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Men and women are creatures with faults as well as exceptional qualities. No other living creature carries such inborn


By Fethullah Gülen

Muslim thinker

opposites. Only humanity has the qualities that allow its individuals to fly in the firmaments of Heaven or, by leaving the right path, fall into the bottom of the deepest pits. Looking for any relation between these frightening ascents and descents is meaningless, for they are the results of the process of cause and effect occurring on very different levels in each individual.

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Human beings are likely to lean toward certain circumstances in life. Sometimes individuals are like fields of crops that bend with the wind; at other times they are like large trees that have fallen over, despite their outward dignity and strength. Individuals give the angels many reasons for envying them; unfortunately, they also do things that sometimes cause even the devils to feel shame. Although not desired, human nature makes sin inevitable. Given this, forgiveness is everything.

However beneficial it is for us to ask for and expect forgiveness, to moan and groan for what has escaped us, forgiving is a much greater attribute and virtue. Forgiveness cannot be separated from virtue, just as virtue cannot be separated from forgiveness.

There is a very common, yet very profound, saying: "Errors from the small, forgiveness from the great." How well this is said! Being forgiven means being repaired, returning to an essence, and finding oneself again. 

All of creation was introduced to forgiveness through humanity. Just as God showed His attribute of Forgiveness through us, He put the beauty of forgiving into our hearts. While Adam and Eve dealt a blow to their human essence through falling, which was somehow a requirement of their human nature, it was forgiveness that came from the Heavens in response to the remorse they felt in their consciences and pleadings.

For centuries, we have preserved this Divine gift received through the first couple as a hope and a consolation. Whenever we sin, we can mount on the magic transport of seeking forgiveness and surmount the shame and despair caused by sin. We attain to Infinite Mercy and show our generosity by covering our eyes to the sins of others.

Those who devote themselves to seeking forgiveness cannot help but think of forgiving others.
Thanks to this hope of forgiveness, we can rise above the dark clouds invading our horizon and see light in this world. Those fortunate ones who are aware of the uplifting wings of forgiveness live amidst melodies that gladden their spirits.

Those who devote themselves to seeking forgiveness cannot help but think of forgiving others. Just as we like to be forgiven, we also like to forgive. How can we not forgive when we know that salvation from the fire of suffering in our inner worlds, caused by our own mistakes, is possible only by drinking from the river of forgiveness? And even more so, if we know that the road to being forgiven passes through forgiving?

Fethullah Gulen is an influential Turkish Muslim intellectual who inspired a series of social activities, including a transnational education and business network, interfaith dialogue forums, and multicultural encounters.


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