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  • Arzu Eylül Yalçınkaya

About the message coming from Boston: “I AM OK”

It is the first time I went out since the painful incident happened in Boston.

Due to good weather I get on to my bicycle and went to Cambridge to pick up some books that I needed from Harvard University.

There were extraordinary security measures in the city.

Especially squares in a central position were highly protected. 

However the towns people couldn’t withstand the lure of the great weather, and they were enjoying this beautiful spring day out at the squares, parks, campuses and of course at the side of the Carles River.

There were people playing music, sunbathing while listening to this music, playing chess, reading their books while drinking their five teas and people trying to win their intellectual arguments, in Harvard Square.

If we come to Eylul, she was standing in the middle of the square and wondering what was burning in side her for last few days. She was measuring the things she has been through, and things that she had said.

As it is said among Sufis, when a Muslim feels distressed in her hearth, she should look back on the things she has done and try to turn her state of distress into width.

It is approximately obvious what it is that bothers me but it will not show itself until I write it. So I should get it from the beginning.

The day that the bomb had exploded, our plan was to watch the marathon from the square where the Boston Public Library is.

My friends had watched the marathon from that spot in the last couple of years, which is why we decided to watch the marathon from that spot.

I am not sure what happened but we suddenly changed our planes and decided to go upstate and study in a place where we can watch the ocean.

We were watching the enormous waves of the ocean, we had delved into the horizon and we had just begun to enjoy the environment when we heard the news.

Two bombs had exploded in front of the Boston Public Library at the finish line of the marathon.

On hearing the news, we looked at one another and same words came out of our mouth: ‘God saved us.’ There was no third option. If we hadn’t suddenly came here – or brought- to this seaside town we would probably have been at where the explosions took place.

At that moment a story from Masnavi came in to my mind:

One afternoon a man comes in to the court of Solomon with rage and says, “Run o Solomon, I saw Azrael (angel of death) today and he looked at me fixedly.” “Perhaps he plans to take my life.” 

And Solomon asks, “What is your plan in order to escape from Azrael?”

The man says, ‘My lord’, ‘you are the lord of the wind, tell the wind to carry me to India, that way I can save myself from Azrael.”

With knowing that if something is fated to be than there is no force that could stop it from happening and when the time comes the eyes goes blind and ones only option in front of the faith is to accept and surrender to the decision of God but Solomon decided to fulfill the mans wish and he send the man to India just in a wink.

The day after, Solomon interrogated Azrael and asked him, “Why did you look at that man with anger, you have scared the poor man.” 

Azrael’s respond to this question was very impressing: ‘My Lord, I didn’t look at him to scare him, however God ordered me to take his life in India tonight. And when I saw him in the courtyard of Al-Aqsa mosque, I thought that even if he had a thousand wings there was no way for him to reach in India by tonight. God’s work is out of question. I looked at him with confusion and astonishment.”

By leaving the solution of the secret of the faith to the special servants of God, I rivet my attention on to those incidents that we are unable to understand the secret in, which happens in everybody’s life.

Sometimes even though we take thousands of measures we can find ourselves in the situation that we were trying to avoid; sometimes when we are wandering around with an innocence of a child, we find ourselves protected from many incidents that we are not even aware of.

Only God knows which one means to be protected. Sometimes the things that we think as good can turn out to be a test or the things we see as difficulties can actually be filled with Gods mercy. 

When I heard about the incident in Boston the first think that I felt was: “There is no doer but God”.

We can believe that every individual has power and strength but can we prove it? Man is the caliph of Allah in every aspect, and an essence with his mind and will. On the other hand he is nothing but an impotent and poor servant who is not even capable to know what is going to happen after one minute.

As Ken’an Rifâî states, “Man is nothing but a passageway for God’s names and attributes.” 

I still haven’t mentioned the issue that bothers me. Lets continue than.

After we heard the news we went back to town because our cellphones was not working in upstate. My friends started to call their family and friends to let them know that they we were ok.

I was thinking to call my family later because my phone was broke. My friends pressed a telephone into my hand and they made me call my family. It was a good idea because when I called my family they told me that they had just learned the news and when they heard the incident they were very worried about me. They were pleased to hear from me, I thought that I could call them later and I ringed off quickly because I was not suppose to hold the line.

Than our friend tagged our names into Facebook to let everybody know that we are ok.

At that moment that was the most wise way to take, because it was not possible to reach everybody that was worried about us.

I was deeply touched when I saw the message “We are ok” below our names in Facebook.

There was many people from Boston who published a message just as we did in order to announce everybody that they were ok.

Maybe you can say that this is not an issue for the modern world but I was deeply offended by these messages.

I remembered this exemplary story:

When Imam Qus’hayri tells about the taqva (fear from God) and tactfulness of famous saint Serî Sakati he recites this story:

“When Seri Sakati says, “I am praying for forgiveness for thirty years because I thanked God once.”

People around him asks, “How does this happen?”

He responds, “Once there was a big fire in a market in Baghdad. I saw a man who witnessed the fire, he told me, “Your store is saved, nothing happened to it.” And I thanked God. But after one minute, I realized that instead of sharing the pain of other Muslims I was firstly thinking of myself. That is why I am praying for forgiveness for thirty years.”

We are fine, healthy, thanks God we are alive, there was more breath to take, and there were more days to live.

Naturally in this kind of incident we first think of those we love, we are first worried about their condition.

However, what matters the most here is to widen the meaning of “we” or pray to God for widen our hearths so much that we could love and encircle everybody in the world.

So this way the reason of the bitterness in side me came out.

Now I can convey the news from Boston. 

Are you wondering how we are?

We have casualties and wounded

To get past all of us,

Thank God, we are praying to God for protecting us from a worse than that

In this path where we came from Allah and turning to Allah,

God rest the souls who went before us,

And may God give patience and peace for those who are left behind.

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