Sickness is Not Punishment From God

Only a single connotation of the certain Quranic terms is used in the daily language and these terms are only known with this aspect. Foremost among them, used in the Turkish language, is the term ceza. In fact, the meaning of ceza is both an award and a punishment that is to say, reciprocity.

The words fitne (sedition), bela (trouble), beliyye (calamity), musibet (tribulation) are always used with negative connotations in Turkish. However, for example, musibet actually means hitting the mark perfectly. In addition, the terms fitne and bela mean to be tested/trialed. Consider a teacher who “tests” their students. Once the test is completed and the scores are posted, there will be both high-scoring and low-scoring students. The test is an opportunity for the students to have them recognize their level of learning. They acknowledge the points they were not aware of previously. How beautiful! A prevalent example is the hurdle race. Every obstacle is a bela (trouble). However, these obstacles are not to harm or trap the horse but to develop its agility.

All of them are means for training or education. They are opportunities extended to human beings for their learning. Each and every one of them provides opportunity for the human being to enhance their potentialities. They are all beautiful, beneficial, and opportunity for us to get to know the reality of our creation. It is imperative to make use of them all.

Only bad teachers test the students in order to punish them or since they do not know the level of learning at which the students are, they would test the students to find out. Good teachers give tests to their students which comprise puzzled sections of the topic in order to teach them the points to witch they are supposed to pay attention. At the end of this test, students recognize the points which they do not fully comprehend. Speculating that the Creator of the human being and the whole universe wants to learn about the level of understanding of the human being or thinking that the Creator takes revenge from the human beings by torturing them contradicts the witnessing of the universe and the feelings entrusted to the human being.

To my understanding, if we interpret the Quranic verse that translates as “My Mercy is extended to all things.” in a way that includes the terms like fitne, bela, musibet etc., we will understand that there is mercy associated with these instances of creation. Just as there is Mercy in the creation of the Hell as well. I would not choose to go to the Hell; however, there is Mercy in the creation of it. I do not wish to find myself in agony and unpleasant circumstances but there is Mercy for me in the very creation of these situations.

I do not prefer to find out that the fruit I bought turns out to be rotten; however, there is Mercy in the creation of the fruit’s ability to decay. I should not object to this capability.

As someone who experiences how unbearable it is not to trust Him and how excruciating it is to disbelieve in God, I do not choose the disbelief but how beautiful it is the creation of the painful disbelief as an option. This is the very reason why I flee from it and do not desire it.

In conclusion, agonies and tribulations in no way can be understood as “punishment”. The creation of the illnesses is very beautiful. And it is absolutely the right choice not to desire to become sick.

Sickness is not desired but the creation of sickness is a mercy for me which originates from the Absolute Merciful.

Dr. Ali Mermer

The Forgotten Mosque (A vision Muslims are missing…)

The Call To Prayer wakes me up from my trance-like slumber. I enter the Masjid, and it seems that I’ve entered another world; a refuge, a safe and comforting place. I was a fish out of water, now I’m back in the ocean.

There are no more distractions and excuses, I leave my phone at home. For the phone call I’m about to make here is on another level.


I hear no talk of politics or of general gossip from the animalistic world of human nature. Instead, I hear the gentle whisperings of prayer and supplication – from people standing, sitting, and lying down. I begin a short prayer, to mark my entering and send salutations to the angels residing within.


Strands of light beam through the windows and gloriously shimmer on the carpets and walls; yet the place is spared from the oppressive saturation of artificial light or complete exposure to the sun. There is a graceful interplay of light-ray and shadow; as if I was couched in a sunlit wooded glade. The arch-ways still; remind me of those bowing and prostrating trees.


There are many people in here, but it appears so silent and so calming. This is not something I experienced before. The Imam enters, dressed in a dazzling white robe. An elderly but strongly dignified man with presence; his beard is short and white and his face and body language full of grace. He begins to lead the congregation, and we line-up and pray.


After the prayer the Imam makes vocal supplications in front of the congregation and we also each pray individually in our own chosen part of the mosque. Most of the people then depart – the women gathered at the back leave out of one door, and the men another. Yet, a few remain and sit in silent meditation with their rosary beads or with a book in their hands reading. As I sit here among the die-hards, I feel like I don’t want to leave. Yet, so many of us rush away so quickly after the obligatory prayers…….The Imam then opens a book and begins to read for the few who remain.


He reads the following passage from the Risale-i Nur:-


“One grain of truth wipes out a million lies. One grain of reality razes a castle of dreams. Honesty is a grand principle, a lustrous jewel.

If for the truth to be uttered it is damaging, it resigns its place to silence; lies have no place, even if they have some use.

Everything you say should be true, all your pronouncements right, but you have no right to say all that is true.

One should be well aware of this, and take as one’s principle: ‘Take what is clear and untroubled, leave what is turbid and distressing.’

See the good side of things; you will have good thoughts. Know things to be good and think of them as good; you will find the pleasure in life.

In life, hope and thinking favourably of things are life itself. While to think the worst is despair, the destroyer of happiness and slayer of life.”

– The Gleams.





This mosque, this masjid of my dream – it is not a place where voices are raised and passioned flared. The world is left at its door. This is a place of sobrierty, and sober reflection. Sober does not mean solemn, but it means that the state of joy in the heart is private and quiescent. It is not the place of singing and dancing, for that would disturb the silent orchestra that already reverberates around these walls and echoes in the stilled heart.


I feel….safe here. Is this just a building, does the beauty of its internal decorations solely give it such a power? Indeed, not. They are a beautiful part of the experience but what gives this masjid it’s power is the constant worship that is done inside it each day. Angels join each act of praise and their presence accumulates. The heart can feel their presence if it listens carefully enough.


In my dream, I attended Friday Prayers here – and each time the only concern of the Imam was whether we were maintaining our love for what is Higher or if we had slipped into loving a rival. In addition, every evening the Imam guided the community to enter the mosque and bring things that they wished to give away for free. Everybody was encouraged to bring something; some brought things that they made and others; things that they bought but no longer wished to own. At this time, the refuge of the mosque became even stronger. From the competitive slave-market of the world there was now a physical gift-economy in this place as well as an already existing spiritual gift-economy.



What civilization can truly survive, if it does not make beauty, unity, and community its goal? To worship is constant striving against the “self” which desires the material world and its constant jostling. This material world and its ideology either brings great suffering or great gluttony and laziness. If enough time was spent in the mosque; then inevitably mankind would be forced down the path of frugality. Complacency and laziness would be impossible because a constant balance would be sought between doing enough work to physically survive and doing enough prayer and supplication to spiritually survive. For the latter of course, there is never really enough. The more, the better – and the ego constantly fights it. We want to compete and to feel power; but yet we too often forget the One who enables us to achieve a single minor act.


This masjid may have been a dream, but like all myths it has a reality and a truth and somewhere it may even perhaps exist. Or perhaps not….


By Hossein Turner

Diversity in Creation: A Sign (ayah)

“And it is God who has created all animals out of water; and [He has willed that] among them are such as crawl on their bellies, and such as walk on two legs, and such as walk on four. God creates what He will. God has the power to will anything.” Quran, 24:45

We see an astonishing regularity and order in the universe. This shows that there is an infinitely Wise, Knowing and Powerful Creator.


We also see incredible diversity and variety in the universe. There are innumerable types of species. Moreover, within each species there is diversity: no two leaves are identical, each person is unique, and there is always an unpredictable aspect to events. This shows that the Creator is an agent with infinite free choice and will. God’s will is under no restriction whatsoever.

And, this is good news! If our Sustainer (Rabb) can will anything, then we can turn to our Rabb for healing and support in every situation!


~Quran translation adapted from M. Asad.

~Explanation adapted from Said Nursi, Flashes & Words.

DUA for a Healthier You

When you pray for a new outlook to life and a brand new, healthy, mindful lifestyle, the One, who is the owner of the “Be and it is!” command, is there to help you to better yourself to be the perfect human being you are praying to be.

In this new stage, and always, your greatest ally, your most powerful tool, and your dearest friend is PRAYER!

Let’s take a look now at what prayer is and how you can transform the way you see prayer so that your prayers become like laser-point, achieving the intended goal…. The goal is to transform yourself to become like the perfect human beings, the prophets, in order to reach ultimate peace and happiness (therefore, please your Creator too).

“Call upon your Lord (O humankind) with humility and in the secrecy of your hearts…” (Qur’an, 7: 55).

“Remember and mention your Lord within yourself (in the depths of your heart), most humbly and in awe, not loud of voice, at morning and evening. And do not be among the neglectful” (Qur’an, 7: 205).

What is a prayer? It is supplication; dialogue between a person and the Diving Being; demonstration of one’s reliance; communication through which we gain confidence and clarity in our being and our Creator. But first and foremost, it is an act of submission. When we pray, we acknowledge that there is a caring Divine Being who has power and control and we need Him.

When we say prayer, the first thing that comes to our mind is a person supplicating to God through words. However, when we take a holistic perspective on prayer, we realize that everything in creation is in a state of prayer, in one form or another. For instance, a baby, as he is, is in a state of prayer. His existence is a sort of prayer, admitting that he cannot do anything and is asking others to do things for him. We can generalize this example to all beings. Nothing can sustain its existence on its own. So everything is, subconsciously or consciously, asking the One to sustain their existence. In this sense, the innate disposition of everything is prayer; recognizing and accepting of their reality, and confessing their imperfection and need. When we are trying to become healthier and working out, we are praying for the results.

If prayer is not seen in this way, it becomes an expectation for magic. We pray to have a car and wait to see a car fall out of thin air. The conventional understanding of prayer is that when you lose your job, you ask for a job. To the contrary, we are to pray consciously as human beings using our freewill. The real prayer is recognizing who we are, what the universe is, whom we are addressing in our prayers.

Let’s take a closer look at the Opening Chapter (Fatiha): …Lord of all the worlds (rabbul alameen) the Compassionate the Merciful; we seek help from you and we take refuge in you… This statement carries the gist of prayer. It is not asking for anything directly. We are communicating with the Creator, and telling Him “Lord of all the worlds.” Since He already knows what He is, why do we say these? In order to know whom we are communicating with, we state these qualities for ourselves, not for Him. Therefore, stating who the addressee is and knowing who we are is real supplication. Thus, the aim of prayer is to remind ourselves of our reality – that we are a created being who is infinitely dependent on our Creator who is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Wise. When a rain drop is falling, it has no choice but to obey the laws of God (i.e. gravity). When we eat or walk, it is as if we are praying to God to be able to eat and walk by obeying His laws (i.e. eating, digestion, having to sleep, having to blink, etc.). Seen this way, we could categorize prayer into three groups:

  1. Praying through latent ability; e.g. seeds and grains.
  2. Praying through innate need; e.g. causes seeking effects.
  3. Prayers of conscious beings:
  4. By action; e.g. sowing a seed.
  5. By word.

First, everything prays to its Creator with its latent ability, e.g. seeds and grains: The gathering together of causes is a prayer for the creation of the effect. The apple seed is in prayer to become an apple tree. Its innate/latent ability shows that it wants to be an apple tree; it is made to be an apple tree. How do we understand that they are praying? Just by looking at the seed we see that they do not have any power, knowledge, or capacity to grow the apple tree. Its prayer is answered when the Creator gives it the apple tree. From one aspect, they demonstrate that they cannot realize their potentials on their own. What we see in the universe is but a prayer to God.

Second, all living creatures pray to God through their innate need to give them the things they need and desire, which are beyond their power and will: Those things that are causes seek the effects from God. Every plant, as it demonstrates its need, is praying to give its final intended fruit. Our ears need to hear, our stomachs need food. This need is a prayer in itself. If we disassociate this need from our relation/communication with our Creator, then this need does not become a form of prayer. If we think we are self-sufficient, we are cutting off our praying relationship with our Creator. But apart from human beings, all creatures by default admit their dependency on God. Through their need they pray: “I cannot provide it; some other source must provide it for me.” When we are supplicating with our tongue, all we are doing is reaffirming/joining the universal supplication of all creatures, as well as body, senses, intellect, etc.

The first two types of prayer, through latent ability and innate need, are always answered. For instance, we are hungry and the food is already created; we need to walk and we are given the ability to walk, etc. However, as conscious beings, we are responsible for using our conscious and freewill to do the third type of prayer.

Third, the prayer of conscious beings arising from need: Prayer is the most sacred action of human beings. What we are actually doing is joining creation and following the example of their prayer. As conscious beings, we pray through action and through words.

The prayer of conscious beings through action: For example, plowing is a prayer by action. It is not seeking the sustenance from the earth. Rather, the earth is a door to a treasury of mercy, and the plow knocks on the earth: the door to Divine Mercy. Whether or not the farmer accepts that it is not earth but God who gives the products, this prayer is still answered. So if he thinks it is coming from nature, this conscious choice is wrong, but the action of plowing is a type of prayer that is rewarded. It is in the laws of creation that if we sow a seed, it sprouts. We do not have to be a believer for the seed to sprout. So this type of prayer is also always accepted.

Human beings also make prayers at times of desperate need, or completely conformable with innate need, or made with the tongue of a sincere heart. This prayer is virtually always acceptable. The greater part of human progress and most scientific discoveries are the result of this sort of prayer.

And finally, the prayer of conscious beings through words: After we sow the seed (prayer by action), we pray to God with words to create tomatoes for us; after we study hard (prayer by action), we ask God to get a good grade; after we go to the doctor and take our medication (prayer by action), we ask God to heal us; after we exert all effort to behave kindly towards our friend (by action), we ask God to amend our relationship, etc.

Prayer is the spirit of worship and the result of sincere belief. Through prayer, the worshipper proclaims his or her own impotence and poverty. Praying is an acknowledgment that there is a Divine Being who rules the whole universe, and that He hears all the voices of all beings, including ours.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Had not God wanted to give, He would not have given wanting.” God responds to our prayers according to His wisdom: e.g. the doctor listens to the sick person’s sighs and moans; he hears and responds to them. The sweetest result of prayer is this that the person who offers it knows there is someone who takes pity on him and whose hand of power reaches everything. He is not alone in this great hostel of the world. The benefits of prayer also include eternal life. If the worldly aims are not obtained, it may not be said, “The prayer was not accepted.” It should rather be said, “The time of the prayer has still not ended.” As prayer strengthens the inclination to do good, so repentance and the seeking of forgiveness cut the inclination to do evil, putting an end to its transgressions.

God says in the Qur’an, “… Pray to me and I will answer you…” (Qur’an, 40: 60). Yet sometimes we think our prayers are not answered. Prayers are answered in three forms: a) what we asked for is granted as is, b) something that is better than what we asked for is granted, c) the response is deferred to the afterlife. When we go to the doctor and ask for medicine A, the doctor would give it to us if it is what we need. Or he would give us medicine B saying that either medicine A would actually make our illness worse or simply that medicine B would help us heal better and faster. Alternatively, the doctor may say, the best cure for your case is to wait it out… This analogy helps us to contemplate on our prayers and God’s response to our prayers. Sometimes we ask for things, but we do not possess knowledge of the future. What we are asking for may in fact be terrible for us. So it is wise to always say: “God I am asking for such and such but you know best, please give it to me if it is khayr/good for me…”

Let’s keep in mind…

  • God is making us want to be healthier.
  • God, the Most-Powerful, is promising to answer our prayer!
  • We do get the answer to our prayer immediately: the peace we feel when we connect to the Source.

Compasión Libre de Prejuicios

Nuestro ego está programado para hacernos sentir y pensar como si existiéramos independientes de un origen, por ejemplo como si fuéramos nuestro propio Señor. Inevitablemente, esta visión arrogante y egocéntrica nos hace mirar a los demás por encima del hombro y juzgarles a diestro y siniestro…No podemos deshacernos de esta vanidad diciéndonos “debo ser humilde porque ser humilde es bueno”. El cambio exterior solo puede llegar a través de una transformación interior. Reconocer nuestra realidad – siervos (abd) dependientes al 100% del Creador para crear, alimentarnos y adornarnos – nos hace externa e internamente humildes. Tener una perspectiva egocéntrica frente a una perspectiva centrada en Dios determina cómo miramos a los demás e interactuamos con ellos. Cuando vemos un defecto o error en alguien, ¿Cómo respondemos? ¿Nos apiadamos de ellos desde nuestros supuestos sublimes estados de ser? ¿Les juzgamos junto al resto de infractores? ¿O simplemente reconocemos que tienen fallos igual que nosotros? Ellos también cometen errores constantemente como nosotros… ¿y sale de nuestros labios un sentimiento de compasión rezando a Dios para que les ayude también igual que a nosotros? ¿Cuál es la respuesta correcta cuando vemos que alguien se equivoca?

Podemos contestar estas preguntas examinando esta analogía. Cuando ves a una persona que tose de forma severa, ¿qué haces para ayudarle?

  1. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona porque está tosiendo?
  2. ¿Cubres su boca con tu mano?
  3. ¿Le pides que no tosa?
  4. ¿Le das algún medicamento para que deje de toser?
  5. ¿Crees que toser es bueno porque es un síntoma que nos deja ver que algo va mal en el cuerpo?
  6. ¿Llevas a esa persona al médico para que le diagnostiquen la causa de este síntoma?

Deberíamos alegrarnos de que el síntoma esté ahí y actuemos inmediatamente llevando a esa persona a un especialista. Cuando te enteras de que una persona tiene bronquitis, ¿qué haces?

  1. ¿Acabas con la vida de la persona?
  2. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona?
  3. ¿Le abres el pecho, le quitas los pulmones y los tiras?
  4. ¿Le dices a esa persona que hay una medicina para esa enfermedad y le das esperanza?
  5. ¿Empiezas el tratamiento dándole toda la medicina de una vez?
  6. ¿Le das la medicina tal y como está prescrita por el especialista?

La respuesta debería ser obvia: decirle a la persona que no se preocupe y que solo tiene que seguir las instrucciones. Ahora vamos a aplicarlo a otro contexto. Crees que el mensaje del Corán es cierto. Ves a una persona beber alcohol. ¿Qué haces para ayudar a esta persona?

  1. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona porque está bebiendo alcohol?
  2. ¿Le quitas el vaso de vino?
  3. ¿Le dices que no beba?
  4. ¿Empiezas a recitar aleyas importantes del Corán donde se prohíbe beber alcohol?
  5. ¿Crees que es una señal de que esta persona no está convencida de que debería seguir el mensaje del Corán?
  6. ¿Hablas con esta persona para averiguar si conoce el mensaje del Corán?

Deberíamos alegrarnos de ver el problema ahí y actuar inmediatamente: llevarle a un especialista. Cuando te enteras de que una persona no conoce el mensaje del Corán ¿qué haces?

  1. ¿Acabas con la vida de esa persona?
  2. ¿Te enfadas con esa persona?
  3. ¿Declaras que esa persona es un no creyente y le pides que abandone la comunidad musulmana?
  4. ¿Le dices a esa persona que hay una buena razón por la que debería seguir el Corán y empiezas una relación de amistad con esa persona?
  5. ¿Le dices “somos musulmanes, el Corán es nuestro Libro Sagrado, debemos poner en práctica nuestros deberes religiosos; si no caeremos en el Fuego del Infierno en el Más Allá”?
  6. ¿Le das la oportunidad de aprender para qué es la existencia, lo que significa ser un ser humano en la Tierra y quién es realmente Dios? ¿Ayudamos a esa persona a saber por qué Dios envía Profetas, lo que es la religión en realidad, lo que nos ofrece el mensaje del Corán y por qué no deberíamos beber alcohol?

La respuesta está clara: dile a la persona que no se preocupe; las respuestas a todas estas preguntas nos han sido concedidas. Pero el problema permanece ahí – ¿tenemos la respuesta a estas preguntas o solo decimos: “En nuestra religión, beber alcohol está prohibido; obedece a Dios y a Sus Profetas, y entonces estarás a salvo”? Esto son reclamos sin prueba alguna. Si no conocemos las respuestas a estas preguntas entonces primero debemos educarnos a nosotros mismos con las enseñanzas del Corán y del Profeta, y solo entonces podremos ayudar a los demás. Si intentamos a ciegas realizar un cambio religioso en esta persona, seguramente acabaremos con ella. Sin embargo, podemos llevar a esta persona a un especialista (alguien que tenga una sabiduría considerable del paradigma del Corán) y asegurarnos de que el especialista tiene las respuestas.

Debemos estudiar el Corán como fuente de las respuestas a las dudas existenciales. Una vez que hemos empezado a prestar atención a este aspecto del Corán, nos daremos cuenta que de la mayoría de sus aleyas tratan de los derechos fundamentales de la fe.

Extraído del libro El Maestro Compasivo: Ensayos sobre la Fe Islámica escrito por Dr. Eren Tatari (

Traducido por Yolanda Sánchez Martínez (


On the Inspiration for “Beautiful Sorrow”

By Ameena Khan

In 2011 a dear member of my family died after a long struggle with cancer. She was a beautiful soul, and I felt devastated that she would not be around to see her children and grandchildren grow. That we would no longer be able to enjoy her presence or benefit from her guidance. The experience shook my spiritual core, bringing about questions of “why” and “what was the purpose?” I struggled with the weight of her death on my spirit for some time, tears readily falling whenever the thought of her or the experience came to mind. About a year after her death I happened to be in Orlando on a Saturday and was able to attend one of the workshops at the Nur Center; my first workshop there, in fact. Divinely, the topic of the discussion was related to why “bad things” happen. It was the reminder my heart had needed!

What I learned from the discussion is that the answer to “why” lays in perspective and perception. We can find peace and acceptance when we recognize that perceived afflictions are not punishments – because surely “bad” things happen to good people! Instead, hardships can be invitations to grow, to learn, to turn towards Allah, and to acknowledge Allah’s blessings. It is why we say “Alhamdulillah” for every experience, whether we are pleased or not.

By shifting my perspective, I could see how the illness and finally the passing of my loved one brought friends, family, and caregivers together in a circle of support and love. We learned from her graceful endurance, and she grew more spiritually resilient as she accepted that death was a stage of life. I cannot say that I do not miss her, or that I am not still saddened by her death, but the discussion at the Nur Center reminded me that beauty can even be found in heartbreaking situations, if I pay attention to where I am looking.

“According to the Qur’anic paradigm, all beings in the universe are letters/signs (ayahs). They are written and created to explain the meaning of God through their symbolic meaning. In other words, all beings make known the Attributes of the Creator. With sickness and health, we come to know The Healer. With hunger and food, we come to know The Sustainer. With afflictions, we come to know The Compassionate. With our wrong doings, we come to know The Forgiver. And with our weaknesses, we come to know The All-Powerful. When we look at everything around us from this perspective, life becomes an enjoyable and adventurous quest for The One. Everything and every occasion become special letters and gifts from Him whom we are created to know, love, and worship…” (Tatari, Surrendering to God. Pp 12-13)

 Beautiful Sorrow, etsy web

Can We Avoid Our Existential Questions?

…Now there has come unto you from God a light, and a clear divine writ, through which God shows unto all that seek His goodly acceptance the was of peace; and, by His grace, brings them out of the depths of darkness into the light and guides them onto a straight way.(Koran, 5:16-17)

I recall a conversation I had with my best friend in high school. I was deeply troubled with my nineteen year old sister’s death and was inquiring about my friend’s thoughts on the meaning of life given that we will die eventually. Her answer astonished me so much that I could not find any words to explain the deep pain I had in my soul. She simply said “I am too young to think about it!” This illustrates how skillful we are in self-deception to shun the reality of our death

Yet, regardless of our age, gender, culture, religion, or socioeconomic status, we all have existential questions that beg answers. Where did I come from? Who am I? Where am I going? On the one hand, we cannot help but ask these questions because it is impossible to shut them off. The urge and need to find answers runs so deep in us that we cannot accept any dogmas. On the other hand, our need to avoid these important questions illustrates our reluctance to dig deeper and face Truth. Ultimately, this search for existential meaning is a search for true happiness or inner peace. Otherwise life simply does not make sense, and we cannot truly enjoy anything.

Because of the way we are created, we seek meaning

We seek meaning in our relationships. We seek meaning in life. We seek meaning in material things. And it is impossible to have inner peace and be in harmony with life and the universe without satisfying this need for meaning. We can describe this as being in congruence with our creation (the way we are created). We are given various faculties, such as heart, spirit, mind, and reason. Without heart (shutting off our conscience for instance), we become like beasts and commit atrocities. Without reason, we fall into the darkness of ignorance and become zealots. Those who shut off one or more of their faculties cannot fulfill their purpose of creation. Hence, being in congruence with our nature requires us to satisfy all our faculties. Answering our existential questions and finding meaning in our lives satisfies both our heart and our mind.

Our egos develop numerous strategies to ignore our existential questions. Some of the means for trying to silence our inner voice are alcohol consumption, excessive work, and dedicating one’s life to family or social causes to the extent that one becomes consumed in them. Others try to deceive themselves by thinking that we can never find the answers to these questions, hence it is pointless to even try. “We are who we are and that is the end of the story”, they reason. Yet all these strategies are doomed to fail and torment more and more people into depression and disillusion.

All of us want to find unceasing inner peace

In a way, most of what we do in life is to attempt to attain that inner peace through perhaps attending yoga classes, establishing friendships, participating in religious activities, or fulfilling our ambition in our career, etc. And indeed we do find temporary moments of bliss here and there. But seldom does this happiness last. We strive to buy a brand new car, but the excitement ceases soon after we have it. Then, we turn to something else to make us happy and life goes on like this. Meanwhile, we get tired and depressed of this endless quest for happiness and ending up with disappointments. We waste our lives in search of something that we never quite find.

But what is happiness really? Have we ever thought about it thoroughly? What are we looking for? Do we seek the fulfillment of our dreams, passions or needs? Is this the aim of our life, and can this pursuit in itself bring us happiness? Happiness is rather transient. We have randomly dispersed moments of joy, followed by moments of sorrow. This is why it is said that life is all about ups and downs. For instance, think of your many shopping sprees and the subsequent plummeting of your emotions!

Even though we have never experienced this feeling of utmost and continuous happiness, we want to be very happy all the time. This desire in itself is a sign attesting to the existence of such everlasting happiness. Is it therefore possible to attain a state of inner peace? To be able to answer this crucial question, we need to face our existential questions and find out who we are and what can make us really happy. What makes us happy can only be something that is in harmony with our creation. Therefore, the solution lies in being frank with ourselves, our feelings and thoughts and acknowledging that we cannot be satisfied with temporary sources of happiness. Inner peace is found in accepting our reality as created beings and acting accordingly.

So, who are we and why are we here?

Many of us spend our entire life reading hundreds of books, studying for years to obtain advanced degrees, or working day and night to get ahead in our careers. Yet without posing to ponder upon the existential questions it is all pointless, for death awaits us in the end. We find ourselves in this mysterious world. We feel strongly connected to endless things. We enjoy a sunny day; we smile and feel happy when we see a beautiful rose. It seems that nature is somehow related to us, and we have a close relation with all creation. But surprisingly, all these things that we like fade away, die, and do not last. The rose dies, the sun sets, friends depart, and at the end, we know that we will die too. In every instance, something to which we attach ourselves dies or fades away, yet we still refrain from thinking about the deeper meaning. Since death is so real, we cannot help but ask “where am I going and what is really going on?”

The truth of the matter is that these questions are vital for understanding who we really are. Interestingly enough, for all of us, these existential questions are rather innate. Whether we like it or not, they come to us naturally. But many times, we choose to suppress them, thinking they are too serious and are ruining our happy moments! We mistakenly worry that thinking too much about these existential questions would shatter our dream world that is in fact unable to fulfill our desire for happiness. Only sometimes, when our beloved ones die, or when we have tragic accidents or events, we are reminded of our questions again and may pursue the answers.

We are like guests in a mysterious house, which is full of things that we admire, yet we cannot quite hold onto. We are brought here for an indefinite amount of time, and we are taken away suddenly. It is therefore only naturally reasonable to wonder and to want to know what is going on here. What does this all mean? Why I am here, who brought me here, and where am I being taken to? Unless we pursue these questions for ourselves, instead of shutting them off or relying on cliché answers inherited from our parents or culture, we can never be truly satisfied and happy.

When you wake up in the morning, do you say “Life is beautiful” without a second thought? If not, we have a problem of a dichotomy in our life. What is this life all about? Why do we have to work and go though many hardships? These very thoughts are the keys to open the chains that have taken away our freedom. Thanks to the sophisticated toys of this age, we try to silence these questions, hence our humanity! Is it not, as Kant says, our reason that differentiates us from animal beings? And is not Socrates shouting from the Stone Age that an unquestioned life is not worth living?

Every minute that passes dies, and we cannot retrieve it. We try to cling to good memories. Memories fade away, and we feel sorrow for not being able to live these moments again. Are these memories not giving us pain? Then, we think about our future. It looks like a dark and unpredictable tunnel. We do not know what will happen to us the next minute, and this affects the very moment we are in. How can I get pleasure at this moment if I know I will die sooner or later? What is money, fame, or passion worth if I am dead? Neither past nor present can help us. Does life have to be so? If we want to solve this dilemma, we have to keep questioning, and seeking true meaning in life. Only when we question, we can find that true happiness can only be found in God.

Post written by Dr. Eren Tatari