What follows is a lesson I have learned from Islamic consultation:

At the present time one sin does not remain one; it grows and infects others, multiplying many times over. Similarly, a good act does not remain single; it sometimes grows by thousands of degrees. This is due to the following:

Islamic freedom and consultation have demonstrated the dominion of our true nationality. The foundation and spirit of our true nationality is Islam. Muslim peoples, including in particular the Turks and Arabs, are shells or citadels of this nationality.

Through the bond of this sacred nationality all Muslims are like a single tribe. Like the members of a tribe, Muslim peoples are connected to one another in Islamic brother/sisterhood. They support each other spiritually and, when necessary, materially. It is as if all Muslim peoples are connected to each other with a luminous chain. So, consider this: if a member of a tribe commits a crime, in the sight of an enemy tribe all the members of the tribe are to blame, and that single crime has the effect of thousands of crimes. If a member of the tribe does something good, which will bring honor to the entire tribe, all members of the tribe take pride in him, as if each member had earned this glory.

It is due to this reality that an evil committed does not remain restricted to the one who commits it. It may be a transgression against the rights of millions of Muslims. The clearer examples of this will be seen in forty or fifty years of time.

So, O brothers, who are listening to me in this Umayyad Mosque and Muslim brothers and sisters in the future mosque of the Muslim world! Do not offer excuses, saying, “We are not doing harm, and we are unable to do good, thus we are excused.” This excuse of yours is not acceptable. Your laziness, indifference, and lack of effort through Islamic nationality and unity are a great harm and a wrong on your part.

Like an evil multiplying thousands of times over, any good done at this time pertaining to the sacredness of Islam will never remain restricted to the one who does it. It may be beneficial for millions of believers. It may strengthen the bond of the spiritual and material life. Therefore, it is not time to remain indifferent (to the problems of Muslims and what is going on around us), or to fall onto the bed of laziness. The benefit and worldly and otherworldly happiness of small Muslim nationalities, such as the Kurds, are dependent upon the great peoples such as the Turks and Arabs. We suffer harm because of your indolence and loss of zeal and energy. For this reason, the sin you commit through laziness is very great. The good you will do will also be great and exalted. With my defective understanding, I see the social body of Muslims as a factory with a number of wheels. If one of these wheels stops or works more slowly than others or interferes with another wheel, the order and functionality of the factory are upset. So we should ignore each other’s personal faults.

Just as some of the Europeans have taken our valuable properties and lands from us and have given in return a very insignificant, inadequate price, so too have they taken from us some of our elevated moral values and some of our lofty characteristics in social life. They have used these as a means for their development and in return given us their vices and evil characteristics.

For example, due to a national characteristic they have borrowed from us, one of them says, “Even if I die, let my nation survive, for I have a permanent life in my nation.” They have borrowed this lofty characteristic from us and made a most formidable foundation for their development. This characteristic issues from the true Religion and truths of belief. It belongs to the people of belief. Whereas due to an evil characteristic which has come to us from foreigners, a selfish man from among us says, “If I die of thirst, let rain no more come down on the world. If I cannot be happy, let the world become corrupted in whatever way it will.” This foolish, evil attitude issues from irreligion; it comes from ignorance of the Hereafter. It has entered us from abroad and poisons us. A person from Europe gains as much value as their nation due to their national and patriotic zeal. For a man is valuable to the extent of their intentions and endeavors. Whoever lives and endeavors for the happiness of their nation is a nation by themselves.

Despite our sacred Islamic nationality, because of either heedlessness or the influence of evil characteristics we have borrowed from abroad, a person cares only about themselves and pursues their personal interests, indifferent to the common interests of the nation. Thus, a thousand people are reduced to the level of a single person. Whoever pursues only their personal interests cannot be counted as a human being, because humans are civilized by nature; a human being is obliged to care about their fellow human beings. Their personal life can continue within social life. For example, in order to obtain a loaf of bread, one needs the cooperation of numerous hands. You can compare to bread the clothes one wears. A person cannot live with skin like animals and therefore they have to be interrelated with their fellow human beings. One who restricts themselves to their personal interests is no longer a human being; they have been reduced to a cannibalistic animal.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi