An Important and Awesome Question: Why is it that while the worldly and the neglectful, and even the misguided and hypocrites, co-operate without rivalry, the people of religion, the religious scholars, and those who follow the Sufi path, oppose each other in rivalry, although they are the people of truth and concord? Agreement belongs in reality to the people of concord and dispute to the hypocrites; how is it that these two have changed places?
T h e A n s w e r : We will set forth seven of the extremely numerous causes of this painful, disgraceful and awesome situation, one that causes the zealous to weep.
Just as dispute among the people of the truth does not arise from lack of the truth, so too the agreement prevailing among the people of neglect does not arise from any possession of truth. Rather it is that a specific duty and particular function has been assigned to the classes in society, like ‘the worldly,’1 those engaged in politics, and those who have received a secular education, and thus the functions of the various groups, societies, and communities have been defined and become distinguished from one another. Similarly, the material reward they are to receive for their functions in order to maintain a livelihood, as well as the moral reward that consists in the attention they receive from men for the sake of their ambition and pride – this too is established and specified.2 There is therefore nothing held in common to the degree that it might produce conflict, dissension and rivalry. However evil be the path that they tread, they will be able to preserve unity and agreement.
But as for the people of religion, the scholars, and those who follow the path, the duty of each is concerned with all men; their material reward is
‘The worldly’ (ehl-i dünya): those people whose view is restricted to the life of this world and who disregard the hereafter, or those who sell religion for this world. (Tr.)
Be aware that the attention of men cannot be demanded, but only given. If it is given, one should not delight in it. If one delights in it, sincerity is lost and hypocrisy takes its place. The attention of men, if accompanied by the desire for honour and fame, is not a reward and a prize, but a reproach and chastisement for lack of sincerity. Such attention of men, such honour and fame, harm sincerity, the source of vitality for all good deeds, and even though they yield a slight pleasure as far as the gate of the tomb, on the other side of that gate they take on the form of torment. One should not therefore desire the attention of men, but flee and shy away from it. Be warned, all you who worship fame and run after honour and rank!