At a time grey hairs, the sign of old age, were appearing in my hair, the turmoil of the First World War, which made even heavier the deep sleep of youth, the upheaval of my captivity as a prisoner-of-war, the position of great fame and honour accorded to me on my return to Istanbul, and the kind treatment and attention far exceeding my due I received from everyone, from the Caliph, even, Shaykh al-Islam, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army to the students of religion, the intoxication of youth, and the mental state produced by my position all made the sleep of youth so heavy that I quite simply saw the world as permanent and myself in a wonderful undying situation cemented to it.
Then one day in Ramadan I went to Bayezid Mosque to listen to the sincere Qur’an reciters. With their tongues, the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition was proclaiming with its exalted heavenly address the decree of:
Every living creature shall taste death,(3:185, etc.)
which powerfully gives news of man’s death and that of all animate creatures. It entered my ear, penetrated to the depths of my heart and established itself there; it shattered my profound sleep and heedlessness. I went out of the mosque. Because of the stupor of the sleep which for a long time had settled in my head, for several days a tempest raged in it, and I saw myself as a boat with smoking boilers and compass spinning. Every time I looked at my hair in the mirror, the grey hairs told me: “Take note of us!” And so the situation became clear through the warnings of my grey hairs.
I looked and saw that my youth which so captivated me with its pleasures and in which I so trusted was bidding me farewell, and that this worldly life which I so loved and with which I was so involved was beginning to be extinguished, and that the world with which I was closely connected and of which I was quite simply the lover was saying to me: “Have a good journey!”, and was warning me that I would be leaving this guesthouse. It too was saying “Good-bye,” and was preparing to depart. The following meaning was unfolding in my heart from the indications of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition’s verse,
Every living creature shall taste death:
the human race is a living creature; it shall die in order to be resurrected. The globe of the earth is a living creature; it also will die in order to take on an eternal form. The world too is a living creature; it will die in order to assume the form of the hereafter.
While in this state, I considered my situation. I saw that youth, which is the source of pleasure, was departing; while old age, the source of sorrow,