan areas and in the increasingly impoverished countryside the scenes of poverty are not decreasing, but increasing. This scenes confirms Bediuzzaman’s “Now, majority of Muslims are hungry” and fit to the “one hundred hungry man” metaphor.

Just as I observed in the centre of Istanbul yesterday, while, in a country there people eat dirty loaves of bread that they take out from waste bins out of force of hunger, a writer who come into prominence with Islamic sensitivity, in the invitation of the prime minister with the same sensitivity, described the twenty sort of meal they have eaten.

Even the programs displaying the dimensions of the misery and the want are being presented with the intervals of ads that promote an extravagant consumption.

A religious inclined paper that features the plight of the poor in its front page, assigns its other page to promotion of a very luxurious restaurant and its recipes.

In sum, ‘at this time of poverty and hardship’, the voices that ‘embitter pleasures’, of ‘the distress those with consciences feel at the anguish of the hungry and needy’ is not heard.

Indeed, why have fallen down into this plight?

Why, how many, among people of religion, do eat with unspoilt pleasure in the presence of a hundred people who are hungry?

Do consciences have dark, hearts become hardened?

Otherwise, does someone think that the reality of ‘plenty of Muslims are hungry’ is not valid anymore?


Whereas, in this time, as a good example of a believingly lifestyle there is a reality of Bediuzzaman.

Admittedly, among people of religion, there are many who do not regard Bediuzzaman ‘as a good example’. Can we, also, ignore the life of Prophet of Mercy Holy Messenger(pbuh), and Age of Bliss’s reminiscence?

Or, can we neglect the Qur’an, with its very clear message, enjoining ‘Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils , as well as instructing ‘Eat and drink, but waste not by excess.’

Yesterday, I was reading Sheikh Galib’s Gulistan (Garden of Roses). These sentences, especially my tenderness and attention:

“The Prophet Joseph (pbuh), in the drought years of Egypt, in order to not forget the hungry, would not eat fully. A divorced woman can know the taste of grapes, not the lord of fruit. Someone who lives easily in the bounty, how can know plight of the hungry?”

Translated by
Muhammet Şeviker


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