Being Devoted to Allah - Special Ramadan Programs


Erdem Ertüzün: Have a blessed Ramadan our beloved A9 viewers. May this month of Ramadan be a blessed one for all of you, for the whole Muslim community. During this month of Ramadan, for 30 days, insha'Allah, we will be together with you before iftar with our live broadcast. I will have different guests and we will be talking about different topics. Our topic today is the concept of "Living for God". We will talk about the notion of living for God. Our guest today is my beloved brother Kartal Göktan. Welcome. 

Kartal Göktan Göktan.: Thank you, Erdem.

Erdem Ertüzün: The notion of living for God might not be known to many people or might be understood insufficiently. Actually, in the Qur'an God says – I seek refuge with God from the accursed satan -    "I only created jinn and man to worship Me. " God tells us that He created us all to worship Him. Consequently, people should attach great importance to the notion of living for God, should fully grasp it and should prioritize what he will be doing that day, bearing in mind which act will be compliant the most with the good pleasure of God. 

Kartal Göktan: Yes.

Erdem Ertüzün: Insha'Allah

Kartal Göktan: When we talk about living for God, it should be stated that one needs to know God as is due, of course. 

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: One might only then live for God. Talking about knowing God, we see that those who sincerely know God, in the real sense of the word, turn towards God very sincerely because they fear God.  But some people in  society, although they do accept the existence of God -since they do not know God as is due- they simply accept that God created everything but they have shortcomings when it comes to performing their religious observances, to getting close to God, to carrying out good deeds on the path of God. God draws attention to this fact in the Holy Qur'an. In Surah Yunus, Verses 31 -I seek refuge with God from satan. "Say: ´Who provides for you out of heaven and earth? Who controls hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? Who directs the whole affair?´ They will say, ´God.´ Say, ´So will you not have taqwa?´ says God.  That means there are such people in  society. They do accept the existence of God. But they do not design their lives accordingly and they do not have fear of God.  

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: When that is the case, of course one's life would be built on a feeble foundation. God indicates this in the 109th verse of Surat At-Tawba. God says; "Who is better: someone who founds his building on taqwa of God and His good pleasure, or someone who founds his building on the brink of a crumbling precipice so that it collapses with him into the Fire of Hell? God does not love wrongdoers."

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: Now, what we understand from this is to primarily know and recognize God, to grasp the fact that God created everything. And then grasping the Greatness of God, grasping the Infinite Might and Power of God and when that is ensured, designing one's life as God demands.

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan : As you have also stated, God created us to worship Him. What is meant there is to grasp this goal and to live for God.

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: We can then say that this notion is realized in that person in the full sense of the word. 

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes. Insha'Allah. Actually, this is what a person should be doing for salvation, both in this world and in the Hereafter. That is to say, one should live a life seeking God's approval. God says, "If you do this I will save you both in this world and in the Hereafter."  He says that you would thus attain salvation. In the 16th verse of Surat Al-Maidah- I seek refuge with God from the accursed satan -  "By it, God guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of Peace. He will bring them from the darkness to the light by His permission, and guide them to a straight path."

Look, that means, as God stated in the verse, those who fail to comply with the good pleasure of God would always be obliged to remain in darkness. Indeed, we look at the lives of such people and see that they have always prioritized their own self-interests, their worldly interests. Their interests have always been in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of their priorities. And these people will never be happy even when they attain what they've been aiming for; they can never be satisfied. That is why we constantly come across such conversations.  Right? Such people constantly keep giving advice to each other, talking about how to be happy. Again in those conversations, they advise each other about prioritizing their own selfish earthly passions. 

Erdem Ertüzün: In the Qur'an, God says; - I seek refuge with God from the accursed satan- "But the actions of those who are unbelievers are like a mirage in the desert. A thirsty man thinks it is water but when he reaches it, he finds it to be nothing at all, but he finds God there. He will pay him his account in full. God is swift at reckoning."

Erdem Ertüzün: Indeed, when an unbeliever reaches what he seeks, he would never be able to be happy. Actually all those efforts he makes would return to him as a heartache. It urges and disturbs his good conscience.

Kartal Göktan: Yes, while making an effort, we do so by the leave of God. 

Erdem Ertüzün: Of course. Yes. 

Kartal Göktan: As a matter of fact, we are not able to attain anything ourselves; but when one has such good intentions, he sees that God makes him instrumental in good deeds. That is because one has such a potential as well. When people take something like that as a goal from the life of this world...

Kartal Göktan: … people might attain success if they make substantial efforts. For example, when an exam is in question, when a carrier plan is in question, people make plans for 10 years, for 20 years, follow up on all the successive stages and aim at attaining a result. Now God promises us the Hereafter. And the good pleasure of God is in question, gaining His approval, His pleasure is in question. When this is the case, one would of course not be content with less than the most of it.

Erdem Ertüzün: Of course.

Kartal Göktan: That would be a mistaken logic. An incorrect point of view. We would always ask for the most of the good pleasure of God. We would want to be one of those servants of God, He is pleased with the most. Then we need to attach importance to live a life most compliant with the commands of God, knowing what He allows and what He forbids, as He informed us of in the Qur'an.  

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: I mean, what is that right now, for instance? We understand that intellectual struggle has an important place in the life of a Muslim; that is because we are living in an age in which there are a lot of ideologies constantly instilling irreligiousness. The best kind of struggle that could be carried out in the face of that is an intellectual struggle. 

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: God heralds us with Heaven and warns us with Hell. 

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes

Kartal Göktan: Consequently, in order to be protected from Hell and to deserve Heaven, a Muslim should always want to behave in the way God would be pleased with the most in the life of this world.   

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes. Insha'Allah. That is really very widespread. Actually, people seeing themselves purely sufficient and deserving of Heaven is a very widespread point of view. That might be a very superficial, very plain perspective.  He says, "I am not stealing," thinking about most known sins and says, "And I am not doing those things anyway, consequently I am a good enough servant. I deserve Heaven and I am there." Right? Many people might develop a point of view- may God forbid- thinking, "I do not need to do anything else."  That is a very dangerous point of view.  

Kartal Göktan: Yes.

Erdem Ertüzün: That is because there are many examples of that mindset in many verses of the Qur'an. For instance, the owner of the vineyard, right?  God tells us about the man who owns a vineyard, a big, glorious vineyard. And that man says, "I don't think I will lose this until the end of time. Even when the Last Day comes -if there is one- I believe that I will be given a good reward on that day as well." That is to say, he thinks of himself as a basically good person and he finds that enough. That is a very wrong point of view because it prevents one from looking for what pleases God the most.

For instance, let us say that I have about six different choices right now. Among those six choices, I would try to see which attitude or behavior would be the one I should adopt, so that God would like it the most, that He would be pleased with the most. If one does not consider this, he would be making a grave mistake. And indeed, without even leaving a bit out, one needs to act 100 % in prioritizing the good pleasure of God. That is because God gives us examples of that as well. Even if one spares a small part for his lower-self, he would be losing the concept of acting rightly in that thing he does. A good deed, a righteous act is the one done, 100%, solely for the good pleasure of God. That would be only one act and then on, one should fill his life with many more of such acts, much more intensely. That is because God tells us - I seek refuge with God from the accursed satan -  "They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck." God says that every good deed you did will be put in front of you in the Hereafter. He says that even the smallest deeds will be put in our scales. That is why one should constantly be in search of attaining the most of the good pleasure of God, insha'Allah.  

Kartal Göktan: Yes. In another verse God says  - I seek refuge with God from the satan: "As for anyone who desires this fleeting existence, We hasten in it whatever We will to whoever We want. Then We will consign him to Hell where he will roast, reviled and driven out."

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: And in the following verse God says; "But as for anyone who desires the Next World, and strives for it with the striving it deserves, being a Muslim, the striving of such people will be gratefully acknowledged."

Erdem Ertüzün: Masha'Allah.

Kartal Göktan: Now, that is  very important, in respect of understanding the transient structure of this world and turning towards the Hereafter. This world might represent a transient benefit for people; God might give one blessings in this world, He might bestow many means, but that doesn't mean it is enough. So long as one does not put in any effort for the Hereafter, all he attains would be a fleeting existence…

Kartal Göktan: The current situation of the world is out in the open. Right now, we are living through a time in which Muslims, actually people generally speaking , are suffering greatly in our neighborhood and in many other places of the world. In such a period of time Muslims have great responsibilities. While there are all those responsibilities, and while everyone is fully aware of the situation around, those who are after only their own interests, only their own comfort would of course be given their due in the Sight of God. While one is aware of this situation, while there are lots of things that could be done, the reward of the one who makes shift with the least he can do might not be so great. That is because what God wants us to do is to do the most of what God is pleased with. In this respect, there is a point that should be well understood ; there is nothing to call "the lesser" choice that would make God pleased. The fact is that there is only one choice in such conditions, and that is what one's good conscience demands.

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: There is only one choice that should be done and the good conscience would demand that choice. By the leave of God, one's good conscience would always inspire the right choice. What should be done there is to fully submit to one's good conscience.  

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: One would be on the right path when he follows his good conscience. Indeed God says; "By it, God guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of Peace. He will bring them from the darkness to the light by His permission, and guide them to a straight path."

Erdem Ertüzün: Yes.

Kartal Göktan: Insha'Allah.

Erdem Ertüzün: Insha'Allah. That covers the whole of life. God commands in the 162nd verse of Surat Al-An'am – I seek refuge with God from the accurse satan -  "Say: ´My salat and all my other acts, my living and my dying, are for God alone, the Lord of all the worlds."


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