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  • “Denoting abandonment of all (worldly) pleasures and delights, and the affliction and hardship one bears when overcoming corporeality, chila (suffering) is used to express an initiate’s spending at least forty days in strict austerity and self-discipline in the name of spiritual training. During this period, initiates keep to the absolute bare minimum in meeting such bodily needs as eating, drinking, sleeping and speaking, and spend most of their time in worshipping, mentioning God, thinking and self-supervision. As if they had died before dying, they concentrate on death and are annihilated with respect to their carnal self and prepares for a new, spiritual life with the necessary endowment to be persons devoted to God.”1)
  • “For us, suffering means relating our lives to the griefs and pleasures of others and living completely for them, and it is the synonym of supreme altruism.We think that only in this way can we attain the consent of God Almighty. Yes, suffering means that the heroes of truth feel the fire in their bosom, no matter where the fire falls in the circle they are related to; feel the material or spiritual agony of every afflicted in their soul, and feel all the pain and anguish experienced in the far and near environment as if they were living it, in contrast to the selfish consideration of ‘the one who does not suffer does not know.’”2)
  • Chilah (sacred suffering) is inevitable in the pursuit of sublime aims and for the realization of good results. The traveler on the road of truth must purify himself of sins through suffering and by such refinement arrives at his very self. It is impossible to speak of perfection or spiritual wholeness where chilah has not been experienced.
  • Chilah is suffering with which the man of truth becomes entangled at every turn. By means of it, long ways no longer seem monotonous, life becomes illumined, and the man feels pleasure in that awareness. Life without chilah is wearying and dreary, and poor travelers on such ways are unfortunate and tired of living.
  • The spirit reaches perfection through suffering. The heart flourishes through it. Spirits who have not undergone hardship are coarse, and hearts not ripened by chilah are lacking in color and vigor.
  • Suffering enhances the value of labor. Gains without suffering are, like possessions got by inheritance, obtained without labor and spent without grief. Only such things as are earned with great suffering are worthy that souls be sacrificed to preserve them.”3)
  • “Though most of the calamities one faces in this world and the trials he faces on the way until the moment he takes his book seem to be against him, they are, in fact, the mere ladder taking him to the Paradise of Firdaws. How nicely the verse in Surah al-Balad (90:4) illustrates the enduring life of humanity: ‘We have assuredly created human in (a life of) trial and hardship!’”4)
  • “The more a person suffers in life and is conscious of the life he or she is living, the more profound his or her feelings become. Those who live unconsciously of the meaning of life and events and have experienced no suffering, can never develop their feelings and faculties. Nor can they feel themselves as parts of existence.”5)
  • “In order to obtain the approval and good pleasure of God Almighty, and to be saved from the great dangers that this world poses to the spiritual life, and to attain eternal happiness, the people of God have chosen to follow two principles: The first is contemplation of death. Thinking of the world as transitory and realizing that they too are transient guests in the world who have many duties, they work for the eternal life in this way. The Second : In order to be saved from the dangers of the carnal, evil- commanding soul and blind passions, they have tried to kill the evil-commanding soul through austerity (suffering), religious exercises, and asceticism.”6)

Further Reading

Other Languages


M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 2), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 232.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Kırık Testi-1, İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011, p. 223.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Towards the Lost Paradise, Izmir: Kaynak, 1998, p. 41.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Fikir Atlası (Fasıldan Fasıla-5), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011, p. 45.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Pearls of Wisdom, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2013, p. 20.
Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, The Gleams, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2013, p. 308.
suffering.txt · Last modified: 2022/09/08 17:08 by Editor