O my friends who are listening to these notes! You should know that the reason I sometimes write down my heart’s prayers, entreaties, and supplications to my Sustainer, which ought to be secret, is to request divine mercy to accept the words of my writing when death has silenced the words of my tongue. Yes, my short-lived tongue’s repentance and regret is insufficient to atone for my numberless sins. The tongue of writing is permanent to an extent, and more effectual. Thus, thirteen years ago,1 when as the result of a tumultuous storm of the spirit the laughter of the Old Said was being transformed into the weeping of the New Said – at a time I awoke from the heedless sleep of youth in the morning of old age – I wrote these entreaties and supplications in Arabic. The Turkish meaning of a part of them is as follows:
O my Compassionate Sustainer and Munificent Creator! Due to my mistaken choices my life and youth are lost and gone, and all that remains to me as their fruits are grievous sins, abasing sorrows, and misguiding doubts and scruples. I draw close to the grave shame-faced with this heavy load and sick heart. Like my departed friends, peers, and relations, without deviating to left or right I am involuntarily approaching the door of the grave.
The grave is the first stopping-place on the road leading from this fleeting realm to everlasting separation and all eternity; it is the first door opening onto it.2 But I am attached to the realm of this world and am captivated by it, and I have understood with absolute certainty that it is transient and will die, will perish and depart. The beings within it travel on convoy after convoy and disappear, as is to be observed. This world is exceedingly cruel and treacherous, especially for those like me with evil-commanding souls. For one pleasure, it inflicts a thousand pains. For a single grape, it deals a hundred slaps.
O my Compassionate Sustainer and Munificent Creator! As with the saying “All that is coming is close,”3 I see now that soon I will have donned my shroud, mounted the bier, bade farewell to my friends. Approaching my grave I call out to the court of Your mercy through the mute tongue of my corpse and the articulate tongue of my spirit: “Mercy! Mercy! Most Kind, Most Clement! Deliver me from the shame of my sins!”
Thirteen years before this treatise was written. (That is, 1920 or 1921 – Tr.)
See, Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 5; Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 32; Musnad, i, 63.
Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 7; Darimi, Muqaddima, 23.