eighty. In those long, dark nights and sorrowful exile and melancholic state, I despaired of life and of my homeland. I looked at my powerlessness and aloneness, and my hope failed.
Then, while in that state, succour arrived from the All-Wise Qur’an; my tongue said:
God is enough for us; and how excellent a guardian is He.(3:173)
And weeping, my heart cried out: “I am a stranger, I am alone, I am weak, I am powerless: I seek mercy, I seek forgiveness, I seek help from You, O my God!”
And, thinking of my old friends in my homeland, and imagining myself dying in exile there, like Niyazi Misri, my spirit poured forth these lines:
Fleeing the world’s grief,
Taking flight with ardour and longing,
Opening my wings to the void,
Crying with each breath, Friend! Friend!
It was searching for its friends.
Anyway, my weakness and impotence became such potent intercessors and means at the divine court on that melancholy, pitiful, separation-afflicted, long night in exile that now I still wonder at it. For several days later I escaped in the most unexpected manner, on my own, not knowing Russian, across a distance that would have taken a year on foot. I was saved in a wondrous fashion through divine favour, which was bestowed as a consequence of my weakness and impotence. Then, passing through Warsaw and Austria, I reached Istanbul, so that to be saved in this way so easily was quite extraordinary. I completed the long flight with an ease and facility that even the boldest and most cunning Russian-speakers could not have accomplished.
That night in the mosque on the banks of the Volga made me decide to pass the rest of my life in caves. Enough now of mixing in this social life of people. Since finally I would enter the grave alone, I said that from now on I would chose solitude in order to become accustomed to it. But regretfully, things of no consequence like my many and serious friends in Istanbul, and the glittering worldly life there, and in particular the fame and honour accorded me, which were far greater than my due, made me temporarily forget my decision. It was as though that night in exile was a luminous blackness in my life’s eye, and the glittering white daytime of Istanbul, a lightless white in it. It could not see ahead, it still slumbered. Until two years later, Ghawth al-Geylani opened my eyes once more with his book Futuh al-Ghayb.