After receiving this reminder of the Qur’an, the graveyard became more familiar to me than Istanbul. Solitude and retirement became more pleasurable to me than conversation and company, and I found a place of seclusion for myself in Sar›yer on the Bosphorus. There, Ghawth al-A‘zam (May God be pleased with him) became a master, doctor, and guide for me with his Futuh al-Ghayb, while Imam Rabbani (May God be pleased with him) became a companion, sympathetic friend, and teacher with his Maktubat (Letters). Then I was extremely happy I had approached old age, withdrawn from civilization, and slipped free of social life. I thanked God.
O respected persons who have entered upon old age and who frequently recall death through its warnings! In accordance with the light of the teachings of belief taught by the Qur’an, we should look favourably on old age, death, and illness, and even love them in one respect. Since we have an infinitely precious bounty like belief, old age, and illness, and death are all agreeable. If there are things that are disagreeable, they are sin, vice, innovations, and misguidance.
After my return from captivity, I was living together with my nephew Abdurrahman1 in a villa on the hill at Çamlıca in Istanbul. From the point of view of worldly life, my situation could have been thought to be the most fortunate for people like us. For I had been saved from being a prisoner-of-war and in the Darü’l-Hikmet we were being successful in propagating knowledge in an elevated way suitably to my profession, the learned profession. The honour and esteem afforded me were far greater than my due. I was living in Çamlıca, the most beautiful place in Istanbul. Everything was perfect for me. I was together with the late Abdurrahman, my nephew, who was extremely intelligent and self-sacrificing, and was both my student, and servant, and scribe, and spiritual son. But then, knowing myself to be more fortunate than anyone else in the world, I looked in the mirror and I saw grey hairs in my hair and beard.
Suddenly, the spiritual awakening I had experienced in the mosque in Kosturma while in captivity recommenced. I began to study the circumstances and causes to which I felt geniune attachment and which I supposed were the source of happiness in this world. But whichever of them I studied, I saw that it was rotten; it was not worth the attachment; it was
Abdurrahman was the son of Bediuzzaman’s elder brother, ‘Abdullah. He was born in Nurs in 1903, and was Bediuzzaman’s spiritual son, student, and assistant. He joined his uncle in Istanbul after the First World War, and published a short biography of him at that time. He died in Ankara in 1928, where he is buried. (Tr.)